This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
DANIEL: We know a lot of you are wondering how Raleigh and Grant are doing. And I’m happy to say they're doing great. Both Raleigh and Grant are doing well and walking miles each day. Raleigh, in fact, is on her way back to The Proving Grounds as we speak; as Grant stays up there a few extra days while the doctors balance out his medication.
DANIEL: We want to thank you all, again, for all of your thoughts and prayers during this season of life. Raleigh and Grant, especially, appreciate it, as well as the entire GrowingDeer family.
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DANIEL: Last week, we shared how we’re getting all of our Summit stands ready for opening day.
DANIEL: We’ve checked all the straps; loosened ‘em; retightened, so it doesn’t girdle the tree; and we’ve trimmed all our shooting lanes.
DANIEL: All of our past Summits are good to go and it’s time to start hanging some new sets.
DANIEL: We’ve recently received a couple of new Summit Ledges and we’ve started putting ‘em together.
DANIEL: We were excited when we got finished because it was time to put ‘em up in the tree.
DANIEL: You’ve heard us talk about how we have too many deer for the number of food plot acres here at The Proving Grounds. This past spring, we were trying to add food for the deer and we’ve created a new food plot that we call Pops.
DANIEL: We named this field after Grant’s father, Pops. Well, Pops had tagged a bunch of critters just up the ridge from this food plot, so it seemed appropriate that this field be called Pops.
DANIEL: When there’s big changes to the habitat, there’s usually a little learning curve to figure out how deer are now moving through a property.
DANIEL: Pops was a new food plot and the first thing we did was put out our Reconyx camera to see how deer were entering and exiting this food plot.
DANIEL: We were thrilled when a hit list buck named Swoops starting showing up at Pops.
DANIEL: We’re also extremely happy when a new buck started showing up. We shared a video and picture of this buck on our Facebook page and asked people to help us name him.
DANIEL: There were a lot of great names y'all threw out, but the one we settled on was Slingshot. That’s because his G2 and G3 are split and look like a slingshot.
DANIEL: It was great seeing Swoops and Slingshot show up at Pops, but we very carefully studied how they were moving through the terrain and which trees they were walking by.
DANIEL: After several weeks of collecting all this data, we had a good idea which tree we wanted to hang in, but Clay and I went out to scout to make sure that was the tree we wanted.
DANIEL: This one. This for sure is a killing tree.
DANIEL: It’s gonna be sweet. They're probably even working this, the spine of this ridge down sometimes. Because you notice, there’s some videos where, like, Swoops and that, that – and Slingshot – they actually, they're actually working the spine of the ridge right through here which is ten yards.
DANIEL: This is gonna be awesome.
CLAY: Oh yeah, man. I mean, they're just like – that Slingshot – he just – right here.
DANIEL: We’re excited because deer season is just about a month and a half away from getting started here in Missouri and today, we’re hanging a new Summit set. We’re really looking forward to see what the view is gonna be like from this tree.
DANIEL: This is a new food plot location here at The Proving Grounds and we call it Pops.
DANIEL: We also wanted to locate and save the larger trees around Pops so that we would have trees to hunt from.
DANIEL: By taking the time to walk the area and flag the edge of the food plot before it was created, we were able to locate the larger trees and put the border of the food plot several yards in front of ‘em.
DANIEL: This is great for keeping several trees in between where you're hunting and the edge of the food plot. We don’t want to sit right on the edge of the food plot because we’re right out in the open and deer could spot us.
DANIEL: Right in front of this tree is a couple cedars. Of course, they're lower. Deer out in front are gonna be looking up and they're gonna be looking through cedar branches.
DANIEL: Even though we saved this tree, we didn’t know if we were gonna hang in it. So, we set a Reconyx camera up just across the field to see how deer were using the area. Sure enough, after watching ‘em a couple of weeks, I couldn’t wait to come out and hang in this tree.
DANIEL: Any time we can hang on the easterly side of the food plot, we really like to. Because we rarely get east winds, so with winds coming from the west or south, we’re able to slip in and hunt effectively.
DANIEL: Once we got everything on the ground, the first thing to do was to start piecing together the Vine steps.
DANIEL: Call me crazy, but there’s just something I love about climbing up a tree for the first time.
DANIEL: Never want to be untied from the tree. Have a fork right here. You know, it would be easy to un-, just hold to the tree; undo my lineman rope; put it around the fork; tie back in – but I’m unattached to the tree. If something should happen, I fall; not worth it.
DANIEL: So, I went ahead and put safety line up; tied in here; then I undid my lineman rope; and I’m tied back into the tree. Never unhook from the tree.
DANIEL: All right. Let’s send up a stand.
DANIEL: I gotta tell ya, the view is beautiful.
DANIEL: Aww, dude. Oh yeah. Killer.
CLAY: Where’s that cameraman gonna be?
CLAY: Where’s the cameraman gonna be?
DANIEL: Right here. It’s gonna be tight. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. You know?
CLAY: I’m seeing a common pattern in all of Daniel’s stands. That it’s gonna be tight. It’s gonna be a killer. But you gotta do what you gotta do.
DANIEL: No, this – this is not bad. Actually, got a little lean to it. You can take a little nap.
DANIEL: Because this tree, this tree is coming down.
DANIEL: It took a lot of planning and strategy to design the food plot and I didn’t want to ruin that by just trimming clear shooting lanes. I wanted to be very mindful of which limbs I was keeping and which limbs I was taking.
DANIEL: I carefully used the extendable Hooyman saw to trim just a few lanes, so the hunter and the cameraman could see deer from different angles. Just one or two limbs cut and there was cover and great shooting lanes.
DANIEL: Well, that’s a wrap for this stand. It’s hung and ready to go. I’m loving the view.
