MLB® Player Jim Thome

IT'S THE DAY BEFORE THE FIREARM SEASON OPENS FOR WHITETAIL DEER IN ROSEAU COUNTY, MINNESOTA, AND THERE'S A SENSE OF URGENCY IN THE AIR.

Families are gathering. Trucks are being packed for deer camp. And trailers are being loaded with Polaris® ATVs and Polaris RANGER® Side x Sides.

The city of Roseau is the birthplace of Polaris Industries and home to a large facility where Polaris off-road vehicles are designed and manufactured. Polaris employees don't just build ATVs and Side x Sides, they use them year-round for transportation, farming, trail riding, ice fishing, and especially deer hunting. Sharing a border with Canada, this is big-buck country. Years ago, a nontypical whitetail taken in Roseau County scored 205-4/8th points.

QDMA Ensures the Future of Deer Hunting
The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) is a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ensuring a high-quality and sustainable future for whitetail deer and whitetail deer hunting. Founded in 1988, QDMA has more than 50,000 members-including many deer-management professionals-in all 50 states and several foreign countries. It also develops partnerships with state wildlife agencies, timber companies, hunting groups and product manufacturers.

QDMA recommends setting four basic goals to fine-tune a deer hunting property: 1) Designate a few areas as buck sanctuaries that you don't invade during hunting season, such as steep hillsides or ravines where swirling winds will help bucks catch your scent. 2) Plan for some food plots. Build larger "destination" plots that will contain the most feed and are meant to keep deer fed throughout the year. 3) Create smaller "hunting" plots in natural openings or log landings, or simply by using a chainsaw. These are dual-purpose tools meant to feed deer and be a perfect place to set up stands or blinds for hunting. 4) Study the ground that lies between your sanctuaries and both types of food plots. look for potential ambush sites, places where you'll hang a stand or erect a blind for the hunting season. The best places will be along natural terrain features, such as a saddle in a ridge or a creek/ditch crossing and will funnel deer as they move between bedding areas and food sources.

Polaris Ranger XP® Gives QDMA a Power Boost
The ultimate power tool, and one used by many QDMA pros and hunting groups, is the Polaris RANGER XP 800. With a 50 HP 800 Twin WFI engine, On-Demand True AWD, and a 1-ton towing capacity, it is built for extreme performance. There's not a better vehicle in the industry for clearing land, tilling and planting food plots, building stands, reaching remote hunting areas and hauling out QDMA does and bucks.

The Polaris RANGER XP 800 is the hardest working, smoothest riding of all the Side x Sides. The dump box carries 1,000 lbs.*, twice that of competitive vehicles. It has the longest suspension travel, the most comfortable ergonomics, and the legendary smooth Polaris IRS with 9" of suspension travel and a full 12" of ground clearance.

Jim Thome Drives Home QDM
Fall means two things to baseball slugger Jim Thome: The drive to the playoffs after a long season of hardball and, come deer opener, the drive off-road to a box blind on his farm in central Illinois. "I love the challenge of deer hunting and the thrill of managing the land and making it better than when I bought it," said Thome. "I've been blessed with two brothers, Chuck and Randy, who love this as much as I do. They do a great job of getting in food plots and working with professional foresters to manage our timber."

The Thome brothers have tried some new Quality Deer Management (QDM) practices recently, including converting old pastures into stands of tall switchgrass and sudan grass. "The deer like the cover," said Jim. "Those tall grasses are a perfect screening cover that lets us get to and from our stands without being detected. We've seen some huge rewards-we've all shot great bucks in the last few years."

To spot and stalk the Polaris RANGER Side x Side of your dreams, including the top-of-the-line RANGER XP 800, go to Polaris.com.

*Models approved for sale in California are limited to 600lbs. cargo-box capacity (rear payload capacity per CARB classification) and 1,100-lbs. total vehicle payload.

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Deer Population by State

It's time to go hunting. Use our Deer Population tool to see where you should go on your next hunting trip!

Weekly QDM Tips

Prep for Winter: One quality many properties lack is an absence of prime winter cover for deer. Plant conifer (evergreen) trees like pine, spruce and fir to provide the thermal cover whitetails love during the cold months. State game agencies usually sell seedlings of such wildlife-friendly trees for a very nominal cost, and they can usually be ordered in bulk quantities.

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