This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: We are well into December which means colder weather is very possible and food supplies are more limited. That means standing soybeans can be a hot place to hunt.
GRANT: With these conditions in mind, last week Adam and I selected a stand we call House Point, which is located right between a staging area, a small clover food plot, and an Eagle Seed soybean field. Both of these are just 100 yards, or so, out of a bedding area.
GRANT: Not long into our hunt, Adam spotted a deer moving into the field about 100 yards behind us.
ADAM: (Whispering) I really think it’s Rocker.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s got pretty good beam length.
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah. He’s a nine pointer. I’m pretty sure it’s Rocker. He’s four and a half.
GRANT: As the deer got out of the brush, we could tell it was a hit list buck we call Rocker.
ADAM: (Whispering) (Inaudible) he’s on the move (Inaudible).
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, that’s a good looking deer.
GRANT: (Whispering) Are you on him?
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
ADAM: (Whispering) He heard ya.
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah. He’s got ya.
GRANT: I was very excited to see a hit list buck, but Rocker fed across the field and never gave any indication he was headed our way.
GRANT: After this buck fed over the hill and out of our view, we heard footsteps coming our way.
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GRANT: We spotted a doe walking through the timber and she entered the staging area about 30 yards from our stand.
GRANT: Not long after the doe entered the clover, she went on full alert and stayed that way all the way ‘til dark.
GRANT: Knowing she was at full alert, I never felt comfortable taking a shot.
GRANT: I considered this hunt a success. We rarely get to see hit list bucks here at The Proving Grounds and that’s true for most places that are primarily covered with timber. Hunting timber country is much different than hunting areas that are primarily row crop ag. You can physically see further and tend to see deer, just driving around or working on the property. Even though we work in the field throughout the entire year here at The Proving Grounds, we rarely see hit list bucks. I’ll take that observation, add it to all the Reconyx data we’ve collected, and strategize a new plan to get in front of Rocker.
GRANT: Pro Staffer Daniel Stefanoff from Oklahoma recently had a free afternoon, so he packed up his gear and headed to the stand.
DANIEL: (Whispering) We’re set up off of a – about a two acre food plot, back in the woods a little bit, on a, uh, on a pretty good well-traveled corridor.
GRANT: Throughout this season, Daniel’s had minimal deer observations in his food plots because there’s been a huge acorn crop in his area.
GRANT: Preferred food sources can change year to year, or even week to week, especially in areas where acorns are a factor. It’s extremely important to stay on top of the currently available food sources and alter your hunting appropriately.
GRANT: Daniel wisely picked up on this trend and wisely moved his Summit stands from overlooking a food plot into the oak timber where there was a heavily used trail.
GRANT: The plan looked to be coming together, as deer came into view Daniel grabbed his bow and got the camera in position.
GRANT: Seeing these does working toward his stand, he opted to let the first couple pass, to see if there was a buck following them.
GRANT: After not seeing antlers, Daniel makes sure the doe is in camera frame, draws back his bow. He ends up holding the bow at full draw for a long time, waiting for her to present a better shot, but once she does, he settles the pin and takes the shot.
DANIEL: (Quietly) Got her loaded up on the four wheeler and, uh, gonna take her back up to the camp and get her gutted, and take her home, and I’ll get her cleaned up, and we’ll have venison for, uh, for Thanksgiving.
GRANT: Looks like the BloodSport found its mark. I am just as proud of Daniel for implementing a habitat management plan that we helped him create two years ago. Habitat management is not only about making a deer herd healthier, but making the hunting better. It looks like it’s working well for Daniel.
GRANT: Daniel’s brother-in-law, Brandon Pittman and his wife, Brecka, went out hunting also. Brecka hadn’t hunted in 13 years and had never tagged a deer.
GRANT: On this afternoon, Brandon and Brecka head to a Redneck blind that’s placed over a plot they called a Five Acre Field.
GRANT: Being that this is Brecka’s first hunt in more than 13 years, Daniel’s giving her the green light to shoot any buck she wants.
