This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: It’s the time of year we celebrate Thanksgiving and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. My family is healthy, the GrowingDeer Team is having a wonderful year in the field, but most importantly, in every day, I’m thankful for the grace and mercy of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope you slow down this Thanksgiving and think about all the blessings you and your family have received.
GRANT: Last week we shared that Pro Staffers Heath and Lindsey Martin had a great day of hunting during late October.
GRANT: They saw a lot of action, and it ended with Heath tagging a mature, mountain buck they called Fake Out.
HEATH: (Quietly) Man, that’s as good as it gets right there.
GRANT: After tagging Fake Out, they didn’t stay out of the woods long.
GRANT: When the conditions were right, Team Martin was back in the blind and had some great encounters with young bucks.
GRANT: During the morning of November 2nd Heath and Lindsey headed to a Redneck blind that had a food plot in front of it; half of it planted with Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans and the other with their Fall Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: It was a cold morning in those Arkansas mountains, and all the forage was covered with a heavy frost.
GRANT: Deer don’t often eat forage that’s covered with a heavy frost, especially in southern locations. In fact, deer tend to be on the southern slope where the sun gets there first, and as it warms up a bit then they’re moving to the forage to feed. This behavior or pattern can be a great asset for hunters knowing where to be.
HEATH: (Whispering) Well, good morning. Today is November the 2nd, and we got our orange on because it’s youth weekend here in Arkansas so we may hear some gunshots in the background, but it’s obviously still bow season for us who aren’t youth anymore, unfortunately. So, it’s about 31; just a good hard frost, so just perfect conditions. So, we’re hoping to see some mature deer on their feet and see if we can get in some action. So, we’re going to hang tight here and spend a few hours out in the beautiful outdoors and see if we can get into a big buck and fling an arrow at one here shortly.
GRANT: Once the sun came over the mountain and the frost melted, the deer begin to feed.
GRANT: As expected this time of year, the buck was with a doe. The doe left the beans and went into the timber, and the buck went over to the edge.
GRANT: This buck apparently had just showed up on the Martin’s farm. They had no previous encounters or pictures of him. That’s pretty common during the rut. Bucks will leave their core area and start cruising throughout their entire home range looking for a receptive doe.
GRANT: These bonus bucks, as they’re often called, usually will be throughout their home range for a short period of time and then shift back to their core area.
GRANT: Heath hoped this big six-pointer would stay close to the plot throughout the day and return that afternoon just as Fake Out had done.
GRANT: Heath designed this plot to have standing soybeans so the pods would be available during the mid and late season; the Fall Buffalo Blend on the other side and a strip of native grasses to the north. This design creates a great hunting attraction. Pods for those days when it’s really cold and deer need energy, and greens for the warmer days.
GRANT: In addition, this was a proven hunting location as Heath had tagged a big buck they called Spindletop Junior from the same Redneck blind two years ago.
HEATH: (Whispering) Yes. Yes.
GRANT: Heath also had several great hunts last fall at a different food plot location. During one of those hunts right at dark, Heath had a cool encounter with the buck they called Mr. Squiggles. If you look closely you can see why the buck got its name. His brow tines are kind of squiggly. Heath had several Reconyx pictures and videos of Mr. Squiggles this fall, and he was definitely on the hit list.
GRANT: The afternoon of November 2nd, Heath and Lindsey returned to the same Redneck blind, hoping the big six-pointer they’d seen that morning would return.
HEATH: (Whispering) Hey, guys. It’s November the 2nd about 4:20. We’re just sneaking back in the blind. We had to get out during the day and do some work here.
HEATH: (Whispering) We had a really good hunt this morning. Quite a bit of humidity last night, but it’s really cold, below freezing. There was a super hard frost. It even frosted on the inside of the blind.
