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GRANT: October 22nd and a lot of arrows were flying last week at The Kentucky Proving Grounds.
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GRANT: Sometimes I think hunters get so carried away with hunting in early November, that they forget to vote. Voting is a critical part of our American heritage that past hunters like you and I fought and died for to give us the privilege to vote. If you think you're going to be traveling this year, maybe hunting a rut, do what I do. Get an absentee ballot and make sure you vote. Every vote counts. Especially this year.
GRANT: Last week Adam and I left Jeff Foxworthy’s farm where we had a great hunt. Drove back up northwest towards Kentucky. Stopped off at The Kentucky Proving Grounds to join our friend, Josh Dahlke and Terry Hamby and had another great hunt.
GRANT: Mr. Hamby’s done a lot of work at The Kentucky Proving Grounds developing food and cover, so there’s an abundance of deer there.
GRANT: We need to harvest some of the does to bring that number of does down so to have enough food for each critter there and balance that adult sex ratio. The number of bucks to the number of does. Knowing that we needed to harvest several deer, it was no problem twisting Josh’s arm to come down and join Adam and I and Mr. Hamby on a hunt where we needed to harvest some does and we were certainly always looking out for a mature buck that might walk by in range.
GRANT: Josh came down on a Saturday and we all got together for an afternoon hunt which is relatively easy because Adam and the guys had worked this summer putting up a bunch of Muddy ladder stands in known travel corridors or over food plots where we expected there to be deer activity this fall.
ADAM: Fifteen minutes into our hunt, we see our first deer. While we’re watching that deer, we start to hear something that sounds like acorns crunching. It didn’t take very long and we see three young bucks headed our way. They walk right in front of our tree out on the food plot and slowly fade to the south. About that time, a couple of does start to appear in that same direction.
JOSH: (Whispering) I’m gonna take the one on the road.
JOSH: (Whispering) Easy, easy, easy. Coming back.
ADAM: Finally, she starts to calm down and move back into the opening.
JOSH: (Whispering) Okay. Top one in the road. That was a close one. But, managed to get that arrow out there. The shot might have been a little bit far forward, but I’m feeling pretty decent about it. When she was in front of me, I just…
ADAM: … did the draw the first time.
JOSH: Yeah, I just there (Laughing) – it’s wide open.
ADAM: We ‘high fived’ and congratulated each other and sat back down to take in the morning. We waited about thirty minutes, decided to start packing up to get down and trail and I catch movement in the back of a food plot. It’s more does and lucky for Josh, he’s got another tag. These deer seem to have read the script because they're headed right for us.
JOSH: (Whispering) Get ready, get ready. (Shot) (Whispering) There’s two words for that. Herd management.
JOSH: Every one of these things is a blessing.
GRANT: Josh is the online editor for North American Hunting Club. He’s got a great website. You can see a link below and they put out a monthly magazine that’s wonderful. I’m a subscriber and I suggest you should too. Get the latest information about hunting and growing deer. Like any good hunt, you hate to see it come to an end, but it was time for Adam and I to pack our bags, head back to our families and chase some deer here at The Proving Grounds.
ADAM: It’s October 19th. This morning we’re out in the spot we call East Glade. We’ve only hunted it one time last fall and I don't think ever before then, so.
ADAM: We knew there was a lot of deer in the area, so it didn’t take us long to see the first doe. (Whispering) Psst. Deer. Right there. We watched her for over an hour slowly but surely work her way up towards us. Finally, she’s getting into range and it’s time to take the shot. (Whispering) You on her? Ready. Adam Keith on the board!
ADAM: Any guesses on which arrow I shot her with? Yeah, here she goes, she went this way. Look at that big ‘ole. Golly. Aren’t you glad she didn’t run to the bottom? Not very many ticks back there. She’s still got a little bit of her summer coat. Hmph.
ADAM: We knew we had a good wind ‘cause for an hour and a half, the wind was hitting us straight in the face. 20+ mile an hour. Tears are rolling down my face and I am shaking and realizing I haven’t packed near enough clothes for this morning. I noticed this doe has, like, sloughed off hooves, so we’re gonna call Grant. I know he’ll want to take a look at it and uh, see what he has to say about it.
ADAM: We’re back in the truck trying to hunt down Grant. He’s somewhere on the property with the boys from Redneck, so I think we’re taking pictures. We’re gonna go up here at 50 Acre Glade where we set up the 15 foot palace this summer. Hopefully, we can find him and show him this deer.
ADAM: (With Grant) (Inaudible) There’s something I want you to take a look at. Look at her hooves.
GRANT: Yeah, that’s EHD.
ADAM: That’s what we figured.
GRANT: Have y'all done everything you need to do already?
GRANT: We got good stuff going on?
ADAM: Oh yeah.
GRANT: You saw 12?
ADAM: Saw 10 or 12. Yeah.
GRANT: Any bucks?
ADAM: No bucks. All does and fawns.
GRANT: As you can see it looks like she stepped on a rock or broke this off. But that’s on all four hooves. And the chronic form of EHD causes sloughing of the hooves. This deer would probably have survived it. She would have had a tough winter; wouldn’t be able to feed quite as well as normal, but she’d have been a carrier of that virus, having antibodies, so the next time EHD come through, she probably would not have got the acute form and she would have survived. EHD has had a major impact on deer herds throughout most of the whitetails range this year. In some areas, it hits the deer herd so hard, that I suggest people don’t have much of a doe harvest this year. Here at The Proving Grounds, we were blessed that our mortality was very minimal and we’re going to add a little bit more to the doe side once again, balancing that adult sex ratio and reducing the whole population so each deer has all the quality forage they need to express their full potential.
GRANT: The first month or so of bow season is typically pretty warm. A lot of mature bucks aren’t moving much during daylight hours. It’s a great time to hunt the periphery of your property, take some does, work on balancing that adult sex ratio and the amount of deer for the amount of food. Certainly, I’d take a mature buck if one walked by, but I’m saving those prime stands for when the temperatures drop a little bit and I see signs of that pre-rut kicking in. No matter what the conditions are where you're hunting, take a moment to reflect on Creation and The Creator. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.