BRECKA: (Whispering) It’s been raining for like three or four days. It’s finally let up enough, so we can get out here and see if we can find anything. Didn’t even have the camera setup and a doe came out. She walked around for a little bit, went back off in the woods. Seen a turkey come out. Hopefully, something will come out a little closer and we can shoot it.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Pretty cool.
BRECKA: (Whispering) Yeah.
BRANDON: (Whispering) They roost at night – just go through those trees there and they (Inaudible) and that’s where they always roost every night.
BRECKA: (Whispering) Oh, so that’s probably where they’re making their way to.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Yep.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Now, we just need some deer to come out.
GRANT: After passing a doe and a yearling buck, a nice three year old buck steps out.
BRECKA: (Whispering) Right there.
BRECKA: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
BRECKA: (Whispering) He’s moving.
BRANDON: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
BRECKA: (Whispering) I don’t know, but he stopped right there.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Man.
BRECKA: (Whispering) Oh, if only. Oh. He’s gone. So close. A biggen.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Just couldn’t get a shot on him.
BRECKA: (Whispering) No.
GRANT: Brandon and Brecka shuffle around the blind trying to get both, the camera and gun, pointed at the buck. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get it done and the buck walks off.
BRECKA: (Whispering) Oh! I heard a gunshot.
GRANT: Trying to prevent this from happening again, Brandon and Brecka switch places.
GRANT: It’s a good thing they did, because shortly after, a nice buck steps out into the field.
BRECKA: (Whispering) Oh gosh.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Deep breaths. Just be calm. He’s not got a care in the world.
GRANT: As this buck works across the field, he takes the path that’s about 80 yards in front of the blind.
BRECKA: (Whispering) I can’t.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Safety off.
BRECKA: (Whispering) I can’t.
BRANDON: (Whispering) You can’t what?
BRECKA: (Whispering) I can’t shoot him yet.
BRANDON: (Whispering) You ready? You remember where to shoot him?
BRECKA: (Whispering) Yeah. I can’t.
BRANDON: (Whispering) Come on guy, turn.
BRANDON: (Whispering) You got him. You got him. You got him.
BRECKA: (Whispering) Are you sure?
BRANDON: (Quietly) He’s going down. You got him. He’s, he’s down. He’s down, babe. He’s down.
BRECKA: (Whispering) What do I do?
BRECKA: (Whispering) Yes. I smoked him. (Laughter)
BRANDON: (Quietly) How was that?
BRECKA: (Quietly) Oh, that’s awesome.
BRANDON: (Quietly) How was that?
BRECKA: (Whispering) Thank you.
BRANDON: He’s down, baby.
GRANT: The Deer Season XP does a great job, as the buck only travels about 50 yards.
BRANDON: (Inaudible) (Quietly) How freaking cool is that?
BRECKA: (Quietly) I got one.
BRECKA: (Quietly) A buck. A big one.
DANIEL: Is it the one you guys sent the picture of?
BRECKA: Is it the one we sent the picture of?
BRANDON: Nope. It’s a different one.
BRECKA: No. It’s a different one.
DANIEL: It’s a different one?
BRECKA: Yeah. Yeah.
BRANDON: Probably better than the one we sent a picture of.
BRECKA: Brandon said probably better.
DANIEL: Oh, that’s awesome. Did you see him drop?
BRECKA: Yeah. I can see him right here.
BRANDON: Tell him, tell him to get up here.
GRANT: Great shot, Brecka. That doesn’t look like 13 years of rust to me.
UNKNOWN: Are you excited?
UNKNOWN: Are you?
UNKNOWN: Got your first deer?
UNKNOWN: First hunt?
BRECKA: First hunt.
UNKNOWN: How long has it been?
BRECKA: In a long – in 13 years.
UNKNOWN: 13 years?
UNKNOWN: Oh, that’s good.
DANIEL: Wow. I don’t think that’s a deer we’ve seen.
