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GRANT: We spent some time at the Kentucky Proving Grounds chasing big whitetails and returned home to cold conditions here at The Proving Grounds.
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GRANT: It’s become a tradition for the GrowingDeer team to head to Kentucky each year and have a hunt at the Kentucky Proving Grounds that my good friend, Mr. Terry Hamby, calls the “Hawkeye Classic.”
GRANT: This year on the way to the “Hawkeye Classic” we stopped at Shawn Archie’s farm in the very southeastern corner of Missouri. Shawn owns a property that’s located in a very flat and fertile part of Missouri.
GRANT: It’s tough for deer to get this off the cob, but mowing it and knocking it on the ground, they’d be (inaudible) that big trail we just passed back there would deviate over here 100 yards no problem. I promise.
GRANT: We spent the day touring his farm and trying to understand his deer management goals and objectives.
GRANT: Shawn’s property borders a small creek and some irrigation ditches. There’s a lot of cover in this area because part of the property’s in WRP, Wetlands Reserve Program.
GRANT: Those provisions of Shawn’s WRP program fit perfectly with what he needs to meet his objectives. His farm is surrounded by production agriculture, corn, soybeans and other great crops. More food than the wildlife can eat. But about October 15th when all those crops are harvested, if Shawn has great food in his plots, he’ll own the wildlife in that part of the region.
GRANT: That’s just wasted space. So, but they will, they love cover (inaudible). So, if we’ve got cover…
GRANT: After touring the property, we started building a map and writing a lengthy report that will help Shawn meet his deer hunting objectives.
GRANT: After we finished the tour with Shawn, we rode on east to the Kentucky Proving Grounds. We were joined in Kentucky by my friend, CJ Davis with Montana Decoys, and Josh Dahlke, from North American Hunting Club. We’ve hunted with these guys in the past, so it didn’t take us long to get right in the routine of drawing up hunting plans and figuring out who’s going to what stand.
GRANT: We hunted for several days and saw a bunch of deer, but we had trouble finding those big, mature bucks.
GRANT: It was another great time at the Hawkeye Classic and that’s really what hunting’s all about for me. Visiting with family and friends and sharing good times.
GRANT: I was eager to return home from the Hawkeye Classic because I knew my friend and fellow trapper, Clint Cary, would be here at the Missouri Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Clint’s a professional trapper and all he does year round is remove predators for different purposes throughout the whitetails’ range.
ADAM: You know, Clint, just like last year, you're first night of trapping, you got a bobcat on the ground.
CLINT: Uh, that’s, we’re on a roll here at The Proving Grounds with the cat.
ADAM: I think, uh, bobcats are, they're kinda disputed. A lot of states are – there’s a couple of states – where you can't harvest bobcats, but here in Missouri you can.
ADAM: Here in the Ozark mountains, there’s a lot of bobcats. In fact, Brian and I were bow hunting last week, saw – had a nice encounter with – a bobcat and here, where there’s a large population, it’s very important to keep those predators in check. Because they're also a predator…
ADAM: …and predate on, uh, fawns and turkey poults.
ADAM: So, it’s important to get ‘em in check.
ADAM: Well, Clint, you got it all reset, ready to go another night. Hopefully…
ADAM: …tonight, you’ll get a bobcat and a coyote maybe if we’re lucky.
CLINT: Yeah, two, would be nice.
ADAM: Yeah. Perfect. Um, I’ll let you explain now, uh, why that was so easy and so fast to reset.
CLINT: Oh, okay. All there was to it, really, was when we use the extension cables, you catch the animal and the animal gets away from this set. You just put the trap right back in the bed. Basically, cover it up and you're done.
CLINT: Just that simple.
CLINT: So, you're always kneeling down when you're making your predators set so. Like I was saying, the hip boots keep you dry. I wear my leather gloves; they keep my hands dry. They protect my hands some. Yes, traps do fire and go off on my hands every now and then, which, I’m setting lots of traps, so it’s gonna happen. They protect you. They do help with scent. I’m more of what I call just a common sense approach. I’m not just a scent, worrisome all the time. Hip boots, gloves and just little things like that and you’ll be good.
CLINT: We’ve got this set done. Uh, this is what we call a dirt hole set. Right here, a dirt hole is, basically, we just dug a hole out here in front of a trap. Our trap is right around in this area, so it’s probably – this one’s probably around nine inches back. I’ve just got it straight on. Uh, we’re gonna put some bait in this hole. Then I come over here to this side, and I just took a rebar stake and kind of wadded out a small hole. And what I’m gonna do in there is put a little shot of lure in that hole. What that’s doing is like I say, I’m not real particular about them – distance back with the trap. I’m wanting to get more foot movement here by putting two holes and two different scents here. I just take a piece of this tainted meat. I’m gonna put it far back in that hole as possible. The deeper you can dig these, the harder you can make it for the coyote or the bobcat to get to your bait, the better it’ll be. And now, I’m just gonna kinda cover it up a little bit. Make it a little harder for him to get to it. I’m using a real strong call lure in this hole over here. Let’s see, I’ve got quite a bit on there. Thermals in these Ozarks, you need a pretty strong smelling lure. I don’t like putting strong smelling lure on top of the ground if my trap is up close like this ‘cause you’ll get the animal – he’ll role. He’ll fire your trap off. Okay.
GRANT: Although it may seem we’ve spent all of our time trapping, we still snuck in a little time for some deer hunting. It was cold and windy, so being in that Redneck certainly felt better than hanging on the side of a tree that afternoon.
GRANT: As the light started to fade, another doe entered the field about 50 yards exactly downwind of our blind. And Adam picked up more movement in the timber right behind her.
GRANT: Adam was able to identify it’s a five year old buck that we call Two Face. And he’s high on our hit list.
GRANT: (Whispering) I see, I see one of ‘em.
ADAM: (Whispering) (Inaudible) …he’s back in the woods.
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m gonna shoot her from right here. I’m gonna shoot him from right here.
ADAM: (Whispering) Okay.
(Whispering) Do you need a GoPro or anything?
GRANT: As mature bucks often do, it seemed Two Face either sensed something or heard other deer down the hill and he ventured off without ever giving me a clear shot.
GRANT: One of the things I enjoy most about late season hunting is deer are so attracted to quality food sources. And I bet we have another chance to see Two Face in a food plot in the next week or two.
GRANT: The entire GrowingDeer team would like to wish you and your family a very happy New Year. But while you're taking time out to celebrate the New Year, don’t forget to find some quiet time and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
TERRY: Welcome to the 4th Annual Hawkeye Challenge.
TERRY: The 4th Hawkeye Challenge this year and CJ Davis is the only person that has not won.
TERRY: This year, the champion for the first time, CJ Davis. (Clapping, Cheering)
CJ: Thank you, very much.
CJ: This arrow’s been harder to come by than a lot of deer, I think. (Laughter) It’s the honest truth. A lot better than that turnip last year.