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GRANT: Say when. It's October 3rd, still wrapping up some last minute food plot stuff, running those trail cameras heavily, and getting into the treestands here at The Proving Grounds.
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GRANT: A couple weeks ago, we showed you how we were planting our hidey hole food plots during the rain. The hidey holes are simple little food plots, too small to be a nutrition addition to our whole property, but just the right size to be an attractant to a deer herd. Want to stop those deer in front of our stand, or sway their travel path where the conditions: the wind, the approach, is favorable for us. Just along that line, having something green's not enough, we want it super nutritious and tasty, or palatable, so the deer will make sure and stop by that little spot, wherever they're coming or going, and one way to do that is add fertilizer.
GRANT: We want this the best tasting food on this rough old mountain, and a quick way to do that is add the liquid fertilizer. Liquid fertilizer goes right on the growing forage, it can take it in, grow quicker, and that means the sugars develop quicker in the plant. Much better than dry fertilizer sittin’ on the ground waiting on the rain that may not come. Liquid fertilizer is really a great tool to sweeten this up, get those bucks coming here so I'll be coming here.
GRANT: For those of us that live and hunt in areas where acorns dominate the landscape, that's where the deer are right now if there's any kind of acorn crop at all. Those first acorns start dropping – deer abandon food plots, or cultivated crops, and go to those acorns. They've been doing it for hundreds and hundreds of years, it's not gonna change right now. Now, if you're in the middle of Illinois or Iowa and your acorns are limited to a fence row or two, and the rest is ag land, you'll probably still got deer going to the crops, but here, they're on acorns. Our trail cameras show that; our scouting shows that; and that's where we went hunting this week.
GRANT: This year when you take a few does, keep that population down where we have ample food to go around. It's really mountainous where I live. We can only have so many food plots, and if we have more deer than we have food, each deer can't express its full potential. So we need to harvest some does, and we want to harvest bucks that are four years old and older, that way they've expressed at least 90 percent of their antler growth potential.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yes.
ADAM: (Whispering) Okay.
GRANT: (Whispering) One down on the management plan. Tracy had just told me we were out of venison, so freezer's getting loaded back up today. And I need to harvest about 20 does with my family and friends off this property to balance that adult sex ratio. So one down – 19 to go on a fabulous morning. Let's see what else comes in.
GRANT: (Whispering) Say when. Say when.
GRANT: (Whispering) Right here, right here, right here, right here.
GRANT: One of the does out of this herd actually dropped below the stand where we thought we'd get winded and walked exactly on the trail where we'd walked in. Then another doe did the same thing. Now we've talked in the past about all the effort we go through to clean our boots, control our scent, using a Dead Down Wind system. Here's two mature does walking right up the trail we walked in, totally oblivious to our presence. I was doing the dance in the tree, trying to get around and stop that sniffing, but they just didn't present a shot. But the treestands never squeaked the whole time. That's all I ask of my Muddy stands – be comfortable, be safe, and don't squeak.
GRANT: It looked like a good hit from the tree, but when Adam and I got on the ground and re-watched it in the view finder, I noticed I hit this doe a little far back, probably in the liver, a lethal hit, but we don’t want to push her, so we gave her a little bit of time.
GRANT: Right here's a perfect example. You see the big drop and then how it's pointing and another little droplet? That droplet will tell you the direction the deer is going. So we've got two deer down, so we got to make sure the blood trails don't cross.
GRANT: Great trail to start with, but down in the woods not too far, started getting a little skinny, time to take plan B.
GRANT: In Missouri, you must get permission from the conservation officer to use a dog to trail a deer, even if it's on a leash. So I called a conservation officer, called Tracy – she's got a few moments, brings out Crystal, we're off and going again.
GRANT: Such a relief for a hunter, when you recover that deer, you’ve completed your mission. Well after a busy morning, the work commences, and that's one good reason to have the intern Matt here, isn't it Matt?
MATT: Yes, sir.
GRANT: Are we learning something today, Matt?
MATT: Of course.
GRANT: All right. All right, let's get this thing to the truck.
GRANT: So it looks like I owe Tracy supper, Crystal an extra bag of treats, the guys an “Atta Boy” for staying with the trail, and our season is started off great, we've taken two mature does out, part of our management objective, feeling good about all our equipment, ready for cooler days and bucks to start moving during daylight. I was blessed to draw a Kansas archery tag this year. Adam and I are out to Kansas to hunt this week for a few days, then back here to The Proving Grounds. I hope you have some great hunts, wherever you are. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.