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GRANT: It’s late season and most of our hunting strategies revolve around food sources because they're at food sources. It’s tough to hunt during the mornings because we can't get in without alerting deer. However, this year, there are plenty of red oak acorns left in the timber and this allows us to get to stands without alerting deer during the morning.
GRANT: Another factor that’s extremely important for determining our hunting strategies this time of year is the weather and recently a cold front was forecast to pass The Proving Grounds.
ADAM: Seeing the incoming cold front, Matt and I played a hunch and selected a stand that we had some success in earlier in the season.
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ADAM: It was a chilly morning. The wind was out of the northwest which was perfect for this set, so the conditions were in our favor.
ADAM: The morning started off great as we spotted antlers working through the timber coming in our direction.
ADAM: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
MATT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) I don’t think it’s wide enough. I think, I think it might be that three year old, nine pointer. Looks like it’s (Inaudible).
ADAM: (Whispering) I think he’s three too.
ADAM: As the buck worked in our direction, we were able to get a better look at his body and noticed he was three and a half years old. If only he was one year older – nonetheless, it was still a great encounter. Hopefully, we’ll see him again next year.
ADAM: (Whispering) Just a really nice nine pointer that we’ve got a lot of pictures of here on Fifty Acre Ranch. Great start to the morning.
ADAM: Just like our hunt in late October, it didn’t take long for another group of deer to move into the area. This time, they're headed right in front of the stand.
ADAM: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
ADAM: (Whispering) Ready?
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah.
ADAM: (Whispering) Front one. Right.
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah.
ADAM: (Whispering) Nope. That one.
ADAM: (Whispering) I tried to shoot the front lead doe. She was definitely the biggest one of the bunch. But, we were having trouble with our GoPro, so I had to manually turn it on. By that time, she was already almost through my gap. And by that point, I gave a little, little noise to try and get her stop, but she didn’t want any of it. Maybe I’ll get her next time.
ADAM: (Quietly) Oh my. Another wicked, wicked looking arrow. Another one for the Havoc. Late season in the timber – actually late season in general. A lot of times you're gonna fight skyline – getting silhouetted. Deer are gonna see your outline when they look up in the tree. Not on this one. We have a great backdrop.
ADAM: It was a great morning. We saw a lot of deer. Actually, had a great three year old come by first, but we were able to put an arrow in this doe. Got a lot of does we’re wanting to kill on this end of the property. The food plots have been hammered throughout the summer and fall, so we’re trying to remove every doe we get the chance at. So, one more down – hopefully more to follow.
ADAM: Yeah. Just a little closer to the shoulder. But when they run 40 yards, you really can't argue with it.
ADAM: With the amount of deer activity seen, Matt and I were convinced the following morning could be just as productive.
MATT: With similar cold temperatures predicted for the following morning, Adam didn’t have to twist my arm to get me back in the stand.
MATT: We’ve had some great Reconyx videos and pictures of a hit list buck we call Gappy all season long. Most of the activity we’ve seen from Gappy has been concentrated in the center of the farm throughout the fall.
MATT: Most of his movement was during the night, but the video we had of him at Boom Dry Pond was on his feet mid-morning.
MATT: (Whispering) Good?
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) While it’s December 18th, yesterday morning…
MATT: As I’m doing the pre-hunt interview, we’re interrupted by a predator.
ADAM: (Whispering) Hey, hey. I’ve got a bobcat right here.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) There it is right there.
MATT: (Whispering) Missed it. Right under it.
MATT: Not quite exactly how I planned it.
ADAM: (Whispering) Also, there was another one behind it, too.
MATT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah. 36. It got like a high jump recipient award like a (Inaudible). I was like, “Wow, where’d he go?”
MATT: (Whispering) We’re set up in a location we call Dry Pond. It’s a great location throughout the years. From our Reconyx images we’ve seen lots of fawns, lots of does, and a buck we call Gappy show up here at this plot recently. So, we’ll sit tight and see what the morning brings.
MATT: We knew there were several doe/fawn groups moving through this area and it’s mid-December, so, with the quality forage that we provide for the local deer herd, it’s a great possibility that one of these doe-fawns may become receptive here in late season.
MATT: (Whispering) Good.
ADAM: (Whispering) Easy. Easy. He’s looking up to our east.
MATT: Just before eight o’clock, I spotted Gappy’s unique white antlers coming through the timber.
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah, it is him. We ought to have a shot here.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yeah. (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yeah. (Inaudible) Yep. (Inaudible)
MATT: (Whispering) He’s gonna be a 45, Adam.
MATT: Gappy takes a path that hopefully will bring him through one of our shooting lanes.
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah. I’m going (Inaudible), I’m gonna try and shoot him just past this red oak.
ADAM: (Whispering) He’s going (Inaudible).
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah. That wind’s (Inaudible) more north.
MATT: (Whispering) I got a limb. I’m good, you good?
