Tag Archives: Food Plots

Wild Cat Springs…Where The Deer And Buffalo Roam And You Can Play

The interview with Jarrett Williamson, Manager of Wildcat Springs Ranch began like any other minus the Zebras.
Wildcat Springs Ranch is a hunting ranch located just south of Fittstown, Okla., a geographic area of the state known for it’s rocky terrain, crystal clear springs, and it’s quality and quantity of wild game to hunt.  It was late September, but the morning was still cool and there was game running everywhere, which as a hunter, made it hard to focus on the task at hand.  As ranch manager, Williamson is accustom to giving ranch tours, servicing clients, and ensuring the best possible trip to the ranch as possible.  Williamson was content to drive around the huge property all day discussing his passion for guiding and hunting, but I wasn’t there to sight see.  I wanted to find out what made this high-fence hunting paradise different from all the rest, and that’s exactly what I found out after touring the rustic terrain that made up the expansive landscape of the ranch.
The ranch sign which reads, “Billy D. Howell’s Wildcat Springs Ranch” resembles many iron constructed ranch gates, but as the gate opened, and I drove towards the ranch lodge I realized this gate was an entrance to an entirely different type of ranch.  It was late in the morning and yet there were whitetail deer on the move just within a few hundred yards of the gate.  Needless to say I couldn’t wait to see what
else this hidden gem had to offer.
Tucked away in the eastern part of the Arbuckle Mountains, Wildcat Springs offers almost 8,000 acres of prime hunting and fishing land that is fueled by an endless aquifer that supports the wildlife of the ranch.  It’s private and secluded, yet it’s just short drive from two major cities, Dallas and Oklahoma City.  Steep hills and expansive views can be expected as can quality game animals like elk, buffalo, deer, hog, turkey, Aoudad sheep, and other exotics.  The wide range of game animals are managed year round by a full-time staff of seven employees in order to provide hunters the highest quality of trophy animals available.  The ranch also features spring fed lakes stocked with bass, crappie, catfish, and even walleye.  One of the bigger watersheds is an impressive 40 feet deep in places.  At Wildcat Springs Ranch guests create custom hunts to fit their preferences and budgets, but regardless the hunt, it’s always an experience to remember.
One of the things that makes this hunting ranch stand out from others is the surprising low amount of hunting pressure it has.  Wildcat Spring would exist as is, without serving  a single hunting client.  That being said there’s anywhere from 60 – 80 clients that hunt each year.  The fully guided hunting trips offer a variety of tactics and methods of hunting.  You can hunt from a heated blinds or spot and stalk more elusive game like the Aoudad sheep.  With over 35 miles of high fencing there is a hunt that can be tailored for everyone.  In addition to your hunt there is on site processing and taxidermist available for your trophy.
Guests looking to get away and spend the day on the water while catching truly big fish have found the right place with this ranch.  The trophy fishing lakes are complete with fishing docks and boat ramps, and vary in size and types of fish offered.  The water and underground springs are one of the more interesting features about this ranch.  The Arbuckle Aquifer has been a topic of much debate in recent years, and one can easily see why when fishing on such quality waters as what is available on this ranch.
Excellent lodging and accommodations are what you’ll have after a full day of being outdoors.  Speaking from experience, clean and comfortable accommodations can make or break a hunt.  When you spend long hours outside, a good place to regenerate is always a plus.  Guests at Wildcat springs can take full advantage of  the luxurious  4,000 square foot lodge, featuring a master bedroom, 3 private rooms and two bed/bunk rooms.
The lodge can  accommodate 12 guests at a time. There are a variety of leisurely comforts around the lodge including an on-site chef, coffee bar, poker and pool tables, sitting areas, outdoor hot tub, and much more. The entertainment pavilion is equipped with restrooms, showers, full kitchen, and built-in wood burning grill.
Other Options
Those who don’t enjoy the thrill of the hunt or the excitement of catching a largemouth bass can request nature watching tours or a relaxing weekend at the lodge.  The ranch is also a great place to host company picnics.
8,000 acres would be hard to manage without the use of serious equipment.  The ranch utilizes a variety of equipment.  From skid steers, to UTVs, and even machines for building and maintaining roads, Wildcat Springs takes full advantage of equipment in their operation.
Before heading out to explore the ranch further we passed an old Kubota, which, at first glance appeared to be sitting idle, but Williamson quickly referred to the late model Kubota as “ole reliable,” and Williamson should know as he is no stranger to benefits of good equipment.  He has years of experience operating and maintaining equipment, and when asked what he liked best about the Kubotas they use at Wildcat Springs Ranch Williamson said this:
“Everything is right there where you can get to it.  They are easy to operate, but most of all they are reliable tractors.  We use a lot of different machines out here but we can always count on the Kubotas.”
After touring several large bottoms and passing multiple lakes we began to make our accent towards an elevated part of the ranch where the buffalo roam.  We pulled up to a Kubota M9960 hard at work discing up a rocky field to prepare a food plot.  This year alone, Williamson and his team will plant over 650 acres of food plots.  They plant a variety of seed but the main seed planted is one developed by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
There are a lot of different things that make this ranch special, but when you break it all down, its really about the thrill of the hunt.  So when I asked Williamson what hunt provides clients with the best overall experience, Williamson could only talk about the buffalo.  Their size alone make them a difficult animal to hunt, and with options ranging from trophy bulls, to meat cows, hunters have different choices and methods to hunt them.  The meat alone would be a reason for me to hunt them.  There something about this animal that ties it with our nation’s wild past.  They are the very hide of the American West’s history.  From Native Americans, to the expansion of the railways, the American Bison has always been a symbolic animal of wild America.  Native Americans wasted no part of this huge animal, and if given the chance I would do the same.  The trophy, meat, even the hide could all still serve a purpose to the modern hunter.  Williamson enjoys guiding these hunts because he feels they provide clients with much more than just a thrilling hunt.
“Our buffalo hunts offer the most bang for your buck.  You couldn’t buy as much beef as what it costs to harvest our buffalo, plus you get a trophy of a lifetime.  Last year I guided a buffalo hunt where, after being shot, the bull charged several times.  It was thrilling and rewarding to both myself and the client.”
Wildcat Springs Ranch is a great destination for any outdoorsman. Whether it’s friends looking to experience the hunt of a lifetime, or groups needing a get-a-way that offers top-notch hospitality with plenty of adventure, this unique ranch has it all!  For more information about the amenities and services of Wildcat Springs call Jarrett Williamson at (580) 235-7599.


