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>>GRANT: Team member Bradley Lueckenhoff hunts about an hour west of The Proving Grounds.
>>GRANT: You may remember that last year Bradley tagged a nice buck he called Sky High with his Winchester.
>>GRANT: During that hunt Bradley’s stand was about 100 yards away from a hidey hole food plot. He chose that location so he could see the food plot and deer feeding or skirting around the edge of the plot.
>>GRANT: Food plots can be an attractive food source or a bottleneck, in both situations helping hunters pattern deer.
>>GRANT: It was early in the morning when Bradley spotted a doe.
>>GRANT: Sky High was not far behind.
>>GRANT: It may not seem like it, but I believe that hunt was a great illustration of how to effectively hunt hidey hole food plots.
>>GRANT: The property where Bradley gets to hunt is primarily high-graded hardwoods and fescue pastures. There’s not a lot of quality forage. So, by putting some quality forage in those hardwoods, it’s a great attraction for deer.
>>GRANT: Using hidey holes is a technique that Bradley and Danny have used very effectively through the years.
>>GRANT: They have a very simple, fast, and effective technique for establishing these hidey hole food plots. They look for an existing opening in the timber, maybe where some trees died or something. Use herbicide to terminate the existing vegetation and then carefully use prescribed fire to remove that vegetation and create a good seedbed. And then just before a rain, broadcast some seed.
>>GRANT: It’s obvious that deer feel safe entering these hidey hole food plots because they’re so close to cover.
>>GRANT: This past summer Bradley and Danny established three hidey hole food plots using Green Cover’s Fall Release Blend™.
>>GRANT: Checking the Reconyx, a lot of deer have been using these hidey hole food plots, including some nice bucks.
>>GRANT: During the morning of October 25th, Bradley hunted a hidey hole food plot they call Lookout Plot. The Lookout Plot is on a small ridge and at that plot last year Bradley had a great encounter with a buck he called Big Mac.
>>GRANT: Unfortunately, Big Mac came in head-on and never offered Bradley a good shot.
>>BRADLEY: [Quietly] I was able to sneak away this morning. We’re gonna hunt over a hidey hole food plot. There’s a logging road that runs behind me and runs right into this, and this plot sits right on top of a ridge. There’s been a lot of deer hitting it – a couple hit list bucks.
>>GRANT: It’d been an enjoyable morning, but by 9:30 Bradley hadn’t seen a deer, so he decided to climb down and go do some work.
>>BRADLEY: [Quietly] We’re gonna get a couple things done so that we can come back tonight and hang a stand up here.
>>GRANT: What Bradley learned later after checking a trail camera is a good buck walked through that plot about 30 minutes after he left.
>>GRANT: Bradley thinks this was a bonus buck – a buck that didn’t normally run through that area – because the only other picture Bradley had of that deer was on October 22nd.
>>GRANT: One of the other three plots they established was about 600 yards away.
>>GRANT: Several weeks ago, they had placed a Redneck blind on the north end of that plot. But more recently it seemed the majority of deer activity was occurring on the south end of the plot.
>>GRANT: That afternoon the wind was forecast to be out of the northeast, so Bradley decided to go in midday, hang a stand for the southern side, and return and hunt that afternoon.
>>GRANT: Bradley was able to park on the south side of that timber, walk up an old logging road, and make a perfect entrance to that stand.
>>BRADLEY: Well, it is October 25th. We’ve made it back into a stand tonight, overlooking a small food plot that we planted earlier this summer. It’s just a fence row where they’ve cleared on both sides. It kind of opens a canopy. I feel that it’s a great spot to have a plot.
>>BRADLEY: Unfortunately, we don’t have big equipment or anything like this. We kind of take what we can get. This was pretty easy just to spray it, burn it, and then broadcast seed right before a rain. The deer have been absolutely hammering it. It’s not very tall, but they’re coming in pretty consistently in the evenings, so.
>>BRADLEY: We’ve got a northeast wind, which is absolutely perfect for this stand, and these deer have been coming into this corner. So, anywhere from a 20- to 30-yard shot if they come in. If they come in – if they come right here, it says it’s about a 20-yard shot; right here’s about 30, and then if you have to shoot over this limb, you’re gonna be a 40. So, hopefully they walk right here.
>> ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Green Cover Food Plots, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Thlete Outdoor Apparel, Morrell Targets, RTP Outdoors, Fourth Arrow, HuntStand, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Burris Optics, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.
>>GRANT: It had been a quiet afternoon, but as the light started fading, Bradley spotted movement.
>>GRANT: As Bradley was filming the bobcat, he heard something coming down the other side of the hill.
>>GRANT: These deer seemed a bit on edge.
>>GRANT: Then Bradley learned why. The bonus buck – the buck that had walked through the plot 30 minutes after he left – was behind the does.
>>GRANT: He worked a scrape on the edge of the plot and put on a show.
>>GRANT: As the buck started working through the plot and went behind a couple of trees, he was grabbing some bites of the Fall Release.
>>GRANT: Finally, that buck was at 20 yards, and Bradley prepared for the shot.
>>GRANT: Bradley was pretty sure he heard the buck crash not too far up the hill.
>>BRADLEY: [Quietly] Oh! This is the first day that I’ve hunted this year. Hunted this morning. I didn’t see anything. Came in. Danny and I have been talking a lot about this corner down here – this food plot. It’s just a big, long, strip food plot. Came in, hung a stand tonight. I mean literally hung it three hours ago.
>>BRADLEY: [Quietly] I think I heard him crash. I felt good about the shot. You know, I don’t know how far in it got. I don’t know if I hit shoulder. Oh, but I’m gonna rewatch the footage, call Danny, probably call Alex, my wife’s brother, to come out, film recovery, and enjoy the rest of the evening – if I can stop shaking.
>>GRANT: Bradley called his brother-in-law to help him pick up the trail.
>>BRADLEY: There’s not a lot of blood, wish that shot was a little higher. So, it may take a little bit.
>>BRADLEY: Dude, he’s right there. He is right there!
>>BRADLEY: What in the world? He didn’t run 50 yards.
>>BRADLEY: Oh my gosh, dude! Man, that is awesome. I couldn’t be happier. And he didn’t run 50 yards. We’re gonna get him loaded up, go drag him out, and then get some photos and maybe get a little better look at him.
>>BRADLEY: Well, we got him drug out. We’re back to the plot. This is a deer we have no idea who he is. We’ve never had a picture of him or anything, just a bonus buck that showed up, and I couldn’t be happier. Definitely mature. He’s got some good mass, good character, has a split G2. And then on this other side he’s got a nub that kind of was a start – started to be a drop. But I just – I couldn’t be happier to put a mature deer down and put some more meat in the freezer.
>>GRANT: Congratulations, Bradley, on a great strategy that resulted in both big antlers and venison. And it’s important to share that that strategy started late last summer when Bradley was preparing those hidey hole food plots.
>>GRANT: The hidey hole food plot was the perfect attraction to bring the does in for them to get a quick bite, and the buck obviously followed and took a few bites also.
>>GRANT: For those of us from Maine all the way down through Virginia and the Carolinas and wrapping around Alabama and Mississippi into Eastern Texas – those of us that hunt primarily timber country – you know how difficult it can be to pattern bucks versus in ag country. But don’t overlook the power of a hidey hole food plot. That small, attractive food source in the middle of a big block of timber can be just the ticket to pattern deer or create a bottleneck so you know where deer are moving.
>>GRANT: In fact, Danny went back and hunted the Lookout Plot and saw a good buck. He’s gonna move a stand – try to ease on over in that travel corridor – and I bet it won’t be long until Danny’s got some venison and big antlers of his own.
>>GRANT: There should be some really good quality hunting during the next couple of weeks throughout much of the whitetails’ range. More and more does are becoming receptive each day as we build up to that peak of the rut. And bucks are gonna be traveling more during daylight hours. Great hunting locations should be between food and cover or hidden food sources like that, where cruising bucks can stop and get a bite or where they’re seeking, looking for receptive does.
>>GRANT: We’ll be sharing our hunting strategies and observations daily on our social media channels, as we work our way to the peak of the rut. Hope you’ll tune in and check out our strategies.
>>GRANT: You can probably tell it’s raining slightly today, but I wanted to get this filmed so I could go hop in a stand myself.
>>GRANT: You know, a light rain is a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But no matter what’s happening every day, I hope you’ll take time to be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life.
>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.