This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: On a cold afternoon, Daniel and I recently climbed in to some Summit Stands on the edge of what we call Hidey Hole One; a food plot just over the ridge from here. And I was getting settled in and hanging my bow, I looked down and saw a deer.
GRANT: That’s not uncommon to see a deer as we’re getting in the stand because we work on being really quiet, but this deer was a little different. It was laying down and motionless. This deer was dead.
GRANT: I was a little shocked by the observation, but I was confident deer were gonna move and we’d made a quiet approach. So, we decided to stay in the stand and let the hunt roll out. We saw some deer, but none in range.
GRANT: It was very cold that afternoon. And when we got down, it was pitch black. So, we decided to wait and take advantage of sunshine the next day before we started inspecting the deer.
QUENTEN: Nice to meet you.
UNKNOWN: Nice to meet you, sir.
QUENTEN: Are you from around this area?
UNKNOWN: Yup. From Springfield.
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GRANT: As a biologist, I’m always very curious when I find a deer carcass to determine the cause of death. In this case I called my good friend and local conservation agent, Quenten Fronterhouse. Quenten inspects a lot of critters to determine their cause of death and he’s got a lot of experience in determining if poaching was involved.
GRANT: No obvious big hole in there anyway. I knew it was gonna be cold last night and I wanted to do a good investigation of maybe what the cause of death was, so I’ve got my friend, Quenten Fronterhouse out with the Missouri Department of Conservation and we’re going to do an investigation to see what the cause of death is – if we can determine it of this – appears to be young doe. So, Quenten, what’s your? I don’t see anything on this side that looks obvious.
QUENTEN: No. Overall, I don’t see any just gaping wounds or anything like that. You know, one other thing we do – what I test for – and I also brought a kit – is just to take a sample to see if there’s any disease that could have possibly killed it if we don’t find a, a cause.
GRANT: Sure. Yeah. Well, let’s flip her over and look at the outside here. She’s stiff as a board, so it’ll kind of roll.
QUENTEN: I don’t really see any injuries or anything.
GRANT: No, I don’t. I mean, there’s no broken leg or…
GRANT: I always enjoy working with Quenten. And I’m always curious what tool he’s gonna bring to the investigation site.
GRANT: One of the tools Quenten brought was a metal detector. And that’s a great way to see if there’s a bullet or a broadhead inside the carcass.
GRANT: There’s a fair amount of iron ore in the rocks here in the Ozark Mountains. So you have to be cautious when using a metal detector to make sure you’re not getting a false reading.
GRANT: As Quenten was inspecting the deer, he got a signal in the abdomen area but we weren’t sure it was strong enough to indicate that there was metal in the deer or it was actually going through and hitting some ore in the rocks.
QUENTEN: (Inaudible) bruising that I see…
GRANT: After inspecting the outside of the deer and using the metal detector, I started skinning in the shoulder area and working my way down to see if there’s any signs below the skin that might help us determine the cause of death.
GRANT: The carcass under the skin appeared normal until we got to the abdomen area. There was a large bruise and a collection of blood in the abdomen area and I wondered, “Was this the cause of death?”
GRANT: Quenten and I felt the area very carefully and we couldn’t find a puncture through the muscles into the abdomen. So, we started opening up to inspect the organ.
GRANT: No, there’s no rupture in there.
GRANT: The wound was just under where the intestines were and the intestines and even the rumen – the four chambered stomach of a deer – appeared normal.
GRANT: (Inaudible) Have to get right on the edge of the sternum there and then there’s (Inaudible) (Fades Out)…
GRANT: As soon as we opened the chest cavity and I peered inside, we were both confident we knew the cause of death.
GRANT: Yeah, that deer had infection up there. Look at that.
GRANT: There was a lot of sign of infection in the lung area. And the lungs were about half the size of normal. It seemed this doe had been ill for quite some time.
GRANT: Even though I was confident we’d determined the cause of death, I wanted to collect a bit more data.
GRANT: During the past year, there’s been lots of news about CWD, Chronic Wasting Disease. Typically, deer that die from chronic wasting disease appear very emaciated. That’s not the case with this deer. But, the Missouri Department of Conservation has asked hunters to help them collect samples so they can determine if CWD exists in southern Missouri. It was an easy opportunity to supply them a sample.
QUENTEN: Because what we’re gonna do is just take a, a chronic wasting disease sample. Um, we’ve never found it in southern Missouri, but we’re monitoring to see if we do have any cases that come up due to the proximity to Arkansas where multiple ones have been found.
