Sweet November is here! For many deer hunters this means vacation time and long sits in a Summit stand. During the early portion of November bucks tend to be on their feet and searching for receptive does. Even though bucks are traveling, proper stand placement is key! Many stands hung at The Proving Grounds are ONLY hunted during this time of the year.
When the pre-rut activity is hot, bucks put many miles on their feet. As a hunter it’s important to place yourself along heavily travelled corridors. It is common to hunt stands where does have been frequenting, like food plots or acorn flats. This can result in success, but this pattern can change quickly. Does will alter their patterns as a result of constant pestering from bucks. Since those patterns are subject to change, we focus on pinch points along travel corridors.
One of our favorite stands during this time of the year sits mid slope on a mountain we call 50 Acre. A ravine cuts up the slope from the creek bottom to a bench in the slope. The ravine and bench pinch nearly all the deer movement into a small 20 yard wide swath. Any deer traveling this half of the mountain is likely to walk past the stand within bow range. With bucks on their feet and nudging does these are the type of setups you will find us hunting. In different habitat types, similar areas may include converging creeks, fence rows, edges of bedding cover, or creek crossings.
Now is the time to get in the woods. Find travel corridors that concentrate deer and wait them out! You may just find a buck with his nose down and tail up heading your direction. Hunt hard and stay safe.
Determination can often lead to success. Watch as this truth unfolds for an 86 year old deer hunter. Plus, a mature Ozark buck comes within Prime range. A few does bite the dirt in the process, don't miss the whitetail hunting action!
How do you stop a walking deer? Click here to find out why you may want to start soft!
New Weekly Blog: Tough Hunting Conditions
Forecast calling for warm temperatures? Here are a few tips to fill your freezer even during warm spells.
Tip of the Week:
It's the pre-rut! Time to start hunting stands in pinch points. Deer will be on their feet.
The GrowingDeer Team has kept a close eye on our favorite hit list buck, Handy, throughout the summer. We watched him regularly frequent a food plot on the northern part of The Proving Grounds. As most hunters who have ever watched whitetails throughout the year know, the changing of summer to fall usually brings changes to deer patterns. The same is true for Handy and his summer pattern.
Our last pictures of Handy in velvet came in early September with his running partner Southpaw. After seeing Southpaw had already shed velvet we knew the pattern was soon to change. After those images we went two weeks without a single Reconyx image of Southpaw or Handy. Finally, we found these two bucks in a least expected food plot! North Field is a short distance from where we had captured Reconyx images of these two bucks all summer.
The great news about our MRI (Most Recent Information) is the location of our Redneck trailer blind. We had positioned the Redneck blind in North field a few weeks ago to help us harvest does. We often talk about not hunting mornings during the early season due to the arrangement of our road system to food plots. Fortunately, North Field is one of the few plots we can intercept deer going from feeding back to bedding during the morning hours. It looks like a morning hunt is in store!
Stay tuned to upcoming episodes and blogs as we’re in pursuit of Handy!
For Love of the Land and the Glory to God!
Watch this video to see how we battle the challenges and adventures of early season hunting. From Colorado elk hunting to the opening weekend of Missouri archery season – see the hunts unfold here! Plus, learn about an experimental technique used to improve soil health.
Ever lost a blood trail? Watch here to learn the techniques we use to blood trail game.
New Weekly Blog: When is the best time to tag does?
Click here to learn when antlerless deer should be harvested.
Tip of the Week:
It's time to start monitoring utilization cages! This information may guide you to a hunting hot spot.
Deer hunters aren't the only ones getting ready for fall! Watch to see how whitetails are preparing for the cooler temperatures. Plus, realistic archery practice makes perfect – make sure you are on target this season with these practice tips!
See the strategy we will be using to intercept deer on their way to a major feeding food plot!
New Weekly Blog: How to Respond to Consistent Deer Movement
Ever wonder the best way to capitalize on deer movement? Learn the techniques we use here!
Tip of the Week:
Make venison ready for the freezer: remove the connective tissue for better tasting meat.
Early season hunting strategies can differ across the whitetails range. Here at The Proving Grounds we get boots on the ground to look for sign and the early season attractants. See how we use two different methods of scouting to be in the game as season opens. Watch to get your season started with success!
Are you looking to find that last minute hunting hot spot? Learn the top 10 factors we consider when placing stand locations.
New Weekly Blog: How To Gain MRI
Deer adapt to conditions throughout the season. See how we capture MRI or Most Recent Information to stay successful throughout the fall.
Tip of the Week:
Keep your eye out for fresh deer sign. Scrapes are beginning to open up!
I’ve got to keep it brief today! The sound of sprinkles are chiming off the tin roof. The Proving Grounds hasn’t experienced rain in weeks. This rain isn’t going to end the drought, but we are hopeful it will refresh our planted food plots as well as give life to seed we plan to broadcast.
In final preparations before season opens we are adjusting our trail cameras to provide us with the Most Recent Information (MRI) throughout the entire season. This means placing our Reconyx cameras on scrapes or monitoring food plots using the time lapse feature.
The time lapse feature on trail cameras is an extremely valuable tool to deer hunters. When cameras are placed properly overlooking a field on the time lapse feature they replace the need for humans to scout. The trail camera gathers more information about when deer are coming and going, feeding, as well as entering and exiting the field in a week’s time than a personal scouting trip into the field. Not to mention they are scent free.
We place trail cameras high in trees and set them to take photos on five, ten, or fifteen minute intervals for the first few hours of daylight and then again during the last few hours of daylight. This provides us the information we need to hunt successfully. Our hunting strategy discourages hunting directly over food plots, but these trail cameras show us which trails deer are using as they enter the plot. With this data we can select the stand that will intercept those deer as they make their way to the food plot. Hunting deer in transition allows the food plot to remain a safe feeding destination, ensuring deer keep returning.
We’ve used this strategy for years and much of our success is based around gaining MRI and adapting quickly to changes just as deer commonly do. Prior to season, set your trail cameras to cover large food plots using the time lapse feature. Scout scent free all the way through the season, gaining valuable MRI day by day.
Rain is coming in, so the seed must get sown!
Enjoying Creation together,
As deer season opens across the country we show the steps it takes to pattern a mature buck. See the tips and tools we use to pattern and hunt mature deer this fall. You can use these same strategies to track down a hit-lister!
Avoid the common mistakes in self-filming. Watch to see the latest and greatest tips on the proper techniques used to video a deer hunt!
New Weekly Blog: Hunting When The Temperature Rises
Will you be deer hunting during the early season? Learn how our stand placements are chosen to stay hot when the temperatures rise.
Tip of the Week:
Before bow season opens be sure to practice with broadheads. Double check your sights before heading to the stand.
With hunting season around the corner it’s important to get your hunting gear and equipment ready for action. One of the most important parts of this is removing foreign odors. We want to get the bucks in close without them detecting our scent. Watch to see the process we take to get our gear scent free for deer season. This process has been vital to our past successes when bow hunting and getting the bucks within bow range.
Building the “Hit List” for The Proving Grounds every summer is always one of my favorite projects. Familiar faces begin to show up in front of our Reconyx cameras, as well as new bucks that increase our heart rates. My favorite part of the process is building the story with a buck over the years. If we can capture images of an immature buck, uniquely identify him, and follow him until he reaches maturity, then have the chance at putting a tag on him, that’s our dream!
One buck we have followed over the last three years, Handy, is turning into a great buck! Watch the video to hear more about this great buck!
For Love of the Land,