Step Inside the Great Indoors!
The first fishing rod I spent my own money on I purchased from Bass Pro when they were located in the back corner of a local store. I still have that rod and I still purchase my hunting and fishing gear from Bass Pro! Bass Pro was started by an outdoorsman who had firsthand knowledge of what sportsmen wanted in quality and service. That knowledge has served Bass Pro well. They started in the back corner of a local store and now have their own stores in most states! Knowing hunting and hunters, being one of them, that‘s what makes Bass Pro the place I go to grab my hunting gear. For 30+ years my outdoor adventures have started at Bass Pro. Start your next outdoor adventure there too!
For years here at The Proving Grounds deer have suffered with high tick infestations. We tested and compared products that claimed to reduce ticks on whitetails. Only Antler-X-Treme performed as promised! It's rich in nutrients, protein, minerals, and vitamins, plus their G4 technology. The ALL-N-ONE works great all year round. It has been a relief to find a product that helps fight against ticks, gnats, flies, and other pests that carry Lyme Disease, EHD and other harmful diseases which can cause loss in body weight, inhibit antler growth and even result in death.
What do you look for in an arrow? Tough, accurate, and dependable are just a few characteristics that we look for. To get that requires more than mass produced arrows! The folks at Bloodsport hand sort and grade each arrow so I have 100% confidence that each dozen will be exactly what I want! Bloodsport arrows are not only extremely tough but also exceptionally accurate! In fact, making the most accurate arrows in the world is exactly what the folks at Bloodsport arrows are committed to doing, that’s why you’ll only see our quivers full of Bloodsport arrows!
How do you maximize the usefulness of the data you are getting from your trail camera? How do you take your scouting and stand selection to the next level? My answer: BoneView Smartphone Trail Camera Viewer. BoneView allows you to VIEW, SAVE, SHARE and DELETE trail camera pictures from ANY brand trail camera on your smartphone. This gives you the real-time information you need to make those last second decisions in the field, without packing your laptop. Never wait until you're home to see your game camera pictures again. This is a tool that allows you to hunt smarter and make confident decisions based on real-time deer activity. Now you can save, delete, text, share, and email your pictures right from your phone. I use my BoneView as a speed scouting tool in the field for quickly checking photos and leaving as little scent as possible around my game cameras. This tool can be the deciding factor in your season; don’t enter the woods without it!
Two things that bring me joy are patterning mature bucks and guns! I use different tools to pattern both of them. I use the Non-Typical Electric Fence to protect small food plots from being over-browsed until I’m ready to hunt them. Then I simply open the gate and deer rapidly learn the gap in the fence is the easiest place to access the food plot! Since I know where deer will be entering the plot, I know where to place my stand! But that is only half the battle. I count on my gun being perfectly sighted in and the Stable Table and Lead Sled makes that job pleasant and easy! With my gun sighted in, I can remove coyotes and other predators using the DeadShot FieldPod to reduce the stress on deer and turkey to improve their health!
As proven leaders in quality, functional clothing, they've taken what they know about hunting apparel and applied it to big game pursuits. Drake Non-Typical combines an innovative approach to hunting gear with the fabrics and features required for more efficient and comfortable big game clothing. Special attention is given to selection of fabrics and components to be deadly quiet, comfortable, and dependable under harsh conditions. This is not your average deer hunting clothing – it’s NON-TYPICAL.
I really enjoy listening to and hunting turkeys. I don’t like raccoons consuming the corn I put out to attract deer for my annual trail camera survey during August. These two reasons motivate me to actively trap raccoons and other predators! I use Duke Traps to remove excess predators and allow my family and I to have more opportunities to watch and harvest deer and turkeys. If you prefer hearing a turkey to seeing trail camera images of raccoons, join me and use Duke Traps to balance the predator/prey populations where you hunt!
Absolutely My Pick for Killer Food Plots!
