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GRANT: Adam and I headed out to eastern Kansas last week, on Tuesday, October 4th. I always love scouting and learning, and trying to find that limited resource in just a couple hours.
GRANT: As we're walking around, it turned out there were acorns almost everywhere, and scat distributed throughout the property, so it didn't look like food was gonna be a limited resource where we could find a bottleneck and hunt.
GRANT: As I often do, the first stand we hung is what I call a scouting stand. Offers a pretty big view, not really in kill shot, unless a deer happens to walk by.
GRANT: (Whispering) We've got acorns over here. A pond over here out of range, but it's down and loaded with tracks. Deer may come close tonight. May not, but we're gonna figure out the movement before we move in.
GRANT: The first deer we observed out of that observation stand was a nice 8-pointer. I had judged him as three and a half but he's 80 or 90 yards away, so I didn't have to get too serious about our judging. Great to know we're on the right track the first evening.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh yeah. He's got some tines on him.
GRANT: Sure enough, our scouting paid off as we watched several doe-fawn groups come to that pond and take a drink from different directions. That was clearly the attractant. Almost like an attractant food plot in January, it was so obvious water was the limited resource, at least on that farm.
GRANT: The temperatures were 80 plus, setting a record a day or two while we were there, it became obvious that stand offered a great vantage point to see what deer were in the neighborhood, so we continued in our observation stand, watching that pond.
GRANT: It became so obvious that water was the limited resource, we moved our stand even closer to the pond. The landowner has outstanding bedding areas throughout the farm and acorns were evenly distributed. There was no bottleneck to go to a feeding area. They just seemed to be meandering through the woods, finding those acorns. Water is a source that we got within striking distance.
GRANT: It was unusual for me to be passing up does at that close range with such frequency, but the landowner typically takes care of his doe harvest and I really commend him for being a great deer manager. But I got to tell ya – I was missing that doe tag.
GRANT: There's not a scientific explanation about the October lull. I think it's a common sense explanation. Somewhere during early to mid-October, in most areas, if there's any acorns at all, they start falling and the deer changing hormones, shifting habitats, and a new food source come on the scene. When they're eating acorns, they can literally bed and eat within a few yards of each other. Therefore, hunters just don’t see a lot of deer activity. The October lull had bitten me again.
GRANT: If you’re hunting an area with a lot of acorn trees, the October lull is certainly something to consider, especially if you're scheduling vacation, like I did. If you're gonna take vacation, I would head to the Dakotas, or Nebraska, somewhere where there's more ag and not many acorn trees. Make sure those deer are moving quite a distance from food to cover.
GRANT: Besides the October lull, there's been a lot of conversation on my Facebook page – you can see a link right below me, about disturbance. Everyone knows we do a lot of work, and testing, and research here at The Proving Grounds. It's also where my family hunts. How do we get away with so much disturbance without keeping the deer on edge all the time?
GRANT: Well you hammered that thing. My goodness, girl.
GRANT: There's a great answer to that question and it's simple. It's sanctuaries. Sanctuaries are simply areas where deer have a comfort zone, no matter how much activity is going on around them. No matter if you hunt 80 acres, or 8,000 acres, define an area where you just don't go in, except to trail wounded deer, or to look for sheds in the spring. Those sanctuaries will make any property hunt larger and keep deer there, no matter how much disturbance is going on elsewhere. One of our trails on our property goes right by a sanctuary, and we drive it all the time doing work, but because there's a sanctuary next door, the deer are totally comfortable. Check out all these Reconyx images. During the daylight, in the October lull, of deer coming and going, right next to this road with our pickup going by every single day. There's a sanctuary right there and the deer don't care – a pickup goes by, they step out of the way, come right back out. Sanctuaries make any property hunt better.
GRANT: Practicing's not just standing at 20 and flipping a bunch of arrows, but moving around at different yardages and finding obstacles, like I'm shooting right by my kids’ trampoline. I got my hunting clothes airing out, getting ready to go on a hunt. Finding different shots with some buddies standing around, yapping at ya, putting pressure on ya to simulate the pressure when “Old Big Boy” steps out in front.
GRANT: When I started practicing this summer, I realized I had shot out the center of my 3D target. I didn't take time to reorder a new one, so I just put this round bale of hay behind it. But what I learned by accident, was by having this open kill zone, I could really see the path of the arrow, all the way through, not just where it hit on the surface. And that's taught me a huge amount about arrow placement. Am I taking out both lungs? Am I hitting the shoulder on the far side? I really suggest you purposely take out the kill zone on your 3D target, put another target behind it, and check out the path. I think it will teach you a lot about shot placement.
GRANT: Adam and I will be back out again this week hunting with some friends. I hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy Creation. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.