Ohio hunter scores multiple successes with Imperial products

By David Lemery

 For years, I have used Whitetail Institute's Winter-Greens on my small food plot and Imperial Whitetail Clover and Imperial Chicory Plus on my two main food plots.

The results have been staggering. During the past six years I have shot six mature bucks: two 8-pointers, two 10-pointers and two 12-pointers. The phrase "plant it, and they will come" is very true, and if you look at my wall, you will see why I believe this theory.

I planted my food plots along a scenic river on about 80 acres in Ohio. My main food plot is in the back of the property, with Chicory PLUS covering about 2.5 acres. In the middle of the property is a thicket coming off a hillside. It's about 1.5 acres and is covered with Imperial Clover and Chicory PLUS. The deer seem to frequent it often to get a bite without being spooked. At the other end of the property, I plant Winter-Greens so I have food long into winter to keep attracting deer to my hunting grounds. Also, I have 30-06 Plus Protein mineral licks in the back field, which I keep charged all year.

I don’t hunt directly over my food plots. I believe it's best to hunt the trails leading to them. These trails are easy to find and are usually 50 to 100 yards off a food plot. I've found that if an area has heavy hunting pressure, which most do, deer stay just off the food plot in thick cover and wait till dark to enter your plot.

On Nov. 30, this past season, I was in my tree stand about 50 yards off a food plot. This stand was in thick cover, so deer used it frequently. After 20 minutes of sitting, the floodgates opened, as does and button bucks started coming down the trail two at a time. I counted as many as 32 deer in a little over an hour. I was hoping they would not smell me; I thought a buck had to be nearby. After a few intense minutes, with more deer than I have ever had under my tree stand, I caught movement to the left of the trail the does had traveled.    There was a big buck coming down the trail. I recognized him, having captured his picture as he fed in my plots at night. I drew a bead on him and shot him broadside. The buck ran 30 yards and died. The deer — my largest —weighed 285 pounds, and his 10-point rack scored 150 5/8 inches, making the Ohio Big Buck Club book.

My second largest buck came Nov. 7, three seasons ago. It was a cold, breezy evening, and I decided to use a buck decoy and do some rattling and grunting near a small food plot at the far end of my property. About 90 minutes before dark, I started grunting and rattling blindly, because I had not seen anything. All of a sudden, a huge 12-pointer came full-throttle, trotting in sideways, his hair standing on end and antlers low to the ground.

After he reached my buck decoy, he was only 18 yards from my stand. I sent an arrow through both of his lungs. The buck ran only 50 yards and went down. He weighed 230 pounds, had 12 points and scored 137 5/8 Pope and Young inches.

I used the same setup this past year, but without a decoy. Just before legal shooting time, three does came out and walked around my tree stand before moving to the food plot. I started using a doe can call, with some deep tending grunt calls every 10 minutes. Out of nowhere came a 12-point buck. It had six typical points on one side and double main beams on the other. It might not be a record-book buck, but it was a fine nontypical deer — the first I have shot. It ran to my tree stand and stood broadside. He weighed 210 pounds.

My buck from two years ago did not carry as much excitement as the others. It came during the "extra" weekend of Ohio’s gun season. My father and I went out in the evening, and I walked around, trying to run a deer past my father. I saw two nice bucks in my clover field, so I took aim at one and shot. We found the buck 100 yards off the food plot. He weighed 250 pounds, had an 8-point rack and scored 137 Boone and Crockett inches.

Four seasons ago, during Ohio’s gun season, a good friend and I were hunting — during my first really good year of deer management — over an Imperial Clover field. My friend circled the deer sanctuary, and a nice 10-pointer ran straight to me. The buck weighed 200 pounds, had 10 points and scored 138 3/8 Boone and Crockett inches.

Five years ago, on the edge of an Imperial Clover field, a nice 8-pointer stepped out, and I shot him with my bow. The deer weighed 215 pounds and scored 130 Boone and Crockett inches.

These food plots guarantee that I will attract deer of all sizes to my property. The best aspect is taking my sons, Evan, 10, and Cole, 8. They have sat with me many nights in our double stands and have seen me shoot deer. They have learned about the importance of deer management and how to plant food plots, and they always enjoy helping me gear up for the season.

With the success I have had with Whitetail Institute products, I'm hoping my boys will have stories of their own to tell next year. They are learning and are ready to get started. I believe that with each growing season, there will be many opportunities for them.

Thanks Whitetail Institute for the great products and research. They have helped me become a more successful hunter.