This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: That’s a big body on the left. Four, five, six, seven, eight nine, ten. April 1st and we went over to The Redneck Proving Grounds to help do a timber stand improvement and then Adam and I rolled up to Nebraska for our first turkey hunt of the year.
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GRANT: We’ll leave you. We’ll fill up our little jugs just full of (inaudible)…
GRANT: The guys at Redneck Blinds are avid hunters. That’s probably why their blinds are so well built. They also have purchased a property recently in west central Missouri and they allowed us, earlier this year, to develop a habitat and hunting program.
GRANT: I’d leave that one oak right on the edge right there and I’d leave this oak and I’d kill everything else, except this cherry right here. Doing TSI, Timber Stand Improvement, can be as simple as having a hatchet and a little bit of herbicide. I want to take out trees that are less valuable commercially or for wildlife and leave trees that are more valuable for my mission as a landowner.
GRANT: Russ is behind me making a tree by tree selection of which trees to leave, not touch at all, and which trees to simply hit with the hatchet and then one squirt of herbicide which will kill that tree. A good rule of them is that one swing of the hatchet and one squirt of herbicide which ends up being about a milliliter of herbicide for 3” of diameter of tree.
GRANT: So, here’s a perfect example here. We’ve got this group of hickories, obviously growing out of one stump. This area was high graded in the past where they cut the best and left the rest. We’re going to kill all these hickory trees which have poor form and growing from one stump and will probably fall over as they age; take this hickory out but not touch this oak which has a pretty nice straight form, more valuable for wildlife and allow it to get all the nutrients and moisture in this part of the forest and more sunshine for the canopy. It will allow this tree to grow faster, healthier and more native plants to grow in the soil which makes better bedding cover and more food for all wildlife species.
GRANT: So, that tree’s either dead or dying. I’d go ahead and finish it off and hack it a couple of times. You can see how quick this is. Much quicker than a chainsaw. And safer.
RUSS: Now, is there a limit to the size of the tree that this will work on?
GRANT: No. No limit to the size of the tree. You may have to make ten hatch, you know, big tree.
GRANT: You got to hit it a bunch of times. But no limit. By swinging at a 45 degree angle, you're actually cutting more of the tree’s circulatory system, the xylem and phloem while allowing the herbicide to get right in there and being taken to the root system which will result in a clean, quick kill.
GRANT: Just as important to me as a landowner, when you kill these trees standing with the hack and squirt method, the little limbs dry out quickly, fall to the ground, break down and make more soil and in two or three years, the big stems dry out because they're up in the air not getting moisture from the ground and a wind storm or an ice storm or something will come through and they’ll bust up in small pieces and fall down. All the time, leaving the woods enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing for you and your family to use. Another negative of using a chainsaw, is it simply results in a bunch of stump sprouts coming up which is exactly what’s happened here and leaving the woods a lower quality for future generations to contend with.
GRANT: One of the great things about hack and squirt technology is you're the artist, the woods is your canvas and you're painting the picture for future generations. Here’s a cherry tree – really easy to distinguish by the bark. Wildlife eat the cherry fruit; it’s not real common in this part of Missouri. Even though this tree has bad form, it’s not straight; it’s never gonna be a commercially viable log, I’m gonna leave this as a wildlife tree, so I simply pass it up; don’t touch it and move on to the next tree.
GRANT: Russ, we’ve got a different beast here. We’ve got a locust tree in one of your little hidey hole food plots here. And of course, the problem with locusts are they're wicked on tires, four-wheelers, tractors, me, you, whatever. But you're also removing a lot of moisture that root system, root system is sticking way out and removing a lot of moisture and nutrients from your food plot. So, we could just doze this out or push it over with the tractor. But one thing that locust trees are notorious for is if we do that, all these roots that are out here on the ground that we don’t see, will literally send up hundreds of stump sprouts. Ruining your food plot.
