By Cody Altizer
Our fearless leader, Mark Kenyon, recently authored a blog about why Whitetail Institute’s Winter Greens are his food plot of choice. Mark made some fantastic points in his article, and for good reason, Winter Greens are an AWESOME fall plot blend that have obviously been very, very good to Mark (just look at his late season doe success last year). However, I live in a different part of the country than Mark, and thus have different food plot preferences, and in this post, I am going to highlight 4 reasons why Whitetail Institute’s Imperial Whitetail Clover is my food plot blend of choice.
Year Round Nutrition and Attraction
It’s no secret that clover is a favorite whitetail food, but unlike other preferred food sources (soybeans, corn, etc) clover is available virtually 365 days a year. A well maintained and established clover food plot will provide a nutritious, attractive food source 12 months out of the year, making your property attractive to whitetails throughout the course of the entire year. Granted, the clover does go dormant for a handful of months out of the year (generally early December to late February in my neck of the woods), but it’s not like the clover disappears entirely. Trail camera evidence shows deer still feeding on the clover on my property during these months of dormancy. (Note; this may vary by location)
In addition to still providing sustenance during dormancy, few can argue against the benefits of a well groomed, lush, thick clover food plot during the spring, summer, and early fall. During the spring, the snow white clover provides lactating does an added protein boost to help nursing fawns. The protein also gives those bucks a nice head start on their headgear as well. During the summer all it takes is regular mowing and weed control to keep the those deer coming back for more, and I can’t think of a better afternoon in October than one spent sitting on a clover food plot trying to harvest an adult doe! Clover; year round nutrition, year round attraction.
Imperial Whitetail Clover is a Perennial
In addition to clover being a year round hot spot for deer, the fact that it’s a perennial is extremely attractive to a deer manager like myself. Unlike annual food plot blends, assuming my initial planting was successful, I can count on a happy, healthy food plot in the years to come (minimum 5 years). This is extremely cost effective because I don’t have to worry about planting a brand new food plot every year. Again, assuming my initial planting was successful, I just need to do my part to keep the food plot healthy by mowing and spraying when necessary, frost seeding in late winter, and applying fertilizer as needed in early fall.
Imperial Whitetail Clover is Easy to Establish and Maintain
I’m hoping the last two reasons don’t make me sound like a cheap and lazy deer manager, but when it comes to planting food plots, I’d rather invest as little money and effort as possible to produce a healthy plot. Clover lets me do this with relative ease because Imperial clover is extremely easy to establish and maintain. I’ve enjoyed the best success with my Imperial clover food plots by planting them in the late summer / early fall with a cover crop like winter wheat or oats. This is my solution to fight against drought and over browsing during the summer by an overpopulated deer herd. Planting in the fall allows the clover to establish a strong root system, and the cover crop helps take some pressure off the clover. Then, during the spring, the clover comes out of dormancy with a vengeance and grows so fast and thick the deer couldn’t eat it down to nothing even if they wanted to. The stronger root system makes it more drought resistant during the summer as well
Dynamic Hunting Opportunities
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dynamic hunting opportunities that an Imperial Whitetail clover food plot can provide. Simply put, my family’s best hunts during the last two hunting seasons can be attributed solely to an Imperial clover food plot. In 2011, my brother and I both shot our biggest bucks to date (a 148” 15 pointer and 127” 11 pointer) as they returned to their bedding area after an afternoon of feasting in our clover food plot. In 2012, I was extremely blessed to harvest the oldest animal I will likely ever harvest in my hunting career, a teenage doe I had nicknamed Momma, as she cautiously inched her way into the clover plot for an afternoon snack. A week later, my brother watched another old doe (8.5+ years old) feed just out of range in the same plot from the same stand for over an hour before she finally gave him shot at last light. These 4 deer, the deer my brother and I are most proud of, would still be alive had it not been for our Imperial clover food plot.
There are numerous food plot blends on the market today, and I’m not sure any of them will fail you provided you take good care of them. This post is not to dismiss any other food plot choice or blend. I’ve had a lot of great success with Whitetail Institute’s PowerPlant and Alfa-Rack Plus, as well as oats, wheat, and soybeans. But if I had to pick an absolute favorite food plot blend it would be Imperial Whitetail clover. If you give it a shot, I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.
– Cody Altizer, CodyAltizerPhotography.com
For more info on Imperial Whitetail Clover or other Whitetail Institute products, visit WhitetailInstitute.com