One of my favorite summer chores is mowing the clover firebreaks on my property. It gives me a chance to not only observe what is happening on the property but also to think about things. Yesterday while mowing this particular strip of clover a few thoughts came to mind which caused me to stop and take this photo. Let me share those thoughts –
First I was struck by how many different Real World products were in use right here in this one spot. I want the very best possible plots and cover on my property and whatever that happens to be I will go to great lengths to get it. The decades of testing and trying different things that I have done on my property benefits every Real World customer. If there was anything better available anywhere, I WOULD BE USING IT!
Next I considered how much time, effort and money I invest in each of my stand/blind locations. In my Whitetail Master Course I talk about “turning good stands into great stands” and show the students examples of this on my property. One example is right here in this photo – the deer that bed in the Real World switchgrass on the left will cross the clover firebreak and the strip of trees to a food plot on the other side of the trees. By planting a small grove of apple and crabapple trees right in front of the blind I help concentrate that deer traffic within shooting distance of the 360 blind. This is just one example for this specific stand but there are others here as well.
I thought about the amount of work that I put in for each buck that I shoot. I realize that most deer hunters are not as obsessed with deer hunting as I am but I also don’t think most realize how much work it takes to consistently shoot giant bucks. It is literally a year-round JOB! There is a steep price to pay for success.
I noted how I was making the best possible use of every acre of land I have to work with. That strip of trees on the right was once an open grass waterway when I first bought the property. I planted it in a mixture of oaks and white pine trees right after buying it and today those trees are over 25′ tall and that once open grass waterway is now providing cover and food for the wildlife. Those of us trying to manage small properties must figure out how to best utilize every acre at our disposal.
As I was mowing I also thought about a quote I heard from one of my consulting clients that has stuck with me over the years – “a lot of good properties have been ruined by following bad advice”. Make no mistake, I have learned a lot of lessons over the years by first doing things wrong. The thing is, I learned from those mistakes and today I save my clients a lot of wasted time and money. The blind you see in the photo has not yet produced a buck but I know for certain that it will. This spring I put the final pieces together for this location by getting the food plot planted near it as well as another sizeable patch of switchgrass. Now this blind is sitting right between two fields of switchgrass with a clover firebreak, a food plot and a grove of fruit trees between them. Developing this site has taken several years but I have no doubt that this blind will produce some giant bucks in the coming years.
As I turned the tractor around to mow that last strip of clover I couldn’t help but think that this fall it is very likely that I will kill another giant buck or two but here on an extremely hot July 4th weekend I was sweating profusely to help make it happen. At the same time, some deer hunter are sitting on boats drinking beer at the lake and this fall when I shoot my buck they will be bashing me with false accusations to explain why I kill good bucks and they don’t. As with many things in life, success is often seen but the work that caused it is taken for granted. We each have a choice in everything we do – we can make excuses or we can find solutions. Champions are made in the off-season!