Deer Hunters | Scrape Strategies And Fall Food Plots (Episode 458 Transcript)

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

DERRIC: Hey, Good morning, Dr. Grant Woods and his incredible team. Just wanted to shoot you a video to say thank you for all you guys have done for us.

DERRIC: Uh, this is our first full year of owning this property that’s never been planted before and, uh, your partnership with Eagle Seed and Genesis drill has made this incredible soybean food plot with Game Keeper possible. And this morning, we’re drilling into it with the Genesis drill in the Fall Buffalo Blend.

DERRIC: Thanks again for everything you’ve done.

GRANT: Throughout most of the whitetails’ range, it’s time to plant fall or cool season forage. And the forage we’re planting now – well, it has a heavy job to do. It needs to feed and attract deer for about six months or until spring green up.

GRANT: Earlier this year – about July – we shared that we were planting Eagle Seeds experimental Summer Soil Builder Blend. And the purpose of that was to provide some quality forage for deer and also drastically improve soil health.

GRANT: Like most land managers, we’ve got some small hidey hole type food plots and deer were browsing the beans in those plots so hard that they couldn’t form a canopy.

GRANT: Then we got hit by a wicked drought. We needed to plant something in there to improve the soil, feed deer and keep the weeds at bay. And the answer was Eagle Seeds experimental Summer Blend.

GRANT: This blend isn't mature. Remember, we didn’t plant this until July. So, we couldn’t terminate it with the Goliath crimper. Crimping works well when plants are making seeds and they're very stressed. Just crimping a green plant, a lot of ‘em will stand back up. So, we terminated a crop using herbicide and since then, we’ve had some good rains and there’s adequate soil moisture. So, it’s time to plant our fall crops.

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GRANT: Late August and it’s time to establish our cool season or fall food plots. And we’re planting into an experimental blend we did with Eagle Seed. The big, bulky stuff you're seeing everywhere – well, we knew deer didn’t eat that variety. We planted it, or included it in the blend, to develop a lot of biomass that will become slow release fertilizer.

GRANT: It’s easy to see the tons of biomass from that summer crop on top of the soil. That turns into mulch which turns into slow release fertilizer. It keeps the soil temperature down, conserves soil moisture and limits erosion. All wonderful things to improve soil health.

GRANT: Another advantage that’s not obvious is the tons of roots these seven different varieties put in the soil. Each different variety has a different root structure. Some go really deep and big and fibrous. Others are smaller roots. And the advantage of that is they’re collecting different nutrients that settle at different depths throughout the soil profile.

GRANT: It’s also easier to drill in to this mulch on top of the ground than over our rocky soil or even good quality soil. Research shows tractors actually use two to three gallons of diesel less an hour when rolling over vegetation versus bare dirt.

GRANT: There’s a lot of advantages to the Buffalo System, but the biggest is high quality forage ‘cause I can't wait to hunt deer in this plot.

GRANT: Most fall blends, or species designed to be planted in the fall, do best when planted about 45 to 60 days before the first average frost date.

GRANT: Average frost date not only means when the temperatures are getting cool and plants can't grow as quick, but it’s also an indication of the length of days getting shorter and shorter. And plants are really triggered by the length of the day as far as growing and maturing.

GRANT: Some species don’t survive the first frost. I usually don’t include those in blends. Others simply slow down or don’t grow as quick. So, it’s important to get planted in that 45 to 60 day window to get those seeds germinated, seedlings established and producing a lot of forage before the growth slows down.

GRANT: I get a lot of questions asking about can they mow the crop that terminated. Mowing doesn’t terminate a lot of weeds or crops. So you’d have to wait until everything had made seeds then mow it, which would probably give you a planted weed base.

GRANT: Mowing doesn’t terminate most crops and weeds. You know that from your yard.

GRANT: In addition, mowing doesn’t spread the mulch evenly across the soil’s surface. So you end up with thick spots and bare spots. Not ideal for the Buffalo System.

GRANT: We have a little opening in the timber we call Blackberry Patch. There’s a little blackberry patch in the middle of this old logging deck and on the edge here is a scrape that deer have used year after year.

GRANT: This is the first one I’m gonna doctor up this year. I use a lot of mock scrapes but this is a real scrape. I just want to get the buck’s pattern on coming here before they develop too many scrapes in other places.

GRANT: We had some cool Reconyx footage last year of one of our bucks, Louie, using this scrape.

GRANT: I’m gonna use Buck Scent in this early season because the bucks are still very social; in bachelor groups as they start shedding velvet and that testosterone level starts increasing – they’ll be some competition. Bucks changing territories, shifting around a little bit and Buck Scent is ideal to get bucks checking out who’s in that area this time of year.

GRANT: I just sprayed my boots and cleaned my hands good with D/Code. So, I’m pretty scent free and I’m gonna just put the wick on this limb. It’s gonna drip right in the scrape.

GRANT: So, I’m just barely grabbing the top. Just getting it on there just like that. Once the wick is in place, I simply take the lid off, saturate the wick – it won’t take but a few seconds. It will swell up about a half inch. Put the lid back on; squirt the ground a time or two; back over there to a tree; put my Reconyx up and see which bucks are using this scrape. And it won't take long.

GRANT: Oh, look at that. I can see it already. I’m just gonna do that. And that baby is doing its magic. Now, a little bit’s gonna come off of it now. But over the next week, just a drip or two will come down like you see now. And, up at this height, the wind is swirling around taking that scent all through the woods.

GRANT: The last step is I’ll mist a couple of limbs right here and put a little on the ground – making sure I don’t reach under the drip because I don’t want it on me.

GRANT: The last step for me, anyway, is to walk over there about ten yards, put a Reconyx up; focus right on the scrape and on the edge of the timber so I can see which bucks and does are in the area.

GRANT: You can tell from this scar we've used this cedar tree in the past. It’s the perfect location to monitor this scrape.

GRANT: I love using the Reconyx UltraFire because it takes video – really high-quality video. And video is so much cooler than just a still picture. Bucks are moving and maybe walking through. You can tell a lot more about ‘em with video than a bunch of still pictures.

GRANT: And I’ll fasten it to the tree. I like mine really tight so there’s no slop in there. That’s easy with these straps.

GRANT: Once the camera is on the tree, I aim the best I can. And there’s a walk feature on the Reconyx. But a little trick I use is to walk out there and look back at the camera. If I’m seeing the same amount on both sides, I know it’s pointed exactly where I want it.

GRANT: I always tie any excess of my strap up, so it doesn’t flop in front of the camera somehow.

GRANT: Scrapes are simply a communication hub. They're not a territorial marker like used to be thought. I think of scrapes as like the old phone booths. Someone goes there to communicate and leaves. And that’s exactly what happens at a scrape.

GRANT: They're communicating by leaving scents from different glands. That’s why now is a great time to freshen up existing scrapes or create mock scrapes.

GRANT: A big advantage of using these two tools – freshening or mock scrapes – is that you can get a buck conditioned and patterned to using that scrape that’s in a favorable hunting location.

GRANT: This is a very easy and effective technique to learn which bucks are using an area. And we’ll keep you posted on the results from the Blackberry Patch and other scrapes we’re monitoring.

GRANT: If you like this type of information, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer weekly newsletter. This time of year when changes are happening fairly rapidly is a perfect time to get outside and enjoy Creation.

GRANT: But, every day of the year – every single day – it’s important to find some time to be quiet, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.