This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Pro Staffers Heath and Lindsey Martin have shared several successful hunts on their family farm in Arkansas.
GRANT: This week we share another great hunt from Team Martin.
GRANT: Through the years they’ve created food plots, improved the native habitat and turned a rough farm in the Ouachita Mountains into a great place to deer hunt.
GRANT: As the quality of the habitat improved, so did the deer herd.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey know a part of managing the deer herd is balancing the number of deer with the amount of quality groceries.
GRANT: For deer to express their full genetic potential, they need to have quality forage throughout the year, especially during the two typical stress seasons – late summer and late winter.
GRANT: Healthy deer populations can increase in number quickly. In fact, when a deer herd is healthy and the habitat is good, they can increase by about a third each year.
GRANT: Where Heath and Lindsey hunt, there is a special short firearms season during October. So October 12th, they took advantage of that, grabbed the Winchester, and headed to a Redneck blind with hopes of meeting their management goal and taking a doe or two.
GRANT: The plot that Heath and Lindsey were headed to was planted in Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend and it runs north and south with a dogleg to the east. With the blind set up on the west side, Lindsey could see almost the entire plot.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Good afternoon. It’s October 12th and Heath and I are set up on my family farm here in Arkansas. We have a healthy doe herd on our farm this year and so we’re gonna sit here and see if we can take out a doe. I get one doe for the season with my regular tag. So hang out and hopefully, I’ll have one down on the ground before the evening is out.
GRANT: It was early during the hunt when a great-looking, young buck stepped out into the plot.
GRANT: He took a few bites and then headed off.
GRANT: Once the sun set behind the mountains, several does came through the timber and ran into the plot.
GRANT: The young buck reappeared and started nudging the does.
GRANT: The does ran out of sight and that buck began feeding again.
GRANT: It wasn’t long before another group of does entered the plot.
GRANT: These does quickly moved through the plot and Lindsey prepared for the shot.
GRANT: Heath also had a doe tag in his pocket. So they quickly swapped the Winchester and the camera.
GRANT: The Deer Season XP is an extremely accurate load and Lindsey’s doe didn’t even make it out of the plot.
LINDSEY: That shot was catastrophic.
LINDSEY: Well, I guess this kicks off our deer season here on our farm in Arkansas. So awesome hunt, fun hunt. It’s always really fun when Heath and I hunt together, especially on the rare chances where we get to double up. That always makes for an exciting hunt. So.
GRANT: Heath handed Lindsey the camera and they headed toward the doe he had harvested.
HEATH: Well, here’s our second doe of the evening. Like I said, this was a special four day, antlerless only rifle season – only on private land on top of that. So we’ve only had that a couple seasons and we’ve never really taken advantage of it, but our doe population has really blossomed in the last few years with the food plots we’ve been doing.
HEATH: Timber stand improvement and some of the native grass we planted and stuff has just really jump started our doe population. So we knew we were going to have to shoot some does this year so we’ve took advantage of this early rifle season to go ahead and get a couple of does out of the herd and hopefully we can shoot a couple more with our bows. We’re gonna enjoy these and put ‘em in the freezer.
GRANT: After tagging the does, Heath was on a mission to get a mature, mountain buck.
GRANT: They decided to move the blind from the western edge to the northeast corner of the plot. This corner is a great bottleneck because it’s at the bottom of the mountain and deer tend to wrap around the mountain as they move to the plot.
GRANT: Heath hoped that this location would put him within bow range of a buck they called Fake Out. Fake Out was a big four-year-old that Heath had a lot of history with.
GRANT: Two seasons ago Lindsey tagged a buck with the Winchester they called Twin Towers.
GRANT: After harvesting Twin Towers, Heath and Lindsey remained in the blind and had a great encounter with a young buck.
GRANT: Heath named this buck Fake Out because his antlers were the size of many mature bucks in the area. However, his body characteristics indicated he was an immature buck.
GRANT: Fake Out’s antler size is a great testimony to the improved habitat and the hard work that Heath and Lindsey have done during the past few years.
GRANT: The following summer Heath had Reconyx video of Fake Out as a three-year-old and, man, he looks good.
