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GRANT: Tuesday, September 18, food plots are growing, deer season’s open and we’ve been hunting.
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GRANT: I’m always amazed at the huge difference a little bit of rain can make. The food plot blend we planted of Eagle Seed wheat, radishes, turnips and soybeans is absolutely neon green.
GRANT: But right now deer seem to be preferring acorns here at The Proving Grounds more than the forage we’re growing in the food plots.
GRANT: Driving down here to film and the perfect subject’s right in front of us. It’s that time of year. Fawn doesn’t appear to have any spots anymore. For The Proving Grounds, that’s amazing for a deer to stand that long. It just, this neighborhood gets hunted so hard, they just don’t stand around that long. Oh! They're getting a little excited.
GRANT: When deer are concentrated in one area in the middle of an eight-acre field that’s heavily fertilized, we’ve got Eagle Seed monster wheat, radishes, Eagle Seed soybeans, brassicas growing, and they're in one little spot, you need to get out of the truck and see why. There’s crunchies or what I call crunchies, where deer will chew the acorn, get the goody out and spit out the outside of the hull all over the ground. That’s actually a little depressing for those of us that hunt where the landscape is mainly timber, because when deer are eating on acorns, they can be anywhere and everywhere with no set pattern. So, when deer are eating acorns and acorns are everywhere and they can literally bed and eat within ten yards of each other, it’s difficult to pattern and hunt deer without alerting them.
GRANT: Another telltale sign is the wheat inside our utilization cages is the same height as outside the cages and this wheat right here where there’s a lot of deer tracks and deer have obviously been feeding has a pointed tip and not squared off. Unequivocally, right now at The Proving Grounds deer are chasing acorns and that will be our hunting strategy for awhile.
GRANT: Just like preparing for the World Series or anything else, what really counts is the work you’ve done ahead of time. And that’s true today. I’m gonna plant clover. It probably won't get big enough to impact this year’s deer season, ‘cause it will frost soon, but it will be prime for the spring’s turkey season and next fall.
GRANT: I’m gonna bet more food plots are planted with a hand broadcaster throughout America than any other system. Certainly one of my favorite tools for little hidey hole food plots. These little 30 yard or less food plots are where big bucks are very comfortable coming in to feed before dark.
GRANT: And after planting literally hundreds of acres with one of these, there’s a couple of techniques I want to share real quick. Don’t open that gauge really wide ‘cause you can put out way too much seed too quick. I open it really small, turn the handle really fast so I get really broad distribution of seed; the faster I’m turning it, the farther it’s throwing seed; then I can overlap and I won’t end up with strips in the field or run out of seed towards the other side. When using these simple hand tools to plant a food plot, I really like to do it right before rain is certain. That way raindrops will hit the ground, splash up dirt, if available, on top of the seed and serve to cover the seed. You don’t have to drag it or do anything else. And that works best with small size seed like clover or brassicas.
GRANT: Driving to our first hunt of the 2012/13 deer season.
GRANT: (Whispering) She’s picking up something big off the ground. Off that tree. See that tree? We’ll check it out tomorrow.
ADAM: Oh my. Look at that cluster right up there. Looks like grapes.
GRANT: Oh my gosh. Adam and I watched a doe eating persimmons right in this area the other day. Normally, persimmons don’t ripen at all until the first frost. We call it astringent or extremely bitter, but this one’s busting and isn’t too bad. It’s very edible and I’m sure – it’s really high in sugar content so no doubt in my mind deer will be coming to these persimmons.
GRANT: There’s always a few trees due to their genetic makeup or maybe where they're growing or fertilized or whatever, that will ripen before a frost. And if you happen to find those trees, you’ve found a hot spot for a tree stand location.
GRANT: We’ve had two hunts so far here at The Proving Grounds, and at both times there’s been a persimmon tree somewhere around the edge of the food plot and both times’ we’ve seen deer go right to the persimmon tree, obviously searching for this fruit.
GRANT: In a normal year, our first frost is about October 14th. It won’t be long ‘til loads of these persimmons are really sweet, palatable and making great stand locations for hunting.
GRANT: We call my property The Proving Grounds simply because if plants or techniques or hunting techniques work here, it will probably work anywhere. And I think we’re getting ready to show you why.
GRANT: Friday, September 14th, the day before Missouri’s bow season opened Adam and I planted clover on this little rocky mound. Today is Tuesday, September 18th and it’s already germinating all over. A couple magical things. We used a really good variety of clover and we had two inches of really slow rain. It’s a really great example of just some hand tools. A whirlwind seeder, a backpack sprayer and some seed, and you can make a food plot almost anywhere.
GRANT: Another advantage to these little clover food plots is in the early spring before you can even get in the plots and plant other varieties, they’ll be producing a lot of forage. As a matter of fact, they grow so rapidly that even small food plots usually will produce more forage than deer can consume. I typically maintain about five percent or so of my food plot acreage in clover for that reason. But the real take-home message right here is just with an inexpensive whirlwind seeder, a backpack sprayer, and a little quality seed, you can make a great food plot anywhere. On Granny’s five acres, or on your uncle’s 5,000 acre ranch. These little hidey hole food plants are tremendous tools.
GRANT: Oftentimes, I think we all get caught up and, “I gotta have this planter or this tractor or this ATV,” but simple hand tools can create some great food plots and great hunting opportunities.
GRANT: Whether you’re scouting acorns or hanging stands over a persimmon tree, take a moment to consider the Creator that made Creation. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
ADAM: We’re excited. Hoping to see what comes by. That didn’t make sense at the very…how did you…am I on the right side of the screen? (Laughter) September 17th. I’m gonna do this one for Matt. (Fades out)