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GRANT: Arrows were flying last week as Adam and I headed up to Pennsylvania for the Prime Total Archery Challenge. Back at the farm, we’re always preparing for deer season.
GRANT: You can see from that footage how much forage is out here.
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GRANT: A fun part of preparing for deer season is practicing with your bow year round. So, Adam and I jumped on the opportunity to go to the Prime Total Archery Challenge at the beautiful Seven Springs Resort near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
UNKNOWN: Oh, yeah.
UNKNOWN: I think you hit it.
UNKOWN: Nice! Nice!
GRANT: When I first learned about the Total Archery Challenge, I was intrigued because there’s pop up courses and intermediate courses, but what really made me want to go was the Prime Challenge or they call it the Western Course. It’s a couple miles long with several 3D targets ranging out to 98 yards at very steep angles. What bow hunter wouldn’t want this opportunity to hone their skills and be ready for deer season?
GRANT: David, here we are at the total archery challenge. A little bit cloudy. Simulates weather conditions. We’re taking off to the Prime Course. Tell me about that.
DAVID: Well, the Prime Course is gonna be, definitely, the hardest course, uh, here in, uh, Seven Springs. But, um, I guess we’re starting off at, uh, 57 yards at a black wolf and then I believe next is a 98 yard elk shot.
GRANT: Whoo. That’s a tough way to wake up in the morning. Let’s go see how the Prime Course lays out.
GRANT: I met up with David from Prime Bows and John, a local hunter. We decided to pair up and tackle the course.
GRANT: Wow, man. You are the man. That takes a big boy just to get that target out here.
GRANT: Nice. Very nice. I had heard it was a very challenging course so I packed plenty of BloodSport arrows and ready to take it on.
GRANT: Did I go left?
UNKNOWN: Yup. You got it left, low.
GRANT: Nice. Very nice. Yeah.
UNKNOWN: There you go.
GRANT: Thumped that bad boy.
UNKNOWN: And the circles look (inaudible)
GRANT: Gosh, you guys got good eyes.
GRANT: Yeah, just…
GRANT: Some of these shots were over 80 yards with a strong crosswind, so I really had to focus because peer pressure is always an added tool to sharpen your game.
GRANT: Day 1 was windy, steep and oftentimes wet, just like real hunts can be and I had a blast. I couldn’t wait to see what Day 2 would bring.
GRANT: I hear a hamburger calling my name.
ADAM: I hear that.
GRANT: Another really cool portion of this shoot was the practice range. There were targets from close to 70 or 80 yards and then there was the monster bull elk at 160 yards.
GRANT: Did you hit it? I think you hit it.
UNKNOWN: I think I did.
GRANT: …he hit it.
GRANT: I wouldn’t think about shooting an elk or any other animal at 160 yards with my bow. But it sure is fun to air out an arrow every now and then, especially in a safe environment where you know you can find your arrows and let your buddies help tune you in so you can make that shot of a lifetime.
GRANT: Right by me. Right by me.
DAVID: I’m lower than you, I think.
GRANT: Man, you're trying to bust my nock man.
GRANT: It wasn’t just about the guys out there. This was a great family event. I saw a lot of ladies shooting, but I really liked the kids shooting, especially the pop up range.
UNKNOWN: Good shot. Right in the legs.
GRANT: In addition to figuring out where I’m fairly solid and what I need to tune up on before deer season as far as my shooting skills go, it was a great relaxing time to enjoy the views, visit with some other hunters and really get ready for the 2014 deer season.
GRANT: We had so many great turkey hunts, even though season is over in Missouri, we still have plenty to share.
ADAM BROOKE: We come in. We got a bird. We’re just walking down the hill. Just to get started. We got a bird fired up. Kind of one of those midday gobblers. We’re gonna try to go after him.
GRANT: The boys struck a bird right off the bat. But, unfortunately, that tom was so close, it didn’t give ‘em time to get a good set up. So, they wisely let this bird walk off so they could sneak down to a better set up and try to call him back in.
UNKOWN: (Whispering) Oh my god.
GRANT: As this bird started working his way down the ridge, he veered into the thickest cover around.
ADAM: (Whispering) All I’m seeing is tail fan.
ADAM BROOKE: (Whispering) Yup.
ADAM: (Whispering) Here he comes.
ADAM BROOKE: (Whispering) You on him?
ADAM: (Whispering) Um, yeah.
ADAM BROOKE: Done.
ADAM: What is going on?
ADAM BROOKE: He was wearing me out. I could hear him dragging his wing feathers on the dirt. He was dragging ‘em. But when he dropped strut and I seen him lower his head, I thought, “Well, he’s coming in this time,” and then I didn’t want to let him get any closer.
ADAM: He stepped out. I was, like, “Okay.” And he was behind all that broomsedge. I was like, “Well, this isn't very good.” And he turned around and he threw that head up and he was looking. I was like uh, and on the video you’ll hear me be like, I was like, “Uh, I think.” Boom. (Laughter)
GRANT: Hunting with family and friends is always exciting, but adding to that tagging a tom and providing some delicious meat for the family, well it makes it a really successful spring.
GRANT: Having been out of state for several days, I was eager this morning to check out the last food plots we planted here at The Proving Grounds. It was clear we had great germination and the Eagle Seed soybeans are on their way.
GRANT: May 19th and out checking germination in one of the last food plots we’ve planted. We call this Crabapple Field and you probably recall this food plot as my father had a great buck hunt in the Redneck blind right behind me.
GRANT: You can see from that footage how much forage was out here and how the deer were loving it during December. But rather than till all that back in the soil, is kind of an old school practice, all we did was come in and spray with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and let all that vegetation die right on the surface. Then we used a no-till drill. You can rent them in most counties throughout the whitetails’ range and drill the seed, or place the seed, right in that vegetation and actually cut through it and get it down in the soil about an inch. This was an old crabapple grove that had died out so we cleared it out this spring and this was our food plot. And you can see all the decaying vegetation here on the food plot. That’s returning the minerals and nutrients that was in this vegetation and serving as a mulch where here we have the bare soil exposed. The area that we cleared of the old crabapple grove is like we disc it when we worked up the soil to prepare for planting and it doesn’t have the advantage of all the decaying vegetation returning nutrients to the soil and holding moisture in the soil. Another factor really worthy of consideration – look at all the weeds coming up here where we’ve disturbed the soil and almost no weeds where we used the no-till system.
GRANT: If you’d like to learn more about our food plot techniques, how we use trail cameras or how and where we place our hunting setups, come join us during one of our field days this summer. We’ll host one at the Kentucky Proving Grounds during July and another here at my ranch in August.
GRANT: I look forward to visiting with you here at The Proving Grounds this summer.
GRANT: And it’s defense mechanism is – man I see tough times coming, I’m gonna pull everything…
GRANT: Whatever you're doing outside this week, slow down and enjoy Creation and most importantly, listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.