Travis Cram - Iowa

I have 150 acres of mostly timber surrounded by neighboring fields. With most of my property being timber and thickets, the deer do a lot of bedding on my property and go out into the neighbors’ crops to feed at night.

After buying the property four years ago, one of the first things I wanted to do was to get food on the property so that my deer wouldn’t spend as much time on the neighbor’s. The first year I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover and noticed good results. I was getting a lot of trail camera photos and late afternoon I could glass from afar and watch numerous deer using the plots. I was still lacking something for the late season though. The hunting season two years ago was miserable for me. Due to bad weather, I wasn’t able to get any fall food plots put in and my neighbor had about 200 acres of corn that he couldn’t harvest until spring. I spent that season watching my deer in the neighbor’s corn. I only found six shed antlers on my farm the next spring. My neighbor found a whole pile of sheds in his corn. I wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen to me last year. I now have 5-1/2 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover established and in August I planted another five acres of Winter-Greens, Tall Tine Tubers and Pure Attraction spread out over three plot locations. This season was the best season of my life!

Early season I had deer thick in my clover and the oats of the Pure Attraction. The real fun came in the late season, though. I do not hunt shotgun season on my farm. It is impossible for my neighbors to hunt their farms without pushing the deer into my farm. I give the deer 150 acres of sanctuary during the Iowa shotgun season. When I first went out for late season muzzle loader, wow! I had more than 60 deer that night in my one-and-a-half-acre Winter-Greens plot. Having shot four does with my bow during the early season, and not wanting to shoot a buck smaller than 155 inches, I was content just to watch all the deer that evening. The next couple of hunts were the same. I was seeing more than 40 deer a night in my three late season food plots, and the best part was watching some of the deer come from my neighbors crop fields.

About one third to half of the deer in the plots were bucks. I shot a 160-class 9-point on New Year’s Day. I run six trail cameras on my farm and know my deer herd well and had never seen this buck before. It’s obvious that the food plots were drawing in deer from all over. In all I shot five does, a 161-3/8-inch 8-point with my bow in November and a 160-4/8-inch 9-point with my muzzleloader in the late season. Whitetail Institute products definitely gave me a leg up in growing and holding a healthier deer herd as well as pulling deer in from the neighbors. I also found a pile of shed antlers last spring. I’ve enclosed some photos.