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GRANT: One of the things Nathan and I did early last week was get in the truck and head over to Kentucky, ‘cross that big ole Mississippi River. Man, as soon as you cross over into Kentucky, they’ve been getting rain; the corn looks good; the beans look good. Much better than anything on this side of the Mississippi River.
GRANT: Got to Mr. Hamby’s property and we had two chores we wanted to accomplish on this trip. He just ordered some new Redneck blinds and we wanted to get them located just perfectly so him and his family will have great hunting opportunities. I wanted to check all his trail cameras and re-program them to make sure they're setup from just taking pictures as fast as they can – because there’s no attractant out there – to being over a Trophy Rock and another attractant so we’re ready to do our camera survey.
GRANT: We use attractants this time of year to draw as many deer in as we can cause we want to capture at least 95% of all bucks on the property and get a unique picture of ‘em. So, re-programmed, got it all set and Mr. Hamby’s good to go. We’re headed back to Missouri.
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GRANT: Good morning. It’s July 25th, Monday morning, and I’m thrilled because we received an inch of rain over the weekend. I am absolutely just excited and I’m sure the plants are gonna look green and plush as we start working today here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Sometimes you don’t have to go any further than your yard to make an observation that’s really important for your deer hunting or your habitat management. And that was the case this morning. I got up and I looked around and said, “Well, I’m gonna have to go mow that spot in my yard.” It used to be my garden spot and how I would fertilize my garden is every spring when I’ve had my Antler Dirt brought in, they would dump it here; they would take it all off with their bobcat or whatever equipment they brought and go spread it on the food plots. But they’d never get 100%. And I considered that my fertilizer for the garden spot. No garden this year, way too dry. But look at the difference in just this fescue versus just a foot or two away where the Antler Dirt wasn’t spread – incredible difference. And that difference is due to the amount of organic matter in that Antler Dirt, which holds any moisture that’s available and conserves that moisture versus just out here where it’s standard Ozark soils. This is another reason I’m a huge fan of building up organic matter in your food plots. So, if you’ve got really hard packed clay soils or sandy soils, Antler Dirt or some type of organic fertilizer could be a huge benefit versus commercial fertilizer, N, P, and K, which doesn’t hold any moisture at all and matter of fact, can make your soil more acidic.
GRANT: It doesn’t matter how much fertilizer you have out if the plants are growing and the deer and the groundhogs and everything else is browsing it off the ground as soon as it tries to grow.
GRANT: We’ve been really impressed with the Gallagher fence here in the past years, keeping deer out of soybeans and small plots where they normally eat ‘em up. But this year’s drought really put it to the test because deer were hungry. We haven’t had a significant rain, except this weekend, since May. And most of the soybeans outside the fence – especially in our small fields – they're just wiped out. They're just consumed. But you can see over my right shoulder – inside that fence – it looks like a bean field, even though we haven’t had moisture. It’s incredible how well those beans performed once they had the protection of that electric fence. Now this fall when it becomes hunting season and that’s an established food source, we’ll just take that gate down where we bring the tractor in and out to maintain it, and that’s going to be a tremendous bottleneck for hunting. I can't believe how well a two foot tall fence that I can jump kept the deer out in these harsh conditions.
GRANT: I can't imagine a better test than having lush soybeans in the middle of a really dry property in keeping deer out. That’s all the testimony I need to know that system works and works well.
GRANT: Now come fall when the velvet starts cracking and shedding, deer are driven to carbohydrates. They naturally want a source of energy. And that’s when deer shift from green forage to what I call brown or yellow, corn or acorns or something like that. We had a really tough time with corn this year for two reasons. We went in May from really cold and wet to hot and dry and it never changed. So a lot of our corn didn’t do too well. But in June, when we took the patches that didn’t have a very good corn stand, we drilled milo in. Now I don’t like milo quite as well as corn for two reasons: it’s not as herbicide friendly. There are herbicides you can put over milo, but they limit what you can plant the following year due to the soil activity of the herbicide. That means it stays active. So some herbicides are meant to kill all the legumes. Milo is not a legume – you spray it – but you can't plant soybeans the next year. That’s just one example. But on the areas where we really had a failure and we needed something, we planted milo cause you can plant it later in the summer; it’s very drought resistant; and deer love the grain on top of milo.
GRANT: Milo is a crop we haven’t talked a lot about on GrowingDeer.tv. I typically prefer corn over milo for one simple reason – corn makes more yield per acre than milo. And a secondary reason is when that corn ear ripens it falls over and the sheath protects the grain from rain and mold and even keeps birds off of it to some extent. Milo, on the other hand, grows an open seed head on top and birds and weather can get to it. But milo is super attractive to white-tailed deer and also, it’s very drought resistant and that’s why you find it out on the Great Plains a lot – western Kansas, Nebraska, places like that. It looks just like corn growing at this stage because it’s a grain; and if it produces 40/50 bushels per acre, it’ll be a huge home run here at The Proving Grounds. We’ve never had milo on this property before, so we’ll see if there’s a learning curve or they're hungry enough this year to go right to it, make some great bow hunting. I’ll keep you posted how milo works here at The Proving Grounds this year.
GRANT: You know, with August, we’re all on this hyper pitch thinking about deer season and any last minute toys – I mean tools – don’t call ‘em toys – your wife will get mad – we might need for the hunting season or counsel for this fall’s food plots, scents control, all those things. There’s no better place this year than the Land and Wildlife Expo in Nashville, Tennessee, coming up the second weekend of August. I’m actually gonna have a room there. It’s the Lincoln Suite, Room E, Lincoln Rooms Number E, 11:00 to 12:00 on Saturday. 11:00 to 12:00 the GrowingDeer crew will be there. Lots of other people, I mean it, come on by. I want you to bring your best pictures of deer and Eagle Seed beans and your best picture of deer using a Trophy Rock and we’re gonna give some great prizes away. But more importantly, just come, talk, share your tips with us. Hopefully, we can share with you. Looking forward to seeing you Saturday at the Land and Wildlife Expo.
GRANT: You know, just stay with us this year on GrowingDeer.tv cause we’ll be going right through it with you. Are the acorns dropping? What’s happening on the rut? What are we seeing on our trail cameras? Check out our Facebook page and check the link right below here. It’s just a great way for week to week, live information to help us all be better hunters, enjoy Creation more.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.