Deer Hunting: Late Season Pattern Means Meat for the Freezer (Episode 374 Transcript)

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GRANT: Follow through. Follow through. Right in the shoulder. Right in the shoulder. Follow through. Follow through.

GRANT: Last week I shared how Rae punched her tag during Missouri’s late muzzleloader season. Rae had a tough, long season. And I was thrilled that she was patient, stuck to her goals and tagged a great Ozark Mountain buck.

GRANT: Recently, we placed a Reconyx camera watching the food plot we call Boom North. Checking that camera, there was a really good pattern of antlerless deer using the plot during the afternoon. And all the time we were hunting with Rae during muzzleloader season, I was thinking, “I’ve got to get busy and tag some does to meet our management objective.”

GRANT: There’s rarely a consistent pattern of deer using an area in the mountains where there’s a lot of acorns. But this year, there weren’t many acorns here at The Proving Grounds and Daniel and I were excited to get up to Boom North and get in some Summit Stands.

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GRANT: As we were heading into Boom North to do some doe patrol, there was already a fawn in the plot when we arrived.

GRANT: As we started easing down to our stands and busted the fawn out of the plot, we found another surprise.

GRANT: That’s never a good sign when you're walking into your bow stand and there’s shed antlers in the field.

GRANT: Talk about anticipation. You know there’s a good pattern of deer using the field, see one as we’re going to the stands and found my first shed of the year. Well, I was like a little kid climbing up into the stand.

GRANT: (Whispering) It’s the afternoon of December 30th and Daniel and I are at a food plot we call North Boom. I need to punch a couple of antlerless tags. We’ve got a few more deer than the amount of food here at The Proving Grounds – especially this year with no acorns and the drought. But we’ve got to be careful ‘cause some of the bucks are already shedding due to the stress. We found a shed on the way in and we’ve filmed a couple of shed bucks in the past couple of days. So, close range – should be able to identify our target without any mistakes; hopefully get a couple of mature does within range.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. That’s perfect.

GRANT: Daniel and I were enjoying the afternoon when he noticed some deer entering the plot.

GRANT: While watching the fawns, we knew there had to be does close by.

GRANT: Late season – it can be difficult to tell fawns from adult does because button bucks are typically larger. So, it can look like big and little – a doe and a fawn. But even a big button buck’s face will appear short. The nose will appear short and the body is more square than rectangular. I’m looking for a long rectangle body with a long nose before I release an arrow this time of year.

GRANT: Suddenly, does appeared and were feeding in range.

GRANT: When the lead doe fed around where I had a gap to shoot and was about 30 yards out, she happened to be dead in line with the sun and I was a bit uncomfortable taking the shot.

GRANT: (Whispering) That sun is brutal. I’m gonna – I need something to change a little – I’m looking right dead in the sun.

GRANT: (Whispering) The one on the right with the head up right now.

GRANT: Eager to tag a doe, I put a baseball hat on and tried to use the bill to block the sun. As deer are shifting around, I also have on my mind to watch out for a shed buck. Remember, just a day before, Rae’s buck shed after the shot and we had found a shed on the way in.

GRANT: (Whispering) Alright. That may be the back one. Let’s see what happens. Yup. The back one.

GRANT: Finally, a doe presents a good shot and Daniel gave me a thumbs up. I waited for the wind to lay down a bit and drew between gusts.

GRANT: (Whispering) Looked good to me.

GRANT: (Whispering) Notice where she ran in around that big tree. Did it look good to you?

DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah. (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) Got three deer in the field. They're gonna come back out. First shot with the new Prime Centergy. 40 yards on a windy day. Looked great. Maybe an inch or two back, but the Havoc hasn’t let me down. So, really confident we’ll recover that deer.

GRANT: (Whispering) It sounded a little hollow and it looked a little back, but I’m confident we’ll recover that deer.

GRANT: (Whispering) We’re gonna see if we can't tag another one. Get some more meat for the freezer and a few less mouths here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: (Whispering) Loving this bow so far. Loving it. I usually don’t like taking a 40 yard shot the first time with a new bow.

