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GRANT: Hey, it’s Tuesday, December 28th and welcome back to The Proving Grounds. I hope you had a great and enjoyable Christmas with your family. You know, I had to leave Dorena early because Adam, my cameraman’s child had a very high fever and I don’t ever want to stress the family out, so late at night we packed the truck and rolled back towards The Proving Grounds. But Jerry Martin and Terry Hamby and his grandson, Justin, were able to stay and enjoy some great hunting.
JUSTIN: It’s probably about four, four-fifteen. I was sitting there watching quite a few turkeys, about eight does.
GRANT: Now, Justin was actually able to harvest, I think, the second deer of his life. He had the green light to shoot any buck there on Mr. Hamby’s property, as grandsons often get. And he killed a nice deer with his muzzleloader. Very proud of Justin. Didn’t have a cameraman with him, but I’m still very proud of Justin, ‘cause you know, hunting and enjoying the outdoors by yourself; that’s what it’s really about. The camera is just an educational tool. Jerry saw several more deer, but was not able to get on that great big potential world record, so he didn’t pull the trigger, knowing he had some hunting season left in Missouri.
JERRY: Well, this has been an awesome hunt over here and, uh, I’m going home empty handed. But, sometimes, you know, when you're hunting a deer like that, you gotta go home empty handed.
TERRY: Well, Jerry, it, it’s been…
JERRY: Yeah, Terry..
TERRY: …a real pleasure of you being here and more than that, it’s been a real pleasure of meeting you, you know (Fades out)
GRANT: And Mr. Hamby had an encounter with a very mature old seven pointer. Pretty long poke for that smoke pole, that muzzleloader. Didn’t quite connect, but it was a great hunt, thrilling hunt and we always learn from those experiences.
GRANT: You know, Mr. Hamby had an opportunity to maybe take out a deer that was possibly past his prime, wasn’t showing a lot of antler potential and he took that opportunity. A little bit far for the smoke pole, but still a thrilling hunt and the enjoyment and interacting with mature bucks is really what drives a lot of serious land managers like Mr. Hamby and myself. So, really, congratulations to Mr. Hamby.
GRANT: Hey, it’s the 28th of December and I’m here touring with the Robinsons. We’re looking around The Proving Grounds and while we’re touring, they’ve been gracious enough to allow me to run my trap line and we have caught Rocky Raccoon here. That’s how it’s know to most of the world, but when I see Rocky, I’m thinking of nest predation. I love to turkey hunt and my family loves to eat turkey, see turkey, call turkey, interact with turkey, and you don’t see many raccoons, except at night. So, we all make management decisions and I made the decision that I would rather see and hear a turkey than see tracks where a raccoon has been and busted up a turkey nest. So, I pretty aggressively trap raccoons. I encourage you to do the same on your property if you value quail and turkey. And the furs are wonderful. My kids take ‘em to school or we give ‘em away as gifts. So, we’re gonna finish touring today here at The Proving Grounds. Be back with you here in a little bit and check some more traps and right now we’re gonna take care of Rocky who is mad and, and, uh, wanting to do me damage if I would let him.
GRANT: All right. We’re continuing our tour with Frank and Joanie and Rocky is really trying to get me. And you just, I want you to think about how aggressive he would be if I was a hen, so a hen sets on a nest about 28 days and she’s gonna go lay a new egg roughly every, you know, ten to fourteen days or so. These are round numbers across America so, you're talking 40 days, she’s going to one place and back. She’s going to that nest to lay an egg and then she’s, you know, she’ll go there and then she’ll start incubating, setting there. And if it rains one time in that 40 days, those feathers get real stinky. They smell a lot. It’s called the “wet hen theory”. It smells a lot. And coons feed by their nose. I just take a little dog food, throw it across the road, coons smell it and come and get in the trap where there’s more dog food. That’s how I trap coons. So, think about all the coons on this property or your property and they're going through the woods and they just smell where that wet hen walked by. And they go right to the nest and that nest is gone. That’s why I trap Rocky Raccoon. Man, that’s a fat coon. You ought to feel how….
GRANT: When you think about a 20 pound coon going through the woods in the spring upon a seven pound fawn. The fawn is clueless; no defenses whatsoever. That’s just an easy meal for a raccoon and people don’t think about raccoons being fawn predators. But, you think about a 20 pound, highly skilled predator with very sharp canine teeth, coming up on a brand new fawn.
GRANT: If you don't know how mean coons are. Sometimes they’ll ball up in the corner of the trap. A lot of time they want to eat your leg off when you're on the outside of the trap. They're growling and showing teeth and reaching through and it isn’t fun. You don’t let your kid put your hand down there by the trap ‘cause once that coon gets a hold, he’s liable to pull you inside that trap and give you a whipping.
GRANT: And it’s just by happenstance. I don't think coons are actually hunting down fawns, because there’s; but if they find one, yeah. But now they definitely hunt down turkey nests. I mean, that’s, that’s been proven by research over and over again.
GRANT: Recreational predator hunting and trapping – a lot of fun and I strongly encourage it. Serious trapping, where you're really trying to reduce the population of predators can be a very valuable wildlife management tool.
GRANT: I caught a couple of boar coons today that are bumping on 20 pounds. You think about a 20 pound boar coon that’s very agile, big ole long canines, stumbling upon a newborn fawn. Of course, he’s gonna eat it. Do I think coons hunt fawns? No. Do I think coons take down adult deer? Probably not. Do I think coons eat fawns if they stumble on ‘em? Yes. Do I know coons have a huge impact on turkey nests? Absolutely. Coons move mainly at night. They look cute in the taxidermy stores, but they move mainly at night and, you know, the family doesn’t really see them a lot to recreate with them unless they're coon hunters. But my family sees turkeys. We hear turkeys. We love finding turkey feathers. We love calling up turkeys. We like eating wild turkeys. We don’t do that with coons. I’m gonna get rid of coons so I can have, hopefully, more turkeys. That’s my strategy here at The Proving Grounds. I hope you’ve got a good management plan that’s justified on something besides hearsay where you're working. You get your kids involved. You have some fun.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.