This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: This week, I’ll share a couple of hunts from the Crabapple food plot.
GRANT: These hunts resulted in lots of fresh venison and a great set of antlers.
GRANT: Lots of venison down. Buck tag punched; doe tag punched. I got a couple more doe tags. Can you tell I’m happy? ‘Cause I’m happy, folks.
GRANT: I’ll also share the plan that made Crabapple a great hunting location.
GRANT: You know, just a lot of things went into this hunt. It just didn’t happen at once.
GRANT: Crabapple is an eight-acre food plot here at The Proving Grounds that serves as a feeding destination for deer. There are also many terrain features around Crabapple that make it a great travel corridor for bucks during the rut.
GRANT: As part of our plan, last spring we planted Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans in Crabapple. The beans grew great and provided lots of quality forage.
GRANT: During the late summer, Tyler used a Genesis drill to plant Eagle’s Fall Buffalo Blend into the standing beans.
GRANT: Even after drilling through the beans, about half of them stood back up and made a great yield of pods. This created a great attraction and a very nutritious food source for deer, lush green forage growing under standing pods.
GRANT: During warm days, deer tend to feed on the green forage, but when it’s colder, they prefer those energy-rich soybean pods.
GRANT: We’ve had many great hunts at Crabapple throughout the years.
GRANT: Because it is such a great hunting location, I didn’t wish to limit our opportunities to one wind direction.
GRANT: There’s a Redneck at the south end of the plot, which is great for when there’s a north wind. As we learned how many deer were using this plot, we decided to add a second Redneck blind. We placed it in the northeast corner so we could hunt during the south and west wind.
GRANT: That turned out to be a good strategy as my oldest daughter, Raleigh, was hunting from that blind two seasons ago and tagged a nice buck and a doe opening morning.
GRANT: This year, Raleigh was able to return from college and hunt during the second morning of Missouri’s firearms season.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Well, it’s Sunday on the opening weekend of gun season, and I got the chance to come home. I haven’t been able to hunt a lot this semester so I’m really hoping something comes out this morning. It’s not super cold but that means it’s a little more pleasant in the blind, but we’ll see what starts moving today.
GRANT: The conditions were right for Raleigh and Daniel to return to that same blind in the northeast corner of Crabapple plot.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) There’s another one behind her. Okay, ready?
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: My family and I had been using Deer Season XP ammo for several seasons, and we know how accurate it is. So Raleigh and Daniel were confident that trail job would be very short.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) So, we’ve been out here since before sunrise. We saw some deer moving early, and then the sky just lit up bright pink and it was gorgeous. And then we looked over and two does stepped out. I’m not here for super long and I only have two doe tags, so I put my sights on one and pulled the trigger.
RALEIGH: It got super quiet after we shot that doe, so we decided to climb down, now we’re going to try to recover it.
RALEIGH: She’s got a pretty good trail. There’s a lot of blood. Well, not like a huge amount, but it’s a really easy trail to follow. So. Surely, she really couldn’t have gone too far.
RALEIGH: So, we’re going to load her up, take her back, need to get her processed and put some meat in the freezer for Miss Tracy, aka my mother, to cook a little later.
GRANT: After hearing about Raleigh’s hunt and the does feeding on the beans, I decided that’d be a great location as a buck might be cruising through looking for a receptive doe or to grab a bite of beans.
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GRANT: (Quietly) It is the third morning of Missouri’s firearms season, and I’ve had a good season so far. I’ve tagged several does, but I haven’t seen a buck I wanted to tag. I’m excited about this morning. Any buck on the property could step out in this plot because it’s kind of centrally located.
GRANT: (Quietly) Got a southwest wind this morning which is coming this way. We’ve got a Hot Zone fence right here. It’s still up, full of bean pods. We’re saving that for bow hunting, the late season, but our scent, if we have any coming out of here, is going over the fence and then down to the plot. So, it’s just a perfect morning to spend some time in the Crabapple food plot.
GRANT: Light was just breaking over the mountain when we saw a set of antlers.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, I see ‘em, I see ‘em, I see ‘em.
GRANT: The buck was doing exactly what we anticipated. He was cruising the area looking for receptive does and working a lower elevation while the thermals were falling off the mountain. That’s a very effective way for bucks to cover a lot of area using their nose to pick up the scent of a receptive doe.
GRANT: This hunt was off to a great start.
GRANT: As the sun came over the mountain, it brought light and warmth to the valley.
GRANT: (Whispering) I was hoping they’d come feed after the sun started melting the frost off.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
CLAY: (Whispering) See that a buck?
CLAY: (Whispering) It’s that same buck from earlier.
GRANT: (Whispering) It’s which one?
CLAY: (Whispering) It’s the same one from earlier.
GRANT: (Whispering) It’s a nice deer. I might give him a pass. It’s a very nice deer.
