A Food Plot Strategy That Works For Any Size Property (Episode 445 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: Not long ago we calibrated the Genesis drill and began planting.

GRANT: We’ve had several timely rains here at The Proving Grounds recently and the Eagle Seed beans are sprouting throughout our plots.

GRANT: The cool season crops and some of our fall food plots were heavily browsed. In those plots, there wasn’t enough forage to get a good mulch if we crimp, so we terminated those crops with a herbicide.

GRANT: Deer have already found those young, tender beans in the first plots we’ve planted.

GRANT: Forage soybeans are an excellent warm season crop. I prefer soybeans over corn because the deer eat on the forage all summer and the pods throughout the winter.

GRANT: So, for most of us, with limited food plot acres, I need something that’s productive as many months as possible and the best option for that is forage soybeans.

GRANT: Along that same line of maximizing production per each acre of food plot, I’m always gonna use Eagle Seeds indeterminate varieties of forage soybeans. Indeterminate simply means the plant keeps growing throughout the growing season. It’s not bred to ripen all at a defined date.

GRANT: So, you’ll find on an indeterminate soybean that it’ll be forming pods on the bottom and still making blooms on top. On most ag varieties of soybeans, they all ripen at the same time. They make flowers and then pods. There’s no new growth.

GRANT: Another great trait of Eagle Seeds’ indeterminate forage soybeans is that they handle browse pressure very well. Deer can nip ‘em off and they keep growing. Where most varieties of soybeans – a couple nips on top and that plant’s done.

GRANT: There’s an obvious relationship between the amount of acres in an area of soybeans and antler size.

GRANT: Putting all this together – there’s a lot of reasons to plant indeterminate forage soybeans.

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GRANT: Somebody stand right by that post, please.

GRANT: Every 14 yards – give or take.

GRANT: Last summer, we expanded a small hidey hole food plot we called Prickly Pear. After the expansion was complete, we planted the fall Buffalo Blend and applied Plot Rock – basically ground up Trophy Rock that you spread as a soil amendment.

GRANT: The Proving Grounds is in a CWD zone and we can no longer put out Trophy Rocks. I was looking for a way to provide deer with critical trace minerals. Trophy Rock has about 65 trace minerals.

GRANT: Plot Rock was a good answer. We can apply Plot Rock to our food plots. Plot Rock goes into the soil as a soil amendment; plants take up those minerals and deer consume the plants.

GRANT: This strategy is good for the soil, good for the forage and obviously good for the deer.

GRANT: Based on Daniel’s observations, we knew Prickly Pear was in a great location and thought we could improve it even more. So, recently, we’ve put up a Hot Zone fence just in front of Daniel’s stand.

GRANT: So, we’re gonna run down the road and back that way and just make a square right here.

GRANT: Beautiful morning at The Proving Grounds and I believe Skyler is our 43rd intern – 43 of these rascals I've had the privilege of working with. So, I’ve got Skyler from Arkansas, Luke from Virginia and Nathan from Georgia. And together today, well, we’re gonna be putting up a Hot Zone fence.

GRANT: We’re in a field we call Prickly Pear. Daniel took four does out of this plot last year and they got browsed extremely heavily. It’s a small food plot in the middle of a lot of timber. So, want to use the Hot Zone to protect a small portion of the beans – maybe a quarter acre or so – and allow those to make pods which is super attractive during the late season.

GRANT: The rest of the field – the beans will grow, but it’ll probably be browsed on pretty hard and about August or so, we’ll drill right through those beans with the Buffalo Blend.

GRANT: A lot of people ask, “Gosh. Why do you plant stuff and then protect it with a fence?” But, again, with beans, we want some portion of ‘em to go all the way to maturity and make pods. Those pods are super attractive.

GRANT: And what we’ll do even later – like late October – maybe even into November because Eagle keeps their forage so long – we’ll broadcast the fall Buffalo Blend into that, so it’ll be plenty of green and ground cover throughout the winter, come on strong.

GRANT: The rest of it – mid-August somewhere – we’re getting soil moisture – those beans will probably be browsed a lot more because they haven’t been protected. And we’ll drill right through there with the fall Buffalo Blend to get it started earlier.

GRANT: So, we’ll have greens and grain in the same field.

GRANT: During the summer, we may have to weed-eat below the fence. Otherwise, that vegetation will short the fence out. It’ll zap all the electricity out of the fence. So, most important thing to a fence working properly is getting a really good ground.

