An Epic Deer Hunting Story: Shifting Strategies to Tag THAT Buck (Episode 371 Transcript)

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

GRANT: It’s a new year and many of us probably just made resolutions like getting in better shape or eating a healthier diet. But one resolution we all need to keep is spending more time in Creation and listening each day to what the Creator is saying to us.

GRANT: Seth Harker is a friend of mine and a longtime member of the GrowingDeer Pro Staff. Seth is an extremely skilled hunter and he loves sharing his passion for Creation with others through his hunts.

GRANT: It seems we can always count on Seth to manage for and tag a good buck. And this late season is no different. You’re really gonna enjoy this hunt from Seth Harker.

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GRANT: Seth’s always managing for and usually tags great bucks. This late season is no different.

GRANT: This year, Seth’s story revolves around two bucks, Ghost Rider and ET.

GRANT: Ghost Rider is a great looking buck. He’s a mainframe 12.

GRANT: ET is a big ten pointer with monster brows.

GRANT: Seth says this buck’s brows are from out of this world, so he named him ET – Extra Terrestrial.

GRANT: Seth has known both bucks for a while. In fact, last year he passed ET and thought he was a three, maybe four year-old. He passed him thinking, “This buck’s got great potential to really grow into something special.”

GRANT: During the off season, Seth put out a Redneck blind and a Trophy Rock to keep track of these two bucks.

GRANT: When early bow season rolled around here in the Ozark Mountains, it was extremely hot. So, Seth’s strategy was to hunt over a small pond because the only time deer seemed to be active during daylight was just before dark and they were headed to water.

SETH: (Whispering) This is a pond tucked in a bedding area. We got shooters in the area. It’s still hot. Hot this morning. Hit the Messenger a little bit this morning. It, it’s been working well. Hoping these bucks are up cruising this morning. I just heard one grunt. I hear one grunting in the pine thicket.

GRANT: This plan seemed to work ‘cause Seth had a lot of action.

GRANT: Seth calls this buck High-Wire. He’s certainly a mature buck and within bow range. But Seth has his sights set on either Ghost Rider or ET. And it takes that type of discipline to often meet our goals in life.

GRANT: It’s now the rut and Seth hasn’t had a close encounter with either Ghost Rider or ET. But he’s been seeing some good bucks. He changed his strategy and hunted a strip of timber or a travel corridor between two areas of cover and had lots of action, deer responding to the Messenger grunt call.

GRANT: This is Buster. A mature nine-pointer. Buster is certainly a mature buck, but Seth believes he lost a little antler size from last year to this year. Buster does give Seth a great opportunity to record the lip curling or the Flehmen Response. Listen to him grunt. He really put on a show.

GRANT: There are a lot of myths about lip curling. But the fact is it’s well researched. There’s a small hole in the top of deer, horses and some other mammals’ mouths. And when they lip curl, they throw back their head – basically closing off air going in their nose and bring air in through that organ – through the hole in their mouth – and do a different chemical analysis than they could do through their nose.

SETH: (Whispering) Good morning. This morning, getting in the tree a little bit late. Uh, the election had me up all night last night. Checking the results; seeing who was winning, who, who wasn’t. So, exciting time for the American people. Nonetheless, hopefully, it’s an exciting time this morning.

SETH: Hopefully, a big bruiser – a big hit lister comes through this morning. We’ve been picky. We’ve been selective and hope this morning that it’s gonna pay off ’cause we’ve got some absolute giants we’d love to ground check and get our hands on and show you people.

GRANT: Seth hadn’t named the next good buck he saw. It’s a great looking nine-pointer and Seth believes he’ll really develop into something next year. But right now, listen to him grunt.

SETH: (Whispering) I hope passing all these big deer pays off. We’ve got some really good giant – I tell you what – he tempted me. I, I kept looking with the binoculars

SETH: (Whispering) I just couldn’t make myself do it.

GRANT: Seth admits he clipped his release on his bow string a time or two during November, but he stayed true to his mission and held out with the goal of tagging either Ghost Rider or ET.

SETH: (Whispering) Good morning. It is November 11th. Tomorrow the army of orange comes in and I’m sure the bucks are gonna hit the dirt tomorrow. Opening of Missouri, uh, rifle season starts tomorrow. We’ve been hunting really hard this last week.

CHASE: (Whispering) He’s got his nose, he’s got his nose to the ground going down the hill.

