Winter-Greens Key to Success in Wisconsin

By Roger Mlsna

few years ago, my son purchased 300  acres of hunting land in northwestern  Wisconsin. His goal was to develop it  into a future home for a healthy deer herd. It  would then become a place where he, his twin  4-year-old sons and his dad could successfully  hunt for many years. Although we couldn’t wait  to dig in, we had no idea as to the amount of  work it would take to get the property in the  condition we imagined for the future. The first  thing we needed to do was clear some strategically  located food plots — six in total.
After clearing those the first spring, it was time to prepare  them for planting. We tested the plots and  then added the correct amount of lime and fertilizer  to provide the perfect soil conditions. We  decided to try seed from six of the better known  names in food plot seeds. We planted in late  spring and again in August, trying to experiment  with as many seeds as possible. Much of  northwestern Wisconsin consists of light, sandy  soil, so we needed to be mindful of the dry conditions  when selecting our seeds.  

That first September, we noticed one of our  brassica plots was growing extremely well. That  said, the deer did not seem to be feeding in it  early on. It grew to 12 to 14-inches high the next  few weeks, and then we finally had our first hard  frost. During the next two weeks, the entire food  plot had been consumed. We realized we had a  seed we were looking for. We also realized as  long as the seed received a moderate rainfall in  August or September, we would get the growth  we needed. The seed, Whitetail Institute’s Winter-Greens, seemed to be the real deal. The next year we planted parts of all six food plots in Winter-Greens. Our herd seemed healthy and growing. That fall, we shot bucks scoring 141 and 155. Most recently, we shot the 175-plus buck (green-scored) pictured in this article. All of our food plots have cameras on them. Because most of the cameras only pick up movement about 15 yards out, we sprinkle a little corn in front of each camera to see what bucks we have in the area. It is legal to use bait in Wisconsin. Deer seldom eat only one kind of food for more than 20 or 30 minutes. As a result, they usually come to the corn for a couple of minutes. We were amazed at how many times the deer would walk right past the corn and go directly to the Winter-Greens. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Other than acorns, I didn’t know of anything deer preferred over corn. This has happened regularly.  

Winter-Greens is head and shoulders above any food plot seed we have ever used. We plant Winter- Greens about Aug. 10 here in Wisconsin. It’s recommended to plant about 60 days before the projected first frost.  

Winter-Greens is a brassica, and brassicas should not be used in the same food plot in back-to-back plantings. However, if you plant alternative seeds in spring, follow it up with brassica again in August. That works quite well.  We have used this method with great success.  We had pictures of the buck shown in this article as early as this past year. When he showed up this year on camera, we got some great close-ups to see that he had at least 17 scorable points. Every photo we had the previous year, as well as thus far this year, had been after dark.  We needed to get him on those food plots during daylight. 

After bow hunting him for the past two years, with no daytime pictures, we realized that we were simply educating him as to our location in the area. About two weeks before our gun season, we decided to leave him alone. Less than two weeks later, we finally got him on camera at 8:15 a.m. before gun season. Four days later, he walked out on one of our Winter-Greens food plots and started feeding. A well-placed shot dropped him where he was standing. We are firm believers that food trumps many things in the deer’s world. When hunting the rut, bucks will be where the does are, and the does will eventually be where the food is. What that says is that even in the rut, food trumps everything. 

In conclusion, if you are trying to figure out what works best on your food plots, don’t overlook the potential of a planting of Whitetail Institute’s Winter-Greens.  

Thank you Whitetail Institute for contributing in a major way to our success.