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GRANT: I have much to be thankful for this Christmas – my family and I are healthy, I've got a job that allows me to enjoy Creation almost every day and the viewership, you, of GrowingDeer.tv has grown significantly during 2011. That helps me share scientific based hunting and management strategies to help us all protect and improve the whitetail resource. But most importantly, I'm thankful for the real reason of Christmas, that God loved me so much that He gave His only Son so I could have a relationship with Him. I hope you, and your family, join the Woods family in celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
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GRANT: Earlier this week, Adam, Thomas and I, drove to Kentucky to join friends, Terry Hamby and CJ Davis, on a bow hunt.
GRANT: We arrived too late Tuesday afternoon to get in the stand without likely busting deer, so we opted to go about 20 miles away to another friend’s farm, just ride around, see if we could see some deer and maybe get a pattern on what they're feeding on or how they're behaving.
GRANT: The farm we were preparing to hunt is almost all timber; it's like my place here at The Proving Grounds. The farm we were gonna tour is primarily row crop land with limited cover. They're 20 miles away, but a world of difference.
TERRY: I think (inaudible).
GRANT: Um, that's beautiful right there.
GRANT: The difference between deer herds that live in row crop land and timber land became glaringly and painfully obvious during that hunt.
UNKOWN: It's like Iowa.
GRANT: This is the Midwest; you got all this open land and a little bit of cover that makes bow hunting a whole….
UNKNOWN: That's beautiful.
TERRY: Oh man, he's nice. He's nice.
GRANT: In one afternoon, about two hours time, riding around the row crop farm I stopped counting at over 300 deer observed from the pickup window. It was an extremely enjoyable time with seeing all those deer, buck, does, fawns, mature bucks, joking with each other about possible hunting we're gonna have the next day or two but in the back of my mind, based on my experience, I knew we were comparing apples and rocks.
TERRY: There he is. Look at that.
GRANT: Oh yeah. That's pretty right there.
GRANT: So in row crop land, you know where the deer are bedded and you know where they're feeding, with just a little bit of scouting you can figure out the travel corridors in between.
GRANT: In timber country, especially where there's oaks around, it's much tougher to get a pattern. The food source, acorns, can be everywhere and evenly spread throughout the whole property. Deer can bed and feed, literally within yards of each other. Very difficult to get a pattern, let alone a stand, in between bedding and feeding areas in that situation.
GRANT: Pine country can often be the same, if pines are managed appropriately, there's a layer of browse underneath the maturing pines. Deer can feed anywhere and bed anywhere. In real intensive pine, there may not be much food in the pine production and food plots are a huge tool in that area.
GRANT: (Whispering) We heard those turkeys this morning, on the tree, and it took a long time feeding out to the road. It's cold this morning but we've seen a lot of turkeys this trip. I cannot wait to come back here in the springtime, with a caller and a decoy and have some fun.
GRANT: Adam and I selected a Redneck blind over a food plot, A) just to kind of get our feet wet and see if deer were coming to the food plots on the property and B) it was cold and windy and that Redneck felt really comfortable on that afternoon.
GRANT: (Whispering) I really enjoy hunting this field because right down the ridge, about 50 yards, is where I shot a nice buck earlier this year in Kentucky. So, great memories.
GRANT: Man, yeah. Look at the big bases. Always go – one thing I go by, if the bases, which those are gonna be five – somewhere right at five. The eye is four; the base is significantly bigger than the eye.
GRANT: Adam spotted a doe and button buck, coming through the timber, up towards our stand. The button buck walked right out at about 17 yards broadside and basically, he said, “Shoot me right here.” But I had visions of that big doe following him right in that same path and I wanted to balance that adult sex ratio and put more meat in the freezer. The doe, however, had alternate plans and selected a different route to try to end up in the field, putting her out of range as she traveled away.
GRANT: Little later on, we heard something else coming up through the woods, and once again, we're both excited.
GRANT: (Whispering) Can you get that on film?
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: Unfortunately, our excitement was a little bit overstated as we watched a opossum come under the stand and head right to where a trophy rock had been. Normally, I don’t give predators a pass cause I really like to turkey hunt and I want to balance the amount of predators to the prey species, but I didn't know the regulations in Kentucky, so I gave that opossum another pass.
GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Oh man, I would shoot that thing if I could.
GRANT: And a little later on, wouldn't you know it, but another opossum comes right up the same trail, heads right to the same spot where a trophy rock had been earlier this year. You know just a simple principle in life, if it's wrong the first time, it's gonna be wrong the second time, and I gave that opossum a pass, too. That just about ate up my predator allowance for the week.
UNKOWN: That's a good one.
GRANT: Keep doing it.
TERRY: I'm glad…
TERRY: Not fair.
GRANT: How did that happen?
TERRY: Not fair. (Inaudible)
GRANT: That's right.
GRANT: CJ took a doe earlier this year while we were hunting together in Kentucky, so I got a lot of confidence in him and that stick bow. Thursday morning, CJ had a lone turkey come by his stand. Now this property is covered with turkeys and I have no idea what this turkey was doing by itself, but CJ was thinking brownie points and taking turkey breast home for Christmas, and he got that old stick bow ready.
UNKNOWN: I like it.
CJ: Well, the turkey's one, CJ none. That, uh, – it’s fall turkey season here in Kentucky. We're supposedly deer hunting, but I couldn't pass up a chance at a turkey. That hen came out down lower in the food plot, slowly worked its way up here. This Redneck blind just worked out great. We were able to get a shot – uh, left one of the tall vertical windows open. She just eased right out in there, timed it where I got drawn and, uh, just missed. When you're shooting a bow out of a blind, you're always worried about room. We're sitting in one of these Rednecks and we've got a camera, a tripod, all our gear, and to make it even worse, I'm shooting a recurve. That's a 60 inch bow. The cool thing is, with the window set ups, we're able to do it. These Redneck windows are vertical, so you got a lot of options to go up and down and you can use it as cover. So, but when you’re thinking about a blind, you want to make sure you got shooting avenues that work in every direction that an animal could possibly come up on cause invariably, they're gonna come where you least expect it, and you're gonna have to try to make something work. So. Well, all I got for my troubles are two little small feathers. Maybe next time.
GRANT: I've been blessed to hunt both row crop and timbered country and I enjoy hunting ‘em both. I love the challenge of putting the pieces of the puzzle together and really try to accept each situation for what it is. I really try to focus on the challenge and the experience and know that if I put my hours in a stand, I'll punch my tag sooner or later.
GRANT: Just part of deer biology and population dynamics, if you're hunting open country, you're more likely to see bigger groups of deer. And if you're hunting timber country, there's not as much food because that sun is being blocked by the canopy of the forest and deer just are tougher to see. You should expect to see a few less deer when you're hunting timber country than when you're driving by a big ag field.
GRANT: Missouri's muzzleloader season starts this coming Saturday. My 13 year old daughter, Raleigh's got a tag in her pocket and I can't wait to take her. I've got a few food plots that I haven't hunted at all this year, or have been very lightly hunted earlier on in the bow season. I feel very good that we're gonna get on some deer this Saturday and I know Raleigh's excited, but not as excited as I am to share that experience with her. I hope you get a chance to hunt with some family members this week. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.