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GRANT: It's mid-August, we've been really busy this week finishing projects, getting ready for the opening of deer season.
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GRANT: We’ve received over six inches of rain in the last week here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: I returned from speaking at the Bass Pro Fall Classic this weekend and the first thing Adam and I did this morning is head up to Boom North and check out the pond where he'd put the bentonite.
GRANT: As we were walking through the food plot, I was really excited to see standing water in that pond. Probably remember a few weeks ago, the boys and I spread bentonite clay in this dry pond.
GRANT: This pond is located on an elevator ridge, goes down to a major food plot and hence, it's a good travel corridor for bucks during the rut. So creating a little water source in a known travel corridor during the rut, bucks coming down through here to check out the food plot, scent checking, can be a great place for a shot. Given that information, this pond was obviously creating for a hunting set up and not for overall habitat management. We've got a couple of Muddys hung right behind me in this tree, which is a perfect set up to cut bucks off coming to travel corridor.
GRANT: The plan seems great, but I'm really not convinced this is gonna hold water, yet. You can see an obvious little debris ring around the pond where the water level is up and it just stopped raining hard a few hours ago. I don’t know if that water is leaking through a deer track or something in the pond, or is simply being absorbed in the clay and reducing the water level. Ideally, bentonite is tilled into the soil and mixed in, which makes an awesome seal. Here at The Proving Grounds, our soil is so rocky that tilling in isn't possible and we had to spread it on top and hope for the best. We’ll keep an eye on it and hopefully take you back to that pond during the rut here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Of course being middle August and getting moisture, we're thinking about planting the fall food plots. This is a food plot we call Barn Field. You can see the barn in the background and this field was heavily over-browsed before the recent rain started. I had anticipated needing to replant this field.
GRANT: That can be a tough decision because it takes time and resources to plant another crop. So you want to make a good decision whether just to leave the existing crop growing or you need to supplement that crop. With the recent rains, you can see these Eagle Seed beans have jumped and are over knee tall on me. Huge amount of fresh forage and are making flowers, indicating they're gonna set pods and provide food for the winter.
GRANT: There's a couple of considerations when evaluating a plot like this – whether to plant something else for fall or let it go. First consideration is what type of forage is it? Some forages, obviously, are gonna be killed and dead at the first frost and leave nothing else to eat and if that's the case, you probably need to replant that field in something that's gonna be productive through the cool months. These Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans are indeterminate. That means they're going to grow, literally, and put on new leaves, flowers, and pods until it frosts. So they're gonna be productive and provide enough forage until it frosts. And all these flowers I see sitting on here are likely to turn in pods, especially now that we have ample soil moisture. If I believe these beans will make at least 20 bushels per acre, pretty low yield for soybeans, then I'll leave them standing. So when I evaluate this field, or a field for clients, and if I think there's enough flowers and soil moisture to produce at least 20 bushels per acre, I'm gonna leave it standing and save the expense of planting another food plot that might not even produce 1800 pounds per acre.
GRANT: We're just about a quarter mile from where we filmed the last segment. We're right next to a bedding area, and a lot of deer use this end of the food plot. In the last field, the beans were knee tall or higher on me. In this field they're about boot tall. I'm seeing a few flowers out here, but I doubt these really over-browsed beans will yield 20 bushels per acre. It's too wet to do anything now, so we'll give this field a week or so before we plant and if I really see huge growth, I might consider leaving it, but I suspect we'll drill a mixture right in these beans, allow the deer to keep eating on these beans while the new crop is germinating. In the areas where beans are boot tall or shorter and obviously not gonna make enough pods to feed deer through the winter, we’ll simply broadcast or drill a cool season mix right in those beans. This year we're gonna try Eagle’s Broadside mix, which is something you've seen before. I've been experimenting with trying to get the ratio right for several years. We've had great success at getting deer in there early, mid, and late season and are ready to get some deer broadside for shots this fall. After looking at the food plots this year, we won't be backing off our doe harvest and I suspect you'll see us fling a lot of arrows at antlerless deer this year.
GRANT: We're working on a ranch that's literally right across an old county road from where I harvested my first deer and turkey many, many years ago. Like right here. See where there's a little hole right here? Look at how much vegetation there is right there versus anywhere else. Got to have sunshine.
GRANT: He harvested a lot of does last year, but even though he had a great doe harvest, his beans are still about ankle tall just due to the drought that really limited the ability of plants to grow in those conditions.
FRED: (Inaudible) bluff, just kind of forces them right up there.
GRANT: The best food in the neighborhood by far.
FRED: The beans we've got are here at the best tillable land we’ve got which is up….
GRANT: Another aspect of this tour was to see where feral hogs have been moving in on his property.
FRED: At most, torn up.
GRANT: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
FRED: And here, you're five or six times the area.
GRANT: Yeah. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. They're a nuisance.
GRANT: Feral hogs are an invasive, non-native species to the continental United States.
FRED: They like to get out in this thing.
GRANT: So that's west, and we're gonna have a wind usually somewhere out of the west.
GRANT: I enjoy hog hunting, and eating wild hog as much as anyone, but I know as a biologist, they do a tremendous amount of damage, and need to be stopped if at all possible.
GRANT: Being the good biologist I am, I automatically raised my hand and Adam and I volunteered to go over this week and hopefully help him remove a few hogs from his property.
GRANT: No teasing. I love hunting hogs, but if you're serious about eradicating, or drastically reducing hogs, it probably takes a really good trapping program to make a dent in a hog population.
GRANT: Take time this week to get out and look at your food plots, or do a little work, and while you're out there, take a moment to enjoy Creation and slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
GRANT: Probably within 10 miles of our house. Hogs are within 10 miles. That's the scary thing.