QUENTEN: Alright. So, what we’re gonna do is take the lymph nodes out from around the throat area. We’re looking at the jaw. And you’ve got its Adam’s apple here. And we’re gonna cut a line directly across. This thing’s been – it’s pretty cold so these lymph nodes are a little, a little more dense than the regular muscle. So, once you get in there, you actually kinda feel for ‘em if you can’t see ‘em.
GRANT: Quenten collected the sample and recorded the location. And I’ll get the results back in a month or so. I don’t anticipate this deer died from CWD. But I certainly want to work – and encourage you to work – with state game agencies so we can learn the distribution and the intensity of this disease throughout the whitetails’ range.
QUENTEN: Just a real small. They’re usually kind of a kidney bean shape. A little bit of gray in color, but they’re covered with blood in this instance. So.
GRANT: You may notice we wore gloves and other protective gear when we were collecting the CWD sample. CWD has never been shown to be contagious to humans. But, other potential diseases that deer can carry are – such as rabies. When you’re working on a deer – even field dressing a deer you’ve harvested – it’s always best to wear the appropriate gear.
GRANT: By the late season, most deer have been alerted multiple times by hunters. And that means scent control is more important now than even during the early portion of the season. However, it can be very difficult. Often, we’re wearing multiple layers of clothes when hunting this time of year.
GRANT: It’s just not practical to do laundry on several layers of hunting clothes each day after a hunt. That’s why we wash our clothes with Dead Down Wind and let those enzymes go to work on any odors in our clothing. But cleaning clothes is only half the battle. You need to store them in an environment where they won’t absorb odors.
GRANT: I really enjoy hunting the late season – especially when a strong cold front is pushing through. But it can be a real problem doing good scent control, especially on that cold weather gear. Heavy bibs and coats, man, they’re tough to wash and dry, especially frequently.
GRANT: We’ve started using, in addition to our Dead Down Wind, the Scent Crusher system, either the lockers or the bags. And what this simply does, is has a ozone unit in each system that’s sized for that system. So, you’re not getting so much ozone that it’s damaging the gear, but enough to reduce the scent.
GRANT: For example, in my bag here, I’ve got my heavy bibs and coats and stocking hats and long johns I’ve been wearing in these cold conditions. If I was to wash all that and dry it, it would take hours and hours and hours and extra wear and tear on my clothing.
GRANT: But, I simply take ‘em off, shove ‘em in my duffle bag, turn it on for five minutes and I’m ready to go hunting the next day.
GRANT: The gear bag and locker are not only scent tight, but they have ozone generators designed specifically for that amount of space. So, it puts just the right amount of ozone in there to keep our clothes odor free.
GRANT: This system has worked so well for us, we keep our bows, camera gear, in addition to our clothing in the Scent Crusher storage systems. As a matter of fact, we’ll share a hunt with you where yesterday afternoon, Daniel had a doe come in downwind – not in the food plot, but it was skirting the edge of the food plot – and he was able to make the shot at about 15 yards.
GRANT: It was a cold afternoon, but Daniel and Clay were confident deer would feed before dark.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Well, it’s December 15th. Clay and I have climbed into the Summits. We’re overlooking a food plot we call Clover Mountain. Much of the clover here has already gone dormant. But earlier this fall, we came in with the Genesis No Till Drill and drilled in winter wheat. The deer are really starting to pour in and hit that wheat. Reconyx has picked up. I think one night there was 16 or 18 deer out here. So, we’ve got a good pattern. Great southeast wind. We come in from the northwest – able to enter and exit without alerting deer. And hopefully, tonight, we’ll be able to tag a deer and get one more deer closer to our management goal.
GRANT: It wasn’t long until the deer were up and moving.
GRANT: It seemed a mature doe was skirting the downhill side of the food plot where they were hunting. We set these Summit stands anticipating deer to be in the plot and our scent drifting off the mountain exactly where the doe was coming from.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Oh, man, she’s gonna cross our wind. I’m on her.
GRANT: Knowing the wind and thermals were carrying yours and Clay’s scent toward that doe, I’m impressed you pulled that off.
DANIEL: (Quietly) Kind of what we were expecting, Clay. Gut. Look at that blood area. Just green. Got some grit.
DANIEL; Well, we got down; found the arrow; not quite what we were hoping for. Uh, looking at the blood ring – it’s green, has some grit. And so, definitely, ah, hit her a little far back. Hit a gut shot. So, started looking around; trying to see if there was any blood and found a big ole pile of guts right there. So.
