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How large of a sanctuary should I create on the 50 acres I hunt in southeast Pennsylvania?

Question
How large of an area should a deer sanctuary be if I have about 50 acres to hunt in south east Pennsylvania. Mostly hardwoods (plenty of red and white oaks) and some cedar and pine tree patches.

Thanks a lot.

PS I love how you mention our creator in all your videos. I am a born again Christian and I truly do enjoy his creation!

Troy,

I typically like sanctuaries to be at least 10 acres.  Depending on the habitat type, it usually takes about 10 or more acres so human scent doesn’t cover the entire area if a human walks upwind of the sanctuary.  Deer typically readily find and use sanctuaries.  This allows hunters to predict where deer will be bed and travel paths they will use to access food and water.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 21, 2016

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How do you avoid spooking deer off your property?

Question
I was wondering how you guys avoid spooking the deer off of your property. I know that you own a lot of acres, but your crew seems to always be out there. Do you have strategies when you are filming to avoid scaring the deer?For instance right now, I do not want to go to my hunting properties and mess around with prescribed fires, or go look for sheds quite yet, because I am afraid of spooking the deer off of my properties, and then I may not find their sheds OR they may not come back to that property. I was just curious how you avoid this or if you do?

Derek,

We are out and about on The Proving Grounds almost daily!  We have several areas from 11 to 50 acres set up as sanctuaries.  We don’t go in those sanctuaries except to shed hunt, maintain with prescribed fire, etc.  This allows deer to feel secure on our property even though we work and/or play on the property almost daily.  Sanctuaries are great tools for any sized property.  The use of sanctuaries makes smaller properties hunt like they are much larger!

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 9, 2016 

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How to approach hunting a new property?

Question
What is the best “Going In Blind” strategy when hunting new properties, without any scouting, knowing bedding areas, and main food sources? Going to hunt some new property this year after I was givin permission but I work a lot, and unable to scout all of them?

Tyler,

That is a great question! There are some great ways to identify huntable areas before ever stepping foot on the property. One of these ways is to acquire an aerial and topographical map of the property. When looking over these maps, look for areas where multiple areas of different habitats converge, like oaks, pines, creeks, and fields. Deer are creatures of the edge! They will often travel these edges, so hunting these areas where multiple edges come together will increase your odds. In addition to this, look for ridge tops, deer will often also travel on ridge tops where the wind is most consistent.

Once you have found these areas, prioritize them with the dominant wind for your area. It is important to approach, hunt, and exit each stand with the wind in your favor. In addition to hunting great locations, this will allow you to remain successful at these stands throughout the season.

I hope this will help you become successful as you start hunting these new areas!

GrowingDeer together,

-Matt Dye

2016-02-05

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Do you drive past food plots on the way to hunt?

Question
Dear grant,
I notice most or maybe all of your food plots I’ve seen in your videos have an access road that leads to your food plots.When you hunt a stand do you walk past food plots or drive past them to get to your stand.If so don’t you risk the chance of spooking deer in a plot and ruin the hunt.thanks matt

Matt,

The Proving Grounds is so steep that about the only locations where roads and food plots can be established are in valleys or ridgetops.  Due to these constraints it is necessary for us to drive by some food plots while enroute to some of our stands/blinds. We tend to go very early during the afternoon so deer are still in bedding areas and are not alerted by driving by plots. In addition, we often hunt stands that are located in the timber and away from plots.  Deer tend to use plots more during darkness than during daylight.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 31, 2016

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How can I get mature bucks to visit the six acres where I hunt in St. Louis County during daylight hours?

Question
I bowhunt on a small 6 acre property in st louis county and I have a few trail cameras and I have been getting a lot of big bucks on trail camera but they are mainly coming at night and I wanted some tips for next season for getting the bigger bucks to come during the day during legal shooting hours

 

Johnny,

Deer avoid areas they associate with danger during daylight hours. You may need a bit better scent control, better approach to your stand/blind, etc., so the bucks don’t associate that area with danger during daylight hours.

It may be the bucks only use that area after dark as it may be a ways from where they are bedding.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 25 2015

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How do I find where deer are bedding?

Question
How do I find out where deer are bedding?

Stephen,

Deer bed in different areas based on current conditions. For example deer often bed on south slopes in areas where the sun reaches ground level when its cold.  Deer often prefer bedding on north or east facing slopes when the temperature are warmer than normal.  Deer adjust to the conditions versus most humans that dress differently or adjust the thermostat and adjust the conditions.  This time of year is a great time to scout and look for deer beds, trails, etc.

Deer prefer bedding in areas with cover that’s 0′-3′ above the ground.  This is often in the form of native grasses, etc.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 24, 2016

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Will bucks hand around where they shed their antlers?

Question
When u find a shed is that where bucks are hanging around in the winter months when there’s not a lot of food and will they be around them spots come September?

Dylan,

Deer rarely leave their home range.  However, they will certainly use different parts of their range based on the conditions and resources available.  For example, deer may shift to using an area where oak trees are when acorns are present and then use a different part of their range when acorns are no longer available.  Rarely do food or cover resources change significantly during the late winter and deer tend to remain in the same area during this time of year.  

Deer may certainly use a different part of their range during September than during the late winter months!  I try to know where the current best sources of food, cover, and water are and look for deer accordingly.  Remember that safety is a deer’s primary concern so quality sources of food, cover, and water that deer don’t associate with danger are the best places to scout!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 23, 2016

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Why were you hunting during the morning during the late season?

Question
Grant,

I noticed on the Jan 2nd, 2016 episode of Growing Deer that Adam and someone (whom I cannot think of at the moment) went on a morning hunt. What things are you looking for to determine where to hunt in the morning?

To give you some background, I am a new hunter (This year was only my second full season), but I got a little bit of a later start than some (I’m in my 20’s and didn’t pick up hunting until after college). I live in southern Illinois and have been trying to figure out a piece of public land.

 

Daniel,

We try to hunt when the weather and habitat conditions are in our favor.  This often has to do with wind direction, current preferred food sources, the lay of the land where we are hunting, etc.  It’s often difficult to approach stands during the morning without alerting deer as they are often active when hunters are traveling to stand/blinds.

During the hunt you watched we believed deer were feeding in a food plot several hundred yards away and the wind direction allowed Adam to get into a stand between the feeding and bedding area without alerting deer.

The conditions during each hunt and location vary and should be considered when determining when and where to hunt!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016 

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Are you seeing deer activity during the middle of the day?

Question
Hey grant,
I hunt in Seymour MO. Are you seeing deer movement now from 10 am to 2pm? I’ll be hunting these last few days but no luck here recently from pressure on neighboring properties. Thanks in advance I watch your show and follow you on FB

Chase,

We are seeing some deer activity during the middle of the day.  Deer often conserve energy when it’s cold and feed later during the morning when the temperatures are warmer!  

Let me know how you do!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016

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What techniques do you use to hunt near bait?

Question
A couple of questions, I have friends that are telling me now that I should have my tree stand over 20ft high. In regards to baiting, two things: spread it out over a large area just to keep the deer in the area, 2nd, put a pile about 100yds down wind to catch the bigger buck approaching it. I also have a feeder, when should i schedule it, have been told the deer NEVER get used to the sound and it scares them away, making them nocturnal right away, Scent control is worthless and need a scent lock product along with rubber boots since other boot will always carry scent regardless of how you care for your hunting gear.
so I was just wandering what your thought are? I have only been hunting for about 15 years and this is all new stuff to me. Also how far away should you put your bait pile? rich

Rich,

It’s illegal to hunt near bait in Missouri.  Even when I lived in South Carolina I didn’t hunt near bait very often.  I do know that deer can be conditioned to the sound of a feeder and come running when bait is dispensed.  However, if deer learn to associate with area with danger (human activity) they will often avoid bait during daylight hours.  This has been well studied in both South Carolina and Georgia.  

I’m very confident that deer will readily use bait they don’t associate with danger. Most hunters seem to condition deer to avoid stands near bait, at least during daylight hours by their activity.

Reducing scent on hunters and gear is a good practice!  These efforts may control a hunter’s scent enough to allow deer to approach within range.  I use the complete Dead Down Wind system ( gear, personal hygiene, and field spray) and have had good results.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016

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Do you have any tricks to see mature bucks during daytime?

Question
Dear Grant,
I have a 2013 diamond infinite edge and I just can not seem to get a good consistent pattern. I was wondering if you could give me some advice? I also have been watching a nice wide nine point that I figure is about two years old, then he just disappeared. I have been asking around to see if anyone has this buck on camera but they all say no. I also have been asking if anyone shot the buck I got the same answer. I planned on passing him up the 2015 and 2016 seasons because I would love to see him reach 4-5 years old. I was also wondering if you guys use any certain types of tricks to see your big/mature bucks during the day? Over all love the show, keep going.

Thanks:
Clayton

Clayton,

I’m not familiar with the Diamond bow.  It sounds as if the bow and/or your shooting form is out of tune.  You might review some of the GrowingDeer episodes about shooting form as it’s often a simple adjustment in style that produces better results.  Remember the old saying “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect  practice makes perfect.”

I’m not aware of any tricks to get mature bucks to be active during daylight hours.  Remember that all deer seek quality food, cover, and water that they don’t associate with danger.  Doing a good job of scent control and always picking stand/blind locations that you can enter and exit without alerting deer is critical to seeing mature bucks.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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Are there any management practices I can do to encourage deer to use the two acres I hunt during daylight hours?

Question
Grant I hunt on a two acre piece of property. There is a lot of deer that travel through it. I get a lot of pictures of big muture deer on my game cameras. My problem is that I have never see any of them during the day. I am the only hunter for a few miles so I know there not that pressured. What are some things I can do to get to move during the day?

 

Rustin,

Deer seek quality food, cover, and water daily.  The seek these resources in locations they don’t associate with danger.  If there are no other hunters in the area, then you’ll need to work to not alert deer and condition them from avoiding the acres you hunt.  Establishing a tree plot (fruit trees) with a quality food source not available anywhere else is an excellent technique for hunters on relatively small tracts of land.  Deer crave sweet and energy rich fruits like plums, persimmons, etc., during the fall.  For more tips and expert advice check out http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com.

There are also some great tips about planting fruit trees at:  https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/osceola-gobbler-hunt

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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How can we encourage deer to spend more time on our 300 acres in Arkansas?

Question
Hi Grant,
Prayers for your Dad.
I am a landowner in Arkansas and lease land that joins me. 2 hunting buddies and me have around 300 acres and we don’t shoot doe. The area I’m in allows 6 doe to be taken. We go all season long and may see 10 to 15 doe all year long. Our neighbors shoot anything that steps out. Our kids have completely lost interest in hunting because they rarely see anything. I struggle to understand the intentions of the state of Arkansas to allow such a liberal limit.
Anyway, I would like to know your thoughts of what I can do as a landowner that would keep the deer on our place. The land consist of around 200 acres of thick cutover and 100 acres of plantation pine. The creeks have very nice whiteoak trees that produce and good water sources.The neighboring land is plantation pine and oak creeks. We put out lots of corn and I plan to have about 20 acres in food plot.
Thanks.

Todd,

I sincerely appreciate your prayers for my father. We leave tomorrow for his fifth chemo infusion.  

Deer seek quality food, cover, and water daily.  If there are no food plots on the neighboring properties then you may be able to attract deer by providing quality browse.  Remember that deer seek quality forage that they don’t associate with danger.  Hence, try to hunt near the plots in a such a way that you don’t alert deer.  

Much research has shown that deer tend to associate bait (corn) with danger and primarily use it at night.  I suspect this is true in your area if both you and the neighbors hunt near feeders.  I recommend you place a feeder near the center of your property and never hunt within 100 yards of that location.  Make that area a sanctuary and allow deer to feed without ever associating it with danger.   This is a great technique to encourage deer to use your property.  They will continue to use this feeding location even if they are alerted while approaching or leaving the sanctuary.  

When acorns are present, it’s difficult to pattern deer or encourage them to use a relatively small portion of their range.  Once again, one of the best tools you can use is to make a portion of your property a sanctuary.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 10, 2016

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Should I hunt where I might alert deer?

Question
Grant,

On the property I hunt there are two natural bedding locations relatively close to one another with a food source in between them. One of the bedding areas is to the North of the food source and the other is to the South. Given that the deer are likely to come from the bedding areas either from the North or the South, should I only hunt this stand when there is an East or West wind? Or, is it also ok for me to hunt when there is a North or South wind and only expect to see deer from one bedding area or the other on such days (given that the deer to the downwind bedding area will smell me)? The property I hunt is fairly small and I have a limited number of stand locations so it would increase my ability to hunt significantly if I could hunt North and South winds as well as East and West. I’d hate to spook deer from using the food source though.. Your thoughts?

God Bless,

Beau Fugitt

Beau,

Deer that are alerted repeatedly tend to avoid those areas during daylight hours. I recommend avoiding alerting deer when possible. This may mean moving your stands off the food source and closer to each bedding area.  Depending on wind direction you may hunt morning or afternoons and then when there is an east or west wind you may be able to hunt closer to the food source without alarming deer.  

Remember alerting deer during your approach and exit are just as damaging as alerting them while you are hunting so plan your travel routes carefully.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 9, 2016

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Does a flashlight spook deer?

Question
Grant,

Will using a flashlight/ headlamp spook deer on the way in and out of the stand? I have recently heard that green LED lights will not spook deer but other lights will.. Your thoughts?

God Bless,

Beau Fugitt

Beau,

I’ve heard the same theory that deer are not as alerted by green compared to white light.  I’m not aware of any research on this subject.  I usually use a leaf blower and create a debris free trail between the road and my stand.  This allows me to insure I can approach/exit the stand without making much noise.  In addition, I only need minimal light to insure I’m going the right way.  

I use a low power light so I can see the trail and keep it pointed down.  This limited noise and light approach works well for me!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 9, 2016

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Where should I hunt during the late season in Illinois?

Question
I live in Illinois and I’m going hunting in late season for deer my farm has no corn left on both fields where should I hunt on my farm if there’s no food in the fields? Should I hunt in the timber during this time or in the feild? From your viewer Will.

Will,

I always assess stand location options by considering why and when deer would be traveling by that site.  Deer need quality food, cover, and water daily and prefer sources of these resources that they don’t associate with danger.  Is there a quality source of food, cover, or water on a neighboring property that would cause deer to travel in a certain area of your farm?  Where are deer feeding now?  Where are the they likely bedding?  It may be that two of these resources are on opposite sides of a corn field and deer are frequently crossing the opening. It may be the hunting pressure has been so high in the area that deer are remaining in cover during daylight hours. 

Consider these factors, scout for sign and I suspect a good stand location will become obvious.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 6, 2016

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Where should I place a stand near this pinch point?

Question
Dr. Woods,

I am looking at a topographical map of my property and have found what I think may be a very fruitful pinch point. How would you recommend setting up a stand on this pinch point? (The valleys that go north and north east around the 750) I have provided the topo map and the hybrid map. Also, this land was clear cut about 5 years ago so it is one big blackberry thicket.

Thank you,
Andrew Williams

Andrew,

I really like hunting stands placed near pinch points!  In general I like stands as high on the ridge as possible because the wind direction almost always remains more constant near the top of the ridge.  Another big consideration for me is the approach and exit strategy. I wish to be able to approach, hunt, and exit without alerting the deer I wish to hunt. I mention this as you stated this area was a clearcut. Do deer use commonly use it as a bedding area? If so, can you approach this stand without alarming deer?

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 6, 2016

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Do you set up with the wind blowing into where you expect to see deer during the rut?

Question
Dr. Grant,

Being that the rut is soon approaching here in south Alabama, I was wanting to hear your take on wind direction for certain scenarios. Of course, during the season when the rut is not present, I know you want the wind to blow away from where you expect the deer to come. But, during the rut, I’ve always heard a buck will normally present himself down wind of a grunt/rattle to check the area with his nose first. Would it be best to go ahead and set up with the wind blowing into the area of which you expect the buck to be so that your scent attractants will travel in, or should the setup be the same as normal? Also, I will be hunting the rut (like the rest of the season) with my bow.

Thanks,

Haden McGill

Haden,

I’d much rather set up with a cross wind. I call this threading the needle.  My best hunts are often when the wind is such that I feel I’m on the edge of getting busted.  I’ve experienced good success of mature bucks responding to grunts and coming into bow range using this strategy.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 31, 2015


 

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How can I encourage deer to spend more time on the property where I hunt in north Alabama?

Question
Dear Dr. Grant,
I have some property in north alabama that is similar to the proving grounds you hunt on. It is very hilly with rocks in the soil. It is all hard woods and one big crp field, but has some big bucks that travel through the area quite often but I need them to stay on my property any tips?

Mason,

Deer, especially mature bucks, seek the best sources of food, cover, and water within their home range that they don’t associate with danger. I suggest you use Google Earth, etc., and study the neighboring properties and determine the likely best sources of food, cover, and water.  It may be that you can create a better source of one of these necessary resources where you hunt or determine travel paths between these resources on neighboring properties that cross where you hunt.

Enjoy creation,

grant 

December 30, 2015

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What do you think about hunting when the wind is blowing 10-15 miles per hour?

Question
What do think about hunting 10-15 mph gust after a storm front passes I’m in NC

Brandon,

Deer in most places are conditioned to the wind blowing 10-15 miles per hour every now and then.  I like hunting during weather changes and find that deer are often very active just after a front passes.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 16, 2015

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Is an acorn producing oak next to a corn field a good location?

Question
im getting a new stand after Christmas so it’ll be on sale. I think I have a good oak tree that was loaded with acorns this past year. I only have 30 acres of huntable land and want to get the most out of every time I hunt. The oak tree is on a heavy travel strip. Would that be a golden spot especially since it’s also on the edge of a corn field?
Hunter from KY

Hunter,

I like your plan!  Remember that oaks don’t always produce acorns each year.  I also suspect the farmer will occasionally rotate to soybeans.  As the acorn production and crop rotation changes deer patterns may change.  I suggest you monitor the deer sign and adjust the stand location accordingly.

I want you to have a quality safety harness!  If you don’t please purchase one of those before you purchase a stand!  Way to many folks fall from tree stands!  Please be safe!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 16, 2015 

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Can you share some tips for scouting my land in southeastern Kentucky?

Question
Proper way to scout. I have two pieces of land total of about 150 acres in southeastern kentucky. Cover is thick so hard to scout by glassing? I do have one Reconyx camera but as of now it is on my house for home security but subject to change? Can you give me a list so to speak of due’s and dont’s. I know there are decent deer on this property no 170’s deer but decent. I am a avid bowhunter always practice proper scent control but to be honest I am just not that good at scouting. I more than less pick areas by cover or how easy it is to get to them with out making a lot of noise more often than not. I love your show, it is real easy to listen to you and your tips.

Chris,

I agree with you that scouting should not disturb deer, especially just before or during deer season.  I do a lot of scouting after deer season when I’m not as concerned about alarming deer.  I look for areas of travel between feeding and bedding areas. I also look for areas where I can create hidey hole or small food plots. Creating these small plots, even with hand tools, between bedding and feeding areas and in areas where I can approach, hunt, and exit can make a property much easier to hunt!  

I try to locate at least four good stand/blind sites – one for each possible wind direction.  This allows me to hunt during almost any conditions.  It’s Ok to have multiple stands/blinds overlooking the same area – but for different winds.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 16, 2015


 

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Where should I put bow stands?

Question
Where should I setup my bow stands? All the box stands are my gun stand and the all have corn feeders and food plots there. And the deer laying down are there bedding areas I’m pretty sure and the red lines are the property lines. Anything will help and should I bow hunt over corn?

Colton,

I don’t know enough about your property to suggest exactly where to place stands. It appears there are several areas that are planted that join hardwoods.  Such areas are usually great transition zones or travel corridors.  I’d scout those – especially those that are between food and cover and that you can approach, hunt, and exit without alarming deer.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 15, 2015

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Will this stand continue to be productive?

Question
Dr. Grant,

I was fortunate this year and harvested a great 8 point this year while I was home on military leave. He green scored 147.5. My question has to do with how and where I killed this buck. I saw this deer at first in a thicket chasing a hot doe but he never got close enough to shoot. I was bummed out because the same thing happened the year before when I had two 140 class animals at 65 yards and just couldn’t seal the deal. Anyway, I took a looked at my topo maps and realized this deer was on the same ridge that I had seen a huge trail during spring turkey season. So the Saturday after my encounter I had a perfect northwest wind and I moved my climber back on that same ridge 300 yards in a clearing where I though he was running back and forth. The ridge where I set up was about 50 yards wide so I set up in the middle and had a real steep drop behind me and a field in front. I killed that buck at 12 yards at 1405 on an all day sit. Now that I have explained why I did what I did, heres my ultimate question. Will that spot continue to produce? I feel like it is a perfect rut stand and was wondering if there is any truth to bucks moving in once a dominant buck has been killed? Can I look forward to that happening or is it very rare for deer to pick up on that sort of thing?

Mike,

Thank you for your service to the United States and congratulations for tagging a nice buck!  

Good stand/blind locations tend to remain productive as long as nothing major changes in the local habitat.  However, this is not because other bucks “move in.”  

Deer, especially mature deer, rarely leave their home range.  Deer know the locations of food, cover, and predators within their home range and rarely venture into new areas.   Contrary to many rumors bucks don’t roam the county seeking does. However, other deer in the area will certainly use the area for the same reason the buck you tagged found it attractive.  This is why knowing the habitat and the preferred sources of food, cover, and water are such great strategies for tagging mature bucks annually!

Good stand/blind sites are not only where deer tend to be active but also where hunters can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  It sounds like you’ve found such a location!   You should look forward to hunting that location again next year during the same time frame!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 14, 2015

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Should I start scouting now?

Question
I want to do some scouting. Should I start scouting for next year if I already tagged out? I want to find new spots because at my other spots I don’t see many deer. Plus how can I hunt without a stand for a permanent spot? If I should scout, how do I start? Just, what can I do to start? It also should be fairly easy because I’m only 14.

Aaron,

Congratulations on tagging out already this year!  

I scout year round.  My scouting includes using trail cameras, studying what portions of the land I hunt deer are using during different conditions, and studying maps like Google Earth!  I’m amazed at what can be learned about properties by studying them in detail using the different Google Earth features.

I also practice with my bow and gun year round.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 10, 2015

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How can I attract more deer to the 80 acre property I hunt in Georgia?

Question
Dr. Woods,

I’m currently hunting on an 80-acre property in Georgia that has plenty of dense cover and water but limited quality browse for deer (e.g., Chinese privet). The deer seem to just wander through the property but rarely stay on the property for long periods of time. Additionally, there are oaks on the property but if they don’t produce one year then deer appear to spend even less time on the property. What suggestions would you give to improve the property in hopes of keeping deer on the land for longer periods of time? I’ve considered opening up the canopy by using hinge-cuts and establishing small hidey hole food plots. My only concern with the food plots is that deer will hammer the plots due to limited browse on the property (and it appears on adjacent properties–open timber). I would greatly appreciate any insight that you may have on making this property more attractive to deer.

Best regards,

Andy

Andy,

Deer often have a random pattern in areas where quality food isn’t available.  Deer seek quality food, cover and water daily.  If these resources are generic within their home range deer can be very tough to pattern.

I’m not a huge hinge cutting fan. The limbs of hinge cut trees typically grow out of reach of deer within a year or two in Georgia and simply become a mess of humans and not that attractive for deer.

I’d rather you put your energy into developing small plots, even if they are only planted with cool season blends during the hunting season.  It sounds like these plots would certainly attract deer! You might consider using a Hot Zone fence to protect the forage until you are ready to hunt!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 10, 2015

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Why am I not seeing deer during the rut?

