Hunting Decisions: Shoot Or Don’t Shoot? (Episode 103 Transcript)
This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Friday, November 11th, and the chase phase is just heating up throughout most of the whitetails’ range.
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GRANT: At the start of the chase phase, the bucks that are moving are usually moving far and wide trying to find a receptive doe – means the hunter’s got to be able to make a quick decision before they pass by the stand.
ADAM: (Whispering) It’s November the 3rd. We’re a little late getting in. It’s about 8 o’clock. We’re in one of Grant’s better spots. Got a lot of deer activity down here, so, hopefully, we’ll have something come on by.
ADAM: So, we’re sitting there, and not much deer activity. Then, all of a sudden, I catch movement up the ridge.
ADAM: It’s a buck screaming down into the field and stops right at the edge of the food plot.
ADAM: He was a good looking buck, but as you can see, slim, thoroughbred looking body. He was clearly not a four year old, so we let him pass. Hopefully, we’ll see him again next year.
GRANT: I was really proud of Adam for making a quick decision. See the deer, makes the decision, and then enjoys the moment.
ADAM: (Whispering) That happened fast. That got my heart pumping. I just looked up and I saw the, I saw a body, and he stepped down and I saw horns, at 30 yards. I couldn’t get my bow off the hook fast enough.
GRANT: When the chase phase of the rut starts, the scraping phase kind of tails off. Scrapes will still be opened up, but I can tell on our trail cameras, we’re starting to get more chases and less scrape activity.
GRANT: Last weekend was youth season in Missouri, and both my daughters were ready to hit the stand. I took Rae the first morning, and we were in our little blind we made below a cedar tree, well before light.
GRANT: Too early to shoot, we have a huge buck walk by us out in the food plot. You can see Rae’s gun is down. There’s just not enough light to make it happen, and instead of moving, we let it pass, hoping that it’d slide on out a few minutes later.
GRANT: Once the sun gets up good and we’re still on the high from seeing that big buck, a doe comes out in the field. Rae eases up, puts the crosshairs on her, and I know it’s in Rae’s effective range.
RAE: (Whispering) Dad. I’m gonna wait for a buck.
GRANT: (Whispering) You wanna wait for a buck? You gotta be patient then…
GRANT: After seeing that really big buck right at the crack of daylight, Rae decides to wait and pulls the crosshairs off the doe. It was clearly in her effective range, from past experience. But if you remember back, when you saw your first big buck on the hoof out in front of you, the whole concept of hunting kind of changed in that instant, and I could see it happen to Rae.
GRANT: (Whispering) You have officially passed your first deer, deer you could’ve shot, and you let walk off.
GRANT: That doe was the first deer Rae’s chosen to pass that was clearly in her effective range, and it was a real step in maturity as my daughter’s growth as a hunter.
GRANT: Unfortunately, as it often happens, that buck, or any other buck, didn’t cruise through the food plot while Rae and I were there, but you can bet she’s primed and ready to go, as soon as Missouri’s gun season opens up again, and I’m more than happy to take her.
GRANT: Like most of us, I’m a deer manager and a deer hunter, and that means I need to keep my eye on the food resources, so I can make on the go decisions about how many does to harvest, based on the food resources available.
GRANT: I’ve been harvesting does and planned on harvesting even more to make sure going through the late winter – a stress period – that my deer density, and the available food, would be in balance, so the deer could express their full potential next year. However, when I take time to analyze my food plots, I realize I can back off my doe harvest this year, just a tad, cause I’ve got tons of nutritious food out here.
GRANT: There are three factors that have allowed this wheat to be so productive. The first is it hasn’t frost yet, and here we are at November 7th, and we haven’t experienced a killing frost yet – giving this wheat almost three weeks extra growing time. Second, although we’re way behind on rainfall, in the last month we’ve had some timely rains of half inch, or inch – just enough to really make the wheat grow. And third, I almost doubled the amount of Antler Dirt I put down this fall. I knew I didn’t have time, or money, to make more food plots. I needed the maximum amount of groceries I could get, in case it’s a long, hard winter like it was last year. And the results, well, the proof is in the observation. The forage is dark, green, lush, and averaging about 18 inches tall. That’s a huge amount of tonnage, more than I normally get cause it’s usually frosted and stop growing now and the plants usually don’t have that much nutrients. There’s a lesson here. If your property doesn’t allow you or your budget to make more acres of food plots, make sure you get the maximum productivity out of each acre you have.
GRANT: So, here we are, less than 24 hours before gun season opens in Missouri, and Adam and Matt get up early and climb a stand, put one more effort into the bow season.
ADAM: (Whispering) It’s November the 11th. Veterans Day. Big thanks to all those veterans out there. It’s also, tomorrow, is the opening day of Missouri gun season, and so, it’s the last morning we have for a while with the bow, so…
ADAM: 7:30 rolls around, I hear Matt whisper, “Adam, deer are coming our way.”
ADAM: I stand up and locate the deer. There’s three of ‘em. They’re headed directly to our tree.
ADAM: So, they’re standing at three yards. They get a little nervous, ease up to 20 yards. They gave me enough time to draw my bow.
ADAM: (Whispering) What?
ADAM: (Whispering) Got her?
ADAM: (Whispering) Got her?
ADAM: (Whispering) The monkey’s off my back. Gosh. I thought we were snake bit, for a while. I thought, “Wouldn’t you know it? The first deer we see come right there.” Straight to the tree. Put her there, buddy. Finally. Finally. Oh. Oh.
MATT: (Whispering) How many hours a week we’ve been putting in?
ADAM: (Whispering) I don’t even know…
MATT: (Whispering) We need to figure that out.
ADAM: (Whispering) No. I don’t even want to know.
MATT: (Whispering) That’s …
ADAM: (Whispering) As you can see, my arrow. Red, red, red.
ADAM: (Whispering) I’m a little ashamed of how close that deer got without me seeing it. I’m packing up. Grant’s on his way to meet us. Packing up and climbing down.
ADAM: There’s blood all over this, right here. She can’t be much farther. I see her right there. Awesome! Had three does come in this morning about 7:20. I hear Matt say, “Deer are coming.” Stood up. They came directly under our tree. Three yards. Heard a little movement in the tree, looked up, spotted us.
GRANT: Adam made a perfect shot on this doe, helping us with our management objectives to keep the amount of deer in balance with the amount of food our property can produce.
GRANT: One thing I look for when I’m gutting a doe this time of year, first week of November, is how much blood flow, or how enlarged her uterus is, because if it’s really enlarged and a lot of fluid in there, she’s really close to being receptive. This doe is not. She’s not ready, yet. Bucks were not chasing her for a reason.
GRANT: You know everyone talks about the hunt, but processing deer meat, providing high quality meat for your family is just as important to me as the hunt itself.
GRANT: There’s no magic to processing a deer. Simply fillet out each muscle group, remove the fat and connective tissue and use a good system, like a vacuum sealer, and the meat will store perfectly for months to come.
GRANT: No matter what season it is where you’re hunting, I hope you and your family get to get out this week and enjoy Creation. The chase phase is on and it’s a great time to stay tuned to semi-live information. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
ADAM: Why did she have to run all the way down that hill?
MATT: I don't know.
ADAM: They always do.
MATT: They always do.