Deer Season Updates - 2008

Hard to believe deer season is almost here! Since our last update things have really been busy here in Whitetail Paradise.

As most of you have seen on the national news, the Midwest weather has been wild so far this year.

It seemed as though old man winter would not leave. Here in North Central Illinois, several ice storms left a dangerous base on which snow was continually piled upon. This ice/snow lasted into April, which impacted our wildlife and food plot plans. We eliminated 21 coyotes from the section, which was not sufficient to help five bucks (3 mature) and several does and fawns who were killed by the remaining packs of coyotes.

The forensic tooth aging (cementum annuli) of bucks from last season arrived promptly as always from our great friends, Henry & Mary Chidgey, owners of Wildlife Analytical Labs ( And once again this invaluable service validated solid management decisions by selective hunters.

Jeff Cox tagged 2 beautiful bucks that were locked up suffering the effects of mortal combat. This very unique story was featured by Bob, on the Woods 'N Water TV show, seen on the Outdoor Channel. You can see these deer on our YouTube video version at

Jeff Cox bucks both 4 ½ years of age
Dan Sheely buck 4 ½
Todd Tittle 4 ½
George Noble 5 ½
Darren Burke 7 ½
Jeff Burke 7 ½

In January, Bob Coine enjoyed conducting seminars on attracting, holding and harvesting mature bucks at the Archery Trade Assn. (ATA) Convention held in Indianapolis, IN.

With ice cover remaining so long this year, we were unable to frost seed thin areas of our clover/alfalfa food and hunting plots. Bob ended up broadcasting seed after the frost came out of the ground and the soil firmed. Pressing the seed into the moist surface with an ATV and a lawn roller not only did the trick, but actually seemed to work better than prior year's frost seeding! Keep this creative technique in mind for your plots next year.

We contracted a large timber stand improvement early this past spring, looking to enhance our largest block of forest. Our goal for the project was to enhance the future value of our hardwood timber by releasing selected quality trees. By killing lesser quality trees competing for available sunlight we'll see other benefits as well. Thinning this stand of timber allowed us to accelerate plant growth at the forest floor increasing both security cover and leafy browse at "deer level". Our goals have been met in spades, and we look forward to better deer hunting as a result!

March found Bob Coine conducting food plot seminars at the Target Communications ( Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic. The Classic grew into record attendance (well over 20,000), record exhibitors and most enjoyably, a record number of trophy deer mounts this year! The amazing display, year after year of mounted heads at this event is proof positive that Illinois landowners Quality Deer M anagement efforts are paying off!

Prairie burns this spring went off without any difficulty safety wise on a total of 35 or so acres around the farm. Some areas that were unburned for 3-4 years had difficulty getting a clean to-the-ground burn due to excessively wet "thatch". Bobby Coine Jr. participated for the first time, proving to be very adept at manning a water sprayer!

And then the rains came...

The constant bombardment of severe weather throughout this spring including rain, violent winds and tornados really impacted folks around the Midwest. Although Whitetail Paradise was impacted, our friends in IA, WI, KS and OK took the heaviest blows. We wish you all the best re-building your homes, businesses and habitat.

Bob's children Bobby & Jennifer enjoyed great fishing & frogging this summer, with ponds full for the first time in years!

On to the food plots!

The cold wet spring and early summer proved to be awesome for clover & alfalfa plots, possibly the best conditions we've seen in years.

Corn and Soybean planting for plots and production went smoothly on May 5th & 6th. Then we got pounded with rain and 3 weeks of cold weather. Wet, crusty soils prevented a uniform germination of these seeds. As of this writing, where the crops weren't drowned out, they seem to be doing pretty darned good. Corn in particular looks terrific, soybeans look decent and hopefully they will finish out well.

The high cost of fertilizer, fuel and well... everything certainly impacted food plotters around the country. We experimented on our corn food plots with zero nitrogen inputs to gauge the impact on our corn plots. As viewers of Building Whitetail Paradise realize, we rotate our plots each year between corn and soybeans and pay careful attention to fertility. The addition (fixation) of nitrogen (N) by the previous year's crop of soybeans seems to be adequate for a good looking stand of corn this year.

Previous years of fertility adjustment had the ground in good shape going into this year. This experiment is two-year study, and will be followed by a no-till crop of soybeans without the addition of fertilizer next year. Soil testing will help us analyze the results of this experiment, but the result we are most interested in (quality food plots) so far look to be successful. We'll keep you posted!

Heartland Studios, Inc. (parent of Building Whitetail Paradise) stayed busy this year, producing spring season segments for Woods 'N Water TV. Look for some great Turkey hunting action, as well as habitat discussion with Bob Coine, taped at Peter & Kate Fiduccia's home farm in upstate NY during this falls TV season MAN Channel!

Finally, TV commercials, and unique web marketing videos produced for Heartland Studios clients have been a blast to work on. We take great satisfaction and pride in helping our friends in business market their products and services.

If you or a friend have a product or service that needs to "get out there", talk to us about a creative Audio video production solution!

Illinois Deer Task Force-Proposed Changes

Bob has been active learning about the IDNR proposed changes for Illinois deer hunters, attending meetings with the Deer Task Force and legislators at the State Capitol. We'll pass along his take on the proposed changes shortly.

As we gear up for another deer season, we wish you all a safe and enjoyable time afield this Fall in your Whitetail Paradise!

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