This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Mid July and the excitement level for hunters all across America is building as those velvet antlers continue to fill out.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer.tv is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Muddy Outdoors, Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, Redneck Hunting Blinds, Dead Down Wind, Record Rack, Antler Dirt, LaCrosse Footwear, ScentMaster, BloodSport Arrows and Prime Bows by G5.
GRANT: The GrowingDeer.tv Team has been busy watching velvet bucks. Not only with our Reconyx cameras, but spending time out in the field.
GRANT: Trophy Rocks are always great places to put a trail camera this time of year because bucks are actively seeking those trace minerals as they're finishing out the antler growth.
GRANT: Soybean fields, supplemental feeders, anywhere where those bucks are gathering on a daily basis is a great place to catch bachelor groups. We'll start our official camera survey in early August, but it sure is fun to watch those velvet antlers grow and kind of track the growth of a few of the better bucks so you can see that tine length mature during this critical last month of antler growth.
GRANT: Adam and Brian have actually taken the cameras out and sat in a Redneck Blind watching some soybean food plots.
BRIAN: July 15th, Weston and I are up in a Redneck Blind overlooking Rae’s field. There's a Reconyx stationed right over here, we've been getting some pictures of some really nice bucks. Hopefully gonna get 'em, uh, out here grazin’ in these Eagle Seed beans, get some good footage of ‘em for you guys this evening.
GRANT: You can tell from their footage, Adam and Brian shot, that we're in a wicked drought and you got to look pretty hard to see the soybeans in these food plots.
GRANT: It's clear from the footage that Brian shot that the deer were coming in to the food plot looking for the remaining soybeans but moving on over to the camera station where that Trophy Rock and Record Rack was waiting on 'em.
GRANT: Providing the trace minerals and Trophy Rock, and the high quality nutrition in Record Rack feeds, can mean the difference in short tines that simply don't fill out due to a lack of nutrients and a filled out rack because they had plenty of quality groceries.
GRANT: A day later, Adam, Weston, and Levi went to a food plot we call Big Boom.
ADAM: We're gonna do a little deer scouting and hopefully, maybe catch a groundhog out here so Levi's got the .223, Weston has the binos, hopefully we're gonna see some action before too long.
GRANT: We've been sixty days with almost no rain at all and the two nights that Adam and Brian go out, we're blessed with a little pop up thunderstorm.
GRANT: The humidity jumped way up after that little storm and Adam wasn't expecting to see much until right at dark. His patience was rewarded with two, two-year old bucks coming to the edge of the plot.
GRANT: It was clear the bucks wanted to feed on the soybeans, but they're basically nonexistent, so they would drift back over to the native vegetation on the edge of the food plot where that vegetation had the benefit of the fertilizer.
GRANT: The native vegetation of choice for these bucks was Pokeberry. A lot of people, the Woods family included, pick the leaves off Pokeberry in the early spring and make poke salad out of it. It's a great meal. Deer will eat it as it continues to mature and it actually tests very high quality.
GRANT: The drought we're experiencing this year is a perfect example of why it's important to manage the native vegetation, as well as food plots or other cultivated crops.
GRANT: The prescribed fire, and timber stand improvement, and other actions we've done to help improve the native vegetation has certainly helped feed our deer herd in this drought.
GRANT: Probably recall several episodes ago, when we were putting the fence up here at Little Cave food plot. But now, over a month later, I'm extremely thankful we went ahead and put the fence here at the Little Cave food plot. The drought has really magnified the benefit of the Hot Zone electric fence.
GRANT: It's easily a foot to two foot difference from inside the Hot Zone fence to the outside due to browse pressure. There are several take home messages here. First, when I look at any of these beans, they've obviously been browsed over and over again. I can't believe they've survived that amount of browse pressure. It's amazing when I look at this plant. It's four or five inches tall, but its V'd out several times, knowing that it's been browsed over and over, and keeps living where a conventional bean would've died a long time ago from that browse pressure.
GRANT: As the droughts progressed, it's absolutely stunning how well the beans are doing inside, where there's no browse pressure, versus outside. Even though the beans outside the Hot Zone fence have only achieved the height of four to six inches, they're still making new leaves and feeding the deer herd very high quality food. We have a Reconyx right back behind here on time lapse mode so it's monitoring the field and it's obvious deer are circling this fence, and they know there's a fine groceries on the inside.
GRANT: Should everything keep working the way it has, come deer season, when we take the fence down or open up a gap, those deer want to be in here where the table is set for a king.
GRANT: And throughout the deer season, we will make an effort to remove a lot of does this year to reduce the overall population, to amount of quality forage we can provide in our food plots. As a deer manager, it's very important to adjust the amount of deer to the amount of food on any given property so all deer can express their full potential.
GRANT: And the best tool to adjust a deer population is doe harvest. They’re the reproductive units of a deer herd. Harvesting a few bucks removes a few mouths from that pool that's eating on the vegetation, but harvesting does reduces the overall herd growth potential, and makes a longer term impact.
GRANT: As we need to adjust the amount of food versus deer on the property, the same can be said for water. Just about five days after we put the bentonite down in the pond. We were blessed that a little pop up thunderstorm actually hit The Proving Grounds, and we've had about three quarters of an inch of rain since we applied the bentonite. It's obvious that the bentonite has swollen up and started making that seal that should hold water once we do receive enough rain. The surface of the bentonite is just covered with little divots and that's where deer have been in here checking it out when the bentonite was dry and powdery before it rained and made that clay swell up and become sticky. The hope is that the bentonite is such a thick layer, and it swells and makes such a tight seal, that once water's in here, deer won't be able to walk through it and hoof go all the way through and make a hole, because if they make one hole, the water will drain to that level. When we do receive a significant amount of rain, we'll keep you posted on how the bentonite pond is doing and if we can make a water hole right here in this elevator ridge, it's critical for our hunting during the chase phase.
GRANT: I hope your Proving Grounds has been blessed with plenty of rain this growing season. But even if it hasn't, you can still get out and do wildlife and habitat management projects. And while you're out there, take time to enjoy Creation, and as always, listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
WESTON: It's July 16th here at The Proving Grounds, Adam, Levi and I, we're here to scout some deer tonight. (Laughter) I don’t even know what to say… That red dot means were recording.
LEVI: Oh. Is that on there? Yoooow.
ADAM: Sorry Blake, this is what I have to deal with everyday.