This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
DANIEL: (Whispering) I’m so excited. It’s the pre-rut where anything could happen and you’re always ready for something to just walk in.
DANIEL: (Whispering) One Ozark Mountain buck.
DANIEL: Did you find him, Clay? He’s right there? All right!
GRANT: A few years ago we designed and created a new food plot and as part of that design we specifically left three mature oaks. Such trees can be a great attraction for deer.
GRANT: Two of these were mature white oaks which are on the northeast corner of the plot. The third is a large, mature red oak on the southern end.
GRANT: Research by my good friend, Dr. Craig Harper, University of Tennessee, has shown that when the competition is removed around oaks, they have more sun, water and nutrients and produce more acorns.
GRANT: During late August we drilled the Fall Buffalo Blend into this plot. So we have high-quality forage and acorns and that’s a double combination – super attractant – for deer.
GRANT: Last year I hung a Summit in one of the white oaks on the northern end of the plot. Those white oaks were just starting to drop acorns and there was already a lot of deer sign beneath the trees.
GRANT: A few days later, a cold front moved through making perfect conditions for Tyler and I to slip in and hunt from those stands.
GRANT: During the first hunt from that location, we saw several deer, including a hit list buck we call High Riser.
GRANT: Many of the deer we saw came from the western edge of the plot and fed under the red oak we had specifically left.
GRANT: Though High Riser responded to the Messenger grunt call, came in quite a ways, he never presented a good shot opportunity.
GRANT: I did tag a doe during that hunt kind of validating our food plot design and the stand placement.
GRANT: On October 16th of this year, Daniel and Clay headed to those same stands hoping to have another successful hunt.
GRANT: As they were walking in, they spotted some does already in the plot under the red oak. They were able to quietly slip up the tree, get in the stands and get ready to film.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Well, you can see Clay and I are still setting up. There were deer in the field when we walked up with their head down, eating on acorns just like we planned. So we slipped up this tree and we are trying really hard to get set up quickly because they are headed this way.
DANIEL: (Whispering) There’s white oak acorns raining down in the two trees right here. We’re in one of them. There’s acorns all around us falling and they are eating in the food plot and on these acorns. I just hope that one of these deer comes in within range and we get a shot.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Something has them a little antsy down there in the timber.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Aww, Dude, that’s a good buck. That’s a good buck. (Inaudible)
CLAY: (Whispering) (Inaudible) I don’t know. He may be three. (Inaudible)
DANIEL: (Whispering) Hello. He’s gone.
CLAY: (Whispering) He’s three. What did he see?
DANIEL: (Whispering) I don’t know.
GRANT: Daniel and Clay wondered what had alerted the deer, but they didn’t have to wait long to find out. It was two more deer. Those deer fed in the northeast corner of the plot. They milled around feeding about 50 or 60 yards from Daniel and Clay and Daniel was sure hoping they’d come on into the white oaks and give him a good shot.
DANIEL: (Whispering) 45 right there. 43, 41. Yeah, baby. (Inaudible)
DANIEL: (Whispering) Acorns popping.
DANIEL: (Whispering) She’s at 31 right there, but I don’t have a shot. You on her?
CLAY: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Head’s down. Head’s up.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Man, you want to talk about an exciting hunt and down to the wire. Walking in Clay and I spotted deer at the far end of the plot feeding on acorns. We climbed up the tree. Deer didn’t know we were in the world. There were deer in the plot the entire hunt. There’s still a deer out here in the plot feeding on acorns, feeding on the Fall Buffalo Blend. They milled around and they actually walked right across our wind.
DANIEL: (Whispering) You want to talk about scent control. Here we are. We were 25 yards from ‘em. They didn’t know we were in the world and our wind is just kind of cutting right back down over the hill to ‘em.
DANIEL: (Whispering) We’re gonna review and look at the shot. Sounded like she was just crashing and doing flips down over the hill as she went down the hill.
DANIEL: Man, there’s all kinds of acorns and scat under here.
CLAY: It’s changed a lot even since last week.
DANIEL: Yeah. (Inaudible)
DANIEL: Whoa. There is a nock down there.
CLAY: How far?
DANIEL: Like, I don’t know, 60 yards.
DANIEL: Oh gosh. White belly. She’s just right there, man.
CLAY: See her?
DANIEL: Heck, yeah. That’s not far at all. Oh yeah. I think that’s a heart shot, Clay.
CLAY: Oh, man, you smoked it.
DANIEL: Super thrilled. We got this doe down and now we just gotta drag up a hill. So, I’m gonna throw the Buck Cuff on her and I’m gonna start dragging.