Question
Hi Grant, I started hunting a new piece of land this year, I have seen a lot of does and even shot and missed one during bow season. My problem is seeing bucks, we have pictures of several nice bucks but there all at night, also rut is supposed to be in right now and I’m finding very few scrapes,, we have horned trees all over, I’ve hunted morning, evening, mid day and all day and it seems like the deer, even the does are shutting down during the day. The Bucks haven’t moved during the day all season, I am disabled and cant hunt as much as I would like. I would appreciate any advice you could give me, Also One of the guys I hunt with said it was the same way last year. Please HELP??

Kevin,

It’s understandable not seeing much deer activity during the rut.  Bucks don’t need to move much during the peak of the rut.  This is when the highest percentage of does are receptive and bucks don’t have to travel far to pair up with a doe.  Once with a receptive doe bucks often tend that doe for 24-36 hours.  Often neither the buck or doe will travel far during this time.  In addition, because there are often many receptive does in the area bucks or does rarely use scrapes during the peak of the rut.

There’s often more activity during the pre and post rut when bucks are actively seeking receptive does.  In addition and bucks certainly visit scrapes more during the pre and post rut than during the peak of the rut.

Hunting can be great during the post rut if the temperature is average or colder than average.  

By the post rut most deer have become conditioned to avoiding hunters.  Try to hunt areas deer don’t associate with danger – especially during the post rut!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 6, 2015 

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How would you improve this 30 acre property?

Question
Hello Dr. Grant my question is that the property I hunt is about 30 acres and half of it is ag field that the farmer who leases the field plants corn, soybean, winter wheat and there is a lot of fields behind our property. I attached a picture and is outlined in white. The rest of the property use to be a pasture field 20 years ago and has grown up since so it has dense cover for em with some paths my step dad and I have made with atv and brush hog. Has some cedar trees and few small fruit trees which I have no clue how to take care of and do produce fruit but small fruit. We are trying to fig out what to plant to try to keep deer in this area. There is about 8 doe that stay here consistently but bucks do not really stay. Can you give any tips on how to manage this small acreage with what to plant, how to keep deer in the area and just overall any advice to make this place a whitetail haven.

Like I said there is good cover, bedding, water different food. I just need to know what I am missing or doing wrong that other then doe they don’t wanna stay here. Thank you Dr. Grant.

God bless

Ryan,

It appears you hunt the largest block of cover in the area and that there are ag fields to the south (below the houses), west, and north.  I prefer to hunt cover as that’s where deer spend most of the daylight hours!  

I’d suggest developing a hidey hole (relatively small) plot near the north and south property borders.  I suspect deer will use these hidey hole plots as staging areas.  This would allow you to have a stand/blind for days when there is a north and south wind.  I wouldn’t venture very far into the property. I’d work to limit disturbance there and allow the deer to use this area as a sanctuary and hunt the edges where deer enter and exit the property.  

As time allows I’d develop a staging area that’s favorable for the hunter to access, hunt, and exit with a north, east, south, and west wind without alerting deer.  I suspect local bucks will use this area more once it’s managed as a sanctuary and they feel secure there.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 6, 2015 

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Do you have any ideas of how to hunt this 46 acres in Indiana?

Question
Good afternoon, first I’d like to say I enjoy watching your show every week. I live and hunt in central Indiana the property I have to hunt is 46 acres and about half of that is agricultural fields. The other half is thickest, hedge apples, sticker bushes, and some real thick nasty stuff. This is my first full season hunting this property. I’m have a real hard time finding the deer. There are lots of deer tracks, trails, and signs of deer on the field edges and going into the woods/ thickest.
There is a good size creek that runs the length of the property. If you could give me some pointer on stand locations and how to hunt the deer for late season it would be greatly appreciated. The property to the West was corn and has been harvested, the land on the East was not planted do to all the rain this year. Thanks and God bless.

Dave,

Deer often use creeks as travel corridors in areas where most of the surrounding land is used for row crops. You might be able to hunt both ends of the property along the creek and have two sites for two different wind directions!  

If weeds were allowed to grow in the unplanted field to the east I suspect deer are using that area for cover.  I’d scout the edges of it for major trails.

It’s often difficult to hang stands in hedge and “sticker” trees.  You might try placing ground blinds at appropriate locations.  Remember to pick blind sites that allow you to enter, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  

Given the size of the block of cover on this property you should be able to hunt the edges and not have to disturb the central portions of the property.  The home range of the deer there will most likely be much larger than the 46 acres.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 4, 2015

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Why did the deer change their pattern?

Question
I am hunting private property on a farm the owners say the deer are in the field at around five every evening I have been Four days in a row and have not seen a single deer what could be making this happen

Mark,

There are several reasons deer could have changed the time they feed including:

1. Changed weather conditions.  Deer are very responsive to changes in weather conditions.

2. Something alerted the deer (either a two or four legged predator).  Did you scout before you hunted and/or was the wind in your favor when you hunted?

If you didn’t alert the deer I’d give it another try soon!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 3, 2015

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Will a hidey hole plot benefit my hunting property?

Question
Good morning Grant and team!
I am writing from the great state of Wisconsin, and first wanted to thank you for all the great information on your site! I have learned a lot from all the other previously asked questions but figured I would try one of my own.

I hunt a small peninsula it is only a few acres in size and seperated from the rest of the private land by a small river. It’s very thick with both a mature pine and oak canopy, as well as enough vines and dead fall trees that it’s an excursion just to get there. A little over 200 years from me, on the neighbors land is a large corn field. I have dressed several deer with stomachs full from them. I have been looking at food plots but the cons side seem to outweigh the pro and hoping for your input. The soil is very Sandy with little direct sunlight. Additionally thanks to cranberry bogs nearby the river floods a couple days at a time, a few times per year, putting my stand underwater. My gut tells me I can overcome the soil issues, but water will be tough. I also great that a small food plot near me will not be able to compete with the corn fields to draw deer. The optimist in me wants to say even a 50’x50′ section of what or soybeans might be enough to get a deer to detour quick while coming or going to bedding, but I’d it with it to disturb the area?

 

Joe,

Thank you for sharing the kind words!

I agree that it will be difficult to compete with a large ag field as far as providing nutrition to the local deer herd.
Deer, especially mature bucks, will often use hidey hole plots as staging areas before entering large feeding areas. I do suggest you create a hidey hole plot!  You may need to protect it with a Hot Zone fence from over browsing until you are ready to hunt.  Staging areas can be great stand/blind locations!

Before establishing the plot consider how you will enter, hunt, and exit without alerting deer!  These are critical aspects of a good staging area stand!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 3, 2015

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How can I get big bucks to move during daylight?

Question
How to get big bucks to move during the day without food plots?

Denzel,

There’s not much that can be done to “get big bucks to move during daylight?”.  Deer need food, cover, and water.  I try to learn where and when deer where I’m hunting use these  resources.  Weather and fear are huge factors in determining the time of day deer are active.  We can’t control the  weather but we can work to not alert deer by using smart hunting techniques.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 3, 2015

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How can I determine the direction deer are traveling?

Question
I was wondering if you had any suggestions for intercepting deer at shooting light..? I have a few stands with decent activity, but all that activity is usually within 20-30 mins before or after shooting light. How do I figure out which direction they’re actually coming from to maybe move my stand a little closer to and catch them during shooting light? I have a lot of good sign where I sit. Runs, scrapes, rubs. I have had some dawn and dusk activity on a camera in the area, but that is sporadic at best. I really appreciate the information you provide through GrowingDeer.tv. Thank you for any advice you can give!

Matt,

You might move one of your trail cameras to monitor the sign. The pictures will tell you which way the deer are moving.  It sounds as if you know where the deer commonly bed. It’s safe to assume they are moving toward the bedding area during the morning and away from it during the late afternoons.  

Deer tend to move later during the morning and earlier during the afternoon just before and during cold fronts.  Try to use this to your advantage and hunt when cold fronts are passing!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 25, 2015

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Why do the deer vanish from my 40 acres in Dent County, Missouri?

Question
Dr. Woods,
First I want to say I love your videos and website.
I have some questions regarding deer on my property. I own 40 acres in Dent County, MO. I have owned this for 4 deer seasons. I have only seen 2 deer while hunting and only 3 deer have been harvested by others on my property. 2012 and 2015 we seen 0 deer. We have game cameras and have tons of deer all year long, but come harvest seasons they are gone. What direction can you send me in to help get info on what I need to do or not do. I am 30 years old and love the outdoors and land management but do not know much but willing to learn. I want a place my kids will see wildlife and share the passion I have. People have told me I need more acres and I have looked into it but money and property connecting to me for sale is always an issue. Thank you and any help is appreciated.

Devin,

Deer seek food, water, and cover daily and tend to use the best of these resources in their home range.  The “best” resource may not be the best quality, but the one they associate with the least danger.  

If deer are using your property throughout the year except for during season it’s most likely because food sources have changed or the amount of hunting pressure on your property alerts them.  

I’d drive through the neighborhood and evaluate what food sources are available?  For example, is there a standing corn or soybean field close by?  I’d also evaluate if there’s more or less hunting pressure on neighboring properties.  Seek to identify what could be alerting or attracting the deer and I suspect you’ll solve the mystery.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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What else can I do to the habitat where I hunt in Indiana?

Question
I have watched your videos for years now and have been doing my best to apply what I learn to the properties I hunt. I hunt a farm in northern Indiana about 80 acres majority covered in pines and hardwoods, however the land owner doesn’t want me to plant food plots or cut down trees. it also has a decent sized pond on the property and borders a lake. So I am lost on what Else I could do to make the property better.

Austin,

You certainly need to respect the landowner’s wishes!  

Sometimes when habitat improvement projects aren’t feasible it’s best to focus on hunting strategies.

I suggest you study the food, cover, and water resources on neighboring properties using Google Earth, etc.  Use this information to help determine where deer may be traveling through the property you hunt.

Consider making part of the property a sanctuary. Limit hunting pressure so deer feel comfortable there.  Deer spend most of the daylight hours in cover so it’s best if the cover or safe area on the property where you hunt!  Make sure you can approach your stands/blinds without alerting deer. This may mean walking downwind side of the property to reach your stand/blind rather than a shorter route through the property.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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Any tips for hunting this 20 acres in southeast Alabama?

Question
Hi Grant!,

I’m a new hunter, and my latest pastime has been listening to your show in my headphones while I’m at work. You have offered such a wealth of information.

As I said, I’m a new hunter, this will be my first season. I have permission to hunt a small 20 acre tract of land in southeast Alabama that belongs to my future in-laws. The land is hilly with a lot of standing timber, and a swamp running south along the eastern edge of the property.. There are a couple of access roads cut through the land, but they mostly travel the perimeter. I’m a disabled vet, and so I don’t really have the strength to do much land clearing, planting, or even to set up a tree stand. I’ll be hunting out of a ground blind all season.

My question for you is this. With the limited visibility of hunting in a heavily forested region out of a ground blind, what is the easiest way to get deer into visible range? Keep in mind that no bait or attractant is legal while hunting in Alabama. I have tried a grunt call, and a rattling bag, but so far no success.

Any other tips for a new hunter are greatly appreciated as well.

God Bless

Errol,

Thank you for your service to our nation!!

Deer use food, cover, and water daily. Knowing which source of those resources deer will use on any given day is tough!

I noticed your blind is near a known bedding area!  That’s a great strategy!  Be sure and only approach and hunt when the wind is in your favor,  As you approach your stand watch for signs for deer feeding on acorns.  Once acorns start falling deer often feed under certain trees until a better source is available.  Which trees/acorns deer prefer often changes multiple times throughout the season based on several factors including species, moisture through the summer, etc.

Deer frequent areas they associate with safety.  Working to maintain part of the property as a sanctuary could also work in your favor.

I hope a neighbor, etc., will assist you with clearing some shooting lanes and maybe even preparing a small food plot! 

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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Does a full moon impact timing or amount of deer activity?

Question
Last week I heard in a plog you did, that moon phases has no effect on the rut, but how about a full moon on deer movement in general?

Robert,

There have been and currently are 1,000’s of deer wearing GPS units (on collars). Other researchers and myself have analyzed data collected by these GPS units and found no relationship between any phase of the moon and the timing or amount of deer activity.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 24, 2015

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Which side of the plot should I hang a stand?

Question
Dr.Grant, I will be heading out for a archery bow hunt with my cousin next week in the middle of the week. I have not been able to set stands or blinds up in this area but I need to and my food plots have one big tree on the side that stands out that might be a good spot not sure? with cold weather and snow at the end of the week what day should I hunt and what time of day the rut will be in full swing when I am down there. any tips would be great! Thanks! Your friend in christ Sam Martin

 

Sam,

I’m glad you will be hunting soon!

I’d place a stand or blind on the side of the food plot that most favorable for you to approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer!

When the temperatures are colder than normal deer tend to feed a bit later during the morning giving hunters a chance to sneak into stands close to food sources without alerting deer.  I used this strategy a few years ago to tag a buck we called the Trashman.  You may watch that hunt at: https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/hunting-big-bucks-taking-out-the-trashman

Deer certainly tend to feed a bit early during the afternoons if the night time temperatures are going to be colder than normal.

Be safe and enjoy creation,

grant

November 23, 2015

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What techniques do you use after the rut?

Question
Is there a key to being successful during the two weeks after the rut? Every year it seems that the two weeks immediately following the rut deer activity really slows down. Thanks!

Luke,

“Rut” is a loosely defined term. Currently at The Proving Grounds most does have been bred and bucks are again seeking receptive does.  The lock down phase of the rut is ending – when most does were receptive and bucks only moved after finishing tending a receptive doe for 24-36 hours.  I will again focus on travel corridors and scrapes. I use these techniques for about two weeks and then return to hunting feeding/bedding patterns.

As always, there’s usually more deer activity just before and after a strong cold front so I’m always watching the weather forecast!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015
 

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Why are deer in southern Michigan where I hunt not very active during daylight?

Question
Grant,

My father just moved onto a 30 acre piece of land in Southwest Michigan. I have 2 Trail Cameras out looking at piles of corn and deer licks, and all I get is pictures/ videos of doe at night. I have yet to have a picture of a buck or any deer in the day time.. Are there any reasons that this may be happening? Any tips? Also, We were only able to set one stand out and we put it sitting next to one of the main deer trails, but I have only seen one deer while out hunting. Any recommendations? Finally, what do you feel the best food plot is for deer when the only place to put a plot is in lower elevation and wet ground? Keep up the great work

God Bless,

Ben

Ben,

Congratulations on having a new place to hunt!  

Deer tend to be active at night when the daytime temperatures are warmer than normal or they’ve been repeatedly alerted during the daylight.  

Deer tend to move more at night when the temperatures are cooler if the daytime temperatures are warmer than normal for that time of year.  

Deer also may alter when they are active to avoid what they consider threats.  You’ve probably noticed deer in city parks, etc., are often very active during daylight hours.  However, in areas where hunting pressure is high deer tend to be more active during the night.

Try to hunt in such a way that you don’t alert deer while approaching, hunting, and leaving stands/blinds.  Make the property where you hunt a refuge for deer and they will spend more time there!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015 

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Can I do anything to make deer where I hunt be more active during daylight?

Question
Dr. Grant my name is Tyler Lovelady. I am 13 years old, and I was wondering how to get the deer to move in more daylight hours. I have a stand located near a food plot where I killed a nice buck with my crossbow, but it was in the morning. BTW I was using g5 Havoc broadheads. Well the deer stand that I killed the buck it was in the morning, and in the evenings I don’t see any deer going to the food plot but at night they move through that spot. Basically what I am asking is how do I get the deer to come in the evening through that spot where I can get a shot?

Tyler,

Congratulations on tagging a buck!  Typically deer move after dark due to the temperatures being warmer than normal or to avoid danger.  If deer have sensed danger in an area they often will only be active there after dark.  If deer are using the area, but only after dark you may need to not hunt there for a week or only hunt there when the conditions (wind) allow you to approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015

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How can I attract mature bucks to the 50 acres I hunt?

Question
Dr. Grant, how do I make my 50 acres (highlighted) more attractive to the mature deer over the vast acres of woods behind mine (about 800 acres). My property is the closest to civilization than all the others. I have small bucks and occasionally the big boys will show up at night once every week or so. I have small food plots, lots of white oaks, thick brush and water, but the deer dont stay. So how do I keep them on my property or at least keep them coming more often. Any advice will help a lot. Located in western North Carolina. Thank you!

Zeb,

Deer, especially mature bucks seldom leave their home range.  In fact, the home range size of bucks often decrease as they mature.  

Are there many mature bucks in the area?  Are hunters on neighboring properties passing immature bucks?  

Deer need food, cover, and water daily.  To encourage deer to spend more time on the 50 acres where you hunt there needs to be an attaction. You mentioned white oaks. I assume there are white oaks on the adjoining property (the 800 forest).  I would consider establishing a tree plot with fruit trees that aren’t available locally.  Check out http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com or call them for more information about treeplots!

Water is probably plentiful in the neighborhood.  That leaves cover.  Cover is strongly associated with hunting pressure.  Is there more hunting pressure on your property or the neighbors?  Where will mature bucks feel the most secure – be alerted the least?  

Can you approach/access your property from multiple directions?  For example if you can only access your property from the south and there’s a south wind it will be tough to get to stands/blinds without alerting deer.  

By the way, my wife, Tracy, is from North Carolina!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015 

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Should I hunt during the AM or PM?

Question
What is your philosophy and criteria regarding hunting AM or PM? Typically, what time do you try to be in your stand? I have heard that we should walk the wood trails in the AM and the field edges in the afternoon on the way to the stand. Is this true? Thanks for your show. It is tremendous.

Gary,

I look at each property and stand location independently.  I like to hunt stands that allow me to approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  

Some properties have so many fields or openings that it’s tough to approach stands during the AM without alerting deer.  It’s tough for hunters to be moving when deer are moving without alerting deer.  Such hunts require planning.  

During most situations deer bed during the day. This allows hunters to approach most stands during the afternoon without alerting deer.  

I suggest you evaluate each stand and determine what time of day you can approach it without alerting deer.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015

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Is the rut over in Kentucky?

Question
I bow hunted a week before gun season and seen bucks chasing. Its the first week of gun season here in Ky and all I have seen since it started is packs of does with no bucks following. Is the rut over?

Dustin,

Last week was likely when most does were receptive.  Bucks didn’t have to move far to find a receptive doe.  Now that a majority of does have been bred bucks are back to searching for receptive does!  During the past two days many hunters are reporting seeing mature bucks!  Now’s a great time to be hunting!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015

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How can I improve my spot?

Question
I have a very urban spot, set up in a turtle blind. All I feed is apples and corn in a pile. I am only 14 years old so i can’t move my spot. Plus I haven’t seen a mature buck on camera at all this year. I want to make my spot better, but i don’t know how. Another thing is that this place about 3-4 years back was a honey hole. Now there’s barely anything. So basically my question is how can I make my spot better?

Aaron,

I’m glad you have a place to hunt!  

Has anything changed in the area would have caused the deer to alter their pattern?  Maybe new construction or a change in crops close by?  If the habitat has remained relatively stable are there other factors that may be alerting deer such as new dogs, etc., in the area?

Deer often do a better job of patterning us than we do patterning them?  I try to approach, hunt, and exit my stand without alerting deer.   

As the winter progresses and food resources become limited hopefully deer will return to using the area around your blind!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 19, 2015

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Are there any special strategies for hunting water sources?

Question
I stumbled across your website and Youtube channel recently. As a 40-year old 2nd-year hunter, I couldn’t be happier with all of the information you provide.

We have a very small pond on our property that is nearly dried up, but it does keep enough water in it to be used by the deer population. The reason I know is there are countless prints going to the water.

What should be my strategy for hunting around that pond? There is great cover, great trees for hanging a stand, and great bedding areas nearby.

Are there any special considerations I should make for hunting above this water source?

Jason,

Thank you for sharing the kind words!  

Deer tend to be very alert when approaching food or water sources.  If water is a limited resource where you hunt then this may be a great stand location!  I always consider how I approach, hunt, and exit areas of limited resources so I don’t alert deer. I don’t want them associating the area with danger.  This may mean having multiple stands/blinds near the pond so it can be hunted during multiple wind directions.  If the conditions aren’t favorable I’d hunt somewhere else so I don’t risk alerting deer!  

If water isn’t a limited resource in that area you might consider having some alternate stand locations to hunt based on food and/or cover resources.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 16, 2015 

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How many hours per day do you spend in a stand during the rut?

Question
Grant,
How many hours per day do you spend in a stand during the rut?

Thanks for the help,
Dan

Dan,

It depends on weather conditions, hunting pressure, etc.  If the temperature is normal or colder and the wind is at least seven miles per hour and consistently from one direction I’ll  hunt all day.  If the temperatures are warmer than normal and/or the wind is mild and/or swirling I’ll usually only hunt the early morning and late evenings when the thermals are predictable.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 13, 2015

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Do you have any tips to help me scout for an upcoming quota hunt?

Question
As a young person who is trying to get involved with hunting in my state, I have a couple of beginner questions. I grew up in another state and had almost no experience hunting until moving here. I tried public land hunting for the last two years, but have come up unsuccessful thus far. I live in a state where public land hunting is about a 2.5 hour drive away and where the success rates are quite low. We do have quota hunts every year, but they are typically very hard to get selected for; however, this year I was selected for a two day hunt that begins in early December.

I have no idea where to start.

The quota hunt location is about an hour from my house and I am hoping to scout the area both this weekend and next weekend in preparation for the upcoming hunt. I was hoping you could give me advice on where to scout and what to look for when I am scouting. I know the basics (or what I think are the basics)- tracks, rubs, and trails – but I am not sure where to decide where to hunt.

I should note that I do not own a deer stand and it was strongly recommended not to use a stand in these areas (by the DNR officer I spoke with). They are only allowed to be up for a short time (a couple of days) and must be taken down on the last day of the hunt. As such, I plan on hunting without a stand. My current approach is to scout near the creeks to try to find trails and go from there. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I attached two files of the hunting locations (it is a quota hunt that encompasses two WMA’s – I can hunt one or both of them).

Red,

Congratulations on being selected for the quota hunt! 

Based on the maps, its appears the topography of both areas is very steep.  I strongly prefer to hunt ridgetops versus creek bottoms in such areas.  The winds and thermals tend to swirl frequently near creeks in such areas.  I’d look for areas where two ridges come together. Deer often seek the path of least resistance and ridgetops are often the easiest way to get from point A to point B in such habitat.  

More specifically, I’d scout to find intersections of ridges for different wind directions so you’ll have a site that favorable for any wind direction when you hunt. 

Another consideration will be hunting pressure.  You should consider walking a bit further than most hunters will – and allow the other hunters to drive deer to you!  Plan on spending most of the day in the woods – so when other hunters are bored and moving they will push deer to you.

Be safe and enjoy creation,

grant

November 12, 2015

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How/where do you suggest I hunt the 60 acre farm shown in these maps?

Question
I’m wondering if you can help me on stand locations on my lease. Its basically all flat land with hwy 44 to the South and a farm road on the north. To the east and west are alfalfa fields. The property I hunt is approximately 60 acres and is about 35-40% wooded. The field on my lease is planted in Brome hay which the deer don’t seem to care for much. The woods are so thick that you can barely walk through much of it, and some is too thick to walk through at all. Briars and wild roses are everywhere.

The pond you will see on the overview is a dried up pond which only hold water 12″ or so after heavy rains. and the cut to the East by the neighbors big pond is my food plot which the back half is in clover and the rest is in sorghum. It just seems that the deer move all over and its hard to pattern them. I have 3 trail cameras out now, but they don’t seem to have a pattern.

I like the area on the East side where it gets narrow, but getting to it especially in the morning without spooking deer is my problem. Im just hoping for some advice from someone with more experience than myself as I never had anyone teach me and am trying to figure this out myself.

