Muzzleloader Action: Bucks and Bobcats (Episode 109 Transcript)

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GRANT: December 19th, and you're probably watching this right after Christmas. I'm so excited about the New Year, as I'm finishing up 2011. After 20 years of being a wildlife biologist, I've learned a lot about hunting and managing white-tailed deer, but I've got a lot more to learn and I can't wait to share it with you. I hope you and your family are blessed with a great New Years and wonderful 2012. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.

ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer.tv is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Gallagher, Muddy Outdoors, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester Ammunition, Redneck Hunting Blinds, Dead Down Wind, and Antler Dirt.

GRANT: I grew up in a family that shot muzzleloaders competitively. This is way before in-line muzzleloaders. We would buy kits, and barrels, and locks, and triggers, and buttplates, and put ‘em together and went to shooting matches around the nation. My dad, both my sisters, and I had been blessed enough to be champions of several states back in those days when competition was everything. I'm much more of a hunter now and I got a brand new in-line muzzleloader, couldn't wait to check it out.

GRANT: That's where it screws together.

GLEN: Yep.

GRANT: That's not a, that's just where it screws together.

GRANT: My dad, Glen Woods, is 81 years old and being the master at muzzleloaders, I invited him down. But he'd never seen powder and pellets, or in-line muzzleloaders ‘cause we'd been spitting on patches and ran ‘em down with hickory ram rod our whole career.

GRANT: Do you want to shoot it first?

GRANT: Within just a few shots, we were both shooting an inch group at 100 yards.

GRANT: That's a pretty group there. I almost cut your first bullet whole.

GLEN: Can’t have you shooting that good.

GRANT: But with Nikon’s BDC, or in-line muzzleloader scope, that's specially designed reticle makes it really easy to site a muzzleloader in at those extended ranges and be very accurate.

GRANT: So with the gun sighted in, and Raleigh, my oldest daughter, getting out for Christmas break, we were ready to go on opening day of the 17th. We had a south wind that afternoon, so we opted to go to Rae's Field, which is perfectly set up for a strong south wind.

RALEIGH: I'd probably shoot anything right now cause since it's so late in the season, but I'm hoping to see Pitchfork because in the shed hunt this um, spring, we found Pitchfork's antler right down there.

GRANT: Raleigh's a very patient hunter and enjoys reading, so it's a perfect combination for her to get in a Redneck Blind, open up a book, and remain very quiet while daddy's glassing the whole time trying to find a deer.

GRANT: Late that afternoon, I spotted a deer moving in some standing corn on the west half of the field.

RALEIGH: (Whispering) It's a little buck.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, that's him, that's him. Look.

GRANT: Once she really got honed in on this spike, her first words out were something like, “Dad, I wish it was a doe or mature buck. I think I'll pass this one.”

RALEIGH: (Whispering) If it's a little buck, I'll just let it go. But if it's a doe or a bigger one…

GRANT: (Whispering) I’m fine for to shoot it, honey…

RALEIGH: (Whispering) I know.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’d be glad to have you shoot it, honey.

GRANT: I'll tell you, honestly, as a dad, I was trying to talk her into harvesting this yearling buck, really wanting her to have a success and knowing that her schedule was gonna be really tight over the Christmas break. However, the buck never made it to us and exited out of the back of the field, stayin’ in the corn the whole time. We waited till it was absolutely too dark for the camera to work and then started shutting stuff down.

GRANT: So today, Monday morning, I went and checked the Reconyx camera on that field, where Raleigh and I had been hunting. And was I in for a huge surprise. Pitchfork, the very buck we were after at Rae's Field, which has a couple years' patterns of going to that field during the late season, was standing 60 yards in front of the Redneck blind the day before I took Raleigh hunting there.

GRANT: Now Pitchfork's a six or seven-year old buck that we found a shed from last year during our annual shed hunt. We've got all kind of trail camera pictures; we got Reconyx X patterns of him moving. I'll get on Pitchfork, it's just a matter of time, and he hasn't been spooked yet, I've got a pattern going for him and I've got two more weeks of season coming on.

GRANT: While I was taking a little break, Adam and his brother had an opportunity to go hunting on Adam's farm, which is about an hour away from my place.

ADAM: (Whispering) December the 18th, the second day of Missouri muzzleloader season. We're overlooking a turnip plot. The de-the deer are starting to switch out of that chase phase. Now they're really start goin’ on food sources, so we're overlooking a turnip plot. Hopefully, this afternoon, Ole Big Boy will come on by.

ADAM: (Whispering) Still on it?

GRANT: So you and your brother had an encounter with a bobcat this weekend. Give me a morning off from hunting but I get to review the footage, no hiding what happens when the camera is rolling behind ya.

ADAM: Oh gosh.

GRANT: Beautiful cat. Boy they just, look at those eyes just drilling through you.

ADAM: (Whispering) Still on it?

GRANT: Oh. Let's stop that and back that up frame by frame.

GRANT: So here's the cat before the shot, totally locked in, and one frame later, just one stroke, there's ground blowing up where the bullet struck it. But the cat hasn't moved. When I go back and forth between those two, the cat doesn't move, but we've watched several bow shots in here and when the…

ADAM: They always react.

GRANT: …cat, or doe, or whatever, hears that bow, it's ducking, when the arrow's still 10, 12 yards out, and we watch it and we measure how far it ducks. This difference between a bow and a gun, of course, is you know, 300 feet a second and 3,000 feet a second, or whatever it is, and that bullet's already hit the ground, the cat doesn't move, and then, you know that bullet's already in the ground, and the cat starts ducking. Look how much it ducks. This is a very natural reaction, just like deer. They hear sound or sense something and they're getting in that sp-sprinter's block, getting ready to take off.

GRANT: Couldn't get the muzzleloader reloaded that quick, huh?

ADAM: No. No. I was trying, though. (Laughter)

ADAM: There's no limbs or anything moving that I can blame?

GRANT: I don’t see any sign of deflection, but what's cool is these leaves way up here, blow that way, the vacuum of the bullet passing is pulling the leaves that way. So I don’t see any twig or limbs shaking or moving. I don’t, no bright spot appears. I think it was just a clean miss. Cat certainly not touched at all.

ADAM: No.

GRANT: You'll be back another day.

GRANT: So once again, we learned a lot during 2011 and I'm very excited about 2012. I hope you continue joining us. Thank you for watching GrowingDeer.tv.

ADAM: Another bite. If I had a (inaudible) hand. Man.