Deer During A Drought (Episode 137 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: Sometimes a sign of death can really be a marker for new life, like it was at The Kentucky Proving Grounds, plus a lot of management techniques all to be shown right here at GrowingDeer.tv.

ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer.tv is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions, Muddy Outdoors, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, Redneck Hunting Blinds, Dead Down Wind, Antler Dirt.

GRANT: As the crews continue thinning timber at The Kentucky Proving Grounds, I'm taking advantage of this opportunity to get the maximum number of food plots possible by finding any level areas close to road access so we can get equipment in and get those stumps pulled out while we’re there.

GRANT: And there was about 750 pine trees per acre here, that means 750 stumps per acre, so we've got to remove those stumps before we can finish preparing the field for planting.

GRANT: My tool of choice, for removing the stumps, is a trackhoe, or some people call it an excavator.

GRANT: A trackhoe with a thumb, or the piece of metal you see coming down from the bucket, allows tremendous leverage on these stumps, much more leverage than a dozer just trying to push and roll out the stumps.

GRANT: These antlers weren't velvet covered, they were bleached white, as it was a skull of a nice buck that had died from unknown reasons, most likely during the last year.

GRANT: On mature bucks especially, I'm always looking for evidence of a brain abscess, or where the skull was somehow ruptured, or punctured, or something that would allow bacteria to get inside the brain cavity and actually start causing harm to the brain or putting pressure on some part of the brain, making the deer act oddly and usually end up dying. But this skull looks clear, when I hold it up to the light and look inside the foramen magnum, or where the spinal cord comes out of the brain, or when I look on top of the skull, the lines between the bones all look natural.

GRANT: This skull was intact, unfortunately, a little bit too much intact, as I was holding it and observing the skull, a doggone wasp come out of that skull and stung me on the trigger finger.

TERRY: Send him after mom and dad. (Laughing)

GRANT: You know, I thought it was a pretty good day when I found this, but as I was walking on up the hills, scouting for this food plot, I found a second shed. Kinda hate putting this on film, because I hate letting all the guys that hunt here know just how good a location this food plot's gonna be.

GRANT: A little technique I discovered that might help you, is while I'm putting my stands together, I just simply take my Dead Down Wind Bow Wax and put it where the metal parts going together on my stand. That allows me to assemble the stands easier and take it apart quieter when I'm in the woods and have to make that mid-season move. I don’t want to use a lubricant like WD-40 or anything that has a real foreign smell in the deer woods. That's why I want to use Dead Down Wind Bow Wax, or another product that doesn't have any scent so I'm not putting that real red alert right in the middle of where I want to be hunting.

ADAM: Well, it's a couple hours later, we got our Non-Typical HotZone fence up, we've weed eated all the beans out from underneath it so it won't short out the wire. We've had our wildlife students grab hold and test it. Nah, I'm just kidding. We've used a tester, and it's hot, so now we're just waiting on hunting season this fall.

GRANT: Just putting a fence up anywhere doesn’t mean you'll have a good hunting location come fall. That's one reason we really like the Eagle Seed beans, because they're drought resistant and they stay productive all the way through the first hard frost. As a comparison, look at this difference between clover and soybeans.

GRANT: I'm amazed at the volume and productivity, given we're literally less than two inches of rain in a couple of months, and I'm absolutely stunned how well these Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans are doing. This is a feeding food plot, a little larger than a smaller hunting food plot, but I'm still seeing browse pressure throughout the field and even with that, they're able to produce a huge amount of tonnage of high quality forage.

GRANT: We've planted forage soybeans here and a mix of wheat and clover on this side. Clover is great in the early spring, before we can even plant soybeans, it's up and green and providing a high quality forage at that time of year.

GRANT: The combination of having both of ‘em side by side, gives you an opportunity to provide high quality forage to your deer herd most months out of the year. But even with that advantage, there's simply no comparison to the productivity of the clover and the soybeans.

GRANT: Unlike the old fables, there's not a magic bean for deer management. A combination of crops and how you take care of them – the type of fertilizer, how you plant them, using no till systems, all the ways you take care of the soil and provide better soil health, will end up with better crops and better deer.

GRANT: Back at my place, which we call The Missouri Proving Grounds, the drought conditions are even harsher.

GRANT: We put up this Non-Typical HotZone electric fence to protect beans so we'd have a viable food source come September 15th when bow season opens up.

GRANT: Clearly the fence is doing its job of keeping deer from consuming the soybeans on the inside of the fence. Outside the fence not one bean has survived. There is no significant chance of rain in a ten day forecast here at The Proving Grounds, and if that doesn't change in the next few days, I'll open the gap in this fence and let the deer consume this small amount of forage that is available, knowing that it's not gonna make it given the very harsh drought conditions and get them conditioned to coming in the gap for a little meal.

GRANT: If you feel you've reached those conditions at your Proving Grounds, you might consider going ahead and opening up the fence and allowing deer to get the advantage of the forage you produced knowing that it's not gonna survive till hunting season.

GRANT: Once the deer have removed all the browse you've grown, you can close that gap, wait for better conditions, and plant another crop for this fall.

GRANT: Scoop this out a little deeper, what’s dry, but I'm afraid we're getting the gravel level, as soon as we do, won't hold water anymore.

GRANT: Just as an indicator of the severe conditions here at my Proving Grounds, I've had a Reconyx Camera on a pond I specifically built to provide water in the middle of a large bedding area.

GRANT: We call this Boom Glade Pond and here's a very interesting series of Reconyx pictures showing the water level decreasing and animals using that limited resource.

GRANT: The forecast hasn't given us much hope, but this is the reality of it. This is one of our ponds that always holds water here at The Proving Grounds. We're down to just a little smidgen of water in the middle. Deer tracks all over, ground cracked, very deep. It's desperate conditions here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: There are other sources of water here at The Proving Grounds, but I like my water very close together, every hundred acres or so, so deer don’t have to compete, or travel really far to find a source of water. A) so I can pattern them and B) so predators don't pattern them so readily, traveling long distances to water. That's especially true this time of year when fawns are extremely susceptible to predation. Small fawns cannot avoid a coyote, and if it has to travel twice as far each day to go to a source of water, the odds of that fawn being picked off by a coyote increases significantly.

GRANT: There are still some water resources left here at The Missouri Proving Grounds, but I got to tell you, if these conditions persist, I'll be hauling water soon, just for survival of deer, let alone allowing them to express their maximum potential.

GRANT: It's just simple, and if you want this quality hunting, man you can have it, and that's why we starting growing …

GRANT: Although space is limited, I invite several of you all to join me at the Kentucky Proving Grounds August 12th for a full day field trip there where we're touring our exact hunting locations, the fence we're talking about, these clover soybean comparisons, and everything else we have going on for a day of learning and sharing about deer hunting and deer management. Simply call the phone number at the bottom of the screen right now, and you can register to come join us, Adam, myself, and the other people in the wildlife industry for a full day at the Kentucky Proving Grounds as we share with you the decisions we've made and how we prepared that habitat for hunting season 2012.

GRANT: I hope we get a chance to visit during the field day this year and share ideas and let me show you the techniques we're using first hand. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.