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GRANT: Let the deer hunting begin. This week the GrowingDeer Team tags five deer. I want to share those hunts and our strategies with you.
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GRANT: Pro Staffers Heath and Lindsey Martin have been spending months preparing for a 2016 season.
GRANT: Like us, Heath and Lindsey believe in maximum scent reduction. They’ve been using Dead Down Wind products to wash their clothes and store them until hunting season. Heath and Lindsey also spent some time setting up a new Redneck ghillie blind and some hay bale blinds. They placed these blinds overlooking some hidey hole food plots. They planted these plots with Eagle Seeds wheat and clover.
GRANT: As it often happens, it didn’t rain as the weatherman forecast – and the plots didn’t receive any rain until a couple of days before season opened. The plots germinated but deer were still passing through the area going to a Trophy Rock station close by.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey used that pattern picked up on the Reconyx camera and were still excited about the first hunt.
GRANT: During the third morning of season, Heath and Lindsey snuck back into the same blind. At first light, they had a couple does slipping through the plot they had recently planted.
GRANT: Heath’s practice certainly paid off as that was a great shot. They opted to stay in the blind just in case a buck come through later in the morning. Wouldn’t you know it, later that morning, another doe came down the same path. But, Heath is out of doe tags so she got a pass.
HEATH: (Softly) I should have seen her fall from the blind. (Inaudible) Here.
HEATH: Well, here she is. This is our first deer of the 2016 Kansas season. It’s been open for a couple days here with the early muzzleloader. That’s why we’re wearing orange. And, uh, we’ve actually just got to sit our new ghillie blind a couple times yesterday morning and this morning and had opportunities at does both days. And yesterday we had one come by that had a small fawn so I opted not to shoot her. But this deer came right about 25 yards – right after daylight this morning so I went ahead and put, and put a good shot on her and she didn’t go but a 100 yards out through the woods there. Great way to start the season. Got some fresh backstrap for the freezer.
GRANT: During the next couple of mornings they were able to hunt the same ghillie blind but this time with Lindsey up to bat.
GRANT: Several deer came into the plot and even a flock of gobblers. But unfortunately they weren’t able to make anything happen.
GRANT: About 10:00 a.m. during the last morning of the hunt, another doe is coming to the plot.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Well, it’s about 10 o’clock this morning and we have been, uh, obviously, sitting here since before daylight. We were actually just packing up. I’d actually taken off my release and everything. These ladies came in and poked their head out in the opening and gave me a shot. Um, we’re gonna give her a little bit of time and go out there and see if we can get her.
LINDSEY: Well, here she is. Um, Heath and I, after I shot, had a chance to take a look at the footage and realized that the entry hole was a little bit back. But, we knew that it was likely a fatal shot because the arrow came out high on the shoulder on the opposite side. So, we knew it was a good shot, but, we still gave her about an hour before we started tracking. And, um, she’s probably gone about 175 yards or so from where the blind was. And, it took us about 30 – 45 minutes to track her down here. We were pretty cautious. Um, what is crazy, is in that less than two hour time frame that she has been laying here – she’s already had a predator after her that’s ate her tail off back here. But, none the less she’s a good looking doe. She’s gonna make some great meat for the freezer. And I’m excited to get my 2016 archery season started.
GRANT: Congratulations to team Martin on tagging a couple of early season does.
GRANT: Aaron Morgan and Jerry Boden are a GrowingDeer Team that actually resides in Kansas. They were also out during the opening weekend.
GRANT: The deer season in Kansas opens with either a muzzleloader or archery and Aaron’s ready for both.
AARON: Last night when we were hunting, we had a, was a really nice dear – about a 140 class, 12 point. Really nice deer, looks good. Um, hunting the other side of the farm, uh, today – this afternoon. I’m taking a bow and I’m taking a muzzleloader. That’s gonna be about an 80 yard shot at my farthest.
GRANT: The night before they had a tempting encounter with a nice 12 pointer. They’re on the opposite side of the farm today and doubt they’ll see the same buck.
GRANT: Aaron hunts a small farm that’s mainly cropland but wooded edges.
GRANT: It was a warm evening in Kansas, but Aaron and Jerry both have high hopes of seeing deer.
AARON: (Whispering) September the 18th, it’s hot. We had a long walk in. As soon as we got in the stand, we had to spray down again using the washcloths again to get the sweat off, and help get the scent down. We’ve got a good steady wind today. Uh, this is a good spot. People say it all the time but today it, it really does feel good today. I have high hopes for this afternoon.
AARON: (Whispering) It’s only 40 right down to there.
GRANT: As the hunt progressed, they saw a few deer in the distance even though it was early in the afternoon.
AARON: (Whispering) Alright. Our first weekend of the season is pretty much wrapped up. I say that and there’s a deer.
GRANT: With the light fading fast, antlers appeared in the distance.
AARON: (Whispering) It’s a buck too. It’s the 12! Do we have time?
GRANT: It’s the same 12 pointer as yesterday and Aaron reaches for the muzzleloader.