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) Watch him good. He’s hit a touch back and low. I saw right where it hit.
ADAM: (Whispering) He’s bleeding like crazy.
MATT: (Whispering) Okay. Okay. He’s kind of hunched up, isn't he? Come on, go down, buddy.
MATT: The shot felt great, but I had mixed feelings after seeing Gappy’s reaction.
MATT: (Whispering) Well, that is Gappy. That’s the deer we kind of came in here after. He showed up last (Inaudible) here at Dry Pond 8:30 in the morning making his rounds. But, honestly, was surprised seeing his antlers coming up the hill. And there’s just a big white antler, so we knew right away it was Gappy. Pretty distinct buck. Shot was a little low, a touch back. I feel confident about it, but I think it’s a liver shot. He walked off 60 yards or so and stayed still for a little bit. We’ve got him bedded down, at the base of actually one of our other sets, and we’ve got a good line of sight of him. We’re just gonna give him time. Let him expire and hopefully, we can put our hands on him.
MATT: A great rule of thumb when shooting deer quartering to is to give that deer plenty of time to expire. We had the luxury of watching Gappy bed down. We still gave him nearly four hours before we took up the trail.
MATT: (Whispering) Well, we saw where the buck was at. We’re gonna take the road instead of the blood trail to the deer. It’s a precautionary measure. It’s quieter. We can approach without being heard and with the west wind maybe our scent will be blown over the top of him as we take the blood trail. So, we’ll take the road. Just a precautionary measure.
MATT: (Whispering) Should be over that way. I think we’re good.
MATT: Oh my gosh. Whew. What a deer. Holy cow. Oh my. Look at this deer. The signature – Gappy right here is – why we call him Gappy ‘cause it kind of looks like he’s missing a G3 there on his right side which just forms so much further out there on his main beam. But, what a great looking deer. Um, kind of went in here with a hunch. Knew we wanted to be in with some red oaks and the timber and um, man, it paid off. Paid off big for us.
MATT: It’s December 18th and you can still kill mature bucks in the timber. We didn’t notice there on our cameras that this eye got in so many darn fighting. There’s a scar right here underneath of it. Um, gotten damaged and is blind and is just kind of pussed up and almost protruding a little bit. Just – tough deer, tough deer. And actually, a little bit of infection right here at the base of his antler. Um, I’m sure, again, caused from fighting. But, man, just a awesome, awesome deer. Tickled to death with him.
MATT: It’s always good to learn from each harvest. So, we’re interested to see what the path of the arrow would tell us.
MATT: Well, we’ve got Gappy back at the house hung up. We’re gonna take a closer look at the shot placement.
MATT: Well, this is the entry hole right over here. Shot placement looks good, but we’re gonna spin him around and see what we can learn from the exit.
MATT: Well, this is the exit hole. It is a little far back. We’re gonna get inside and see what damage the Havoc did.
MATT: Well, we got inside and just as we suspected, it was a liver shot. It’s quartering to just a little bit as you can see from the arrow. But the two inch Havoc and giving that buck time, allowed us to make a good recovery and enjoy our December morning. The chapter on another hit list buck closes with great team work involved. We’re excited to get back in the field in search of another hit lister.
GRANT: It’s really important to be on top of your hunting tactics during the late season because deer have been pressured for quite some time.
GRANT: With that in mind, we recently moved our Redneck blind which is mounted on a trailer. The warm conditions and the ample rainfall have made it ideal growing conditions for clover and our Reconyx cameras have picked up a lot of deer activity on small clover food plots.
GRANT: We moved a blind to one of these small plots and put it in perfect position for bow hunting.
ADAM: It’s the middle of December and we’ve had some unusual weather conditions for this time of year. So, that’s called for some change up in our hunting strategy.
ADAM: Typically, this time of year we have some frigid temperatures, some ice and even snow. So, we’re usually hunting around standing grain. But this year, we’ve got warm temperatures – high’s in the 60’s and 70’s – so we’re gonna have to adjust and hunt over a different food source.
MATT: This is like perfect. Like you don’t have to hardly do anything.
ADAM: When experiencing these warm conditions like we’ve had this December, clover can be a dynamite hunting spot and also a great food source for the deer.
ADAM: We’re here on the far end of the food plot. You can see the back end behind me. I’m really only about 50 yards from the blind. Looking around, there are stems everywhere. The deer have been working this clover hidey hole plot over. Another great thing about it – we’ve got a big bedding area just to the north, so we’re tucked up close to the bedding area. With warm conditions during the late season – of course, the deer have a big winter coat; they don’t want to move if it’s warm. So, we’re close to the bedding area. We’ve got a desired food source. So if the conditions stay the same, this will be a great spot.
GRANT: Adam and Matt weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the recent cold front. Pro Staffer Seth Harker had a great hunt and we’ll share that with you next week.
GRANT: Whether deer season is still open or you're out scouting for turkeys where you hunt, I hope you take time each day to enjoy Creation. But most importantly, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.