If you are looking for the heavyweight champion of food plot crops, Eagle Seed is it!! The folks at Eagle Seed have spent literally 40+ years selectively breeding soybeans for forage and pod production. They are unequivocally the forage quality and quantity leader, proven by bunches of university trials. Almost any soybean can grow leaves and pods, but Eagle Seed Beans grow them bigger, faster, and longer. When most all other production soybeans have dried up and stand dormant in the field, Eagle Seed beans keep right on putting out new leaves until frost occurs. If producing tons of irresistible green forage late into the hunting season isn’t enough, the beans themselves are a highly preferred and nutritious food source during the winter. Likewise the folks at Eagle Seed have selected a couple of wheat varieties that are the most productive for food plot forage. I planted and will be hunting over their Buck Monster forage wheat and Broadside blend this fall! Check out our videos from past hunting seasons as the “little” Ozark deer here at The Proving Grounds had fat and racks on them that rival deer in Iowa! (Which means some good meat for our table and more work for the taxidermist!!) Watch my testimony – I’ll continue planting Eagle Seed food plot crops at The Proving Grounds!
Quality Trees for Hunting
Flatwood Natives has the trees you need to attract deer and other wildlife. I use and trust Flatwood Natives because these are the highest-quality trees that are also easy to manage. Contact them and set yourself up for tree-plot success.
Fourth Arrow all started with a pair of Michigan entrepreneurs, a manufacturing guru, and a couple of dedicated engineers. After 5 years of videoing hunts, a team sat down to start Fourth Arrow. Their goal was simple – begin the brand by creating three simple points of perfection that trumped every current arm system out there. #1 – Portability. As a hunter you don’t want to struggle hauling around bases for camera mounts. #2 – Affordability. A repeatable base system for every treestand is a must. #3 – Adjustment. Any branch, sideways limb, or double tree should be able to handle a camera arm set up without limits. We use Fourth Arrow Camera Arms – the ultimate camera arm system!
Designed To Hunt
I’ve used G5 broadheads for years now with great results! The Montec broadhead is a solid piece of stainless steel that can be used, re-sharpened, and then reused again. It was the first broadhead that was individually checked for straightness to guarantee field point accuracy. G5 doesn't just make products identical to those already available, they make them better. Stronger materials, sharper blades, and increased performance. This attention to detail has continued with super sharp replacement blade broadheads like the Striker and the devastatingly destructive Havoc, a 2” cutting expandable broadhead. The Havoc has proven results for both Adam and I; we will both be shooting Havoc broadheads again this year.
The two most important things we look for when purchasing a game call is realism and quality. Hook's Custom Calls have managed to deliver both while coupling them with exceptional customer service and affordable prices. This is an outstanding value! We use Hook's Custom Calls because they are the most realistic, user friendly calls available. Whether we are standing on a ridge as the sun begins to rise letting out that first hoot of the day or pleading to a gobbler with hen yelps, we have complete confidence because we use a product that gives us the very best chance for success.
I drive my truck to hunting locations all across the nation and I help to ensure my safe and timely arrival by using Howes Lubricator Products. With a premium line of preventative maintenance products that have maintained their place at the forefront of the additive industry since 1920, I turn to Howes for all of my gas, diesel and oil additive needs. I keep my farm equipment running right year after year by keeping Howes products in all of my fuel. Plus, I can stop rust and corrosion on all of my guns and equipment by using Howes Multi Purpose Lubricator and Penetrating Oil. All Howes products are petroleum based and contain no harmful alcohol or solvents so they are always safe to use. And with the best guarantees on the market backed by five generations of a family of professionals, I never have to question putting my trust in Howes.
Hunters always enjoy sharing the stories of their hunts with friends and family. Cell phones now come with excellent cameras built-in. With the iSCOPE hunters can easily video and share their hunts with the camera from their phone. We've used the iSCOPE to capture hunting video to share with viewers of GrowingDeer! Watch one of those videos here! We were glad to have the iSCOPE because it captured video that the “big” camera would have missed! Make your hunting stories come to life with video captured easily through the iSCOPE this hunting season!
Every serious deer manager and hunter knows that having a boot for your specific project is a must! That’s why we use LaCrosse Footwear! Whether we’re climbing into a deer stand in sub zero temperatures, preparing food plots during late summer’s heat, or chasing those weary old gobblers in snake infested country, LaCrosse Footwear has the perfect boot for our needs! Comfortable, waterproof, and lightweight! The days of uncomfortable walks into the woods are over!
