This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
DANIEL: Well, here at The Proving Grounds and across most of the whitetails’ range, hunting season is in full swing. Unfortunately, like many across the whitetails’ range, we’ve been in a wicked drought.
DANIEL: Even before the drought occurred here at The Proving Grounds, we were planning on removing 40 does to try to help balance the number of mouths with the number of acres of quality forage that we have. That means a lot of Bloodsports need to fly.
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GRANT: (Inaudible) Tommy Hicks says, “How ol-, how did The Proving Grounds come about? We’d love to see a video about The Proving Grounds.” My wife Tracy and I were living in South Carolina and we had spent years trying to – early years – trying to find some land.
GRANT: We had three criteria: we had to be able to afford the land; also I wanted to be within an hour and a half of a decent airport; and we wanted to be in a good school system. Tracy picked up a, a real estate guide at an ice cream store. I love ice cream. And come out to me and said, “Hey, Grant. Here’s a ranch for sale.” And I instantly, selfishly thought, “Gosh, looking at any real estate is better than going shopping tomorrow.” That was our plan, so I said, “Honey, call the real estate agent.” And that’s how God put us here.
DANIEL: With the drought, quality food has been limited. So, what food is available is attracting deer.
DANIEL: As the drought drags on, we’re very thankful that last spring we implemented the Buffalo food plot practices because they’ve had great results.
DANIEL: North Field, like all our other food plots, had a great stand of cereal rye that we planted the previous fall.
DANIEL: When the rye was still in the dough stage, where the seeds were not fully mature or hard, we brought the Goliath crimper in and terminated the cereal rye.
DANIEL: The Goliath simply broke the circulatory system of the cereal rye – terminating it without the use of herbicide and it covered the ground. Having the ground covered allows the soil to hold moisture and protects it from erosion.
DANIEL: The rye did an incredible job holding soil moisture throughout the summer while the Eagle Seed beans grew.
DANIEL: Because cereal rye is high in carbon, it takes it longer to break down. So, when we returned to plant our fall Buffalo Blend, the rye was still protecting the soil and holding soil moisture.
DANIEL: Even through the drought, North Field has held soil moisture and the fall Buffalo Blend has done incredibly well considering the dry conditions.
DANIEL: Thankfully, a few days ago, our dry conditions were slightly relieved when a few showers moved through The Proving Grounds. Thankfully, it rained all morning and into the afternoon. But it was forecasted to take a break late in the afternoon.
DANIEL: I felt the deer would be on their feet and feeding. And with the high quality forage in North Field, it seemed like a great place to hunt.
DANIEL: With a southeast wind, Danny Naugle and I were able to enter North Field undetected and slip into a Redneck trailer blind.
DANIEL: (Whispering) It is October 3rd, and Danny and I have climbed into the Redneck Blind. Super excited about this afternoon because we’re hunting in North Field.
DANIEL: (Whispering) North Field was one of the first food plots that was planted here at The Proving Grounds before we went into a wicked drought. It was able to jump up; put on a lot of forage before the drought. So, it’s one of the better food plots and one of the better food sources right now at The Proving Grounds.
DANIEL: (Whispering) We’ve had a rain move through this afternoon. It just stopped. And we’re hoping this rain and this little break will get deer on their feet and feeding.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Got a hit list buck in the area called Cactus Jack. Raleigh and I saw Cactus Jack the first afternoon of Missouri’s archery season from this very blind. So, super excited about what may step out. Hopefully, we can punch a tag.
DANIEL: It was almost like someone flipped a switch because when the rain stopped, the deer started pouring into the field.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
DANIEL: As Danny and I were scrambling to grab the bow and get the camera around, we noticed that one of the deer was a good looking buck.
DANIEL: It was a great mainframe six pointer that had a crab claw on one side.
DANIEL: We had got a couple of Reconyx pictures of this buck but none of ‘em were at the right angle where we could estimate his age accurately. Seeing him on the hoof, I estimated this buck was three years old and I gave him the pass.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Oh yeah. He’s messing with the wrong guy.
DANIEL: I kept waiting for a doe to step into range but they drifted off to the side of the slope and stepped into the timber right as the rain started again.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Whew. It just started raining again and they dove off into the timber. I suspect when this little shower passes, more deer will come up and feed.
DANIEL: Sure enough. As soon as the rain let up, deer started entering the plot.
DANIEL: This time, a young eight pointer was with ‘em.
DANIEL: Gosh. These deer were stuffing their mouths with the Buffalo Blend.
DANIEL: The deer were all around the blind but they were just outta range.