GRANT: This year Fake Out was a four-year-old when he showed up on the cameras and Heath instantly put him on the hit list.
GRANT: Knowing that Fake Out was in the area, Heath eagerly returned to the Redneck blind hoping that buck would be cruising the edge of that mountain looking for a receptive doe or working scrapes.
HEATH: (Whispering) Good morning everybody. Its October the 25th this morning. It’s really one of the first mornings we’ve hunted this year and it’s, you know, go time. These bucks are going to start cruising, looking for does, poking these does around these food plots and stuff.
HEATH: (Whispering) So, it’s actually kind of a unique situation this morning. It’s raining. It’s gonna rain all day. But simultaneously, it’s a high pressure which doesn’t happen very often – rain and a high pressure. So I’m hoping this morning, maybe we’ll catch a buck up on his feet, you know, looking for does here shortly after daylight and maybe we’ll get a shot at him.
HEATH: (Whispering) We’re bow hunting this morning. It is the muzzleloader season here in Arkansas, so we’ve got our orange on but hopefully if a deer comes in here, he should be in bow range. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a shot at him.
GRANT: It was very early during his hunt when the first deer entered the plot and started feeding on the Fall Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: Suddenly, Heath spotted antlers. It was Fake Out.
GRANT: This doe appeared to be receptive or very close to being receptive. Notice her tail is tucked a bunch of the time and she frequently squats low to the ground. These are visual indicators to a buck that she’s receptive.
GRANT: The younger buck snuck around and then pushed the doe out of the plot and Fake Out followed.
HEATH: (Whispering) Well, it’s about eight o’clock and we just saw the deer we were in here after. It’s a four-year-old buck we call Fake Out. He’s a big nine-point this year. He’s got a big, deep, mule deer fork on his left G2. And it is muzzleloader season and he was only 100 yards, so I should have brought the muzzleloader. But, anyway, I guess that’s how it goes sometimes. So we’re gonna sit here this morning. Maybe they’ll come cruising back through here with that doe again here after a while. Maybe we’ll get another opportunity at him.
GRANT: Unfortunately, Fake Out never came within bow range and when he left the plot, he never returned.
GRANT: Heath believed Fake Out would stick close to the doe and she wouldn’t go far.
GRANT: During the pre-rut when very few does are receptive, food plots are often a great hunting location. Bucks will often cruise downwind of these plots trying to find a receptive doe.
GRANT: That afternoon, Heath and Lindsey returned to the same Redneck blind hoping Fake Out and the doe were close by.
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HEATH: Hey guys. Well, it’s October 25th, afternoon. This morning we were in this blind and we saw one of our number one bucks on the list, Fake Out; had an encounter. We had our bow instead of the muzzleloader and wasn’t able to get a shot at him. So we’re going to come back this evening. We’ve got the bow, but we’re also gonna bring the muzzleloader. So if he hangs up again, we’ll be able to get a shot at him.
HEATH: (Whispering) There’s Fake Out right there. Coming in the left corner. (Inaudible)
GRANT: Then a young buck came from the right.
GRANT: This buck showed an aggressive posture and raised his hair up as he circled another young buck.
HEATH: (Whispering) Are you on him?
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Yep.
HEATH: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
HEATH: (Whispering) Are you on him?
LINDSEY: (Whispering) I’m on him.
HEATH: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Take him there.
HEATH: (Whispering) Where’d he go?
LINDSEY: (Whispering) I think he’s down. (Inaudible)
HEATH: (Whispering) Oh, gosh. How cool was that? Man, that’s as good as it gets right there. That buck’s been with that doe all day long. We saw him this morning in the rain, in this food plot, and I knew he was with her. And I told Lindsey if the wind was right, he’d be with that doe this evening.
HEATH: (Whispering) And probably 20 minutes ago, we saw this two-year-old or maybe year-and-a-half-old eight-point in the timber up there and I got to looking, and I could see Fake Out right in the corner in the woods.
HEATH: (Whispering) And he got broadsided 100 yards. Anyway, I didn’t want to move a lot and get my gun. So he walked in the woods. You know, I’m thinking he walked off or whatever.
