Scouting Bucks | Strategies For New Stand Locations, Fall Food Plots (Episode 405 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: Deer season is already open in South Carolina and some other states. It's easy to see why so many hunters are excited.

GRANT: As part of this excitement, hunters are getting their gear ready and their bows tuned up.

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GRANT: During Bass Pro’s annual Fall Classic, I went up to the grandfather of all stores in Springfield, Missouri and spent some time hanging out in the hunting department.

GRANT: Daniel and I really enjoyed visiting with several fellow hunters, talking deer hunting, management strategies for their properties and what gear to use.

UNKNOWN: What I'm wanting to do and I don't know if this is really viable or not, I…

GRANT: Several folks brought maps or aerial photos of their property, and Daniel and I took time to visit with them and lay out a habitat and hunting management plan.

GRANT: What I'd really like to see you do, if possible – maybe not now, later – but, this is good, but I'd like to see you come here in the middle and develop you a couple acre food plot. That's your target. This is your goal, okay?

UNKNOWN: Right.

GRANT: And the reason is you're not gonna be able to compete with all this food but you can sure short stop 'em. You're set up perfectly to have a great staging area and because of the way the road system is here, no matter if it’s a …

GRANT: When I'm evaluating a property that's new to me or a friend brings me a map of a property, I want to zoom out because I'm looking for the best sources of food, cover and water in that area – not just on the property where we have permission to hunt. And then find the most limiting factor – be it water or food, whatever – and figure out how to add that to the property where we hunt.

GRANT: Maybe a little opening there already that you can expand or something.

UNKNOWN: Yep. Yep.

GRANT: Make those hidey holes. And you're totally focused on fall food. You can't compete with this but you can have the best food in the fall.

UNKNOWN: Exactly.

GRANT: And it would be awesome.

UNKNOWN: Exactly.

GRANT: That would totally change how this place hunts.

UNKNOWN: Okay, I'm with you.

GRANT: Yeah. Is this water here? Is that a pond?

UNKNOWN: Yup. (Inaudible)

GRANT: When you identify the most limiting factor and then add it to the property where you have permission to hunt, it greatly increases your chances of having successful hunts.

GRANT: Daniel and I had a good time reviewing the maps of several different properties but we really enjoyed visiting with all our fellow hunters.

GRANT: That corner would be awesome…

UNKNOWN: Yeah. Yeah.

GRANT: Awesome.

UNKNOWN: Okay.

GRANT: Archery season opens September 15th here in Missouri, and our goal this year is to remove 40 or more does from The Proving Grounds.

DANIEL: October we could do a turkey hunt and a Facebook live.

GRANT: So, Daniel and I recently hopped in the truck and went to an archery pro shop to make sure his Prime was tuned to perfection.

DANIEL: I'm at the local bow shop today with Wayne. He's our local bow mechanic. We're gonna shoot a few arrows through paper to see if the arrow is going up or down or left or right, so.

WAYNE: You want to make a perfect hole through the paper.

DANIEL: Perfect hole through the paper, that's the goal. We'll make adjustments if we need to. We'll see what we have.

WAYNE: Got some tear – looks, tearing to the left. We want to move the rest to the right.

DANIEL: To the right.

WAYNE: Yeah.

DANIEL: So, move it over a little to the right.

WAYNE: Move it over just a little, small increments.

DANIEL: So, Wayne has moved the rest a little to the right.

WAYNE: Yes.

DANIEL: I'm gonna try it again.

WAYNE: Exactly. It looks like we may have moved it a little too much.

DANIEL: So I'll just back it off a little bit.

WAYNE: Okay. And we're ready to go again. That decreased the size of the hole. That's getting pretty good.

DANIEL: Pretty close.

WAYNE: Just a little bit more of an adjustment.

GRANT: This is an easy way to diagnose if the d-loop and the rest and everything is lined up just as it should be.

GRANT: Our friend Wayne made a few adjustments; Daniel shot again; and this time it looked like a perfect hole.

GRANT: After Wayne was satisfied with the paper tuning, it's time to go that extra mile.

WAYNE: So, now we’ve…

DANIEL: Okay.

WAYNE: …made some adjustments, we're gonna shoot a bare shaft.

DANIEL: Okay. What's the bare shaft tell us?

WAYNE: It tells us if all the energy is going straight down the back of the shaft or if it's pushing it off to the left or right.

DANIEL: Right, okay, great. Let's shoot it and see what happens. Punched it.

WAYNE: A perfect hole, a perfect hole. That's a perfect hole as far as shooting a bare shaft through paper.

DANIEL: So, that means all our energy is going down there and straight.

WAYNE: All of our energy is going straight down the shaft and getting all the energy that the arrow can get.

GRANT: When tuning a bow, you want to make sure you're shooting the same length, weight, the same arrow you'll be hunting with, including the weight of the point. If you change any of these components – even the helical of the fletch – it will change how the bow casts the arrow.

