This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: September 11th at The Proving Grounds – four days before bow season starts and a Hit List buck goes down.
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GRANT: Sunday afternoon, my parents and I were riding around The Proving Grounds and enjoying the lush green in all the food plots. My parents have always been people with just almost super human senses. They smell stuff and see stuff that I don’t see. And going through Blue Hole, my dad said, “Uh-oh, I smell something dead.”
GRANT: Blue Hole is a food plot that the creek goes right by and there’s a deep hole where the water is typically blue. For months this summer, that deep hole was the only source of water in that portion of The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: You may recall a few weeks ago, we found an immature buck dead from what appeared to be EHD near Blue Hole.
GRANT: With that history, my heart sank as soon as my parents said they smelled something dead next to Blue Hole.
GRANT: I stopped the truck; got out and caught the scent just like a hunting dog would, went upwind, crossed the creek and just a couple yards on the other side is exactly what I didn’t want to find.
GRANT: Normally, when I walk up to a big, mature buck, I’m excited. Today, I’m about to puke. We’re just a few yards off the creek and that’s where you’d expect to find dead deer from EHD – Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. EHD is very widespread this year and we’ve talked a lot about it on the show and on our Facebook account, but it always hurts most when it hits home.
GRANT: Larger Left was too far gone for me to collect a sample and confirm it was EHD because the virus dies in the blood about an hour or two after death of the deer. So, I can't say 100% certain that this deer died from EHD, but it sure seems that way and it’s widespread and very prevalent this year, with literally thousands and thousands of deer dying. Scientists have known about EHD for over 50 years. So we know the deer herds rebound and come back.
GRANT: In Missouri, you have to have permission from the conservation officer to salvage antlers. Since we found a buck yesterday, I’ve already called the conservation officer and received that permission.
GRANT: We’re gonna pull the cards out of all the Reconyx today and go back to the office and see if we can track Larger Left on his death walk. Hunting season starts in a couple days and we’re at least one Hit List buck down for 2012.
GRANT: More important than his rack was Larger Left was a mature buck that tended to move a lot during daylight; was aggressive at our camera stations and had a fairly large home range. Three characteristics that makes me feel I can harvest that buck.
GRANT: I was very excited about season opening in a couple days, thinking we had a pattern for Larger Left; that he might even be aggressive enough to respond to calling during the early season.
GRANT: Out of nine Hit List bucks – bucks 4-1/2 years old or older we’ve identified on the property this year, three of them are missing in action, including Larger Left.
GRANT: Biologists like myself are trained to manage populations and not individuals. But when you start losing Hit List bucks on your own property, it hit home and I can really relate to other hunters that are finding dead deer in their ponds or creeks or other water sources and know that the population they’ll be hunting this year is smaller than it was the last several years.
GRANT: Preparing for deer season, Adam and I had a chance to get the muzzleloader out of the gun safe this week and do some practice. First shot of the year, let’s see how we do. I’m shooting three pellets and a 250 grain bullet. First shot is about two inches out of dead center. I’ll shoot again. See if we’ve got a group going. (Shot) Can't beat that with a big stick. About an inch or less from the other bullet. Two inches high – just where we want it. I’m liking that. A lot. I like that a whole lot.
GRANT: Although it wasn’t part of why Adam and I were shooting our muzzleloader, one observation we both had is watching the way that smoke drifted many directions during the early morning.
GRANT: That observation is exactly why Adam and I are so cautious about reducing our scent on our gear and our hunting clothes and our bodies.
GRANT: As a biologist, I’m keenly aware of how well a deer smells. I’m also aware that it’s almost impossible to eliminate 100% of our odor when we’re going into the deer woods. So, what can we do? What choices do we have? And the system we found successful year after year actually starts before the day we hunt. And I just want to take a moment to go through the entire system we use so you can use it this year and enjoy better hunting when you're chasing bigger antlers.
GRANT: So, the first thing we’re going to do is wash all of our hunting clothes before season. We’re gonna use Dead Down Wind soap because it’s enzyme based.
GRANT: Once our laundry is completed, I don’t want to just grab it with my bare hands where I’ve been working on my truck or something. I want to make sure they're clean and get the smell off there as much as I can. I usually just leave a bottle of Field Spray right here, put a little of it on my hands and clean them real well or even use gloves. Take the laundry out, being careful how I touch it and where I put it and I hang it outside so it can air dry and get the benefit of the sunshine. Sunshine will be another step in killing bacteria and the air is probably fresher and cleaner than running it through a household dryer that has a lot of other scents; has had fabric softeners and the other foreign smells to a deer that would get on my clothing.
GRANT: If where you live precludes you from hanging your clothes outside to dry because of all the foreign smells in the area, use a really good quality drying sheet to try to remove as many foreign odors from your dryer as possible. But once your clothes have been through the dryer, that’s not the final step.
GRANT: The ScentMaster Box is basically that. A box with a really strong fan in it. It also has a heater that heats that air up to a constant 130 degrees, keeping it very warm and dry so no bacteria can form or continue growing on your clothing. Turn it on, let it go for about an hour and make sure those clothes are dry and stored in a scent free environment so we’re ready to go hunting whenever we want.
GRANT: As a scientist, I’ve never found any one magic product that just instantly reduces all my scent and allows me to go hunting scent free. It requires some work and a whole system to reduce my scent enough to get into the woods and allow deer to get within range of me without being alerted by my scent. It’s a system. But it’s worth the effort.
GRANT: Dead Down Wind and I would like for you to experience the same success we’ve shared. So if you click on the link below, you can register to win a free Dead Down Wind Grand Slam kit and use the exact same products Adam and I use to reduce our scent and have better chances at getting a mature buck in striking distance.
GRANT: But none of us can control the weather. So I encourage you to do what we’re doing. Get outside and enjoy hunting and take a moment while you're sitting on the stand to consider the Creator and Creation. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.