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Grant's Blog

Thoughts from the field

Hunting The Wind

Hunter walking to a treestand

Playing the wind is just as important when walking to and from your tree stand.

If you are like the GrowingDeer Team, you have spent your summer preparing for deer season. Now that it has arrived, it is one of the most exciting times to be a hunter. In our eagerness to get into the stand, it is important that we consider the direction of the wind and where it will be blowing our scent. On the days we hunt, we pay close attention to the wind’s direction and speed. In the Ozarks, where we hunt, the steep terrain tends to cause the wind to swirl in the valleys but remains consistent on the ridge tops. This means there are very few days we can hunt the valleys. We wait until the wind is not carrying our scent all around us, spooking deer. To prevent this from happening, each stand location is hunted based on a specific wind direction. If the conditions aren’t exactly right for a particular stand, even on the ridge tops, we simply don’t hunt it. This practice has helped our team have successful hunts. If you are headed out to your stand, take a few minutes to consider the wind so you can have a great hunt without alerting deer of your presence.

Daniel

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Broadcasting Fall Food Plots

Due to rainfall and hunting schedules we used slightly different techniques for our fall food plots than we have used in past years. We usually plant our food plots with the no till drill. This year the fields were muddy and we had a trip planned. We wanted to get the seed on the ground before heading to Kentucky for the archery season opener. This called for boots, seed broadcasters, and enough energy to cover some ground. Instead of drilling the seed into the ground we broadcast the seed on top of the ground and hoped for rain.

We received a rainfall within two days of broadcasting our seed, but it wasn’t in the amount that we hoped for. We checked our Reconyx cameras and noticed turkeys were in the fields almost every day. These turkeys were most likely eating the soybean and wheat seed (that hadn’t germinated yet) off the ground.

Food plot with great germination after broadcast seeding

A small hidey hole food plot that was broadcast with seed and had great germination.

A lot of times a person who doesn’t have the equipment to use a no till drill on their food plots will use a broadcaster and spread the seed on top of the ground. If it doesn’t rain soon after broadcasting a lot of the seed will be carried off by birds. This is why it’s important to check your food plots after planting to ensure you have a great stand of food. This is especially true when broadcasting a food plot. You don’t want to return to hunt and be upset with your lack of results!

With rain quickly approaching we returned to check our plots and found that a couple of them hadn’t grown as well as we had hoped. So as it rained we broadcast more seed. After having over one inch of rain in 24 hours we’re confident we’ll have a great stand of Brassicas, wheat, and soybeans.

Remember to always check those plots to ensure a great food plot to hunt over throughout the hunting season. If germination was weak don’t be scared to go back into your plot and broadcast again.

Daydreaming of whitetails,

Adam

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Opening Day Challenges!

It’s only a few days before Missouri archery season opens up. Yes, you heard correctly, IT’S LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY!!! YAY!!! It’s a very exciting time of year for not only the bow hunters in Missouri, but for all the bow hunters across the nation! With bow season opening up soon, it’s time to start thinking through where we’re planning on hunting.

Like late season hunting, it’s about finding the food source. Whether that is a soybean field, a white oak grove with freshly dropped acorns, or an Eagle Seed Broadside blend, these can all be early season hot spots. Here in the Ozark Mountains, we are dominated with trees and not just trees; we’re dominated with oak trees. Red and white oaks are everywhere! Some years over 80% of the oaks can be carrying acorns and dropping them throughout the season. This makes it very difficult to pattern not just mature bucks, but does as well.

When acorns are available, deer prefer them over most other food sources.

When acorns are available, deer prefer them over most other food sources.

That’s why it’s very important to know your property. Are there acorns? Is there a soybean/corn field deer are frequently using? We had a late frost in this part of the Ozarks and thought there wouldn’t be many, if any, acorns this year. We were wrong about that. Grant and I have been watching the acorns form on certain trees throughout the summer. Not all of the oaks have acorns. We estimate only 40 to 50% of them have produced acorns. This means Grant and I will be taking a few scouting excursions trying to find that one oak that is dropping acorns and the deer are hammering! In our area, acorns have been the primary food source since deer populated the area way back when. This hasn’t changed even after highly craved soybeans have been planted across The Proving Grounds year after year. Acorns are king when they’re falling.

With all that being said, Grant and I will be watching the Reconyx cameras and slipping on the LaCrosse boots the next couple of days trying to find a pattern so we can have a successful hunt on Monday for Missouri’s opening day!

Be sure to know the food source in your area so when opening day gets here, you have a plan and you can succeed!

Daydreaming of whitetails,

Adam

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The Importance Of Soil Moisture

It never fails; when the calendar reaches August I have those buddies that call me saying they’re headed to the farm to plant their fall food plots. I usually do my best to talk them into turning around and going back home to sit in the air conditioning. Yes, a huge amount of fall food plots are planted in August, but there are several variables that determine the day(s) you can plant.

A stand of Eagle Seed Broadside that was planted with great soil moisture.

A stand of Eagle Seed Broadside that was planted with great soil moisture.

Before I discuss the variables that we use to help us determine when to plant, let’s first understand that a seed is a living thing. It’s not a dead organism that somehow magically comes to life when mixed with water and soil. If it’s too hot and dry for you outside, it’s probably too hot for the seed as well.

The most important factor with determining when to plant is soil moisture. If the soil is powder and dust you should wait for rain and not stress your freshly planted seeds. The first couple weeks the seed/plant is in the ground are the most important. They’re establishing root systems that will help them survive longer into the fall and even winter; if they’re stressed they won’t produce the healthiest root system they can, which means lower survival rate.

The second most important factor in determining when to plant is future rain forecasts. I’ve made the mistake in the past of having soil moisture and planting my plots only to watch them receive no rain and dry up and die. Watching your extended forecast and seeing rain predicted is a great sign to plant those crops. If the rain chances are high day after day you can plant your crops in dusty conditions knowing that moisture is soon to come.

Planting fall plots on the same day year after year is an error. Planting these crops all depends on soil moisture and future rainfall. This means you could be planting in the middle of August or September. This fall don’t make the mistake that so many of us have done. Understand both your soil moisture and future rainfall and plant the best fall plots you can.

Daydreaming of whitetails,

Adam

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