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Thoughts From The Field

Blog posts by the
GrowingDeer.tv team

4 Ways You Can Improve Your Turkey Hunting Footage

Turkey season is upon us! One thing more turkey hunters are doing is filming their own turkey hunts. It seems there are two types of filmed turkey hunts. Amazing films that capture everything turkey hunting is about and films that show a gobble or two, some blurry footage of a turkey, and a loud boom. Dr. Grant Woods of GrowingDeer films countless turkey hunts every year. Woods loves turkey hunting and he enjoys capturing the hunt on film. Below are a few of his tips to ensure you end up with a film all your friends will want to watch.

Two hunters with turkeys

KEEPING CAMERA GEAR CONCEALED

Most turkey hunters run and gun at some point during their season. Unlike deer hunting where most hunters are stationary and can take their time setting up their camera, turkey hunting requires hunters to be on the move which often makes filming more difficult. “Often turkey hunters are forced to set up in a hurry so little details like making sure the camera is completely concealed gets missed. A turkey will spook the moment they see a big black camera or a bright shiny camera lens. We try to hide the cameraman near a big tree or bush. Then we cover the camera with a cloth so the birds can’t see the camera or the lens. Carrying all this around when we are hunting can be difficult, but it is worth the effort because we spook fewer birds and get better footage,” Woods explained.

Toms come in to check out a Montana decoy

A DECOY IS A MUST HAVE TOOL

Turkey hunters often debate whether they should use decoys when turkey hunting because decoys can sometimes spook birds. According to Woods, decoys are often required when filming a hunt. “A decoy takes the birds’ attention off where the calling is coming from and then they focus on the decoy. We put the decoy about twenty yards from our set up and even closer if we are bow hunting. With a decoy close, we can get good footage of a tom when he comes into the decoy,” Woods added.

HUNTING FROM A BLIND

When Woods and his team notice a tom and his ladies are regularly hanging out in a food plot or field, they often set up a Redneck Blind near the field edge. “The wonderful thing about hunting out of a blind is it conceals your movement and the turkeys don’t seem to get spooked by a blind. They don’t pay attention to them. In addition, all the filming from a blind is much easier than running and gunning. Every turkey hunter should have a blind, especially if a person is going to bow hunt. A blind conceals the cameraman and the hunter when they draw their bow,” Woods noted.

Using the Rex Arm while turkey hunting

THE REX ARM

One item that has changed the way Woods and his team films turkey hunts is the Rex Arm from Fourth Arrow Camera Arms. This camera arm can be used with almost any tripod and it allows the hunter to move the arm with the camera attached without moving the tripod when filming. “Turkeys often come strutting in and moving around. In order to keep them in the viewfinder, we have to move the tripod. The Rex arm is an efficient system, allowing the hunter to utilize 360 degree movement within a 10-inch radius of the tripod. Now we can easily move the camera and keep up with the gobbler without having to jerk the tripod around. It minimizes movement and increases the quality of our footage,” Woods added.

Filming a turkey hunt is fun and exciting. Hopefully the tips above will help you produce a better film this spring that you will be able to enjoy for years to come.

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Advanced Trail Camera Tactics

Trail cameras have become a pivotal tool for whitetail hunters. They are beneficial in so many ways and allow us to scout every hour of every day for the entire year. Sometimes bucks show up on trail camera during certain time periods only to disappear days later. I thought this was the case for a particular buck I got a few pictures of during January of 2014.

This buck showed up on the fringes of the property I hunt and he appeared to be a solid three-year-old 8 point with potential. I soon forgot about the deer as the seasons changed, then fall rolled around and he was back. He carried a wide, thin rack and was a regular on the property but I had my sights set on another older buck. All my efforts that deer season and the next were focused on harvesting other deer so he flew under my radar. During the winter of 2015, two years after my first pictures of the wide 8 point, I browsed through all my trail camera images of mature bucks and realized this buck had blossomed into a very nice deer. I placed him at the top of my 2016 hit list.

Big 8 trail camera picture comparing 2014 and 2015

As the fall of 2016 progressed, I did not have a single image of this buck. He usually showed up around the first of October; I had some worries but I remained hopeful he was still alive. My worries soon vanished during my first hunt of the year. On the morning of October 30th we crossed paths and I was able to write the final chapter on the story of the wide 8 point. By using trail camera data from previous seasons, I was able to determine when and where this buck made appearances which helped me pick strategical blind and stand locations.

The use of cameras can be a fun way of determining what animals are on your property, however, they can also be utilized in more advanced ways. I have found that the biggest advantage is the ability to predict movement of mature bucks based on movements from previous seasons (watch the hunt for Handy here to see this tactic in action). When next deer season comes around, open up last year’s images and study them in depth. Look at dates, times, temperature, wind direction, barometric pressure, and a host of other factors that may give you an upper hand on tagging your next mature buck!

Enjoy Creation,

Tyler

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Providing Minerals for Deer Herd Health

The first signs of spring are popping up all around us here in southwest Missouri. Wildflowers are beginning to bloom, spring peepers are out at night, and many Ozark critters are already out of hibernation. An early spring is upon us! This is good for whitetail growth because it brings an end to the winter stress period. With spring green-up, deer will begin to recover the weight they lost during the winter and start to stock up on minerals that they will later use for antler growth or fawning.

It’s important to have forage and minerals available on your property year round. This gets most deer through the stress period and keeps them around for spring green up. In addition to our food plots, we use Trophy Rock as a supplement mineral year-round. The deer will initially store these minerals in their skeleton, and when the time is right, their bodies will convert the minerals into a form that they will use to grow antlers or for fawning.

Providing a steady supply of minerals throughout the year, along with quality forage and age, helps deer reach their genetic potential. With spring just around the corner, now is a great time to start providing Trophy Rock to the deer where you hunt. Not only will you be supporting the health of the deer population after their most stressful time of the year, you’ll also have a great spot to stick a game camera and check out the post-season deer population on your property.

Enjoy creation,

Jessica

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Soil Samples and Healthy Roots

Soil is the foundation that a food plot stands on, so it’s important to know how solid that foundation really is. A soil sample is a quick and easy tool that can help you maximize your food plot’s yield and save you time and money when it comes to fertilizing. Taking the sample is simple and only takes a few minutes to collect. All you need is a shovel or a soil probe, a bucket and some plastic bags.

Your local extension office can test the soil for you, or you can choose to use a private lab. We use Waters Agricultural Laboratories because of their quick service and we want our plots tested for maximum yield instead of the most economic yield, which is what most extension offices provide.

By taking a soil sample for every food plot, you can determine exactly how much fertilizer or lime is necessary for each plot to produce quality forage. This saves money and healthy plants are much more attractive (palatable) to deer than malnourished forage.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 13 that seeds cast on poor soil will quickly wither and die. This is true both spiritually and literally. If your plants, or your faith, are not rooted in quality soil, there is no way either can grow to their full potential. Make sure you’re taking care of both.

Enjoy Creation,

Jessica

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