GRANT: When gun season rolled around, Seth had an encounter with the meanest buck on his farm. A buck he calls Bully.

GRANT: Seth says Bully dominates the area he hunts. He won’t let other bucks get close to the Trophy Rock when he’s there.

GRANT: It was very tempting, but once again, Seth avoided temptation and decided he’d either eat tag soup or tag Ghost Rider or ET.

GRANT: If we’re being honest, many of us fear that one of our hit listers will be tagged on a neighboring property. And Seth is no different and he was starting to wonder if maybe Ghost Rider and ET had been tagged during Missouri’s gun season.

GRANT: As the rut was winding down, Seth learned that Ghost Rider had been harvested about a mile away.

GRANT: Seth shuffled his hit list around a little and had another buck to replace Ghost Rider. But, there was a big unanswered question. Did ET survive Missouri’s gun season?

GRANT: It was now December and Seth was checking his Reconyx cameras when he got a surprise. ET had returned. He had survived the gun season.

GRANT: Back in September, Seth had moved a Redneck blind outside an area he knew deer liked to bed during the late season. This is where ET wintered last year and it seems he’s on the same pattern.

GRANT: A strong cold front pushed into the Ozark Mountains. Perfect for the Redneck Blind Seth had placed back in September and he headed out that afternoon.

SETH: (Whispering) One thing’s different tonight. We’ve got a front moving through. It’s supposed to start raining tomorrow. So, I’m hoping that gets ‘em up on their feet. We’re hoping this front changes it. We’re after a hit list buck named ET. It’d just be awesome if he showed up tonight.

SETH: (Whispering) Uh, we gave him the pass last year. He grew into an absolute giant. He is Extra Terrestrial and hopefully, we get to show you why. I’m not gonna let the cat out of the bag, but man, what a stud is all I have to say.

GRANT: Seth hunted from this blind a couple of times and had plenty of action, but no ET.

SETH: (Whispering) It’s December 15th. We’ve been hunting the December leg off and on, trying to catch the right winds. We’ve hunted this, uh, particular blind – uh, this may be the third time. It’s a great spot. We’re after a hit list buck tonight we call ET.

SETH: (Whispering) We’ve got a wheat field and it’s got a little saddle in it and a bedding area right here that they like to come up, cross the saddle and I’ve got Eagle beans right back here to the west. Cold temperatures, that’s why they’re gonna be headed to the beans. Hopefully, the wheat slows ‘em up – as they’re going right through the saddle – right over here to the beans.

SETH: (Whispering) It ought to be a beautiful evening. It’s overcast; southeast wind. Only thing we’re missing is a hit list buck at 25 yards.

GRANT: If ET comes out of the bedding area, he’ll be right in Seth’s kill zone.

GRANT: Things were fairly quiet as Seth settled in and the sun began to sink low.

GRANT: Suddenly, Seth saw movement in the distant Eagle Seed beans. There was a couple of does and a couple of bucks and in the middle was ET.

GRANT: Seth was excited to see ET, but ET didn’t follow the script. The buck was more than 350 yards away and appeared to be interested in a receptive doe.

GRANT: With the sun dropping fast, it looked like there’d be no chance at ET during this hunt.

GRANT: Soon after that, Seth was watching some does in front of the blind. The does were focused on something out of Seth’s view. He assumed they were probably staring down a coyote.

GRANT: Seth checks out another window and a couple of does and young bucks appear to come out of nowhere.

GRANT: Seth’s starting to wonder how he’s gonna get out of the blind without busting deer when he notices a big set of antlers come out of nowhere.

GRANT: It was ET. And just like that, he’s coming into range.

GRANT: Seth’s heart was pounding as he adjusts the camera and gets his bow ready. His GoPro was laying somewhere in the dirt and pointed down, but Seth didn’t care.

GRANT: A whole lot of patience – in fact, an entire year of planning – went in to that shot.

SETH: (Whispering) I don’t know what to say other than I just shot ET. And he is Extra Terrestrial. I don’t know how good the footage is. He kind of snuck in on me and I’m a hunter. I would – I know he was in frame. I wasn’t letting that deer get out of my sight self-filming. I’ve passed a lot of deer waiting on that buck. I just – Wow! I just came out of the Redneck to get some – oh man! I’m calling Chase.

SETH: (Whispering) Dude, I just put an arrow in ET.

CHASE: No, you didn’t.