GRANT: (Whispering) This bow holds so easy and sighted in so easy, I was confident. Here comes a deer back out. I believe that’s a doe, too. Yeah. That’s a doe.

GRANT: Sure enough, just a few minutes later, it looked like I might get another opportunity for a shot.

GRANT: (Whispering) We’re shooting the lead one if it works out. (Inaudible)

GRANT: Again, the lead doe never offered a shot I was comfortable with.

GRANT: (Whispering) I don't know if I can get an arrow through that limb. Are you sure the, this closest one’s a doe? Female?

GRANT: Finally, a doe offered a clean shot.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m taking her.

GRANT: (Quietly) I know that one was good.

GRANT: (Whispering) Hey. I got another one right over here. Stay on her. See what happens. She’s gonna go down soon. I hit her good. She’s gonna go. She’s down.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Okay.

GRANT: (Whispering) Mission accomplished. I don't think she ducked at all. Looked like it zipped her right there. I could tell. She was going down; she barely made it out of the field. I saw her tumble. In Missouri, you can buy as many antlerless tags for archery that you want. So, that’s our way to get a doe harvest. You can only get one with a firearm in this part of the state, but as many as you want with a bow. So, even though I’m tagged out with bucks, l love venison; Daniel loves venison. I certainly love hunting. When I’m settling the pin behind the shoulder, it doesn’t matter if there’s antlers or venison, I’m happy. And I’m really happy tonight.

GRANT: (Whispering) This stand is off the edge of the field behind this tree ‘cause, of course, there’s no leaves on. So, the branches give us a little camo. We got away with quite a bit right there.

GRANT: This was just like we expected. We knew this shot was great and its – bloodring is covered with a light blood and light bubbly blood on the one white fletching. Looks perfect. Really not much to say because we saw this one tip. Let’s go check out the second arrow.

GRANT: Well, I gotta tell ya. I’m pleasantly pleased ‘cause this bloodring is covered with blood. And there’s no smell of guts. It’s heavy blood on the white fletching. Havoc deployed perfectly. Should be a fairly easy trail, although it’s a steep hill. So, we worry about how far the deer ran because an extra 100 yards down this mountain could mean the difference of a short night and a long night.

GRANT: Right here. Plenty of blood. You can see it’s just – there’s a rock it really shines on right there. And this rock is a great example of the splatters. We know the direction this deer is going. But it shows up really well on this white limestone rock. The splatters just tell you exactly where it was going – the direction.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible)

GRANT: Entrance was a little far back; angled forward at the angle she was going and the – of course, the Havoc did its job. We’ve just come to rely on these Havocs. Man, they're awesome. Another big doe down. I’m gonna be unzipping some layers on the drag out of here. I can tell you that.

GRANT: Daniel and I had a really fun and productive afternoon. We found a nice shed in the food plot on the way in; was able to tag a couple of does. One at 40; one at about 25. Made a better shot on the 25. Wasn’t quite as windy. Wasn’t really a distance thing.

GRANT: When I shot the first doe the wind was rocking, and, but when we got to the Bloodsport arrow and looked at the bloodring, we could tell it was solid blood – probably liver, no gut. And we took up the trail and it worked out perfect. She was probably dead seconds after the shot and certainly didn’t make it that far. And that’s where the bloodring really pays big dividends. Giving you evidence you need to make a good decision on when to trail.

GRANT: Once we caught our breath, loaded both does, it was time to return to the house, get out the rack jack and start skinning both deer.

DANIEL: Well, I was glad when Grant’s does hit the freezer because I had packed my truck earlier that day and I was ready to roll north to my hometown in northern Missouri.

DANIEL: The property I was hunting was one I’ve hunted for several years. It’s an 80-acre chunk of timber surrounded by ag fields and cattle pastures.

DANIEL: Earlier this season, I tagged a nice buck in this chunk of timber but I didn’t have a camera with me. I wasn’t making that mistake twice, so I had a camera when I watched the first sunrise of the new year.

DANIEL: (Quietly) Well, it’s January 1st. I’m back home in northern Missouri hunting a property I’m always thrilled to get out and hunt.

