This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer.tv is brought to you by Reconyx, Barnes, Eagle Seed, Muddy Outdoors, Trophy Rock, Antler Dirt, Nikon, and Gallagher.
GRANT: Hey, it’s the first week of November here at The Proving Grounds and it’s traditionally rut week throughout the Midwest. This is greater action than when the deer are actually breeding, maybe another week from now, because one or two does are receptive. They're chasing. That smell is in the air, but it’s not all over, so they're moving, searching; where in another week they’ll be some mature bucks locked down because they’ve got a date and they're not cruising anymore. I want to take advantage of that so I scheduled to be home this week. Brad and I are going hunting. Had a great hunt. Got on one of our Hit List bucks with a lot of surprises. You know, thinking about Hit List, I remember when we did the Hit List episode, I mentioned that a couple of our bucks were being seen at multiple camera stations. Five, six, seven camera stations. Most of ‘em at that time of year – pre-velvet shed – are going to one, maybe two camera stations. Really small, compact, home range. Core area. And I had a friend call me up and say, “Hey, Grant. That doesn’t make sense, because you said it’s easier to kill the bucks that have a bigger home range. Seems like it would be easier to get on the bucks that have got a small area and you know it. Really, just the opposite is true. A deer that lives its life in, you know, 100 acres or less, is very tough to get in on. You know where he is, but he also knows every disturbance. Every wind current, every pattern, every scent funnel and you just can't get up with that deer because he busts ya. Deer that are moving more, simply can’t know each thermal and each wind current quite as well because they’ve got such a larger area to come accustomed to.
GRANT: Crab Claw Ten. He’s got kind of a funky rack. I’d love to see that up close and personal.
BRAD: He’s a busy body. He’s on a lot of our camera sites.
GRANT: You know, and that’s odd. This time of year deer don’t move that much. They're very sedimentary. They start moving more when the hormones change. This one moves a lot. Should be a little bit more susceptible to harvest.
GRANT: So, November 2nd, Election Day, was a cool, crisp morning here in the Ozarks. Overcast. It’s not even time for us to get the camera rolling yet and do our intro interview. “Hey, this is where we’re hunting; this is why we’re hunting here.” And we see a doe sleeking through the woods, just an outline right behind us. We’re in the woods, not by a field, overlooking an old dry pond. And then, we hear some grunting. And it’s a bawl grunt. It’s aggressive. It’s violent. And I pull out my grunt call. (Grunting) Get on that thing and keep talking because we’re about to meet old Crab Claw.
GRANT: (Whispering) Come on. There you go, go down, go down. Come on, come on, come on. You're outta there. Come on, you're outta there. No, don’t run down the hill. Man, incredible. Hit List buck down. It’s one of those mornings. I’ve been up. I know I had that feeling 3:30 this morning, literally up working. Brad called me at 4:00 a.m. and said, “Hey, we going today?” I said, “Man, it’s November. Yeah, we’re going.” Z7 let loose and ate a little bit of venison this morning.
GRANT: The only real advantage about filming is you get to replay the hunt. Because all hunters want to re-see that shot right then and confirm it was a good shot. I knew it was a good shot, it felt good, but you want that added confidence. So, we get down; we’re about 26 feet up. Brad lets the camera down. I’m on the ground, taking it untied, getting it all ready and lo and behold, we find out when we review the footage that it’s fuzzy. It’s not crisp, clear footage. We could tell it was a good shot, but it wasn’t that crisp footage that you like. Well, I reach over to touch the camera and the lens falls off. Gosh, that was upsetting. I was joyous and upset at the same time.
GRANT: Okay. Brad and I are both down now and we’re just covered stem to stern, so we’re still happy as, happy campers, great color and just oodles of blood. So, we’re gonna go see what’s going on. I’ve called my wife, Tracy. We’ve got a brand new lab, she calls Crystal, that we’re training to blood trail, so we’re not worried about this deer jumping and running away, so probably Tracy and Crystal will get some experience here because we may need it later this fall. It may not be as easy as this one.
TRACY: Right down here. Right down here.
GRANT: You can see it all over.
TRACY: Okay. Search Crystal.
GRANT: Okay. This is Crystal’s first blood trail and in Missouri, it’s legal to trail deer. And we got a great hit on this deer. We’ve already reviewed it, but we have a puppy here and we want to train it because some day we might not have a great hit and it’s too late to teach your puppy then. So, Tracy’s been working on it.
GRANT: Bring Crystal up so we can get a little practice in here, because I knew I had a good hit. Sure enough, bring Crystal up. Boom. Straight to the deer, just a great family event and it’s something I’ll always remember. You know, things go wrong when you're hunting and I’d much rather it go wrong with the camera than the shot. Crystal can go there, but I can see it from here.
GRANT: Um, yes.
TRACY: Good deer, good deer. Yeah, look at that deer. Ooo, look, look. Good search, yeah, good search. Good deer. Lookey there. Lookey there. No, you can't have those antlers, too.
GRANT: Smell that buck from here.
TRACY: Let me take you back up here and you can have your antler.
GRANT: And look what came to check out. Clearly came, circling a tree, checking out this grunting. One of our Hit List bucks. Great deer. You can see his tarsals are all stained. Big body on this thing. Gnarly rack. Great first training deer for Crystal. There’s a lot of blood. Easy for her to follow. The only problem with this deer is it ran about 100 yard straight downhill as they always do in mountainous country. So, we’re getting ready to admire this deer; have a moment of appreciation and take him up to the truck because there’s no getting the truck down here.
BRAD: It’s a long way up here.
GRANT: Yeah it is.
BRAD: What’s this right here? This is what you send to Jeremy?
GRANT: You know, after the hunt, Brad and I did some checking and Crab Claw had been to eight different camera stations where our Reconyx had picked him up.
GRANT: Great images. It’s one of those bucks that has a larger than average home range. He’s more susceptible to harvest and just a great hunt. We’ve got some more of those bucks. Upcoming weeks. I’ve got some guests coming in. It’s going to be a great year at The Proving Grounds. After a harvest, I like to reflect on more than the deer movement, but think about the whole management program that allowed that harvest possible. You know, good nutrition through the summer with the Eagle Seed beans. Great mineral program with the Trophy Rock and you’ve seen pictures of those being used. Not just an endorsement. I’m talking about physically using and seeing the benefits of it. Just putting it all together. Tracy having the dog trained to trail it up and the tenderloins she will feed our family this fall after she marinates and works her magic on ‘em, are certainly evident right here.
GRANT: You know what? I hope you really get to enjoy creation at your Proving Grounds this week and you get to benefit from a great management plan.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.