This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Easter week is a very special week for the Woods’ family, because that’s when we celebrate each year the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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GRANT: Adam and I had a great opportunity to go over to Kentucky and work on what we now call Proving Grounds Kentucky, at our good friend, Terry Hamby’s.
GRANT: Last year, Mr. Hamby took the opportunity to plant corn, soybeans, and clover, side by side, so we could have a great comparison of those three types of forages.
GRANT: We are in a great stand of white clover and you can tell it’s been heavily fertilized with Antler Dirt, or organic fertilizer. Even though everything’s been done exactly right, the one thing missing is I don’t see any missing leaves. You can tell there’s not a lot of sign of deer browsing, or consuming this forage, right now. That’s kind of unusual, because clover is usually one of the first things that green up in the spring, and usually it’s the carry over crop, or a crop you count on carrying your deer herd, while you’re planting your soybeans or establishing your corn.
GRANT: I suspect two things are going on right now, it’s greened up so rapidly this spring, there’s a lot of natural forbs in our native grass areas we have on this property that we use for bedding areas and for quail areas and the beans were so productive, the deer are just now finishing eating the beans.
GRANT: I’m going to suggest to the owner, Mr. Hamby, that he have a few less acres of clover, and a few more acres of soybeans, to balance our forage needs to optimize this deer herd. Right next to this beautiful clover field Mr. Hamby’s prepared was a long stretch of Eagle Seed forage soybean.
GRANT: I’m in a stand of what was Eagle Seed forage beans, and you can tell, quite literally, the deer have removed every leaf and every bean pod off of these stems. So one of the things I love the most about soybeans is that the deer browse the leaves during the growing season, they browse the pods all winter long. It truly becomes about a 11 month crop.
GRANT: We’re getting ready to mow this and then fertilize and replant. We’ll probably rotate a little bit. So, we’re down about a month until we get new beans coming on and they start eating on ‘em again. It’s certainly okay to plant beans in the same place for two, three, four years in a row, long as you’re liming and fertilizing, according to a soil test.
GRANT: But you always want to rotate all crops because growing the same crop over and over in the same place will allow pests and insects to build up, that could damage that crop and the micronutrients that these crops draw out of soil can become depleted because beans will remove a different set of micronutrients than clover will, or corn will. It’s always good to rotate your crops and preserve the health of your soil.
GRANT: It’s really important to understand that we got the same acreage of corn as we had beans. Now you noticed all the bean pods were gone, all the forage consumed, but in the corn, there is a fair amount of corn left and that’s a pure test of preference.
GRANT: One thing to remember about corn is all this vegetative matter in this grain is expensive on the soil. It takes a lot of fertilizer to produce a good crop of corn. If my real estate is limited, I’m going with beans, time and time again. There’s no denying that deer love corn and it’s a good crop to have around, if you have the real estate and if your soils conducive to growing corn.
GRANT: The one limiting factor of beans, are they are so palatable, that if you’re planting a little quarter acre or eighth acre plot and you have many deer in the area, you’ve got to protect them with some type of fencing system, or the deer will over browse them and damage them, before they reach maturity.
GRANT: Food plot decisions are much more than whatever you saw in the most recent magazine, or in an advertisement. Think about what’s gonna work best in your area, and you too, will be able to grow great crops like here at the Kentucky Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Rainy day at The Proving Grounds, so it’s a good day to be doing maintenance, been working on traps. So I’m getting ready to start archery bow hunting, going to Nebraska soon. I want to make sure my bow’s super tuned and one of the easiest things you can do is make sure you wax the string and see, I’ve got a little fraying on here and that’s where I didn’t take time to wax it enough last fall. So get you an unscented bow wax, like Dead Down Wind, and just work it in the string, and the serving and really work it in that string, because you don’t want to have a failure, when that big gobbler’s strutting in front of you.
GRANT: And even though I’m not at all worried about turkeys smelling whatever I use to lubricate and wax my bow with, whatever’s on there will penetrate that string and be a source of odor throughout the fall. So I’ll make sure, even though it’s turkey season, I’m using an odorless bow wax to maintain my bow, so come this fall, I’ll still be in good shape.
TRACY: Who’s he? (Inaudible)
ADAM: I don’t know.
TRACY: Oop. Better put them where you can see ‘em. How’s that? (Laughter)
ADAM: Wow. (Fades Out)
GRANT: Tracy’s now racked up somewhere around 25 or 30 sheds to my one, and having Crystal in tow is really paying off. These antlers are from a buck we call Rae’s Right Nine. You can see the ninth point, right here, and we first started getting pictures of this buck in a food plot we call Rae’s Field, after my youngest daughter, Rae. Based on his body shape, Adam and I estimated this buck to be three and a half years of age, back in August 2011. With the sheds in hand, and looking at the size of the basal circumference, and looking at now, over 50 Reconyx images of this buck, we’re sticking with that estimate of three and a half years old. For those of you that love inches and antlers, with a 14-inch spread, this buck scores 125. That’s not overly exciting, for a three and a half year old buck, but it’s important to remember that the growing season of 2011 was the fourth driest on record, here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: So, and a big assumption here, if this was truly 135, 140 inch deer, except for the wicked drought conditions, holding him down to 125 inch deer, and if he grows 10 or 15 percent, which is typical between the three and four year old buck, in good habitat, this could easily be 160, 170 inch deer next year.
GRANT: There’s no guarantee that we will recognize this buck next year, or even that he’ll live through this coming hunting season, but if he holds the basic same configuration, and he’s in the same area, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to see if he fits standard assumptions and makes a quantum jump in antler growth during the summer of 2012.
TRACY: Find us one, Crystal. Find us an antler. Find.
GRANT: On my Facebook page, I get a lot of questions of, “Where should I look for sheds?”
TRACY: Find it. Find it.
GRANT: Tracy and Crystal really concentrate on where I think the deer are spending the most time, and this time of year, that’s food sources and bedding areas. Very small home ranges: food, cover, food, cover. And that’s exactly where you should spend your time, when you’re looking for sheds.
TRACY: Looky. He brought you a some treat. Oh, brought you a treat. Good girl. It’s just dog food. Good girl.
GRANT: Dodging a few rain showers today, we’ve had a chance to maintain some of our equipment, especially, our trapping equipment. Well, trapping season’s over in Missouri, unfortunately, because nesting season and fawning season is the ideal time to remove predators from your property.
GRANT: But be that as it is, I always want to participate in legal activities, so it’s time to clean up our traps and prepare them for next year. One of the things you want to do on any trap, especially on the springs, is remove the rust. The big metal part of a trap is going to be stable for year, after year, after year, even if you get a little rust on there, but springs can weaken, or slow down their action, if some of the metal is removed by rust. And then we paint it in a higher quality spray paint, store ‘em, and we get ready for next year.
GRANT: Just as important as maintaining tractors, or other equipment we use to manage The Proving Grounds, I want to take care of my Duke traps, maintain them, paint ‘em white so coons will find them easy next year, and be ready to roll, in November, when trapping season opens again.
GRANT: As we’re wrapping up this week, and it’s starting to rain, I truly hope you really enjoy Easter. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.