SETH: (Whispering) I promise you. No. I’m not kidding you. ET is, is hit.

GRANT: Seth called Chase, Trace and Rylan and they all went off looking for ET.

SETH: Well, it’s an exciting night. Um, we got an arrow in a buck we call ET tonight. And, uh, like always, we’ve got Chase, Rylan and Trace. They love to track deer. We’re gonna pick up the track and, uh, hopefully, we find a big, mature hit list buck at the end of this blood trail.

SETH: Chase, you’re gonna have to…(Fades Out)

SETH: Man, it’s so cold, it’s almost turned orange. Look at that.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible)

SETH: Yeah. It is froze. Froze solid. Underneath the leaves, it ain’t, but (Inaudible)

CHASE: …frozen again. I don’t think I got it (Inaudible).

CHASE: Dude, it’s like. Isn’t that odd?

CHILD: That’s weird looking.

SETH: It’s froze ain’t it?

CHASE: Yeah.

CHILD: (Inaudible)

SETH: It is cold here in southern Missouri. Just froze right off of it.

CHASE: Boy, it looks good. Look how blood – move your hand there Trace.

SETH: Yeah move…

CHASE: Look at that blood.

SETH: That (Inaudible).

CHILD: (Inaudible) …thing almost (Inaudible).

SETH: You on blood? Here’s his blood right here.

CHASE: Yeah. I’ll let you hold him first.

SETH: Did you find him?

CHASE: Yeah.

SETH: Hey, we found him, guys. Where is he at?

SETH: Hold it, guys.

CHASE: Hey. Wait right there. Let Seth hold him first.

CHILD: Where is he?

CHASE: Huh? (Inaudible)

SETH: Huh? Oh, he’s down the path. Oh wow.

CHILD: That’s ET?

CHASE: That’s a stud, boys.

SETH: Oh, my gosh! Look at those brows, dude!

CHASE: Look at that son of a gun, dude. What a stud! Oh, my gosh.

SETH: Wow. These brow tines. Dude, look at the brows on that thing Chase.

CHILD: There as, as tall as the other (Inaudible).

SETH: Look at those brows, dude!

CHASE: Get a close up of him.

SETH: Well, we are excited tonight. We’re closing the chapter on a buck we call ET and, uh, the reason we call him that are just his magnum brows. Um, Stickers, I killed him three or four years ago and he had great brows, but this deer – he blows his brows away by three or four inches and just the bladed characteristics are just awesome.

SETH: We passed him last year and he literally blew up. So, we’re happy about that. Chase and I have had several encounters with this buck. ET is an absolute stud of a buck.

SETH: Man! I just don’t know what to say. Um. I don’t know how many bucks we passed to get to this deer, but wow! Look at the brows! Southern Missouri. Southern Missouri. This is a treat for southern Missouri. I just don’t know what to say.

GRANT: What a great story and lesson for the rest of us to learn from. Seth passed ET the previous year knowing he’d mature and turn into a really special buck. And passed several good bucks throughout the season to meet his personal goal of tagging ET.

SETH: Holy smokes.

CHILD: Are you gonna make us drag it?

CHILD: I don’t think we can drag it.

SETH: We’re not gonna have to drag it, boys. We’re gonna back the truck right down here and load it. We ain’t dragging this thing nowhere. (Laughter)

GRANT: Seth, I’m thrilled with the skills and commitment you bring to the GrowingDeer Team and I love the passion and your willingness to share Creation with others through your hunts.

GRANT: Another successful morning on a trap line here at The Proving Grounds. This morning we caught two opossums and a raccoon. Both opossums and raccoons are known to be big time turkey nest predators.

GRANT: We shared last week that the temperatures have been really cold and these predators will stay in dens throughout that cold period, but really move a lot as soon as the temperatures warm up.

GRANT: We got through Christmas; had some warm days in the forecast; opened up the traps and started off with a bang.

GRANT: These traps are so easy to use and move, that we’ll probably trap in the same areas about another week and then move them to a different part of The Proving Grounds and work on the southern half during the last month of Missouri’s trapping season.

GRANT: That’s the great thing about these Duke cage traps – super effective and easy to use.

GRANT: If you’d like to check out some of Seth’s other hunts or learn about our food plot or trapping techniques, simply go to, type in the keywords in our search bar and you can watch all the episodes related to those keywords.

GRANT: The days are getting longer and it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time each day, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.