Eric,

If you have permission I suggest creating a few hidey hole plots in the thick woods for next year.  In addition, create an entrance and exit path or paths that allow you to hunt with winds from different directions.  

I’d also checkout the corners of the large field on the lease. Deer often travel just inside timber near corners of large fields. 

Your observations are correct – deer rarely eat Timothy hay (or other grasses used for hay).  However, deer may certainly be using the thick cover where you hunt and I prefer the deer bed on the property where I hunt – as deer are typically bedded or near bedding areas during daylight hours.  

Finally, it’s critical that you (all of us) can approach, hunt, and exit the property without alerting deer. There may be some days you elect not to hunt due to wind direction, etc.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 11, 2015

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What are some common food sources for deer in urban areas?

Question
Dr. Grant Woods,

I am a relatively new bow hunter but it’s something I love doing. I have just recently found your videos and not stopped watching them. While watching your videos I thought up a few questions I would like to ask.
First to set the scene I am a college student at Husson University which is located in Bangor, Maine. The majority of hunting I do is in the expanded zones which are made up in the city limits. Maine has harsh winters and limited sources of food especially in the city.
My question for you is how would I go about finding a food source for white tails in the city? There aren’t many farms or orchards and few sections of woods here and there. From what I can tell the deer travel large areas eating from what they can find. Do you have an suggestions?
Also how you talk about food, cover, and water quite often I was wondering what you would consider a good water source for deer? Would they drink from small creeks going into swamps, or how would you know what type of water they would go to?
Attached is a photo of me with my first deer I took this past year. He is a young buck that I grunted at three times while in a field and he came running right towards me. I love watching your show and your work has inspired me to work with wildlife after my time as an officer in the Army.
Thank you for your time and hope you and your family have a wonderful hunting season.

Respectfully,

Devin West

Devin,

Thank you for your service to the USA!!!  

Deer living in urban environments often eat landscape plants that are heavily fertilized!  Many of these plants are very nutritious.  Damage to landscape plants is a common reason deer bag limits are very liberal in urban areas.  The best way to determine what deer are eating in any habitat is what I call scouting from the skinning shed.  This simply means inspecting the rumen (stomach) content of a hunter harvested, road killed, etc. deer.  This information is current and 100% accurate for that location because deer are selective feeders. They tend to eat the best food available within their range. 

There’s often plenty of water sources in urban environments. I’ve had my best success hunting cover or travel zones in urban areas.  Cover can be any undeveloped area.  I prefer hunting where deer enter/exit cover than going inside areas of cover and alerting deer.  

Urban deer can be very challenging to hunt. Congratulations on tagging a buck. It sounds like it was an exciting hunt!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 11, 2015

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What should I do if the deer where I seem to mainly be active after dark?

Question
What should I do if my deer are going nocturnal.

Michael,

Unless the deer are moving during the night due to hunting pressure, etc., there’s not much that can be done.  

If the daytime temperatures have been above normal where you hunt that probably explains deer have been active after dark.

Hopefully a cold front will pass where you hunt soon!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 9, 2015 

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Did harvesting a buck cause deer to leave my hunting area?

Question
Mid to late October gun season comes in for Georgia, and I’ve got lucky enough to harvest a nice 9 pointer. Before season came in I’ve got a lot of action on my trail camera but ever since I shot that buck I have got minimum to no action in the apparent area. I have no idea what I’ve done, no activity go in the area unless I go hunt. Should I leave the area and fine another one?

Brannen,

I doubt the disturbance of harvesting a buck, retrieving it, etc., caused deer to leave the area where you hunt. 

Rather, I suspect local food sources have changed, etc.  Consider what’s changed in the area such as acorns falling, crops harvested, timber being cut, etc.  Deer rarely leave their home range even with highways, being built, etc.  I’d scout the area and look for fresh sign and move the trail cameras to another location.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 9, 2015 

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When will most does be receptive in Virginia?

Question
Grant , here in Virginia our gun season comes in this Saturday . My question is when is the rutting season start here , been seeing scraps and rubs . Large bucks are moving after sunset and before sunrise , by the photos we’ve been getting . Plenty of places for bedding down , had logging done on parts of property and we know they are learning it . Looking forward to a great season , waiting for you reply . Thank you

Sonny,

Unless the deer herd’s adult sex ratio has been managed to strongly favor bucks the majority of does will become receptive from approximately November 10th through the 25th.  A whitetail’s gestation period is approximately 200 days.  Most fawns are born during mid-late May through early June.  

Some folks describe the rut as when bucks are most active.  This occurs just before most does are receptive – so during approximately November 5th – 10th. is prime hunting time throughout much of the whitetail’s range.

Missouri’s gun season opens this weekend and as along as the daytime temperature are not warmer than normal it should be a good season!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 9, 2015

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Will a protein feed attract more bucks than corn?

Question
Hi Grant,

I love watching your videos and reading your blogs. I feel like I’ve learned a great deal from you.

I have a question. Last year, we purchased 40 acres just west of Holdenville, Oklahoma. I feel we have pretty decent deer traffic for the small acreage. My question though, is that we have had almost zero buck traffic at all. I have a 3G trail cam that text me pictures but never get any bucks. I run a corn feeder year round, and a friend suggested running a gravity feeder with Antler Maxx as well and that will increase buck traffic. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Shawn

Shawn,

I’m not aware of any feed that attracts deer better than corn during the fall/winter in most cases/places.  Corn contains a lot of carbs and deer seek carbs during this time of year.  

Bucks (or does) rarely travel outside their home range.  Bucks may be avoiding your feeder/camera because the associate the area with fear if you’ve hunted near the feeder. You might try placing the camera by a scrape or other area deer don’t associate with fear.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Will deer see hunters in a stand that’s 10′ tall?

Question
can a tree stand be 10 feet tall on the edge of a paraline could the deer see ya? or does it have to be 15 feet?

Kody,

I’m more concerned about how much a hunter is moving than the stand’s height.  Deer eyes are created to detect movement.  I’ve had many deer walk within feet of me while sitting on the ground with orange on.  I’ve also been busted many times when moving while in a stand that’s 20′ high.

As a close friend of mine says “the best camo is a can of sit still.”  

10′ high will work great if you remain still.  Most importantly please wear a safety harness and be tethered to the tree from the first step off the ground!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 15, 2015

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Will rains affect the timing of the rut?

Question
It’s been raining here in middle Georgia for several days and I was just wondering the best times to hunt around rainy weather and If the rain will have any affect on the rut

Kaleb,

Unless flooding is extremely bad rain won’t likely impact timing of the rut.  

I don’t bow hunt during heavy rains as the rain destroys blood trails.  I like hunting just when the rain is letting up!  I like hunting when a cold front is passing even more. Hopefully the rain will be pushed out of your area by a cold front.  Cold fronts this time of year often result in substantial daytime buck activity!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 4, 2015

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How can I encourage the bucks on my property in Oklahoma to be more active during daylight?

Question
I live in NE Oklahoma and I have an 10 point and a really good 8 point on my property. But on my trail cams they are only coming out at night. How do I get the big bucks to come out during hunting hours?

Logan,

Deer typically are active during the night because the temperatures are warm or they’ve been alerted during the daytime and associate daytime activity with danger.  There’s a cold front forecast to pass over northeastern Oklahoma this weekend which should result in mature deer being more active during daylight hours. If the bucks haven’t been alerted to much I suspect they’ll be more active during daylight once the temperatures drop!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 3, 2015

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Is it an advantage to be scent free in areas where deer are used to your presence?

Question
Grant,I’m so happy you are doing this”question/answer “thing. I’ve picked up a lot. Thank you.
I was wondering what your take is on being “scent free” in locations that deer are used to you being out on the property on a regular basis. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt but I’m not sure just how important it is in this circumstance.I went on stand last night and purposely wore my farming boots just to see if I got a reaction. I had a forkhorn pick up my scent about 35 yards out from the stand.He tracked me to within 7 yards and did some looking but was not alarmed by my scent.After casually looking around he continued feeding and actually came back an hour later with no regard to the scent trail I had left earlier.
Granted,this was not a wise old deer,but I’d sure like to hear your opinion of these situations.
Thanks again!
Wade

Wade,

I always wish to reduce the odds of alerting deer as much as possible.  I’d strongly prefer to be scent free versus having a deer that’s used to smelling know I’m present and look at me. The deer may react to me drawing a bow, etc.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 3, 2015

 

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Have you seen Chainsaw lately?

Question
Has anyone or the reconyx seen chainsaw lately? What do you call the biggest buck that you are hunting now? Is there a daylight mover that you see as the most killable mature buck?

Mark,

We haven’t seen Chainsaw lately.  There’s a pile of acorns here and deer can feed anywhere they wish.  A neighbor reported seeing a buck that sounded like Chainsaw. 

Mature bucks are just starting to be more active during daylight.  The next week or so should be some great hunting!  In fact, a cold front is forecast to arrive Friday!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 3, 2015

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How how do you hang deer stands?

Question
How high do you typically hang your deer stands and what factors do you take in consideration in determining the height?

Craig,

Most of my stands are 20′ + – high.  If stands are much higher it’s very difficult to get both lungs if the deer is relatively close to the stand due to the angle.  My stands may be a bit higher or lower based on the topography near the stand.  If the stands are lower deer tend to pick up movement easier.  There’s a neat explanation to the angles deer can see at:  https://www.qdma.com/articles/deer-can-see-you-even-when-theyre-eating

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 3, 2015

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How do I pick a stand site when there are acorns everywhere?

Question
Grant,
First off, I love your show. I watch 2 to 3 episodes a night before bed on youtube and I always manage to learn something new. I really enjoy it. But down to business.
There is one big mature buck in this area but I can’t seem to corner him. There are a couple small bucks but not much competition. Now my question is, where would I put a stand to be most effective in seeing this buck? (the red dots indicate rubs, the white dots are scrapes and the green circles are known bedding areas) I’m having trouble with this because the scrapes haven’t been freshened up in about 3 weeks even though it has rained so I can’t really hunt them. Also there’s no single food source because its all hardwoods where he’s active and there are acorns literally everywhere. Should I just put a stand near some travel areas for does and hope he’s with them as the rut is fast approaching here in GA? Thanks in advance
Levi

Levi,

It can be very difficult or impossible to pattern a buck in areas where there are acorns almost everywhere.  If there are no obvious bottlenecks I hunt the most sign that can be approached without alerting deer.  As the acorns become less plentiful you may find preferred feeding areas.

I’d certainly check out the apparent travel area between the two bedding areas that next to the clearcut.  I suspect bucks will travel that route often during the rut.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 2, 2015

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How should I hunt this property in West Virginia during the rut?

Question
Dr. Grant, I am in a tight situation with the rut coming on fast here in Wv. The mature bucks are starting to seek for does in estrus, and as I recently hunted some new territory with a friend on public land this past weekend, we got permission to hunt 450 acres of private land. The private land had many grown up hay fields, a small pond, and a few oak benches below some of the fields. But in the one evening I went in with a self climbing stand I found several fresh rubs and two active scrapes on one of the benches that were producing oak. I don’t have much time to hunt it, let alone scout a lot. What should I do to get a mature buck to cruise my way next time I’m on this new property?

Thank you,
Caleb

Caleb,

Bucks are not very predictable during the rut. I suggest you study a Google Earth image, etc., of the property and look for bottlenecks, etc.  You mentioned ponds. I like stands by ponds as the they act as barrier and create a bottleneck. Deer will swim ponds, but don’t want to unless forced. I’d check out the largest pond and see if there’s sign and a potential stand/blind location where the wind will carry your scent across the pond.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 2, 2015

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Where should I hunt bucks in a ridge/valley type habitat?

Question
Hello Grant, family, and entire Growing Deer Family. I have a question for you about the terrain that you have their as it is very similar to where I hunt. The main difference is their is no plots here just timber. I have a long ridge(1/4 mile maybe more) that runs south to north on the very west side of my property. There are 4 fingers (points) that run to the east settling into the valley that runs all the way to the east of the property ( dead ends houses and lake). The valley is 1/2 mile in length. It seems from what I’ve learned that the mature bucks bed on the ridge and points. The doe beds are spread around the long valley floor in random thick areas. Now to my question. For rut hunting only where would you think the best buck traffic area will be. Will the bucks abandon the ridges and search the valley bedding areas or will the does push to the ridges when ready? What have you seen in your area away from the food plots?

Bryan,

Bucks tend to frequently use the path of least resistance that they don’t associate with danger during the rut.  Research has shown bucks move a lot during the rut so hunting travel corridors is a great strategy.  I try to find a travel corridor that I can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  I suspect the ridge top or ridge fingers may be good options.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 2, 2015

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Where are the mature bucks on the 1/4 section where I hunt?

Question
I am hunting a new spot and have seen half dozen young bucks come through. Not as many does. There are dozen of scrapes throughout the property I have marked where most of them are at, some have 2 or three right next to each other. I usually access it from the west. and I can access from the south east corner if need be.
I am starting to doubt this place has any big bucks (maybe in the future). Should I continue to hunt it and wait for future years? Should I try some mock srapes, decoy buck or doe, doe esturs, etc? If you need more information don’t be afraid to ask.
The picture attached should give you a good idea where everything thing is at.
PS I am bow hunting. and this area is just under a 1/4 of a section(1 square mile).

Thank you,

Anthony Bongard

Anthony,

Sounds like you are seeing plenty of sign!  I really like properties that can be entered from multiple directions.  I suspect there are more winds from the west (north west, west, south west), than the east.  If this is true you’ll probably be best to enter the property from the southeast.  It’s critical you can approach, hunt, and exit the stand without alerting deer.

I suggest using a trail camera to monitor the age structure of bucks using the property.  It will be best to place the camera where deer use at night so you are not interrupting a day pattern when checking the camera, etc.

If you have a better place to hunt I’d split the pressure between properties. Too much pressure is a fast way to make mature bucks use a different part of their home range.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 30, 2015

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Should I hunt where acorns are falling?

Question
I have have been wondering when hunting acorns, would it be better to place a stand dead in the acorns or to place the stand on the outside of the acorns.

Thanks for your time

Rob, 

If the preferred acorns are in a large stand of timber than I typically hunt very close to the trees where deer are feeding.  This is because it’s often difficult to find bottlenecks for stand/blind placements in such habitat.  If the acorns are in a small patch of timber, I prefer hunting a few hundred yards away so there’s no chance the deer start associating the food source with danger.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 30, 2015

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Where’s Chainsaw!

Question
Grant,
I have noticed that you guys have shot a few really nice bucks this past few weeks just wondering what kind of photos you have of ”ChainSaw” I thought he was on the hit list this year for you guys and I was just wondering if you have seen him lately? I know that there are more people wandering the same.

Sam,

There are a lot of acorns at The Proving Grounds now and the property is mostly covered by oak trees.  This makes it tough to pattern bucks.  I suspect Chainsaw is feeding on acorns and not moving a lot. I tagged a mature buck we called Blind 8 the other day.  I still have a buck tag and will focus on Chainsaw during the late season.

During the mean time, my daughter Rae will be hunting this weekend!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 29th, 2015

 

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Where should I set up near bedding areas?

Question
I just had a quick question about scent and wind. My question is if I have a known bedding area and I want to set up a stand near the entrance do I want the wind to be blowing into the bedding area? And if so, why would the deer not smell me if I was on the edge of that bedding area? I do take scent precautions but am just confused if I set up with the wind blowing my scent toward where the deer are coming from. Is that correct or not?

Josh,

It’s tough to set up near bedding areas. I try to find a location with a cross wind. That is to say the wind and thermals carry scent away from the bedding area and travel route where deer enter and exit the bedding area. Such setups are very difficult to find.

If this setup isn’t available where you hunt then the next best situation is to set up for either only morning or afternoon hunts so the direction of deer travel can be forecast with some accuracy. This often means that the wind is blowing toward the bedding area in the morning or away from it during the afternoon.

You may wish to watch the GrowingDeer episode #309. This shows an actual setup that I’m preparing for gun season – using a cross wind to hunt two bedding areas and feeding area.

Enjoy creation,

Grant

October 29, 2015

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What are the three biggest bucks at The Proving Grounds this year?

Question
What are your 3 biggest antlered hit list bucks for 2015? Also, do you have any good patterns of the 3 as we go into November?
Love your show and im so ready for every monday morning at work to see the new video.

Goodluck chasing whitetails!!

Luke,

The buck with the largest antlers is probably Chainsaw.  Unfortunately there are currently no bucks with a “good pattern” that I’m aware at my place.  There are a lot of acorns and The Proving Grounds is primarily covered with oaks.  So deer can eat anywhere!  We’re focusing on hunting scrapes (real and mock) and using grunt calls!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 28, 2105

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What causes the October Lull?

Question
Grant,
What’s your opinion on what they call the “October lull” I have definitely seen a decrease in deer movement on my property during daylight and my cameras say the same thing but why is that? Here in central kentucky the arcorns are few and far in between especially white oaks so getting a travel pattern to and from where they are eating hasn’t been easy, it seems to be that they are just roaming trying to find what few acorns there is. Any suggestestions? My food plots got flooded out this year.

Nick,

I’m don’t believe in a defined October Lull.  I think this is often a time of changing patterns, food resources, etc. 

During October most deer have just shed their summer coat and replaced it with longer, darker hair designed to keep deer warm during the winter.  However, the daytime temperatures are often warm to hot during October.  This seems to be why deer are so active during cold fronts in October.

Deer are also switching from needing/desiring a protein based diet to one high in carbs.  Hence deer often change where they eat this time of year.  Depending on the habitat these changes can be from one side of their home range to the other.  

These and other transitions make patterning deer during October tough in many areas.

I focus on hunting during cold fronts and carb rich food sources. I tagged a mature buck yesterday using these strategies!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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How can I get deer to walk by my stand in Virginia?

Question
How do I get deer to walk by my stand? I have been hunting for 4 years I’m now 13 I still have not killed a deer only 2 deer have walked past my stand 1 was a mature buck did not offer a shot 2nd was my first shot at a deer I missed with a crossbow. In VA we can’t bait, I hunt on a land owners woods.

Trey,

My daughter Rae is 13!  

Baiting is illegal in Missouri also.  So I scout and try to place stands where deer are traveling. Just as importantly is to not condition deer to avoiding that area. This means only hunting the stand when the wind is favorable, being quiet when approaching, hunting, and exiting the stand, etc.  

If deer are avoiding your stand location you might consider moving the stand.  Deer often change patterns and food sources, predators, etc., change.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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How can I apply more of your tips?

Question
Grant,

my son who has just turned three years old has FPIES (http://www.fpies.org/) short story it’s frustrating and challenging and whitetail deer is the only meat that he can eat(I know it sounds bizarre but it’s true). He will need approx 6-7 deer this season in Pennsylvania to feed him through next year. So far i’ve been provided with 4 deer through friends and family and the help of facebook(last year I harvest a buck and doe myself and friends and family helped with two). The last two I would like to be provided by myself. My grandfather taught me to hunt deer but now most of the land we used to hunt is posted. It’s hard to hunt public land and a lot of the land my grand father and I hunted is posted. so it’s hard to practice the tips/tricks that you post. My father in law and I belong to a camp which owns 30 acres which is bordered by posted land and some public which it’s again hard to practice your deer management tips with. Apart from purchasing acreage do you have any ideas or tips/tricks I could use? At our camp I have had about three larger buck(3.5 -4.5 years old) on my trail cams through the summer but so far during archery I haven’t be able to locate them.

thanks for all the videos and advice when I’m able to buy some land I will put your practices into play.

P.S. I want your job. What a better way to spend your days doing something you love. You are blessed.

Thanks again
Ryan Pheasant

Ryan,

I’m glad your son received an accurate diagnosis and you have a plan!  

Getting pics of a mature buck for each 10 acres is impressive!  The 30 acres you hunt is obviously in a good location.  When Tracy and I was first married I traded workdays to access and help manage a 600 acre property.  This may be an option.  I focus on hunting techniques and studying the available resources when hunting public land.  In addition, I study patterns of other hunters and hunting pressure.  This can be a huge factor in when deer are active.

You are hunting for a very important mission. May God bless you with plenty of venison!

grant

October 27, 2015

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How would you hunt this eight acres?

Question
Hello Grant. I recently got into growing deer tv on youtube, I watch almost every day, Im a big fan and have learned a lot from you. I’ve been hunting for about 5 years now and I never harvested a buck. I’ve shot one and never recovered it a few years ago and had a few close encounters but that’s it. Im so determined to get my first buck and was hoping for a little guidance to maybe help that become a reality. I attached a photo of my property and the marker is where my tree stand is. The property is about 8 acres but it sits around hundreds of acres. The field to the top (North) is about 40 acres of open field and long grass. I try to hunt that stand on a SW or W wind. I know there’s some heavy cover near the bottom and middle of my property, South of my stand, where I assume they might bed. I was considering buying a climber to try out areas near those thick covers. Any advice on how to hunt this property better? Anything would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and good luck this season.

Chris Musumeci

Chris,

It appears you have a good plan!  In addition to stand placement I’m very cautious about how I approach stands. I try very hard to approach, hunt, and exit stands without alerting deer.  I often have at least four stands or blinds (even blinds I make from vegetation) on each property so I can hunt during any wind direction. I also focus on how I should approach and exit each stand.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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Where will the bucks go?

Question
I forgot to tell you that there is no acorns or mast this year. where will the bucks go after the corn is harvested?

God bless you for your wittness

Wayne,

You’ll need to scout and determine the best food sources where you hunt.  Deer will often feed in cut corn fields, etc.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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Do urban deer act differently than those in rural areas?

Question
Hey Dr Grant love all the great info you have about deer habitat and hunting. I am from Ft Smith Arkansas and lease 250 acre just outside of the city limits. Land is mainly high ridge line with post and blackjack oaks and the lower is cedar
thickets. there are several houses surrounding the property and we only bow hunt the area. My question is will urban deer act different than deer away from a populated area..thanks

William,

Deer in both urban and rural areas tend to behave the same.  All deer can be conditioned to different stimuli. For example I often see deer near active shooting ranges (military bases) not lift their head when shots are fired.  However, deer that rarely hear gunshots often respond totally differently.  The same can be said for deer in city parks. They rarely react to humans within a few yards of them – were deer in non urban areas bolt when the smell humans.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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How close to a creek can a food plot be established?

Question
Hello Grant,

First off I want to say that your shows are more than enjoyable to watch! I would just like to ask a question about foot plots. How far from a creek would you suggest to place it? And also, how far from another corn/bean field (alters every year) would you suggest to place an early season food plot?

Thanks for your time!

Issac,

My only concern about locating food plots by creeks is flooding/erosion.  So – out of the floodplain is my only guideline.  I like food sources to be 200+ yards apart so I can locate and access stands/blinds off the plot and not alert deer when approaching, hunting, and leaving the stands.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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Do you have any hints for hunting public land in Kentucky?

Question
Dr Woods, Heading for Kentucky for the first time. Will be hunting on public land. We are going to be at Higginson Henry WMA. Any suggestions to make this hunt the most successful in this area? Really looking forward to coming to Kentucky to see “what the creator has to say there”. Really appreciate your making that comment, it has made me a real fan of your show. Thanks again and thanks for your time, Don Jackson

Don,

Your timing is good! I hope a cold front passes while you are hunting!!  

When hunting public land I still focus on learning the best sources of food, cover, and water and how other hunters are impacting those areas.  Remember that fear is a primary motivation for deer. For example, it could be a great food source but with due to hunting pressure deer might only use it after dark or not at all.

Scout for deer and hunters!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 27, 2015

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Where are the bucks on my lease in Tennessee?