All Terrain Hunting

It’s hard to imagine a time when big game hunters didn’t use ATVs or

utility vehicles (UTVs). The classic images of western hunters packing

in with horses and mules are now kept by only a nostalgic few. Of

course there are plenty of hunters today who don’t use off-road

vehicles. However, all hunters from those who stalk big game to ones

who hunt upland birds, could benefit from using an ATV or UTV. From the

first snow machines to the modern day side-by-side, the extreme demands

of avid hunters have influenced the evolution of these vehicles.

Mirroring this evolution, off-road vehicles themselves have changed the

sport of hunting. History proves there’s no turning back from these

advanced machines, and the farthest frontiers are only as far as a few

extra gas cans.

Two main factors have increased hunters usage of off-road vehicles

during the past few decades. Hunting popularity has increased, and

innovations of hunting products and tactics have been introduced.

When something is popular everyone wants to do it. For hunters

this means traveling farther to find that perfect secluded hunting

spot. Whether it’s hunting farther from base camp, or scouting a

potential hunting lease, off-road vehicles allow hunters to quickly

expand their range. Realistically, there’s only so far a hunter can

venture on foot, but with off-road vehicles remote hunting locations can

be reached sooner, hunted longer, and daylight is no longer an issue.

With increased popularity comes more hunting pressure, especially to

public access areas. Once secluded destinations have become hunting

hotspots, forcing hunters to spread out to find their piece of paradise.