DANIEL: We'll come into the range. We're gonna shoot a bare shaft and see how it shoots. Well, it hit the dot but it looks like the arrow may be a little nock left. So we're gonna go check it out and see if we need to do a little adjusting.

DANIEL: We'll take a look at the arrow. It's definitely a little nock left. Take another arrow, stick it up there. Definitely over a little bit. We're going back up to 20 and see what happens.

DANIEL: We're at 20 yards. I just shot a bare arrow. Now, I'm gonna shoot an arrow with vanes on it and see the difference.

WAYNE: Yeah.

DANIEL: Alright, so Wayne, definitely much straighter on this arrow with the vanes than the bare arrow.

WAYNE: You see both shafts are going in. This one is still a little bit nock left. But we, we, we’ve pretty much got the energy into this shaft. So we know that we're in good conditions as far as getting the energy – energy to the shaft. And now all we've got to do is get our, uh, sights on, and we'll be good to go.

DANIEL: It's just a matter of getting it sighted in now. I appreciate it.

WAYNE: Thank you very much.

DANIEL: Thank you.

GRANT: If you haven't tuned your bow or only use paper tuning, I strongly suggest you shoot a bare shaft and make sure your bow is perfectly tuned.

GRANT: It's late August, and our first whitetail hunt is with my good friend, Mr. Terry Hamby in Kentucky. Season opens in Kentucky September 2nd, and we're rolling about September 5th. And I am so excited but that excitement will be quickly dampened if I missed a good buck or an old nanny doe right off the bat.

GRANT: I shoot my bow year around. I just love shooting a bow. But this time of year I take my practice extremely serious.

GRANT: Early summer I'm launching a lot of arrows and working on form but this time of year I'm thinking all about hunting. And my practice is shooting one arrow at a time, making sure each shot counts.

GRANT: My practice this time of year is all about replicating a hunting situation. I'm shooting 3D targets. I've got a quiver full of arrows. I'm using the same rangefinder I'll use from a treestand or out chasing elk. You know it gets a little sweaty during these warm practice days but I'll put it in a Scent Crusher for a few minutes, clean it up and be ready to hunt.

GRANT: I take it even further. I've got boots on like I might be wearing when I'm hunting. I wear a long-sleeve shirt because I'm gonna hunt in a long-sleeve shirt and that makes sure my form is such that the string is not hitting my sleeve.

GRANT: I use a field point from G5 that's actually called a B.M.P., ballistically matched point. It flies exactly like the broadhead I'm gonna be using, so I'm tuned exactly for broadheads.

GRANT: So, this time of year I'm not shooting dots. I'm shooting a 3D target and thinking about where the kill zone is. So, I'm thinking about the path of the arrow through the vitals and where would I want to place that shot in a hunting situation.

GRANT: So, what you're seeing behind me is where I sight in bows and I practice and I mess around and back up a long ways and do some shooting like that. But what you're not seeing, I've got three 3D Morrell Targets set up downhill – timber and rocks right behind ‘em – and if I miss that target, that arrow is gone. Now, am I worried about losing an arrow? Or am I worried about making sure I know my effective range so I can confidently harvest every animal I draw on?

GRANT: What you're seeing behind me is a typical practice setup. And I've got a big square target behind there. So, when I'm out there messing around at long distance and if I've missed a deer target, I can still find my arrow. But really when I get serious practice, I'm shooting at targets we’re getting ready to show you.

GRANT: This setup teaches me my effective range. Because if I start getting towards the edge of this target and thinking about losing an arrow, I know I shouldn't shoot at a critter near that far.

GRANT: Realistic practice this time of year will make your hunting much more enjoyable this fall. Boom.

GRANT: Losing an arrow may cost you a few bucks but it's nothing like wounding a critter. So, only take shots in the field that you're 100% comfortable you can make the shot.

DANIEL: Calling this Big Foot.

GRANT: I'm thinking ‘cause the Big Foot park over there. Don't you think that'll be cool?

DANIEL: Yeah.

TYLER: What's the name of this? Bass Bottom, right?

GRANT: It was, but I think we're gonna switch it to Big Foot ‘cause…

GRANT: You can tell we're all fired up about deer season. But it's no time to forget about habitat management or food plots.

GRANT: It's sunny today, but there's rain in the forecast for tomorrow. So, this morning we scooted out and planted some of our hidey hole food plots.

GRANT: Hidey hole food plots are one of my favorite habitat and hunting techniques. I like to combine the hidey hole small food plot in the middle of the woods with a staging area location. And right through those trees is Narnia, a brand new 5-acre food plot. Lots and lots of timber this way. So, we envision deer coming out here, getting a little snack or staging before they go to Narnia.

GRANT: So, we've got this staging area food plot – acres and acres of timber – and a little gap going right through to a much larger plot.

GRANT: This plot is so small we knew it would be over-browsed this summer, so we planted a blend to actually build the soil and not necessarily focus on providing quality forage to feed deer.

GRANT: One of the main components of the summer blend we planted in here was sorghum sudangrass ‘cause it grows huge volume and will help us build organic matter.