HEATH: (Whispering) So, first thing this morning, we didn’t see a ton of deer because all the food was frosted over, but as soon as the sun come out and started melting it, we started seeing deer. And we ended up seeing what I believe is a four-year-old deer. I don’t know 100%. He was with a doe at the end of these beans this morning, probably for 30 minutes. Anyway, he nudged the doe on down to the timber, and they never came down this way. But you know, we shot Fake Out this way the other day. The doe came back in, and he was with her. So. With any luck, maybe that doe will come back in the beans this evening and ole, big six will be in tow. So, anyway, hang tight and we’ll see what happens.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Eagle Seed, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Morrell Targets, BOG, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana Decoys, Summit Treestands, Drake Non-Typical Clothing, RTP Outdoors, Yamaha, Fourth Arrow, onX Hunt, ScentCrusher, Scorpion Venom Archery, Bloodsport Arrows, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.
GRANT: After a while the group of does came to the plot and began feeding.
GRANT: As the does were headed north, Lindsey looked across the plot and saw a buck coming their way. It was Squiggles.
HEATH: (Whispering) You got to be kidding me. That’s a, I think, four-and-a-half-year-old deer. He could be a year older, but I think he’s four and a half. A buck we call Squiggles. We passed him up, or I passed him up, two or three times last year with the muzzleloader. And what I thought was a three-and-a-half-year-old – he blew up into a pretty nice deer this year. And he’s been living on the other side of the farm down here.
HEATH: (Whispering) So, we saw what I think is a four-year-old, big, ‘ole, gnarly six-point this morning with a doe right down here, not far. So, we actually came back in here to sit, to hunt that deer. We kind of figured he would be in here with these does again at some point in time. And we actually had does; you saw ‘em come all the way through the food plot and around. And Lindsey looks out there and, dang, ‘ole Squiggles is walking right up the darn green — just walking right in.
HEATH: (Whispering) And that scrape tree is about 20, 21 yards and, man, I finally got him not to looking where I could draw. And right when he walked in there, of course, then I couldn’t. I mean, all I could see was shoulder and back. I couldn’t even see his head when I finally got him to stop out my window here. But of course, that’s all I need was a shoulder. So, I don’t know 21, 20, 21 yards right here and just – he just died on the other side of the beans. I can’t believe that just happened. Holy cow. It’s kind of bittersweet.
HEATH: (Whispering) I’m tagged out in Arkansas, done killed our top two bucks, which I feel bad ‘cause we were going to try to get Lindsey to kill that deer here in a couple of weeks during the gun season. But here he showed up on this food plot at 20 yards. You can’t pass up that opportunity. We just stuck an arrow and a whole Deadmeat right through the boilermaker. He didn’t know what hit him. Holy moly.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) That’s awesome.
HEATH: (Whispering) I guess we’re going to scare those does off. Let’s go take a look at that joker. Huh? I guess.
HEATH: (Quietly) I see him lying over there. He’s a big boy. Holy cow. Didn’t even make it to the grass. Look at that joker. Wood on him. Big, ‘ole neck.
HEATH: So, this is a buck we call Squiggles, Mr. Squiggles, Squiggles. You won’t be able to tell it now because he’s broke a brow tine off, but this brow tine has always been crooked and squiggly. And this one had a fork and had three or four little kickers. Had some kickers here and I don’t know we just called him Squiggles ‘cause his brow tine was all squiggly.
HEATH: This deer I believe is a four-year-old. This was not the deer we were in here hunting, to be honest with you. Never actually anticipated seeing this deer here, but it is November. We do have great habitat now throughout the farm; great food throughout the farm. This is about the only patch of beans we had left this year, so I mean, it doesn’t surprise me.
HEATH: But we’d saw that big, mature six-point this morning. That’s the deer we had kind of specifically came in here for. Boy, he’s got good mass. I mean big, heavy beams, or I mean the mass on his bases. He’s been an eight-point forever, and then this year he grew this cool — I don’t know, three-inch, maybe four-inch kicker off that base of that G2 right there. Pretty sweet deer.