Perhaps just as important to the evolution of these machines is

the use of hunting tactics that require vehicles with hauling

capabilities. Deer feeders and tree stands, for example, are popular

among whitetail hunters. Scouting and staging multiple feeder-stand

locations can be a one man job when using a UTV. UTVs easily haul

multiple passengers and cargo through a variety of terrain, making them

ideal for hunting clubs and lease partners. On the other end of the

hunting spectrum UTVs are ideal for setting up remote hunting camps.

There’s so much time devoted to creating or escaping to a hunting

paradise that off-road vehicles have become a necessity.

Great Plains Kubota salesman, Brent Elliott has a large family,

and they all enjoy the outdoors. He stated that without his off-road

vehicles they would do a lot less hunting.

“We use our ATVs and UTVs to check cameras, which is a great way

to scout for a busy guy like me. There’s no way I could check five

cameras after work if I was on foot. I also use them to drop off family

and friends at different hunting spots on my property. They’re more fuel

efficient than larger vehicles so I can haul kids, recover deer, and

scout without breaking the bank or my back. I wouldn’t be able to hunt

the way I do without these machines,” said Elliott.

Planting food plots is another increasing tactic hunters use to

attract deer. Hunters on a budget can easily plant supplemental food

anywhere on their property with an off-road vehicle paired with an

all-in-one tow behind implement.

The dedicated woodsman who treks solo after big game knows the

importance of a maneuverable off-road vehicle, such as an ATV. When it

comes to packing out game, a well-equipped ATV or UTV is simply the

superior method. Accessories like winches, trailers, cargo boxes,

additional lighting, GPS, and protective coverings are essential to the

all-terrain hunter. Another Great Plains Kubota hunter who knows the

challenges of hunting dramatic terrain is Allen Dennis.

“The land I hunt is only accessible by a steep ridge next to a

river. Trucks can’t handle the extreme incline so we have to use ATVs

to haul our gear to the hunting locations. We’ve even used ATVs to pull

trailers with riding mowers, so we could maintain our food plots. It’s

not like we actually hunt on them, but we couldn’t hunt without them,”

said Dennis.

Off-road vehicles used in hunting have also created conflicts

among the hunting community. Hunting and shooting from these machines

isn’t fair chase, and reflects poorly on the sport. Laws set in place

are designed to protect both the environment and the future of using

ATVs and UTVs for hunting.

So, which off-road vehicle is better? Choosing between ATVs or

UTVs comes down to preference, price, and capabilities. Typically ATV’s

are less expensive. They are faster and narrower than UTV’s, making them

capable of going places UTVs can’t. However UTV’s make up for this with

their torque and towing capabilities. With more storage capacity and

passenger options utility vehicles offer hunters versatility ATVs don’t

have. Despite there small differences off-road vehicles were both

designed to get hunters to and from extreme destinations.

For some, hunting is about creating a private paradise. For

others, it’s about escaping to far away destinations. Whatever’s

desired, off-road vehicles can be a hunter’s companion, pack mule, or

rescue team. They’re invaluable when setting up remote camps, scouting

property, planting food plots, or reaching extreme destinations. They

make all the wants and needs of the modern day hunter possible, and will

continue to evolve with the sport.

A Final Autumn

Image Image Image Image

Not all readers may appreciate the images posted on this blog, but to me they speak more about life than they do of death.  
     Like any photo, trophy pictures spark memories and this is especially true for me.  When I look at my most recent hunting photos, I’m reminded of an entire season.  The season I’m referring to isn’t hunting season.  It’s autumn!  Autumn embodies so much that I enjoy in life, and I always hold on to this time of year for as long as possible.  It starts with the first crisp air and lasts through the end of college football or rifle season.       
     The changing landscape brought by cooler weather is a clear indication that I will soon enjoy many things such as;
hunting season, Halloween, college football, cool weather camping, and Thanksgiving, all which are connected by unique scenic conditions.
     Autumn also reminds me that all things have an end, and it teaches me to enjoy things while they last.  The pictures of the above harvested deer inspire reflections of my life, and are a reminder to live in the moment and to respect my surroundings.  Hunting offers these types of moments.  Minutes become hours in a tree stand, and memories can become life lessons.
     Appreciate the time that God has given, and enjoy the time spent in His creation because like the deer above, we all have a final autumn.

