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GRANT: Cold weather has spread throughout most of the whitetails’ range, but we’ve got some great hunting action that’ll warm you up.
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GRANT: Let’s check in with our Kentucky boys where Graham and Norman have a story to tell.
GRANT: Back on November 14th, Graham had an encounter with a buck they call Swoops.
GRANT: The buck ducked about ten inches and Graham’s arrow hit high.
GRAHAM: (Whispering) Come on, baby. Go down. Oooo.
GRANT: After a couple of days, Swoops didn’t show up on any of their Reconyx cameras and the Kentucky boys weren’t sure if Swoops was alive or dead.
GRAHAM: We don’t have any signs; we don’t have any buzzards flying over; I’ve checked, uh, ponds; I’ve checked creeks. Uh, no signs of him. We haven’t picked him up on Reconyx cameras yet. If we do see him in one of the pictures, we hope that he’s healthy and hope that he’s, uh, getting around well and give us a chance of, uh, eventually putting a tag on him. So, um, no luck yet, but we’re gonna keep our eyes on the Reconyx pics and see what happens. So, stay tuned.
GRANT: On the plus side, deer are tremendous survivors. I’ve harvested deer in the field that look perfectly healthy. Bring ‘em back to the skinning shed and find scars of injuries to their lungs and other organs that I would have thought would have killed the animal.
GRANT: Based on my experience and reviewing the footage, I think there’s a chance Swoops is still alive.
GRANT: It’s now two and a half weeks later. And guess which buck the Kentucky boys get a Reconyx picture of? Swoops is still alive. After Swoops showed back up, Norman and Graham moved Swoops to number one on their hit list.
GRANT: December 15th rolls around and it’s now been a month since Graham’s encounter with Swoops.
GRANT: Norman and his son, Pruitt, decide to hunt the Capital Hill Redneck. Norman calls the Capital Hill Redneck area Beans and Bed. And it’s the perfect place to be with a northwest wind bearing down.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Today is, uh, December the 15th. I actually signed my son out of school a little bit early so I’d have a camera guy beside me. Uh, he didn’t complain too much about it, but his mama didn’t like it too much.
NORMAN: (Whispering) We’ve already had two really good sightings of some good up and comers. Couldn’t get the camera on ‘em; we were getting set up. It’s a deer we call Potential. We think he’s maybe two – three at the most. He’s probably a 140s, uh, low 150s deer right now. Just – he’s got great potential. That’s why we named him that. Sitting on Beans and Beds.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Tonight it’s, it’s gonna get down in the single digits, so these deer are gonna feed. They're gonna get up on their feet and they gotta eat. So, that – we’re gonna get settled in.
PRUITT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
NORMAN: (Whispering) Where at?
PRUITT: (Whispering) That’s, that’s…
NORMAN: (Whispering) Is that Potential?
PRUITT: (Whispering) That’s Potential. No, it’s – yeah, this is Potential.
NORMAN: (Whispering) That’s Potential? Yeah, right there he is. That’s tough to pass.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yeah.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Golly, look at that.
GRANT: Potential looks to be a great young buck and chasing either a receptive doe or fawn.
NORMAN: (Whispering) He’s gonna come right down this hill. I betcha.
GRANT: When female fawns reach approximately 70 pounds, they often reach puberty and become receptive. This can appear like a strong second rut. Healthy fawns is just one advantage of high quality habitat. Having that extended or secondary rut not only increases the quality of the hunt, but yields more deer next year for a strong population.
PRUITT: (Whispering) Yeah.
NORMAN: (Whispering) (Inaudible) He’s gonna go right across…
GRANT: A short time after they watched the buck, Potential, Norman and Pruitt saw a large set of antlers in the distant trees.
GRANT: Norman recognizes this buck as Swoops. He was standing in thick cover at 180 yards with three does.
NORMAN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: Pruitt focused the camera on an opening where they assumed Swoops would cross.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Get your hands off of it.
PRUITT: (Whispering) He’s coming; he’s coming. He’s coming. I’m on him.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Whew. (Inaudible) We’re gonna reload this muzzleloader real quick. I feel good about the shot. We’re gonna go back and look at it. Whew. I don't know if it’s pure emotion or the freezing cold. That’s a good buck.
PRUITT: (Whispering) Yeah.
