This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Even though it’s raining today, everyone on the GrowingDeer Team is celebrating. It’s our seventh anniversary – seven years of making a new episode of GrowingDeer every week. And that’s only possible because of all the energy and support we’ve received from the GrowingDeer family – folks that care about improving the habitat and deer and deer hunting from throughout the world. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
GRANT: This is the time of year when most hunters dream about. Cooler weather and receptive does means most deer are more active during daylight hours than the rest of the year.
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GRANT: Knowing that a good buck could step out at any time, we went to “Handy Land”. “Handy Land” is a core area of our top hit list buck. This hunt occurred on the afternoon of Halloween and we’ve noticed a treat deer were seeking were persimmons. We knew where there was a great persimmons grove – right in the middle of Handy’s home range.
GRANT: If fruit trees don’t occur naturally where you hunt, do what the GrowingDeer Team does and establish tree plots – fruit and nut trees planted like a food plot in prime hunting locations.
GRANT: Not long into the set, we noticed a fawn in the food plot and it made a b-line right for the persimmon grove.
GRANT: Seeing fawns without a doe this time of year is a great indication more and more does are becoming receptive. When does become receptive, they often kick their fawns off and go to a separate portion of their home range.
GRANT: A few moments later, Matt heard something down the hill coming through the leaves.
GRANT: We saw two deer about 70 or 80 yards below the stand and we were hoping they’d also be seeking a treat on Halloween afternoon.
GRANT: As they came closer, it was obvious they were coming to the persimmons.
GRANT: Finally, the lead doe passed our stand and gave me a perfect quartering away shot.
GRANT: (Whispering) Matt, I am so thankful that she didn’t run too far. That’s a big treat to Matt and I. Thank you Matt. I wanted to wait until she got quartering away a little bit.
GRANT: The evening of Halloween and we got our treat. Course she only ran about 75 yards, which is great because it gets really steep right behind me. Shot location was perfect for that angle. And I noticed she looked a little thin coming in but once I got down here – and of course we’ll look closer once we get up to the garage – but, tumor or some kind of growth under her chin and messed up front foot. Probably some more, so, we’re gonna get her out of here and get her in some better light, check her out and start making some venison.
GRANT: Once we recovered this deer, it was obvious she’d seen better days. She had raised a fawn but was in very poor health. And I felt good about taking her out of the herd.
GRANT: I’m always pleased when a cameraman and a hunter can be in a stand and deer approach from multiple directions. You’re just getting away with something. This year, we’re treating our clothes with Dead Down Wind and storing them in Scent Crusher gear. This combination seems to be allowing us to get away with a tad bit more than we did before we used these tactics.
GRANT: A big part of success of this hunt was knowing the current preferred food source – persimmons here – maybe something different where you hunt. Get out and do a little scouting before you go hunting and make sure you’re hunting near that preferred food source.
GRANT: Even though Handy didn’t make an appearance, it was a great afternoon in the stand.
GRANT: A few mornings later, Daniel and I headed to a hidey hole food plot we call High Top. The magic to this plot is it’s a great source of food in the middle of a closed canopy forest with a bedding area on the east side.
GRANT: Earlier this year, we used a Genesis drill to plant this food plot. Getting the seed in the ground and down to what moisture is available is the key to why this food plot has success versus us broadcasting on top and most of the seeds desiccating before they germinated.
GRANT: We knew of several mature bucks in this area. Our Reconyx camera had picked up a buck we call “Swoops”, “Fast Tall Eight”, and a new buck we haven’t named. It was a beautiful morning in the Ozarks. Daniel and I watched a fog drift over the mountains as the sun started to break through.
GRANT: (Whispering) I’ve selected this hidey hole food plot because there’s a lot of deer across as it’s kinda where the spine of a ridge comes up on a couple of sides. We’re not necessarily hunting the food source, but a slowdown point in the middle of a travel corridor that’s in the middle of hundreds of acres of timbers. So, we’re just finding a bottleneck in the middle of contiguous timber.
