Time To Focus On Antlers (Episode 190 Transcript)

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

GRANT: July 8th, it's time to get those Reconyx cameras out of the closet, if they're not already, and start focusing on antlers. We did that this week here at The Proving Grounds, had 15 reasons to get excited for deer season.

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GRANT: Trail camera survey is a simple tool that'll allow you to accurately estimate the amount of deer on your hunting property, the adult sex ratio, the number fawns per does and, just as importantly, the amount of bucks that qualify for your Hit List.

GRANT: We like to use the same site year after year, as deer simply become conditioned to expecting an attractant, Trophy Rock or Record Rack feeds, in that location, each year towards the late summer.

GRANT: We checked the cards at one of the first stations we set up, and noticed a few younger bucks and a couple middle aged bucks using a Trophy Rock at that location.

GRANT: As we progressed in our preparation, we actually put a Redneck T-Post feeder up and some Record Rack feed into the side to see if we can attract more deer to that site.

GRANT: Few days later, pulled that card to review it and lo and behold, I found 15 reasons I was glad we started our trail camera survey preparation.

GRANT: We're in an area where long brow tines are kind of the exception rather than the norm, so anytime I see a buck with six inch plus or minus brow tines in July, I get very excited.

GRANT: It'd be a trade-off this year because once again for the third year in a row we're in a severe drought during antler growing season.

GRANT: The frames on these bucks are pretty well established, but we’ll see if tine length can finish out if we get some rain and plants can transfer the nutrients from the soil and air to the deer.

GRANT: An insurance program around a drought is using the supplemental feeding program.

GRANT: By providing Record Rack feeds, which has a balance of protein and energy, we'll see if we can pull that tine length on through, allow those antlers to fully develop even though we're in a wicked drought.

GRANT: Adam and I continue checking trail cameras, and we stopped at a location we call Fifty Acre Glade. The bedding area we've created is on the south side of the slope and there's mature hardwoods on the north slope. While the camera station is right on top of the slope, where the winds more predictable, and in a transition zone between the two habitat types.

GRANT: We were pleasantly surprised when we returned back to the laptop and noticed that the large buck we'd saw at Tracy's Field, in the bottom, approximately a mile away, was present at the feeder at Fifty Acre Glade. I'm not only excited about this buck's antler growth potential; I'm super excited that he showed signs of moving during the daylight.

GRANT: It's interesting that when he was in the large feeding field, we called Tracy's Field the first camera survey site, all the pictures were at nighttime. Contrast, when using the Trophy Rock and the Record Rack feed at the transition zone between mature timber and the baiting area, several of the images were during daylight hours.

GRANT: We’re early on in the patterning of this buck, we don’t even have a name for it yet. But I like what I'm seeing, that he's dominant around the attractants and he tends to move during daylight. At least in areas close to cover.

GRANT: And we could use a little help, ‘cause I'm a boring, logic-based biologist and I struggle coming up with creative names each year. So we're gonna post this buck on our Facebook page and I hope you'll go there and give us suggestions for the name of this 15 point buck.

GRANT: Clearly, these patterns will change once the rut comes, but the information we gain now is critical for our early season hunt strategies.

GRANT: So the software shows a straight line between there, I doubt he's traveling the straight line, but he's probably not going too far either side of that because he's not picking up at any other camera stations.

ADAM: Yep.

GRANT: So it's up to us to not go in there and string cameras everywhere and scent it up and turn him either totally nocturnal or push him somewhere else. But to know the lay of the land well enough, you can figure out which elevator ridges, or what's going on to be able to find a kill spot in between those areas, or we assume he's going over the ridge in this big bedding area, just to the south of the last camera – figure out how to catch him going into that bedding area or coming out in the evening.

GRANT: At this same time, deer are changing from seeking a high protein diet, to protein and carbohydrates or energy. They know winter's coming on and they're gonna bulk up and put some fat on.

GRANT: So last week, the boys started putting out a mixture of Record Rack Golden Nuggets, which is probably a little bit more attractive and Sportsman's Choice, a real high quality feed at each of our camera sites to start drawing deer in, just to make sure all our cameras are running appropriately and we make sure everything's going smoothly so we can start our trail camera survey at the first of August.

GRANT: It's always important on trail camera surveys to position your attractant where you get multiple angles of the buck antlers coming in because the whole premise behind a survey is to be able to individually identify each buck, then use that ratio to estimate the does and fawns.

GRANT: I've found something that works better this year, and that's using this Redneck feeder that's a single feeder, one tube coming out, so it's one buck at a time. And they usually will approach and then turn in so you're getting pictures of the rack at multiple angles, while possibly other bucks in the bachelor group are milling around.

GRANT: Placing the Redneck T-Post feeder at a 90 degree angle to the camera almost ensures that the buck will come in, sniff around and then go to the camera, giving us a side view of the rack and a front on view as it’s approaching, allowing us to identify each buck as a unique individual.

ADAM: I don’t see the other one. Where’d it go? (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Inaudible) As Adam and I were driving to check another trail camera site, we noticed a couple of fawns in the woods.

GRANT: As I was looking over his shoulder and saw the fawn in the view finder, I heard Adam say, “Ugh.”

GRANT: We talked a lot about coyotes and other predators, but in areas that have a tick density like here at The Proving Grounds, ticks may be the number one predator of whitetail fawns.

GRANT: Massive infestations of ticks on fawns, either on their eye or their whole body, can certainly cause blindness or secondary infections that young fawns just can't survive.

GRANT: There are no medications licensed or legal to use on free-ranging deer that I'm aware of to remove ticks.

GRANT: One technique that can be used is growing season fires.

GRANT: We're preparing fire breaks right now; we'll be showing you our techniques for conducting growing season fires in the next few months.

GRANT: I hope you have time to do a trail camera survey at your hunting property this year, but more importantly, I hope you're outside enjoying Creation and taking some time to listen to the Creator. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.