NORMAN: (Whispering) That’s a good four-year-old eight point. Graham actually shot this deer early in the – or actually last month in, in rifle season with a bow. So, hopefully we just, hopefully, we just finished that chapter. Oh, man. That’s the best day out of school you’ve had in a long time.
PRUITT: (Whispering) Yeah.
NORMAN: (Whispering) There’s a – oh, oh, I’ll carry the GoPro now. I’m gonna drive down to where we shot – just check it out real quick and also go back to the cabin and look at the footage real quick. So, let’s go do that.
NORMAN: Well, we, we drove down here and I could fake the blood trail – going to try to find him. But, as we drove in, we saw the white belly just over my shoulder. Let’s go put our hands on him and see what we’ve got.
NORMAN: He’s heavy. Oh, man, he’s so heavy.
NORMAN: We’re sitting in an area where we’ve cleared so many cedars. We – you saw, saw the section that we burnt earlier. Uh, just to share it with my son. I’m gonna get like Doc and be emotional. Just so much work goes into this. And to share it with you, buddy. Thank you.
PRUITT: You're welcome.
NORMAN: Thank you.
PRUITT: Nice shot.
NORMAN: What an awesome end to a great day.
PRUITT: Yes, sir. Yeah.
NORMAN: Huh? I thank you, man. I love you, buddy.
PRUITT: Love you, too.
GRANT: Great hunt, Norman. I appreciate the emotion you shared while taking Pruitt hunting. And I really appreciate you being part of the GrowingDeer Team and leading by example.
GRANT: Next up, we have Chase White hunting with his seven-year-old son, Rylan in Texas County, Missouri.
CHASE: Well, it’s the day before youth season here in southern Missouri. I’m having him shoot off the FieldPod. You ask why I don’t use a sled? Well, the reason being is this is what he’s gonna be using out in the field and I want him to get used to it. So, we’re gonna take a couple shots here and get ready to go for tomorrow.
GRANT: It wasn’t too far from where Rylan tagged his first deer last year.
RYLAN: (Whispering) Pretty cool.
CHASE: (Whispering) You drilled it right where you aimed. (Inaudible) You drilled her.
GRANT: After tagging a doe last year, he had his sights set on getting a buck this year.
RYLAN: (Quietly) It’s October 29th and we’re hunting the evening. We didn’t get anything this morning. And so we’re gonna try to, um, get one this night.
RYLAN: (Quietly) It’s October 30th, and yesterday we didn’t get one. (Whispering) So, we’re gonna try to get one this morning.
RYLAN: (Whispering) It’s October 20 – it’s October 30th, second day of youth season. Yesterday, we didn’t get one and we didn’t get one this morning. We’re gonna try to get one tonight.
GRANT: Youth season in southern Missouri was tough this year. Warm days and cool nights kept most of the deer nocturnal. About the only thing they saw was turkeys.
GRANT: Soon, regular gun season arrived and Chase took Rylan to an area he knew bucks like to cruise. They found a good spot to set up on the ground and set up the Caldwell FieldPod.
CHASE: Well, it’s the evening of November 15th. I’m out with my son, Rylan. I think he’s got the “brown, it’s down” theory. He says that he’s gonna try to shoot – hold out for a good buck. We’ll see what happens. I’m just hoping that we see some deer. It’s really warm; 75 degrees on November 15th here in southern Missouri.
CHASE; It’s tough. The deer have been moving slow. It’s getting close to dark now. We’re late getting in here, but the deer ain't gonna move ‘til late. We’re just hoping we see something.
GRANT: It wasn’t very long until the first small buck arrived. This was going to be a close encounter.
GRANT: Rylan was hoping for a six pointer or better and it was all he could do to let this left-sided buck stare him down while controlling his trigger finger.
GRANT: Even as a seasoned hunter, encounters that close get my blood pumping.
GRANT: Finally, the buck with the left side of his rack walks off and wouldn’t you know it – one with only the right side comes in.
RYLAN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: At this point, seeing these bucks up close is a little much for Rylan to handle. He lets the Winchester Deer Season XP fly.
RYLAN: (Whispering) I hit him.
CHASE: (Whispering) (Inaudible) You got your first buck. Are you proud?
RYLAN: (Whispering) Yeah.
