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GRANT: Missouri’s archery season opened recently and I was thrilled that my oldest daughter, Raleigh, returned home from college to hunt.
GRANT: If you don't know, eight weeks ago, Raleigh donated one of her kidneys to me. Raleigh’s gift of sacrificial love was a huge example to me and many others.
GRANT: She has fully recovered from the transplant surgery and was ready to climb a stand and go hunting.
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GRANT: During the early season, we rarely hunt during the mornings. This is because deer are still active in the morning while we’re trying to go to the stand. And there’s a high likelihood of alerting deer.
GRANT: We can almost always approach our stands or blinds during the afternoon while deer are in their bedding area and then let them become active and come to us. Raleigh and Daniel opted to hunt near a food plot we call Big Cave.
RALEIGH: So, it’s opening weekend of bow season here in Missouri – September 15th. It’s a little warm. That’s why we didn’t hunt in the morning. But we’re out hunting this afternoon. We’ve got a nice wind coming in from the east on top of this ridge, so it looks promising.
RALEIGH: The new crops for the fall have grown really good. So, we’ll see how the hunt goes.
RALEIGH: We’ve been patterning some does walking out 10 yards away which is just perfect for my range. And we really need to take a lot of does off the property ‘cause the population is super high. So, hopefully, I can fling an arrow at one of those tonight.
GRANT: During the spring planting season, we placed a Hot Zone fence on a small portion of the Big Cave food plot. Even though it was a wicked dry summer here at The Proving Grounds, the soybeans in the Hot Zone, because there was no browse pressure, grew great and are producing a lot of pods.
GRANT: We’ll leave the Hot Zone up and keep those beans protected until the late season when deer really seek those energy-rich Eagle Seed soybean pods.
GRANT: Recently, we planted the Fall Buffalo Blend and with the recent rains, it’s coming on strong in the Big Cave plot.
GRANT: As season approached, our camera told us there was a pretty good pattern of does near one of our Summit stands.
GRANT: The south facing slope is an important part of this strategy. Because during the early season, deer are likely bedded on a north facing slope where it’s much cooler.
GRANT: With a northeast wind and knowing there’s a pretty good pattern based on our Reconyx images, it was an easy choice to send Raleigh and Daniel to the Big Cave plot.
GRANT: Not long into the hunt, Daniel spotted a doe working the edge of the plot toward their stand. There wasn’t much time. Daniel was hustling to turn all the cameras on; Raleigh put her book down and grabbed her bow.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Ready? You good?
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yup.
GRANT: At ten yards, Raleigh made a great shot and the first doe is down at The Proving Grounds.
RALEIGH: It’s cooled down a little bit; the sun’s going down. Um, I finished my book, so that was nice. And we’re sitting here and we hear something a little while ago. Nothing ends up walking out. And then Daniel’s like, “Hey, there’s a doe in the road.”
RALEIGH: So, I stand up. Two seconds later, it steps out in the shooting zone; draw back; nail down on it and release. Arrow went through; I already see the blood come out from the other side. I think it was a kill shot.
GRANT: Raleigh and Daniel enjoyed the rest of the afternoon and saw several deer.
GRANT: Finally, the sun set and it was time to climb out of the Summits and pick up the trail.
RALEIGH: After it got dark, we got down from the stand to get my arrow. There wasn’t a lot of blood, but just a little. So, that made trailing it a little bit of a guessing game. However, 70 yards down the hill, we finally found her and we’re ready to drag her back up.
GRANT: Great job, Raleigh. And thanks for coming home from college. You know you made your dad very proud.
GRANT: Besides the excitement of Raleigh coming home and tagging the first doe of the season here at The Proving Grounds, there was an important lesson we could learn from her hunt.
GRANT: Watching Raleigh’s hunt in real time, it looks like the doe is walking by, she zips it and it’s a happy ending. Which is true. But, when we slow it down to frame by frame, we could tell that even at 10 yards, that doe had started to react.
GRANT: For years, I've noticed deer can react very quickly. It’s one of their survival skills. And when the shot of a bow goes off, which is an unnatural sound, they start trying to get out of Dallas.
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GRANT: Enjoying and learning more about Creation has always excited me. But, my number one goal is listening and understand what the Creator is saying to me. I hope you have the same goal.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.