HEATH: It’s almost bittersweet, man. We put in so much work on the farm trying to get these deer to four. You know, maybe get lucky and get a five or six-year-old. Then you anticipate hunting them all year because they’re so hard to kill. I killed Fake Out a week ago Friday, so in eight days we killed our top two hit list bucks here in Arkansas, And they’re both studs. I mean, I’m talking studs. What a beauty. Dark chocolate horns, 20 yards. He was quartering away a little bit, so I think I hit him right behind the shoulder on the front side; come out in his lungs right here on the second, on that outside. I don’t even know what to say. I’m kind of overwhelmed.
GRANT: Well done, Heath and Lindsey. What a great hunt.
GRANT: There were many great lessons from Heath and Lindsey’s hunt, and I want to share one of them with you. You may have noticed that right in front of their blind was a Code Blue mock scrape. This scrape played a key role in tagging Squiggles. The food plot Heath and Lindsey were hunting is a large feeding plot, several acres, and figuring out where deer are gonna pass within bow range can be tricky. A mock scrape like Heath had created within bow range of his blind is one of my favorite techniques for creating a bottleneck.
GRANT: A bottleneck or pinch point is simply something that funnels deer within range of the hunter. If you watch closely, Squiggles walks toward the mock scrape and turns his nose to do a scent check as he passes by. Squiggles didn’t work the scrape, but he walked close enough to scent check it, and that’s all that was necessary to put him within bow range of Heath.
GRANT: Had the mock scrape not been present, Squiggles could’ve easily passed the blind out of range. I have used this same technique for many years and tagged several bucks near mock scrapes.
GRANT: Mock scrapes are a great tool to get bucks within range, no matter the size of the plot. Even in small hidey hole plots, bucks can often pass out of range.
GRANT: I recently traveled to western Oklahoma to assist a landowner with a habitat improvement and hunting strategy plan. A few weeks after I visited with Mr. Rogers, he shared that his dad had tagged a great buck. When Mr. Rogers was processing that deer, skinning it out, he found something very interesting. He found a portion of an arrow shaft with the broadhead still attached just above the spine.
GRANT: Deer and most species of wildlife are extremely tough. Every year we receive pictures from hunters that harvested a deer, looked perfectly normal when they took the shot, but when they’re processing it, they find a bit of an arrow, a broadhead, a bullet, or even a portion of an antler tine.
GRANT: We know that deer can react rapidly to the sound of a bow being shot. It may be that the shot was just high, or it may be that this buck heard the bow go off, reacted, and dropped, causing the arrow to hit high. In real-time, during the excitement of the hunt, it can be tough to see how much deer react; and in addition, deer are so fast it’s just tough for the human eye to pick up how much they’re dropping.
GRANT: Hunters may know the deer reacted but not realize how much it dropped. Sometimes we hear from hunters that believe their shot went in “No Man’s Land” – a space below the spine, and on top of the lungs, that’s just a void. They find a very little amount of blood and never recover the deer.
GRANT: Critters are created very efficiently. There’s no wasted space. There’s no empty space between the lungs and the spine in humans or deer. I suspect that a lot of shots that are claimed to be in “No Man’s Land” are a result of deer reacting more than the hunter realized to the sound of the bow and the arrow going above the spine resulting in a non-lethal shot.
GRANT: The pictures Mr. Rogers shared are a great reminder that those shots are often not lethal, and the deer recovers perfectly. You wouldn’t even know it’d been shot until you processed the deer.
GRANT: We posted some of Mr. Rogers’ pictures on our social media pages, and many people responded with similar stories and pictures. The gads of responses and pictures that were posted on our pages are a great reminder of how tough deer are.
GRANT: (Whispering) On and off, the emotions. On and off. It’s going to work; it’s not going to work; it’s going to work; it’s not going to work. I’m still emotional. Oh, man.
GRANT: If you enjoy the strategies and techniques shared by the GrowingDeer Team, please subscribe to GrowingDeer and share a link with your friends.
GRANT: Whether you’re tagged out or still trying to get some more venison, I hope you take time every day to enjoy Creation but, most importantly, slow down, be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.