Article Date: Tuesday, November 08, 2011
J. Wayne Fears
My introduction to Egyptian wheat, a tall growing grain sorghum, had nothing to do with squirrels. It was simply a supplemental plant for Quail Haven soybeans to run up. The main crop was the running soybeans as a warm season wildlife food plot. However, by early fall I was watching wild turkey and quail going to great lengths to get to the Egyptian wheat seed heads, and more impressive were the number of squirrels coming out of the nearby woods to feed on the wheat seed.
During my long outdoor writing career I have been blessed by having hunted most American game animals. While I enjoy all of the hunts, I must admit I enjoy a good gray squirrel hunt with a rimfire rifle about as much as anything, and when I saw the number of squirrels coming to the Egyptian wheat I got excited. As it got closer to the time to plow under the summer crop and plant the fall/winter crop I left several rows of Egyptian wheat near the woods. I enjoyed one of the best squirrel seasons in recent memory.
Egyptian wheat produces long, slender stalks that reach 7 to 10 feet in height. The loose seed heads are borne on light, drooping stems clustered at the top of the plants. The rounded, slightly flattened seeds are smaller than most other grain sorghum seeds and are enclosed by light husks. Egyptian wheat matures at 120 to 140 days.
- Egyptian wheat can be planted in spring after the danger of frost and throughout the summer.
- For wild turkey and quail it is best to mechanically knock down some of the plants. For squirrels that is not necessary as they will climb the stalks and fill up on the seed.
- It is best planted in rows that are 3-feet apart.
- Plant at a rate of 6 pounds of seed per acre.
- Space seed 4-inches apart in the rows.
- Plant the seed about one inch deep.
- Fertilize according to soil test or at a rate of 400 pounds per acre of 5-10-15.
By the time October rolls around the squirrels, especially if there is a poor mast crop, will have found your "squirrel plot" and will be beating a path to it. Find these paths and take a seat for some excellent hunting.
Once you have your limit return to camp and prepare this historic squirrel Brunswick stew. You will be the most popular member of the camp.Squirrel Brunswick Stew
This recipe is over 200 years old and was found in journals dating back to the 1700's. A Dr. Creed Haskins cooked the first stew in a cast iron Dutch oven in Brunswick, Virginia, thus its name, and it became a tradition at rifle matches, cockfights and political rallies. It was enjoyed by such historic characters as Patrick Henry and Alexander Hamilton.
1. Combine squirrel, potatoes, onion, corn, lima beans, salt, pepper, and water.
2. Process the above in a food processor until it looks like Brunswick stew.
3. Cook in Dutch oven 30 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, turmeric, and hot sauce.
5. Cook 1 1/2 - 2 hours on low heat.
Every hunting camp needs a remote food plot planted in Egyptian wheat, for those who enjoy squirrel hunting and for the eating pleasure of those who frequent the camp.
Editor's note: J. Wayne Fears, named the Food Plot Doctor by the Whitetails Unlimited Magazine, is one of the pioneers who helped develop wildlife habitat and food plot practices that are common today. Now his decades of experience are available to Global Outfitters readers. J. Wayne uses questions from our readers and TV audience as the basis for his columns in Outdoor Outfitters.com. and habitat segments on TV. Just mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org The GO Habitat columns will be archived on the Globaloutfitters.com website, so you can go to them for reference in the future.
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