DANNY: (Whispering) What is she doing? (Inaudible) …duck.
DANIEL: Suddenly, I noticed a doe had stepped in the plot further down and was headed right for us.
DANIEL: As she worked into range, I waited for her to present a shot.
DANIEL: She stopped and started feeding at 30 yards.
DANIEL: I knew the doe had ducked and turned and the arrow had hit her a little high and a little back and, most likely, hit liver. But I was worried about the rain washing away the blood trail. So, I was banking on the Deadmeat doing its job and decided to take up the trail.
DANIEL: Uh-oh. Got those coyotes started up. Definitely (Inaudible) blood there. But, I think we need to get on the trail because of this rain. So. Coyotes may already be on her.
DANIEL: Right there. Right there. There. Blood there. Blood there, blood there, blood there. There she is. Right there. She’s right there. I see a white belly.
DANIEL: She ran 70 yards. Oh yeah. Good deal. Deadmeat sure did it.
DANIEL: Just glad to take another doe off The Proving Grounds. Of course, we’re trying really hard – especially with this drought. Our food plots are struggling. We’re, we’re trying really hard to balance our food with the number of mouths we’ve got.
DANIEL: You know, it was in between those brakes. It was like someone flipped a switch. As soon as the rain stopped, the deer stepped out. We’re gonna drag her up top. Probably meet Grant up top in the Yamaha and get her back to the office.
DANIEL: I think. Are all those knives still upstairs, Grant?
GRANT: (Inaudible) Hey, folks, we’re back at the skinning shed and Daniel Mallette has put another big nanny on the ground. That guy is on fire this year. Some rain clouds. Yeah, look at him.
GRANT: A little rain shower (Inaudible) heavy…
DANIEL: You may recall earlier this summer, Grant and the summer interns flagged out an additional two acre food plot around a little hidey hole that we call Prickly Pear.
DANIEL: The portion of the property where Prickly Pear is located doesn’t have high quality browse. So by adding two acres to this small hidey hole food plot, Prickly Pear, we were not only increasing the quantity of browse but the quality.
DANIEL: Our intern, Tyler, came in late summer and planted Prickly Pear food plot with the fall Buffalo Blend and then we came in a few weeks later and spread Trophy Rock Grow.
DANIEL: Trophy Rock Grow is a finely ground soil amendment that can be broadcast over a food plot. The trace minerals are then taken up by the plant and made available to the deer as they consume the forage.
DANIEL: This is a great way to provide your herd with quality forage and trace minerals even if you can or can't have traditional mineral sites on your property.
DANIEL: We rarely get east winds here at The Proving Grounds, so we decided to hang a Summit Stand on the southeast corner of Prickly Pear so we could enter from the east on a west or north wind.
DANIEL: With all the work that had gone into Prickly Pear this summer, we finally had the right wind and a good pattern of does showing up in the food plot. Wes and I decided it was time for the first hunt at Prickly Pear.
DANIEL: (Whispering) 26 yards. She likes it out there.
DANIEL: After we got settled in, it wasn’t long before the first deer entered the food plot.
DANIEL: As I was thinking we were gonna be waiting a long time for these deer to come into range, I heard something in the leaves right across the plot.
DANIEL: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Yes. Okay.
DANIEL: Three deer stepped into the food plot.
DANIEL: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Make sure we’re on the doe.
WES: (Whispering) The lead one is a doe. Correct?
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yes.
WES: (Whispering) Okay.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Be real, be real careful with your (Inaudible).
DANIEL: Finally, they turned and headed toward the shooting lane.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah, I don’t want to (Inaudible) and shoot them all.
DANIEL: I’d been waiting a long time, but Wes finally told me he was on the doe and I was able to draw back.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Oh.
DANIEL: I immediately knew the shot was low and a little back.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Ooo. That was not good.
DANIEL: (Whispering) And it hit low. Golly.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Well, those deer came in. They were close; 20 yard shot. I aimed low. A lot of deer have been ducking, so I didn’t put my pin right on where the brown and white line or brown and white meets it. Let it fly. She didn’t – I don't think she ducked much. It just hit right there.
DANIEL: But after a few minutes, they turned and came back towards us.
DANIEL: Finally, a doe was within range.
DANIEL: This shot was further back.
DANIEL: We watched this doe run and stop in the field. As the light faded, I was watching the doe with the Nikons. The doe ended up bedding down in the field and Wes and I decided the best course of action was to pack up quietly, sneak down and head back to the Yamaha.
