Collecting Soil Samples

By GrowingDeer,

Box of soil samples packed in clear bagsBrad collected soil samples from all of our plots yesterday and prepared them for shipping to Water's Lab for analysis. This is always a critical step in establishing/maintaining food plots. I'm always eager to get the results and determine how much fertilizer will be required to produce maximum quality forage. Remember, that plants are only nutrient transfer agents. If the nutrients are not in the dirt, they can't be transferred to critters! Bigger antlers and more fawns are factors of the quality of the dirt — so I'm always very excited about soil tests!

We will be hosting a shed hunt at The Proving Grounds this weekend! There will be about 50 folks from Ohio, Georgia, and many other states joining us. I'll let you know how many sheds we find.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

Future Plans: Gobblers & Prescribed Fire

By GrowingDeer,

TurkeysI recently had a conversation on Petersen’s Bowhunting Radio about deer and predators.  You can listen to the podcast for free.

I was walking early this morning and heard the first two gobblers of the year. I’m always excited about turkey season but hearing those first repeat gobblers makes me think about listening points and places to call.

Winds are predicted to gust in the 30+ mile an hour range this week as some fronts pass through. After this passes, Brad and I will be starting our prescribed fire program this year. Weather permitting we anticipate burning 530 acres at The Proving Grounds this year.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

Took Down Treestands

By GrowingDeer,

Brad just took down the stands at The Proving Grounds.  That always means turkey season will open soon!  We take down our stands because trees expand an inch or more in circumference as the sap begins to rise.  This is a bit of a hassle, but it's much safer to remove stands and inspect them before hanging them again this coming fall.  In addition, if the stand's strap is extremely tight on the tree, it can cause sever damage to the tree.  It's a shame to damage a tree that is in a great location.  Be safe and remove your stands.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

College Field Trip at The Proving Grounds

By GrowingDeer,

College of the Ozarks students touring The Proving Grounds Yesterday Brad and I hosted a field trip for a college wildlife class.  One of our study points during the tour was at a Trophy Rock mineral station.  Twenty young biologists now know the benefits of providing natural minerals to wildlife.  The students were energetic and inquisitive.  It's great to interact with young minds that are passionate about wildlife.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

More Shed Antlers Found

By GrowingDeer,

Reconyx camera survey imageReconyx camera survey image

I found a shed from the younger buck in the above images yesterday!  Based on this antler, the buck scored in the mid 140's last fall as a 3 year old!  I can't wait to see him this fall!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

Sheds Found at The Proving Grounds

By GrowingDeer,

Last week Brad reviewed more than 4,000 Reconyx images from The Proving Grounds and very, very few bucks had shed.  However, Tracy found the right side of the buck in this image and today while filming the next episode of GrowingDeer.tv, I found a shed from a yearling buck.  So far this month three sheds have been found at The Proving Grounds.  I had several Reconyx images of each buck.  It will be interesting to see what portion of bucks we identified with trail cameras last fall that we find sheds from, and how many sheds we find that we didn't have an image of last fall.  I'll keep you all updated.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

Thanks to the Service Men & Women of the USA

By GrowingDeer,

C.J. Winand in Afghanistan viewing GrowingDeer.tvI live the blessed life.   My family loves me.  I have good health.  I work as a deer biologist.   Many of these blessings are made possible by the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and staff that supports them.  It's very easy for me to go about my daily life and not consider those that are away from their family so my family can have the opportunity to enjoy safety and freedom.   The image of CJ Winand, my friend and fellow wildlife biologist, is a great reminder that freedom isn't free.  CJ volunteered to leave family, a good job, and his bow (CJ's an avid and skilled archery hunter) to serve his country.

Thanks CJ and all the troops that are serving the USA.   I truly appreciate your friendship and service.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

Late Winter Food Plots

By GrowingDeer,

View of standing soybeans in snow at The Proving Grounds with snow
I just returned from Wisconsin early this morning to falling sleet and snow at The Proving Grounds.  As I look out my office window I’m extremely proud of the standing soybeans in the food plot.  Most hunters probably aren't thinking about quality deer forage now as hunting season is over.  However, the gads of deer I saw beside the road late last night is an excellent indicator that native browse in forested areas is in short supply.  Late winter is the time to ensure that nutritional resources are available to the deer herd.  The quality and quantity of available food during the late winter stress period is critical for the health of fawns and antler development later this year.

Growing Deer together,

Grant