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GRANT: It's Monday morning, September 12th, and it’s only three days away from the opener of bow season here in Missouri. So, Adam, Matt and I are out doing our last minute scouting. We call it MRI, most recent information, so we’ll know where to be opening day.
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GRANT: Lower Field 2 is a food plot on my property that’s in a really steep and rugged area. There’s not much flat area to get food plots in. So, the limited food plots back there got really browsed heavy by the deer this year due to the drought. But one thing that I had is in Lower Field 2, a good portion of it was protected by Gallagher electric fence. And those beans got almost waist high on me this summer, except for where some pesky groundhogs consumed a part of the field. Now, we killed two of those groundhogs, but you can clearly see where another one is coming in – recent Reconyx images, but still plenty of forage in there.
GRANT: I’ve been looking forward to opening a gap in this fence almost as much as the opening day of deer season all summer long. We built this fence to protect the beans on the inside. On the outside, the deer have browsed ‘em all down. Now you can see we lost some beans on the inside and that’s to a groundhog. There was a family of groundhogs living in that stump pile back there. And you can tell how the beans get taller and taller further away from the stump pile. But you can see there’s enough forage left – especially when there’s no other food around – to attract deer when we open this gap. Now we’re three days away from season – we’re gonna go ahead and open it today. Soon, they're going to come out to this road and go right through our fence gap. This seems like a great plan. The only thing that could mess us up is all the acorns start falling at once, and I don’t anticipate that happening. We talked about water being a limited resource. But that can change overnight with one thunderstorm. Rarely does food change overnight. This is probably a better bet than hunting water right now.
GRANT: The gap is open. I've got a Reconyx right over here on a tree watching the gap. Be great MRI. I can literally take one step out of the truck, check the camera and see what’s going on. So, we’re all perfect there. But, we’re really in a race here. It’s a three-way race. We’re gonna see if deer learn the gap. Remember, deer are conditionable. See if they learn that that gap’s open. The rest of the fence is hot. So, they're coming through here. Versus acorns falling and pulling the deer off of the beans for a little bit versus that pesky groundhog eating up the rest of the food. It’s a three-way race. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know who wins.
GRANT: Adam, Matt and I had another pleasant surprise reviewing the Reconyx images from Cave Road Trophy Rock. Now Cave Road Trophy Rock is just a place I’ve had a Trophy Rock for several years in a row. They consume it. I replace it and during our camera survey, we had some nice two year olds and even a three year old or two there, like Crab Claw and some other bucks. Looking good, but nothing I was gonna hunt or set up on. And again, I know it’s getting to be an old song, but we’re really dry and there happens to be a pond that holds water about 60 yards away right across the ridge from Cave Road Trophy Rock. And I don't know if that’s the secret, but when we checked those cards, there we had Split Brow 14, a mature deer, four and a half years old or older – kind of has a banana shaped rack and he’s up there, shed, velvet still hanging off. We had no pictures of him anywhere close to that during the camera survey. Is he gonna be using the pond? Can that be a hunting location? You know this kind of MRI, most recent information, and using our mapping software, that’s the free download, MapView and BuckView, it’s easy to track those images, see those dots showing up, connect the dots and figure out a good stand location. We’ll keep you posted. But it might be the year old Split Brow meets a big arrow.
GRANT: Now this is a whopper deer for my part of the world and he’s come up here. And I believe the reason is – he made that shift, even with velvet and now post-velvet, is ‘cause there’s a pond right across the road.
GRANT: I’m 70 yards away from that Trophy Rock. I was thinking this pond was gonna be loaded with tracks. But I get over here and there are certainly a few tracks; nothing real major. There are more raccoon tracks than deer tracks. So, I know the deer are using that Trophy Rock unequivocally based on the pictures but not using the pond like I thought they were. There’s still deer in the area. I’m still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
GRANT: 12 is going in.
GRANT: Another surprise is Hidden Valley Giant 8. I don't know, there’s just something special about Giant 8 pointers. And Hidden Valley Giant 8 had been eating in a food plot down below Cave Road, the next valley over. Most of the summer, we had some great trail camera pictures of him down there in our camera survey. But not at all up on Cave Road. Check the camera. Sure enough, he’s on Cave Road. There’s two four and a half year old bucks, two shooter bucks at that Trophy Rock. One’s fully shedding the velvet; one’s not as of the most recent photo. That pond may be the key. Now, one of the problems about water – it can be a limited resource that can change overnight.
GRANT: Is this a perfect Iowa ear? No.
GRANT: We frequently talk and suggest hunters find limited resources in their area – food, cover, water. Cover changes to the slowest. Food can change fairly rapidly, but not usually overnight. But water can change overnight. I remember years ago, I was on a elk hunt in New Mexico, and the day I fly out there, a thunderstorm comes through and rains. Every puddle, every elk track is full of water. Setting water holes did nothing but give me a lot of time to catch up on my reading. Water can change overnight.
GRANT: So, although I may hunt water if our conditions don’t change in three or four days, don’t make that your only stand you’ve got available. Cause water availability can change overnight and deer can adapt that quick.
GRANT: I think it’s important for hunters to know that we should keep minerals out on a year-round basis as land managers. Now, there’s not clear research on minerals but when deer are using ‘em on a year-round basis, that’s a really good indicator to me that they need them on a year-round basis. And on that one Trophy Rock location, we had Split Brow, which is a 14 pointer, Giant 8, Crab Claw, Bean Flipper, Broad Brow, and some other bucks all using that one area.
GRANT: Now this is the time of year when some bucks have already shed their velvet. Some haven’t, bachelor groups are clearly breaking up, all coming to one location. It’s great from a hunter and great from a manager’s point of view. Keep those minerals out year-round.
GRANT: I’m sure you can sense my excitement about the opening day of bow season three days away. Great Hit List bucks on our Reconyx cameras, weatherman predicting a change of weather for the better. Lots of things stacking up to make this a great opener. But either way, I’m gonna enjoy Creation; I’m gonna wear my safety harness. I’m gonna be safe. Come home and tell my family about it so I can hunt again. I hope you have a great opening day and you're safe also. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
GRANT: Was I smiling?
GRANT: Card again. It’s got 643 pictures again. Talk about MRI. So, we’ll go get our uhh…
ADAM: Our box, uh.