HEATH: (Whispering) And this third buck came in and worked his way up here and then he went in the woods about five yards and they clashed together and came back, so I knew Fake Out was standing right there somewhere.
HEATH: (Whispering) That doe was just waiting on it to get a little bit darker, I guess, before she came in the food plot. Anyway, lo and behold, she come out right here. Just about 40 yards from us. I could see her head in the brush. I knew he was back there. Well, as soon as she got out in the – well, you saw it – as soon as she got out in the food plot, he came after all them other bucks.
HEATH: (Whispering) And holy cow, it was chaotic. I couldn’t hardly get on him. I couldn’t get down on my knees where I needed to, to make the shot. I thought he was gonna get away, but he was just running back and forth, running them bucks. Man, what a beautiful sight. He’s a pretty deer. I’m excited to go see him.
HEATH: (Quietly) I tell you, these Redneck blinds are invaluable when it comes to killing these deer. And he’s dead in the field, so we’re gonna go check him out.
HEATH: Man, look at that big, ole joker. This is an old buck we call Fake Out. I believe he’s a four-and-a-half-year-old. We started – the reason he got the name Fake Out is we saw him several times when he was a two-year-old and he had a big – big rack for a two-year-old on a little body, so he looked pretty good. And every time we’d see him, we’d go, “Man, there’s a nice deer.”
HEATH: He blew up this year. He’s got this great, big, deep, mule deer fork on this left side and probably 12-inch tines over here and over here. Massive tine length. He’s always had short brows and big, ole long beams.
HEATH: This is a cool hunt. We don’t get to do this very often. We saw this buck this morning with a doe here on October the 25th. I mean he was locked down with her. Man, it’s rewarding for all the hard work to pay off and be able to shoot a mature deer here down in Arkansas.
HEATH: You know one thing here, we like to – this is just a personal goal. I mean, I believe if you want to shoot any deer, it’s totally up to you. I have no problem with it. But here on our farm, as a personal goal, we try to shoot four-year-old bucks or older. And over the years we’ve done a lot of food plots and TSI and habitat work and we’re still – still a work in progress.
HEATH: But these deer have gotten a lot healthier and our three-year-olds are getting a lot bigger. And it’s honestly getting harder for us to kind of age these deer. Even though I have a lot of history with this deer and then we saw him this morning and this evening. And we saw him as a two-year-old. So, I mean, I was fairly confident he’s four. But I mean, he was way bigger than all them other bucks in the food plot.
HEATH: Now, on the ground – I mean, I don’t have a doubt that he is a four-year-old. But when you do, it just goes to show, that when you do the habitat work and stuff, that your – all your, even younger, deer get bigger and healthier. And it – it gets to be challenging.
HEATH: I mean there’s no exact science to it. But it’s really cool to see all the stuff, you know, paying off. I mean, this is a really hard place to hunt these big deer. And the last few years, we’ve been fortunate enough to have some really cool encounters and to harvest some of these better deer. Getting – probably getting to be better deer hunters over the years. Maybe even learning the property better. But.
HEATH: Boy, he’s a beauty. I’m tickled with him.
GRANT: Hunting is a great way to get outside and enjoy Creation. But it doesn’t stop there.
HEATH: Well, hey guys. We’re just wrapping up a great weekend here. We had an incredible hunt on Friday after a big buck we was after. So the theme of tonight’s meal is going to be called Fake Out, not take out. Gonna get a little nourishment out of Fake Out and enjoy a good afternoon.
GRANT: Man, those steaks look delicious. And I know the Martins will have plenty more. Because just a couple days later, Heath punched another tag on a buck he called Squiggles.
GRANT: Tune in next week to see that hunt and learn the techniques Heath used to tag another mature, mountain buck.
GRANT: If you have some friends that would enjoy the techniques we share on GrowingDeer, please encourage them to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can tell by the way I’m dressed, I’m hunting a lot and it’s cold outside. But just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean we can’t get outside and enjoy Creation.
GRANT: And no matter what the conditions are, take time every day to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.