This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
RAE: That’s awesome! Hey, Dad! I got one!
GRANT: You got a deer?
RAE: Yeah! It’s bigger than the last one too!
GRANT: Wow! Tell me about it.
RAE: Um, we were just about to leave, like, really thinking… (Fades Out)
GRANT: That’s a lot of meat.
GRANT: This week, I had another great opportunity to hunt with my Dad. He’s got a buck and a doe tag and he’s ready to fire off the Winchester.
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GRANT: Recently, my Dad was able to tag a buck with his crossbow. He’s tagged a buck with his crossbow, two turkeys during Missouri’s fall turkey season.
GLEN: Those pretty good turkeys?
UNKNOWN: They’re great turkeys.
GRANT: One of those bucks was number one on our hit list – Handy. And opening day, we were able to tag that deer.
GRANT: I’m about to take the shot.
GRANT: He’s down, he’s down – Handy’s down. Oh, my goodness.
GRANT: Another buck that our Reconyx picked up using that plot was a nice nine pointer called Early Bird.
GRANT: Early Bird first showed up on our radar during July in a food plot we call North Boom. While he was in velvet and during most of September, the only place we got pictures of Early Bird was in that plot.
GRANT: This is the same plot where we protected a portion of the Eagle Seed Soybeans with a Non-Typical Electric Fence.
GRANT: A drought year and this bean is over my head, full of pods and flowers coming on…
GRANT: The fence allowed those beans to grow up to my shoulders even though we experienced a wicked drought. And as soon as we opened up the gate, deer started using those beans.
GRANT: Not only deer – check out this fox squirrel helping himself to some beans.
GRANT: Early Bird was one of the bucks using the gap we created in the Hot Zone fence.
GRANT: On September 29th, Adam and Daniel saw Early Bird in the Crabapple food plot.
GRANT: It was a great encounter, but Adam was looking for a more mature buck.
GRANT: A few weeks later, Adam and Matt were set up at North Boom food plot. This is the plot where Early Bird spent most of the summer. And wouldn’t you know it – Early Bird was the first deer in that plot. Wonder where he got his name?
GRANT: After that hunt, the next time we tracked Early Bird was with one of our Reconyx cameras in the Clay Hill food plot.
GRANT: Once Missouri’s firearm season opened, we had Dad out hunting almost every afternoon.
GRANT: Being patient and enjoying the outings, Dad liked watching some of the young bucks and passed a few does.
GRANT: After a few hunts of passing deer, I dropped Dad and Adam off at a plot we call Lower Two. I could tell Dad had a case of “trigger itch” when I put him out at the Redneck Blind.
GRANT: Not long into the hunt, Adam spotted a doe entering the plot.
GRANT: My Dad has won the muzzleloading championship of several states and is still an excellent shot. I was really surprised when I reviewed the footage and confirmed that Dad missed that doe at close range. Clearly Pops had a case of “doe fever”.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: Knowing that Dad, or most any hunter, would love to tag Early Bird, we moved the Redneck Ghillie Blind to the south end of the Clay Hill food plot and tucked it right next to some cedar trees. We moved this blind just a couple hours before he came hunting but we got a lot of confidence in these ghillie blinds. We also took a couple of cedar limbs and tied them to the blind to help it blend in to the cedar trees.
GRANT: Knowing the blind was set and there was a good pattern of deer using this plot every afternoon, I was just as excited as Dad to take him to that field.
GRANT: We primarily hunt this plot on cold days when there’s a north wind. The plot is at the bottom of a valley and it’s easy for the wind to swirl. But the combination of a north wind and cold temperatures means the wind and the thermals are in the hunters favor if he’s at the south end of the plot.
GRANT: After chemo, Dad gets cold easily. So we took an orange sleeping bag to cover him up knowing that if he saw a deer he’d be plenty warm and he’d get out of that sleeping bag with no problems.
GLEN: Here I am deer hunting again. Um, colder than blue blazes but I’m gonna try. That sun’s shining bright. I believe we’ll see some deer. I’m hoping anyway with the Lord’s blessing that I get one. Old as I am, most people don’t anyway. Ahh. My boy is good enough to let me come down here and hunt and he even helps me get in the stand, moves around. And I wore his GrowingDeer hat and I think I’ll be lucky today. I sure appreciate getting to hunt some. Thank you now. Bye.
GRANT: It wasn’t long into this hunt when a yearling buck crossed the plot. It appeared he was on a mission. This plot’s located between two bedding areas – bucks frequently cruise this area looking for does.
GRANT: There’s a huge difference between creating a plot or establishing a bedding area and creating hunter friendly habitat. We know deer need food, cover, and water. But how those are arranged with the lay of the land requires a knowledge of how deer want to use that land to create that hunter friendly environment.
GRANT: Soon after the yearling buck crossed the plot I spotted a two year old in the far northwest corner of the plot. I could see the deer but Dad couldn’t because I’d only opened the front portion of the ghillie blind and I had Dad tucked in the very back corner. You know how frustrating it can be when one hunter is seeing a buck and the other hunter isn’t.
