Adam and I are rolling back to The Proving Grounds from our trip to Kansas. We hunted hard for six days with lots of deer activity seen throughout the week. If you have been out in the woods, you may be experiencing much of the same. Unfortunately, we are returning without a mature buck in the truck despite hunting on some great ground in early to mid-November.
Most of the deer activity we saw was does slipping through the timber in an attempt to hide from pesky bucks or young bucks cruising with their noses on the ground. This action was quite intense and kept us on our toes. However, this action was also draining! At this time of the year bucks are starting to become locked down with does. Does are receptive for a 24 to 48 hour period. During this time bucks will stay close to the receptive doe and not leave her until she is bred, making this a potentially tough time to hunt since bucks aren’t up and moving as much as the chase phase.
In an instant, the mature buck can bred his doe that has kept him locked down and move on in search of another. When this occurs it can make putting in lots of time in a Summit Stand pay off in a big way. However, when the weather is unseasonably warm like this past week in Kansas and bucks are locked down with does, the hunting suddenly becomes much tougher. Does do not move as much because of the weather and the mature buck movement will decrease as well.
Despite the lockdown phase of the rut and warmer temperatures, the morning and late afternoon action, when temperatures were the lowest, kept us entertained. If you are finding yourself putting in lots of time in the stand recently, hang in there! Action from a hit list buck can come your way in an instant. Remember that does are seeking refuge from bucks, so key in to the areas with thick cover. Does will be bedding in the escape cover and in a matter of time, so will the bucks!
Chasing whitetails together,
Watch this episode to see how Heath Martin takes a Kansas brute with a brand new Prime bow called the RIZE! Lindsey Martin gets on the board too. Even though she has a run in with Kansas coyotes, she still drops a doe at 30 yards.
Tip of the Week:
Not much can turn a buck better than a grunt call.
Right now, this is the tool of choice.
Get attention. Don’t be afraid to get louder if needed.
Watch this episode to see Seth Harker and Chase White work on doe management. While they are working on arrowing the does, antlers come into range! Then in Iowa, watch Pro Staff Ryan Arnevik and Rory Heims as they have an amazing bow hunt, taking 4 does in about an hour!
Everyone loves jerky! Tracy has another great tip showing how you can share more of your venison with tasty homemade jerky.
Tip of the Week:
Mature bucks, if not already, will soon be actively chasing does.
Spend your time hunting favorable travel corridors.
Great chance, Mr. Big will be coming through.
We have thousands of hardwood stump sprouts growing here on The Proving Grounds. Their massive
root systems are stealing resources. This week we’re trying a new technique to kill those old stump
sprouts and recycle their nutrients back into the soil to improve the habitat.
Tip of the Week:
Drop in temperature? It’s time to hunt.
If a 10% drop in temp is on the way, there’s gonna be deer
That’s a good time to be in the stand.
Kansas buck down! This week we head to Kansas with pro staffers Jerry Boden and Aaron Morgan. It’s a fairly quiet hunt until, suddenly, chaos breaks loose with deer running all over. Click through to watch the hunt play when this Kansas buck enters the fray.
Nothing “mock” about this scrape. Watch as Adam shows you how to create a “real deal” mock scrape. It’s a complete package for bringing that buck broadside in your shooting lane.
Tip of the Week:
It’s hard to predict deer movement in many fields. Create a big attraction by building your own scrape station. Adam shows you how he does it, step by step, in this episode.
Adam, Daniel, and I have been scouting while doing field work. I’m a bit shocked that we are finding acorns on the ground already. Typically we don’t find acorns on the ground until late September. There are always a few acorns that were aborted, damaged by insects, etc., that fall early. We are finding good acorns along with hulls, scat, etc. Deer are clearly already eating acorns!
The Proving Grounds is primary forested. There are oaks everywhere! During years when there is a good acorn crop it can be very difficult to pattern deer because there’s food everywhere. In addition, if deer are alerted or spooked it is very easy for them to feed elsewhere given these conditions.
When these conditions occur hunters need to continue to scout for fresh sign and be very careful not to alert deer when entering, hunting, and exiting a stand.
We’ll keep you posted week by week about what we observe in the field and what strategies are working best.
As antler development is beginning to wind down, hit lists begin to develop. Hunters have had the opportunity to inventory the individual bucks based on antler characteristics. With individual bucks clearly recognizable, the next step is to develop a strategic plan to tag these bucks. Antler characteristics are just one of multiple aspects that make each buck an “individual”.
Each hit list buck exhibits certain characteristics that influence the chances of that deer being harvestable. Some of these characteristics can easily be examined in a series of trail camera photos you have received through the summer months. When examining these photos, ask yourself the following questions:
- When are the bucks being photographed, daylight or nighttime?
- Is the area the buck using accessible to me?
- Can I hunt the deer in transition or over a hidey hole food plot?
- Will the predominate wind allow me to reach my stand undetected?
Ask yourself these questions as opening day nears. Answers to these questions can help you narrow your hit list down further to strictly huntable deer and maximize your opportunities afield. Don’t simply let antlers dictate which stand you hunt, use your resources to determine which hit list buck provides you with the best chance to fill a tag! Be sure to share your success with us here at GrowingDeer.tv.
Lindsey Martin arrows her first buck! Watch this video to see the story unfold and her patience rewarded. The season was moving along and it wasn’t going well until the late season when Heath discovers a pattern of daylight bucks. They hang a pair of treestands by an old fence gap and wait for the late morning bucks to show.
Plus, It’s Grant and Adam’s last afternoon deer hunt. It's an action filled final hunt. There’s deer all around them, when suddenly a target buck shows up! It’s a 4.5 year old buck called Rocker and he’s close to making a mistake.
Deer Season Over?
Great time to see how deer are using your property.
There’s no fear of busting deer, so get in there and scout.
Look for well used trails and scrapes. Find new patterns now, for better hunting next season.
Remember your first deer? Six year old Trace Harker gets excited this week when he gets his first deer! Then dad, Seth Harker, heads back to a plot of Eagle Seed beans to try his hand at late season success. ‘Tis the season to remove predators off your property. Pro trapper, Clint Cary, shows you step-by-step how to make a flat set to catch fawn-nabbing coyotes.
Tip of the Week:
Catching nest predators can be hard.
The Dog Proof trap changed all that. It's easy and safe to use.
Want more turkey, pheasants and quail? Get some Duke DP's and get catchin’.
A buck steps into the food plot. Adam knows this buck. It's Two Face. Did this 9 year old buck finally make a mistake? The deer are really hammering the Broadside food plot blend and that’s a great spot for some late season backstraps. It’s time to remove predators. Tips on cold weather trapping, plus, Grant tries a new stinky product.
Tip of the Week:
Got Coyotes? Yes, you do.
Coyotes wear n' tear your winter deer herd.
Grab a couple of Duke #4 traps. Make flat sets or dirt hole sets for less coyotes, more deer.