GRANT: Glyphosate, like we used on the other trees will not impact locust trees. So we’re going to switch to Tordon RTU – different chemistry that’s labeled for locust trees. We’ll getta kill. So we want to hack and squirt this about every five, six inches around there. You know, we’re looking at a what – eight, nine, ten inch, uh, diameter tree here. Put some RTU in there. Let it die standing and then when you're out here with the tractor and the bucket and you get some leverage or something, push it off to the side. But if we push it down before we kill the tree, this whole thing will become a hundred locust sprouts sticking up.
GRANT: There are several herbicides that are actually registered and been researched for locust trees, but Tordon RTU and Pathway are two common names that should be available at your local farm supply.
GRANT: The hack and squirt method can be used year round, except when sap is rapidly rising, which is about now until about maybe May or June, depending on where you're located throughout the whitetails’ range.
GRANT: This wood lot that had been high graded in the past will take a few years to turn around, but through this technique of leaving the best trees and removing the undesirable trees, it will become a valuable wood lot as far as timber and also a much better place for wildlife to rest and forage.
GRANT: After helping our friends at Redneck Blinds, Adam and I were eager to return home to start loading our truck for our first turkey hunt of 2013.
GRANT: Adam and I had received an invite from our friend, Terron at ScentMaster, to join him and hunt turkeys on his family’s farm in central Nebraska.
GRANT: (Whispering) We just got the blinds up. Thought we heard a bird across the river. Putting the final touches on to open season 2013.
GRANT: The first afternoon, we position our blind near where Terron had been watching some turkeys go to roost.
GRANT: (Whispering) I think they're over here, aren’t they?
GRANT: The first afternoon got us really excited as we saw lots of turkeys, deer, coyotes and bunches of waterfowl. We really enjoyed the hunt, even though no long beards came in range. (Whispering) Getting ready to leave cause the turkeys have moved off out of view. We can hear ‘em gobbling on the next creek over and we’ve got permission to be on that land and I’ve got my blind on that side of the creek in the morning.
GRANT: We had barely got in the blind when we could hear turkeys just over the rise, and all at once, they started appearing – one by one.
GRANT: The jakes were way more interested in sorting out the dominance and attacking our decoys than they were chasing hens or responding to calls. It was a great show to watch at five yards, but it did not work out for a long beard.
GRANT: Terron’s father had been hearing some turkeys gobble on another part of the farm that we thought might be a different flock, so mid-morning, we pulled the blind and made our move. Just as I was starting to make a case for going and grabbing lunch, we spotted a jake cut through the fence row on the opposite side of the field.
GRANT: As we sat in the blind watching this unfold, it was clear, there were multiple adult toms, lots of jakes and lots of hens. I resisted the urge to do much calling because it was obvious these turkeys were all in a flock of multiple age structures, gobblers and hens and it was clear that they were more interested in sorting out dominance. They weren’t chasing a single hen on the other side of the field.
ADAM: (Whispering) Alright. Get ready, Grant.
GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
ADAM: (Whispering) Left.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s down. He’s down. He’s down.
GRANT: As soon as the shot, tom is down, the other birds are on top of him, finishing off their dominance quest. (Whispering) That was exciting. It’s a patience thing, you know. We could have called a lot probably blew those birds out of the field or we could have waited. Look at those hooks on that thing.
GRANT: This area in Nebraska is known to have hybrids between Rios and Merriams. Good three year old bird. Matching wits with a three year old tom. Oh my goodness. Take a heft on that thing.
TERRON: He’s all of 25.
GRANT: Yeah, he’s a heavy bird there.
TERRON: All of 25.
GRANT: Each week this time of year, more and more states are opening turkey season. So, I hope you have a chance to get out with family and friends and do some turkey hunting and most importantly, enjoy Creation. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
GRANT: We know it’s accurate. And that says what, Terry?
GRANT: 28 pounds. Thumper. That is a Nebraska soybean fed turkey right there, man.