This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: It’s been a great week of hunting, here at The Proving Grounds, as Adam gets on board, and Heath Martin lays his eyes on an absolute monster right under his tree stand.
ADAM: Since the opening of Missouri bow season, here at The Proving Grounds, the most common wind we’ve had is out of the southeast.
ADAM: (Whispering) It’s about the middle of October. The white oak acorns have really started raining down, here in the last couple of days, and deer are really starting to hit ‘em. We’re on a food plot that’s surrounded by white oaks. A lot of deer come into this food plot on their way to the white oaks to this big bedding area to the south. It’s set up perfect. Hopefully, we can get one in range tonight.
ADAM: So, once we got situated in the stand, it wasn’t long ‘til we heard the first deer coming.
ADAM: We’d hung this set, earlier in the summer, and I’m always curious to know where the deer are gonna be traveling. Little did we know, when we got in the stand, they were gonna be coming in the field less than 20 yards away.
ADAM: (Whispering) You on this one?
ADAM: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
ADAM: (Whispering) She’s gonna go down right there. Stay on her. Stay on her. Stay on her. Whew!
ADAM: (Whispering) That is just – aw- as good as it gets. Right there, when you’re looking at an arrow. Of course, the Blood Ring is just …
ADAM: Yeah. She ain’t gonna be far. Where’s the blood? Oh my gosh. Right here. Here. Golly. Whew! Well, she only went about 30, 45 yards from the tree. Of course, we saw her fall. Havoc did its job. Great blood trail. Best part – it was a short blood trail. We’re gonna take her back, process her, add more venison to the freezer.
GRANT: During 2012, EHD, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, hit our property hard, and we lost about a third of our deer herd that fall, so we intentionally backed off the doe harvest and turned up the pressure on predators a little bit, allowing our deer population to build back.
GRANT: While it was important to reduce the pressure on does, it’s equally important to turn that pressure up once the population rebound so they won’t do permanent, or at least long lasting, damage to the native habitat.
GRANT: Did you know Arkansas has a large black bear population? They’ve had a bear season for many years.
GRANT: Again this year, long before the bear season opener, Heath and his wife, Lindsey, were hard at work preparing for bear season.
GRANT: Attracting bears often requires greasy and stinky work. It can be tougher than making a food plot for deer, but Heath and Lindsey dove right in, and they’ve been doing the dirty work for quite some time.
GRANT: Similar to deer, in a big hardwood area full of acorns, it’s tough to pattern bears. They’ve got an extraordinary sense of smell and tend to follow their nose to the best source of food in their area – and that area, it can be 10 or 20 square miles – much larger than a deer. So without an attractive bait, it can be very difficult to be a successful bear hunter in the big hardwoods of Arkansas.
GRANT: A few years ago, Heath successfully used this technique to take a Boone & Crockett bear in Arkansas.
GRANT: This season, it looks like their hard work has paid off again, as Heath and Lindsey have trail camera pictures of two bears, which may be Boone & Crocketts coming to a bait site.
HEATH: Well, one of the bears coming in was an absolute giant. It was so fat, its belly almost drug the ground, so we nicknamed this bear Low Rider.
HEATH: Uh, there was another big bear at the bait that was not near as fat, but it was really tall and muscular; had a great big head, and for lack of creativity, we just – I just called him the Big Tall Bear. I knew he was definitely a shooter. The other bear, I think, probably, weighed more. But you know, who knows which bear had the bigger head. Either one of these bears are gonna be target bears. They were absolute giant bears.
GRANT: Just like deer in food plots, if the acorns start falling, deer tend to abandon bait sites rapidly. But this year, there’s a perfect combination brewing in Arkansas. There’s a small acorn crop; they’re not dropping early; and the big bears are continuing to show up at the bait site.
HEATH: So, finally, October 1st arrives and low and behold, we still had giant bears on the baits. Not all of ‘em, but we still had two hitting one bait, and we were gonna hunt um.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey have worked hard for this moment. Tonight’s the night, if one of the two big bears show up …
HEATH: (Whispering) Well, it’s October the 1st. Opening day of bear season, here in Arkansas. We’re sitting over a bait that we’ve been baiting for a month and it is hot. We’ve got a couple of gigantic bears that are hitting this bait. The problem is they’re mostly nocturnal. If a bear comes in we’re gonna shoot it, hopefully, and the footage is good, but it may be dark. That’s just typical of big bears here in Arkansas. Last two or three minutes of shooting light is when they typically start hitting the bait, so it’s 5:15, 5:30. We got a couple hours of daylight left. So we’re gonna hang tight and see if we can get one of these big bears on the ground.
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GRANT: Bear hunting can be very intense with a large predator very close to your tree stand. But it can also be fun to watch these large animals at 20 yards or less.
GRANT: This younger bear came in and kept them entertained, while the sun started to set low.
GRANT: Suddenly, and silently, a big bear was behind them.
HEATH: (Whispering) I can't tell which one it is, but it’s a big one.
HEATH: (Whispering) He’s coming under the stand.
GRANT: It wasn’t long ‘til Heath could see it was one of the two big bears.
HEATH: (Whispering) Don’t move. He’s right there.
GRANT: And right now, he’s directly under their stand.
HEATH: (Whispering) I felt like I hit him good. He wasn’t 10 yards, and that is a giant. He has a huge head and a huge body.
HEATH: (Whispering) Holy cow. What a monster. Goll, I hope I got him good. I mean he was right there. I should’ve got him.
HEATH: He ran down in this ravine and we don’t think he came out, so, I’m about to go down in here and see if we can find him.
GRANT: I don’t know about you, but I’m not so sure I want to go trailing a big bear in the dark. But Heath shared with me, he was totally confident knowing he had a complete pass-through with a two inch Havoc broadhead on the end of his arrow.
UNKNOWN: Right there.
HEATH: Yes. That is a giant. It’s 10, 10 inches just between the bases of his ears. Literally. Man!
UNKNOWN: Yeah. I’ve got a …
UNKNOWN: (Inaudible) Load. It turns off ….
GRANT: It’s gonna take a tractor to haul this huge bear out of the woods.
GRANT: The next day the hard work continues on this trophy.
GRANT: News of the big bear spread rapidly, and soon family was showing up to help out.
LINDSEY: We did something. They’re a pretty good ways from that.
CHILD: What’s that stuff? What’s that stuff?
LINDSEY: He thought you looked tasty.
UNKNOWN: The red stuff?
GRANT: The bear they called Big Tall Bear weighed in at a whopping 504 pounds and had a great winter coat. Bear are known to be hard on knives, but that didn’t stop the SwingBlade from preserving this trophy.
GRANT: The bear skull had a green score at 21 and 6/16th. 21 inches is a minimum Booner, and after the drying period, well, it’s gonna be close. Heath will have to wait the mandatory 60 day drying period to confirm if this bear makes the books. Heath wouldn’t be quick to share this with you all, but there’s only been six bears in Arkansas’ bear season history to make the Boone & Crockett book, with Heath harvesting one of those. If the Big Tall Bear makes the book, Heath will have two of seven that made the book in Arkansas – an impressive record by anybody’s standards.
GRANT: Whether you’re working on a habitat project, or trying to provide some venison for your freezer, or chasing a trophy critter, I hope you slow down and enjoy Creation, and most importantly, listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.