Whitetail Deer: Watching And Comparing Velvet Bucks (Episode 294 Transcript)

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

GRANT: Last week I asked for help naming a buck that showed up at one of our Trophy Rock Four65 stations. Either this buck expanded his range to include part of The Proving Grounds this year or his antlers changed so much from last year we don’t recognize him. There were hundreds of cool names suggested on our Facebook page. Adam and the interns and I went through all the names and chose one suggested by Craig, Jesse and Taylor. All three of those guys suggested the name Chainsaw.

GRANT: Chainsaw has several large size kickers coming off his brow tines and certainly could do some damage to trees this fall. We felt the name Chainsaw was unique and really fit.

GRANT: Last year about this time, Adam and interns Josh Sparks and Austin Thompson went out to film velvet bucks. Adam and the guys went to a food plot we call Raleigh’s Field and it wasn’t long before they started seeing some bucks.

GRANT: Unlike this year, the first week in July last year was extremely hot with temperatures near 100 degrees each afternoon but deer were still attracted to our food plots and chasing the soybeans.

GRANT: In particular, they saw a large buck for that time of year. So, Adam named it July. We all decided that buck was three years old.

GRANT: We captured some additional footage of July throughout the fall but because we estimated he was three and a half years old, he wasn’t on our hit list.

GRANT: Fast forward to the same week this year and the weather was totally different. We received more than eight inches of rain during that week and some cold fronts moving through in between the storms.

GRANT: Intern Kyle felt it would be a great time to go out during those cool afternoons and film velvet bucks.

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GRANT: Kyle went to the same Redneck blind where Adam and the interns filmed July this week last year.

GRANT: It wasn’t long after Kyle arrived that he text me that nine bucks were in the field. When Adam and I watched Kyle’s footage this morning, we felt very strongly one of the bucks Kyle filmed was July.

GRANT: Clearly, July looks more mature than he did last year. His shoulders and hams are more developed. His chest seems to sag further down than it did last year. We kinda look at the joint between the shoulders and the leg and look at that chest line. Compare 2014 to 2015 and you can see it sags a little deeper and there’s just extra skin around the brisket area.

GRANT: July’s velvet appeared lighter than the other bucks last year and that same trend is true this year.

GRANT: Without a sample and doing some genetic testing or an obvious scar, we can't be certain it’s the same buck from 2014 to 2015 – but, I’m confident they are. And I can tell ya that July is now a four year old and will be on our hit list this year.

GRANT: There’s some cool lessons from Kyle’s footage. Even though it had rained more than six inches the previous days before Kyle filmed July – and that’s a very steep and rocky field – there’s no sign of erosion in the food plot.

GRANT: It’s easy to tell we followed the contour of the land when we used the no-till drill to plant the wheat last fall and the beans this spring. We haven’t disked the field. You can still see the standing wheat from last fall and that held the soil in place – making sure we didn’t lose any to all the rain.

GRANT: Quality food plots can be prepared almost anywhere. Notice how steep and rocky this food plot is and all the bucks coming out to enjoy the soybeans.

GRANT: Don’t give up on your property. Follow the tips and techniques we’ve developed here at The Proving Grounds and you can create some great habitat wherever you hunt.

GRANT: Turkey season’s over, but that doesn’t mean I forgot about turkeys. And this time of year, it’s nice to know how many poults survived. You may see a few poults riding around the property, but a easy way to get an indicator of how many poults are on your property is find a turkey dusting area and set up a trail camera.

GRANT: Dusting area is just about ten yards off a road, so Adam and the guys decided to put one of our Reconyx UltraFire cameras up here and just see what they could capture.

GRANT: All of us were surprised with the amount of poults comin’ to this dusting area. Clearly the poults are healthy, developing well and about the size of a Banty chicken already.

GRANT: Just as you would expect, the poults pretty much didn’t have a care in the world, but the hens were on guard all the time.

GRANT: At one point, one of the hens become alerted to something – probably a predator – close to the dusting area.

GRANT: As the other hens also become alerted to the threat, one of ‘em putts and instantly, all the poults snap to attention.

GRANT: It’s fascinating that poults can learn to respond to hens this quickly. However, without that level of response, few poults would survive all the predators at The Proving Grounds. The threat never appeared in the dusting area, which is a great thing. But it’s interesting to watch these hens all staring down. And I wonder if it wasn’t a snake crawling by the dusting area.

GRANT: Turkeys dust to remove external parasites off their body. You know they have tremendous dexterity with their neck and they can probably pick parasites as large as ticks off there, but mites and other smaller parasites can be removed, literally, by the friction of the dust.

GRANT: It’s also interesting to watch the hens and the poults take their beak to soften up the soil and make better dusting conditions.

GRANT: Another observation was right after one of the rains, you see the turkeys walk up, kinda look at the area and walk away. Obviously, it was too moist and wasn’t appropriate for dusting.

GRANT: That’s just one indicator of how weather and other environmental conditions impact the lives of wildlife everyday, oftentimes in ways we don’t even consider. An observation on my side of the coin – I’ve really come to enjoy using these video trail cameras. We’re using a Reconyx UltraFire. Watching the video allows me to learn much more and certainly is a lot more fun to share with family and friends.

GRANT: I hope you have an opportunity this week to get outside and watch for velvet bucks or maybe place a trail camera near a turkey dusting area. But most importantly, I hope you take time each day to enjoy Creation and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.