Chasing A Hit List Buck | Trapping Tips (Episode 478 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

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GRANT: Last week one of our Reconyx cameras had some pictures of a hit list buck we call Ringer 8 using the Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans at the Prickly Pear plot.

GRANT: It wasn’t a great pattern as he showed up on January 3rd about 8:00 p.m. and again on January 6th at 2:00 a.m.

GRANT: During that time the temperatures had warmed up a bit and we weren’t surprised that he was using the beans at night.

GRANT: We had protected the beans from right after they were planted and throughout the summer by using a Hot Zone. This allowed them to produce as many beans as they could given the growing conditions.

GRANT: About a month ago, we opened a portion of the Hot Zone near some Summit stands we’d hunted from during past years.

GRANT: Ringer 8 has been very active in that portion of The Proving Grounds this year.

GRANT: Last year, during the late portion of the season, Ringer 8 moved to the northern portion of The Proving Grounds. We had several Reconyx videos and pictures of him on a portion we call Boomerang Ridge.

GRANT: We even had an encounter with him at the northern portion of The Proving Grounds in a plot called North Field.

GRANT: This year, we only had trail camera pictures and videos of Ringer 8 in the southern portion of The Proving Grounds. I wasn’t surprised because oftentimes as bucks mature, their home range shrinks.

GRANT: Knowing that Ringer 8 had been on the southern portion of The Proving Grounds this year and that recently he had been at Prickly Pear a couple of times, Daniel and Owen decided to hunt him when a cold front came through.

GRANT: Daniel hoped that the difference between the warmer temperatures and the cold front would encourage Ringer 8 to move during daylight hours.

GRANT: Daniel and Owen settled in and hoped Ringer 8 would show.

DANIEL: (Quietly) It’s January 9th and Owen and I are back at Prickly Pear. Prickly Pear has been pretty good to us this year. We’ve tagged a couple of does out of here already. Hoping to make something happen this afternoon.

DANIEL: (Quietly) The setup this afternoon is over a Hot Zone with standing Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans. There’s a lot of pods out here. We’ve got a cold snap here in just the past 24 hours. A few days ago it was in the 60s. Today it’s low 40s. This morning it was in the 30s. I think it’s just the ticket to get deer on their feet during shooting light coming into these beans.

DANIEL: (Quietly) They’ve been in ‘em, but it’s always been during the night because it’s been so warm. There’s a buck we call Ringer 8 in the area. I believe he’s an old buck that’s on the downhill, if not real close to the bottom.

DANIEL: (Quietly) He’s – I feel like he’s wearing out; he’s tired and his body is going to need high energy. And he’s looking for calories and these Eagle beans are just what he needs. So, I’ve got a good feeling.

DANIEL: (Quietly) I think he’s in the area; he’s holed up somewhere around here. His core area has been really small throughout the entire season, which is another characteristic of an old buck. And he’s been hanging around Prickly Pear plot. And I would be tickled to death if he walks out this afternoon and we could put a tag on him.

DANIEL: (Quietly) All the leaves are off the trees; there’s not a lot of cover out here up in the tree. So, during the late season, I always make sure I just paint up. I like to go ahead and dull up both sides of my hands so there’s nothing really white up here moving when I’m getting my bow and what-not.

DANIEL: (Quietly) I’m all painted up. I’m waiting for deer now.

GRANT: As shooting light faded, they hadn’t seen a single deer.

GRANT: Just as Daniel and Owen were getting ready to climb down, they heard something coming up the hill and Owen wisely turned on the camera to see if there was enough light to film.

GRANT: A dark figure stepped into the plot and headed toward the beans.

GRANT: It was Ringer 8.

GRANT: There was also another buck with Ringer 8 – a tall, narrow eight-pointer.

DANIEL: (Quietly) Well, I guess you can say the plan worked. We just didn’t have enough light. I guess that’s the way it goes, though, sometimes. That’s hunting and that’s what it’s all about. But just to have an encounter with ole Ringer 8 right as we’re packing up – man. There’s only one word and it is a thrill right there.

