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GRANT: (Whispering) I drilled him. I mean, I drilled him right in the heart.
GRANT: Very exciting week here at The Proving Grounds as we get close to the oldest buck on the property. A buck we call Split Brow.
GRANT: (Whispering) Split Brow’s down.
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GRANT: I first started noticing and paying attention to the buck we now call Split Brow during the camera survey in the Fall of 2010. It appeared he had a relatively small home range – at least on our property as we had pictures of him in food plots we call Hidey Hole, House Point and Rae’s Field.
GRANT: During 2011, we started getting pictures of the same buck and clearly earned his way to be on our Hit List.
GRANT: As almost every hunter knows, especially in mountainous country, there’s a huge difference between a buck being on a Hit List and being harvestable. And that’s how it turned out during 2011. I made great plans to hunt Split Brow, but I never once saw him with my own eyes. During November when we were checking our trail cameras that year, I was shocked when we got a picture of this buck with a broken tine.
GRANT: There were two bucks that I thought were mature on Cave Ridge. Split Brow and a buck we call Giant Eight. I’ll never know for sure, but I’ve always assumed that Split Brow and Giant Eight got in a tussle and Split Brow lost a tine and was blinded in one eye.
GRANT: Some of y'all probably remember in Episode 116, Tracy and Crystal went up to Cave Ridge and within about the first hour of their hike, they found a matching set of Split Brow’s shed.
TRACY: Whoo hoo. Beautiful. Is that him?
BRAD: That’s definitely him. He’s got that busted G2.
TRACY: Good girl.
GRANT: Not only was I thrilled that they found the sheds, but it gave me a great sense of security that Split Brow was alive and well because it looked like he shed both antlers cleanly like a healthy buck would.
GRANT: When we started our 2012 camera survey during August, I was really curious if we’d find Split Brow. I knew he’d suffered some pretty bad injuries during a fight and I was worried that he might have had an infection set in during the late winter and take him down during those tough months.
GRANT: At six and a half years of age, Split Brow certainly showed up during our trail camera survey and his rack was probably the most impressive of any year during his life. Split Brow was active in that same area during the 2012 season. And you would think we’d have a good enough pattern to harvest him by now. And even though we had 1000 plus pictures of him during that year, very few of ‘em were during daylight.
GRANT: At the close of the 2012 season, we had a lot of pictures, but no tag on Split Brow. Not only had Split Brow survived us and the neighbors hunting for him, but he’d survived one of the worst outbreaks of HD recorded in Missouri’s history.
GRANT: During the 2013 camera survey in August, once again Split Brow shows up as a seven and a half year old.
GRANT: Anticipating he’d be around, during July, we slipped in and hung eight different sets of Muddy stands specifically for Split Brow. We positioned a couple of Reconyx cameras using time lapse on food plots in that area and I gotta tell you – I was a little worried during the month of September when we didn’t receive one picture of Split Brow.
GRANT: Advancing to October 6 when we pulled the cards that day, we got a picture of Split Brow in the area where we’d hung some stands and we knew we were in the game.
GRANT: From years of Reconyx pictures, I was convinced Split Brow was bedding below Rae’s Field in some areas we’d prepared years ago. Passing through Hidden Valley 3 and up on Raleigh’s Field, but ending up one ridge over on Cave Road during the afternoon hours.
GRANT: On the afternoon of October 24, a North wind at 7 to 9 miles an hour was forecast for The Proving Grounds. AJ and I made the decision to go into the stand on the very southern part of his home range, just west of the big food plot we call Big Cave.
GRANT: We slid in quietly and got up the tree in plenty of time, hoping we’d catch Split Brow taking the back door in the Big Cave food plot.
GRANT: (Whispering) Start the music. Let’s see who’s coming.
GRANT: About 45 minutes before dark, AJ whispered he saw some movement off to his right – or to the North – which is the direction we’d expected Split Brow to come from.
AJ: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Buck, it’s a good buck. I don’t know yet, I think so.
GRANT: (Whispering) Is it blind in one eye? (Inaudible)
AJ: (Whispering) I’m on him.
GRANT: (Whispering) That’s Split Brow. He’s down.
AJ: (Whispering) He’s down.
GRANT: (Whispering) He turned where I could see the right eye. White right eye. Split Brow. When I saw the blind eye and the rack, I’m sorry, but you left my universe because it was me and him at that point.
GRANT: You the man. Thank you. Thank you. I gotta get down, man. I gotta lay my hands on that thing.
GRANT: Aw, yeah, look at that. Perfect, man! I’m talking, perfect! Look how big. That, that head is as big as my hand. Bucks tend to get a big ole flat broad head as they age. Look at that, been fighting. He was a known fighter.
GRANT: Blind in one eye. You know how many coyotes we had? We watched our coyote trapping episodes or predatory episodes. This old warrior has survived two years. Blind in one eye in a harsh country. Old. Rack’s probably a little smaller – maybe on the downhill side in some previous years she used to have split brow tines. And I could not be happier at this moment, if you can't tell. All the way down. Look at that. No break: neck, chest. No break. Kicker here. Kicker here. Probably on the back side. You may not be able to see it too well. Right there. inch long kicker. Year after year after year. I lay in bed – look at the ceiling, “Where’s Split Brow? Where could I cut off Split Brow?” Failed. Kept failing. But tonight, first time we hunt the stand. A lot of message to that: first time we hunt the stand. Hung the stand back in the summer, been out of the area.
ADAM: 61, 62. (Laughter)
GRANT: Split Brow, being at the top of our Hit List, which means nothing more than him being very mature and a very impressive buck, was the pinnacle of all the work we’ve done to make this a good property for wildlife and for us to enjoy. The cycle continues as Raleigh and Rae have been practicing with their weapons and this weekend is youth season here in Missouri.
GRANT: I’m very excited about taking them hunting this weekend and having a chance to share Creation with my daughters. I hope you have a chance to get outside this weekend and enjoy Creation wherever you hunt and most importantly, take some time and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
BRIAN: Whats..what we doing?
ADAM: How often does Grant talk about…
BRIAN: Oh, he talks about him all the time. As long as I’ve been here he’s been top of our Hit List, him and last year, it was him and Giant 8. And then Giant 8 we lost to EHD. Split Brow was the one..the one we talked about.
BRIAN: So what did this buck, Split Brow, mean to you personally?
ADAM: (Laughter) I hated him. (Laughter)
GRANT: You’d have got me some more, wouldn’t you?
PETE: I’d have got you more. I’d have got more out of that deer. Yeah.
GRANT: The more he gets the more he charges to mount him, that’s why he wants to use his tape. (Laughter)