Question
this is my first season on a lease northwest of crossville tn off hwy 70. its a 1500 acre active farm. they grow green beans, soy beans and corn. they have harvested everything except the corn and they are waiting for it to reach the right moisture content before cutting it. they have planted winter wheat in the fields after harvest. there are miles of edge around the large fields. the woods are mostly hardwoods, oak and hickory. there are deer tracks all over the fields and some are very large. we scouted a large portion of the woods and found only one small scrape and no rubs anywhere. we know there are bucks but can find no evidence of them. we were wanting to hang some stands but couldn’t figure out where to put them. The place is to big to scout in one season. are the bucks in the corn maybe? we have jumped several does from the fields but no sigh of a buck. any suggestions?
thanks wayne

Wayne,

If the other crops have recently been harvested then there’s a good chance the bucks are feeding on and/or living in the corn.  

Are there many acorns in the area?  Deer love acorns and may be feeding in the timber and bedding in the corn.  I suggest you spend an afternoon simply glassing fields from a distance.  This is an easy way to pick up travel patterns, etc.  I also suggest talking to the farmer. If he’s farmed that property for a while he probably knows where the deer are time time of year based on past experience!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 26, 2015

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How high do you place stands?

Question
Hey Dr. Grant,
I first want to say how much I’ve enjoyed your show and I want you to know I admire your outspokenness about your relationship with Jesus! Keep building the Kingdom! I was curious to find out your preferred height to hang lock on sets. I have spent much time hunting all sorts of heights with my climbing stand but wanted to find the “ideal” zone for shot placement and scent control, especially when hunting out of my lock on stands.

Thanks!
Ethan

Ethan,

Thanks for sharing the encouraging words!  

I hang most of my stands about 20′ high.  The higher stand the tougher it is to get both lungs due to the trajectory.  Another way of considering this is that deer have to be further way to get both lungs as the stand increases in height.  

No matter the stand height, always use a climbing harness and fall arrest system!  Returning home safely after each hunt is a trophy!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 26, 2015

 

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Does the moon effect when deer are more active?

Question

I’ve read some of your studies on lunar phase and see that deer are bread the same time each year no matter the phase or weather.

For some odd reason, I’ve really been looking into lunar phase this year and I don’t know what to believe.

With the full moon landing on 10/27, a lot of the big name hunters are saying to be in the stand earlier for the rutting action this year.

I had intentions of taking a four day weekend, the weekend of 11/07 but am leaning towards Halloween weekend now.

My final decision will be based on weather if I can find an accurate forecast that will go that far out for me to make a decision.

What are your thoughts on the better weekend?

Will you do a show on lunar phase and how it may affect “rutting action” vs. actual “breed time”?

Like I said from your study I realize breed time is not affected but is chasing time affected by lunar phase?

Luke,

There’s been 1,000’s of deer studied with use of a GPS collar.  There’s no evidence that deer respond in any way to different phases of the moon. They do respond to changes in the weather. Unfortunately the weather can’t be accurately forecast for more than a day or so.  I suggest hunting when you can and hunting your best location when the weather conditions are favorable!  

If there’s a strong cold front during October 27th, that would be a great time to hunt – same for November 7th.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 24, 2015 

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What is Grant’s opinion of using urine scents while hunting?

Question
What is your opinion of using urine scents while hunting?

Kevin,

My hunting style has been more focused on patterning deer by understanding the habitat and their behavior. I don’t have much experience with commercial urine scents.  If I tried them I would use the synthetic scents as they are more stable and no chance of spreading CWD!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 24, 2015

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Should I try to reroute deer or move my stand?

Question
Dr. Woods

First, I must say that I am a huge fan of your weekly videos and blogs. They are informational as well as fun and interesting to watch.

I am hunting a small piece of wooded land that I have learned is a deer highway to and from a small suburban woodland area. I have tons of trailcam pictures, sign(scrapes,scat, prints) and daytime sightings. I have created a “feeding area” where I placed sweet attractant during the summer and early fall and now have a mineral lick. All of this is not far from my stand.

During the summer I cleared some pre-existing trails to encourage the deer to travel on them and they are still visible. Cut shooting lanes to length of my effective shooting range. My problem is this, the deer aren’t using them. I made a path of least resistance but they choose to travel through thick brush and over fallen trees.

Should I re-clear the paths? Make the lanes they are using now less accessible(place a branch or natural obstacle across them)? Or maybe just move my stand? Also, why might they not be using these trails?

Thanks in advance, and safe hunting.

-Matt Cavender
Genesis 27:3

Matt,

Sounds like you have a good location to hunt!

If there’s a location where you can place a stand/blind with a favorable wind that allows you to hunt their preferred travel area that would be my preference.  

This will require less disturbance to the area and reduce the chance of deer being alerted to your presence.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 24, 2015 

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Should I work the ground portion of mock scrapes?

Question
Grant,

I recently installed several scrape trees in (one per plot) food plots close to deer blinds. I tried to choose the right tree and position it correctly. Do I need to make a mock scrape by this tree or should deer naturally start using it? I know deer in my area (south central Virginia) are starting to make scrapes as I’ve seen them in the woods. Also, my 66 year old dad thinks I’m crazy for doing this. I can’t wait to prove him wrong!

Thanks,

JT

J.T.,

Between now and about mid November is prime time for deer to use scrapes (mock and organic) in Virginia.  I do like to break the overhanging limb and expose the dirt below to make it appear as real as normal.  Deer will recognize the visual clues of a scrape from the distance. 

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 21, 2015

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What time of year will deer eat apples?

Question
Hi, Dr. Grant! I am hunting early muzzeloader in the state of NY about 30 miles south of the Canadian border. I am hunting a large green field with 80 acres of hardwoods to the north. In the field to my south I have had my trail cam up for 2 months and only have a few pics of deer. I have water to my left (60 yards) and 80 plus apple trees. It seems like the perfect spot to attract deer because all the apple trees have AWESOME fruit. I would like to know – What time of the year deer up here may eat these apples?  Maybe I can even catch a glimpse of a shooter buck. I love your show and thank you so much for all the footage and tips.. thanks

 

Kevin,

There are many different varieties of apples and they ripen at different times.  I don’t know what variety of apples and what other competing food sources are in the home range of the deer you are hunting?

Given the quality and quantity of food in the area you described I suspect the deer are feeding somewhere else or have been alerted and associate that area with danger.  Deer behavior and food sources are changing rapidly this time of year.  The deer in where you hunt could move back in the area any day!

Be careful not to alert the deer in the area.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 21, 2015

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Should I hunt a food plot or acorns?

Question
this weekend I am going to hunt on my family farm, but I haven’t been there to scout at all this season. should I hunt over acorns, or over a food plot that was planted late this summer?

Blake,

I’m glad you will be hunting this coming weekend!  

Without site-specific information there’s no way to know which food source to hunt.  An important consideration is which food source the deer associate with danger.  Deer tend to use the best food source in their range that they don’t associate with danger.  I consider recent hunting pressure an important consideration in stand selection.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 21, 2015

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Do you prefer to hunt cut corn fields or acorns?

Question
Hi Mr. Woods. I’ve been a subscriber to your weekly videos for a few years now. You have helped me learn alot about deer and wildlife management and you have also helped me find a new hobby. I love working on my food plot. The question I have is this; Here in north Alabama they have recently harvested all the corn and the acorns are dropping. However the acorn crop is not as plentiful as it was last year. If I was to set a stand on public land would you focus on the Acorns or the harvested corn fields? I remember you have have said that at this time of year the deer leave the food plots for the acorns. But would the corn be better?

Thank you for all your inspiration and thank you for not hiding your faith.

Ian LaCasse

Ian,

Thank you for sharing the kind words!

Deer seek the best food within their home range that they don’t associate with danger.  If the cut corn fields are being hunted much I’d probably prefer a location by acorns where there was less hunting pressure.  In addition, deer may be using the acorns as a staging area before entering the cut corn field.  Another consideration is it’s often easier to pinpoint where deer are eating acorns than where they are entering a field if the field is very large.

I’d probably spend an afternoon scouting the cut corn field from a distance.  If you like the amount of deer activity observed during daylight then that may be a good location.  However, deer often will feed on acorns or in areas with less hunting pressure compared to open fields – especially during legal shooting light.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 20, 2015

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How high do you put your tree stands?

Question
On average how high do you try to put your tree stands

Mike,

When the land is fairly flat my stands are usually 18′ to 20′ above the ground.  This provides for a very good shot angle to penetrate both lungs.  If the stand is much higher, it can be difficult to penetrate both lungs if the deer is relatively close to the stand.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 9, 2015

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Why am I not seeing or getting pictures of deer?

Question
Help me out please. First year hunting new land. All through the Summer I have seen many doe and a couple of huge bucks on my cameras. I’ve been feeding corn and I also planted some rye grass. One week before the start of bow season, I seen no deer on my cameras and I have 7 cameras out there. I have been out hunting three times and I haven’t even seen a squirrel. I have bear and coyotes on my land and I haven’t even caught any of them on cam. I am a novice hunter but I have 73 year old mentor and Growing deer TV to help me. What could be the problem

Bill,

Deer often change the portions of their home range they use about the time bucks shed velvet.  This is often due to a drastic shifts in hormones and preferred food sources changing.  

Deer often abandon shelled corn and food plots when acorns start falling.  This certainly might be the case where you hunt if there are oaks in the area.  I’d try scouting a bit and moving your trail cameras to different locations.  I’d also consider if other food sources such a crop fields being harvested, etc., have occurred in the neighborhood.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 19, 2015 

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What do you do if you have to go to the bathroom while hunting?

Question
what do you do if you have to go to the bathroom while hunting.

Rusty,

I received a kidney transplant 23 years ago and have to urinate frequently.  I’ve observed many deer approaching to check out where I urinated.  I find deer either respond positively (come closer) or ignore urine.  Based on those observations I urinate without hesitation from the blind or stand.

I tend walk a ways from the stands or blind if I have to have a bowel movement.  I try to avoid such situations.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 19, 2015

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Will a buck return to a stand if I shot over it with a crossbow?

Question
Grant,

I am hunting in Surry County, in the tidewater region of Virginia. I shot at a nice buck on the second weekend of bow season last sunday (October 11) and unfortunately pulled up on my crossbow when I shot. The deer was not hit at all, nor did he see me. What would be your thoughts on hunting that stand for the rest of the season? Will a bucks behavior and pattern change from a crossbow shot like that?

Dylan,

Deer tend to be much more alerted by smell than sound. If the buck didn’t smell you then I doubt he’ll avoid the area very long.  Daniel (works for me) shot over a doe last week and was able to grab another arrow and shoot again. Prime bows are very quiet, but I was still amazed when I watched the video. It will air next week.  

Mature bucks rarely leave their home range.  They may change to using a different portion of their range based on changes in food supplies, being alerted, etc.  If the food resources haven’t changed and the buck didn’t smell you, I suspect he’s still using the same area.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 14, 2015

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How can I attract more deer to the 160 acres where I hunt?

Question
I have 80 acres approximately 3/4 of a mile in land from a river. There is approximately 600 acres around me that is used for cattle ground. 160 to 180 woods. I have established some food plot areas. My question to you is, how could I corner the deer population around me to want to visit my land allowing me to see several deer during hunting. Allowing me to see several bucks and able to choose one to harvest. I do not have access to hunting the land around me. See attached image.

Bari,

Deer require food, cover, and water daily.  They will often use the best food, cover, and water sources within their home range.  The best food, cover, and water aren’t necessarily the best in quality, but rather the best in quality that deer don’t associate with danger.  If the land where you hunt is surrounded by cattle pasture it should be relatively easy to establish the best food and cover.  The more difficult part may be limiting when you hunt these resources only to days that the wind, etc., is favorable for you to approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  

One of the biggest keys to hunting properties of this size is to insure you have the best of at least one of food, cover, or water and limit your activities so deer don’t associate that resource with danger.  I often prefer cover as it’s the resource deer tend to use the most during daylight hours.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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During which portion of the season should I harvest does from my 66 acre farm in Tennessee?

Question
About one year ago we purchased a 66 acre farm in southern Tennessee. It is strictly for deer hunting. We bought it around November of last year so we didn’t have time to plant any plots, but after the 2014-2015 season ending we put up out trail cameras around February. To our surprise we had pictures of plenty of does and some BIG mature shooter bucks. So come summer time, we planted over 20ish acres of food plots ( clovers, soy beans, radishes, winter wheat etc) our piece of land does not have much trees or major bedding area but the surrounding properties do so we aimed to make our property the “food source”. We have some good pictures on our trail cameras of some does and some good shooter bucks. My question to you is… Should I wait to kill does until I kill the big buck or should I go ahead take a doe. I just don’t want to add too much pressure on our small piece of land. Please help.
Also I’ve never missed an episode of growing deer TV and your show is such a huge help to me, thanks
Jake Taylor

Jake,

Congratulations on purchasing the 66 acre farm in Tennessee!  I’m glad you are seeing mature bucks and plenty of does!  

I harvest does if there are more deer than quality forage in the area and/or I wish for some venison.  If I’m going to harvest does, I usually start as soon as the season is open.  Removing does doesn’t mean the local bucks will leave their home range to find more does elsewhere.  

There have been 1,000’s of bucks fitted with GPS collars and it’s very rare for them to leave their home range.  They simply don’t know where the sources of danger, food, cover, and water our outside their home range. Deer often shift to using different portions of their home ranges to find the best food, cover, or water within their range.  However, they rarely leave their home range.    

If you current an opportunity to tag a doe, I would take advantage and get some fresh venison for your family!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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How can I intercept this buck during daylight?

Question
I have a 3-3.5 year old 12 pointer on my property checking a scrape every day. BUT he only comes out around 9:55 PM. It is early bow season here in Tennessee. How can I catch him in the daytime?

 

Ethan,

It’s hot in southern Missouri and I assume it’s warm in Tennessee also!  This time of year when it’s warm and deer have grown winter coats they tend to move primarily after dark when it’s cooler.

9:55 PM is several hours after shooting light so I doubt he’s leaving his bed much, if at all before dark.  I’d wait for a cold front and then hunt this buck!  Cold fronts are often the factor that triggers bucks to be active during daylight hours during mid October!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 13, 2015

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Do you have any hints for hunting this area in North Carolina?

Question
Dear Grant,

First off, I want you to know I love what you guys do! How you manage your land, deer, and how you respect each deer harvested. You give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the harvest. Hard to find that now-a-days. I am new to hunting, its only my second season. I am stationed in North Carolina and hunt on a local friends land. I attached a picture of his land with this question to help explain my problem. I placed a corn pile with some buck jam on it in the corn of the field with waist high grass where I thought there was a lot of traffic (the red dot). About a week later I checked the corn and found it wasn\’t touched. I then placed a trail cam and thought maybe I should give the pile more time and see if I can catch any pictures. I came back after waiting another week and had 42 pictures of just raccoons and birds. In my frustration I decided to search the entire property. While I searched I found tracks all over (they are represented in blue dots). I know now why they didn\’t want my corn. they are eating out at the bean fields on both sides of the field where my corn is located. While looking in the woods near my corn I found a large deer trail next to a large ditch. While following it I found multiple rubs about 2-4 inches long. Some rubs were on top of old rubs from previous years looks like. I got really excited because this is my first real sign of a buck other than tracks. I want to harvest that big buck this year and I was wondering if you could help me improve my chances with some big tips? Where are they likely bedding? Where should I hunt this weekend? Should I move my trail cam? How do I judge wind? I really appreciate you taking the time to read this question, especially since it is lengthy. I look forward to your help.

P.S. This weekend is opening day. I don\’t have a lot of money so I using baking soda to kill my scent on EVERYTHING. I wash my hunting clothes and boots in it and then dry them with baking soda. I store them in a plastic bin and sprinkle them with baking soda. I also shower with a unscented soap mixed with baking soda. I did this whole routine before I searched the land for signs so I hope I didn\’t ruin my chances with my scent. I think I made a mistake by touching the rubs but I don\’t know.

(Red dot: Corn pile with cam)
(Yellow: Deer stands)
(Blue: Deer tracks)
(White: Ditch)

Sincerely,

Logan Packard

Logan,

Thank you for your service to our nation!  

It’s tough to accurately scout a property without walking it.  I do like the area where you marked a trail between the soybeans and tall grass field!  Traditional rubs (rubs on trees that show sign of being used for years) are great indicators of travel corridors with regular use.  This sounds and looks like a good stand site if you can approach, hunt, and exit without being detected by deer.  

I suspect this pattern may change once the beans ripen and are picked.  Hopefully the farmer will plant wheat or another late season crop in the field.

May God bless you with an safe tour of duty and some enjoyable hunts this fall!

grant

October 13, 2015

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Should I expand a food plot and reduce the amount of bedding cover?

Question
Growing Deer TV Team,

First off I love the channel! I learn a TON of info on there. Now its bow season and I\’m going to get right to the point. I hunt on a 10 acre piece of land which located about 30 miles north of Columbia MO. The property itself is about 50% house yard, 30% open field and 20% a hardwood creek bottom surrounded by various resources a whitetail needs. The bottom is separated from the field by a very steep 20 ft. decline. There is a major corn field to the west across the road and a good sized bean field to the east. In between the two is a little over a hundred acres of very dense hardwoods(a lot of oaks), a creek running north to south at the east end of the property with several small ponds on neighboring properties.The creek bottom itself is mostly open….BUT, it does provide some good bedding at one end(I have bumped them before). This summer I did some clearing in the bottom, mowed some of the field and planted a food plot in an irregular strip leading from the field down the ditch leading to the bottom through the hardwoods. The plot itself is doing well, especially in the bottom closer to the creek. My question is…With all of the thick cover the 100+ acres on the other half of the creek provides, should I go ahead and finish clearing out the bottom after the season closes and focus on my food plot for next year and bringing the deer to me? I know on such a small parcel of land holding the deer is almost impossible. Getting into the creek bottom without spooking the deer is sometimes difficult so my thinking is get rid of what little bedding there is down there and let them bed UNDISTURBED on the other side of the creek and wait for them to come to the food plot. I know bottoms are difficult to hunt with the winds but other than the field its all that I got. I do not have the means/equipment to till and plant in the field otherwise I would do that and leave the bottom alone PERIOD. Any advice is welcome at this point. I do not want to ruin the hunting only make it better or leave it alone. Look forward to hearing from you guys! Thanks a lot and good luck to ALL.

Dillion,

I like hunting close to bedding because deer tend to spend most of their daylight hours near cover.  Even with the detailed description you provided I don’t know enough (wind directions, hunting pressure on neighboring properties, etc.,) to give quality advice. 

I suggest you hunt it this year and get a better feel for how deer use the property.  Once the commercial crops and acorns are gone the food plot could be a great attraction!

While the crops are standing, having the bedding area may mean seeing deer during daylight hours.

I suggest letting your observations guide your actions.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Why does it seem like deer have left my Georgia lease which is planted in 10-12 year old pines?

Question
Hi Grant!

I love your videos each week. I am grateful for the information and advice you give us and I enjoy being able to watch your hunts.

Up until now I have always had to hunt public wildlife management areas. I live in Georgia and currently am hunting on about 360 acres located an hour south of Atlanta. I have a few questions for you.

Unfortunately the owner of the land clear cut what was once a nice mix of hardwoods and pine thickets and replanted all pines about 10-12 years ago. So what I am hunting is very very thick. I have cut shooting lanes and cleared out a few very small meadows to plant food plots. On three sides of this property there are hunt clubs that have larger food plots and plenty of various aged hard woods. It seems the deer pass through the land I can hunt on their way to feed at the larger food plots, and bed in the thick pines that are available for me to hunt. Now that acorns are dropping the deer have left my small meadows/plots and I haven\’t seen many pictures from my trail cams in about two weeks now (save a spike and a small 6 with a doe and fawn) and wondering if it is because I have chased them out while overseeing my small plots and checking cams, if they have left to chase acorns, or if the shooter bucks have just disappeared because they have now shed their velvet and are hiding out in different areas. If it is because of the acorns I can only hope that they are consumed quickly as I don’t have access to the areas with oaks. If it is because I have spooked them while cutting lanes and planting small plots, are they likely to come back or have I screwed up my spots for this season? Another possibility could be trespassers that did some target practice on the four wheeler trail on this property. I found shells and some targets propped up by a tree. Shooting up the woods definitely doesn’t help bring in the deer. So I guess what I’m trying to get out of this long novel is how would you hunt thick pines of thats all you had to hunt? And do deer generally come back to an area after being spooked or pushed out or should I start trying to find other spots for this season? I need to entice some of these bucks to come hangout by one of my stands!

Daniel,

Acorns are a very good attractant to deer!  I suspect you are correct that most of the deer that use your lease are feeding on acorns on neighboring properties.  Deer feeding on acorns often don’t travel far to bed. This behavior makes them very tough to pattern.

I assume there’s not much forage or cover growing underneath the pines on your lease?  If that’s the case, there’s probably not much of a reason for deer to spend time on that property.  I suspect deer will use your plots more frequently after most of the acorns on the neighboring properties have been consumed or are spoiled.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 12, 2015

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Why am I not seeing mature bucks?

Question
Hi Grant. I love your show. I have been trying to practice QDM on 400+ acres in north eastern WI. There is about 100 acres of mixed northern harwoods surrounded by cedar and tag alder swamp. I have 10 acres of beautiful foodplots throughout the hardwoods in a variety of crops. I have owned this land for 4 years now and it seems like each year i am improving my food plots and get more does and fawns, however I am seeing less and less 2.5 yr old and older bucks. I have heard that does will chase away bucks in order to raise their fawns and wonder if this is happening. Is this true? And if so what can I do to get more older bucks to stick around and still have a good supply of does? Most of my neighbors do not shoot young bucks and several will not shoot does unfortunately. I have the most and best foodplots in the neighborhood too. Thank you for your help.

Rory

Rory,

Congrats on owning a neat property in northern Wisconsin!  

Does tend to only defend areas when they are about to give birth and are nursing young fawns,.  I doubt they are chasing bucks away from food plots during the fall.  Is your land in a known CWD zone?  If so, that may explain why you are not seeing many mature bucks.  

If it’s not CWD and immature bucks are not being harvested by neighbors, then I suspect there’s a better or more preferred food source somewhere nearby.  When you deer it’s always a good idea, after the deer’s stomach  is removed, to check the stomach contents. I’m always amazed at how much information I gain from doing what I call “scouting from the skinning shed.”  You’ll likely know soon if there are illegal bait piles on neighboring properties, etc.   

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 12, 2015

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Should I hunt during the October lull?

Question
Grant,
The “October Lull” seems to be in full swing here in North Carolina. What is the best practice to combat the diminished deer movement during this time of the year? Should I just pack up and wait until November, or is there something i can do to coax these deer out of hiding during daylight hours?

thanks for your time,

Bryce

Bryce,

I’m not aware of anything you can do to “coax deer of of hiding.”  Strong cold fronts seem to be the best motivation to get deer moving during October throughout most of the whitetail’s range.  I tend to scout, work on habitat, etc., during the warmer days of October and hunt just before or during a cold front!  

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 12, 2015

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Will deer and bears eat from the same bait pile?

Question
I live in NC and baiting deer is legal but the black bears get all the corn, will deer and bear eat from the same corn pile?

Thomas,

I’m sure deer and bears have ate from the same bait pile.  However, deer often respond to bears by avoiding them!  Bears are known deer predators.  If bears are actively using a bait pile I’d prefer to hunt deer somewhere else.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 12, 2015

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Would bird hunting/bird dogs cause deer to be primarily nocturnal?

Question
Dr. Woods

I’m an avid upland bird hunter and bow hunter. My question for you is:

Does running a bird dog on Grouse affect the deer population, such as causing them to go Nocturnal?

Sean Headwell

Sean,

Deer are very conditionable or responsive to negative threats.  I believe the primary motivation they respond to is fear.  Deer in city parks often learn that joggers, etc., are not threatening and ignore them.  However, deer often are very threatened by dogs. I have seen deer on quail shooting preserves where dogs and hunters are common and don’t harm deer. However, it probably took years/generations for deer to become conditioned to accept these dogs and hunters as non-threatening.  I suspect that the same pattern will be true for where you hunt.  Deer will probably associate the dogs with danger, especially during the first year or two.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 12, 2015

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Have you tried using an Ozone generator?

