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GRANT: Tuesday, November 27th and this morning we had a great encounter with a buck we call Touchdown 10.
GRANT: Some of them are real cream colored and some of them are…
GRANT: And we took a little time to look at our late season food plots.
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GRANT: …his nose a little bit.
RAE: (giggling) Okay.
GRANT: After Raleigh and Rae’s successful deer hunts, we left the video cameras at home and took a little time just to go squirrel hunting. A lot of skills can be taught in late season squirrel hunting. The leaves are off the trees and it’s really loud moving around, but Raleigh and Rae had a successful hunt and we’ve got some squirrel meat for some squirrel dumplings during New Year’s, which is kind of a tradition here at the Woods’ family.
GRANT: We also did a few hunts and saw a few deer at a distance, but this morning was the most exciting of all. With the north wind and the thermals going downstream on a cold morning, the wind’s in our favor to circle around to the south and walk up to the Last Lick stand.
GRANT: I call it Last Lick because it’s the last Trophy Rock station headed south on our property. It was cold this morning, probably about 17 degrees by the creek. Adam and I were in early before daylight, but really assumed it’d be about nine o’clock or so when the frost started leaving the green forage in Last Lick before we saw much deer activity. And just a little after nine, hard to our right we saw a three year-old buck we call Touchdown 10.
GRANT: By this time in a rut, some bucks have been beat up and maybe not look as big as they did earlier on. Some bucks just won the battle and they're all puffed up. But you know their antler shape by now so we can identify Touchdown 10 by his rack, even though when I first saw him, it looked like he had a big chest and might be a shooter coming towards the stand.
GRANT: We’ve talked about this before, but there’s a huge advantage to running your trail cameras through your camera survey in August or so and then throughout the hunting season so you're very familiar with the bucks using your property and you can identify those two, three, four year-old bucks in that moment of excitement and pass the ones that don’t meet your harvest criteria for your property.
GRANT: Once he looked like he wanted to cross the creek again, Adam hit him with a grunt, snort, wheeze and as soon as he first started, and he was out of there like he had a rocket tied to his fanny.
GRANT: (Whispering) Just like the script except he didn’t come up to feed. That was a buck we call Touchdown 10, a three year-old. He’s got a pass but it’s always great to see him. We had pictures of him last week and he didn’t have that busted off tine, so tried to get him up for a better look, but he’d been whipped in a fight. Apparently, that grunt, snort, wheeze sent him off into the bushes.
GRANT: The broken tine, the scarred up back and his response to that grunt, snort, wheeze, tells me he’s tied into someone a lot bigger than him and I’ll be back in that neighborhood trying to find that big bully. He’s got a good chance of surviving the muzzleloader season coming up in a few days. We just don’t have that many participants in our late muzzleloader season and he should survive the winter and be a great four year-old for our Hit List next year.
GRANT: Deer get really beat up during the rut and does spend a lot of energy trying to avoid bucks before they're ready to be receptive and being harassed while their receptive. It’s important to have a great food crop out there so they can rebuild their body, repair those injuries, go through these cold nights without burning so many calories and come out in the spring in great shape.
GRANT: You know, we experienced a wicked drought this summer here at The Proving Grounds and we’re still dry. As a matter of fact, the local TV station announced the other day we’re 12 inches below normal. I feel that’s even low for my farm because several showers have went through the local town where my parents live – the TV station that is – that we didn’t receive. So, I’m sure we’re more than 12 inches low and I’m stunned at the growth and the productivity of these Eagle Seed beans.
GRANT: Now I have a lot of acres of fall green fields. You know, cool season crops we planted for the fall and they’ve certainly produced well, but a great thing about these Eagle Seed beans is they survived the drought and made a huge crop even though we’ve had almost no rain all fall long. In addition to having great nutrition going into the fall, these beans will stay in until they're consumed or into the spring and that allows the bucks to have a great diet, heal their body from fighting or injuries they got through the rut, allow those does to get maximum quality nutrition, giving those fetuses a great start; great fawns and develop into great bucks years from now.
GRANT: Another advantage going down a whole different avenue is female fawns are gonna pour in here ‘cause it’s probably the most attractive crop on the property. And female fawns eating well will reach puberty about 65 or 70 pounds or during the hunting season and when they do that, of course, they become receptive. Those mature bucks are right behind them.
GRANT: One huge advantage of that is that female fawns aren’t wise enough to avoid these open feeding areas when they become receptive. They do a better job of attracting mature bucks out of cover during daylight than receptive does during the primary rut. That’s just one more reason having the best food in the neighborhood is a huge advantage during the late season when you're hunting mature bucks.
GRANT: The food resources now have everything to do with antler size next year and the health of the fawns born this coming spring. That’s why food plots are such tremendous tools. For those of us that are island populations, managing deer maybe where neighbors aren’t putting much into habitat and management or non-ag areas where the only food is native vegetation and food plots can make a huge difference in the quality of deer and turkey on that property.
GRANT: Some great late season hunting ahead. Especially if the weather stays cold and trapping season’s now open in Missouri. I’ll be setting traps later this week and I’ll keep you posted on my latest techniques and my trapping success again here at The Proving Grounds. Trapping’s just another way to get outdoors and enjoy a renewable resource in Creation. I hope you have a chance to enjoy Creation this week and always remember to acknowledge and thank The Creator. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.