CLAY: Well, folks, he’s done it.
DANIEL: Whoo. Ozark Mountains. Man.
GRANT: During their hunt, Daniel and Clay noticed that most of the deer they observed spent a good bit of time around the red oak we had left in the other end of the plot. That’s the same behavior Tyler and I had seen the previous year.
GRANT: Our experience in this plot indicated we needed to hang some Summits in the red oak.
GRANT: A few days later, some strong winds were forecast from a direction that made it ideal to approach and hunt from the red oak.
TYLER: Well, Bradley and I are out today at a food plot. Daniel and Clay actually hunted this plot not too long ago. A couple of white oaks up at the top of the plot. We were able to tag a doe and saw a good buck down on this end of the plot. We don’t have a stand down here yet, but that’s about to change.
TYLER: Here is a power line right behind me where they saw the buck come up and several other deer have been feeding up underneath this red oak. So we’ve got the Summits. Bradley and I are gonna get them hung in this red oak. Someone’s going to be sitting in it tonight, hopefully, have a good sit and maybe tag a buck.
GRANT: That afternoon there was a strong wind from the west. Daniel believed deer entering the plot from the south would feed to the red oak and offer a shot before going further in the plot.
CLAY: (Whispering) There’s the stand we were in last week. There’s the new one.
GRANT: They got settled in and hoped a buck or a doe would show soon.
GRANT: The sun wasn’t even behind the mountain when they saw a deer coming up the ridge toward the plot.
GRANT: The plan had worked but the only deer they saw during that hunt was the yearling.
GRANT: Since no one was available to pick up Daniel and Clay and clear the plot, Clay gave a great sounding coyote howl to alert deer and ease ‘em out of the area.
GRANT: The next afternoon the wind had shifted from west to south/southwest and Daniel and Clay decided to give that tree one more try.
GRANT: When they got in the plot the wind was perfect and it was a clear, sunny afternoon.
DANIEL: (Whispering) I’m so excited. It’s the pre-rut where anything could happen and you’re always ready for something to just walk out.
DANIEL: (Quietly) This oak is raining acorns and while we were hunting last week, there were multiple deer around this red oak. So we came in, hung Summits yesterday afternoon. We had a good wind yesterday, so Clay and I hunted in here. Had an encounter with a spike. We’re hoping that this afternoon that a shooter buck comes out or a big, ole’ nanny doe.
DANIEL: (Quietly) Pre-rut is heating up. It’s game on. Anything could happen. Clay and I are gonna sit down and enjoy the afternoon.
GRANT: Daniel and Clay knew there were some good bucks in the area, including an eight-pointer they’d seen during the previous hunt and a buck we call “Club.”
GRANT: Club first showed up during the summer in a plot we call Second House. We had planted the Second House plot with Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans and protected a portion of them with the Hot Zone fence. We’ve put a Reconyx camera to monitor the unprotected portion and that’s where we got videos of Club.
GRANT: We also had videos of Club in plots we call Tracy’s Field and Lower Two. These plots are in a valley just down the mountain from the plot we created called Three Oaks.
GRANT: The last video we had of Club was September 2nd. And after that he was missing in action. Club had obviously shifted to using a different portion of his home range during the late summer and we had no idea where that was.
GRANT: Acorns were raining down on Daniel and Clay during their second hunt from the red oak.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Golly.
GRANT: Squirrels obviously knew this tree was producing a lot of acorns and when squirrels know, it’s a safe bet deer in the area know also.
GRANT: As the sun began to set, Clay spotted antlers. It was the missing in action buck, Club. Club made a b-line for the base of the red oak and it wasn’t long until he was crunching acorns.
GRANT: Deer, like most prey species, have a very wide field of view. And Daniel knew he needed to wait until Club was less likely to see him draw.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Okay. You ready?
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
DANIEL: (Whispering) It doesn’t hit you – it doesn’t hit me until after. Oh my word, I just got it all rushing through me. Oh, man. Holy cow. Oh my word. I’m so jacked right now. Here it is October 23rd and I just put a Bloodsport through an Ozark Mountain buck.
DANIEL: (Whispering) That is a cool, cool buck and we played it right. We got in here, we hung this set yesterday afternoon because the acorns are just raining here. We haven’t seen a lot of acorns throughout the property. This tree is raining acorns and the deer are hammering them.
DANIEL: (Whispering) It feels so good when you put a plan together like that and it pays off.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yes.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah, man.
CLAY: (Whispering) That is awesome.
