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Deer Management: See More Deer, Grow More Deer (Episode 330 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: Like most of y'all, I’m always trying to see more deer. So, this week I’m excited to share the results of a recent research project that should help us see more deer and a management tip that will help us produce more and better deer.

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GRANT: It’s spring break for the Woods family. Tracy and the girls and I are touring some national parks. Today we’re in Bryce Canyon. I love sharing Creation with my family. But most importantly, I want to share the Creator, Jesus Christ. We’re getting ready to celebrate Easter. We think about his death, but more importantly, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The perfect, perfect sacrifice for our sins so we could have a relationship with God. This year over Easter, I hope you enjoy Creation and all the festivities of Easter. But more importantly, make sure you know the Creator and share Him with your family. Make sure you celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

GRANT: Recently, Adam and I were getting ready to speak at a church in Little Rock, Arkansas. While we were setting up, a father and two sons came up and visited with us. Of course, we started talking about deer and it wasn’t long until Christian, his 16 year-old son, said he’d just completed a research project for school that had a lot to do with when deer were active. Of course, Adam and I wanted a copy.

GRANT: For Christian’s research project, he wanted to test the theory that deer are more active when the temperatures are colder than normal compared to warmer than normal. He placed trail cameras near four of his stands, acquired the weather data for that location and then analyzed the results.

GRANT: At the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th location deer were significantly more active when the temperatures were colder than normal.

GRANT: Christian combined the buck activity from all four camera sites. And even throwing in camera site one, there was twice as much buck activity when the temperatures were colder than normal than when they were warmer than normal.

GRANT: I suspect most hunters have witnessed this pattern, but it sure is nice to see some actual data so we can plan our hunts based on this knowledge.

GRANT: The same trend was true for does. They were substantially more active when the temperatures were colder than normal.

GRANT: Fawns were slightly more active when the temperatures were colder than normal, but the trend wasn’t as strong as for bucks or does.

GRANT: That doesn’t surprise me. Because even on those warm days, or high humidity days, we’ll go out hunting and often the only deer we see are fawns.

GRANT: Christian’s results doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go out to the field on warm days, but I’d probably either use those days to scout from a distance or I certainly wouldn’t hunt in my best stands.

GRANT: I really appreciate Christian’s hands-on approach to studying deer and deer behavior. I’m thankful he’s shared his results with the GrowingDeer family.

GRANT: It’s not too clayee, but not sandy. It’s really, really got a nice loamy feel. Even smells like real dirt.

GRANT: Soil types vary widely throughout the whitetails range. They're sandy, loam, clay, silthy and combinations of all the above. Despite the wide variety of soil types, our strategy of using soybeans in the summer, over seeding with Broadside in the fall and saving about 10% of our food plots for clover, works throughout most of the whitetails range.

GRANT: What does vary drastically is the amount of fertilizer needed to make those crops productive at any given location.

GRANT: The only accurate way to know how much fertilizer to use for any crop is to collect a soil sample and have it analyzed.

GRANT: There is no doubt that soil sampling and healthy forage is the backbone of bucks with bigger antlers, healthier deer herds and more attractive forage so you can pattern deer.

GRANT: It’s very likely that if you don’t soil sample or fertilize appropriately and your neighbor does, the deer are gonna spend more time in his plots than they do in yours.

GRANT: For all the aforementioned reasons, that’s why we soil sample every plot every year.

GRANT: It’s just as important to make sure the samples are collected accurately. Accurate soil samples tell you how much fertilizer to apply and that often saves money 'cause sometimes you don’t need as much fertilizer as you think you do.

GRANT: To collect an accurate soil sample, collect several subsamples from random locations throughout the food plot. Use a soil probe or some clean shovel. Don’t use an old rusty shovel because that could sway the results of your soil sample.

GRANT: Mix these subsamples together in a clean plastic container. Don’t use an old rusty bucket 'cause, again, that could contaminate your sample. Mix ‘em all together real good and then put out about a big fistful or a pint size sample, put that in the box, label it appropriately, ship it off to the lab.

GRANT: For more than a decade, I’ve been sending my soil samples to Waters Ag in Kentucky. I like them for a couple of reasons: they're very accurate, they have what’s called maximum return – or maximum yield.

GRANT: Most university labs are based on maximum economic yield. That means the maximum profit. But what if you add another ten or twenty dollars of fertilizer per acre and got a lot more tons of forage? Even though the cost went up slightly per pound. My goal is to plant as few acres as possible; get the deer concentrated in versus planting more acres. And the results from this lab allows me to achieve that goal.

GRANT: Another advantage of this lab is they return the results via email in about 48 hours. I’m not waiting all spring for someone to give me the results. I want to send my samples in and get ready to plant.

GRANT: I typically request recommendations for three different crops. Remember – different type of crops require totally different fertilizer regimes. So, I request recommendations for soybeans, winter wheat and clover. That way, no matter what I’m planting, I can get the right amount of fertilizer down for maximum yield.

GRANT: There’s no doubt the soil sampling program we’ve used here at The Proving Grounds has really helped our food plots throughout the years. We’ve saved money by not applying too much fertilizer; we’ve had maximum production of quality forage. And I gotta tell ya – we typically produce bucks with larger antlers and heavier body weights than throughout the neighborhood.

GRANT: If you want to visit about deer behavior and hunting strategies or check out any of our food plot techniques, I hope you join us April 1st and 2nd for our next field event.

GRANT: Whether you're scouting for turkeys or collecting soil samples, I hope you have an opportunity to get outside and enjoy Creation this week. But most importantly, take time each day to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.