From Brush To Lush – Plotting Against Whitetails

From Great Plains Living Fall 2012    www.greatplainskubota.com

By Reed BoettcherImage

     The practice of planting food plots has become an increasingly popular method to attract Whitetail deer for hunting purposes.  With television shows and even equipment dedicated to the food-plot market, one would think that the only way to harvest a deer would be to plant food plots.
    The topic of planting food plots has been covered by most major hunting magazines all of which seem to have the same important message.  Planning and using food plots should only be done as a supplemental food source.  This article will discuss three major topics to consider from an equipment stand point.  Clearing a site, preparing the soil, and planting the seed are all done with the added elements of some sort of equipment.  Everyone has their preferences as to how they execute these tasks.  What needs to be taken into consideration is which tools will provide the best outcome in the quickest amount of time.
    Planting of food plots can sometimes have a very short window.   Oklahoma weather can turn from drought to monsoon overnight and Autumn’s hunting season seems to sneak up every year.  Since most of us have busy family and work schedules, finding the time to prepare a food plot can be challenging.  Choosing the right equipment and using it properly can maximize our small windows of opportunity.
    The decision to devote time and money to food plots begins with the basics.  Food for all living things is essential, but so is water, cover, and ample amount of territory.  The arrangement of all these should be a key factor in creating a supplemental site.  Again this should only be done if there are satisfactory levels of Whitetail necessities.
    The elements are in place and the decision to supplement the deer herd has been made.  Starting with site selection is key.  Locating an area that is close to cover is a key component to a successful food plot.  Deer prefer to eat in areas close to cover so this in itself can become an equipment issue.
    So what is the best way to create a lush patch of an attractive supplemental food in the middle of a think patch of brush?  In a perfect world one might start by spraying the growth with Glyphosate allowing it to die and rot over a long period of time.  In addition, clearing a path to the site and the site itself may require the use of a chainsaw for bigger trees or a brush mower mounted on a skid steer for smaller growth.  Preparing a level site and creating access to it could possibly be the biggest task.  Again, if time is not a factor, a constant mowing schedule with a brush cutter will make the final steps much easier.  In reality creating a food plot may limited to August and September.  In this case a Kubota SVL skid steer would come in handy.  One could doze and cut large amounts of brush quickly to prepare for the next step.
    Soil preparation begins with understanding what your soil needs to be productive.  Performing soil tests is a must to determine what and how much fertilizer should be applied.  Physically preparing the ground for seed has various avenues.   Tractor horsepower should be a starting point if one is pulling various implements to prepare soil.  Planting food plots can be done with smaller machines such as ATV’s or utility vehicles, but to create a quality food plot of sustaining size, a tractor paired with appropriate implements will be the most effective solution.  Food plot size is a factor when considering the probability of overgrazing and time seems to be an issue for those creating the site.  It never pays to try to get a job done with the wrong tools.  If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.
    The Kubota L3800 series tractor is great for handling food plot projects.  Breaking ground can be approached in various ways.  One might choose a five foot disc or a five foot tiller.  Both work well at disturbing the soil and allowing moisture, if there is any, to breach the surface.  A disc is a good implement to do this if the ground is rough.  A disc will handle harder ground but will probably take several passes to get the ground ready for seeding.  If the soil and ground condition are in good shape, one might use a tiller.  Using say, a five foot tiller to plow the ground may only take one run, but this may only work if the ground allows.
    The soil is prepared and ready for seed.  The perfect site has been chosen and a minimum size food plot has been arranged.  If possible shape the plot to be narrow which will allow cover to be closer on all sides.  After deciding what to plant and how much to plant based on herd population, it is type to set the seed.  There are different tools to broadcast seed.  After seed has been broadcasted, it is best to use a drag to make sure necessary soil contact has been made.
    Like most products on the market there are usually ones that save time by encompassing all functions needed to perform a certain task.  Implements are no exception as in the case of the Land Pride No-Till Drill.  By using a no till drill to create a food plot one could leave out most of step two which is preparing the soil. The ground would still need to be leveled and cleared, but there would be no need to till or disc along with skipping the broadcasting of seed and dragging it for contact.  Personally, there does not seem to enough time to get away to go hunting let alone to create a succulent green patch in the middle of the woods.  
    Land Pride’s compact no till drills create a system designed for long-term productivity for a broad range of seeding applications.   With the optional native grass and small seeds box, it is capable of handling a variety of seeds for food plotting.  In typical cases where one is trying to plant two types of seeds simultaneously that vary in size and weight it becomes a waste of time.  The result is the doubling of work to create the same outcome one could get using a compact drill with multiple seed boxes.  Great Plains Kubota salesman Levi Garrett uses a Land Pride 606NT compact drill to form his plots and has nothing but good things to say about it.
    “The best thing I like about it is that it saves me time and money.  By using it I don’t have to disc the ground.  The cutter discs located on the drill do the job perfectly.  I didn’t get started on my food plots until September and yet they are as green as can be.  With the weather that we have had and as busy as my schedule is, I probably wouldn’t have a food plot if it weren’t for this drill,”  said Garrett.
    Planting food plots can be a successful way to harvest deer.  They provide an opportunity for the hunter to see large amounts of deer while offering the deer themselves added nutritional supplements.  In many ways they are just pleasing to the eye.  The vibrant green is an extreme contrast to the burnt orange of October’s rust.  When thinking of plotting against the hardy Whitetail, think of the tools needed to create a time-efficient food plot so more time can be spent scouting and understanding the local deer herd rather than changing out implements.   

