May Days
By Tracy Hatfield

Mother nature is either helping you or hurting you all the time. Her seasons change on the calendar of “God’s time frames”, and you better be ahead of those seasons. If you stay ahead, she will help you with another season of woods’ growth, another generation of wildlife, and puppies to hunt with, etc. If you get behind, she is unmerciful, and there is no catching up.

FROM GOAT PASTURE TO DOVE FIELD

One new venture this year was for a dove field of sunflowers in a field that we had converted from a goat pasture last year. With this in mind we’ve been hustling to prep the field to plant by May 15 so we can be ready for the first dove season on Labor Day.

In my experience, our best bet for congregating some doves on a small field is before the peanuts are picked. Peanuts provide a food source, clean dirt, and big space for the grey ghost to maneuver. Quail Country is in a very birdie area with pivots all around, We are hoping for the best.

FIRST PHASE OF WOODS PATCHES

While equipment was hooked up for dove field prep and we were buying fertilizer, Danny spent time and effort prepping our first phase of bird patches. He has plans to plant Egyptian Wheat for quail cover strategically throughout the farm. We are all prepped up, and we just got good moisture with a 2-inch rain to plant behind. We did our part, and God did his.

It is important to plant with moisture so your crop germinates quickly and gets ahead of the weed competition. As mentioned before, timeliness and preparation are the key. The good Lord doesn’t need herbicide, fertilizer, irrigation, or insecticides to grow his crop, All he needs are the long hot days of the seasons that he put in place many, many years before our time. We have to try a little harder and pray for rain for our field and patches to keep the same pace as his.

LANDSCAPING EFFORTS

Speaking of trying harder, May begins the dreaded task of spraying flower beds, road margins, and fence lines. We are trying to work hard on mulching, weed-eating and cutting grass. The landscaping of the lodge, 5-stand, and kennels is just as important as the woods.

WOODS MANAGEMENT

There is still work to be done in the woods with the last of the cleanup from hurricane Michael limb-mowing roads (applying diluted Roundup to reduce the need for mowing), and trimming the knock-your-hat-off limbs that gravitate towards the sunlight of the open roads year after year. We try to stay out of the woods as much as possible after May to allow the browse to grow and the turkey and quail to nest. I am seeing quail pair up now. We continue to supplemental feed the deer and the quail year-round, knowing the next generation of fawns and biddies are right around the corner.

So those are just a few of the May day projects keeping us busy. When we gain on them just a little, we may take a day off and go to church and fish! It’s a labor of love.  Right before dark every day when a pair of quail whistling ends the day shift and an owl hoots early to start the night shift, there is a peace and tranquility on Quail Country that if you don’t already understand, I can’t explain it to you.

Hunting season is getting closer all the time. Make plans to come and let us share the fruits of our labor in the fall. Have a good May!!

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