Question
Hello Dr. Grant

Thank you for all the videos you put out. My question is, while hunting do you use any of the Ozone generators that are being promoted out there? From my understanding it is another tool to control scent, I see mixed reviews on it and im wondering if you have ever used them. Once again thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

Marcos
Fresno, Ca

Marcos,

I haven’t seriously researched or played with ozone generators.  Like you, I hear mixed reviews. I  use a three stage system based on treating my gear, personal hygiene, and in field prep with Dead Down Wind. This is enzyme based versus antimicrobial. Many odors come sources besides bacteria and only a small percentage of bacteria cause bad odors.  The Dead Down Wind system has worked well for me!

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 10, 2015 

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Can I encourage deer to be more active during daylight hours where I hunt in Georgia?

Question
Hi Mr. Grant I hunt in Folkston, GA on 43.5 acres sometimes we get pictures but not very many. I would like your advice on what to do to get the deer to come out more in the day and stay. what to look for when I am trying to find a spot to hunt. We bow hunt and gun hunt can you tell me some tips to get more kills. I LOVE YOUR VIDIOES

Jason,

I always start scouting by identifying the best sources of food, cover, and water in the area. This includes sources of these resources that may be a mile or more away.  Their locations are important to help understand when and where deer are moving and when they are probably using the property I have permission to hunt.  Remember that the best source of food, cover, and water is strongly influenced by if deer associate an area with danger.  Deer will pass up the best food source in their home range or use it only at night if they associate it with danger.  

Weather has a large influence on timing of deer activity. If it’s hotter than normal deer tend to not be very active during daylight hours.  We can’t influence the weather so our best options to encourage deer to move during daylight is to hunt near the best sources of food, cover, or water and be intentional about not alerting deer and encouraging them to move after dark. 

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 9, 2015 

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How do you pattern deer when hunting a new area?

Question
Hi Grant,

In many of your episodes you travel to different states to hunt new areas. While I am not leaving the state to hunt, I am hunting in new areas and I have not had the opportunity to pattern deer movement. On Monday this week I sat in my blind for almost 8 hours before hearing anything. Finally, with 10 minutes of daylight left I heard what sounded like a big animal crashing its way through the woods not far from me. Unfortunately, the deer never showed itself.

How do you decide where to hunt and what time to hunt in a new area where you have not patterned the deer?

Thank you!

John,

I always start by trying to identify the best sources of food, cover, and water in the area. I study maps (Google Earth), talk to locals, etc. I try to verify these findings when I arrive at the area without alerting deer. Spooked deer are very difficult to hunt so I don’t walk all over the new area simply to confirm the data I gathered from maps, etc.

I try to select stand sites based on the most limited resource in the area. For example, if the area is experiencing a severe drought I’d try to hunt near water.

Deer tend to move more during daylight hours when the weather conditions are cooler than normal. If the temperatures are hotter than normal than I’m not going to hunt during midday as I’m more likely to alert deer with my scent than I am to see deer. The better the conditions the more hours of the day I will hunt.

Enjoy Creation,

Grant

October 9, 2015

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Does UV spook deer?

Question
Grant,
Since finding your site a short time back I have(to my knowledge) watched all of your videos.This is by far the best place to learn more about deer in general. .Thank you so much for producing quality videos and you and your staff working so hard to help the hunter by supplying a eminence amount of information.
My question is about how deer see. I don’t remember you addressing this in any of your videos and would like to clarify what I have come to believe.
My understanding is that deer see in UV and that wearing clothing that show up in UV makes you “shine”. Is there truth to this? Many times I have had deer pick me off when I was much too high to see me except something would draw their attention to me.When this happens as long as I don’t move I get by with it but what brought me to the attention in the first place? I have always thought it was that I was “glowing” because of UV.
The last few years I have washed my hunting gear in Boraxo which has no UV brighteners and it seems to have helped.Am I wasting my time or am I on the right track with this? Also,if you could,please tell me how to detect UV in your clothing. The only thing I know that I think might work would be using a black lite to tell if there is UV present.
Thanks in advance and God bless.

Wade

 

Wade,

My good friend Dr. Karl Miller did some great research on what deer see.  There’s a good summary of his work at the following link.  The short story is limiting scent and movement are both way more important to reducing the chances of being detected by deer than UV.

Check out:  https://www.qdma.com/can-deer-see-blaze-orange/

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 8, 2015

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What’s your thoughts about hunting scrapes?

Question
Hi Grant,

I hunt 40 acres of timber adjacent to a 40 acre creek bottom crop field. In order to best play the wind and travel routes, I walk in to the far side via a field-access “road” that is used/bush hogged just enough to remain open. There are always a few+ scrapes along it. I’ve seen conflicting theories about hunting scrapes. What’s your opinion?

~Joe

Joe,

I did my Master’s degree project focused on scrape behavior.  

Bucks tend to use scrapes the most about two to three weeks before most does become receptive!  I like hunting scrapes during that time of year. I usually hunt scrapes that are located by other habitat features like travel corridors, the edge of bedding areas, etc.  I also pick scrapes that are located such that I can approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer!

Once scrapes show signs of not being used, I don’t hunt scrapes again until the late season – and then only in areas where female fawns grow large enough to reach puberty and bred during the late season.

Enjoy creation,

grant

October 8, 2015 

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Do you have any tips about how to pattern mature bucks in southwestern Kansas?

Question
Dr. Woods,

Thanks for all the great videos and for caring so much about wildlife management! I am hunting in southwest Kansas where I recently moved. I have permission on about 800 acres of land this year. The land out here is all very similar. To bow hunt from a tree stand requires hunting a creek. There is a creek running through the property and I am surrounded by corn fields in just about every direction. There’s also a pond on the property, however it is close to the highway and away from many trees. half of the land is corn and the rest is prairie pasture.

I’ve only been seeing the same 6 does on the property crossing the creek by my stand and heading to the cut corn. There has been no sign of any bucks. With all the land surrounding me, as well as the land I hunt, having similar food, adequate water, and cover how can I get mature bucks to come onto the property rather than the similar property that surrounds me?

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to make any food plots on the property therefore, I put corn out on the ground near my stand. As of now I am holding out for the rut with no other ideas.

Thanks Dr. Woods, I Love Growing Deer TV!

Jess

Jess,

Congratulations on acquiring access to hunt in southwest Kansas and for sharing the encouraging words!

I suspect it will become much easier to pattern deer where you hunt once the corn is harvested.  Combines are extremely efficient these days. Newer combines don’t leave much grain in the field.  This causes bucks to search more for food and return repeatedly to the limited quality food sources.  

In addition, bucks in western Kansas often use prairie pastures to bed and attempt to corner does during the rut. These areas can be great setups for decoys!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What do you consider a high humidity level?

Question
What is considered high humidity? 50%…………75%??????
Also temps 50…….. this supposed to be a warmer winter.

ty…………………….rich

Rich,

The more moisture in the air the easier it is for scent molecules to disperse!  I consider humidity levels of 70% or more tough hunting conditions.  Humidity levels of 80% or more create very difficult scent management conditions.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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How much disturbance will deer tolerate before they stop using an area?

Question
Mr. Woods,

i have a small piece of property. 15 acres total. This is my first year hunting. I sat last season a number of times just watching the deer and looking at trail camera pictures. I have two young bucks, About 2.5 years old, that don’t show much potential but I want to let them mature anyway. Just tonight, I got in my stand when we finally got a break from rain due to this storm of the coast. It had been raining 72 hours straight prior to this, so I knew I would see deer. Both of my young bucks came out. One circled me and stayed within 20 yards and ate from the plot and not long after he left the other buck came straight in. He looked up and spott s me in my tree, he turned around and slowly made his way away from the plot. I thought my hunt was over but 10 minutes after that an older buck came in that’s I had never seen. Not long after being in the plot he also spotted me, he didn’t run off but slowly turned around and made his way out of the plot. My question is when would it be safe to hunt this plot again? Being such a small piece of land I don’t have many options to move my stand around. Thank you sir!

Johathan,

Wow – that sounds like an enjoyable hunt!  

None of the bucks responded in a way that indicates they will avoid the plot.  Unless a better food source becomes available within their home range I suspect they will return.  I’d wait until the wind direction is favorable for your stand and hunt the plot again.  I would use camo on your hands and face. These parts tend to move the most and are often detected by deer.  I’d be prepared. These bucks, especially the more mature buck, won’t tolerate too many encounters with humans before he stops using the plot during daylight hours.

Enjoy creation and let me know how your next hunt goes!

grant

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How fast does doe urine break down?

Question
Hey there, I was recently listening to a very informative podcast where Grant was giving early season tips. During the podcast he said that all mammals’ urine breaks down to amonia very quickly. My question is, do bottled scents such as doe and buck urine break down at the same rate or are they concentrated to where they last longer? Also, does estrous in the urine of a doe break down quickly as well or stay more potent longer? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Good luck and safe hunting to all you guys at the Growing Deer team. Thanks and God Bless

Matt,

Without any additives deer urine from either gender will break down rapidly.  The chemical compounds in urine are very volatile.  Some companies may use some type of preservative. I suspect there’s more hope in synthetic (manufactured) scents or using fresh human urine.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What period of season so I start rattling?

Question
When do you recommend to start using rattling antlers during the season ?

 

Jacob,

Even though watching bucks respond to rattling is fun, I prefer and use a grunt call much more frequently.  I’ve had a much higher level of success of bucks responding to grunt calls.  You might check out the hunt in the episode at this link where a nice buck readily responded to a grunt call!

https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/bow-hunting-whitetails-the-buck

Enjoy creation,

Grant

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Will bucks return to this area after it has flooded?

Question
Have watched almost every video you have uploaded and your have taught me so much. Can’t wait to watch the videos coming this fall.
My question is i hunt in Posey County, Indiana right where the mouth of big creek flows into the wabash river. 1/4 mile northeast is hills that run for miles all through Posey County. My woods is around 60-70 acres that we hunt and its been underwater for over a month this summer. Every year the deer run this creek bottom, jump the road, and then come into my woods. What would be your tactic to get the bucks lured in to this piece of property this fall due to them being pushed out all summer and crops gone?

-Stands are red dots.
Thanks and goodluck chasing whitetails this fall!

Luke,

It looks like you have a very nice spot to hunt!!  It appears to be a natural travel corridor and bedding area.  I suspect bucks will return to the area and begin using it as a travel corridor again soon!  
You should have a great season!  Keep us posted!!
grant

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Do you use any buck lures or attractants?

Question
I see all the advertisements for buck lures and attractants. What is your take on the products available, do you use any of them (or have recommendations). My hunting spots are hard woods, no food plots (terrain is not accommodating).

Brian,

I don’t use any buck lures or attractants.  I do create mock scrapes and often urinate in them.  This has worked well for me.  

I hunt an area that’s primary hardwoods and spend a lot of time scouting for acorns and fresh sign.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What are some tactics you use during the pre-rut and early rut?

Question
Mr. Woods,
Where I live, the rut should be starting in about half a month. What are some of your tactics for hunting the pre-rut and early rut?

Corey,

I tend to hunt food/cover patterns during the pre-rut.  I look for locations where deer will be using during daylight hours and that I can access, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.

During the rut I either hunt travel areas or the edge of bedding areas.  Bucks will often use travel areas that go from bedding cover to bedding cover while seeking a receptive doe.  They will often seek receptive does within bedding areas.  If they locate a receptive doe they often will nudge her out of bedding cover and try to separate her from other deer, especially other bucks.  I probably hunt closer to bedding areas during the rut than any other time of the year.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

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How do you exit stands during the evening without alerting deer?

Question
I love your show. I’ve learned so much for you and your staff. I just finished watching your show about the beginning of this years deer season where you harvest a great turkey.
My question is, your stand is in the middle of the field with a lone oak tree. How do you exit that stand at dark with all the deer around you with out spooking them into the next county.
Thanks again for a great show.

Jim,

Thank you for sharing the encouraging words!  

You ask a good question.  We typically have someone pick us up when we hunt that stand/plot.  The nose of the truck and headlights approaching cause deer to exit the field without them associating the field with danger.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Will deer avoid areas with high bear populations?

Question
Grant,

My family hunts some land in the Ozarks of Madison county Arkansas. All we have been getting on our game cams this season has been of bear. We went hunting this weekend and we didn’t see a single deer but one of my hunting partners killed his first black bear. There are an abundance of white oaks on the property and the acorn were dropping heavily.

I was wondering, will bleak bear run off whitetail?

Thanks,

Beau Fugitt

Beau,

Black bears are very good deer predators.  If there’s lots of bears using the land you hunt it wouldn’t be uncommon for deer to use a different part of their home range.  Congratulations to your hunting partner that tagged a bear!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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Why aren’t bucks using the property where I hunt near Gainesville, Florida?

Question
Mr. Woods,
Last year, my Dad and I finally received permission to hunt on 40 acres in Newberry Florida which is just outside of Gainesville. It is the first time this area has been hunted and all of the hunters in the area agreed to only use bows. Last year, although we were not able to harvest any bucks, our trail cameras were filled with bucks considered huge for this area. After watching many of your videos on property managing and growing “hidey hole” food plots, we attempted to make four of them this summer. However, even though we sprayed each food plot twice before planting, each food plot is overgrown with weeds, and the soybeans that did grow are scarce and are now turning brown. Along with that, we have zero bucks on camera, and only a few does. The surrounding property’s are still getting these bucks on camera, but they are keeping out of our block. I know it would be hard because you have never seen my property before, but if you have any tips for me as for what I could have done wrong and what I could do to fix it, it would be greatly appreciated. On a smaller note, I know you probably do not have problems with them is Missouri, but do you have any methods for trapping Rattle Snakes? Thank you for your time!

Corey,

Congratulations on receiving permission to hunt private property in Florida!  Tracy’s (my wife) brother and sister in law live near Gainesville.  They’ve had plenty of rain this summer and weeds have been more of a problem than normal.  When it’s wet, weed control is tough in that area.

If the property hasn’t been hunted or disturbed for a while, the bucks may be using the property less until they get conditioned to your presence.  Another likely scenario is that there are acorns falling somewhere in the neighborhood.  Deer love acorns and will often abandon other food sources when acorns become available.  Are there acorns available on the property you hunt?

We had encounters with three rattlesnakes at my place this summer.  Tracy found one near our carport.  That was scary!  I’ve never tried to trap snakes.  I did a quick search and found the following link. I doubt it’s practical but found it interesting so I’ll share it with you.  You may wish to check out:  http://www.cahabasnaketrapsales.com/

Have a great season and enjoy creation,

grant

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Do you have any hints for hunting from the ground?

Question
Grant,
My name is Robert, I’m 19 and I some day hope to have my own property to manage deer and game like you do. You do a great job, I love watching your show it gives me the insight I need to grow big deer. Very informative, I’ve been huntin since I was 13 and I’ve taught myself from the start ( no dad in the picture. ) I do my hunting from the ground ( no ground blind) simply because I don’t have a treestand. Plus side is it’s an amazing rush five yards out nose to nose it’s unbeatable. Downside is the slightest wrong move and your busted. But I think I got that fixed I built a ladder onto a tree n I’m sittin in the Y. I’ve managed to get 4 deer on the ground the past 3 years, but it’s hard huntin day after day. I still love it and I like to be mobile, would you have any tips for huntin on the ground I got the basics but any info helps. I’m saving the Y for the rut it’s next to a bedding area in between a creek and a oak n hickory ridge.

P.S. I’m hunting with a bow.

Thanks and happy hunting,
Robert

Robert,

I’m extremely proud of you for teaching yourself  to hunt from the ground!!  That is an exciting way to hunt!  I have a close friend that hunts exclusively from the ground.  He’s one of the best hunters I know.  Here are some of his techniques.

1.  Always – keep the wind in your favor.  If the wind shifts leave or change.  Check the wind constantly.

2.  Often it’s best to time the hunt/approach of an area to occur just before or after you expect deer to be there.  For example, my friend often stalks (with the wind in his favor) to a feeding area and arrives ten minutes before dark.  This significantly reduces the chances of the wind swirling, etc.  It’s not spending hours in the woods – it’s being at the right place at  the right time.

3. Rarely is the direct route the best route.  Consider thermals, wind shifts due to topography, etc.  

Remember that even though there was no earthy dad “in the picture” your heavenly father has always and will always be with you!  

Enjoy creation and know that I’m very proud of you. I hope our paths cross soon!


grant

 

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Is it effective to hang my hunting clothes in the field so deer will become conditioned to my scent?

Question
Grant,
My boss who is from Canada. Told me to hang clothing in the field so deer can get use to my scent. Have you ever done/ heard of this? Thanks

Robert,

It would be more effective to hang your hunting clothes (especially after you have worn/sweated in them) in the field and very close to a feeder.  This would potentially condition deer to associate your odor with the reward of food with no threat.  Most deer know human odor and associate it with danger.  The goal is to be odorless or hunt where deer associate the area with safety or benefit (such as food, cover, or water).  

Conditioning deer to associate your odor with food would be much more effective than simply conditioning deer to your odor.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Do you hunt when it’s raining?

Question
What are your thoughts about deer hunting in the rain.

Lots of water coming down this weekend here in NC, so I wanted to get your scientific opinion.

Rob,

I rarely bow hunt when it’s raining.  This isn’t because deer aren’t active. It’s because almost all deer shot with a bow are recovered by following a blood trail.  Rain can diminish a blood trail rapidly.  

If it’s raining or about to rain hard, don’t shoot a deer with a bow!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What’s a realistic goal where I hunt?

Question
Hey dr Grant I’ve been whaching growingdeer.tv for two years I want to start growing a lot of big bucks I live in nc and I only have 25 acres of land and every one around me hunts I now of some they will shoot what ever comes out and some peopple around my parts get away of hunting all year long how can I get big bucks if that happens all the time and I have never killed a deer I’m trying so hard I don’t have a lot of tools to do what you do what can I do here at east bend nc

Jacob,

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer!  

I believe hunting should be fun!  Part of keeping hunting fun is having realistic goals for the area where you are hunting.  A good goal is a to tag a buck that’s as old as at least most of the bucks using the property.  If that’s two years old – then that’s a great buck!  In some areas, that may be any buck or any venison for the freezer!

Focus on enjoying hunting and all will be well!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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Do you hunt staging areas?

Question
Dr. Grant,

I was curious as to what your take on “Staging Areas” is? If you hunt them, what is your technique on finding them? How do you know if it is a for sure staging area? And, what would be the best way to set up on/in them?

Thanks,

Haden McGill

Haden,

I do like hunting staging areas!  They are some of my favorite stand locations!!

I primarily hunt at my property located in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri.  The area is primarily timbered with few natural openings.  In this type of habitat deer, including mature bucks, seem to readily use small openings before larger food plots, etc.

I’ve created several staging areas by clearing brush and trees.  Some of these are simply nooks off larger food plots and some are 100 to 200 yards away from a primary feeding area. I often place Trophy Rock’s Four65 mineral in the staging area as well as maintain it in Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend.  I almost always create a mock scrape in staging area also!  This combination of mineral, forage that’s attractive during the hunting season, and a mock scrape has proven extremely effective at attracting mature bucks during daylight hours.

It’s very important find or create staging areas that allow hunters to approach them without alerting deer.  This means the approach, hunt, and exit needs to occur so that deer in the local bedding and feeding areas won’t be downwind of the stand/blind location.  This characteristic of staging areas is probably the most important determinant of its location!

Staging areas give hunters a big advantage that’s rarely discussed.  Because staging areas are usually between primary bedding and feeding areas, it means deer are traveling through them.  This means hunters can often approach staging areas before a morning hunt and/or leave them after an evening hunt without alerting deer.  This is in contrast to hunting both bedding and feeding areas where it’s often difficult to approach during the morning or leave after a hunt without alerting deer.  Therefore staging areas can often be hunted more frequently without “burning out” the stand.

I’ll be hunting staging areas this fall!  Whether you find a natural staging area or establish one I hope you have an opportunity to hunt these great habitat features also!

Grant

 

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What scents do you use to start mock scrapes?

Question
I was just wondering what scents you use to start a mock scrape…. Buck urine, Doe urine, a mix or something completely different.

Thanks
Ryan

Ryan,

We frequently don’t use any scent.  We simply build the mock scrape and bucks take it over. If we do use a scent, we urinate in it when finished building the scrape.  This technique has worked well for us.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What can I do to insure deer get all the nutrition they need to express their full potential on a limited amount of land?

Question
Dr. Woods, what advice would you have to make sure deer get the right nutrients and what source of food to use with a limited amount of land? I only have the tract of land that deer travel on after they leave their bedding area and do not have enough space to start a food plot. Thank you for your time and God Bless.

Caleb,

Deer often have a home range of several hundred acres.  It’s difficult to significantly shrink the size of a deer’s home range.  Deer need quality food, cover, and water and where this exists in close proximity deer tend to have smaller home ranges.  

So, I’d start by evaluating the quality of food, cover, and water on your land and the neighboring properties.  If you don’t have enough room for a food plot, then it seems the only option would be to use supplemental feed if that’s legal in your area.

Most folks overlook cover or security as a great deer attractant.  Don’t forget that insuring deer feel secure and unpressured where you hunt can be just as attractive as a quality source of food. Deer spend most of their daylight hours in cover and that’s when we hunt! I put a lot of time into managing and providing cover!  This can mean making sure you go out of your way to not alert deer on your property!  

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Would you shoot a doe that’s going to bust you?

Question
Hello Grant, can’t thank you enough for so generously sharing your years of knowledge and experience. Would a shoot the first doe that would bust you by skirting downwind cause enough chaos to make the other traveling deer being aware of my presence. Now if so and I could get away with safely hunting unsuspecting deer would it be worth the knowledge gained by entering the woods early or should I sit on the property fringes and shoot the does bedding on the neighbors, Risking the intrusion on the main woods for closer to the rut?
How about a TSI corridor with a food plot road leading to your food plot staging area, next to a larger ag field of beans with cereal grains broadcasted into it. Doesn’t that sound like a fool proof travel route that just about anyone could create..
Is the military crest of a hill overlooking a bottom the ideal spot for a buck bed. It seems like if you even had a small hill on your property you could put buck beds with some hinge cuts around it with a bed for each of the main winds to have a relatively predictable buck bedding sanctuary.
Do smaller county drainage ditches allow for enough wind flow to sort of vacuum your sent right down it as long as the wind is paralleling to some degree. Last question, how far does the swirling are bubble effect inside the woods as a cross wind hits the woodlot. Sorry for such a large question, again thanks for all your time and efforts. Good luck this year

Chris,

I shoot does if there’s more deer than quality forage in the area.  I hope my stands are located so any deer passing isn’t alerted by my presence.  I doubt the strategy of shooting deer to keep them from alerting other deer will work well.

I select stands based on conditions that day.  The better the conditions and more likely deer are to be active the more confident I am to hunt my best stands!  The worst the conditions (calm wind, warm, etc.) the more likely I am to hunt the fringes or what I call scouting stands.

I have noticed bucks often bed just off the crest of hills.  The wind typically swirls in these locations and allows bucks to use their sense of smell to protect them from predators from all directions.  

Cold air is heavy and tends to go to the lowest spot in the area.  Using such ditches can provide good entry and exit strategies in flat country!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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How does barometric pressure influence your stand selection?

Question
Hello Grant,
I wanted to give you an email to ask you about Barometric Pressure. I know i have watched a video of yours where you talk about when to hunt certain stands based on barometric pressure, and when its either cold or warmer weather. Can you give me information on this. examples when to hunt stands in lower areas compared to higher up areas on a ridge, or when to hunt a stand when it is warmer or colder based on barometric pressure.
Please and Thank You!!