GRANT: So, in this application, we used a herbicide to terminate the summer crop and then we're just gonna broadcast our fall crop into it.

GRANT: Buffalo blend is kind of a working name to go with the buffalo system we have of creating a lot of biomass and trampling it down to build organic matter. We do the experimenting and I'm not sure what Eagle will end up calling it.

GRANT: Wes is in his master's program in Louisiana – wildlife biology course – and Ty just got out of high school. Ty is doing a unique program with us. He didn't really wanta go to college. I understand that. So, Ty is here with us a year and we're just gonna immerse him in. We're gonna dunk him in everything we do wildlife, give him hands-on training and he’ll end up being a great property manager.

GRANT: So, we want to broadcast the seed today. We don't want to do it too many days ahead of a rain ’cause doggone turkeys and squirrels will eat up all the seed when you're broadcasting.

GRANT: So, if you're broadcasting at home, I know you got tough work schedules but don't broadcast one week and let it lay on top of the ground for a week or two before a rain. It won't germinate often without that moisture and the rodents and birds will eat most of the seed.

GRANT: So, we've mapped this food plot in years past. We know it's right at a quarter of an acre, but we're broadcasting so we want to go a little heavy. The buffalo blend is designed to plant at about 100 pounds per acre. Let's end up putting about 30, 35 pounds out here. It’ll be a little bit heavy because we know the squirrels and birds are gonna eat a little bit before it rains tomorrow.

GRANT: You may end up walking it a couple times, actually, but I'd rather go over it twice – on a small plot it will just take a few minutes – than actually be only half way through and go, “Oops, Grant, I'm out of seed.” A: we've wasted seed and it'd be so thick it'd be competition and none of the plants would do really well.

GRANT: A couple of little tips I've just learned from years of experience – or maybe not being too coordinated – is I want to fill my seeder – when I'm using these over-the-shoulder-type seeders – in the plot ‘cause we're gonna spill a little; some’s gonna seep out; and it goes where we want it to grow. Right? And the second thing is I’ve learned to bring this tub, put the shoulder seeder in the tub, and that way when the bag falls over, if I’m doing it by myself, or some slips out, it's in a tub, and I can then just take that tub and pour it in my seeder.

GRANT: Handle goes in. Okay. And I just don't set this open. I kinda just keep my thumb on it and I can see if I'm putting too much, not enough. And what you can do is open your fingers up and you’ll feel it spreading out against your fingers. Alright? ‘Cause it's coming out so fast it's hard to see. So, I just keep my thumb on here, and I'll open the gate a little bit, and you'll feel on your belly right here. Feel that? Okay. You can just feel it on your fingers going there. And you kind of – you want a constant flow but you don't want it real heavy ‘cause we're gonna go – one's gonna go back and forth. One is gonna go this way. And y'all cross up there but that way we get good coverage.

GRANT: There you go. Remember you gotta cover the whole thing with half a bag so walk faster and keep turning.

GRANT: An issue with small food plots – especially those surrounded by large trees – can be the root zone.

GRANT: It's easy to see a line where the summer food plot did much better and almost non-existent close to the timber. That's because the roots are coming out from this heavy timber here and removing a lot of soil moisture. It's called the root zone.

GRANT: Oftentimes big commercial farmers will have a shank or a root clip. It's just a big tooth that pulls behind a massive tractor and they’ll drive right along the edge and cut those roots from big trees. That way they're not robbing moisture from their fields.

GRANT: We and most food plot farmers don't have any equipment that big. So, we've got to make our hidey hole food plots, or any food plot, large enough to compensate for the root zone.

GRANT: This is another reason I don't prefer leaving trees in the middle of a food plot. ‘Cause all around that tree will be a root zone – oftentimes 20, 30 feet. And if you leave several trees, you can give up a significant percentage of that food plot to a dry area ‘cause the trees are pulling all the moisture away from the forage crops.

GRANT: In a hidey hole food plot, we just gotta make sure we make ‘em big enough so there's something growing in the middle and the root zone doesn't reach in from both sides and rob all the moisture.

GRANT: This time of year there's something cool happening at The Proven Grounds every day. If you want to keep up with what we got going on and maybe glean some tips to help you and your hunting, check us out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

GRANT: I really enjoyed visiting with my fellow hunters at Bass Pro. But I gotta tell you I also enjoy the times I get to be outside by myself and enjoy Creation. And more importantly, some quiet time so I can slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to me. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

GRANT: We're gonna provide food for the staging area and more – ha ha. Right there. Get him; get him. Payback. Oh guys, you guys can't hit anything.

GRANT: There we go. I hope you shoot does better than you kill horseflies.

DANIEL: (Inaudible)

GRANT: That’s right buddy. Oh, this is good. I got him that time. I hit him somewhere.

WES: You missed.

GRANT: I did not. I felled it. Well, he's tough. I felled him.

WES: (Inaudible) He fell that time.

GRANT: I think I saw him fly off, buddy. That's like I…that's like I made a good hit but there's nothing at the end of the blood trail – is what that is.