The Science of Kubota Package Deals

     Kubota packages are an increasingly popular request at our dealership, and why not?  If a customer purchases three of more implements with a tractor there is a significant amount
of savings offered.
     What are Kubota tractor packages?  The question seems simple enough yet we get many different questions on these offers.  Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding our Kubota package deals:
What is a Kubota package deal?  Our tractor packages are any Kubota tractor that is generally paired with multiple implements.  We keep several packages put together ranging from 30 – 50 HP which include a trailer, box blade and rotary cutter.  To clarify, a trailer is considered an implement in our packages; however, the Kubota’s front end loader is not.  The combinations of packages are virtually endless with our product lines.
What is the difference?  The difference is in quality and in savings.  At Great Plains we offer high-end, durable implements that are made to last such as:  Land Pride, Woods, Cammond, & Blue Diamond to name a few.  It doesn’t do us or the customers any good to offer cheap implements in order to lower our package deal prices.  The difference in savings boils down to save now and spend less later.  For example, if a customer knows they will be needing a bale spear and perhaps pallet forks next summer, but they only need a box blade now, it would be wise to purchase them all together, if possible, to receive their discount.
Is a Kubota package deal right for me?  One of the great benefits of purchasing a Kubota tractor in package form is that everything can be financed together.  So if you are looking for a finance purchase, and you are needing new or replacement implements, it is the perfect way to save.  Our packages are ideal for first time tractor owners who may have recently purchased acreage.  They are also perfect for those with small farms, hunting leases, recreational property or country-home settings.  For customers who don’t need financing, discounts will still apply when three or more implements are purchased with a tractor.
Can I mix and match any tractor and implement?  Any tractor when paired with three or more implement qualifies for customer savings.
How can I learn more?  We offer package deals at all our Great Plains Kubota locations so give us a call at 855-4KUBOTA.  Note that pricing may vary, and equipment is subject to availability. 

By Reed Boettcher