with Pat Reeve
What’s Coming Up on “Driven with Pat and Nicole” and How to Grow Bucks Every Year
Editor’s Note: Pat Reeve lives in Plainview, Minnesota, and has been a member of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for 9 years. He and his wife Nicole produce “Driven with Pat and Nicole” (www.drivenhunter.com) on the Outdoor Channel.
Last year was probably the best year that Nicole and I ever have had filming adventure programs and taking big animals. We started off last year hunting mountain goats in the Yukon. Then we took mountain caribou, and I was able to take a black wolf. Those will be the first two shows that air this season. On another show, Nicole, my daughter, Olivia, and I hunt elk in New Mexico. This was a youth hunt with a muzzleloader, and my daughter took her first bull elk. We went to Alberta to hunt big horn sheep and next to Saskatchewan, Canada, to hunt big whitetails. Then we hunted mule deer in Alberta, Canada, and whitetails again in Illinois. My 10-year-old son took his first whitetail with a bow on camera. While hunting Iowa’s late muzzleloading season for whitetails, we took a buck that scored 180 inches. We’ve got some great programming coming up this year on our TV show “Driven with Pat and Nicole.”
Right now, here in Minnesota, we’re planting food plots to get ready for deer season. During the first or second week of July, I try to plant brassicas, so they’ll have time to mature when wintertime comes. First I mow my green fields. Next we spray Roundup, a herbicide, to kill all the weeds on the food plots we’re planting. Before I start plowing and discing, I wait 5 to 7 days to make sure that all the weeds are killed. I have an 8-foot disc that I put on the back of my John Deere tractor. I disc the ground, sow the ground with brassica seed and then compact the seeds.
I also put out my trail cameras now, since around the end of June or the first of July the bucks on my property start sprouting antlers. From trail-camera photos, we can watch for the G2 and G3 antlers to appear and see the brow tines grow. Because the weather is so hot, I'm putting my trail cameras on water holes and mineral licks on the 400 acres I hunt and manage for whitetails here in Minnesota. Each year we take about three bucks and 12 does off these 400 acres. We can harvest that many bucks and does, because we’ve managed the property for about 15 years. We have a lot of thick places for bedding areas, we’ve select harvested our timber, and this region naturally holds a good number of deer.
Besides brassicas, we plant corn, soybean, alfalfa and winter wheat on the property. We try to have enough food and cover to keep the deer from having any reason to leave the property. I really believe that hunters can keep deer on their lands and not have their bucks dispersed off their properties, if they keep plenty of highly-nutritious food growing all year long.