Think back to when you were a young, full-of-piss-and-vinegar whitetail hunter. Now, think of all you’ve learned about this fascinating game animal over the years and how you’ve adapted your hunting techniques to help you be more successful.
You’re a better hunter today than you were then, right? You’ve gleaned a ton of knowledge and honed your craft, and because you’re a certified whitetail addict, you continue to learn and improve your game each year.
That’s the basic story of the Whitetail Institute. This year marks this food plot kingpin’s 34th year in business, and in the deer industry, you don’t survive and grow if you’re not giving hunters everything they need to be more successful. The Whitetail Institute has been winning since day one, and now, over three decades later, they continue to impress.
The Food Plot Cafeteria Concept
Ray Scott, founder and president, was a southern deer hunter ahead of his time. Scott needed a way to attract deer out of the heavy pines so he could send lead or a sharp broadhead. His answer was to plant simple green plots to bring the deer out, which worked.
Over the years, Scott learned that deer preferred specific food sources at certain times of the year, so he pressed forward.
Scott referred to this as cafeteria feeding. Think of a group of students in a lunchroom. Which line will be the longest if given a choice between pizza and brussels sprouts?
For this reason, Scott started planting multiple seed types on his property and then documented which fields seemed to attract the most deer. Everything was penned down, and soon Scott noticed deer in his neck of the woods seemed to be clover junkies. With this newfound knowledge, he started experimenting with different types of clover species and violà; he discovered what would one day take the Whitetail Institute to the top of the food plot world. That concept, generalized, is: Research is king, and the research never stops.
Relentless Research at Whitetail Institute
With the company up and running and new employees coming on board, Scott boosted the research by reaching out to his team during roundtable discussions. Those discussions led to more conversations, this time with the pulse of the whitetail world — those who hunt them. Researchers listened to and took advice from deer hunters, which is still common practice today, and kept pressing forward.
The team would test new seed blends with captive deer in small, enclosed pens. The next step was greenhouse and nursery fields, and though captive deer were still used, the habitat was more like what deer would find in the wild.
Blends that survived a heavily scrutinized testing process got moved to test on wild deer, which is still the most critical phase for this innovative company. Good things happen when wild deer can be observed, and researchers learn what fields create the best lunch lines.
Whitetail Institute’s Commitment to Education
The Whitetail Institute understands that not all soil types are created equal. The dark as night, nutrient-rich soils of the Midwest are different from those found along sandy river bottoms in the West and Savannah soils in the Upper Coastal Plains.
The company also knows that rainfall is different across the country, as is the seasonal climate. That’s why when you visit the Whitetail Institute’s website, you can easily find detailed planting dates and get intel about what seed blend will work the best in your given area.
If you’re wondering if a particular blend will work in an area with an arid climate and be able to put roots down in sub-par soil, click on the seed blend you’re considering and start reading and watching the videos. The Whitetail Institute has gone above and beyond in the education department. They have already done the hard work, so you don’t have to.
Whitetail Institute Imperial Clover
You can’t read a Whitetail Institute article without mentioning what has possibly become the number-one seed blend ever created — Imperial Whitetail Clover.
A hardy perennial, Imperial Whitetail Clover, thanks to WI’s research team, has been revamped several times to ensure the blend gives deer an extremely high protein content that promotes great antler, muscle, and bone growth.
Used by deer hunters and deer herd managers across the country, what makes this blend ultra-special is its versatility. Imperial Whitetail Clover performs well in almost any soil type and grows well in frigid, warm, as well as dry climates. Hunters across the country note that once established, they are getting four and five years out of this perennial blend. It’s now coated with RainBond, which has enhanced its survivability.
The Whitetail Institute Super Sample Pack
With more than 20 food plot seed products, finding the right one for your locale can be tricky. Again, all the research has been done, and all that’s required is to click on, say, Extreme or Chic Magnet, or Destination, and you’ll be treated to a vast amount of product information.
However, you may want to test and tinker, and the Whitetail Institute knows this. That’s why this savvy seed maker created the Super Sampler Pack.
At the heart of the Super Sampler Pack is Imperial Whitetail Clover. You’ll also receive the following blends: Extreme, Fusion, No-Plow, Winter-Greens, 30-06 Mineral, 30-06 Plus Protein, BowStand, and Secret Spot.
Purchasing the pack gives you nine seed blends to toy with and one five-pound bag of proven mineral and vitamin supplements. In addition to getting a variety of annual and perennial seeds, you also receive a six-issue subscription to Whitetail Institute’s Whitetail News magazine.
No Equipment, No Problem Blends
While most deer hunters dream of planting food plots, many don’t simply because they believe their property is too small or they lack access to equipment like a tractor. If this is you, don’t fret; as with every piece of the food plot puzzle, WI has you covered.
When on WI’s website, click the Product Selector tab and the No circle next to the question: Can you access the site with equipment?
You’ll see three blends pop up — No-Plow, Secret Spot, and BowStand — and each requires only a little sweat equity and some essential gardening tools to get going.
Secret Spot is an annual blend designed for small kill plots in remote areas where deer like to frequent. All you need to do is clear the existing vegetation and start planting. BowStand, also an annual, is excellent for shaded areas, and No-Plow is a hardy, fast-growing annual that will create a nutritious green plot in areas that receive only three or four hours of sunlight each day.
Wait, There’s More From Whitetail Institute
Of course, a company with a vision like WI doesn’t stop at food plots; it gives you everything you need, from minerals and feed supplements to herbicides and soil amendment products to attractants. Plus, you can find soil-testing supplies and a tried-and-true seed spreader dubbed the Earthway Seed Spreader, an excellent over-the-shoulder broadcast spreader that holds up to 25 pounds of seed.
Perhaps the best news is that the Whitetail Institute shows no sign of slowing down. The forward-thinking company continues to raise the whitetail bar, and its relentless pursuit of herd health perfection, and drive to provide deer hunters with all the tools they need to create deer-rich cafeterias, will take them to new heights.