We Build A Better Hunting Decoy
Realistic, versatile, portable and quiet….those four words sum up any decoy in the Montana Decoy line. Montana Decoys are built using actual photos and are easy to carry, simple to use and super realistic. The all new Miss Purr-fect 3D hen is three decoys in one. I can have a looker, a feeder or a breeder all by simply choosing the proper leg pole sleeve and tweaking the moveable head's position. The feather cuts give the decoy a soft edge and true to life motion. The Montana 3D decoy is extremely quiet to set up and take down. Plus, I can carry it all season without extra bags or sore shoulders. The days of leaving decoys at home because they're too noisy or too much trouble are over!
For 25+ years Morrell has been supplying archers with quality archery targets at an affordable price. Morrell takes pride in their products and they are made right here in the USA! For 20 years Morrell Manufacturing has been voted #1 in both consumer and dealer contests. These are just a few reasons why we say, “When you buy Morrell Targets you're not just buying an archery product, you’re buying so much more.” They guarantee it.
Find Your Favorite Place
When we were searching for a hunting property to call home, we sure could have used a real estate firm that specialized in rural acreage and hunting properties. Today hunters have the professionals at Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland! Their land buyers and sellers are hunters that understand and appreciate rural land. They are committed to providing the highest level of old-fashioned service and honesty. Their goal is your goal. If you are looking for rural land, let the folks at Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland help!
Shoot or don’t shoot? Nikon Hunting Optics allow me to confidently answer that important question when I’m deer hunting. When I’m glassing the next ridge to check out a buck, Nikon’s superior optics give me the focal power I need to determine if the buck is a shooter. The optics are crisp and bright allowing me to confidently identify each buck. My Nikon rangefinder has proven to be an indispensable part of my hunting gear. Whether I am hunting whitetails with a bow or rifle, knowing the exact distance provides me with confidence to plan my shots. Make the best use of your time in the field with Nikon Hunting Optics – whether it’s a binocular, riflescope, rangefinder or spotting scope.
The engineers at G5 have a mission to provide the most accurate bows on the planet! Prime bows were developed to correct cam lean. We don’t always have perfectly consistent shooting form or favorable surroundings. Shooting a Prime bow leads to more quality shots because they are more forgiving. As an archer, I trust Prime bows to make my shots count. Made with the best and strongest materials and backed with a lifetime warranty. Prime bows, designed with performance in mind. Accuracy. Strength. Balance. Control.
What have you been missing? I can say with a high degree of confidence that we haven’t been missing much at The Proving Grounds because we use Reconyx cameras to do our scouting. We’ve been able to pattern our bucks and know when they are moving because Reconyx trail cameras always work, have the fastest trigger speed in the industry, and don’t spook deer. I have literally gads of images of bucks bedded in front of a Reconyx. Reconyx is truly the best value in the trail camera market. Get a Reconyx trail camera and finally see what you’ve been missing!
The characteristics I look for in an elevated blind are safety, quietness, and comfort. Without those features, elevated blinds can be hazardous and/or inefficient for hunters. Safety means great materials and construction so I never worry about my family falling. Comfort not only means a warm and dry structure, but that the windows operate quietly, are the right height for all sizes of hunters, and that the hunter or hunters can easily see all around them without needing to move more than their head. That’s exactly the definition of Redneck Blinds! The same quality of design and craftsmanship is obvious in the Redneck feeders! They are built to last and designed to feed deer while protecting the feed from the weather and non-target critters like squirrels and crows. Like so many good products, I was first introduced to Redneck Blinds by a client. Then multiple clients and hunters kept telling me about Redneck Blinds. Do what I did, check out a Redneck elevated blind and see the quality for yourself.
At RTP Outdoors quality is apparent in everything they do. Their success comes from supplying great quality equipment and by listening to their customers. They forge strong relationships with customers, built on trust and respect. Innovative design, craftsmanship, and heavy-duty construction make their products the standard of quality in the marketplace. They built what hunters need – machinery that performs well, saves time, and offers value. The Genesis no-till drill is food plot management at its finest.
Scent Off. Game On.
Over the years I've experimented and learned about scent control to get more bucks within bow range. Here in the Ozark Mountains the winds frequently swirl and to be successful we need great scent control. Scent Crusher Ozone Activated Technology kills the bacteria that causes odor. The Scent Crusher gear is a very important part of the GrowingDeer Team's scent control strategy.