GRANT: So, we’ll work hard to drive the ground rod down through these rocks. That’s, uh, one of the bigger challenges. We’ll probably take turns rotating on that one. But, the Hot Zone works real simply.

GRANT: It’s got a solar panel. Obviously, the sun’s not running at night. Right? So, we’ll put a deep cycle battery there and that solar panel is actually a trickle charger to keep the battery going so during the night, the fence is hot. Because the deer are most active during the night and they check everything out with their nose. Right?

GRANT: When you see a deer come check something out through the woods, it doesn’t reach out and tap it with a paw. It hits it with that moist nose. And when that moist nose hits that Hot Zone fence, that baby knows not to look at those beans on the inside. That’s taboo.

GRANT: So, we’ve got a strategy here. Daniel found a tree last year that worked great. We don’t want to change that stand location. Those Summits are working great.

GRANT: We’ll probably start the fence about ten yards from there. So before we open up the fence or take it down and let deer have access to the pods, we’re creating a bottleneck.

GRANT: That fence not only serves to protect the beans but make a bottleneck to get deer within range and provide some hunting opportunities.

GRANT: Cold days almost always have a northern or western wind. So with Daniel’s stand on the southeast side and being able to approach the plot from the east, we can get in that stand after the fence has been taken down – or partially taken down – and hunt it on those cold days knowing that’s the preferred food source in the area.

GRANT: No, no, no, no, no, no. Now you're about pure south. See? The face of it is gonna be this way. That’s about pure- right there. And it needs to be straight.

GRANT: The first step is to place the solar charger in an area of the fence that’s gonna receive maximum sunlight.

GRANT: I want to see that Virginia muscle kicking in here.

GRANT: This usually means away from a timberline and facing south.

GRANT: Just read it if you don't think I’m serious.

GRANT: The next step is to place the corner posts to define the perimeter of the fence.

GRANT: Somebody stand right by that post, please.

GRANT: This technique is great for properties of any size. But, I really like ‘em for small properties. It allows those folks to maintain high quality food plots into the hunting season.

GRANT: The Hot Zone is a two-layer fence. The outside layer has a single strand of poly tape and the inside – about three feet away, toward the food you wish to protect – has two wires. One 10 and 24 inches above the ground.

GRANT: I’ve been using Hot Zone fences for years and this design works excellent.

GRANT: Deer will browse along the edge of the fence, but they tend not to jump it as long as it’s hot and been functioning since the day it was installed.

GRANT: With the line post installed, we simply use the clips and put the wires at the appropriate height.

GRANT: You noticed when I laid it out, I stayed several feet off the timberline. That’s because the first few nights, while the fence is new, I don’t want a deer coming out not knowing the fence is there and running into it. Give ‘em a little bit of time to see it, pick it up and when we’re driving by, we just want to make sure it’s taunt all the way and the beans aren’t growing up in the fence. ‘Cause at night, you may get a little dew on there, short it out.

GRANT: Once the fence is up – and I made sure the interns are away from it – I turn the energizer on.

GRANT: Fence is up; we’ve tested it; we know we’re running a little bit over 7,000 volts. That should be a pretty good deterrent. These beans will mature. These beans will grow but be browsed. But, we’re saving these for the late season.

GRANT: I've used these fences for several years and I’ve selected the second setting to the right. It doesn’t pulse as much throughout the day. But, at night, it pulses very frequently. And at night is when deer are most likely to challenge the fence.

GRANT: I love that it has a power meter right on the front. I can drive by and as long as all the lights are lighting up red, I know that baby is hot.

GRANT: The photo eye tells the fence whether it’s day or night. So, it adjusts automatically to changing day length. It may not seem necessary now – we just planted the field – but we’ll show this to you in a couple weeks and there may be already a difference between inside and outside the fence.

GRANT: If you put the fence up, but don’t charge it that day, deer will lose their fear of it and once they lose their fear, they’ll jump it even after it’s charged.

GRANT: We’ll be sharing updates from this project throughout the summer and certainly from a tree stand this fall.

GRANT: Recently, I was invited by a group called Good Dads to speak at Bass Pro’s White River Conference Center. This is a beautiful conference center. It’s actually my favorite place to speak.

GRANT: Before the conference, I was able to visit with several of the attendees and have a great meal.