GRANT: (Whispering) If I raised the front of the gun, will you be able…
GRANT: While I was filming that buck a group of does entered the plot from the northeast corner and I was confident this two year-old buck would come across the plot checking out those does.
GRANT: The buck did move east to check out some does, but unfortunately, he stayed on the northern side of a slope in the plot and we could usually just see his rack or his back. Rarely could we see his vitals.
GRANT: (Whispering) Nope, you’re shooting through the window Dad. Let him go on up the hill. He’s on this side.
GLEN: (Whispering) That? There he…
GRANT: (Whispering) Nope, see his head up? Can you see him?
GLEN: (Whispering) Yep.
GRANT: (Whispering) Ok, wait til your – wait Dad. Let’s see if he’ll go over to the right a little bit to give you a better shot.
GRANT: Seeing the buck’s rack but not the vitals was making Dad even more excited. So excited he was pushing down on the back of his gun – it’s on a FieldPod so that meant the barrel kept going higher and higher, and I was constantly adjusting the gun so Dad could find a deer in his scope.
GLEN: (Whispering) It’s still way too high.
GRANT: (Whispering) Okay. Let’s let him walk uphill where you can see him better. He’ll walk on up the hill where you can see him better. Just let him walk.
GLEN: (Whispering) Okay.
GRANT: Just about when I thought things were gonna work out with this buck that’s been playing visual tag with us for a long time, I caught more movement on the northeast side of the plot.
GLEN: How about the one coming down the hill?
GRANT: That’s another good buck, let’s see what he does. Can you move your gun that way? Let’s see how big he is. I don’t – I couldn’t see him very well, let’s see.
GRANT: Early Bird was an answer to my prayers and solved all the problems of needing to move Dad – as he walked out into the plot and slowly came to a stop.
GLEN: Stop him.
GRANT: Hold on. Wait ‘til he stops, put it right in the shoulder.
GRANT: That got him. In case a doe stops, I’m gonna get you ready. That got him. Good shooting Dad, right in the shoulder. Perfect.
GLEN: Yeah, when – it was facing me a little.
GRANT: It’s he’s – he’s not going anywhere. There’s a bunch of does over here, let’s see if they walk up to check him out.
GRANT: Dad’s shot was great and Early Bird dropped like a rock.
GRANT: Oh yeah, that’s a good deer, Dad. That’s a really good dear.
GRANT: Dad was thrilled but didn’t let me forget he had an antlerless tag still in his pocket.
GRANT: Hold on, let me find her.
GLEN: She’s way over in the brush.
GRANT: No, just. No, there’s two of ‘em on the pond dam Dad. The second one is bigger. There’s a bunch of ‘em coming out, just be patient. Just be patient. They’re gonna come right here to you. Just be patient. Alright. The big one’s behind the tree.
GRANT: There’s some more out – they’re all coming out. Just let ‘em walk out. The one that’s looking away – now her nose is looking to the left.
GLEN: You want me to kill her?
GRANT: Not, when she’s st- now, kill her when she’s broadside, right there.
GRANT: That got her. Perfect Dad.
GLEN: You sure I got that one?
GRANT: Yeah, I’m looking at the belly.
GRANT: You dropped her.
GRANT: Very good.
GLEN: I come down here with my son and he said, “Dad, I’m gonna put you on some deer”. And I’d like to froze before he got around to that deer but when they kept coming in, they just flowed in. And I let the first three big bucks walk by; I couldn’t get a good shot. And the fourth one, I got him. And then a doe come out later and I got her. And I mean to tell you – I’m walking ten foot high. I’m 86 years old and I – fighting cancer or whooped it – I really feel good. I can sleep in late tomorrow.
GRANT: You can sleep in warm. You want me to send that sleeping bag home with you to keep you warm?
GLEN: No, no, no, no.
GRANT: The Deer Season XP worked perfectly again and both deer fell in their tracks.
GRANT: That’s a good buck, Dad.
GLEN: I told you he was facin’ me, son.
UNKNOWN: Yeah, right there.
ADAM: And right there, I could shoot back this way. Have you ever had so many pictures in your life?
GLEN: I don’t think so.
ADAM: Other than this fall…
GLEN: I only had two when I got married. (Laughter)
GRANT: Dad’s had a great hunting season and he’s currently scheduled to return to the Mayo Clinic after Christmas to confirm he’s still cancer free. But he’s really more excited about spring turkey season and I can’t wait to take him turkey hunting.
GRANT: It’s extremely important as deer managers to monitor the amount of quality forage versus the amount of deer using the property. We want to make sure there’s more quality forage than deer – especially during the two stress seasons, usually late summer and late winter.
GRANT: It’s a long ways until the winter stress season, but based on our Reconyx pictures, our observations, and utilization cages, it looks like we may be a little short of quality forage come late winter this year here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: In this portion of Missouri, each gun hunter is only allowed one antlerless tag. That means it’s “all hands on deck” and everyone on the GrowingDeer Team is using their antlerless tag to help reduce the deer population here at The Proving Grounds.