Derek,

I really enjoy hunting during changing weather.  The barometric pressure usually changes just before a major change in weather.  Deer tend to feed before substantial changes in weather.  Hence, I typically hunt near food resources when the barometer is rapidly rising or falling.  

When the barometric pressure is stable (and weather conditions are constant) I tend to hunt closer to bedding areas since deer often leave the bedding areas close to dark.  

There are several other factors but the barometer is certainly one that I watch daily during deer season.

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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Which deer calls should I use during the early season?

Question
I was just curious of what calling you do early season? Like do you ever use light rattling, grunting or even doe bleats?

Thanks
Ryan

Ryan,

Good question!  I’ve had success attracting does using a fawn bleat during the early season.  This is especially true in states where the season starts earlier than average.  

I also use grunts during the early season. I use quiet, short grunts.  I only use short sequences during the early season and only use the call when bucks are 80 yards or more from me.  Bucks seem to respond more out of curiosity than rut related behavior.  As the season progresses I will use the grunt call in a more aggressive manner.

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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When should I create mock scrapes?

Question
Hello and good morning, I was wondering when I should put out my mock scrape? This is my 1st time doing it and really don’t know when to set it up. Bow season starts in 10 days with the rut starting mid to late October early November. I would like to know when would be a great time to set it up that way I have a attempt at shooting a nice deer this year.

Brandon,

We’ve created several mock scrapes this week (late September).  Deer frequently use licking branches year round.  Deer seem to readily accept and use well-placed mock scrapes.  They are a great tool to encourage bucks to be 20 yards from a stand or in position for a trail camera.  

I suggest you go ahead and don’t hesitate to make more as the season progresses!

grant

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What can I do to attract deer to a strip of land that’s about 10 acres?

Question
Hey Grant, I have been allowed to hunt a small acreage.It’s about 10 acres, but its kinda in a strip.Theres creeks that run threw it and a lot of agriculture nearby and i now theres deer.But I’m wonder how i can better manage the property and attract/keep more deer.

Skyler,

Congrats on having a place to hunt!  I always start by learning the local sources of food, cover, and water. You mentioned there was agricultural crops nearby and creeks in the area.  Deer often use creek banks as travel corridors.  I’d check for trails along the creeks and if they are present determine the best way to approach, hunt, and exit those areas without alerting deer!  

Having access to travel corridors can be better than hunting the feeding and bedding areas!  

The travel patterns may change as the local crops are harvested and new crops planted.  I’d monitor these food sources and learn how deer use the land where you have permission to hunt!  I like making mock scrapes in travel corridors and this may be a great technique for you!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Should I risk hunting areas where I’m likely to alert deer?

Question
The weather forecast shows we should have almost a 3 week drought leading up to bow season. The only place for water on or around my property is a creek down in a hollow below my bean fields. The deer bed all down in here and I know the Bucks will stay down there with the high 70’s in temps and dry weather they will stay bedded down and near water. Getting to the creek to hunt it is very difficult as in not spooking deer. Is it worth the chance of spooking deer to hunt it or should I just stay out of there and hunt my food plots?

Corey,

It can be very tempting to hunt areas that you know deer are using but aren’t favorable for you to approach without alerting deer.  I tend to avoid such areas, especially this early during season.  Scent travels easily with warm, moist air.  I prefer to save my best stands for days when the conditions are in my favor.  It’s tough enough to tag a deer with favorable conditions let alone when the odds are against the hunter.

I’d hunt the fringes are spend time scouting from the distance rather than risk alerting deer during a hunt that has a low probability of success.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Can anything be done to make deer move before dark when it’s hotter than normal?

Question
Here in NC archery came in about a week ago. My problem is that it is 90 degrees and 6pm right now-sunset at 7:30. Due to this all I’m having are NOCTURNAL deer. Hunting an ag field of beans. Any suggestions to getting some daylight with the deer? Any help would be appreciated!

Kasey,

Tracy (my wife) and I lived and hunted in South Carolina for years.  Tracy is from Monroe, North Carolina.  

Deer in that area have already started growing their winter coat.  I’m sure it’s uncomfortable for them to be active when it’s hotter than normal. I suspect the only technique you can use is hunt closer to a bedding area. However, when it’s that hot and humid there’s a good chance of alerting the deer.  I suggest waiting till a weather front occurs and temperatures drop!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What deer scents should I use?

Question
Hello Dr. Woods,

First I must say that I’m a huge fan. I am subscribed to your videos and watch them every week. I’ve been a hunter every since I was old enough to walk with my father to the stand. I’ve learned a lot from your videos and have been applying some of the management strategies and hunting techniques on my family’s property here in Wisconsin.

My question is about supplemental scents for whitetail deer such as doe urine, buck urine, and doe estrous. Do you have any advice for the use of such products? Are they something that’s even worthwhile in your opinion? If so, when and where is it appropriate to use the different kind of scents? In addition, there’s countless amounts of brands for these kind of products, so what are some things to look for when choosing a brand?

Thanks in advance and God Bless,
Paul

P.S. Good luck going after “Chainsaw” and your many other hit listers this season!

Paul,

Thank you for being part of the GrowingDeer family!  

I don’t use any scents.  My hunting strategies are based on patterning deer by understanding how they use the local habitat during different weather, etc., I do build mock scrapes but rely on the location and physical appearance to attract deer. I find that once deer begin using these mock scrapes they will add their own scent frequently.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Where should I establish a mock scrape?

Question
Grant,
I’m a big fan of you and all you do, and I figured you’d be the guy to ask. I’m planning on putting in a rub post/scrape tree on my property. My question is regarding it’s location and or if they can be used as one in the same or make 2 different entities. I’ve got about a 2 acre soy bean plot surrounded by hardwoods and CRP, and I’ve got about a 3/4 hidey hole plot. My tract has 10 acres of CRP and 8 acres of hardwoods and 3 acres of food plots all surrounded by large tracts of hardwoods, creek bottoms and Ag fields.

Thanks!

Daniel,

Thanks for sharing the encouraging words!  

Scrapes and rubs are like stop signs to humans.  They only get our attention if they are where we travel and are easily visible.  I primarily establish mock scrapes about 20 yards from a stand/blind and place the scrape in a field or somewhere open.  

Based on the description of your property, I’d consider establishing the scrape in the soybean plot – in an area that favorable for you to approach, hunt, and exit without alerting deer.  I’d rather have two mock scrapes than a scrape and a rub.  Mock scrapes can be tremendous tools!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What can I do to keep deer using my property year round?

Question
Hi Grant,

I enjoy watching all of your videos and have learned a lot. Behind my house, I have a bedding area, a watering source, and about 2 weeks before season a start putting whole shelled corn out and usually quit at the end of the season. During season they always have a food source (corn) and still travel to other neighbors properties to feed. i was thinking about ways to keep deer coming to me more. The ways I came up with are planting using a bow a season to keep from spooking deer, and planting a year round food source such as clovers. My question to you is what can I do to improve my property and keep deer coming back to me. Also I am wondering what steps I need to take to plant clovers.

God Bless,
Colby

Colby,

I always start by evaluating the best sources of food, cover, and water year round on the property I have permission to hunt and on the surrounding properties.  Remember that what’s a preferred food source during December likely won’t be a good food source during July. 

By identifying what’s the least available or lowest quality resource (food, cover, or water) I can then work to add or improve that resource where I have permission to hunt.  Most folks overlook cover. However, cover is where deer, especially mature deer, spend most daylight hours.  

I suspect you’ll be able to quickly determine what you need to do to attract deer year round if you consider which resources are the most limited where you hunt.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What’s the best age to start kids hunting?

Question
What is the best age to get a kid started hunting abd the best way to get kids into hunting?I bought a blind and a Caldwell deadshot fieldpod in hopes my daughter might want to go.She doesn’t like the sound of guns.Thanks for any advice.

Stacy,

Kids (and adults) mature at different rates.  Some kids are mature enough to enjoy hunting by six years old or so.  Others need to wait a bit longer.  Research clearly shows that kids that start out fishing and/or hunting small game tend to enjoy and remain hunters throughout life more than kids that are introduced to the outdoors by deer hunting.  

Deer hunting can be very boring to kids.  Deer hunting often requires sitting still for hours and being quiet.  That’s not a fun activity to most children. I took my daughters fishing for bluegill years before we started hunting. We started shooting with an inexpensive BB guns.  There was no recoil and very little noise. We worked up to a .22 with subsonic loads (quiet and no recoil). We then went squirrell hunting.  

Deer are large, beautiful critters. Most young children aren’t mature enough to understand the cycles of life, providing quality meat for our families, etc.  Candidly, I believe many dad’s make a mistake of starting their kids’ hunting career by taking them deer hunting before pursuing other activities.

No one likes extremely loud noises or substantial recoil.  That simply sends a strong signal that watching TV is funner than hunting.  Why not grab some inexpensive fishing gear and some worms or crickets and the all important candy bars – and take your daughter fishing.  I suspect twenty years from now you’ll be glad you started with simpler outdoor activities than deer hunting.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Should I hunt the mornings during early bow season?

Question
This is my first season bow hunting and I read a couple of articles that said morning hunts can push deer out or push them farther into their bedding area. Should I focus on afternoon hunts?

Thank you so much!
John 8:12
Zach

Zach,

It depends on the stand locations and deer patterns where you hunt. Will you alert deer while going to your stand during the mornings? Deer will likely be feeding during the mornings and it can be tough to approach a stand without alerting deer. During the afternoons deer are typically in a bedding area and it is easier to approach stands without alerting them.

I rarely hunt mornings during the early season for this reason and because of how the land lays where I hunt. I will make an exception during days when the weather conditions are good and/or I have a stand location I can approach without alerting deer.

Enjoy creation,

Grant

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Should I hunt a bedding area during the early season?

Question
Hello Mr. Grant,
I have a couple of questions to ask and you were the first person that came to mind when I needed an answer. I am still a fairly new bow hunter and have a couple of questions about the area that I am hunting this year. I am hunting the Conservation Area about 10-15 miles outside of my hometown, Vandalia, Mo. I would have attached a picture of the area that I am hunting but couldn\’t seem to find one that had everything that I needed on it. I am taking my first day in the woods this Saturday but am second guessing on the spot that I have chosen to hunt. I picked a point where I am in the middle thicket of 3 CRP fields with the Vandalia Lake to my left and a freshly cut corn field to my left. The CRP fields have been used this summer for the deer to bed down. I am concerned on if I should not hunt this area due to it being so early in the season. I will only have a few times to hunt this year due to a new member in the family. The Conservation fence line will be about 15 yards off to my right when I am sitting in the stand and there is a natural waterway that funnels through the middle of the area. There is thick brush to the back of my with a pretty good path dug out about 5 yards from the tree that I will sit in. If you go to Google Earth, you can see the lake that I am talking about. I will be hunting the right side of the conservation land and was needing some expert advice on the area that I would be hunting. I know that deer act in many odd ways and anything can happen when you go but i figured the more knowledge that I had, the better my luck. I have squirrel hunted this area just recently and found that the CRP fields is where the deer seem to hang out. I have accidentally jumped a couple of fawns around the fields that I have decided to hunt and hope that the bigger deer are going to be around. I do believe that the path that is in front of my stage is a travel corridor for these deer to move between CRP fields and between the corn field. Hopefully you can help me settle this internal feud and ease my fever. Im very avid and any imformation would be great. You may have to scroll south to find the lake if you use Google Earth. Follow HWY W till Audrain County RD 524. Go West on County RD 524 till you see the lake. Thanks!

Thanks so much!!! Can not wait to hear from ya!!!

Scotlan,

It sounds like you have a good plan!  Nothing beats boots on the ground scouting.  In general, I typically don’t hunt within bedding areas until much closer to the rut.  It may be difficult to approach your stand without alerting deer.  Even with limited time to hunt, I suggest having at least two setups so there are options for different wind directions.  If the wind isn’t favorable for this setup, I’d strongly suggest hunting another area or spend the time scouting for an alternative setup.

Is there a location between the cover and food that’s accessible to hunt? 

Enjoy creation,

grant

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How long does it take for deer to return to a normal pattern after being disturbed?

Question
Grant,

Here in Louisiana, our bow season opens Oct. 1st. I’ve been busy getting food plots ready, hanging stands, cutting, trimming etc… I know this disturbance has to have some kind of impact on the deer. My plan is to stay completely away from my hunting area for 2 weeks leading up to opening day to give the deer time to hopefully return to a normal pattern. I’m wondering if this is enough time, or if I should have wrapped it up sooner. How long do you find it takes deer to return to “normal” after a bunch of noisy, smelly work? This is a new place, so I don’t have a good library of data to establish what “normal” is on this property.

Brian,

Congrats on acquiring a new property to hunt/manage!  Bow season opens today (September 15th) here in Missouri. I hope to be in a blind this afternoon!

Research based on placing GPS collars on deer indicates that mature bucks often “return to normal patterns” in a week or so after being disturbed.  However, there are many variables!  For example, during the week following the “disturbance” food sources may change including acorns dropping, forage crops germinating, etc.  Also other hunters may be active in a portion of the deer’s home range, coyotes move into an area, weather patterns change, etc.  

It is rare that any of us understand all the events and/or factors that influence deer patterns. I suspect that two weeks is long enough for deer to resume their normal patterns if the other influences have remained constant within those deer’s home range.  

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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What time of the year is best for seeing mature bucks?

Question
What time is the best for seeing big bucks, like what time of the month

Beau,

Bucks will be most active during daylight when the weather conditions are best for them.  This usually means the air temperatures are normal or cooler than normal and the barometric pressure is higher than normal.  

These conditions occur most often just before or just after a strong weather front.  Because weather conditions are such a huge factor, it’s tough to schedule vacation days, etc.  

Bottom line is I hunt when I can and save my best stands for days when the weather conditions are most favorable!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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How do I attract bucks and keep them on my property?

Question
How do I attract bucks and keep them on my property? We have a 700 acre row crop and hard wood farm near Sedalia, MO, but our property is split up in a hundred acres here, and a couple hundred acres there and so on. Causing the deer, primarily the bucks, to more frequently travel onto neighboring farms.

Tim,

Most bucks have a home range size larger than 200 acres.  In general the better the quality of habitat the smaller a buck’s home range will be.  Good quality habitat includes preferred sources of food, cover, and water in close proximity to each other.  In addition, deer strongly prefer areas they don’t associate with danger.  Deer, especially mature bucks, spend most of the daylight hours in cover.  You’ll want to insure the best cover in the neighborhood is on your farms and that deer don’t associate those areas with danger.

Once the ag crops are harvested, deer will seek the best remaining food sources.  You might consider living some soybeans or corn standing or establish  some food plots to serve as the preferred food source in the neighborhood once the crops have been harvested on neighboring properties.  

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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How can I keep deer feeding on my property?

Question
Hi Grant,

I enjoy watching all of your videos and have learned a lot. Behind my house, I have a bedding area, a watering source, and about 2 weeks before season a start putting whole shelled corn out and usually quit at the end of the season. During season they always have a food source (corn) and still travel to other neighbors properties to feed. i was thinking about ways to keep deer coming to me more. The ways I came up with are planting using a bow a season to keep from spooking deer, and planting a year round food source such as clovers. My question to you is what can I do to improve my property and keep deer coming back to me. Also I am wondering what steps I need to take to plant clovers.

God Bless,
Colby

Colby,

Deer require food, cover, and water daily.  They tend to use the best of each of these resources within their range that they don’t associate with danger.  This means they may pass using some quality resources simply because they’ve associated that area with danger.  

Deer are also extremely selective feeders.  For example, they will almost always abandon corn, etc., when acorns become available. Are there many oaks in your neighborhood?  

Deer often learn to associate bait (corn) with danger if hunters use stands nearby.  There are recent research projects that show hunters have lower success rates when hunting near corn than non baited areas because deer rapidly learn to associate such areas with danger.

I recommend you analyze the quality of food, cover, and water on your property compared these resources within the neighborhood and the amount of hunting pressure. I suspect this analysis will provide valuable insight to deer patterns in your area.

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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What advice do you have for hunting public land in upstate New York?

Question
I live in up state new York an I hunt public land but the deer are very presured his can I do to be successful come October 1 thanks

Salvatore,

I’ve worked a lot near Potsdam and other areas in upstate New York.  That’s some very beautiful country!  I agree that there can be a lot of deer hunters and hunting pressure in that area.  

Deer behave the same throughout their range. They need food, cover, and water. Thier largest motivation seems to be fear. So they will avoid the best food in their home range if they associate that area with danger.  They often avoid areas during daylight as they associate areas with danger during daylight hours.  

I use this knowledge to determine where and how I will hunt any area. I look for the best sources of food, cover, and water that deer don’t associate with danger during daylight hours.  On public land this often means getting a bit further off the road or finding smaller parcels of public land that’s overlooked by other hunters.  

I hope these considerations help you this fall!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What time do you like to get into a stand in the morning?

Question
Grant,

What time should I get into the stand in morning and what is the best way to eliminate scent without a scent master

Ryan,

If the conditions are normal I like to be in the stand at least 15 minutes before daylight.  Based on my observations, deer spoke less from hearing a hunter than seeing a hunter.  Of course they are the most alerted by smelling a hunter!  

We use a three step process using Dead Down Wind (www.DeadDownWind.com) to clean our bodies and gear.  We store our clothes and most of our gear in a ScentMaster for the  final treatment!  

This process has worked great for us!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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How should I approach my stand given I have to cross a giant field?

Question
I have a great spot in Hopkinsville,ky. However getting to my stand is very tough. I have to walk across a giant field every time I go. I hate having to cross every time, but the spot is that good. Would you recommend having a buddy drive me across in a truck instead of exposing myself for 10 minutes of walking across?

JP,

Based on what I know about your setup I would prefer being dropped off in a vehicle rather leaving a human scent trail!  In addition, it may be best to hunt this stand during the afternoon. If deer are using the field it will be extremely difficult to cross the field without alerting deer during the morning, even before daylight.

I go to great means to not alert deer on my way to, while hunting, and while exiting a stand.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Will deer cross a major river?

Question
I am acquiring a lease to hunt 150 acres right outside my back door. It has never been hunted and is archery only. The property is on the Cape Fear river in eastern North Carolina. There are quite a number of deer along the river, and the terrain is not typical of the region with more hardwoods and deep ravines leading to the river. It is thick with bedding and travel corridors.

Is it better to set up on the high ground or low ravines along the corridors?

Is there any chance that a shot deer would run into the river? Have you ever known deer to cross rivers at all as part of their normal movement patterns?

Thank you!
Mike Hubbard

Mike,

Congratulations on acquiring a lease that’s within walking distance!!  

In general, I strongly prefer hunting high ground. The wind is usually more constant at high ground compared to low areas.  However, large bodies of water can have a big impact on wind direction/thermals.  When the water is cooler than the surrounding land air tends to leave the river and rush toward the land.  When the water is warmer than the surrounding land air tends to rush toward the water!.  I use this to my advantage.  When the wind is rushing toward the water I prefer hunting by the water so my scent is carried out over the river/lake.  

Bottom line is that I want to hunt where I won’t alert deer.  I’d rather hunt where there is less deer sign but know deer won’t detect me than hunt were the most sign is and risk alerting deer.

I have observed deer swimming across large bodies of water.  In fact, my colleague Dr, Harry Jacobson, reported some deer he had fitted with radio collars swam across the Mississippi river regularly!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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Is there a difference in shot placement from a ground blind compared to a tree stand?

Question
I’ve been watching your YouTube videos for most of the summer and have learned quite a bit. I was wondering if you ever made a video on shot placement from elevated stands vs ground blinds. I was also wondering about a handful of videos I’ve watched where the deer was shot with a bow,not necessarily quartering towards the shooter and was hit in front of the shoulder and each one of them died in less than 60 yards.Not that I would intentionally take aim for that spot but im trying to learn what they hit to make this possible. Thank you for your time and keep up the great work and thank your staff for me also.

Jesse,

Thank you for watching GrowingDeer!  We can and do share a lot more information at http://www.GrowingDeer.tv than we can on YouTube.  We release a new episode every Monday morning at 630 am Central time.

I aim at the same spot from both a ground blind and tree stand.  I aim at the bottom third of the deer just behind the shoulder.  I hug the shoulder tight as the primary leg bone is at an angle toward the deer’s head.  I’d rather be a touch forward than back.  

I don’t take shots with a bow at deer that are strongly quartering toward me.  It’s possible to bust through the shoulder, but I believe the animal deserves more respect than to take a risky shot.

My stands are rarely more than 20-22′ high.  This allows the arrow trajectory to pass through both lungs.  

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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How can I attract mature bucks to four acres?

Question
OK, I have a spot not a very large spot, 4 acre to be exact. This spot is located in what could be my best spot ever. It’s land locked on all sides by a property that cant be hunted ever by anyone, and the property I’m on has had just a little pressure over the last couple years 3 sits total to be exact and prior to that probably hadn’t been touched in 30 years…..it had 4 acre of huntable area the rest is a house. I can’t plant a food plot, the main Forage is brows and acorns, with some crop land a ways away. What can I do to draw deer to this area. The population is fairly high, but I want bucks mature bucks to frequent this area more often they are there and will come through every now and then on cam but don’t stick around like the doe and young bucks do. I can get over a hundred pics a day on 3 shop rapid fire with a 5 min delay of doe, fawns and young bucks but the mature deer seem to just pass through every couple weeks please help 

John,

It sounds like you have a great four acres!  However, even in great habitat four acres will be a very small part of a deer’s home range.  Couple that with wanting to attract deer during legal shooting hours (1/3 + – of the day) and the chances of success are slim.  

Deer require food, cover, and water.  Since you can’t establish a food plot it sounds as if your only option is a feeder.  You can improve the native habitat, but simply don’t control enough acres to meet your objective of attracting mature bucks on a regular basis.  

Given the surrounding land isn’t hunted you won’t be able to have the best cover in the neighborhood that deer don’t associate with danger.  

Unless you are in a desert location, there’s probably plenty of water sources – again in areas that aren’t hunted.  

Bottom line – you need to offer something that the deer want that’s not available elsewhere in their home range.  Unless there are feeders on the neighboring property, that seems like the best option.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Do you have any tips for hunting private land in Minnesota?

Question
Grant,

I recently started hunting due to a few new friends who would call it their second religion. I didn’t grow up with hunting being a part of my life so I missed out on a lot of educational situations. This year will be my first year on my own and I will be trying some public land that is primarily marshland.

My question is – Are there any tips or techniques that I can use to get some meet in my freezer on public land? More specifically public marsh land? The area I am thinking about is the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area just north of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I have only ever hunted private land, where the permanent stands had been built to use. Obivously there are huge differences between public and private land. I just don’t want to spend all of MN’s archery season sitting in a place that deer never travel to in a marsh.

Any tips or help would be greatly appreciated!

Jeremy

Jeremy,

I’m thrilled you started hunting!  I use the same techniques for hunting public and private land.  I always attempt to identify the best sources of food, cover, and water where I’m hunting. This includes sources of the resources on neighboring properties that might influence the travel patterns of deer where I have permission to hunt.  

Remember that the best source of food, cover, or water may only be used at night or not at all depending if deer associate that area with danger.  If there’s much hunting pressure deer, especially mature deer, may not use fields much during daylight hours.  

Deer often spend most of the daylight hours in cover. Most hunters focus hunting near sources of food.  This seems to be especially true on public land. I suggest using Google Earth first and on the ground scouting next to locate the preferred source of cover where you wish to hunt. Cover in your area may be on dry hammocks in the marsh. If that’s the case, consider finding a stand/blind location between the cover and food.  

Remember that being able to approach, hunt, and exit a stand without alerting deer is extremely important. 

