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WOODS: One thing about The Proving Grounds, you're often faced with extremely steep shot angles. Either bow hunting or gun hunting. Gun hunting, especially. You can have a two or three hundred yard shot at a 20% plus slope downhill. And that makes a huge difference in compensating for shot placement. So, in those situations, in my hunting vest, I’ve always got the Bushnell Scout Arc. And the Arc stands for simply, compensation of these steep angles. And on this particular hunt, it was huge tool. Brad and I, Brad filming for me. We’re on a power line right-of-way off to the side in a ladder stand, looking down a very steep angle; steep hill, knowing that we had a feeding area on one side and a bedding area on the other.
WOODS: (Whispering) It’s November 18th in the morning. Cold. High humidity. Cold, windy day. One of those days it’s real easy to stay in bed, unless you're really dedicated.
And running this power line cut, which is very steep, I’ve been using my Bushnell Arc Yardage Finder which gives me angle trajectory and it makes a huge difference at 200 yards. So, without that, I probably would miss a deer.
I’m a pretty skinny guy as most of you all know, I get cold easy. I’ve got that Medalist Silver Max clothing on. It’s got Silver sewn all in it. Hey, silver kills bacteria so that keeps your smell down, but, be it silver’s a tremendous conductor of body heat, you can put a little hot pad right in the middle of your back and just feel that silver conduct the heat all around your body, really, so I think I’m going to be able to take, it, but I don't think there’s anything between me and the North Pole when that wind’s blowing this morning.
WOODS: The first group of does and fawns and a yearling buck come through and we hear a grunting in the woods before we see the deer. The cameraman gets ready.
And we’re a little let down when a dink buck comes pushing these does around. And they mill around in front of us in the right-of-way a little bit, but we know there’s a reason that dink is with that group of does and fawns, so we’re gonna sit it out and wait and see what else follows that doe group.
WOODS: (Whispering) He’s like a teenager. He’s got the freedom. He’s got the keys to the car and he wants a date real bad. He has no idea what to do. He’s very vulnerable.
WOODS: But what was interesting – later in the morning, a doe comes out and feeds. There’s about a ten foot bluff, drop off, straight below us, about 70 yards in front of us, and this doe comes out and feeds right there and then beds.
WOODS: (Whispering) I just did a big series of grunts. Obviously did not affect her negatively. I feel the grunt calls are either, usually, it’s a neutral or a positive response. I think a grunt call is a tremendous tool.
I’ve noticed through years of research that deer love to bed with something to their back like that bluff or a highway. Anything like that, deer love to bed against a structure.
WOODS: I’m thinking, “Man, this is cool. We’ve got a live decoy right in front of us, so we’re watching and watching and watching, knowing something’s gonna come. But we were wrong in predicting what was gonna come.
WOODS: And I happened to pick up a coyote coming from the opposite side of the power line. Told the cameraman, “Get on it, get on it, get on it.” Because I really don’t like coyotes. Coyotes like to eat deer and I like to eat deer. That’s some bad competition. Sets right under a cedar tree. Just beautiful sun on him. Beautiful pelt. Everything’s great. The doe is obviously getting nervous. But, I’m focused on the coyote because I’m in the business of growing, raising and consuming deer. The coyote’s in the business of consuming deer. We’re direct competitors. In this situation, I get on top in this match. I tell the cameraman, “Get on it. Get on it.” And I’m nervous. I’m excited. And I get on the coyote.
WOODS: (Whispering) Are you on it?
WOODS: One for Grant. Zero for the coyote. But what’s more interesting is the biology. I shoot almost dead over the angle of the doe. She could care less about the gunshot because you’ve got to remember: deer are conditionable animals. Just like Pavlov’s dogs. They don’t hear enough gunshots to associate that with fear. Human scent and other things, yes. Gunshots, in most states, are a fairly rare event in close proximity to a deer. No more than thunder. They don’t run from thunder every time it thunders. But the doe jumps up, runs to the side a little bit and is locked down on the coyote.
For those biologists and hunters out there that think coyotes are not a big factor in a deer’s life. You're mistaken. They are a huge stress. They may not consume and kill all the deer they come in contact with. Certainly they don’t, but they stress every deer they come in contact with. Coyotes are a major predator.
As a matter of fact, one of my graduate students at the University of Georgia, just finished up a major research project on coyote/deer interactions. And really soon on GrowingDeer.tv, we’re bringing you a summary of that ground breaking research and it will change your opinion about coyotes if you think they are not a factor on your deer herd.
WOODS: Whew. I know one thing for sure. It’s a big coyote, so we’re gonna make a pelt out of it, but I’m dragging it down there and you can drive around with the truck because I’m not coming back up that way.
WOODS: Thanks for joining us on GrowingDeer.tv.