The Viking Sportsmen and Douglas County Pheasants Forever team up in a lot of endeavors for the outdoors in the area, and they are doing so again by offering incentives for landowners to plant food plots.
The groups are encouraging landowners/operators within Douglas County or within 10 miles of the county to plant one to three acres in wildlife food plots near good winter cover by offering payments of $100 per acre or $50 per acre with free seed.
“We’ve always supported it, but I think a couple of us hunted in North Dakota this fall and there’s not nearly the fall tillage,” Viking Sportsmen president Steve Henry said. “There’s still grain left in the fields and the cover looks much the same and the weather is obviously much the same, but the winter food supply is just so much greater. We were just impressed with the number of pheasants, and we thought if we could help them through the winter here, we could increase our pheasant numbers.”
Landowners can work independently with the local outdoor groups or also as a supplement to programs available through the Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation District.
“We thought if we could work with them, and indeed I checked with them, so we can combine these programs so farmers who are willing to put in a food plot, we can make the deal even a little sweeter for them,” Henry said. “Not only with CRP but even with the regular farm programs if farmers are willing to leave one, two or three acres near good winter cover, they can get some extra payments for that.”
The types of crops offered include corn, soybeans, grain sorghum or any of the mixed seed varieties for wildlife. Placing plots near quality winter cover is a big part of successful food plots to ensure wildlife does not have to travel far to feed and limit the risk of predation or exposing them to winter weather. Henry says the groups will be able to see where the plots are going before being planted.
“With Google earth now, that’s pretty easy to do,” he said. “We want this a quarter mile or less from good winter cover. Ideally, the closer it can be the better.”
The food plot incentive is part of a long working relationship between two of the bigger outdoor groups in the area in the Viking Sportsmen and Douglas County PF. Other projects include the Youth Outdoor Activity Day, which is helped out by almost every outdoor group around and drew about 2,500 people to the Alexandria Shooting Park this past summer, and a parent/daughter night designed to introduce girls to the outdoors.
“It really has been an excellent relationship,” Henry said. “I have to give [Douglas County PF president] Dean Krebs a lot of credit. He had worked with PF in other areas, moved to our community, became active with Viking Sportsmen and really has helped us coordinate that by using Pheasants Forever programs, we’re able to maximize dollars and everything from kids shooting, kids archery … there’s just a number of programs we’ve been able to work together on.”
FOOD PLOT ASSISTANCE
The Viking Sportsmen and Douglas County Pheasants Forever are teaming up to help financially and/or with material assistance in the planting of food plots.
Visit www.vikingsportsmen.org or call Viking Sportsmen president Steve Henry at (320) 815-9606 for more details.