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m doing quite a bit of grunting this morning. Hunting pretty aggressively because it’s the pre-rut; we know bucks are on their feet. We just need ‘em to get on their feet. You can tell it’s pretty brushy off to the side of this food plot – that goes down actually into a bedding area. So, this time of year we want to hunt close to bedding areas or sanctuary areas, ‘cause a lot of times receptive does will get in thick cover and bucks will troll that thick cover trying to find a receptive doe.
GRANT: Given the time of year and our proximity to a bedding area, I knew it was a perfect set up to use the Messenger grunt call.
GRANT: I thought I heard something in the leaves and finally saw a mature buck make his way into the plot.
GRANT: (Whispering) 39.
GRANT: (Whispering) See it here?
GRANT: (Whispering) Are you sure it’s the right deer?
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m gonna wait and see what happens in a little bit. You got the GoPros going?
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: I admit I was a little nervous as that buck started walking towards the edge of the timber and even disappeared behind some cedars.
GRANT: I ranged the buck at 39 yards but noticed he’s quartering to a little bit. That’s not a great shot for a bow hunter so I took a gamble and hope he’d present a better opportunity.
GRANT: (Whispering) Perfect. Perfect. Oh my. Whew. Whew. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
GRANT: (Whispering) Was it just me or did it look perfect?
DANIEL: (Whispering) Oh, it looked good. You looked good.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh my gosh. Hidey hole food plots.
GRANT: (Whispering) It’s been a really interesting fall – it’s warm. You can tell how foggy it is. November 4th, bucks cruising – mature bucks cruising right now. He took a few bites but he was just really pushing through.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Man you’re redlining bad.
GRANT: Well, I’m excited. I could jump off this tree right now. Super foggy, I mean this is scent control ‘cause I mean there’s just no breeze. You can tell the fog’s just hanging here and we’ve been – course clean our clothes with Dead Down Wind – we’re crushin’ ‘em ‘cause this is just a scent pocket right now. So anyway. Got over here a little lane we prepared. It’s always good to have a staging area lane. This is a small staging area food plot. But we’ve got a little lane and it worked out perfect – he come right in here about 25 yards. I split the gap between my 20 and 30 yard pin; tucked it behind the shoulder – schoo – sent the Bloodsport down range.
GRANT: (Whispering) But it’s not about the shot. I mean the shot was seconds, it’s – oh, I’m so emotional. This is a practice all summer and preparing this plot ‘cause we’re in a big area – several hundred acres, literally, of contiguous hardwoods. Tough to get a pattern, thick – yeah, I’ll have Daniel pan around – I mean just thick.
GRANT: And so this little hidey hole food plot, even though he wasn’t coming here to feed, it’s a staging area. He’s checking out other does or does might be feeding in here. It was a little bottleneck. ‘Cause if this was all timber, you can see how thick it is, we’d of never seen that deer if he’d a walked 40 yards away without preparing an opening. Just once again – just simple hand tools, real small area in the middle of timber – hidey hole food plots buddy.
GRANT: Ooo. I want to go trail right now but – and I think the shot was perfect. I haven’t even reviewed the footage yet. We’re gonna take a moment, play back the footage make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me – that I saw that green nock buried right behind the shoulder there. I’d grunted just a little bit earlier. Not sure if he responded to it but it was just, you gotta grunt this time of year. You gotta put all the odds in your favor.
GRANT: Look at this, oh here’s a color one. That’s ten yards, buddy. That’s ten yards from the Summits.
DANIEL: He’s just going around that –
GRANT: Oh, he’s eating those persimmons – he’s all over those persimmons. He’s ten yards all over those bad boys. The ole bucks were on their feet this morning – the mature bucks. Take my hunter hat off a second, put my research hat on. We don’t know exactly what triggers deer acti – deer activity but when they’re up, most of ‘em are up. And when they’re bedded, most of ‘em are bedded.
GRANT: At the same moment we’re here, Handy is ten yards from some Summits. I’m coming on buddy, just know it.
GRANT: I’ve got the arrow right here and it’s covered with blood. That’s always the first good sign. Well we’re – Blood Ring is drenched in light, frothy blood. White fletching all the way to the nock of course and course the Havoc deployed perfectly – it always does. Big ‘ole hole through that rascal so, we’re excited to take up trail. (Inaudible) It’s clean, totally covered in blood. Should work out good, let’s get in there and see.
