A Message from Ray Scott Learn from the Past

 Not long ago, I was rummaging through a pile of “important” papers. You know, those documents you know are really important but don’t quite know what to do with or where to put them. I pulled out a stack of handwritten pages in my scrawl and realized it was a hunting camp diary from about 30 years ago.
As a matter of fact, my son, Steve was still in college and I had agreed to let him take an entire fall quarter off to work on green fields and hunt. As you can see, whitetail has always been a passion in the Scott family. It mostly chronicled dates, times and harvest stats and a lot of the humorous stuff too. It brought back so many great memories. I could read between the lines as I recalled the many little back stories to our hunting trips. But I’ll confess here and now I recall few management details much less where and why we planted what we did (mostly the rye, wheat and oats of years past). Planting for deer — and the accompanying increase in the quality of whitetail — has come a long way. I am so proud of the concept of quality deer management that we have always supported and our Institute products and education that have had such a positive impact on the quality of deer hunting in the country today. The quality of deer in Alabama and across the country today versus 30 years ago is amazing. As much pleasure as I derived from the diary, it was accompanied by equal dismay at how much I had forgotten! It was staggering. Things I thought I would NEVER forget. That’s why I said a silent “amen” when I read Charlie Alsheimer’s article on page 16 about keeping a 3-ring binder to record all the data of your planting strategies. Yes a simple 3-ring binder; the kind you had in high school and doodled in while you were daydreaming about deer season. When I read in Whitetail News about all the ingenious, carefully calculated plans for food plots — the forage selection, the placement, the soil, the season, the topography — I realize there is no way the average hunter could remember exactly what he does from year to year, much less from several years ago. Do you really remember the soil pH of your plots from three years ago? Maybe they’ve changed. Maybe your plots could be a lot better. Maybe it’s time to rotate a crop. And I’ll add, write down the personal stuff too. Include all the funny things that happen at camp. A few years from now, you’ll have a smile on your face as you take a trip down memory lane. Take Charlie’s advice Get your 3- ring binder today. Write everything down. In every aspect of life, we do learn from the past.