DANIEL: Both shots seemed like it would take several hours for the does to expire and it would be a difficult trail.
DANIEL: Well, made a low hit last night on the doe. We, uh, went back and looked at the footage. I think we may be able to recover. So, we brought Crystal out and we’re gonna pick up the trail and get started. So. I think she’s already on it.
GRANT: You ready, Crystal?
DANIEL: You ready, girl?
GRANT: Okay. Can you find a deer? Yeah, she’s on it. Oh, she’s on it big time. Whoo, we’re water skiing.
DANIEL: Right where she went in. So, Crystal’s definitely on the trail. We’re just gonna kind of stay back so there’s not a lot of scent right there around her.
GRANT: Hold onto this jet speed.
DANIEL: Alright, girl. Search, search.
DANIEL: Good girl, Crystal.
GRANT: Good girl, Crystal.
DANIEL: Good girl, Crystal.
DANIEL: We were right over there and I…
DANIEL: Well, Crystal got on the trail. She drug us across the Ozark Mountains but we finally found this doe. Coyotes had beaten us to her.
DANIEL: You know, we were driving out last night and I told Wes. I said, “Man, I think we’re gonna find that deer. But I just don't know if we’ll beat the coyotes to it because we’ve got a lot of coyotes on this end of the property.”
DANIEL: Unfortunately, we don’t have any venison to take home. Uh, the temperatures got down in the low 50s last night so we felt comfortable leaving this doe lay overnight. But the coyotes beat us to her. So, so all I gotta say is, “Watch out, coyotes. We’re coming for you in a couple months.”
DANIEL: Trapping season opens soon. We’re gonna be throwing out some Dukes and, hopefully, we’ll be trapping some coyotes. So you better watch out.
DANIEL: We climbed back up the mountain and started trailing the second doe.
DANIEL: Well, we found the first doe. We’re after the second. Blood Ring; lots of guts, um, and grit on the Blood Ring and on the arrow. So, we decided to back out last night after shooting this deer ‘cause she actually ran and kind of bedded down in the food plot. So, we just snuck out once it got dark.
DANIEL: Um, Crystal found the first one pretty good. So, we’re gonna get on the trail of the second one. And, hopefully, the coyotes haven’t found it yet. So. You ready, Crystal?
GRANT: Find it, Crystal.
GRANT: Find it, Crystal. Find it. Find it girl.
DANIEL: Find it.
GRANT: Good girl.
DANIEL: Well, Crystal found this second doe. Uh. No problem. Went right to it. Good girl, Crystal. Unfortunately, coyotes have also gotten it.
DANIEL: You know, we made the decision on – both the shots were, were back and marginal shots. So, we decided that with the cooler temperatures, we’d let ‘em lay overnight and just come back in the morning. And, unfortunately, coyotes have just gotten her. So, we’re two does closer to our management goal.
DANIEL: We’re coming for you, coyotes, this fall. We’re gonna be after ‘em hard, uh, with the Duke Traps.
DANIEL: We’re gonna go back to the house and get Crystal a treat. You did a good job, didn’t you? Yes. Oh, ew. Alright. You ready, Crystal?
DANIEL: Grant and I wished to share this hunt with you because there was a couple of important take-aways.
DANIEL: Traveling with your bow; pulling it up and down a stand; carrying it through brush. All those things that we as hunters do. Those are times that our equipment is very vulnerable to damage.
DANIEL: Come to find out, my bow was shooting way right and the arrow wasn’t flying quite right. So, I took it to the bow shop, got it all tuned back up. Everything’s shooting great now and I’m ready to go.
DANIEL: Another observation that Grant and I made was the performance of the Deadmeat even on a poor shot placement. Even though the two shots were marginal, the Deadmeat took both these deer down much sooner than Grant and I would have suspected.
DANIEL: Based on the sign that Crystal had found, it is likely that we could’ve picked up the trail and found these deer before the coyotes had.
DANIEL: Knowing this, we’re gonna adjust our trailing strategies and we’re gonna feel more comfortable taking up the trail sooner on marginal shots. And we can't wait to be on the trail again and find fresh venison.
DANIEL: If you haven’t noticed, I’m not Grant. Grant is at the Mayo Clinic with Pops for his post-chemo checkup. Hopefully, they’ll both be hunting soon.
DANIEL: Cooler temperatures have moved to The Proving Grounds and today is the first day that I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt. It’s just been a reminder to me that the seasons change. But, our Creator remains the same. Same way, how He speaks to us may be a little differently, but He is always saying the same message.
DANIEL: I hope you slow down this week and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.