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GRANT: The 2013 bow season opens in Missouri in a couple of days. Fortunately, we have more Hit List bucks than we have days ‘til season opens.
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GRANT: I’m sure many of y'all remember that we had a wicked outbreak of HD, hemorrhagic disease, here at The Proving Grounds last year.
GRANT: Along with that HD outbreak, you probably remember all the skulls my wife, Tracy, and her lab, Crystal, found last year.
TRACY: Good girl. Good girl. Good girl.
GRANT: Those concerns have somewhat drifted away as we finished our trail camera survey and we’ve identified seven bucks at The Proving Grounds we think are four years old or older. Leading off our Hit List this year is a buck we call Split Brow. I’m really excited to see Split Brow. We have enough years of trail camera images to know he’s about 7.5 years old. Split Brow is certainly mature and a proven survivor, but this year we’ve kind of honed in on him; spent more time scouting and studying the Reconyx patterns. We’ve got some new Muddys hung in his home range and I think we’ve got a good chance of tagging Split Brow this year.
GRANT: We call the next buck on our Hit List Two Face. This year he’s a mainframe 10 with some stickers and certainly would be a trophy in my book.
GRANT: Another 5.5 year old at The Proving Grounds is Funky 10. We had a great encounter with Funky 10 two years ago when we were in a Redneck blind in a good plot we call Big Boom.
GRANT: Two years had gone by and Funky 10 has put on some tine length and most times when bucks get older, they condense their home range and we know that part of the farm. I’m looking forward to an encounter with Funky 10.
GRANT: Jackknife had a pass last year because we estimated he was 3.5 years old. He’s hanging in the same area as he did last year. Although his rack has changed a little bit, we’re very confident that’s the same buck and feeling good about getting in front of Jackknife. Last year, Perfecto 10 only visited one camera site, so we may have been barely on the edge of his range. This year, we’ve got him on two different Reconyx stations and hopefully, we’ll get a pattern going so we can have an encounter.
ADAM: …waiting on Grant to stay up.
GRANT: A casualty of HD here last year was a great buck we used to call Pitchfork.
GRANT: And we knew he had a son coming on because the rack looked almost identical to Pitchfork’s rack. Junior’s rack is extremely similar to what Pitchfork’s was and he’s kind of using the same range. Hopefully, we can do a better job of dialing in on Junior than we did Pitchfork.
GRANT: There’s a food plot on our property named after my youngest daughter, Rae. Last year there was a beautiful 8-pointer that was three years old that spent a lot of time around that food plot. We called that deer Perfect 8 and he obviously survived HD because there’s the same version of Perfect 8 – a little bigger – right around Rae’s food plot. This year after a lot of the acorns are consumed, we’ll probably be spending a lot of time in that Redneck blind overlooking Rae’s plot and, hopefully, one of us can tag Perfect 8.
GRANT: Early September, we’re in a food plot we call Crabapple and it probably looks a little odd. You can see tire tracks going through here and that’s because we used a no-till drill to put seed right amongst the standing beans.
GRANT: These soybeans clearly fed the deer herd all summer, but due to the drought, it looked like they were only gonna make ten, maybe fifteen bushels per acre of the actual beans. And although that’s hundreds of pounds of really high quality feed per acre, we knew we could add more without taking much away.
GRANT: Between the tractor tracks and the fertilizer truck and the no-till drill, we probably damaged somewhere around 50% of the beans. That means we’ve still got plenty of beans until Eagle Seeds’ Broadside – what we just planted – germinates, comes up and starts making a very attractive food source. The no-till drill was a perfect solution to apply the seed without disking and losing whatever soil moisture we have and not damaging the crop too much so we don’t clean the table. Eagle’s Broadside blend will germinate with the very first rain – come up with the mix of brassicas, wheat and brand new soybeans. There’s nothing more palatable than young, lush soybeans and keep the deer feeding right here from right now through the pre-rut, the rut and in the late season.
GRANT: We’re six days after Adam planted and we have germination an inch or two tall. I can clearly see the wheat stems and the radishes and brassicas – I can't tell the difference at this stage of development. What’s more impressive is even in the shade here, we are absolutely powder dry. Hard sided seed like brassicas and radishes and even some wheat are really good at laying there and not germinating or germinating in harsh conditions. The extended forecast showed a dry spell coming on, but Adam hustled and planted and we got germination as a result of his effort.
GRANT: We knew the extended forecast didn’t show any rain but we went ahead and planted because we’re less than 45 days from the first expected frost.
GRANT: It’s always very rewarding to see seedlings coming out of the ground after you’ve planted, but I’ve still got some concerns as we really need some moisture to turn those seedlings into a good crop and be an attraction for deer this fall.
GRANT: It’s one thing to sight your bow in, but it’s another thing to shoot from an elevated position at a 3-D target and get everything ready for that moment of truth.
GRANT: Easy way for us to practice out of an elevated blind – simply get upstairs in a storage area here at GrowingDeer.tv – open up the garage door, put a 3-D target down the slope of the yard and practice right out through the door. It may sound like a redneck shooting out of the barn, but here in a few days when Adam and I are up in a treestand, I’m gonna have total confidence shooting from an elevated blind.
GRANT: Only six days until Missouri’s bow season opens and I think it’s critical that all archers take the opportunity to practice from an elevated position if you're going to hunt out of a treestand.
GRANT: It’s tempting to aim halfway up or the center so you think you’ve got a better chance, but most deer are gonna hear the bow or the arrow or just a little something and as they duck, the lower the legs get out of there, they're dropping a number of inches. So, if you're gonna aim in the bottom third and if the deer doesn’t move at all – great. You’ve taken the heart out and it’s a really short blood trail. If they do come down you're still in the lungs and recover the deer.
GRANT: These all look like really good shot placement and you can see the entry looks really good, but let’s look at the back side and see where the exit is. Because of the angle, I actually come out in the front leg here. Probably in front of the lungs on this one and okay here. My whole sight pattern needed to be back a little bit – always thinking about where the arrow is gonna exit on a far side of the deer. Remember, as a bow hunter, our whole objective is to take out both lungs and the animal will go down quickly, being very humane and a short blood trail. To accomplish that, it’s just as important to think about where the exit is of the arrow and make sure it’s in the kill zone.
GRANT: Whether it’s already hunting season at your place or you're doing those last minute preparations, don’t forget to enjoy Creation and most importantly, take time to listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
ADAM: Well, I thought I would film this clip right here just to show you how rocky it really is. A lot. It almost takes hearing protection to run a drill around here.