CHASE: (Quietly) He’s only seven years old. I’m proud of him. We’re gonna – I heard a fall down here. We’re gonna go down here and take a look at it. He can't take it anymore. Let’s go see what he got.
RYLAN: I see him.
RYLAN: I see him; down there in the valley.
RYLAN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
CHASE: Oh. (Inaudible) He’s dead. Oh. I seen an ear move. Nope. He’s dead. How many bucks is that for you?
CHASE: One? Awesome. He didn’t run very far at all, did he?
RYLAN: No. But it’ll be hard dragging him out with (Inaudible) antlers.
RYLAN: Another spike walked by with one horn. It was kinda like this one. And then this one came out, um, up the hill. And then, um, I shot him and we waited there for a minute. And then we had to come down here and trail him.
CHASE: Awesome, dude.
GRANT: What a great shot, Rylan. And a good tracking job, too. Congratulations to Rylan and Chase for showing us a great hunt.
GRANT: Next up – we go back to Kentucky with Graham Gandee and his nine-year-old son, Maddox. This season, Maddox’s goal was to tag his second buck and show his younger brother, Griffin, how it’s done.
GRANT: Graham let Maddox choose where he was going to hunt and it’s no surprise he wanted to go back to the same blind where he tagged his first buck. So, Maddox, Griffin, Graham and Doc all climbed in a Redneck Blind for an afternoon hunt.
GRANT: It took awhile for the first deer to show in the plot and six-year-old Griffin done exactly what I do every now and then. Climbed in the bottom of the Redneck and took a nap.
GRANT: A buck and a doe had entered the Eagle Seed beans.
GRANT: Maddox was excited to take the shot, but he was concerned about the angle the buck was standing and opted to wait. Waiting for a better shot may seem obvious, but I think it shows great maturity for a hunter Maddox’s age.
GRANT: Suddenly, another buck comes in view. Maddox chooses the buck he likes and settles in for the shot.
GRAHAM: (Whispering) Put it on his shoulder and squeeze the trigger. Take your time.
MADDOX: (Whispering) Right now?
GRAHAM: (Whispering) Yes.
GRAHAM: (Quietly) Oh yeah. Good shot.
DOC: (Quietly) Good shot, Maddox. You smoked it, baby.
GRAHAM: (Quietly) Nice, dude.
GRAHAM: (Whispering) Hey. Tell, tell your brother what, what you just did.
MADDOX: (Whispering) Shot a deer.
GRAHAM: (Whispering) Did you see it, Grif? Yeah. He hit him, didn’t he?
GRIFFIN: (Quietly) What is it?
GRAHAM: (Quietly) Big buck.
GRIFFIN: (Quietly) Where is it?
MADDOX: (Quietly) He’s that way.
GRAHAM: (Quietly) You saw how it – you saw which way it went, didn’t you?
GRIFFIN: (Quietly) Yeah.
GRAHAM: (Quietly) Look here. That other buck’s coming this way. Did you see him, Grif?
GRIFFIN: (Quietly) Ah huh. That’s a daddy one.
GRAHAM: (Quietly) That’s a daddy one? Yeah?
GRIFFIN: (Quietly) And he’s scared.
GRAHAM: (Quietly) He doesn’t know what happened.
GRAHAM: He’s what?
GRANT: Graham wisely takes his time with the boys while they're tracking. This is a great opportunity to teach ‘em real world observation skills and rewards of being patient.
MADDOX: There’s a big thing over there.
GRAHAM: What is it?
GRAHAM: Well, it was a big one, Maddox.
MADDOX: (Inaudible) …like one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
DOC: Eight pointer.
GRAHAM: Last year you had a seven pointer. This year it’s an eight.
GRAHAM: Almost. Little bit of a bump there.
GRANT: Congratulations to Graham and Maddox. And I’m sure we’ll see Griffin on a hunting adventure soon.
GRANT: Like the rest of the GrowingDeer Team, I really enjoy hunting with my kids. This year, I hunted with Rae through youth season, rifle season and into Missouri’s muzzleloader season. And her season ended in a very special way. I’ll share that hunt with you next week.
GRANT: Deer season is closed in some states and the rut’s just starting in others. But no matter where you live, take time each day to enjoy Creation and more importantly, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.