DANIEL: (Whispering) That’s incredible. What a hunt. I appreciate it. I appreciate it.
DANIEL: Let’s see what this arrow looks like. Well, it’s kind of what I expected. Based on the Blood Ring, it looks like probably liver, but I see some bubbles, so I’m thinking I probably hit liver and one lung.
DANIEL: Based on this arrow, thank goodness for this, this Blood Ring. I’m gonna say I probably hit liver and he needs more time. So Clay and I are probably gonna back out. We’re probably gonna go back, watch the footage at the shop. With this liver sign, I don’t want to push him. And we’ve got rain coming in. So this is gonna kill me – this wait. This is a long wait, but I think it’s the smart thing to do.
GRANT: Daniel and Clay met Tyler and I at the shop, told us about the hunt, we went up to the office and reviewed the footage.
GRANT: It’s right there at the last rib, isn’t it?
GRANT: And the angle is?
GRANT: Very much down.
GRANT: Should be a blood trail. Just a touch forward; just a touch.
DANIEL: I’m thinking liver and that back lung.
GRANT: Liver and back lung. I think we better see where the rain is and see about giving him a little time.
DANIEL: Yeah. I mean, it’s – that’s a big hole there.
GRANT: Oh yeah.
DANIEL: You can tell that Deadmeat just…
GRANT: Oh yeah.
DANIEL: …punched him.
DANIEL: Look at the rain…
GRANT: Look at the rain.
DANIEL: …and see what the rain is.
GRANT: He’s gonna need a little time…
DANIEL: Give him time.
GRANT: …before the rain. So I would rather give it more than less.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Eagle Seed, Nikon, 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: Daniel, Clay and Tyler waited about four hours and then took up the trail.
DANIEL: The rain is supposed to hit about one or two o’clock later in the night. So we need to get on this trail quick, find this deer and get him out of here. If it happens that we’re not finding a great blood trail, we’ve already contacted our game warden and he’s given us permission to bring in Crystal to trail this buck if we need to. That way we can recover this deer before this rain comes in. So.
DANIEL: But we’re – we’re hopeful. We’re thinking he’s down at the bottom of the hill. We’re gonna go check it out.
GRANT: Tyler turned on the onX tracker so they could mark the trail as they went. This is important; in case there’s an issue, you can circle back and pick up the trail.
DANIEL: So when we reviewed the footage, we took real careful notes on where this buck went into the timber. It’s really hard tracking in this – in this mulch and on these rocks. So we’re just gonna start over here, look where he went in the timber, see if we can pick up first blood.
DANIEL: (Quietly) There’s blood right there. Just a drop. We have to go slow. (Inaudible)
GRANT: The guys spent about an hour and a half trailing the buck 250 yards. And at that point, he crossed a powerline easement that had grown up in native grasses. It’s difficult to find blood in tall native grass.
DANIEL: With the rain coming in, we decided it is best to go ahead and just get Crystal. We’ve got permission from the game warden, so we’re gonna put Crystal on the trail and we’re sure hoping that he’s not too far from here.
DANIEL: So Crystal’s ready and we’re gonna take off. All right, Crystal.
DANIEL: Find him, Clay? Did you find him? Did you find him?
DANIEL: He’s right there? Good girl!
CLAY: Barely got him in time.
DANIEL: All right. Holy cow. Man, you want to talk about a roller coaster of emotions. I was jacked when this buck came walking in behind us. And made the shot and I knew it was high, I knew it was a little back. And so we read the sign on the Blood Ring. We decided to go back to the shop, review the footage. We came back about 10:45 and it’s been two hours on the blood trail.
DANIEL: We were literally on our hands and knees tracking just drops of blood through the leaves. And so we figured it was best to go back, get Crystal, and within 20 minutes, she was on the trail and she found him. I am so, so pumped. So blessed to be able to have this hunt with Clay, to experience this and just have this encounter and moment and hunt with this deer.
DANIEL: The pre-rut is starting to heat up and it is – bucks are on their feet moving. This cold front coming through tonight played a key role in harvesting this buck. He was on his feet feeding and hit the red oak acorns and Clay and I, we, we had a show. So.
CLAY: Club on the end of his tine.
DANIEL: Yeah. Look at that club. I mean, that is – comes down. It kind of is rubbing his ear, but just a tremendous buck.
GRANT: They began setting up the Redneck hoist to process the buck just as the rain started to fall.
DANIEL: I want to take a moment to look at the entry hole. It looks backs and a little high. And that’s what we saw on camera. But when I look at the exit hole, it went through the offside shoulder. So I’m suspecting we’ve probably got this offside lung and liver. Looks like a pretty good shot. But once we get inside, we’ll see what the Deadmeat went through.
