Whitetail Institute Products Help Produce #1 and #2 Pope & Young Whitetails in Wyoming

By Mike Schmid

 I purchased the Solitude Ranch in Fall 2001. This land, in the shadow of Devils Tower, is full of whitetail deer, an animal that I have enjoyed chasing for more than 25 years. I had a lot of reasons for making an investment like this, but one in particular was to try my hand at managing these fascinating critters.
The ranch is roughly 8,500 acres, consisting of 800 acres of alfalfa hay fields, timbered ridges full of Ponderosa pine, rolling hills with patches of bur oak, and red rock canyons filled with bur oak, springs, and seeps. In other words, it’s great habitat for Western whitetail deer.

After I purchased the ranch and got to know some of my neighbors and some of the locals, I started asking questions about the deer, habitat and hunting tactics. I asked many of them if anyone tried to manage the deer, and whether anyone planted any food plots, provided any supplemental feed or offered any type of mineral supplement. The answer was always the same. They said it couldn’t be done because of the dry climate. This area of the country only receives about 16 inches of annual precipitation. Well, I took their words as a challenge. There had to be something out there that would work. After trying various brands of food plot mixes, minerals and supplemental feed, I settled on the Whitetail Institute and its products.

Today, we plant around 120 acres of food plots. We use Whitetail Institute’s Tall Tine Tubers and Double Cross for this part of our program. My goal is to eventually have 250 acres planted with these products strategically placed throughout the ranch. We chose Whitetail Institute’s Cutting Edge for the mineral supplement part of program. I really believe that using this mineral system makes complete sense. It gives the deer exactly what they need during the three crucial times of the year to benefit their overall health. We blend the Cutting Edge products with our supplemental feed. This combination is dispensed on a weekly basis throughout the 25 feed stations we have on the ranch. Needless to say, the whitetails love the Solitude Ranch.

I have many pictures and video footage of great bucks pulling the turnips out of the Tall Tine Tubers fields. They have the whole turnip in their mouth and chew it down till it’s gone, and then go right after another one. I also have tons of footage of the deer with their noses buried in the Cutting Edge mineral mix. They absolutely love this stuff.

It has been eight years since we started managing the deer on the Solitude Ranch. We believe we have found the secret to producing and growing trophy whitetails in a part of the country not known to do so. We believe that by planting quality food plot products and offering mineral supplements it has not only changed the way we hunt deer but we are taking bigger, better and healthier deer. Our deer continue to be more impressive every year — so impressive we have a lot of folks hunting our fence lines. As it turns out, you can manage and produce great whitetails in a dry climate.

There isn’t any doubt this would not have been possible without incorporating the awesome products provided by the Whitetail Institute. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Since incorporating these products the Solitude Ranch is now home to where the No. One and No. Two Pope and Young typical whitetail deer in Wyoming were taken.