Gilbert Elementary School Fourth-Grader Wilson Boyd Oxner recently won the South Carolina 4-H Wildlife Food Plot Project in the junior division, after winning first place at the regional level, proving he has what it takes to care for creatures great and small.
For about six months this past fall, Oxner planted, maintained and observed a wildlife food plot. His motion-sensing camera captured not only deer, but also bobcat, fox, rabbits, coyotes and birds that came to eat the tasty plants he cultivated.
“It was slow growing at first because of the drought, but once the rains came, it grew so much better,” he recalled.
He carefully chose a suitable site for his plot, tilled the site, tested the soil and adjusted it accordingly with lime and fertilizer. With the soil prepped and ready, Oxner planted a variety of seeds, such as oats, wheat, winter peas and radishes, which yielded plants for native wildlife to enjoy.
Oxner kept a detailed record of his plot, wrote several essays, and included his own research about the impact of the recent floods and weather patterns on wildlife in South Carolina.
Judges from the Quality Deer Management Association and South Carolina 4-H examined Wilson’s plants and interviewed him about the project. In addition to winning first place on the county level, Oxner won first place for the state for his plot and comprehensive record of his observations.
Approximately 100 students from 26 South Carolina counties participated in the 6th Annual Wildlife Food Plot Project in fall 2016.