BRANDON: I don’t think so, either. Not with all that stickers and trash, and all that stuff.
DANIEL: That’s a good deer, Brecka.
DANIEL: Yeah. That is awesome.
BRECKA: Thank you.
GRANT: Just as designed, the Deer Season XP expanded rapidly and did massive trauma inside the deer’s chest. There just wasn’t much left of either lung.
GRANT: What a special moment for Brandon and Brecka. I truly appreciate you sharing your hunt with us. Time spent with family and friends outdoors is always time well spent.
DANIEL: Yeah. When you called me and you were crying… (Laughter) It was great.
BRECKA: Oh. That’s eerie.
DANIEL: Yeah. We’re gonna have to start trapping and get on top of those guys.
BRANDON: In two days, we can start trapping.
DANIEL: Two days. Yeah.
GRANT: Trapping season is now open in Missouri and the critters have been on the move. We’ve recently had success trapping along our road system and areas where travel corridors converge.
DANIEL M: Well, we’re running the trap line today and we’re happy to see that we got another nest predator.
GRANT: Opossums can often be overlooked as predators, because most people associate them with scavenging on carcasses along the roadside. However opossums are wicked nest predators on quail and turkey and I’m always excited to find one in our traps.
DANIEL M: This is a great trapping location because we have several travel corridors meeting all at this one location.
DANIEL M: What really caught our eye on this location is that two fence rows come together and we have a gap in between where predators can move through. When we found this location, we knew predators would be coming through this gap. So we decided to set the trap on the uphill side, allowing thermals to take over in the evening, blowing that scent across that gap to stop a predator and get him in the trap. We’re gonna dispatch this opossum, and then, head on down the trap line to see what else we may have gotten.
GRANT: Duke cage traps are easy to set, and often, work well when placed along travel corridors. However, this setup can be enhanced if you take time to consider the thermals and wind directions during the night.
ADAM: Another day on the trap line, here at The Proving Grounds, and another critter in one of our Duke cage traps. We’ve got a big two acre food plot back here to the west, turns into a road, heads east. There’s also a creek back behind us. And all three of these travel routes intersect right here at the trap site.
ADAM: We know in the evening, as the air starts to cool, the thermals are gonna take over and it’s gonna follow the general flow of the creek, going west to east, so we set our trap up on the western side of the travel routes. That way, when the thermals fall, it’s gonna take the scent with it, luring critters into our traps.
GRANT: Trapping works, because we use a bait, or an attractant, to lure in the predator. And knowing that most predators are active at night, we want to place that bait where the scent is going across the travel corridor after dark.
GRANT: In addition to winter being trapping season, it’s also a great time to work on habitat improvement projects.
GRANT: Recently, we started expanding one of our staging areas and improving it for a stand site.
ADAM: We’re here on the south end of a small food plot that’s just to the north of Tracy’s Field. This small little area is planted in clover and serves as a great staging area. But today, we’re gonna expand out this area back behind me, make the staging area a little bigger, so we can have some great hunting in the future. Flat ground is prime real estate, here at The Proving Grounds. It comes in a limited supply, so we’re gonna take advantage of every bit we can find. This little area behind us, once we enhance it, expand the staging area, it’s gonna be a great hunting spot next fall. Our plan is to treat this little opening behind us and turn it into a clover staging area. Step number one for us is removing the saplings by hand and treating the stumps with a herbicide. So I’ve got the interns, Kyle, Nate, and Matt, with me. They’re gonna help me remove these saplings, so we can complete stage one.
GRANT: This area hasn’t been maintained, so the first step will be removing the saplings and brush by using hand tools and a chainsaw.
UNKNOWN: There we go.
UNKNOWN: There you go.
GRANT: Once we get the saplings cleared, we’ll move on to step two. Stay tuned to GrowingDeer, as we’ll walk you step-by-step how we reclaim this area and improve it as a hunting location. As winter sets in, I hope you still take time to go outside and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time each day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.