GRANT: (Whispering) When I laid out this plot many, many years ago it wasn’t just, “Boy, there’s a place to put a food plot.” But there’s a ditch or a ravine coming through it which is the travel corridor. There’s ruts and scrapes and then another valley comes in right where we’ve seen a couple of bucks go over there and another creek over here. So, just lots of reasons for deer to be traveling through here in addition to the food source.
GRANT: (Whispering) When you’re laying out food plots don’t just find a piece of land and do it but think about why deer want to be there and how you can approach, hunt, and exit. Think about why you’re hunting there; how deer are gonna approach that area.
GRANT: Clay and I enjoyed the morning but didn’t see any more deer.
GRANT: Based on our observations, it seemed that bucks were cruising the area looking for receptive does. The forecast called for a southwest wind again that afternoon, so Clay and I decided to return to the same blind.
GRANT: (Whispering) It is the third afternoon of Missouri’s firearms season. We’re just getting set up. Right behind Clay, right behind the camera, about 100 yards is a four-pointer right now so we’re hoping there’ll be some good deer movement and one of the bucks I’m looking for will come by this afternoon.
GRANT: A small front passed bringing a shower, and Clay and I were happy we were dry in the Redneck blind. I was probably happier thinking that right after that shower, there’d be a lot of deer activity.
GRANT: It wasn’t long until we spotted a doe in the south end of the plot.
CLAY: (Whispering) There’s a doe right there.
GRANT: (Whispering) Ah huh.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah, that’s a doe.
GRANT: (Whispering) Anything behind them?
CLAY: (Whispering) Nah. She looked like she was breathing pretty good.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh goodness, there’s going to be something behind her. She’s running.
GRANT: This does behavior and posture indicated there was a buck nearby, probably in the timber just up the mountain.
GRANT: (Whispering) Did she go back in the timber?
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah, yeah, she did. Just be watching in the trees.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, I’m looking. I’m looking. You be looking.
GRANT: After a while, I decided to use my Messenger grunt call.
GRANT: If a buck was on the mountain, he would hear the Messenger, which makes the sound of an immature buck tending a doe, and that sound might be just the ticket to pull that buck off the mountain and out into the open.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, there’s a deer (Inaudible); big buck coming. There’s a buck in front of us. A buck behind a doe.
CLAY: (Whispering) He just went in the trees.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s going to come out over here.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
CLAY: (Whispering) Here he comes through the ditch.
GRANT: (Whispering) Do you see him?
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s in the ditch?
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah, he’s just standing there. Just wait. He’s gonna come. Okay, just look straight up the ditch.
GRANT: (Whispering) On which side is he going to come out?
CLAY: (Whispering) On the left side in the corner. He’s stepping out.
GRANT: (Whispering) I don’t see him.
CLAY: (Whispering) He’s standing there. He’s getting ready to come out in that corner. There he is.
GRANT: (Whispering) I see him.
GRANT: (Whispering) Let’s let him stop.
CLAY: (Whispering) Tell me before you shoot.
GRANT: (Whispering) Okay.
CLAY: (Whispering) Now, wait. You’re going to have to wait until he gets past (Inaudible).
CLAY: (Whispering) Okay, whenever you’re ready.
CLAY: (Whispering) Good shot. Buck down. He went down right there.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, hold on. Let’s get this doe. Let’s get this doe up here.
CLAY: (Whispering) Where is she at? Where’s she at?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. You ready?
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah, yeah.
CLAY: How about that?
GRANT: That’s venison right there. Man. It’s a twofer.
CLAY: How about that?
GRANT: Twofer Monday.
GRANT: Man, we had action in here this morning and better action this afternoon. We seen a doe come out way down there and a yearling buck come out earlier and then been a little bit, real calm, a little light rain, really light rain passed through.
GRANT: And then we both heard something in the leaves, and we couldn’t tell exactly where, thought we heard it grunt. Looking, looking, because there’s a lot of edge around here. We thought it was up here and then, finally, a doe steps out up here in the corner and a buck behind her, a good buck, big-shouldered buck, good buck, super proud. And I’m putting my hearing on because it’s important to me to protect my hearing and he’s coming down. I thought he was going to come on down and work the scrape; and he cuts in. Can’t see him. I’m confident he’s going to come out here, so I move the FieldPod over here. Cuts through the ditch, gets behind some sycamores; Clay is like, “No, no, no.” Well, I got several yards on either side. I’ll be able to make it work and he gets on down there in the beans, slows down just a little bit. Able to make a good shot, start celebrating.
GRANT: And then I realize, I got more doe tags. The doe he was after was up here. Easy to identify when there’s a good buck after her. So, she’s feeding on some beans up here, took a step or two, got squared away. Another one down. Lots of venison down. Buck tag punched; doe tag punched. I got a couple more doe tags.
GRANT: Can you tell I’m happy? ‘Cause I’m happy, folks. Man, I think we need to get down and look at that buck before it gets dark.
CLAY: Get some hands-on.
GRANT: Hands-on, man. I may jump across that ditch right now.
