By Charles J. Alsheimer

Deer hunting in North America has never been better. The whitetail population is flourishing in most of the country, hunting equipment is more advanced than ever and interest in deer management is at an all-time high. This interest stems from an explosion of ideas that greatly influence landowners and hunters.

The modern era of deer management began with the post-World War II generation of deer biologists and hunters. The traditional approach to management that was widely used from the 1940s to the 1980s was far from perfect, but it laid the foundation for quality deer management, which receives more attention each year.

Vision Plus Effort Equals Success

Needless to say, whitetail management in North America has been a journey. The journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has included a lot of change and a tremendous amount of progress, with much of the progress driven by a handful of visionaries. One of the biggest visionaries is Ray Scott, founder of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and Whitetail Institute of North America. Regarding the latter, it’s safe to say Scott’s vision to take deer management to the next level is responsible for much of the quality deer management movement today. “Build it and they will come” is a quote that can be applied to Scott. He knew his vision of having great seed products for landowners and deer hunters would require the best possible product, a great business plan and knowledgeable people committed to carry out his vision. And build it he did. He left no stone unturned, and what Whitetail Institute has accomplished is one of hunting’s great success stories. Scott believed that if you want the best, you have to create the best. How did he do it? To produce the best product in the food plot industry Scott invested heavily in research to come up with Imperial Whitetail Clover, referred to by many as the gold standard of food plots. He didn’t nibble around the edges. He jumped in with both feet, working closely with Dr. Wiley Johnson, one of America’s leading plant geneticists, to come up with a clover specifically engineered to meet the whitetail’s nutritional needs.

Good to Great

It would have been easy for Scott to rest on his laurels after the introduction of Imperial Whitetail Clover, but he instead followed that product’s success with a series of cuttingedge seed and supplement products to cater to the needs of food plot practitioners and deer managers. To accomplish that, he relied heavily on what brought him success with Imperial Whitetail Clover — great research. Out of his company’s research arm came other great product offerings. As much as anything, this is why Whitetail Institute’s products are sought out and used by serious food plotters across North America. Whitetail Oats is a seed used in several Whitetail Institute products that came about through Whitetail Institute’s vast contacts in the international seed business. One of the executives at a huge ag company was impressed with what Whitetail Institute had done with Imperial Whitetail Clover and contacted Whitetail Institute and asked if they had any plans to do anything with an oat-based product. When he heard that Whitetail Institute was already doing research with oats, he told them of a friend of his who was a university professor that had an oat that had proven to be so preferred by deer, they had to remove it from grain production trials. Whitetail Institute took it from there. They gained exclusive access to the oat variety, tested it, and found out that it was indeed the most attractive oat they had ever tested as well as winter hardy and high in sugar. Today Whitetail Oats Plus is a staple for many serious food plotters. It’s used heavily on my farm and all across the U.S.

Knowledge is Power

“Nothing happens until something is sold” is one of my favorite quotes, because if you can’t show consumers why a product is worth purchasing, success in business is not possible. To educate folks with an interest in food plots and deer management, Whitetail Institute launched Whitetail News 25-plus years ago. Over two-and-a-half decades later, it has become the go-to publication for experienced food plotters and those wanting to begin their food plot journey. Now read by hundreds of thousands of hunters and landowners, it addresses the why and how of seed selection, habitat improvement and deer management. When I asked Whitetail Institute’s Steve Scott about the magazine’s readership, he said, “We have folks who have been getting Whitetail News since the very first issue. They came on board before the many benefits of food plots were well known, so in many ways, they were pioneers along with us. I’d have to say that the majority of our readership is serious about everything they do to manage their whitetail populations. Even small landowners want to learn all they can to give all of their wildlife the very best in the way of food. Whether they are large or small landowners, our clients are true givers who put their money, effort and time into making their land better for all the animals that live on the property they manage. I view our readers as true salt-of-the-earth people who give a lot of praise to God, and most of them enjoy the work managing their land requires.” Matt Harper, of Afton, Iowa, is the regional sales manager for a huge corporation, which manufactures vitamins, trace minerals and antibiotic premixes for the livestock feed industry. In addition, he farms and is one of America’s top whitetail deer hunters, as well as a frequent writer for Whitetail News. To say he knows soil, food plots and whitetails would be a vast understatement. At one point in his career Harper, was on staff with the Whitetail Institute, which gave him a lot of exposure to this Whitetail News’ clientele. “During my time at Whitetail Institute, I had a chance to meet many hunters and landowners,” he said. “There are a lot of folks who come in as a novice, and what I’d notice is that they were hungry for information and the whole process of managing their property, especially when it came to the whitetail’s nutrition requirements. Consequently, I was able to see firsthand how the Whitetail News benefited not only those just starting out but also advanced food plotters who were looking for cutting-edge concepts. “When I graduated college, I went to work in the agriculture industry and became interested in the whole food plot concept. About the same time, I began reading Whitetail News, and because of my agricultural background was able to see that their writers knew their stuff. Then during the time I worked for them, I was able witness the research and quality control that went into their products. So, over the years, what has impressed me most about Whitetail Institute is that their products are heavily researched with special emphasis on quality control. This is why I have confidence in their products.” Lyn Beiler is one of the folks Steve Scott refers to as salt of the earth. Lyn and his wife, Evonne, operate a state-of-the-art hog farm in southwestern New York. When I met him, he told me, “I’m just a pig farmer who’s not very smart.” It didn’t take me long to realize he was just being humble, because when it comes to farming and whitetail hunting, he has few peers. Beiler contacted me a few years ago after I’d written an article about my experience with Whitetail Oats Plus. After our discussion, he purchased the seed and planted it in some of his food plots, after which he informed me of his success using it. When I asked him what caused him to begin using Whitetail Institute products, he said, “I’ve always worked hard to provide our farm’s whitetails with the best possible food options. So, when I began reading Whitetail News, I was quickly impressed with the caliber and variety of its articles. This caused me to try the products, and after witnessing great results, I have become a big fan of their seeds.”


As good as Whitetail News is at informing readers, the thing that shines brightest to me is the service team Whitetail Institute has assembled. After more than 30 years in the hunting industry, this is what impresses me as much as anything about the company. Having talked to hundreds of Whitetail News readers during my career, I’ve realized several things about its readership: They are serious, they love the products and the variety of articles in each issue of Whitetail News, and they rave about the company’s service. To me and many others, it’s the latter that is Whitetail Institute’s frosting on the cake. Its team of service professionals is second to none and on hand to help all who call for advice. As Steve Scott said, “All of us here know that the customer is king, so when the phone rings, we go out of our way to make sure we help in any way we can.” Famous theologian John Wesley once said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” In many ways, Wesley’s quote sums up the Whitetail Institute’s success. Since 1988, the staff at Whitetail News has educated landowners and hunters about cutting-edge product offerings and the knowledge required to have better deer and become better deer hunters and stewards of what God has entrusted to us.