Finally – pay attention to where other hunters are hunting.  Often deer can be patterned by understanding how they respond to other hunters!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Do you have any tips for scouting for an upcoming deer hunt in National Forest in Kentucky?

Question
Im from Destin Florida, and you have helped me in the past with questions and tips. I know your very busy and appreciate that you take the time to help out. A couple buddies and I have decided to take a trip to Daniel Boone Nation Forest to hunt whitetail second week of September.
We will be going in “blind” meaning just having google earth to help us with our scouting. Any advise and tips on what we should look for in that type of terrain? The address on google earth is at the north end of….Elklick Rd, Morehead, Rowan County, KY. The road dead ends into the mountains. It seems to have many many saddles and valleys. Any advise would be much appreciated. Thanks for your time. Tommy

Tommy,

Such trips are usually very fun!  There are lots of acorns developing here and I suspect in most of Kentucky also.  I’d start by scouting for whiteoak acorns on the ground and associated deer sign.

I prefer to hunt ridgetops as the wind is usually more consistent!  I also prefer hunting where there are fewer folks, even if that means hunting where there are fewer deer.  Alert deer are very difficult to hunt!  This applies to you also – don’t be so eager to scout that you ignore wind direction and good scent reduction!  Finding sign doesn’t help much if you alerted deer in the process,

May you be blessed with an enjoyable trip!

grant

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Any tips for hunting in Kentucky during the first week of November?

Question
Hi Dr. Grant me my dad and a friend from Louisiana will be going to land of the lakes Kentucky first week of November. I see you hunt Kentucky a lot on videos just wondering if you could offer some tips on hunting the first of November with a bow on public land. This will be our first trip their. Thanks.

Travis,

That sounds like a wonderful trip!  Deer will be breeding during the first week of November in Kentucky. Remember, how much rut activity occurs during the daylight is primarily dependent on the weather conditions. If it’s warmer than normal, then most activity will be during the night.  If the daytime temperatures are normal or cooler than normal there should be plenty of daytime activity!  

There are lots of acorns forming this year where I hunt near Cadiz, Kentucky, I imagine the same is true at the Land between the Lakes. I’d start by scouting for acorns and deer sign.

I hope you are blessed with an enjoyable hunt!

grant

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When is the rut in New York?

Question
hi mr. woods, as we get closer to deer season opening up everyone talks about hunting the rut and taking vaca to hunt the rut, my question is when does the rut actually take place? and how long or how many ruts are there? theres a lot of info out there about what weeks and what days to hunt. In new York dec and biologists were goin back and forth about extending doe harvest into jan along with more counties with antler restictions. I listened to your 1 hr radio talk it was very informative!! other than goin back to school for biology which I want to when my boys get older where can I get whitetail biology info and learn more about them? thank you so much for your help and helping me learn about this wondeful animals!

mike

Mike,

It’s very tough to schedule vacations based on when peak daytime deer activity will occur.  This is because weather conditions are such a huge factor in the amount and timing of deer activity.  Simply stated, deer are generally less active during daylight when the temperatures are warmer than normal and more active during daylight when temperatures are colder than normal.  

It’s easy to forecast when the peak of breeding will occur in a general area.  The whitetail’s gestation period is 200 (+ – a few days) long. Therefore it’s easy to backdate from fawn birthdates or measure and determine the age of fetuses and know when does were bred.  Average breeding and fawning dates rarely change more than a day or two between years. They certainly don’t shift by weeks from year to year as some report.  In fact, the New Year Department of Environmental Conservation Department has a great data set of breeding dates for deer.  

However, if the temperatures are warmer than normal during the peak of breeding deer won’t move much during daylight hours.  You could schedule vacations days during the peak of breeding where you hunt and still not observe many deer due to the weather conditions.  Given average or better weather conditions there’s usually good hunting during the last week of October and first week of November.

I recommend scheduling your vacation when you like to hunt and hoping for cooler than normal conditions. Whatever the conditions are, enjoy the hunt! The warmed the temperatures the closer to the bedding areas you need to hunt!

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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What is the best deer attractant to use in north Florida?

Question
Hi, I hunt in north Florida near the Jacksonville area. Deer are heavily hunted around my parts and most of the same bucks on my trail camera are on many other hunters cameras in my area. I bait deer around here with regular yellow shucked corn as most of the other hunters in my area do also. I want to know what can I use to my advantage to get more deer preferring to come to my stand over all the other hunters around here? I also have had a a buck on my property last year and this year with odd antlers that are webbed. He is named the moose Buck because of his webbed antlers. The deer around here usually do not get very big and antlers do not get very big. I was wondering if to could age this Buck for me? Thanks, Colby

Colby,

I work in Florida frequently and agree there’s a lot of hunting pressure throughout most of the state!

Baiting/feeding is a very common practice throughout much of Florida.  Deer certainly like corn.  They prefer whole shelled corn in most areas that I work.  I doubt there’s any magic bait that will attract deer better than corn.  In fact, that’s the number one attractant we use when trapping deer!  

Rather than trying to find the ultimate attractant it may be better to consider other factors that determine where deer feed within their range.  Deer tend to eat at the best food source that they don’t associate with danger. Therefore, by insuring deer don’t associate your property/bait sites with danger will likely make them the preferred feeding sites in the area.  This means only hunting each site when the conditions are in your favor.  

Deer need food, cover, and water on a daily basis.  You might consider the quality of cover and water on the neighboring properties and see if you can provide better cover and/or water sources.  Remember that deer spend most of the daylight hours in cover.  Providing the best cover or areas where deer feel secure could be the key to holding bucks on your property during daylight hours.

There was not a picture of the Moose Buck attached.

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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Will deer return to an area after they’ve been alerted?

Question
I got busted by a deer that circled down wind of me in my stand. I never saw the deer but it blew at me and left. Will that deer be back or is that stand no good anymore

Thanks
Daniel

Daniel,

There’s some recent research by scientists at Auburn University that found deer will avoid locations where they were alerted or associated with danger.  These scientists reported that deer tended to avoid such areas for a few days or more, depending on several factors.  

Based on my observations and this research I’d stay out of that area for a few days before hunting it again.  However, remember it’s likely not all deer in the area were alerted.  It’s very possible you might have success there soon!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Do you have any tips for a first year bowhunter?

Question
This is gonna be my first year that I’m gonna bow hunt and I was wondering if you could give me some tips on bow hunting. I think I am a pretty good shot but I still need a little more practice, like could you give me some tips on how to call or lure bucks into my stand during the rut, and when is the best time to usually go out hunting during bow season?

Sam,

I’m thrilled you are starting to bow hunt!  Hopefully we have lots of useful information.  Simply go to the Videos tab (third tab over) at http://www.GrowingDeer.tv.  On the left side of the screen there’s a handy index of our past episodes by subject.  You may also use the search feature to look up specific topics.

Most importantly be safe and have fun!  Please don’t use tree stands without the proper safety gear!  

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What time of day do you prefer to hunt during the early bow season?

Question
As opening day approaches I have been getting a little ‘cabin fever’ and have been watching many tips from hunters online. I recently viewed one segment in which the “expert” said that one of bowhunters early season blunders is hunting in the morning. They said that morning hunts pressure deer and they stay in their bedding areas or leave the area all together. They said to hunt the evenings during early season.

My question to you Dr.Grant, what in your experience is the best time of day to hunt early season whitetail? Is it better to go to the stand later in the day and try to catch the deer as daylight dwindles or get in the stand before the sunrise?

Let’s add to the scenario that we have not been able to observe the comings and goings of the deer on a regular basis, we haven’t patterned these deer but we know they are there.

Eric,

There are many variables that determine what time of day I hunt during any portion of the season.  The primary variable is when I can hunt without alerting deer.  This is often determined by the layout of the property.  

During the early season deer will typically be feeding in ag field, food plots, or areas of herbaceous plant growth.  If I have to travel through these areas to reach my stand/blind then I’m likely to alert deer before the hunt begins.   

In general it’s easier to approach stands/blinds during the afternoon without alerting deer as most deer will be in a bedding area. However, at some properties hunters can approach travel corridors without alerting deer in feeding areas.  In these situations hunting during the mornings can be very productive!  

Remember that afternoons to deer are like mornings to most hunters.  Deer have been bedded all day and are eager to get up and go feed during the afternoons!  During the early season the days are long and deer have been bedded a long time.  They often are hungry and will leave the bedding area well before dark.  However, mature deer often return to the bedding area before daylight – just like most mature humans go to bed a bit earlier than younger folks.  

If didn’t know the area or the pattern of deer in an area, I’d error on hunting during the afternoons so I’d alert fewer deer.

Enjoy creation,

grant
 

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What tips do you have for folks hunting public land?

Question
You have given some great information on deer management, property management, scouting, hunting, and so much more but most of us are not lucky enough to have our own property or hunting lease where we have more control of the area. What tips and suggestions do you have for hunters that are limited to public land hunting?

Michael,

Usually the biggest difference between hunting public and private land is that on public land you often don’t know when and where other folks are hunting.  Excessive hunting pressure can make deer extremely alert and active primarily during the night.  Even on public land I still evaluate how deer are using food, cover, and water.  I try to find areas where deer are using these resources in areas where other hunters are frequenting.  

This often means walking a bit further or finding small tracts of public land that other hunters don’t frequent.  When I was in college I found a small tract of public land that was surrounded by development.  It was rarely hunted. It seemed other hunters ignored or didn’t know about this track. I had some enjoyable hunts there.

Study the maps of public land and look for tracts that other hunters don’t frequent. I’d rather hunt where there are fewer deer and fewer hunters than where there are more deer and more hunters.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Where can I hunt in South Carolina?

Question
Hey mr. Grant,
im a young hunter in SC, i was just wondering if you knew any spots to hunt here,i know you probably get asked questions like this all the time and you obviously cant give away your best spots,however if you could help that’d be great!
Sincerely Clayton Hock

Clayton,

Tracy (my wife) and I used to live near Abbeville, South Carolina! I did my Ph.D., work in Clemson!  While in school I hunted on the National Forest above Clemson and hunted around Greenwood and Abbeville when Tracy and I lived in that area. I had some great hunts on public land. Not many folks are willing to hike into the National Forest in the Mountains above Clemson. There was rarely much sign of hunters 1/2 mile or more off the road.  

I also enjoyed some good hunts near Abbeville, South Carolina. I often traded helping with some projects for permission to hunt private land.  You might attend some local Quality Deer Management Association meetings and ask landowners there if you could trade helping them for permission to hunt!  Many landowners will trade help with planting food plots, preparing stands, etc ., for access to hunt.  

You can find out where local Quality Deer Management Association branches are meeting at http://www.QDMA.com.  There are QDMA branches throughout South Carolina.

Enjoy creation!

grant

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How does humidity impact your stand selection?

Question
Grant, I really enjoy growingdeertv. Just finished watching the latest vid of Chainsaw and the interns setting a stand on a glade. The discussion went to the different characteristics of the stand. I thought it very interesting that Adam was saying if the humidity was too high yall would not hunt that stand. Is that a regular practice? Thanx Calvin

Calvin,

Scent carries better during moist than dry conditions.  So we rarely hunt from stands where the wind is likely to swirl when the humidity is high.  During high humidity conditions we are more likely to select stand locations on ridgetops or areas where the wind is not blocked by vegetation or topographic features.  At such locations the wind is much less likely to swirl.

Enjoy creation!

grant 

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Is this the same buck?

Question
Dear Dr. Grant this is a buck I hunted last year that I was unsuccessful at harvesting. He is obviously a mature buck. There is two pictures here. The one on the left is last year, and the one on the right is this year. (see pic dates) Do you think this is the same deer? They seem to share characteristics, but if this is the same deer he has lost quite a few inches. Thanks! God bless!!

It appears to be the same buck based on antler configuration. Specifically the buck in each picture shares the same shape of the left brow tine. However, without genetic testing there’s no way to be certain. Either way it’s a neat mature buck that would be on my hit list!

Enjoy creation!
Grant

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Can deer be conditioned to accept a specific odor?

Question
Grant,

Is it possible to condition a deer to a specific smell? for example Could you apply your scent cover at your stand year round and condition a deer to that particular smell? Where I hunt the wind swirls almost always. I know that the best option would be to have a sealed blind.

Deer in research facilities do become conditioned to accept and not become alerted to certain individuals or smells that would alert wild deer.  

Deer have an incredible sense of smell.  I suspect they can be conditioned to accept any cover scent. However, when the hunter was present the deer would most likely smell the human and cover sent.  I don’t believe the cover scent will mask all odors given off by the hunter – including the hunters breath, ongoing death of bacteria, etc.  

Cover scents have been around for decades and still hunters commonly get busted by deer.

Enjoy creation!

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How many days should a ground blind be in place before hunting from it?

Question
Grant,

When would be a good time to place ground blinds out prior to season?

Thank you,
Jeremy Starner

Deer usually take a while to accept blinds placed in their range.  Some folks do a great job of “brushing in” blinds and deer seem to accept these new “brush piles” quicker than a typical blind.  For the last two years I’ve been using a Hay Bale blind from Redneck (www.RedneckBlinds.com).  I’ve found that deer accept these blinds the first day they are put out if there are hay bales in the area.  I’ve been shocked at how rapidly deer ignore a hay bale blind placed at the edge of a food plot versus a tent style blind!

No matter what style of blind being used, I suggest getting it out as soon a practical.  Every day that deer walk by it without associating with danger makes it a better hunting location!

Enjoy creation!


 

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How old is this buck?

Question
Im here to ask you how old these deer is in the attached pictures are, I hunt a 500 acre area my grandparents own in Morgan county Ohio, only being 17 I have harvested several 130” deer but want something more mature and bigger.

Heavy 8 (2) Heavy 8 (4) Lucky 13 (106) Lucky 13 (114)

I typically only estimate the age of one buck per question. I’ll spend some time analyzing the first buck (color pics).
This buck’s neck merges with his chest in the brisket area.  There appears to be a hump over his shoulder and his chest sags below where his legs merge with his shoulders.  These are all good indicators this buck is 4 or older.  He’d be on my wish list!  I hope you have a great encounter with him!
 
Enjoy creation!
Grant

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How can I increase the population of deer on the property and get them to come out in daylight hours?

Question
Hi, my name is Tanner and I am 13 years old. I hunt on a 26 acre property in New Jersey and we have a big problem. We have been trying to get a deer for two years now. We go hunting every weekend ever since we started two years ago. But we see nothing weekend after weekend — no deer. We know they are on the property because trail cameras pick up to 36 deer in one night and some decent bucks too, like 10 and 12 pointers. But they never ever come out in daylight hours. How can I increase the population of deer on the property and get them to come out in daylight hours? It is so bad that I can have over 300 pictures and not one of them are in daylight hours. I love hunting but it is starting to get old going out and sitting through freezing temperatures and seeing nothing day after day. Thank you!

Tanner, it can get tough when hunting a lot and not seeing deer! When I help folks improve hunting on properties that are similar in size to the one you hunt I always try to determine where the best food, cover, and water sources are in the neighborhood. Deer will certainly use neighboring properties so understanding where they are using food, cover, and water during different times of year and weather conditions is very important. Once I get a better handle on where deer are using food, cover, and water I see if I can create the preferred location for one of those resources on the property where my clients hunt. Second – I always have at least 4 stand/blind sites – one for a north, south, west, and east wind. Just as importantly I plan an entrance and exit route for each of those wind directions. It’s easy to alert every deer on 26 acres by simply walking to the stand with the wind at my back and letting every deer know to avoid the area while I’m there. Sometimes this means walking around the outside edge of the property or entering from the opposite side to ensure I don’t alert deer to my presence. By determining where deer are using food, cover, and water, and approaching, hunting and exiting stands/blinds without alerting deer should allow hunters to punch their tag no matter where they hunt! Finally – I often share with folks to not do the same thing and expect different results. Too often deer pattern hunters more than hunters pattern deer. Remember there are several factors that may impact deer besides the hunter – such as coyotes, bears, or hunters on neighboring properties that alert deer. I look forward to hearing about your results after you try some new strategies!

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What can I do to either bring the bucks closer to my stand(s) or bring in more bucks to the property?

Question
I just love watching your shows. I pretty much learn new techniques from every show that I do watch. I am 17 and an avid bow hunter. I only took the rifle three times this season. I hunt on private land that my family does not own, but I am allowed to put out feeders, attractants, food plots, etc. I am a deer manager myself, I pass up small bucks and small does all of the time. We only have about 350 acres of land, so there are not many big bucks (maybe 3 or 4). With other guys hunting with rifles (making it easier for them) what can I do to either bring the bucks closer to my stand(s) or bring in more bucks to the property? I’ve never shot a buck before and I have only killed one doe before and I would really love some advice and tips on bringing them in.

Thanks for reading and paying attention, Nathan

It sounds like you have a good property to hunt. However, it’s tough to pattern mature bucks anywhere! I always study the preferred sources of food, cover, and water throughout the seasons/varying conditions and use that information to pattern bucks. Just as importantly, I study where I can place and how I can approach stands without deer patterning me! I consider being able to enter, hunt, and exit the stand without alerting deer just as important as the stand location itself. I enjoy hunting does and providing that natural meat to my family. Don’t hesitate to take a few does if there are plenty of deer in your area and enjoy hunting while patterning the local deer herd! Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv and may God bless you with great 2014!

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Do You Have Any Tips For Hunting After The Rut?

Question

Awesome videos! Do you have any tips for hunting after the rut?

Benjamin

I prefer to hunt food sources after the rut. It is best to hunt food sources where mature bucks haven’t been recently alerted. Bucks have been hunted for months now in most areas and are extremely cautious. If such food sources are available in your area, my next preferred location is on the edge of bedding areas.

Good hunting!

Grant

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Jumping Deer?

Question

The property I hunt on is not easy to get into areas where deer are without jumping some. It is a small track of 100 acres. I am not allowed to cut anything on the property like another road or paths. I was wondering by jumping the deer going in does it make then less likely to come back? I usually see deer but it is more midday after jumping some in the early light or dark. Do you have suggestions for getting in and out of places like this as well? Thanks for your help and enjoy the show.

David

David,

Most likely the deer you are jumping (alerting) during entry are at minimum going to be tougher to hunt – if they return by your stand. I’d probably try walking the very edge of the property and then cutting into your stand. This will likely be a longer walk – but will result in more deer encounters. I’d walk the edge that is most favorable from a wind direction. If you jump deer in the same location – I’d find a path that goes around (down wind) that area.

I hope this helps!

Grant

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What data should be collected while deer hunting?

Question
I just purchased your book, “Deer Management 101: Manage Your Way to Better Hunting”, and I’m reading it at this time.  You mention keeping a log or journal.  I have been keeping a hunting/work journal for years.  I never seem to have all the information I need on my journal pages.  When you are gathering information on your property what are the main things you record?  Thanks for all the great information you provide.

Ron

Ron,

I record the date, start and stop time of each hunt (morning and afternoon).  I record the time in military style so morning and afternoon are never confused.  I also record where I hunt based on a grid system, I don’t use stand names as stand names change from time to time.  I also record the number of bucks, does, fawns, and unidentified deer observed.  I differentiate between antlered bucks and male fawns.  I also am very careful to never assume!  If I can’t positively identify the deer, I list it as an unidentified.  Typically about 30% of the deer I observe are listed as unidentified.

I don’t record moon phase, temperature, etc,. as all of those data are available from the Nation Weather Service.  I find the basic information, such as I described above, is more useful than detailed information that doesn’t allow me to see the big picture.  On some of my research projects where I’m attempting to address specific questions, my staff and I collect additional data.

In addition to observation data, I collect harvest data (age, body weights, etc.).  I’m a huge fan of using trail camera surveys to monitor a herd’s population demographics.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Broadhead Selection

 

Question
I’m a new bow hunter from Kentucky.  I just started bow hunting this year, I’m only 11 years old.  I don’t know too much about it.  What would be the best broadhead to deer hunt with?  I just bought some Rage SlipCam Rear Deploying Broadheads and I don’t know if they are very good or not. This year I used Muzzy Broadheads and I liked them.

Colton

 

 

Colton,

There are many great broadheads on the market!  I prefer a fixed-blade design so the chance of failure is minimal.  More importantly, I insist that the broadheads I use are literally shaving sharp.  Broadheads kill deer by causing rapid blood loss.  Dull broadheads cause more trauma to deer and therefore deer instantly secrete a hormone that causes blood to clot.  Deer are much less likely to secrete this hormone when hit by a razor sharp broadhead.  To illustrate, think about how much you bleed when you hit your finger with a hammer (not much) versus how much you bleed from a simple paper cut.  Paper cuts don’t cause trauma — so our bodies don’t release the clotting hormone.

I shoot a Blackout Fixed-Blade Broadhead from Bass Pro.  I had great results on multiple mature bucks using that head last year (GDTV 45).

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What to Plant in Food Plots

 

Question
In the recent frost seeding episode (GDTV 68) it was mentioned that only 5% of your food plots are planted in clover.  What is the breakdown of percentages for different plants in your food plots and what is the reasoning behind it?

Thanks

Dan

Dan,

I use prescribed fire, etc., to promote very good native vegetation at The Proving Grounds.  Most native vegetation is at peak production and palatability the same time clover is productive – during the spring green up period.  However, as the spring progresses and the temperatures warm and the amount of soil moisture decreases clover decreases in productivity and quality.  This time of year, soybeans usually provide much more tonnage and quality than clover.  So, I plant about 5% of my food plot acreage in clover and the remainder in soybeans and corn.  I usually plant 2/3rds of this acreage in soybeans and 1/3rd in corn as corn typically produces twice as much grain as soybeans.  This grain is critical to provide quality food during the winter or non-growing season months (again, when clover is unproductive).  Soybeans provide forage during the growing season and grain (their pods) during the non growing season, so they play a larger role in my deer food management program than corn.

Each property will have a different composition of native vegetation, neighboring ag fields, ratio of food plot acreage, etc.  However, the ratio of crops I described above is a good starting point that can be customized on a site-specific basis.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What Critter was Trailing Deer

 

Question
While walking through the woods the other day I noticed “paw” prints inside the deer tracks.  They were inside the deer tracks and every so many feet they took a rest and then proceeded.  What type of animal would track this way?

Thanks,

Greg

 

 

Greg,

That’s an interesting observation!  There is no way to positively identify what species made the tracks without seeing an image or very good description of the tracks.  However, based on the limited information, I would guess a bobcat.  Bobcats tend to walk in a very narrow path with each step placed almost exactly in front of the other.  In addition, they often stop frequently.  There are several good web sites that help identify tracks.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Encouraging Deer to Change Patterns

 

Question
I hunt a powerline out of a box ground blind.  The powerline runs downhill about 150 yards and uphill 450+ yards.  I have two feeders set up 150 and 200 yards from my box stand.  I keep seeing deer at the top of the hill 400+ yards away.  What can I do to get the deer to cross closer to my stand?  Should I put up a metal stand further up the hill?

I took three paper bags and a cup of washing powder and put it around at the top of the hill. The deer still came out at the same place.  The smell of washing powder had no effect.

Rob

 

 

 

Rob,

If you have permission to hunt the hilltop where the deer prefer to travel, I would place a stand within range of that location.  Remember that being able to approach and leave the stand without alerting deer is just as important as the stand’s location.

If you don’t have permission to hunt the hilltop where the deer prefer to travel, can you determine why deer frequent that hill?  Is there a preferred food source there or nearby?  Is it close to a bedding area?  If so, can you create a better source of food or cover closer to your existing stand?  Deer usually seek out the best habitat features within their home range.  It seems there is something on the hill they frequent that is the most preferred source in their neighborhood.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the best hunting strategy for older, wiser, noctornal bucks?

Question
I have an awesome, huge, old, 10 point buck on our property (which has apple groves, a corn field, and food plots).  From the camera pictures he looks to be a 220 class.  His G2 is about 19″ long.  I have several trail cameras pictures where he appears between 11:00 PM and 5:40 AM.  I have strategically placed tree blinds but I don’t see him during shooting hours.  I know this is how he got so old and big but I’d really like to take him this year.  What should I do?