ADAM: (Whispering) It’s November the 14th. This afternoon Clay and I are out in Lower Two food plot looking to do a little doe management. We’re on the southern end of The Proving Grounds. Not as many food plots here but it’s still high population for the deer. We’ll sit back and hopefully a deer won’t be too far away.
GRANT: It didn’t take long for the first deer to arrive.
GRANT: He was entering a food plot we call Lower Two at the south end of The Proving Grounds. It’s about an acre in size. Due to the topography in that area, all the food plots are relatively small.
ADAM: (Whispering) I can’t tell you the last time I shot a deer with a rifle in bow range. I don’t know how – I don’t know how far she was. 36 yards; rifle sighted in two inches high at 100. So, I shot low and she was just at the edge of my window. She almost walked all the way through and got out of range. Got over here where I was gonna have to shoot out the same window as Clay. So, I kinda rushed it but, hit her really good. She’s down at the other end of the food plot.
GRANT: Good shooting, Adam.
GRANT: Next, Matt and Daniel went a couple afternoons later to a plot we call Tracy’s Field. Earlier during the season, Matt was able to tag a doe out of this field and they were confident they could repeat his success.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Well, Matt and I are on doe patrol tonight. Hopefully, the Winchester can be put to work. We’ve each got one any deer and one doe tag so we might be doing a little dancing around in the blind, switching off the Winchester. But hopefully we can get some venison in the freezer.
GRANT: Not long into the set, Daniel spied a lone doe at the north end of the plot.
GRANT: She was head down feeding, so they decided to give her time in hopes she’d move a bit closer to the Redneck.
GRANT: After a few minutes and no signs of progress – that doe was satisfied to eat right there. Daniel decided to take the shot.
DANIEL: White belly. I like that drag to the truck.
MATT: What drag? Honestly, because of the slope, we’re just going to slide her right off the bank into the Yamaha.
MATT: Call it good and go home.
GRANT: As the light was fading, Daniel and Matt switched positions and now Matt’s behind the Winchester. Two does entered the plot and Matt’s ready to go.
MATT: (Whispering) Ready? She’s broadside now, you ready?
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) Are you good?
GRANT: Boom! She goes down – another one for the freezer.
GRANT: Even though the next afternoon was warmer, Matt and Clay felt deer would show before dark in a plot we call Big Boom.
CLAY: …that’s got a lot of does on it. We’re sitting in a Redneck…
CLAY: We’re gonna see if, uh, we can get a couple to come out. Nope, okay.
CLAY: Brought the Winchester along with us so, one ta…
CLAY: It’s kinda weird it’s almost 68. Well how, how hot is it?
MATT: It’s like 75.
CLAY: It is? (Laughter)
CLAY: Well it’s November 16th. Matt and I came out here tonight to a food plot we call Big Boom. We’re sweating it out tonight, it is hot. It’s been hot today. But, this portion of The Proving Grounds has a lot of does on it so. Tonight I’ve got a tag in my pocket; we brought the Winchester along with us. They’ve been moving quite a bit still even though it's hot. So, we’re gonna sit back, hopefully one comes out and we’re able to take the shot.
GRANT: Clay was behind the Winchester and ready for action. The Redneck blind in Big Boom is located in the center of a very long food plot. So to watch the plot means your head is swiveling all the time.
GRANT: They noted a few deer working their way over a rise in the plot. Bringing up the rear was a good size doe.
GRANT: Moments before the light faded, that doe turned and gave Clay a great opportunity.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Okay.
GRANT: He settled the BDC on the vitals and squeezed the trigger.
MATT: (Whispering) I’d say you got her.
CLAY: (Whispering) Could you tell?
CLAY: (Whispering) It looked like she…
MATT: (Whispering) I’m pretty sure you got her.
CLAY: (Whispering) …looked like she was hit pretty good. She ran out though.
GRANT: Just after his shot another deer entered the plot and this one had antlers.
MATT: (Whispering) That’s a pretty good deer.
MATT: (Whispering) I think I just saw (Inaudible).
CLAY: (Whispering) Really?
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) I think.
GRANT: He and Matt decided this deer needed another year to mature.
CLAY: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, good doe. She’s big.
CLAY: We’ve got a lot of deer on this portion of The Proving Grounds. Our, uh, exclusion cages are really showing it. This doe came out and was just head down as soon as we saw her – ripping out turnips. This is one more doe down for The Proving Grounds. Matt and I got a long drag outta here but it’s well worth it. Thank you, Matt.
MATT: You bet. Good shooting.
GRANT: By working to balance the amount of food and the number of deer, we can improve both the habitat and the deer herd quality. Good shooting boys. That’s a successful hunt and great progress towards our mission but now the work begins.
GRANT: We’ve recently had some great footage of bucks working scrapes we freshened with Tinks. You can check this footage out at the clips tab at GrowingDeer.com.
GRANT: Even though the temperatures are finally cooling down throughout most of the whitetails’ range, it’s still a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But most importantly take time every day – no matter the conditions – slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.