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ADAM: Tuesday, February 26th. It’s been a busy week for the Growing Deer Team as we take a little road trip up to Illinois to do some coyote hunting and consulting and come back to take advantage of some snow fall. On the way up, Grant dropped me off at East Alton, Illinois and he rolled on to do a little consulting.
GRANT: Late February, we’re up by Princeton, Illinois, northern Illinois, getting ready to go meet a new client and develop a habitat management and hunting plan for their property. Driving through the neighborhood now and notice there’s no standing grain; no food; just, you know, harvested fields. He who has the food will have the deer during the late season. It’s always important to look at the neighborhood to know how to manage the property.
ADAM: The landscape up there was dominated by huge ag fields that are turned over after harvest, leaving very little food on the ground for deer.
ADAM: All in all, the main objective of this management plan is to provide year round food for the deer. With the proper food plots in place, it’s gonna turn this property into a late season deer mecca.
ADAM: While Grant and AJ were off writing the perfect management plan for that property, I teamed up with Mike Stock from Winchester ammo, Jason Gilbertson from Winchester and his friend, Tyler Sellens from Riverview Outfitters. Grabbed the FoxPro, headed to the woods, hoping to do some field testing for the new Varmint X ammo from Winchester.
MIKE: (Whispering) Yeah. (Inaudible) There he goes.
ADAM: Day one ended. No coyotes on the ground. They definitely got the better of us, but we’ll be back at it in the morning.
ADAM: Day two. Tyler and I teamed up with Grant as he was back from consulting and we were also joined by Jason Gilbertson from Winchester. Day two was filled with strong winds as that big cold front was sweeping across the Midwest.
GRANT: I didn’t even see him come in, but I can take him now. You on him? Tell me if you're on him.
ADAM: Yeah, yeah. Still on it. Still on it.
GRANT: He’s hit in the belly. I don't know who hit him, but he’s hit in the belly. I can see it through my scope.
ADAM: Oh, really? Okay.
GRANT: You got blood right up here? But we’re gonna make a story out of this yet. (Laughter)
GRANT: Jason, I am super impressed because that happened very quick. I didn’t even know the coyote was in the world and right here, we’ve obviously got great signs, so…
JASON: Yeah, yeah. Hey, he slipped in right, right there.
JASON: And we had the decoy out. It was, uh, it was pretty cool to watch him slip in.
GRANT: We’d only been here, what? Two minutes or so. Two or three minutes…
JASON: Yeah, yeah, probably so. Yeah.
GRANT: …at the most?
JASON: I know. We just got set up and my gun was pointing the complete opposite way, so.
GRANT: You recovered good.
JASON: Well, I tried.
GRANT: That’s good. Well, we got a trail and it’s easy to follow him in his current condition, so let’s go see if there’s…
JASON: Yeah, I know.
GRANT: …a pelt at the other end.
JASON: (Inaudible) through the snow.
JASON: Yeah, that’s got to be it right there.
GRANT: That’s the side he was coming to you on?
GRANT: Man, that was exciting, Jason.
JASON: It was. It was, it was, uh, quick.
GRANT: More exciting for you and I than potentially some of the folks at home, because you know, when you're coyote hunting, you never know where they're going to come from and Adam had selected to really kind of huddle behind me with the camera there.
GRANT: And this time the coyote came off your side and quick action.
JASON: Yeah. Sure.
GRANT: I threw up and, and took the “Hail Mary” down the hill and, um, unfortunately the blood trail started much quicker than where I shot. So, we’ll give you the credit for that one.
JASON: Nah. I appreciate that.
GRANT: Beautiful pelt.
GRANT: Very thick. You can, you know, if I can get my fingers through there, it’s way above my glove level.
JASON: You know, we’ve been, we’ve been anxious to get out and do some testing with the Varmint X load and that’s a, you know, it’s a great product, so. You know, this is the first time I’ve actually had a chance to use it out on a coyote, so.
GRANT: You know, designed for a little bit thinner skinned animal like this, not a deer load at all or, or…
GRANT: …an elk or something thicker, but for varmints, it obviously was perfect.
GRANT: Obviously, this is the exit. Total penetration. Massive blood trail on a quick shot.
GRANT: Uh, and uh still did the deal where a bullet that didn’t fragment or wouldn’t have expanded, we might not have recovered this coyote.
JASON: Sure. Sure. Yeah.
GRANT: So, it served its purpose really well.
JASON: Sure did. Well, it was fun hunting with you.
GRANT: Yeah. And you, you warmed me up walking down the hill a little bit..
GRANT: …so it’s all good.
JASON: Yeah. Yeah. (Laughter)
ADAM: All in all, it was a great two days of hunting, but with that winter storm front coming, we had to jump in the truck and head home.
ADAM: Our normal six hour drive turned into a 12 hour drive, but we made it home safely, just in time to do a little frost seeding here at The Proving Grounds.
ADAM: February 25th here at The Proving Grounds. Gonna start warming up over the next couple of weeks. We still have a few frosts coming, I’m sure, but it’s a great time to get out and frost seed food plots. This food plot is a sloping food plot and we’re starting to show signs of maybe some erosion problems, so we’re going to come in and plant clover to prevent the erosion and it still gives us the ability to come in and drill Eagle Seed soybeans this spring. Typically, when you’re frost seeding, you want to double your normal pounds per acre, so on a newly established food plot such as Last Lick, we would usually plant five pounds per acre. But since we’re frost seeding, we’re going to plant ten pounds per acre. It may seem odd to be planting in the last week of February, but it’s a great time to get small hard seeds like clover into the ground because the soil is freezing at night and thawing during the day and it’s sucking that seed into the seed bed so you get great germination. Clover is a very small, hard seed, so it can lay in the ground for weeks or even months just to germinate. Unlike corn or soybeans which are big, soft seeds, which, they lay for a few weeks and then they’ll rot and not germinate.
ADAM: Here we are at a food plot we call Twin Oaks. I planted this food plot in clover and then broadcast it as a cover crop wheat. You can see there’s a pretty good stand right here, out here in the middle, but today, we’re frost seeding, trying to fill in those gaps where the clover didn’t come up as well, so we can get a solid stand of clover and prevent any major weed growth throughout this spring and summer.
ADAM: Well, as you can see, we have a little bit different conditions than we had yesterday as we’ve been blanketed with about two inches of snow. So, now that the clover is in the ground, we’re just waiting for it to warm up, that seed to start sprouting and those turkeys to start gobbling.
ADAM: We gonna try and get a, we’re gonna try and get a. Spot and then not germinate so they won’t be able to..now I’m just rambling I should have ended it right there..Ugghhh! I had a thought. Want me to talk? Okay. Well, that’s why I wanted to say that. I thought you wanted me to stop. Okay, I got it. No, no, no, don’t touch it! Okay, go. What was I even saying? Whoaa! To breath it in that I finished and I made it, and I survived! (Laughter)