The folks at Summit Treestands truly live up to their motto, “Hunting Elevated.” The engineers at Summit have worked to create treestands that are the most silent, secure, comfortable, and concealed hunting treestands on the market. They have elevated the safety and quality of all hunting stands by developing safety innovations that are now used on all treestands. Additionally, they have elevated their own treestands to rise above the competition with uniquely designed features like: SummitLokt, Dead Metal Sound Deadening, QuickDraw Cable Retention, and RapidClimb Stirrups. So the next time you have plans to elevate your hunting experience, check out Summit Treestands!
Tactical Trapping Services specializes in reducing predator populations. Their equipment, baits and lures are designed to make every trapping program, weekend or month long, successful and enjoyable. Their products have been proven time and time again. We've been very pleased with Clint and the entire team at Tactical Trapping Services!
I was very impressed when I learned of Trophy Rock mineral supplements. Trophy Rock contains over 60 beneficial trace minerals to improve antler development and overall deer herd health and is safe for all wildlife year round. I have seen deer at The Proving Grounds use both Trophy Rocks and the granular Four65 version during times they would normally not seek out other mineral products. Trophy Rock is an important ingredient in providing nutrition to the deer here at The Proving Grounds. Try it for yourself and see why so many deer hunters and managers have become Trophy Rock fans for life!
Viking Solutions truly has the solution! Their equipment helps us with in-field solutions that reduce the hard work of dealing with harvested deer or wild hog in the field – especially when we’re on our own. They see a problem and find a solution by analyzing what hunters need to make cleaning and processing easier. You’ll see us frequently using the Tilt-n-Go to get harvested deer out of the field and the Rack-Jack at the skinning shed!
I began hunting turkeys when I was 14 years old. The first box of “turkey loads” I purchased was a box of 25 Winchester 3” Super X in #6 shot. I missed one gobbler out of that box of shells. That was because it was about five yards away and my pattern was probably the size of a golf ball. I watched in disbelief as the gobbler stood there. I had never missed a turkey with Winchester shells before. That miss was clearly my fault. Decades later, I’m still shooting Winchester ammo in my shotgun, rifle, and rimfire firearms. In fact, my 84 year old dad and both my daughters use Winchester ammo for all their hunting trips! My ride with Winchester continues!
Since 1866 the Winchester name has been a leader of firearms innovation. With that legacy, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company continues the work of designing and building some of the most proven firearms on the market. The first “high powered” or “center-fired” rifle I owned was a used Winchester 670 in 30-06 caliber. I still own that rifle and it's still incredibly accurate! I've tagged dozens of deer with that rifle. The GrowingDeer Team has harvested many whitetails, wild hogs, turkeys, squirrels, etc., with our Winchester rifles and shotguns. Join us and use a legend – shoot Winchesters!
Every hunter needs quiet, reliable transportation to and from their hunting spot. Yamaha delivers with comfort, room for gear and the versatility to go anywhere. I've owned and used a Yamaha for 13 years. Sun up to sun down, hunting stand to skinning shed – I've used my Yamaha and it's proven tough.
The Future of Deer Hunting
I have been actively involved with The Quality Deer Management Association since its inception. It is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization and the leading advocate of the QDM philosophy. The QDMA’s mission is to promote sustainable, high-quality white-tailed deer populations, wildlife habitats, and ethical hunting experiences through education, research, and management in partnership with hunters, landowners, natural resource professionals, and the public. If you are not already a member, take a few moments to review their webpage and get involved to make a difference in the future of deer hunting!
Insuring The Outdoors
Whether you own a large tract of land or you belong to a hunt club you need peace of mind. Outdoor Underwriters can provide the insurance you need to protect your investments and they have the experience to back it up. I insure The Proving Grounds with Outdoor Underwriters because they understand the insurance needs of hunters.
Quality, Dependable Analytical Services
If nutrients are not in the dirt, plants can’t transfer them to deer! The availability of nutrients in the dirt directly impacts antler and fawn production. To ensure the food plot crops at The Proving Grounds and my clients’ properties can transfer enough nutrients to deer for them to express their full potential, I collect soil samples annually and trust Waters Ag to analyze the samples and give me accurate recommendations and counsel to produce nutritious crops. Using the recommendations from the soil scientists at Waters Ag is a very important tool I rely on annually to produce bucks that express their full antler growth potential.