This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Another great week here at The Proving Grounds as we tag some deer and start a new habitat management project. I’m super excited to share this one.
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GRANT: During a recent scouting trip, we noticed some limited resources all available in a small area on Boomerang Ridge. We noticed some white oak and red oak acorns had just fallen, a newly planted Broadside patch, and a pond that was holding water all within bow range of the perfect tree for some Summit stands.
ADAM: (Whispering) September the 26th – this afternoon Matt and I are set up in a stand we hung a few weeks ago on BPP. Couple of limited resources here – we’ve got a pond, a food plot, and a white oak tree that’s dropping acorns. Reconyx showed several deer active in here in the evenings. So, hopefully they show up tonight and I can get my first deer of the 2016 season.
GRANT: After Adam and Matt got settled in the stand, it wasn’t long before they noticed the first deer.
GRANT: This nice two year-old buck was feeding on acorns that had fallen around the pond.
GRANT: Even on days when the wind is right, where you think the deer are gonna be feeding, it’s important to have good scent control ‘cause you never know for sure where they’re gonna approach from.
GRANT: That buck hung around downwind of the stand and never detected Adam or Matt.
GRANT: As the evening continued, more deer entered the plot.
GRANT: While watching these deer, a doe come in – again downwind of Adam and Matt.
GRANT: While this doe was in Adam’s range, she never presented him with a clean shot.
GRANT: After feeding on acorns for quite some time, she finally worked around the tree and offered Adam the shot he was looking for.
ADAM: (Whispering) She’s gonna go down right there.
GRANT: You know that’s a great feeling – when you tag your first deer of the year.
ADAM: (Whispering) Well, we’ve given her about 45 minutes to an hour. We’re gonna go check the evidence and see what it looks like.
ADAM: (Whispering) See the old blood ring is just bubbly red. Blood all the way across it. Havocs deployed. Yeah, real light, bubbly blood – lung blood.
ADAM: We got her. Look where she slammed into that.
ADAM: Well, it was a great night for us. We had a cold front move through last night. Temperatures finally got a little cooler. We’ve been experiencing mid to upper 80’s over the last couple of weeks. A cold front moved through – today’s high was in the low 70s. Deer were on their feet early. We had deer around us throughout the night. Finally that doe came into range – made a great shot – short blood trail.
ADAM: We actually hung a set a couple of weeks ago. We set it up to hunt over the water hole ‘cause we’ve been dry. We’ve been facing a drought throughout the last half of the summer. Set up on the white oaks as well and of course there’s a food plot there. So, we have three different limited resources.
ADAM: One thing we didn’t account for is there’s a lot of red oaks around us and that just so happened to be the patch of red oaks that a lot of the deer were feeding on. And then right at dark, most of the deer moved over to the white oak – offering a great shot. So, the strategy all came together. We had a great hunt.
GRANT: As we’ve shared in the past, identifying limited resources in a timely manner can result in you having similar success.
MATT: She’s got some weight to her.
ADAM: Yup. Awww.
GRANT: Pro Staffers, Seth Harker and Chase White, are kicking off their season by heading out to a food plot and hoping to send the Bloodsport down range. Seth and Chase have been hunting together for several years and are coming off a great season during 2015.
GRANT: They anticipated the cooler temperatures would cause deer to be active earlier during the day which added a lot of excitement ‘cause they’d seen a good buck just a few days before.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Big ten point.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Nine.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) I think it’s the big ten.
GRANT: Chase had patterned this buck earlier – but when he had an opportunity to hunt, the buck didn’t offer a shot.
CHASE: (Whispering) That’s a buck we call Duke.
CHASE: (Whispering) Good encounter for the first evening out though.
GRANT: Even though Seth and Chase believe a hit list buck is using this plot, they need to do a little deer management and tag a doe if they get an opportunity.
SETH: (Whispering) It’s September 24th and we hunted this spot last night. Primarily same conditions, primarily the same wind. We’re just glad it’s blowing because it’s just been variable for a week. We’re still in hot conditions. We’re one day prior to front. Last night we were do. We saw lots of deer. We’re just looking for the right deer tonight.
GRANT: It’s early during the evening, and the mature doe is working her way into range.
GRANT: It’s almost time for the shot and Seth and Chase work together to make sure they capture it on film.
SETH: (Whispering) Like I said, if we had one come out early, we were gonna go ahead and take advantage of it and that’s just what we had, so. Uh, she ducked quite a bit, but I think, I think the Havoc could do its job. Looked like it was in the boiler room but Chase said on (Inaudible) footage, it looked like she dropped a good six inches, so. Anyway, we’re gonna finish our hunt and then go see if we can’t track her.
GRANT: It’s still early in the evening so Seth and Chase decide to stay in the stands and see if a hit list buck shows before dark.
GRANT: Being a good conservationist, Seth had noticed a decrease in forage production in this area of the farm. So, the opportunity to harvest a doe not only provides fresh venison for his family but helps the deer herd by balancing the number of deer with the amount of forage in the area.
GRANT: They continued watching these deer as the light starts to fade and then noticed a set of antlers entering the field.
GRANT: It happened to be a great up and comer that shows a lot of potential for this area in the future.
SETH: It’s eight o’clock. We let the deer feed out of this hidey hole food plot. We’re gonna pick up the trail of our doe – try to sneak in, sneak her out. Get back home and have some fresh back straps. Looks like she is bleeding really well so – we’re going to the jungle.