GRANT: Once the buck was skinned, they could see the holes were very large.
DANIEL: I’ve got the buck skinned down. We’ve got the entry hole. This is the last rib right here. So I’m about one, two, three ribs from the last rib. And we come over here – of course, this was the exit and the buck – we actually found him laying on this side. So as he was laying, all that blood drained to that side.
DANIEL: But massive trauma and you can just look at that right there. Huge hole in the offside shoulder. That Deadmeat went all the way through him. I had penetration. The arrow was laying on the ground right where I shot him and went through that offside shoulder. And it is just hamburger.
DANIEL: So we’re going to dive in and see what we hit.
GRANT: After removing the vitals, Daniel could tell – even though the shot was a tad back – it was still good placement as his arrow had passed through both lungs.
GRANT: When he removed the lungs, they were very small because all the air had deflated. But even with the deflated lungs, you could easily see where the Deadmeat had traveled. It had went through at an extreme angle doing significant damage to both lungs.
GRANT: Sometimes you hear hunters say they hit a deer high in “no man’s land.” That area between the spine and the lungs. Others think that when the deer has exhaled, there’s even a larger gap and if the shot gets there right as the deer is exhaling, the arrow cleanly passes through with no damage to the lungs.
GRANT: This is not the case on a living animal. The lungs fill the entire thoracic cavity. They go from the sternum all the way to the spine. There’s no empty space in that area. I’m thrilled that Daniel was able to bring home a great buck – one we were chasing and that provided a bunch of fresh venison for the entire GrowingDeer Team.
GRANT: There are several good lessons from Daniel and Clay’s hunt. First, locating a preferred food source that is available can be key to tagging deer.
GRANT: During Daniel and Clay’s first hunt at the Three Oak plot, the doe Daniel ended up tagging had crossed downwind of them several times. The fact that Daniel still tagged that deer after she’d been downwind for quite some time is a great testimony to our scent control program.
GRANT: We wash our hunting clothes with Code Blue laundry soap and then treat and store them in Scent Crusher bags. I love this system. It allows me to wear my hunting clothes several days in a row before they need washing again. After each hunt, I simply put my hunting clothes in the Scent Crusher, run it for five minutes and I’m good to go the next day.
GRANT: The third lesson from this hunt I would like to share is that Daniel and Clay read some deer behavior and observations and adjusted their hunting plan accordingly. They’d seen that several deer were hanging out near the red oak and with the favorable wind forecast, got very aggressive, hung a stand in that tree and it paid off with a good buck.
GRANT: Learning to act on your hunting observations and MRI – most recent information – is a huge key to being successful in the field.
GRANT: The fourth lesson is not talked about a lot, but we should clarify. Even a big, healthy buck hit in both lungs can run a long ways, especially if they’re going downhill.
GRANT: According to Tyler’s onX tracker, the buck had ran 384 yards – almost all of it downhill. This brings us to how valuable a blood-trailing dog can be.
GRANT: The guys had followed the trail a couple of hundred yards. But with rain approaching rapidly, they made the wise decision to go get Crystal, our blood-trailing dog.
DANIEL: So, Crystal’s ready and we’re gonna take off.
GRANT: A dog’s sense of smell, paired with minimal training, is way better than even a skilled tracker. And it’s important to note, oftentimes the dog won’t be right on the sign. They’ll be downwind and some people ruin good dogs by trying to yank them back to where they see sign and not realize the dog is working the scent which is much better than our eyes. And that scent is gonna be drifting downwind of the trail.
GRANT: I realize not everyone has time to keep and train a dog specifically for blood trailing. Fortunately, a lot of people do and they list those services online. It’s a good thing to check out your local area, find someone that has a blood-trailing dog, have that number stored in case you need those services
GRANT: All in all, Daniel and Clay’s hunt is a great reminder how scouting, reading sign and hunting accordingly can lead to fresh venison and great memories.
GRANT: Daniel is not the only GrowingDeer team member to recently punch a tag on a nice buck. Heath Martin from Arkansas does it again and we’ll share that hunt with you next week on GrowingDeer.
HEATH: How cool is that?
GRANT: The GrowingDeer Team has had some great hunts and several more bucks have hit the ground. If you’d like to see these hunts and learn the strategies that made them successful, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.
GRANT: The series of cold fronts that have passed through this fall have provided some great hunting opportunities. But you don’t need a cold front to slow down and enjoy Creation and, more importantly, no matter what the conditions are, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.