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Heartland Outdoors cover November 2017


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Recent entries



Chief City DU Spring Fling

Tue, February 21, 2017

Chief City DU Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will have their spring fling on Friday, March 3rd 2017 at
Pontiac VFW
531 W Lincoln Ave
Pontiac, IL 61764

Doors open at 5:30 pm; Dinner is served at 6:30 pm
Draft beer and soda provided

*Live Auction
*Silent Auction
*Gun Raffles
  And more

Call Mike Roark 309-275-1252 for advanced tickets/ membership

Hope to see you there,
God Bless,
Matt Cheever ~ Flatlander


Augmented Treestand

Thu, September 08, 2016

You’ve all been there, you have the perfect spot picked out for your treestand; trails cross, water and cover collide, it’s the funnel of all funnels for deer movement and there isn’t a decent tree in site.  Not to worry almost every situation can be remedied with the help of some scrap and a small metal fab shop.

Most folks consider their gun or bow to be the most useful deer hunting tool, I believe a chainsaw is number one closely followed by a small welding/metal shop, or access to one.  I don’t go a week without welding, fixing, improving something I use in the deer woods.

My problem began with a great tree that has produced many deer over the years and it finally gave way to fatigue, a rotted base and heavy winds.  When your favorite tree goes down you look for one close by.  The only available tree happened to stick out like a sore thumb and no background cover.  Still has to be done, it’s one of those spots.

When the heart of a metal fabricator, pack rat, deer hunter and longtime Macgyver fan come together you just build cover around your tree.  It isn’t pretty and I’m sure I’ll get some laughs but he who wraps his hands around antlers laughs last!

Project “backdrop” consisted of an old used artificial Christmas tree, a couple of side rails off a bent ladder stand, spray paint, and a few ratchet straps.  Total cost including welding wire is about $10

Simply weld the artificial limbs on the scrap metal tubes, paint it camo to match the surroundings and hang beside the stand.  The branches are flexible enough to be bent around bow holders and pack hooks, etc.  It’s cheap easy and as ridiculous as it looks I’m certain it will work in giving a little more cover and reduce the chance of being sky-lined by a weary buck.

Good luck this season and God bless,
Matt Cheever ~ Flatlander


50/50 proposition

Mon, July 18, 2016

Mid-July through mid-August is the ideal time to plant brassicas in your food plots, this includes radish, kale, turnips, sugar beets among many others.  These provide a leafy green top which deer will nibble from the time they sprout on in to late winter.  The bulb or root is a bonus and will turn surgery once a good freeze sets in and will be a big draw in the later parts of deer season.

The tricky part of summer planting is you either get too much or too little rain and either has its issues on small green’s seeds.  The seed you’ll be planting is very tiny and only needs to be firmly pressed in to the soil.  This is commonly referred to as the through and grown seed as they usually find a crack or crevice to call in the first rain and that takes care of it.

The problem is if we plant the seed by simply throwing it on top of the loose soil and it becomes hot and dry it may not draw from the early morning dew and soil moisture that lies deeper.  If we pack the seed in with a culti-packer or roller we may compress the seed in and if we get heavy rains, then hot weather, we create a crust the seed may not penetrate or germinate and grow through.  Both can be bad situations.

By implementing what I call the 50/50 method will solve both problems.  Work the dirt the best you can, then spread the seed a little heavier than the bag calls for, but not going overboard, you don’t want plant competition to result in poor growth.  A rate of about 130% of what they call for is about right.  After spreading the seed, I like to use a tractor, mower, or quad and drive over the plot but staggering the tire tracks to only cover 50% of the soil, leaving 50% loose (hence the 50/50 method).

By firmly packing 50 of the seed you will make sure they get that early morning dew and moisture from cooler nights but also if we get heavy rains the seeds that ride higher up in the loose soil will escape that water trough have good aeration from the side of the tire track.  In most cases you’ll get good germination from both the compressed and non-compressed rows but if Mother Nature throws you a curve ball then you have a good chance of a respectable food plot in all conditions.

Until next time, God bless,
Matt Cheever ~  Flatlander


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