GRANT: Oh yeah. Thank you. Oh yeah. Oh yeah, it’s good Daniel. One thing our team has really come to appreciate is the heavy amount of blood you get out of the Havoc. I mean it just, you know – gosh you see something like that you get pretty excited. Let’s go on up the trail; looks like he turned a little bit right here. Oh yeah, I see antlers sticking up from there.
GRANT: Once again, the Havoc produced an easy blood trail to follow; we found the buck about 65 yards in the timber.
GRANT: Check those tines out. Look at that shot, woo! Look at that chest; that belly – he’s got all these kickers back here. I didn’t even know he had these kickers back here. Obviously been rubbin’ – big ole bases. No doubt he’s a mature deer. Lung blood boiling out there; Havoc did its job.
GRANT: Well, Daniel and I made the recovery. It’s about a 65 yard trail – wasn’t much at all. And it’s a buck we call “Tall Eight”. Actually I have recent video of this buck using one of our Tink’s mock scrapes so, knew he was in the area. Just a beautiful deer; it’s a eight main points with three, probably, points off the back here. Got some cool kickers coming off the back – obviously mature. Big, huge chest, well developed shoulders.
GRANT: My objective for harvesting bucks here at The Proving Grounds is a buck that is four and a half years old or older. We’ve got some bigger deer on the property this year; I’m not upset at all. When this deer first walked out, I saw this big, long tine – that’s gosh, over ten inches – big sagging belly, really well developed shoulders, big chest, neck coming down way low on the brisket where it merged with the chest. And after that I wasn’t focused on antlers at all. I’m focused on when to make the shot. Once we got hands on, saw the kickers, kinda knew what was going on and mature, on our hit list, and going home.
GRANT: Which side we going on?
GRANT: We’re going this way?
GRANT: One advantage of filming the hunt is you can study the reaction of the deer when your emotions are in check long after you’ve taken care of business. That’s in fact what we always do. So, back in the office we replayed the hunt frame by frame.
GRANT: And what’s interesting is this deer actually reacted to the shot and dropped four to six inches while the arrow was just a few feet away from him. If I’d aimed in the center of the vitals, this deer probably would have dropped enough that I would have hit him in the spine or above the spine – not a good result. But, because I always aim for the bottom third of the vitals, I zipped him right through the middle of the vitals and it was a short trail.
GRANT: Placing stands close to bedding areas and using the grunt call has proven very effective for the GrowingDeer Team. You can bet we’ll continue this technique throughout the season.
DANIEL: Got inside after I caped him out and just looking to see what the Havoc has done. We see it went through both lungs and just destroyed the inside there. Went through right between two ribs on each side and the Havoc did its job.
GRANT: Like the rest of the GrowingDeer Team, Chase White’s been practicing with his Prime and hunting hard.
CHASE: (Whispering) Some of you may be wondering why I shot that coyote. It’s November 2nd, bucks are cruising. Why would I take a chance on scaring a big buck? Well, us hunters aren’t all about just the big buck. We’re about deer management and growing our deer and I may have just saved my next big booner buck. That coyote could have taken out the fawn that grew into a nice, mature buck.
CHASE: (Whispering) So, there ain’t no tellin’ how many fawns and how many turkey poults I just saved by taking out that coyote. Those occurrences are more rare than a big buck around here. Coyotes just don’t come cruising by and offer a 15 yard shot with a bow every day. We take our chances when we get ‘em.
GRANT: Chase has had multiple encounters with good bucks, but unfortunately, none of them had closed the distance.
GRANT: As November rolled around, Chase was eager to tag a buck. The next time he had a chance to hunt, rain kept him out of the woods. But as soon as the rain let up, he grabbed his Summit climber and made his way to the timber.
CHASE: (Whispering) November 3rd – unseasonably warm. We had a good rain this morning. As soon as the rain quit, we got in – a little bit late getting in but I think it’s gonna be a good morning. Deer ought to be moving. I’m sittin’ in a pinch in between two fields. Hopefully I can catch a good one cruising this morning.