DANIEL: (Quietly) We’ve got a cut bean field down below us several hundred yards and there’s a creek that runs along there. Deer usually filter mid-morning from that bean field up this hill to a bedding, back behind us several hundred yards. So we’re just cutting off deer going from food to bedding. I’ve had a lot of good sits in this stand. It’s fun ‘cause you're up on top of the ridge. You can see deer coming up the hill. So. It’s – you can see ‘em coming from a ways away. It, uh, it always – it’s always a longer hill than you think as deer are coming up the hill at you and it makes for fun, a fun hunt instead of ‘em just sneaking up on you. There they are. You, you can actually see ‘em coming. So, it’s usually fun sitting in this stand. Oh, man, it’s a beautiful sunrise this morning. Golly.

DANIEL: With a southeast wind, I was able to enter on the top of the ridge – not alerting deer to the east and below me. It wasn’t long before the first doe started working up the hill.

DANIEL: Working both the camera and the bow I prepared for the shot.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Whoo. Yes. A good doe. Good doe down. Golly. It was like a 37 yard shot. Just a great way to start off the new year – harvesting a mature doe in north Missouri. My hands are cold. I held that bow a little longer than I wanted. My hands are cold.

DANIEL: (Quietly) Of course, I’m out self-filming this morning. There’s nothing like coming home and getting to hunt on property you hunted growing up and, and property that you’ve learned how the deer move. And, gosh, it’s just – it’s fun. So blessed. That’s what it’s all about right there. White belly. 40, 40 yards from the tree. Man. Whoo.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah, that’s a good deer. I like to see that. Really nice buck. He’s shed one side. After seeing him, I kind of want to get down early and just start go look for sheds. Pick the doe up; head over to some bedding; look for sheds. But, man, that’s a good deer. That’s a really good buck.

DANIEL: So, we went to church; just got back out to recover this doe and she didn’t make it, but, I don't know – 60 yards from the stand. She only went about 20 yards from the shot and, and tumbled. So, we’re trying to cut ‘em off between food and cover. And it was just – it just worked out great this morning. Just a beautiful deer; big deer and just glad to punch a tag. It’s a great start to 2017.

DANIEL: Well, I’ve been blessed to have several successful hunts around my hometown and I look forward to next season.

GRANT: While Daniel was in northern Missouri, I was at The Proving Grounds filming Cathy Hall from Bass Pro.

GRANT: There was a really good pattern of does and young bucks coming into a food plot we call Blue Hole. The ladies have had a lot of success at this location. You’ll probably recall Rae taking several deer from this same Redneck.

RAE: Hmm. Hmm. He has a little tiny tine growing out right here.

GRANT: Based on the Reconyx pattern and our past success, I was confident Cathy and I would have a fun afternoon.

CATHY: (Whispering) Hey, I’m out here with, uh, Grant Woods, December 31st, 2016, and we’re out here in, uh, one of his blinds. And, uh, we’re ready to do a hunt. Uh, can hardly wait ‘til something steps in that’s, uh, the magical time of deer hunting. And, uh, watching that first deer walk in and watch it, uh, walk around a little bit and then when the time is right – uh, go for it. Uh, but it’s, it’s a great day. A little bit of wind, uh, not much. And it’s nice and sunny. I hear the crows in the background. So, again, I can't hardly wait for that first doe to walk in. And any deer, actually, but mostly, a doe.

GRANT: We got settled in and waited for the first deer to appear.

GRANT: I’m not sure if Cathy or I were more excited when the first deer stepped out.

GRANT: (Whispering) …I can't tell if it’s a doe or a buck.

CATHY: (Whispering) I think it’s a buck. There. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Looky there. Look at (Inaudible) – just what came in.

GRANT: (Whispering) What are you seeing?

CATHY: (Whispering) Well, there’s three more that came in.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Yeah, yeah, yeah

GRANT: I was busy getting the camera ready and focused when Cathy whispered more deer were entering the field.

CATHY: (Whispering) (Inaudible) …in the front?