GRANT: After checking out the blood ring on the arrow, they decided it might be a better plan to come back to the house, warm up and review the footage.
GRANT: Well, you’re certainly not high.
DANIEL: Hmm. Hmm. And it’s steep. That’s a steep angle.
GRANT: Steep angle, so it’s going down even more. But there is gut on the arrow so you just somehow touched – you’re not, you’re not in the esophagus which would be up here.
GRANT: Right below the spine. Esophagus runs right below the spine.
GRANT: We watched the footage and studied the arrow and decided that given the steep angle, we weren’t certain if Daniel got both lungs or just one. It seemed a good plan to let that doe lay overnight and we’d take up the trail in the morning. The temperatures were forecast to be in the 20s, so we certainly weren’t worried about the meat spoiling.
GRANT: The next morning, we went out to take up the trail. But rather than go to where Daniel recovered the arrow, we decided we’d drive a road that went about 70 yards below the stand along the mountain. The leaves were off and we thought, “Heck. We might be able to see the white belly from the warmth of the truck.”
DANIEL: Yeah, I see the white belly right there.
GRANT: You want to film that?
GRANT: We’d barely started down the mountain when Clay spotted a doe. Her white belly was obvious. And she hadn’t went 20 yards from where they last saw her.
DANIEL: That’s an easy drag.
GRANT: Drag, heck. I’m worried about her sliding into the truck when she comes down.
DANIEL: Well, we came in this morning and we saw a white belly as we were coming down the hill and she’s laying 20 yards from the truck. It’s gonna be an easy drag. So, we’re gonna get up there and take a look at her.
DANIEL: Holy cow.
DANIEL: Yeah. There – that’s what we saw on the ground last night. We weren’t scared that the meat was gonna spoil or anything ‘cause it was gonna dip down to the high 20s. Everything should be good. I think it was a wise decision. We didn’t want to bump her last night. We probably could have found her last night. But, we went ahead and made that call and found her this morning – no problem. She was kind of right where we thought she went down last night. So, got a short drag to the truck and another doe in the freezer.
GRANT: Once, we got the doe to the house, it was time to put the Rack Jack to work and start making some venison.
GRANT: Daniel was eager to check out the path of the arrow; see which organs he hit. So he grabbed the Super Hide Pullers and started skinning the doe.
GRANT: Once the hide was removed, Daniel looked inside and learned he’d hit one lung and the liver.
DANIEL: Well, we got her back up to the house. The first thing I noticed when I pulled off the hide was that Havoc entry hole. I hit this first lung and actually, she was quartering to. I actually hit the liver and it was so low on the other side, you can’t even see the exit hole once I pulled the hide off. So, we probably made a wise decision to let her lay overnight. The meat’s still good. I’m gonna start cutting her up.
GRANT: It appears it would have been easy to trail and recover the doe the night before. However, oftentimes deer hit in one lung can travel a long ways. And if you start trailing them too quick, you’ll jump them and end up with a very long and difficult recovery.
GRANT: Hey, a little update from the trapping line here at The Proving Grounds. We haven’t caught much in the last couple of days, but the temperatures have been colder than normal.
GRANT: It’s to be expected when the temperatures are colder than normal, you won’t catch many raccoons or opossums. They’ll get in their den or an old hollow tree and weather out the storm so to speak. But the first warm night after a cold front, have those traps ready ‘cause they’re gonna run and be hungry.
GRANT: If you see a snow or ice storm coming and it’s not safe to get out and run your trap line, simply just let the door down and come back right before the warmup – open it up and you’re good to go.
GRANT: It’s important to make sure your traps are operational before those warmer temperatures hit because the first night with warmer temperatures, those critters will be out feeding and it’s a good time to work on balancing the predator and prey population.
GRANT: These cold temperatures don’t stop deer from feeding. In fact, oftentimes, they feed a bit more aggressively. And next week, we’ll share with you how Seth Harker used this front to his advantage in chasing his number one hit list buck.
SETH: Ha,ha. Did you find him?
SETH: Hey, we found him, guys. Oh, ha ha, ha. He’s down the path. Oh wow.
CHASE: That’s a stud, boys.
GRANT: Even though it’s been wicked cold outside, the views with all the leaves off are worth getting out and enjoying Creation. Even if you can’t get outside, remember to slow down every day and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.