This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: As we approach 2015, I’m thankful for the year we’ve had – safe travels, great hunts, and plenty of venison in the freezer. What’s it mean to be thankful? Well, for me, it means giving thanks back to the Creator, the one who created it all – the environment we get to enjoy, the people we interact with. The Creator is what makes it all possible. This year, I hope you and your family also enjoy some great hunts. But most importantly, you focus on the reason we’re all here – you take time to give thanks to the Creator.
GRANT: Pro staffer, Aaron Morgan from Kansas, has been hunting hard this year, but hasn’t punched a tag.
GRANT: He’s seen several does and immature bucks, but he really wanted to tag a mature buck. And when you set your standards at a mature buck, sometimes it means you eat tag soup at the end of season.
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GRANT: Aaron thought tag soup was on his menu for the rest of the year as he came down to the last day he was gonna be able to hunt in Kansas rifle season.
GRANT: Being a dedicated hunter, Aaron wasn’t gonna give up with one more day to go, and even though his cameraman wasn’t available, he grabbed his camera and gear and headed to the field.
AARON: (Whispering) Well, it’s December the 8th. Um, Kansas rifle season. I, uh – I’m not a rifle hunter. Never rifled hunted before. Don’t even own a deer rifle. But I had a buddy who let me borrow his Winchester, uh, .270, and I decided I’m gonna give it go, because the season is coming to a close. I’ve never been this late into the season before. My game strategy is – it’s been cloudy for the past few days. The clouds are supposed to break this afternoon – sunny, supposed to warm up a little bit. I’m hoping that the deer are gonna come off of the grain and move into the oats, so I’m huntin’ over an oat field. Hopefully, I can get this done and get it done self-filming. Wish me luck.
GRANT: A strong cold front was rolling through, and Aaron could tell the difference and it seemed the animals could, too.
GRANT: Aaron hadn’t been in his blind long, when a large flock of turkeys entered the field.
GRANT: About 30 minutes later, a doe and a fawn rushed out to the field, put their head down, and started to eat.
GRANT: And just before dark, he saw tines coming into the field.
GRANT: To add to Aaron’s frustration, he noticed the buck was one of his hit list bucks. But unfortunately, it only had one side of his antlers still attached. While pondering this situation, Aaron got a much clearer direction, as he noticed another large buck entering the field.
AARON: (Whispering) BBD, baby.
GRANT: If you’ve ever self-filmed a hunt, you know the pressure of getting the camera on the deer, and then, going for the gun and settling the crosshairs – where most hunters simply worry about taking the shot.
AARON: (Quietly) Um, tonight was a last, last attempt, before my season was over, as far as for any kind of buck. Came out here, I was kind of down, to be honest. I was trying to encourage myself a little bit, but I was down, and, uh, really didn’t believe this was gonna happen. I’m thankful it did.
GRANT: Now that the buck is on the ground, the real work is about to start.
GRANT: It’s great to see Aaron on the board, especially, a bell ringer buck, as it was his last day to hunt. Congratulations, Aaron.
GRANT: Last week, we started our work to balance the predator and prey populations, here at The Proving Grounds, by putting out some Duke cage traps.
GRANT: What do you think? How many critters?
ADAM: I’ll say two opossums.
GRANT: There’s something in there. That’s a big haul today, boys.
GRANT: Last week, I shared with you my technique for using these Duke cage traps to remove nest predators here at The Proving Grounds. In just a few days, we’ve already caught almost 10 predators. There’s been gads of research, in the past decades, of how effective raccoons are as nest predators. They can wear out turkey nests, quail nests, and even songbird nests. Currently, raccoon pelt prices are very low, so there’s not a lot of impetus for trappers to work on balancing the predator/prey population. Really leaves it up to landowners and hunters to step in and do this conservation job. A lot of people know raccoons are big nest predators but they don’t know that raccoons also take some fawns.
GRANT: You take a large raccoon, like this – comes across a newborn, six pound fawn – well, it’s no contest. This miniature grizzly bear is gonna have meat for supper when it finds that fawn. I like to move the trap off the site just a little bit – easy to do with these Duke cage traps. That way, the scent of death and the blood won’t be right on the trap site. Still an attraction for the area. Dispense the raccoon, re-bait the trap, move it right back to the site.
GRANT: All right, Daniel. How many pounds you think?
GRANT: 13. I say 14.
GRANT: Don’t be trying to hide that, now – eww – 16, isn’t it? 15, or 16?
GRANT: 16. Yeah. All right. Let’s re-bait and see what else we got on the line.
ADAM: Typically, opossums are one of your easiest animals to catch. And even in areas where you know you have a lot of raccoons, you’re still probably gonna have to thin out the opossums, just ‘cause they’re gonna be the first animals in the trap. Once you get them removed, you can start removing those raccoons.
ADAM: That’s the second opossum. This one’s a fat one. Probably, the biggest one of the year, so far, for us. Might even hold on and be the biggest one of the year total.
GRANT: The cage trap is a great tool, but there are other tools in our bucket, also. This week, I want to share how I used the Duke dog proof trap.
GRANT: Gonna add a few more sets, today, and again, I’m always looking for location. This is a great location – got a food plot, road coming right through it, parallel on the creek. So I got a good chance of predators walking the road, or coming down the creek. That intersection, just like where you want to put a restaurant. We’re gonna put the meal right here.
GRANT: For this set, I’m gonna use a different style trap. I’m gonna use the Duke dog proof trap. It’s called dog proof, ‘cause there’s no way for a dog to get his paw in here. Great to use in urban areas, or where you think your pets may be, closer to a house, around a barn. But they’re also extremely quick to use on trap line out here. One thing I really like about the dog proof traps is they’re very small. You can put a couple dozen of these in a five gallon bucket, take off and make two dozen sets without filling up the back of a pickup. It’s easy to set this trap. You just stick it in the ground. But without attaching it to something, the predator might take off with your trap. I simply use a little cable and put it on a tree, or a big rock, something close by, that will keep the trap attached in the area.
GRANT: You can squeeze the springs in and set the trap with your hand. But if you’re setting a lot of traps, it’s really cold outside, that can be a little tough. An easy way is just take a screwdriver, something with leverage, put it on top of the spring. Once I have the trap set and fastened to the cable, I’ll simply stick it in the ground right here at the intersection. Put food in the trap. It’s okay to spill a little on the outside, ‘cause I want to make this area attractive to predators. Just a little food out there is like the neon sign saying, “Eat here! Eat here!” I also take a little bit and Hansel and Gretel. If I leave it open like that, crows and squirrels will eat most of my bait out of there, or rain will come in and make it all mushy. A simple thing to do is take a big can, put it right on top. It is no problem for a coon or opossum to flip that right off there. But it’ll keep most of the squirrels and crows out of there, keeps the rain off the top, and you’re good to go.
GRANT: Trapping’s not only a great wildlife management tool, it’s just another way we can enjoy the outdoors. I hope you and your family have many opportunities to get outside and enjoy Creation this year, but most importantly, take time daily to listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
AARON: (Whispering) Hopefully I can get it done and get it done with good quality. Let me know. Or –
ADAM: So, two opossums here in about a 30 yard circle.
ADAM: Seeing a lot of raccoons.
ADAM: I stumbled, didn’t I? Raccoons.