Images and story by Thomas Allen | Originally published on Outdoor Hub
Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment to a 16-part, comprehensive series about building a hunting club with buddies from nearly the ground up. Author Thomas Allen will share what he learns as he learns it. His hope is that anyone who reads this series can learn from his successes and failures, and apply them to a one-day fruitful hunting club. Click here for the first, second and third installments.
Pulling It Together
A club is all about the membership, the friendships and combined dedication and work ethic to produce results that benefit all. There just aren’t many things in this life as rewarding as fruitful work.
As a club, we’re living that reality right now.
When we started back in August and September, we knew we had a mountain to climb, and favorable results would require work, and a little bit of luck.
As is typically the case, Alabama was very dry late in the summer; combining that with our limited time, it was obvious some uncontrollable factors would have to fall our way if we were to be successful. We got together with some of the guys at Mossy Oak BioLogic for some advice, and they nailed it.
As I mentioned in the previous chapter, we decided to go with BioLogic’s Winter Grass Plus as the bulk of our forage. Due to our timing and budget, we elected to forego the lime application this fall — we’ll hopefully get that done next spring and summer. The Winter Grass Plus grows very easily under various conditions and soil types.
In an effort to test these different seeds in our dirt, we were advised to not overlap planting — keep everything separate so we can clearly determine the effectiveness of each seed in each location. Sound advice.
The Time Crunch
Available time was in very short supply as it was, but Hurricane Nate was forecasted to bring a significant weather system to the Alabama coast — and straight over the club’s food plots — during the weekend of October 7 and 8. We knew we had a window of time for either eminent success or failure.
As a group, it became an all hands on deck call-out, and we did everything we could to meet that objective. Not everyone was available at all times, so whatever work we could muster was utilized and appreciated. Many hands make light work.
Friday morning, Gary, my son and myself managed to get three of the plots fully prepped and planted.
Here’s how I kept track of what we planted where:
My wife’s parents were in town that weekend—all the way from Fargo, N.D.— and I was even able to talk them into an afternoon of seeding. Their time and effort commitment were critical to meeting the deadline set by the impending weather system.
They don’t hunt, but were quite interested in the effort required to build a food plot. My in-laws eagerly participated and helped plant two fields, which have since turned from dusty brown to brilliant green. Even without a drive to hunt like I have, they were very proud of the seeds sowed that turned to food. Good family time.
During the second day of planting most of the guys were on-site to contribute. We managed to finish the final field, and as we were pulling out of club the rain began to fall.
It was literally the perfect storm for our new club.
Dirt Into Bright Green
It took only a few days of optimal growing conditions following the saturating rain from Hurricane Nate, and we had food growing on every field. In fact, we were very impressed with how well things looked under such a short period of time.
Obviously, we’re super jacked about our decision to plant BioLogic, and very grateful for the support they provided us in making our seed selections. They were right, and we now have food growing on a club that was born just two months ago — something I’m already very proud of. We all are.
Bow season started in Alabama on October 15, rifle season begins the 18th of November and runs through February 10. We are in good position to enjoy some fantastic hunting this year, and I’m grateful at the chance to partner with such a great group of men to make it happen.
Trail Camera Update
As our Wildgame Innovations trail cameras have been out for a month or more, the pictures are coming in and the hit list is growing. Here’s a brief look at who we’re gunning for at this point. I’m sure more bucks will show up in coming weeks, but this is a very promising start.
About the author: Thomas Allen calls central Alabama home, where he lives with his beloved wife, Kathryn, and two growing children, Tommy and Taylor. Follow Thomas on Twitter: @ThomasAllenIV and Instagram: ThomasAllen4