JENNIFER: I don’t even know if anybody other from Bass Pro is here in the room. But, I know that Dr. Grant Woods is here representing them. So, could we just give them a round of applause, please?

GRANT: I wouldn’t tell anyone I’m a good dad. I have learned by trial and error.

GRANT: Let me introduce you to my family. This is my daughter – that my hands are on the shoulder – uh, Rae and Rae is, will be a junior in Branson High School this coming year. And my lovely wife, Tracy. And Raleigh, who will be a sophomore. And, unfortunately, right now is in Italy on a study abroad program. I made the really foolish comment that, “Hey, honey, if you can get the scholarships, you can go. Daddy’s not paying, but if you can get this worked out, you can go.” And doggone, she did. So, she’s in Italy right now.

GRANT: But, we are from a family of shooters. My dad was a shooter and a hunter. And so, my daughters have been – are shooters. And really, we started in the backyard.

GRANT: You see, shooting is just a way for our family to spend time together. That could have been baseball or soccer or butterfly collecting or anything. And it started with – this is my mom and dad. I just lost my dad a couple months ago – 87 – lived a great life and a huge influence on me.

GRANT: And, you know, my dad was a self-employed contractor. We hear a lot about dads not spending enough time with their kids. Well, I’m the only son in a farm family. My real name should have been Manuel Labor. I can guarantee you I spent enough time with my dad whether I wanted to or not.

GRANT: So, we worked together. But listen to this – this is so cool. My dad didn’t learn to read ‘til he was 60. And so, from 5th grade on, I would go to work with my dad – self-employed; there wasn’t any OSHA laws or anything. And microwaves and sliding glass doors were coming in vogue about the time I was in 5th grade. And my job was to read the instructions.

GRANT: ‘Cause once my dad heard it verbally, he could do anything. He was brilliant. He just was never taught to read. He was raised extremely poor – down on Woods’ Fork – last name Woods – Woods’ Fork – down south of Ozark, Missouri.

GRANT: I thought it was punishment at the time. Now, I make a living sharing highly technical information about white-tailed deer and breaking it down for anyone to understand. It was the perfect training grounds.

GRANT: What can you do to your kids? And what you have to do to do anything positive is time. And I had time with my dad.

GRANT: My dad was a shooter. I was a shooter. Not as good as my dad. My dad was a hunter. I’m a hunter. Of course, I taught my daughters how to hunt.

GRANT: Instead of just going hunting. “Hey, see y'all later. See you next weekend.” Take ‘em along. Now, you know what? I learned some lessons early on. Don’t take M&M’s – my kids’ favorite candy – when you take ‘em hunting. Because they eat one at a time. Rattle, rattle, rattle, eat one. Rattle, rattle, rattle.

GRANT: It’s not gonna go perfect. It’s about love. It, I mean, it really is.

GRANT: You know, so my dad, as he got older – man, I would, I would do anything to get him in front of deer. I’d ride him in a buggy; I wrapped orange sleeping bags around him. He had cancer – at the last, 47 masses between here and here. But, he wanted to be outside. I did whatever it took, man.

GRANT: We’d carry the guy out there. We did anything that was legal to get him out there.

GRANT: Hopefully, my kids were watching. ‘Cause I’m gonna get old.

GRANT: And think about his, guys. You think any punk boy is gonna ask my daughter on a date? She’s killed a bunch of critters.

GRANT: I never forced it. I never said, “We’re going hunting today.” Or, “We’re going fishing today.” But, deer hunting is horrible for taking kids. Right? What do you do? You sit down, you shut up and you be quiet for three hours. Even churches don’t do that to kids.

GRANT: So, we didn’t start there. We started with bobbers and catching bluegills. You know, we started with BB guns and all the unsafe things. Shooting tin cans and stuff like that. And, and we didn’t get to deer hunting or shooting competitively for many years.

GRANT: Thank you all very much.

GRANT: I always enjoy meeting new folks and sharing information.

GRANT: Whether it’s about hunting techniques, land management or life experiences. I appreciate Bass Pro and the organizers of Good Dads sponsoring this event and I’m very supportive of their mission.

GRANT: I hope you have a chance this week to get outside and enjoy Creation with family or friends. But, most importantly, I hope you find quiet time every day to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

GRANT: If you would like to learn more about the Buffalo System or our hunting techniques, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.

RAE: (Whispering) Dad, I’ll show a track to you. (Giggles)