SETH: I don’t see her. Blood, blood, where is the blood? She’s really bleeding right here. Golly – she went into the jungle. Look at the blood. Yeah. Blood, blood. I thought she looked – I’m with you, she looked smaller in the food plot.
SETH: Got one lung and the liver is what we got. What, what’s the deal with the hornets, man? And where are they coming from?
CHASE: It’s an hour after dark and we got hornets.
SETH: Big hornets too. You know the way back to the truck from here? I know it’s that way. We truly don’t know where we’re at – other than we’re in the woods. I mean, we know general direction so, instead of just fight dragging a deer out, I’m gonna go back, try to find the truck, turn the lights on, at least shine ‘em this way. That way we’re not going through the maze that we already came through. At lease we’ll know a general direction so, have fun Chase.
GRANT: Congratulations Seth and Chase on a nice hunt and I can’t wait to see how your season progresses.
GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds we’re always working to improve the quality of habitat. And bedding areas, or security areas, are a big part of our overall plan. Deer use these natural areas for a multitude of reasons. During the summer months there’s a lot of natural forbs growing in here that provide high quality forage for deer and turkey. During the cooler months the native grasses have matured providing great thermal cover for critters.
GRANT: Through the years we’ve been fighting past mismanagement of this property. Historically, the south facing slopes would have been native grasses and forbs. Due to over grazing by cattle, a lot of hardwood saplings were allowed to encroach the area and we’ve used prescribed fire to try to reduce those saplings. We’ve done a good job of top killing those saplings but have not been able to keep them from re-sprouting.
GRANT: After years, it was obvious we needed some help controlling these stump sprouts, so we called in the experts at Flatwood Natives.
GRANT: Yes, that’s right, Flatwood Natives does much more than just provide the trees we use in our tree plots. They also do a lot of work throughout the whitetail’s range at improving native habitats. Once I learned their specialties included this line of work, I invited them back to help us here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Beautiful morning here at The Proving Grounds. We’ve got a special project we’re working on. This is a bedding area or an area that used to be covered with cedar trees. We removed the cedar trees many years ago with chainsaw by hand – it’s way too steep to get wheeled equipment in here. And we’ve used prescribed fire for years. We’ve shown you that in past episodes. But no matter how hot we burn it, a lot of these oak saplings and hardwood saplings want to come back in an area that I’ve designated to have native grasses and forbs.
GRANT: So, we are restoring this to a native habitat. And to do that, we need to use a little herbicide. So, they’ve got a crew behind me with Flatwood Natives. They’re professionals. They know exactly what they’re doing. Got the proper safety gear and everything going on. They’re gonna treat these saplings. We’re gonna be able to come in with a prescribed fire during the spring of 2017 and we’ll be done treating saplings for decades after this. It’s a great way to restore native habitat and improve the area for wildlife.
GRANT: By using GPS units and predetermined treatment areas, they can cover the areas I need treated without leaving gaps. As the Flatwood Natives crew is going through, they’re also treating any exotic or invasive species like sericea lespedeza, bush honeysuckle – which there’s not much of on this property but in other areas of the whitetail’s range, it’s literally taken over the landscape which is very detrimental to native plants and the native wildlife also. So, getting on top of this while the problem is still relatively small, is much better than waiting ‘til it’s widespread and almost in epidemic proportions.
GRANT: There’s a really good reason to use a hand crew versus a helicopter or something like that in this type of habitat. I don’t want to use any more herbicide than I have to. And I look around where I have native vegetation in front of me – there’s no blue dots. But when I get to this sapling, I see some blue dots where a little bit of herbicide has been applied right here. That’s the accuracy of a hand crew.
GRANT: Now this was an oak sapling – there’s 10 or 15 saplings coming off of one oak stump sprout. This never would make a good tree or piece of lumber because all these 15 or 20 saplings are twisted and competing for sunshine and resources. Seedlings – one sprout coming up from a seed – make great trees. But root sprouts tend to never make good trees.
GRANT: I’ll probably get a few emails asking why I chose right during hunting season to have the Flatwood Natives crew come in and treat these hardwood saplings. The answer is very simple. At this time of year, the hardwoods are removing energy or sugar from the leaves down to the root system so they can survive the winter when there’s no leaves and they can’t photosynthesize or make more food. And that’s the best time for them to pull the herbicide down into the root system and get a good kill. So, by giving up a few days of disturbance now, this area will be much more productive for wildlife for decades to come.
GRANT: Here’s a perfect example of what we’re trying to control. This is a winged elm. And there’s – I don’t know – again 10 or 20 saplings coming out of an old stump sprout. As a matter of fact, I can see where we cut this stump over ten years ago. This area’s been burned three times with a pretty aggressive prescribed fire and that’s not enough to kill this tree because we’re top killing only – we’re not killing the root system. And that’s where herbicide comes in. Just a small amount of herbicide – literally probably less than a teaspoon on this tree – will be absorbed by the leaves, transferred this time of year to the root system and kill this tree so it’s not taking nutrients and minerals from the native grasses and forbs that I want to promote in this area.
GRANT: Our next step in this management project will be to use prescribed fire to remove the duff off the ground and allow the seeds from that native vegetation to germinate and repopulate the area.
GRANT: A huge advantage of using the Flatwood Natives system is that we will effectively make a native forb and grass area for decades to come.
GRANT: If you’re hungry for additional information, check out the clips tab and the blog at GrowingDeer.com. The leaves are starting to turn up north and there’s still mosquitos buzzing in the south. But no matter where you are, take time to enjoy Creation and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.