DANIEL: Here in a few weeks, we’ll be planting Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend here in Pops and it’s gonna look incredible. I can't wait ‘til later this fall.
DANIEL: As Missouri’s archery season draws near, we’re keeping a close eye on the oaks and acorn production.
DANIEL: The Proving Grounds is a difficult property to hunt. We’re here in the Ozark Mountains where steep topography often dictates our hunting locations. As thermals move up and down the mountain and winds swirl.
DANIEL: Another factor that adds to difficulty is that The Proving Grounds is mostly contiguous hardwood forest. And that means a lot of oaks and a lot of acorns on high production years.
DANIEL: Some may think it would be great to have a food source that deer love everywhere, when, in fact, it’s extremely difficult to hunt. Deer can just be willy nilly through the timber and it’s extremely difficult to pattern deer and find exactly where a deer is gonna be crossing within range.
DANIEL: Knowing that the presence or absence of acorns here at The Proving Grounds dramatically affects our hunting each fall, every summer we grab the Nikon binoculars and go scout some oaks.
DANIEL: Out this morning doing a little pre-season scouting looking for acorns.
DANIEL: Came up on top of this ridge where we’ve got a Summit hangin’ right on the edge of a bedding area and timber. And there’s a couple of chinkapin oaks.
DANIEL: Here at The Proving Grounds, chinkapins are sometimes the first ones to start dropping acorns. So, if you can find a tree that’s loaded – well, it’s a hot spot during the early portion of archery season.
DANIEL: There are several large chinkapins in this area, so we’ve come up to see if they’ve produced acorns this year. Brought the Nikons out; scanning the tops of the trees. Not seeing a lot of acorns and the ones that are there are very small.
DANIEL: This stand location is probably not gonna be at the top of our list as we kick off the early season. But, you can bet we’ll be here once bucks start cruising this bedding area looking for receptive does.
DANIEL: We’ve now moved up onto a ridge where we know there are several white oaks. Just down the ridge from where we are right now, are two large white oaks that have produced a lot of acorns in past years.
DANIEL: This year, there aren’t any acorns in those trees.
DANIEL: We aren’t, but 100 yards up the ridge from the two large white oaks and we’ve got a small white oak that’s got acorns. We’ve been glassing this area and on the side of the hill. And there aren’t very many red oak or white oaks that have acorns.
DANIEL: This oak is gonna be a hot spot. When white oak acorns are on the ground, deer are abandoning other food sources and they're gonna be head down looking for white oak acorns.
DANIEL: In areas that don’t have a lot of white oaks – or in years like this one here at The Proving Grounds where we only have a couple of white oaks that are producing mass – well, those are dynamite hunting spots during the early season.
DANIEL: Those areas can be hard to hunt, though. Deer can come in; feed on acorns; maybe only go 100 yards, bed down; and then move back in and feed on the acorns. They're not having to move far to find what they like.
DANIEL: That means we are gonna have to plan very carefully on how we hunt around acorn producing trees.
DANIEL: This white oak is only about 20 yards from a stand that’s just over the crest of the hill. We actually use the terrain to our advantage.
DANIEL: We keep the hill in between ourselves as we approach the stand and where we believe deer are. That way, we can slip up; hunt the stand without alerting deer that may be only a few yards on the other side of the hill.
DANIEL: We’re excited to climb in this tree and hunt these acorns. But, we also know that our window of opportunity is gonna be very short. That’s why we got Plan B.
DANIEL: Man, just look at all those acorns. That, those, that tree, that tree, that tree. They're just all around here. They're just loaded. They're gonna be hitting ‘em earlier than usual. So, we can come in and hunt a little more early season when we’ve got a lot of south winds.
DANIEL: This is, this is gonna be a hot spot this year, I think. For sure.
DANIEL: We’re on a different ridgetop and we don’t need the binos here ‘cause these red oaks are loaded.
DANIEL: Red oak acorns have more tannins in them, so they're a little more bitter to deer. So, oftentimes, they will eat the white oaks first and then the red oaks.
DANIEL: In years past, when we’ve had a large acorn crop – well, the red oaks – they may still be on the ground even December and January and deer are still crunching on ‘em.
DANIEL: I doubt that’s the case this year because we have so few acorns – especially white oaks – and the red oak acorns are gonna be hot during the mid-season.
DANIEL: There’s a lot of red oaks right in this area, so we’re gonna think about how we’re gonna hunt these red oak acorns.
DANIEL: We know that in years past, this little ridge is a great travel corridor for bucks. Several years ago, Handy was moving through and last year, multiple hit list bucks were on this ridge crunching on the red oak acorns.
DANIEL: We’ve already got a Summit stand in the area because we know it’s a hot spot from years past. But, with this concentration of red oak acorns where there’s not very many around, well, I think we’re gonna hang another set for a different wind.
DANIEL: Over the next month, we’re still gonna keep scouting. We’re gonna be hanging stands and we’re gonna be ready when opening day comes and know exactly where to hunt with which wind.
DANIEL: When you're just walking through the woods, it’s easy to pass up a lot of acorns unless you're intentionally looking for ‘em.
DANIEL: The same is true in our lives. I hope you slow down this week and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
DANIEL: I’m always gonna go for the milk chocolate first, but if all the milk chocolate’s gone, I’m gonna be eating the dark chocolate.
CLAY: That’s a pretty good comparison right there.
DANIEL: I’ve been thinking on that one for a while.
CLAY: I mean, like, that’s like, that’s like real-world comparison.
DANIEL: I've been thinking on that one.
CLAY: All right. Let’s do it. We’re sitting over this; sitting over some milk chocolate nuts. Today, we settle for the dark chocolate.