AARON: (Whispering) Is he picking me up at all?
JERRY: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Look good? Whenever.
GRANT: With the unusual reaction, Aaron believes he hit that buck a touch back.
GRANT: It’s always a tough call, but based on the buck’s reaction, they slid out and gave it ample time before returning.
GRANT: When they did return, the buck hadn’t traveled that far from where they’d last seen it.
AARON: Man, I’m so happy I found this deer. Um, we came – I shot him back a little bit – and we got on blood; we followed it to the field edge. We could see with our flashlights that he was in here still alive. We caught movement in his eyes and stuff and we could see that he was still alive and moving around. So we backed out and gave him some time and came back in.
AARON: Um, he had actually expired in this little heavy, thick-stick stuff behind me. Uh, so we pulled him out, got him a little prettier before we did this but. Uh, the last deer I tagged was almost, probably my last day to be able to hunt in 2014. Last year I wasn’t able to tag out. So to actually be able to get a buck on my first weekend out, man, it’s, it’s a great feeling. I’m, I’m so happy and thankful that I was able to take this deer. It’s a good deer, I’m happy with him. I’m really thankful.
GRANT: Congratulations Aaron and Jerry for a fine opening weekend in Kansas.
GRANT: This past week, we had Keyland from Flatwood Natives in town. Frequent watchers of GrowingDeer will recognize Keyland from past episodes. He’s helped us establish tree plots here in Missouri and in Florida.
GRANT: Keyland returned to The Proving Grounds ‘cause they also offer a service of treating invasive exotic plants. We’ve got a lot of Sericea Lespedeza here at The Proving Grounds that they are starting to treat and we’ll give you an update on that project soon.
GRANT: When we’re planning Keyland coming and helping us treat this Sericea Lespedeza, I told him to pack his bow ‘cause one of our management goals this fall was to remove a number of does from The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: When Keyland showed up, we just assumed a great place for him to hunt would be the tree plot since he’d sweated in it two years ago, helping us plant those trees.
GRANT: The GrowingDeer Team, and especially me, are very fond of folks reaping the rewards of their hard work. And since Keyland had sweated hard planting those trees a couple years ago, I was really pulling for him to have a great hunt.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) We’re sitting in the tree plot tonight. Got a good southwest wind; they’re hammering the beans out in front of us. Got a lot of good activity on the Reconyx cameras. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. I think we’re gonna have a good hunt tonight.
GRANT: Not long after Matt and Keyland got settled in the hay bale blind, they had some action.
GRANT: A few deer entered the plot and immediately started feeding.
GRANT: It’s no surprise these does stayed in the shade, given how warm it was that afternoon.
GRANT: Finally, one of the does moved up to about 32 yards from the blind and gave Keyland a broadside shot.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Smoked her, got her.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Mama does over there watching us.
MATT: (Whispering) Is she right there?
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) Is she still right there?
KEYLAND: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
MATT: (Whispering) Okay.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Hey buddy, great job!
MATT: (Whispering) Good job man, that’s awesome!
KEYLAND: (Whispering) That was awesome.
MATT: (Whispering) Great hunt.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Smoked her about 30 yards. Mamma’s out there.
MATT: (Whispering) Is she still right there?
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Mamma doe out there don’t know what’s going on.
MATT: (Whispering) Do you have another tag?
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) Take her.
MATT: (Whispering) She’s going to be okay.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Can she see us in here?
MATT: (Whispering) Very faintly. Just go ahead and knock it. Get ready.
MATT: (Whispering) First Missouri deer, first Missouri hunt.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) Awesome! Yes.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) First Missouri hunt. Two deer down. In the tree plot, couldn’t be better.
MATT: (Whispering) That’s awesome.
KEYLAND: (Whispering) This is awesome.
KEYLAND: Two years ago I stood right behind me, planting these trees and I looked up and I saw that cedar tree and I thought, “That’d be a great place for a blind and I expect somebody to kill something there one day.” (Laughter) Just did not expect it to be me. Uh, appreciate everything you guys are doing for us. Appreciate you, Matt, behind the camera – to help me find ‘em. Uh, and a great hunt and I’m thrilled.
MATT: Hey, absolutely. Glad to do it. Absolutely.
GRANT: The GrowingDeer Team is off to a great start during the 2016 season and I’m thrilled that Keyland was the first hunter to tag a deer in our tree plot. We’ll look forward to many more enjoyable hunts in that area.
GRANT: It’s hot now, but many of us are already thinking about hunting during November. But, let’s not forget to sign up for our nation’s Presidential election. If you think you’re gonna be travelling during November, please do what I’ve done and apply for an absentee ballot. Voting is an American privilege and something every hunter must do this year.
GRANT: Adam recently shared some tips for self-filmers and I shared what I’ve learned about following deer after a shot. You can find this useful information and even more at the “Clips” tab at GrowingDeer.com.
GRANT: It’s easy to get super busy during deer season and balancing family and work. But each day, let’s all take time to enjoy Creation, and even more importantly, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to us. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.