By Bill Cooper
The snow may be deep and outside temperatures low, but hunter’s thoughts are heating up, when it comes to preparing food plots for next season and thinking about quality game calls.
Many people would question the sanity of someone planting food plots in February and early March. For real, however, it’s the perfect time to frost seed clover, one of the most popular plants found in food plots across the country.
According to the national Deer Association, frost seeding involves spreading on frozen ground and allowing the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw cycle that occurs a s spring approaches to provide good seed-to-soil contact. When moisture in the top layer of soil freezes, ice expands upward carrying soil with it. This natural process is called “heaving.”, and it helps small seeds like alfalfa and clover make their way into the soil, the same as light disking or cultipacking creates good seed-to-soil contact. As soon as spring soil temperatures are optimal, the seeds will germinate and provide early season for deer, turkey and other wildlife.
Frost seeding works best when there is little to no competing vegetation in the food plot. This may be achieved by spraying the plot with appropriate herbicide the fall before frost seeding. Planting an annual cover crop such as wheat or oats may be submitted for spraying.
A variety of cool-season perennials such as alfalfa, white and red clover, trefoil, and chicory, and cool-season annuals like oats, wheat, and rye may be frost seeded. Do not attempt to frost season warm-season annuals such as corn or soybeans. While brassicas may be frost seeded, most hunters prefer to plant them in the fall. Frost seeding, too, works very well for a plot that is thinning.
Old timers such as Joe Hollingshad of Devils Backbone Outfitters, of Drury, Missouri believes that frost seeding works best when seed is tossed out on the last snow of the season. Late February through March is the best time for this to occur.
Use the recommended broadcast seeding rate for the particular crop you are planting when frost seeding. For example, recommended rates for red clover are 20 t0 25 labs./acre for alfalfa, 15lbs./acre for red clover, and 8/lbs./acre for white clover. Those figures may be cut in half, if you are overseeing a thinning plot, or bare patches in a food plot.
Adding fertilizer and lime to the soil, as dictated by soil tests, will help the odds of establishing a good food plot. Remember, too, that legume seeds like alfalfa and clover must be inoculated with the appropriate bacteria before being planted.
While you don’t get quite as good germination with frost seeding as conventional seeding procedures, it is a quick and inexpensive way to get growth going gin your plots. “And is sure sweet to see that quick green-up in your plots as spring approaches,” Hollingshad said.
Establishing early season food plots leads hunters to thinking about hunting seasons, especially the upcoming spring turkey season. Wild turkeys often feed heavily on the tender vegetation which a frost seed food plot has to offer. “Wild turkeys will graze on early green plots.” Hollingshad said. “Green plots are a great place to set up a turkey blind, too.”
Deer and turkey hunters can’t go through the [process of planting food plots without daydreaming about their favorite hunting pastimes. The itch to look at and purchase turkey and deer calls is often stimulate3d by the early arrival of sporting goods catalogues arriving in the mail. Bowhunting World, a popular archery magazine gives hunters the opportunity to vote on favorite calls each year. Primos has been a favored band name for many years.
Primos Hunting, a pioneer in game calls and hunting accessories, has been awarded three Readers’ Choice 2021 Gold Awards by Bowhunting World magazine. Readers of Bowhunting World recognized Primos as the fan favorite in the Deer, Elk, and Turkey Call categories, marking the 18th consecutive win by Primos across all three divisions.
“To say Primos has owned these call categories would be a huge understatement,” said Derrick Nawrocki, president of Grand View Outdoors, the publisher of Bowhunting World. “They have won consecutive Gold Awards in these three call categories for 18 years and running. To make this achievement more impressive, the awards received more ballots now than ever before, meaning the Primos brand is only getting stronger.”
One of the leading bowhunting publications around, Bowhunting World has been the destination for serious bowhunters for more than 70 years. Its readers are extremely passionate about gear, and these annual awards allow them to voice what brands they think are the best of the best.
Voting for this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards was conducted via an online submission system. Thousands of ballots were submitted by readers for various product categories and brands. The votes were then tallied to determine the 2021 Readers’ Choice winners. These awards are used by countless sportsmen and women to get an inside look into the best brands to consider when gearing up for upcoming hunting seasons.
Primos offers a full lineup of game calls trusted by hunters season after season. Especially popular this year is the Buck Roar II Grunt Deer Call, the Hoochie Mama Elk Call, the Slide Bugle Elk Call and the Rivers Cut Turkey Pot Call.
For more information on Primos game calls, visit www.primos.com/hunting-calls/.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bill Cooper is an award-winning outdoor writer and member of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and lives in rural St. James. He is host of “Outside Again Adventures TV-Online” and “Wild at Heart” on ESPN 107.3FM in Rolla. You can follow Cooper at www.facebook.com/OutsideAlways, www.aoutdoorstv.com and www.espn1073.com.