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: I shared with Cathy to take her time and be sure we were looking at a mature doe because I figured there were some shed bucks in the area.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

CATHY: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m pretty sure that’s a doe, too.

CATHY: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) ….one down, head down, eating right.

CATHY: (Whispering) Yes.

GRANT: (Whispering) Okay. I’m on that one.

GRANT: The deer were feeding about 100 yards away from the Redneck, but Cathy patiently waited for the deer to kind of sort theirselves out and sure we were looking at a mature doe and that no deer were behind the target.

CATHY: (Whispering) Yeah, she’s looking this way.

GRANT: (Whispering) She’s stepping to the right. The deer, I’m looking at…

CATHY: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Okay, can you put it? Wait for her, wait for her to slow down.

CATHY: (Whispering) Yeah, a little bit quartering.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, so I’m okay. Can you put it right behind the shoulder? It – I mean – just wait a minute. Let’s see what she does. Don’t shoot.

GRANT: (Whispering) Can you put that right in her shoulder? Tell me before you shoot. Right in her shoulder.

CATHY: (Whispering) Yes. I’m gonna shoot.

GRANT: (Whispering) Okay.

GRANT: (Whispering) Move your head this way just a little bit for me.

GRANT: The smoke from the muzzleloader made it very difficult to tell exactly where Cathy hit the deer but I was confident she made a good shot.

CATHY: The smoke – I couldn’t see for the smoke.

GRANT: Okay. They all went that way…

CATHY: Some went, some went that way and some are to the left.

GRANT: Okay.

CATHY: That adrenaline rush.

GRANT: Good. Congratulations. Is that your first deer? Or is that your first shot at a deer – first deer?

CATHY: No. No, it isn't. But I’d like to have seen her drop.

GRANT: Yeah.

CATHY: Hit it right there on that shoulder.

GRANT: Yeah.

CATHY: So, hopefully, she didn’t go very far.

GRANT: I doubt she did.

GRANT: I was impressed at the patience Cathy showed waiting for a good shot. With plenty of light remaining, we climbed out of the Redneck and easily found the first blood.

CATHY: Now, we’re starting to pick up a blood trail and I think we found one just right here. So, hopefully, that doe won't be too far away.

CATHY: She must have gone off this way, Grant.

GRANT: It was a easy trail to follow. One of those you can follow about as fast as you could walk. And the doe only made it about 30 yards in the timber.

GRANT: Big doe.

CATHY: Got a nice doe, Grant. Good hunt.

GRANT: Good shot.

CATHY: Looks like it. Looks like it hit her right where, where it was meant to be.

GRANT: You did perfect.

CATHY: Well, the hunt was just great and I have to thank Grant Woods for allowing me to hunt on his land and having me come down and have the pleasure of, uh, getting a doe. So, we sat in the blind and we waited for a little while. It was pretty warm today. So, they came out a little bit later. But, that’s okay. When they came out, they came out, uh, all at once. The, the does, the fawns, a buck. So, uh, pretty much focused on this, uh, doe that walked out. There were two of ‘em, but focused on this one and I hit her right in the shoulder with my muzzleloader. And, um, she ran, uh, maybe, about, uh, 70 yards and, uh, so we’re gonna be able to drag her out, uh, pretty easy. But, uh, she, uh, she’s, uh, gonna be a nice, nice doe to eat. That’s for sure.

GRANT: A big doe for the Ozarks.

CATHY: Well, we had, uh, had a great time and we’ve still got some light to spare, so we’re gonna drag her out and, uh, and get her gutted and have some meat on the table. December 31st, 2016.

GRANT: Way to end the year. Right?

CATHY: Great way to end the year.

GRANT: Thanks, Cathy for helping us work toward our deer management objectives. And congratulations on putting some fresh venison in your freezer.

GRANT: It’s about the end of deer season and I usually get sad this time of year, but this year, I’ve got something to look forward to. During the middle of February, several of the GrowingDeer Pro Staffers and myself are headed to south Texas and we’re gonna chase some wild hogs.

GRANT: I hope you have plenty of venison in the freezer and take time each day to enjoy Creation. But most importantly, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.