Steve and Daniel Moak - Missouri

We have used Whitetail Institute products since they were introduced. First in upstate New York, then for the past 20 years in central Missouri. The past eight years have been the most special because my sons Jacob and Daniel have helped me with every step of the planting process. I feel it is very important that children not only be introduced to hunting and fishing, but to the whole process of planting food plots. From taking soil samples, to turning the dirt, liming, seeding, fertilizing and mowing, they have been involved every step of the way.
We have a relatively small property, so most of the tasks are performed by hand, and the boys truly understand sweat-equity. We are fortunate that the property lies along a creek bottom, so the soil is perfect for Imperial Whitetail Clover. Recently, when replanting in the fall, we have used Whitetail Oats Plus, as recommended by the helpful staff at the Whitetail Institute. This provides a cover crop for the clover to get established and draws the deer during the fall season. Our plots form a figure-eight, with a bottleneck of timber joining them. This is where we set up a stand last season for my 10 year old son Daniel’s first hunt. The following is the hunt in his own words, which was written for a school project.   

Beep, beep, beep I slammed my hand on the alarm clock full of excitement and got out of bed. My room was pitch-black and the only light was coming from my digital clock. I got dressed and crept downstairs and woke up my dad and I told him, “Dad I know today’s the day. I know it. I can feel it.” After that I went back upstairs and got my camo clothes. Then we went to the basement to put on our neon orange vests. I grabbed the bullets and loaded my gun. I started thinking of the bullets that they were supposed to be able to kill a cape buffalo in one hit. I didn’t believe it, so I slung the gun over my back and put my camo hat on. I had been waiting for this moment since I could remember. I couldn’t wait. My dad asked me, “Are you ready?” Then I said “Yes, yes I am!” and we walked outside. We had a confident look on our faces. A cold breeze hit my face and it smelled like fresh walnuts and acorns. It was a chilly morning, but I didn’t care. My dad and I slowly crept down to the blind. The blind looked like a big dark tree with windows. He had surprised me one afternoon with it.

At least it would be a little warmer in there. I felt like an army combat sniper sneaking through the shadows to find the enemy, or in my case just to get to the blind. I decided to have some fun and pretend to snipe at some random things I saw. We reached the blind and my dad said, “Climb up and unlock the door.” He had an encouraging tone in his voice. I got up there and opened the door and sat down. Then, my dad climbed up and sat down too. He handed me a cool blue gatorade, my favorite drink. I drank it and felt refreshed. Next, we got situated. Then, we set up the gun and it was just a waiting game. I remembered my friend Dalton would come at 10:00 a.m. It was only 5:30 a.m., so we had some time. We sat there for an hour and then, out of the blue, I saw a big buck we had never seen before. He walked out and he was a 10-pointer and definitely the deer I wanted to shoot. I wasn’t going to pass him up. My heart pounded with excitement. I put the crosshairs on his body and started thinking about earlier when I was sniping at things. I started counting down in my head 3, 2, 1, and I pulled the trigger with determination. The sound was like barrels and barrels of gunpowder. It was an explosion that echoed through the valley and through the forest. As the smoke cleared, I climbed down the ladder and ran as fast as my legs would carry me down the hill to where I had shot at the deer. All I found was a pile of white fur that looked like pure fluffy white snow in the morning sun. I turned around and ran out of the woods thinking that the bullets were supposed to be able to kill a cape buffalo instantly in one simple shot — even though they didn’t kill a deer.

So I ran over to the valley with my heart still on the pile of fur. Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks. I saw the rack of horns that belonged to my deer. He was laying in the clover food plot that glistened like stars in the morning dew. I swung the gun over my shoulder and ran as fast as I could to where he was. I put the gun on his stomach, threw my gloves off my shaking hands and put my hands on his shiny horns. I was so happy and knew I would never forget that moment. I wouldn’t trade the entire galaxy for that moment. My dad caught up to me and I never forgot the words he said, “Good job son, a 10-point buck for a 10 year old boy.” Although I was being hysterical, my dad had to run to the house and grab my tag. So he told me, “Ok, I’m going to run up to house and get the tag. You go under that cedar tree over there (he pointed to a tree that was completely hidden) and hide.” I ran over and hid. I waited and waited for my dad to return. Suddenly, I saw movement at the top of the hill. The face looked familiar, and it came to me that it was my friend, Dalton, who had changed into a pair of my camo clothes. Behind him were my dad, mom and brother. They were all coming to congratulate me. I jumped out of my hiding place and ran to my deer. Everyone got there within seconds. I was devoured by all the happiness in the world.