CHASE: (Whispering) After a couple of different bucks – “Uno”, “Duke” – there’s several other good bucks on this farm but those are our top two. So, let’s stick it out and hopefully a good one cruises by.
GRANT: While Chase was getting set up, he thought he heard something. So he let out a couple of grunts with the Messenger call and waited to see what happened.
GRANT: Like many November hunts, it didn’t take long for the action to heat up. This buck heard the grunts and was coming to investigate.
GRANT: Oftentimes when bucks hear a grunt, they don’t charge all the way in. They approach and then slow down and try to find the other buck.
GRANT: Once this buck offered a shot, Chase didn’t hesitate.
CHASE: (Whispering) Holy cow. That was a – I did not know that buck. It was a giant too.
CHASE: (Whispering) Well, now that I got my composure about me; I just had a giant walk in. Big, wide, tall, browed buck. I had no idea who the buck was. It’s a bonus deer. This property’s on the river. There’s only 47 acres and he came cruising through. I don’t know if he was coming down. I just grunted two seconds before I saw him. Whew! I had just got settled in, just finished the interview.
CHASE: (Whispering) This is crazy, this is crazy. The bad thing is, I didn’t make a good shot – I hit him a little bit back. I heard him thrashing around over there so, I think he’s down. But I’m not sure. I’m gonna back out of here – come back four or five hours this afternoon and see if I can recover this deer. Stay tuned – hopefully there’s a big buck at the end of a blood trail.
CHASE: Right in over here? Or want to go down there?
SETH: Right here. (Inaudible)
CHASE: Alright well, I stuck a good one this morning. I hit him a little bit far back. It’s lunchtime now. I grabbed Seth, we’re gonna go down here and see if we can pick up the trail. We’re gonna slip through there nice and quiet just in case we catch him bedded. But, hopefully we caught some liver and we’re just gonna find him at the end of the trail. Let’s go see what we can find.
CHASE: Dude, he’s bleeding bad.
CHASE: He’s bleeding good.
SETH: Oh, look at that!
CHASE: Didn’t bleed like this, though.
CHASE: See all that blood right there? And he stumbled right there.
CHASE: I got blood right here.
SETH: See it?
SETH: (Inaudible) …look at that (Inaudible).
SETH: My, that’s a good sight right there, isn’t it?
CHASE: Oh, it is.
CHASE: Oh man, look at that deer.
CHASE: Dude, he’s been dead for a long time.
CHASE: Look at that deer, dude.
CHASE: Nice. Straight on dude.
CHASE: I liv- I must have got a little bit of liver that’s all I can say.
SETH: You got liver.
CHASE: He just flat out, ran out here and died.
SETH: Oh yeah, he was dead. That’s what a Havoc does. I bet that arrow’s in the field.
CHASE: I can see right through there where he ran now.
SETH: Been a long time coming for you to kill a good deer.
CHASE: It has been now. It has been a long time coming for sure. I don’t know what to say. It’s hard to find the words I – it’s been a while since I got to hold a good buck like this. I just got this 47 acre lease this year and you can kill big deer on small acreage if you hunt it right. And this is proof of it right here. I’m just blessed beyond belief. Excited to be sitting behind a buck of this caliber. And I can’t wait to do it again already. What a beautiful deer – look at these brows.
GRANT: Congratulations, Chase. Looks like the Messenger brought another buck in for the GrowingDeer Team.
CHASE: (Laughter) This ain’t funny. (Laughter)
SETH: Truck towed out. That’s going to be a $500 deer. (Laughter)
CHASE: Well, this, uh, wasn’t how I wanted to end my recovery of my deer but as you can tell, we’re stuck. Tow truck finally made it though.
GRANT: Sometimes you just gotta go for it. Check back next week to see if Matt can make a stalk on a bedded Kansas buck.
GRANT: Whether you’re chasing whitetails or already tagged out, go outside and enjoy Creation. But no matter where you are, take time each day, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
GRANT: (Inaudible) …grip (Inaudible) boy.
DANIEL: Two, three.
GRANT: Oh, come on. Golly, for an Ozark deer, that bad boy is heavy. Man.