Michelle

Michelle,

That’s a huge buck and no doubt very mature.  There is lots of research that has shown some mature bucks rarely move during daylight hours.  This may be the behavior of the giant buck you are hunting.  I would attempt to limit human disturbance as much as possible to the area where you believe he is bedding and feeding.  I would only hunt this buck when conditions are favorable to the hunter (constant wind that favors the hunter, etc.).

Chances are you won’t see this buck much, so it’s critical that you are well practiced with your weapon of choice and all of your equipment is in perfect working order.  The personality of some bucks make them almost impossible to harvest as they are almost totally nocturnal, etc.  That’s okay, as the legendary bucks keep most of us inspired to keep hunting!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What tips do you have on how to pattern mature bucks?

Question
I’ve been hunting this giant 10 point for a few years now on my parent’s property.  Just when I think I know his pattern, he changes things up on me.  Do you have any tips on how to pattern this buck?

David

David,

Mature bucks can be difficult to pattern.  I use Reconyx trail cameras to determine where deer are moving at night, then I use my knowledge of the area to predict where the mature buck will bed during the day.  I call this connecting the dots.  Based on this information, I locate stands in between the dots (travel zones).  Once a pattern is suspected, I limit my disturbance to the area and wait until the wind and other factors are to my advantage before hunting that buck.  I think that successfully patterning a mature buck is as much fun as harvesting one.

Growing (and patterning) Bucks together,

Grant

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How do you pattern bucks on public hunting land?

Question
I would like to try to pattern and hunt trophy bucks on federal land in the north Georgia mountains.  How should I go about this?

Owen

Owen,

I lived in north Georgia and South Carolina for several years and hunted the national forest lands in the mountains. It was great turkey hunting but a very difficult place to pattern deer.  The same is true in the Ozark Mountains where I grew up (and currently live).  Without habitat improvement, deer rarely have distinct patterns and certainly rarely use trails in such areas.  This is because food sources and bedding areas are not defined in contrast to the ag production areas of the Midwest.  However, I would spend the bulk of my time scouting, looking for fresh sign and general travel routes.  Within these travel routes I would concentrate on bottlenecks such as steep saddles in the mountains or bluffs that force deer to travel within a specific area.  Once these areas are located, they will provide quality hunting unless the deer sense the danger and change their patterns.

If you can successfully harvest deer regularly in the mountains of Georgia on public land, you can be a successful deer hunter anywhere!

Growing (and hunting) Deer together,

Grant

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Where is the best place to locate hunting stands?

Question
Is it better to set up stands on the edge of a food source or back inside off the plot?  My morning stand is back inside 150 yards but I’m not sure about where to set my evening stand.

Thank you, you are a great help to guys like me,

Kermit

Kermit,

I select stand locations based on how much hunting pressure occurs in the area.  If there are food sources that aren’t frequently hunted, then deer may come to them well before dark!  If that’s the case, then placing stands overlooking or near the food source is a good option for afternoon hunts.  If the food sources tend to get pressured, deer likely won’t approach the field until after dark.  In this situation, it’s best to place the stands between the food and the likely bedding areas.

I almost always opt for stands closer to bedding areas in the morning as the deer will likely be close to the food sources just before daylight and if I attempt to approach that area I will spook the deer.

The bottom line is that I prefer to place stands where I can access them without spooking the deer.  This means I’m approaching and leaving the stand at time when the deer are not close to that location.

Growing (and hunting) Deer together,

Grant

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Sources of Deer for Restocking

 

Question
What sub species of white-tailed deer is in Reynolds County, Missouri?  When my dad was young he said he talked to a man that was restocking deer out of Wisconsin for the Conservation Department.  What do you know about this?

Matt

 

 

Matt,

There is a good book available through the Quality Deer Management Association about the restocking of white-tailed deer throughout their range.  The authors collected records from most states, including Missouri, to document the sources of deer used to restock and how many were released.  It seems there are gads and gads of stories about the fabulous restocking effort, but the book by the Quality Deer Management Association is the best collection of accurate information on the subject that I’m aware of.  Most of the deer restocked in Missouri were from remnant populations in Missouri.  In fact, they restocked 2,292 deer trapped from within Missouri and 356 from Michigan and Minnesota.  There were most likely some unrecorded events of citizens moving deer as well.

It is interesting that deer in northern Missouri were mainly stocked from existing populations in southern Missouri.  The large difference observed now between body and antler development in northern Missouri compared to southern Missouri is simply the vast difference in land use practices (ag crops in the central and northern counties compared to predominate timber and fescue pasture in the southern counties).  Deer in most counties south of I-44 simply can’t express their potential because of the low quality food available in this area.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How big of a food plot is needed for soybeans?

Question
Grant,

What size field do you recommend if you don’t wish to have a fence around your soybeans?  I have been watching your videos and saw that some of your fields you listed at .9 or right above an acre did not have a fence around them.  Thanks for the help and I love the videos.

James

James,

The size of the plot necessary to produce soybeans is dependent on the number of deer locally, the productivity of the plot, and alternate food sources such as the quality of native browse in the area.  I do a lot of prescribed fire and have fairly high quality native browse.  The quality of the native browse at The Proving Grounds peaks about the time when the forage soybeans at my place are germinating, there is plenty of food and deer don’t decimate the beans during the critical stage of their development.  I have 53 acres of appropriately fertilized food plots and about 500 acres of productive native browse/cover areas in the 1,500 acres of The Proving Grounds. However, the neighboring properties are mainly unmanaged hardwoods and fescue pasture.  There is no row crop ag within counties of me.  So I provide the quality forage for all the deer in the neighborhood.  The ratio of plots to total acreage to produce quality deer will be more or less at different areas depending on the production of each plot and land use practices on the neighboring properties.  If the deer density is high and there are many other quality food sources when the soybeans are germinating, then plots even an acre or more in size would need to be protected with an electric fence to allow them to mature enough to not be damaged by browse pressure.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What effects the timing of buck scrapes and rubs?

Question
Dr. Grant,

While turkey hunting south/central Georgia this weekend I found plenty of fresh scrapes.  Why is that? Also, during the pre-rut we have bucks leaving plenty of scrapes, but just a few rubs.  Then in January after all the breeding is done our bucks go crazy rubbing trees.  Do you find that odd?

Keep up the good work!!

Kevin

Kevin,

Fawns in deer herds with access to good nutrition will reach puberty (approximately 70 pounds) in Georgia before and during the opening of the spring turkey season.  The female fawns that reach their first estrous cycle during that time of year cause the bucks to express rutting behavior.  Rutting behavior rarely occurs this time of year in areas without ag crops or good food plots.

I’m not sure about the timing of rubs on your property.  It could be that bucks are shifting their range a bit and more bucks are present on your property during January.  This could be caused by local farmers harvesting their crops and your food plots are providing the best food in the neighborhood during that time of year.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What should I do to create the best habitat for deer and turkey hunting?

Question
Hi,

I recently acquired 80 acres from my wife’s family.  We have a very high deer population and at least three packs of coyotes that are on or around our little piece of land.  The land was clear-cut about 5 years ago leaving some good hardwoods and some pines.  There are limited access routes at present but I will be changing that soon.  The property joins over 800 acres of land owned by family and it is only hunted by one family member.  Some of the 800 acres is also clear-cut.  I have 3 creeks that come together on my property then one creek runs into a big government lake situated on family land.  I need to try to groom my 80 acres to make it great deer and turkey hunting ground.  Where can I get the information I need to get started?  I grew up on a farm but I don’t have any equipment yet and I don’t know where to begin.  Please help.

Thanks!!!
David

David,

Congratulations on owning land!  I would start by analyzing what critical elements of deer habitat (food, cover, and water) are the most limited in availability on the surrounding properties.  From your note, it sounds like there is plenty of cover (clear cuts) and water (creeks and lakes) in the surrounding area.  However, you didn’t mention any cultivated food?  If there is no food except native browse in the area, then I would start by establishing food plots with high quality forage.  Deer are very selective foragers and will readily use the best forage within their home range.  From what I know about your neighborhood, adding high quality forage may be the best way to make sure the local deer spend a disproportionate amount of time on your property.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How do I manage my small property for the best deer hunting?

Question
Hi Dr. Grant,

If you have really small tracts of land, 80 acres to 1 acre, how would you go about managing it?

Shane (central Minnesota)

Shane,

I usually start by identifying if food, water, or cover is the most limiting factor in the neighborhood.  I do this by combining information gathered from using Google Earth and driving around the neighborhood.  If one of these critical habitat elements is limited in availability, I begin by establishing that resource on the property I’m managing.  I also attempt to determine the amount of hunting pressure locally, and how that might impact deer activity in the neighborhood.  I also insure when I hunt the property, my approach to the stand doesn’t alert deer to my presence.  That often means approaching using a non-direct route such as walking the border 1/2 way around the property so I can approach with the wind in my face.  Don’t forget that the smaller the property, the more critical sanctuaries may be.  Deer need an area where they always feel secure.  By providing this on your land, deer are more likely to spend the days on your property.  Having deer present on your property during daylight hours is a huge advantage!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Mule Deer Hunting Opportunities

Question
I want to take my daughter mule deer hunting.  Do you know of any good walk-in mule deer hunting?

Colin

Colin,

Several states have some great mule deer hunting opportunities, but generally there is a draw process to receive a tag.  Nevada has some exceptional opportunities, but the chance of drawing for a non-resident is very slim.  There are some great mulies in western Kansas, but tags are mainly limited to residents.  Kansas has a great walk-in program on private lands.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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When to Hunt Deer in South Carolina

Question
I am from the Northeast and am going to hunt in South Carolina.  Do you think the third week of October would be a good time for deer hunting?

Bob

Bob,

Daytime deer activity is strongly influenced by daytime temperatures everywhere, but especially in the South.  I’ve had some great hunts, and some total bust hunting during mid to late October in South Carolina (I lived there for many years).  I realize this doesn’t help you plan vacation days.  However, weather is a huge factor that influences daytime deer activity.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Attracting Bucks to Small Acreage Tracts

Question
I have about 10 acres of land and all I see are does.  How do I get the bucks to come out?

Logan

Logan,

Bucks need food, cover, and water.  A great technique is to use one of the free mapping services like Google Earth on the internet and study where sources of food, cover, and water are located in your neighborhood.  If any of these critical habitat components are missing, such as high quality food, then attempt to establish that where you hunt.  Remember that deer would rather survive than eat, sleep, or drink, so be very careful how you approach your hunting location.  Always try to have the wind in your face, even if you have to walk around the border of the property and then enter to your stand from the backside.  Being able to approach a stand without spooking deer is as important as the stand’s location.

Growing (and hunting) Deer together,

Grant

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Establishing Chicory

 

Question
Dear Grant,

I planted a one acre food plot with BioLogic Maximum last August.  It was the best food plot I have ever planted as far as growing a full lush field that really attracted deer.  My 15 year old son and I both killed very nice 2 1/2 year old bucks off this field with compound bows, one 9 pt. 176 lb. and one 8 pt. 165 lb. buck.  A friend also scored on a 2 1/2 year old 8 pt. in archery season, as well as two relatives killing nice 2 1/2 year old 8 pt. bucks in rifle season.  All of these on just 80 acres in southeast Pennsylvania, 3 of them off this food plot.

It worked so well I was tempted to replant the field again this fall, but decided instead to take advantage of the present conditions of the ground to do a frost seeding, saving time and money on tilling.  I will plow and plant my other food plot with BioLogic Maximum this fall.  I am planning to frost seed a mix of white ladino clover and red clover, a mix that has worked for me in the past.  However, I would love to also establish chicory or alfalfa in addition to the clover mix.  In the past, I had once tried frost seeding both chicory and alfalfa with poor results.  Is it worth trying again, or is there something else you recommend frost seeding?  Based on my results with conventional planting, I would like to establish chicory in with the clovers.  I do not have a no-till planter and must till before spring or fall plantings, which is a lot of work.

I appreciate any advice or recommendations you can give.

Thanks,

Dan

Dan,

Wow – sounds like some great hunting on your farm last season!!  Congratulations!

Clover is easily established using the frost seeding method (GDTV 68).  However, alfalfa rarely can be established as well using that technique.  Alfalfa germinates best when there is a firm seedbed and very good seed to soil contact.  This is rarely the case when frost seeding.

Chicory is a softer seed and often will crack or rot before germinating when planted when frosts are still occurring.  To establish a good stand of either alfalfa or chicory, you will need to either till or use a no-till drill once the soil temperatures warm up a bit.  Many counties rent no-till drills so be sure and check with the local county extension or NRCS office.

As I write this, there is snow covering portions of Pennsylvania.  I’ve established great stands of clover by spreading it directly into late season snows and letting the seed be placed by the melting snow.

Growing Deer (and crops) together,

Grant

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How should we manage our hunt club food plots in an area that is heavy timber?

Question
Grant,

I’m a member of a hunting club that owns 700 acres of strictly timber ground in northern Pennsylvania.  We have the necessary sanctuaries and we are adding 12 acres of food plots in the center of the property.  What is the most profitable food that will hold deer and increase harvest opportunities?

Also, have you ever tried to no till brassicas in late summer into clover plots?

Keep up the great work!!

John

John,

The 12 acres is only 1.7% of the property in food plots.  If the remainder of the property is closed canopy forest, then clover might be the best option.  Do the existing plots receive a lot of browse pressure?  If so, more palatable crops such as forage soybeans would most likely be over browsed unless they were protected by a food plot fence.

I have used a no-till drill to seed brassicas into an existing clover stand.  This technique works well if the clover is dormant from drought conditions.  The brassicas will struggle if the clover is lush and blocking the sun from reaching the soil.

No matter what you plant, it’s critical the crops are as productive as possible given the food plot to timber ratio.  I recommend you do a soil test annually and request the lab base their recommendations on a maximum yield.

Finally, I also recommend using a utilization cage in each plot so production versus utilization can be compared.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Hunting at The Proving Grounds

Question
Grant,

Are visitors allowed to hunt?

Brooke

Brooke,

Great question!  As a matter of fact, yes.  At least if you call the upcoming shed hunt “hunting.” You are welcome to join us on March 18-20th for the 2nd Annual Shed Hunt to roam The Proving Grounds in search of antlers.

All other “hunting” on The Proving Grounds is reserved for my family and close friends.  Almost everyone in my family enjoys hunting which is a huge blessing but keeps me busy!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Ponds for deer hunting

Question
Grant,

Most of my hunting is done on a relatively small property.  I’m working on a plan to put in some quality food plots to hold more deer in the area.  The habitat seems to be pretty good but one thing I don’t have is a water source on the property.  I don’t think water is lacking in availability because of two ponds about a quarter of a mile away.  That’s not a long walk for a deer.  Do you think that supplying water on my property would be of significant benefit in holding deer closer to my hunting spot?  If so, do you recommend larger earthen ponds or are trough type watering holes okay too?

Jay

Jay,

It sounds like there is currently no water on your property.  I would recommend providing water on your property to lower the need for deer to be traveling across other properties to get a drink, especially if the urge to drink is during the hunting season.  Water sources don’t have to be large.  The goal is to provide water throughout the year.  In most situations, a few thousand gallons is all that is needed.  I typically establish ponds that are three feet deep at the deepest and about 30’ or less in circumference.  These small ponds, when located in areas with good cover, can be fabulous hunting locations!  I use liners to get the ponds to hold water if the soil at the desired site doesn’t have enough clay content.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Average Home Range Size

Question
Grant,

What is the normal range, in square miles, of deer?  How often will they traverse most of that area?

Thanks,

Bob

Bob,

My answer is “that depends.”  As in people, deer appear to all have different personalities.  Does typically have a smaller home range than bucks.  Doe home ranges average around 100-600 acres while buck home ranges are 500-1,500 acres (1 square mile = 640 acres).  Even within each sex there can be a lot of variability.  Just like people, some deer are roamers while others are homebodies.  Yearling bucks often disperse from their mother’s home range and often travel quite far to set up a separate home range from where they were birthed.  Recent research also suggests that as a buck matures his home range decreases in size.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Do You Use Bait?

Question
Do you use any bait like apples, corn, beets or carrots?  Do you use minerals?

TJ

TJ,

I have Trophy Rock out year around.  I place corn out during August for three weeks so I can attract deer to a location to do a camera survey.  Other than that, I don’t use any attractants or baits.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Where is the best place to create cover for whitetails?

Question
I am planning to create some thickets by hinge cutting some 8 year old trees.  How big of an area would I need to hinge cut to have a impact on providing bedding or creating browse?  Would it be better to do edges 10 yards deep around food plots or a much larger 1 acre area not associated with a food plot?

Thank you, I look forward each week to the topic or your next video.

Gary 

Gary,

Where you create cover depends on your mission.  If you are trying to encourage deer to enter a food source earlier, creating cover along the edge may be a good plan.  However, if your mission is to create cover for deer to use for bedding or escaping predators, then a larger area would be much better than a thin strip along a food plot.  I like cover areas that are at least 10 acres or large in size.  Predators such as coyotes can probably smell deer in smaller cover blocks.  In addition, human scent can easily carry through a one acre cover block.  For the cover block to serve as a sanctuary, consider making the cover block larger in size.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Thick or Thin for Deer Cover?

Question
Can the woods on a property be too thick or too open for good deer cover?  I am 56 and recently bought land (98 acres) to fulfill a lifelong dream.  It was cut over 8 years ago and is extremely thick in some places.  I try to observe this characteristic on your videos and it looks fairly open around the food plots/woods to me.

James

James,

The “woods” on a property can certainly be too open for good deer cover.

It would be very difficult for woods to be too thick.  Good escape cover for deer is usually so thick that humans don’t like to walk (or crawl) through the area.  Prescribed fire or other tools can be used to thin a portion of your woods if they are too thick and are lowering the recreational quality of your property.

The timber on my property had been mismanaged, at least from a wildlife habitat point of view, for decades.  There was no cover on The Proving Grounds when I purchased the property.  However, I’ve cut trees, used prescribed fire, etc., to open the canopy and allow ground level vegetation to grow.  You can see some of the cover I’ve established by watching GDTV #15.  Better yet, come and tour The Proving Grounds during the 2nd Annual Shed Hunt as we will be discussing habitat improvements during that weekend!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Hidey Hole Plots near Bedding Areas

Question
Grant,

We have 160 acres, most of which contain native prairie grass.  The native prairie grasses are full of cedar trees (some are 50+ years old) in most areas from neglect.  We also have large oak stands.  We have ponds and the property has 100′ of elevation change from one end to the other.  Our neighbors have 400+ acres; together we have a nice remote location for the deer. The deer travel to the lower bean fields to graze and return.  I want to clear places for deer and create some low maintenance food plots (e.g. buckwheat).  I can make the opening small (1/2 acre) or large (up to several acres).  What options for size and shape are optimal for deer in making openings?  I can either create the food plots or let the native grass return.

Thank you!

Jay

Jay,

It sounds as if you have a neat property!  If the soybeans and other local production ag fields are providing year round food for the deer herd, then water and cover could be limited resources in your area.  The hunting on your property might be improved by establishing some small attraction plots for deer so they would have a place to feed while returning to cover.  If this is the case, crops that are prime during the fall, such as winter wheat, would function well and are easy establish.  I call such spots “hidey holes” and they can be fabulous hunting locations!  Remember to locate the plots so that you can approach and remain undetected by the deer you wish to hunt.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Producing Mature Bucks

Question

I have 1,100 acres near Ava with about 250 acres in pasture and the rest are typical Ozarks hills.  I have about 15 acres in food plots, with the main food sources being clovers with turnips and some winter wheat.  I can’t seem to keep bucks to the older ages.  What should I do to draw and hold older class bucks?  Since you have been here awhile you know what we have to deal with as to neighbors, etc.

Kirk (Missouri)

Kirk,

That sounds like a nice property with lots of potential to produce mature bucks.  Producing mature bucks requires protecting them from being harvested or killed by predators until they reach the age class that you wish to harvest.  The habitat in “typical Ozark hills” doesn’t provide much cover.  Therefore hunters and predators can have a huge impact on deer, especially bucks after the rut.  In addition, without adequate cover, hunters must willfully withhold from harvesting bucks until the bucks reach the level of maturity that hunters wish to harvest.  Mature bucks can be produced on almost any 1,100 acre property if that’s the hunter’s objective.  Trigger finger control is the primary tool for producing mature bucks.

However, there is a big difference between producing mature bucks and producing mature bucks that have expressed their full antler growth potential.  To produce mature bucks that express their full antler development potential requires improving the habitat unless the property has quality forage and grain production.  It’s helpful to remember that the majority of deer in northern Missouri where world class bucks are produced were stocked from the Ozarks.  Hence, deer with the same genetics that have access to quality forage and grain clearly express much more of their antler growth, fawn production, and body size potential.  To allow deer in the Ozarks (or any area that doesn’t produce quality forage and grain) to express their potential requires lots of habitat work.

My property, The Proving Grounds, is extremely steep and rocky.  There is no quality forage or grain produced within miles (counties).  In addition, there are 34 neighboring properties, none of which share my deer management objectives that I’m aware.  However, by providing quality food, cover, and water, bucks at my place are producing antlers similar to deer in northern Missouri of the same age class.  Given you are only an hour from me, I’m very confident you can achieve the same results.  I encourage you to attend one of our field days and see in person the techniques I’ve used to provide quality food, cover, and water.  There are simply too many details to provide in this format.  The next event is our 2nd Annual Shed Hunt where we will collect sheds and tour much of my property.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Changing Patterns

Question

I hunt on a small 40 acre property with very little hunting pressure.  Recently a new neighbor moved in and their dogs have been chasing the deer.  Because of this the deer have changed their patterns and it has made hunting very hard.  Luckily the dogs have finally been penned up, but the deer patterns are still messed up. What are some tips to make it a better season next year?

Stephen

Stephen,

Dogs and other predators can easily cause deer, especially mature bucks, to change their pattern.  Be thankful your neighbor began keeping his dogs on his property!  It’s likely that the deer will return to using their traditional patterns by next hunting season.

Deer need food, cover, and water.  I suggest you determine which of these habitat features are limited in the neighborhood and supply them on the property you hunt.  A good strategy is always to identify a limiting factor and supply it in an area that allows you to approach a stand or blind without alerting deer to your presence.  Identifying limiting factors is always a good strategy on any property.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What does the “G” in G1 stand for?

Question

When measuring deer antlers, does the “G” (as in G1) have a direct connection to a word?  So far, nobody can tell me what word the G stands for.

Thanks,

Clark

Clark,

That’s a good question.  I called a friend at Boone and Crockett and he stated that it is simply a use of alphabetical order on the score sheet.  On the whitetail score sheet, A is for the greatest spread, B is for the number of points, etc.  G simply was in order for the data of tine length.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Fertilizer Spikes

Question

Have you ever used fertilizer spikes to “sweeten” acorns and would this even work?  Would lime or some other fertilizer around oak trees be effective?  The theory is that it will make one specific band of oaks more desirable than others.

Jack

Jack,

I’m not aware of any research that proves acorns from fertilized oaks are more palatable to deer than from non fertilized oaks.  Certainly fertilizing oaks won’t result in the same increase in food yield as fertilizing a forage crop like soybeans.  This is because a much greater percentage of a soybean plant is palatable to deer than an oak tree.  However, fertilizing pecan trees has proven to increase pecan production.  I think it’s a safe assumption that adding enough fertilizer to oaks would also yield an increase in nut production, and possibly a nut that tastes better to deer.  I doubt that a few fertilizer spikes will add enough nutrients to impact the quantity or quality of nuts produced by a mature oak tree.  Remember that the entire tree is using the fertilizer, not just the acorns.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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