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GRANT: We all dream of finding a hot spot where deer will easily be in our range. This week we’ll show you an easy technique to create such a site.
GRANT: Deer love forage soybeans. They go after the forage during the summer when they're growing antlers and developing fawns. They love those pods during the late winter cause they're full of energy.
GRANT: Last week we shared some techniques for growing beans even in small plots where they’ll produce plenty of forage. That technique’s great for feeding deer throughout the summer and in the early bow season, but those beans will be so heavily browsed, they probably won’t produce a lot of pods which attracts deer during the late season.
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GRANT: We’re in a food plot we call Tracy’s Field and the beans are up and looking nice, but I see quite a bit of browse pressure. We had a Hot Zone fence here last year on this side of the road and it worked great, but based on some of the observations, we need to tweak our program and move it over here right in front of the Redneck blind. We’ll probably leave the fence up all through the summer and even through most of the hunting season until late season when deer are really seeking those bean pods. At that time of year on a north wind, we can slide in from the back side to the blind, have those beans within bow range, be set up to get some fresh venison.
GRANT: You may recall Adam and Daniel had an encounter with one of our oldest bucks we call Two Face.
GRANT: He was out of bow range. But we believe by tweaking our plan and moving the fence closer to the blind, we might get a closer look at Two Face this fall.
GRANT: Once the corner posts are in place, we go and stretch the wire so we know exactly where to put the line post. You can tell we’ve got a wire wrapped up on an old sassafras stick, I believe it is. That’s four years of using this same wire – that’s a great value.
ADAM: Hey, Kevin, pull the top line. Yeah. Kinda pull it pretty tight. There you go.
ADAM: We pull all the slack out and we get it pretty tight. Over time it kind of loosens up a little bit and you just come click it a few more times.
GRANT: The pattern of the fence is laid out and now we’re putting in the line post. You can tell the land is pretty sloping. So, we’ll use a few more line posts than normal to make sure we keep the wire the appropriate distance off the ground all the way around the fence.
GRANT: The last part of the fence project is putting the energizer on. Always want to make sure the solar panel is facing about due south – maximum sunshine each day. It keeps the battery charged. That way if you have three or four rainy days in a row, everything is cooking just fine. Once we get into deer season – at the appropriate time – we’ll take down the fence or open up a gap and have a real attractive food source.
ADAM: It’s important to remember that the electricity needs to run to all three wires, so we’re gonna take some of our excess line, connect it to all three of ‘em. We should have a constant flow of electricity all the way through the fence.
GRANT: Just like installing the fence, most habitat work is done months before it’s most beneficial. During past episodes, we’ve shared with you some of the techniques we use to conduct a prescribed fire. And some of the advantages and disadvantages of burning during the growing season – basically August through October – or a cool season during the late winter. But today, we want to show you some of the rich results of those fires.
GRANT: This is an area we’ve been managing as a bedding and feeding area. There is tremendous plant and diversity in here and many of the plant species are excellent forage. In addition, there’s a great cover of native grasses in here – Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, some Indian grass, which provide great cover throughout the year. In addition to being awesome cover and providing excellent food for deer, turkey, quail and other forms of wildlife, it’s just beautiful to look at. Check out all these coneflowers blooming in here. There’s native Prairie Clover and all different types of plants.
GRANT: We didn’t put any seeds out. This was a rough area, so it’s probably never been plowed. It was once covered with cedars. We cut all the cedars, did some heavy prescribed fire and all that native seed base has exploded and provided a great natural prairie.
GRANT: Not only is it really pleasing to look at all these different flowering plants, most of them pull a slightly different mix of trace minerals out of the soil providing a tremendous varied diet for many forms of wildlife. In addition, these flowering plants often make seeds and those seeds can be great for quail and other forms of wildlife.
GRANT: In addition to all the other advantages, this is perfect cover – especially this time of year. A turkey hen can nest down here, have that head right about cover high looking for predators. Fawns can easily bed in here, have tremendous escape cover and plenty of food in the area for the doe that’s providing milk.
GRANT: This plant you see right here is young ragweed. Most of us don’t like ragweed if we have allergies, but deer love young ragweed. Usually test out over 20% protein, highly digestible; when it’s at this stage, it’s as good as alfalfa.
GRANT: Prescribed fire is an extremely beneficial habitat management tool. Simply stated, without fire, I don't think it was possible to achieve these results. A huge advantage of managing native species like this is the time frame in which they provide quality forage and cover. Some are great early on. Some are great mid-summer. Some are great late summer. Some are really drought resistant. You just can't get that out of a single species.
GRANT: Throughout most of the whitetails’ range, if you plant food plots in an area with great cover, you're likely to have problems with groundhogs. So, we sent the boys out to watch for critters and also to take down any groundhogs they happen to see.
KEITH: (Whispering) Man, as much as we’d like to kill a groundhog today, we’re still enjoying the fact that we get to watch a group of bachelor bucks work these soybeans right in front of us.
KEITH: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
KYLE: (Whispering) Just a sec. I’m on him whenever you're ready. I’m on him whenever you're ready.
KYLE: (Whispering) Nice shot.
KEITH: (Whispering) That’s what I’m talking about.
KEITH: Hey there. Nice female.
GRANT: I hope you have a chance to get outside and enjoy Creation this week. But most importantly, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.