Keith Decker Sr. – New York

I’ve been hunting for 42 years. The property I hunt now is 98 acres and I have been there for 12 years. The property has hundreds of wild apple trees on it which has been good for holding the deer over the years.
Two years ago we had a bad freeze in late May and this killed all but a few of the apple blossoms. After harvesting a 7-point on the third day of the season I hunted the next 17 days in a row without seeing a single deer. The entire season was more of the same (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader). Out of a 70-day season I hunted a minimum of 60 days, I saw maybe a dozen deer the entire time! At the end of the season I decided that I must do whatever it takes to prevent this from ever happening to me again. Food plots were the logical step to take. When spring arrived it was warmer and dryer than normal and I was able to break ground much sooner than I expected. Everything went better then I hoped and I was able to break ground on seven small plots that total about 6 acres. This was what I hoped to have in by the end of the second year. Unfortunately spring also brought another late May freeze which killed all the of the apple blossoms for the second year in a row. I began by researching all the available companies that were selling seed and what they had to offer. The decision was easy after talking on the phone to the friendly and extremely helpful people at the Whitetail Institute. I started by ordering the free sample seed and DVD so I could decide on what to plant in each plot. I also purchased the Whitetail Institute soil sample kits for each plot and told them what would be in each plot. The information provided for me was simply amazing. Each sample was laid out for the seed that I was using in that plot and it told me how many pounds of fertilizer and lime to use not only per acre but also per 1000 sq. ft. This information was e-mailed to me in less than one week. Since this was all new to me I followed the instructions to the letter. I still had low expectations knowing that this land has never been worked before. To my surprise all but plot number 7 came in thick and lush with heavy deer traffic. Plot 7 was a name brand seed that was given to me and I have no idea how old it may have been but germination was under 10 percent. During the late summer I was able to take thousands of pictures on my camera over a Whitetail Institute 30-06 Mineral lick. Finally hunting season arrived on Oct. 16 and every day was full of new encounters. I passed on several small bucks and had encounters with several larger bucks. I hunt western New York and would consider it to be a good day of hunting if I averaged seeing three or four deer per outing. This year I had double digit days of seeing 20 or more and as many as 45 with seven of them being bucks. These sightings exceed anything I’ve seen over the last 11 years here by five-fold or more! I would see two to 12 deer in the Imperial Whitetail Clover field every morning and nearly as many in the Alfa-Rack plot. The Pure Attraction plots are more secluded and I would see the deer in them 9 out of 10 times coming and going to my stands. Late one afternoon on my Imperial Whitetail Clover plot a doe was being chased by an 8 point and at about the same time a large buck stepped out as well. The result is this 20- 1/2-inch wide 9-point that will soon be on my wall! This is the biggest buck to date for me. I can’t wait to start breaking new ground in the spring and adding additional food plots.