This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: We are extremely thankful for the rains received here at The Proving Grounds during the past few days. We’ve been pushing hard to get seed in the ground and take advantage of those rains.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Flatwood Natives, Morrell Targets, Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana Decoys, Summit Treestands, Drake Non-Typical Clothing, RTP Outdoors, Yamaha, Fourth Arrow, ScentCrusher, iSCOPE, Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland, Hunter’s Blend Coffee, Motorola Lighting Solutions, Scorpion Venom Archery, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.
GRANT: Just before a rain was forecast the other day, I took Owen, our newest intern, out to a food plot we call Boom Back to broadcast Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: If you listen closely, you're probably hearing thunder in the background and that’s why we’re out here. We’re gonna hand broadcast some seed in this small plot we call Boom Back.
GRANT: Boom Back is extremely rocky – even for The Proving Grounds. I planned to use the broadcasting technique to plant this rocky plot and the best time to use that technique is just before or during a rain.
GRANT: A lot of ground can be covered rapidly with an over-the-shoulder broadcast seeder. I've used this technique in small hidey hole food plots for years and it’s a great feeling when you're spreading seeds and hearing thunder in the background.
GRANT: Y'all know I’m a big believer in wildlife biologists getting hands on, in the field experience. So, Owen, we’re gonna be broadcasting today; there’s a rain coming. We’re not gonna finish before it quits raining and that’s part of being a field biologist.
GRANT: It’s one thing to read about such techniques and it’s another to experience a technique. Not only planting, but stick around the project long enough to see the results, good or bad.
GRANT: GrowingDeer internships are probably more like an apprenticeship. Think about apprenticeships back in the days when blacksmiths or other tradesmen would bring someone in and teach them the trade with hands-on experience starting with simple tasks and working up.
GRANT: We do the same here in our internship program. We focus on boots on the ground and getting your fingers dirty, learning a technique and, just as importantly, seeing the result.
GRANT: I started the GrowingDeer internship program as a way to pay back because I was an intern decades ago and that opportunity helped launch my career. Hopefully, I can provide future wildlife biologists and land managers the same opportunity I had.
GRANT: Through the years, I’ve been blessed to work with 44 different young men and women through the internship program. I've stayed in touch with most of my interns and I am thrilled that over 95% of them are currently employed in the wildlife profession. I am very proud of each of them.
GRANT: Owen’s internship will last a year. Owen is fresh out of high school; wasn’t interested in going to college. So, the apprentice program is perfect for him.
GRANT: I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of Owen during the next year.
GRANT: Most of our food plots are now planted and due to the recent rains, they're looking great.
GRANT: Last week, we shared drilling Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend into one of their experimental summer blends we had just terminated. The Genesis drill knocked over much of that terminated crop and created a great mulch layer for that plot.
GRANT: We’re back in the food plot we call Clay Hill. And we’re back here because we planted it seven days ago and already there’s a great crop of Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: We’ve had good rain, so I’m not surprised that the crop jumped out of the ground so quickly. I am very pleased that given the slope of this field and all the rain we’ve had, there’s not one sign of erosion.
GRANT: That’s a big advantage of the Buffalo System. All the mulch on the ground does a great job of preventing erosion.
GRANT: By keeping the soil covered year-round with growing and terminated crops, it reduces the chance of wind and water erosion to almost zero.
GRANT: The mulch layer helps capture about 100% of the rain because there’s no runoff. And, it reduces the amount lost through evapotranspiration because it’s got the soil covered. The result is there’s more soil moisture available for a longer period of time to the growing crop.
GRANT: As the mulch slowly decomposes over time, it turns into soil. We’ve used the Buffalo System to literally build rich soil on top of our rocky ground. And I know of other folks that are using the same system to build rich soil on top of sandy soils or hard clay plots.
GRANT: The mulch is not only providing protection from erosion and keeping soil moisture in place, but it’s ideal feed for earthworms and other beneficial critters that are outstanding at improving soil quality.
GRANT: I used to like earthworms for fishing, but now I like ‘em even more as fertilizer producing machines for each food plot. And a big advantage – they're free. Free fertilizer. Being able to produce and hold more earthworms per acre means there’s more worms to fracture hard pans, make tunnels so water easily infiltrates the soil and aerates the soil. Again – all for free.
GRANT: This plot is clearly off to a great start, but what’s even more impressive is we haven’t added any lime or fertilizer in more than five years. Think about the cost savings and the time savings of not needing to add lime or fertilizer.
GRANT: The mulch also does a great job of suppressing weeds, which greatly reduces the amount of herbicide necessary. Mulch on the ground, built-in fertilizer, maintaining soil moisture and reducing weed competition – the only thing left is climbing in the stand behind me and hunting deer.
GRANT: Archery season opens here in Missouri in about 15 days. There’s already enough forage in the field to be attracting deer and by the time season opens, this plot should be green, lush and very huntable.
GRANT: Y'all know I love planting blends and one of the many advantages of planting different forage varieties is they each have different root structures and capture different nutrients.
GRANT: Some plants have deep roots; some have shallow roots; some have wide, fibrous roots. When you plant a blend, you kind of cover the whole soil profile.
GRANT: As these different forage varieties capture different nutrients from different depths in the soil, to pull ‘em up in the plant – they're either consumed by deer or left to decompose and release those nutrients on top of the soil. Those nutrients are now located ideally for new plants with shallow roots.
GRANT: All these benefits of the Buffalo System help produce nutrient-rich soil which, of course, produces nutrient-rich plants. And those are consumed by deer which makes healthier, larger deer.
GRANT: Louie is a buck that’s one of the most impressive this year at The Proving Grounds. Throughout the summer, Louie has been frequenting a food plot we call Well House.
GRANT: Daniel recently scouted the Well House plot to see exactly where Louie is entering and what he does once he’s in the plot.
GRANT: Based on Daniel’s observations and lots of Reconyx videos and pictures, we moved the blind, so it would be in range of Louie’s pattern. We wanted to get it located at least a couple weeks before season so the deer would acclimate to the new blind in the middle of the field.
GRANT: We frequently have southeast winds during the early portion of Missouri’s bow season. So, we’ve got the blind set up where we can approach from the north. Hopefully, Louie doesn’t change his pattern between now and the opening of season and we can get a closer look at Louie soon.
GRANT: If you’d like to stay up with our current hunting and food plot techniques, or see if we connect with Louie, please subscribe to our free GrowingDeer newsletter.
GRANT: During this rush, rush time before hunting season, it’s important to remember to slow down and enjoy Creation. And more importantly, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.