Food Plot Field Days

Food Plot Field Days

The guys at North Country Whitetails teach you how to grow em' right

Talk about taking a crash course in food plot science! This past June, Bowhunter Sales Manager Jeff Millar and I spent a couple of eye-opening days at Craig and Neil Dougherty's North Country Whitetails (NCW). Cut into 500 acres of marginal mountaintop land in south-central New York's Steuben County, not far from Corning, NCW has been transformed into nothing short of a whitetail paradise.

With BioLogic's help, Craig and Neil Dougherty have raised the art of habitat manipulation to its highest level. Besides being a demo center for cutting-edge management practices, NCW is also Mossy Oak BioLogic's Northern Research Facility. This is important because much of what is known about growing food plots for deer has come solely from planting large food plots in the South.

But thanks to NCW and BioLogic, the story of growing small food plots in the North is continuing to emerge. "It doesn't matter whether you have 30 acres or 3,000," said NCW friend and well-known QDM practitioner Charles Alsheimer. "You can do things to benefit deer."

And it seems that over the last few years hundreds of habitat management enthusiasts have heeded that advice, visiting NCW for public tours of the facility and seminars given by demo center manager Neil Dougherty. Maybe you even saw NCW last year on Mossy Oak's Hunting the Country, on The Outdoor Channel. In a very short time, NCW has developed into one of the nation's leading supplier's of habitat development and food plot products and services.

Neil can talk all day long about whitetail habitat management and food plots. And he knows what he's talking about, too.

"With my passion for education, and Neil's for habitat management and hunting, we've really found our niche," Craig Dougherty said. And based on our weekend at NCW, it's certainly hard to argue that point. With sound Quality Deer Management (QDM), habitat, and food plot practices, these guys took a hunting property that previously produced mostly spikes, fork-horns, and 6-pointers, and turned it into a hotspot for P&Y-class bucks.

As part of our weekend tour of the North Country Whitetails facility, Neil Dougherty arranged for expert classroom seminars on QDM, soil analysis, and the impact of whitetail deer on native habitat. Then we headed to the field to examine woodland, food plot, and sanctuary habitats; plot out and prepare our own food plot; and then plan one of Neil's innovative hunting food plots, which are small, irregular plots designed specifically to give a hunter special advantages. Among those advantages are good wind, cover, proximity to game, and desirable fall plantings like BioLogic's Greenpatch Plus (a mix of wheat, oats, clovers, and brassicas for early bow season) and BioLogic's Maximum (a mix of brassicas for late bow season).

If you can get to North Country Whitetails, I'd highly recommend it. You'll marvel at how the Dougherty's used tools ranging from rakes to chainsaws to ATVs to tractors to bulldozers to create wonderful whitetail habitat. But if you can't make it yourself, don't worry, because you can read all about it in their latest book, Grow 'Em Right: A Guide to Creating Habitat and Food Plots. Don't miss it!

To order your copy, see their ad on page 87, or send $19.95, plus $5.05 postage and handling, to: North Country Whitetails, P.O. Box 925, Fairport, NY 14450. You can also call (585) 388-6990 or order online at www.NorthCountryWhitetails.com.

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