GRANT: I’ve got to tell you, man, I love deer hunting. I mean, I just love it and Clay will tell you I still get excited about it. I’m pumped, Clay.
CLAY: I am too, Grant. That is awesome. That is awesome.
GRANT: That’s a good hunt there.
CLAY: That’s a really fun hunt.
GRANT: As we were gathering up our gear and getting ready to go look at the buck, we heard a shot up on Cave Ridge, and that’s where Daniel was hunting.
DANIEL: Daniel is normally extremely calm, and I’ve heard him hollering hollers of joy so we’re gonna head on up there and help them and return to this buck. Can’t wait to see what Daniel took down.
GRANT: After sharing all the excitement of hearing about Daniel’s hunt and checking out the bruiser he tagged, we all came back down the mountain to check out the buck I’d shot.
DANIEL: Oh, yeah, Grant. Shine him, Clay. Oh, yeah, Grant. Yes.
GRANT: A nine, big nine.
DANIEL: Yeah, that is a great deer.
CLAY: Oh, yeah.
GRANT: Look at that big forehead on there.
DANIEL: Oh, yeah.
GRANT: Man, yeah.
DANIEL: That is a cool deer, Grant. Awesome.
GRANT: Man, yeah. I saw this big, old shoulder like you were talking about, stepped out up there, knew it was go time.
GRANT: This is what hunting is all about, enjoying the excitement and memories with friends. Enjoying all the work and strategy that went into creating good hunting locations and, of course, all the venison that will provide many meals for the GrowingDeer Team this winter.
GRANT: Made it work. We kind of started celebrating a little bit, to be honest, and then I thought – I got a doe tag.
CLAY: He’s like, “Where’d that doe go?”
GRANT: Swung through the window. You know, went to a different window in the Redneck.
GRANT: And she was there feeding, and that was a bad thing, man.
DANIEL: Last meal.
GRANT: Just an incredible afternoon.
DANIEL: That’s awesome.
GRANT: You can smell him a little bit.
CLAY: Oh, yeah.
GRANT: And you can feel his backbone. He’s been running. You know, here we are getting pretty late in November.
GRANT: They’ve been running but…
DANIEL: He lost weight.
GRANT: He’s lost weight, but he’s still solid. Man, that was fun.
DANIEL: Oh, I bet.
GRANT: And I got a bow tag still, so I get to go. You’re out buddy. You’re on doe patrol. When gun season is over, I get to go back out there and climb trees with my bow.
DANIEL: Out in the cold.
GRANT: Out in the cold.
DANIEL: The late season.
GRANT: The late season.
GRANT: You know I actually like the late season for one reason. We have really good habitat. Our doe fawns are 65, 70 pounds; they’re going to become receptive before the season is over.
GRANT: And unlike mature does they’re a little more cagey. They just pour in the food plots and draw all these mature bucks in there. The late season could be awesome hunting.
GRANT: Oh, well, thank you. Thank you. Thanks to everybody for helping.
GRANT: Because just think now, Tyler planted these fields, and over a decade ago, I laid it out. And we all worked to assemble the Redneck blind and just a lot of things went into this hunt. It just didn’t happen at once.
GRANT: The hunts from Crabapple have several good lessons that can be applied to where you hunt.
GRANT: First, being prepared with multiple blind or stand locations in an area you think there’ll be lots of deer activity allows you to hunt during multiple wind directions.
GRANT: Second, creating a food source that has a diversity of species such as Eagle Seed Soybeans and Fall Buffalo Blend not only provides great nutrition for deer, but it’s also an outstanding hunting location.
GRANT: Third, once again, the Messenger grunt call played a big role in my success. I used it to imitate the sound of an immature buck tending a receptive doe and that appears to be what pulled the buck out of the timber.
GRANT: Missouri’s deer firearms season has closed, and that means it’s time to get our bows back out and start setting traps. This time of year it’s important for us to work on balancing the number of predators with the amount of prey at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: We’ve been seeing a lot of coyotes in the Reconyx videos, and we certainly need to reduce that population.
GRANT: Toward that goal, we just set several Duke traps.
GRANT: Every year I receive a lot of questions asking which model trap we’re using. This year I’m using Duke’s new Pro Series 550 trap.
GRANT: Duke is offering GrowingDeer viewers a special on this trap and if you plan to trap some coyotes or got some buddies that are trapping coyotes, simply reach out to Duke and tell them you’re a GrowingDeer viewer.
GRANT: Next week, we’ll share a hunt from GrowingDeer Pro Staffer, Jeff Therrell, as he tags another dandy buck on his nine acres in Kansas.
GRANT: And of course, we’ll be sharing tips and techniques about trapping throughout the season.
GRANT: If you know someone that would benefit from the hunting techniques and strategies we share, please encourage them to subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.
GRANT: Whether you have plenty of venison in the freezer or you’re still out hunting, remember to take time and enjoy Creation. But, most importantly, make time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.