Thoughts From The Field

Blog posts by the team

2015 Pre Season Scouting

Adam, Daniel, and I have been scouting while doing field work. I’m a bit shocked that we are finding acorns on the ground already. Typically we don’t find acorns on the ground until late September. There are always a few acorns that were aborted, damaged by insects, etc., that fall early. We are finding good acorns along with hulls, scat, etc. Deer are clearly already eating acorns!

Acorns, hulls and scat on the forest floor

This year we are finding early acorns on the ground while scouting.

The Proving Grounds is primary forested. There are oaks everywhere! During years when there is a good acorn crop it can be very difficult to pattern deer because there’s food everywhere. In addition, if deer are alerted or spooked it is very easy for them to feed elsewhere given these conditions.

When these conditions occur hunters need to continue to scout for fresh sign and be very careful not to alert deer when entering, hunting, and exiting a stand.

We’ll keep you posted week by week about what we observe in the field and what strategies are working best.

GrowingDeer together,


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Broadcasting Seed Or Why I Like Rain During August

I really like it when it rains during August! Let me explain. The average first frost date at The Proving Grounds is around October 10th. Most cool season crops do best when they are planted 45-60 days before the first frost. That means I need to plant during mid August at my place.

I often use the broadcasting technique to plant cool season blends such as Broadside. I frequently broadcast this blend into standing soybeans that have been heavily browsed. This technique works best if the seed makes seed to soil contact and has ample soil moisture to germinate and grow.

Broadcasting during rain

We had a busy morning in the rain broadcasting Eagle Seed Broadside.

If the seed is spread while it’s raining, the droplets will literally splash a fine layer of dirt over the seeds. There’s obviously ample soil moisture for the seeds to germinate. Spreading seed while it’s raining almost always results in a high germination rate!

There are some exceptions. Extremely hard rains may result in the seed being washed away if there’s runoff occurring. If the seed is planted in an area where weeds or other “duff” prevent the seed from contacting the soil it’s unlikely the young seedling will survive. This is because germinated seeds are like new babies. Once a baby or a seed’s roots come out both are hungry.

Seeds feed primarily by getting their itty bitty roots in the ground and absorbing nutrients. Rain can make this process much easier for young seedlings!

I really like it when it rains during August!

GrowingDeer together,


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Low Impact Scouting

As the countdown to opening day continues, many hunters throughout the whitetail’s range are keeping a close eye on their trail cameras. Trail cameras are a great way of monitoring a deer herd, and they can provide a great amount of insight to a specific buck’s personality and habits. But, if used carelessly, trail cameras can be very destructive, and could make harvesting that hit list buck even more difficult.

Testing wind direction

Wearing scent controlling boots and being cautious of the wind are very important in low impact scouting.

How to use trail cameras can vary greatly from property to property. For many hunters, the deer they are hunting may be conditioned to a truck driving by or some sort of human activity. Unfortunately, for the majority of hunters, this is not the case. Many of us are pursuing deer that are not conditioned to human traffic. If the right precautions are not taken, the simple task of checking trail cameras can spook and educate a lot of deer. Hunters who are pursuing these deer need to be extra cautious when entering their property to check trail cameras. Try using these three low impact scouting techniques:

  1. Approach camera sites with a favorable wind
  2. Check cameras in the middle of the day when deer are least active
  3. Leave the least amount of scent as possible

Everyone is excited and eager to see what bucks are showing up at their favorite hunting spot, but don’t barge in without the proper wind and time conditions. If you do have the right conditions to go, make sure you are in clothes that are clean enough to hunt in and don’t be grabbing every limb or stick on the way in. You might even try wearing a pair of hip waders to further reduce your scent. Incorporating these simple steps into your strategy could be the difference that allows you to tag a hit list buck.

Waiting for the velvet to shed,

Clay O’Dell

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4 Questions For A Realistic Hit List

As antler development is beginning to wind down, hit lists begin to develop. Hunters have had the opportunity to inventory the individual bucks based on antler characteristics. With individual bucks clearly recognizable, the next step is to develop a strategic plan to tag these bucks. Antler characteristics are just one of multiple aspects that make each buck an “individual”.

Our #1 hit list buck, Chainsaw

Our #1 hit list buck, Chainsaw, has been very active at this Trophy Rock site.

Each hit list buck exhibits certain characteristics that influence the chances of that deer being harvestable. Some of these characteristics can easily be examined in a series of trail camera photos you have received through the summer months. When examining these photos, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When are the bucks being photographed, daylight or nighttime?
  • Is the area the buck using accessible to me?
  • Can I hunt the deer in transition or over a hidey hole food plot?
  • Will the predominate wind allow me to reach my stand undetected?

Ask yourself these questions as opening day nears. Answers to these questions can help you narrow your hit list down further to strictly huntable deer and maximize your opportunities afield. Don’t simply let antlers dictate which stand you hunt, use your resources to determine which hit list buck provides you with the best chance to fill a tag! Be sure to share your success with us here at

Enjoying Creation,

Matt Dye

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