DANIEL: (Quietly) And even though it’s going to be a cold ride back on the Yamaha, I think I’m gonna stay pretty warm ‘cause I’m pretty pumped up after seeing ole Ringer 8 this afternoon.

GRANT: You may wonder how Daniel and Owen climbed down without alerting Ringer 8. As we often do, Daniel gave a coyote howl and Ringer 8 left the area.

GRANT: You’re probably saying, “Well, gosh, man. That coyote howl is gonna spook deer out of the area. They’re not gonna return.” But, actually, the tall, narrow eight-pointer that was with Ringer 8 walked in front of the camera a couple of hours later.

GRANT: I often receive the question, “What’s the best way to get out of a stand or a blind and not condition deer to associating that location with a hunter?” When convenient, I prefer to have someone come pick me up in a vehicle and let the noise of the vehicle approaching alert deer and let them react to that.

GRANT: When it’s not convenient for someone to pick me up, I do what Daniel did. I give a coyote howl and let the deer respond to that versus a hunter getting out of a stand or blind.

GRANT: Every year we trap throughout deer season. But when deer season ends, we get a little bit more intensive about our trapping efforts.

GRANT: We had been using the Duke box traps to catch raccoons and opossums – nest predators – primarily through deer season. And the reason is they’re super effective, obviously. We’ve caught a lot of critters. And it’s easy just to shut the door if we’re going to be intensely hunting for a couple of days and won’t have time to run traps.

GRANT: Now that deer season is almost over, we’re gonna step up our game just a bit.

GRANT: This time of year I put out several of the Duke dog proof traps. They’re called dog proof because a dog can’t get in here and trigger the trap.

GRANT: They’re not necessarily more effective than the box trap, but we’ve removed several coons and to catch some of the older ones, that may have been running with a buddy when they got in a trap, we like to change up our style.

GRANT: This time of year, after deer season, we’re a bit more intensive, which means we’ll run more traps. And I can put a couple dozen of these in a five-gallon bucket and take up much less room than a bunch of box traps.

GRANT: To use these traps, of course, I need bait. I use a can to put over the trap to keep rain or snow out of the trap; keep it from messing up the bait. And I simply use a cable to tie off to a tree which is much faster than staking to the ground.

GRANT: I’m going to take a bit of time and share exactly how I set up a dog proof trap.

GRANT: The first step is picking a great location. And scent is everything when attracting predators. So, in this case, I’ve got a small creek coming down the mountain – down so the thermal is gonna be going this way – and a road crossing. Predators are likely to be traveling either this creek bank or the road. So, great location. The likelihood of twice the traffic. One this way; one this way.

GRANT: Then I go to the micro site selection. And I want to be on the uphill side, so the mountain is coming down this way; the cold air is coming down the creek this way. So, I want to be on this corner, so my scent is going across both the creek and the road. If I was on the opposite corner, my scent would be going away from both travel corridors – the creek and the road – and I’d be less likely to attract a predator.

GRANT: Once I’ve refined my site selection, I need to see where I can anchor or tie off my trap. I’m going to use a cable and go to a sapling over here a few feet.

GRANT: I like cables ‘cause they’re super quick and easy and you don’t need much of a tree or sapling to hold a raccoon. If you can’t pull it out of the ground, a raccoon is not gonna pull it out of the ground.

GRANT: So, I’m going to unwind my cable; get both ends free here. We made these. You can simply buy some steel cable – not aluminum because predators may wear or kink aluminum and get off. We don’t want that happening.

GRANT: So, I’ve got steel cable. I’ve made moderate size loops on both ends and double crimped ‘em, so there’s no way they’ll come out.

GRANT: No way I can pull this one out. It would probably take a bear to pull it out, so I think we’re safe here. I’m just getting below those crooks. And the great thing about this is all I have to do is run it through one loop from the other and pull it tight just so the coon can’t pull the cable too far up the tree. There’s no way he’s going anywhere with where I’ve got it placed now.

GRANT: If, for whatever reason, my cable is not long enough – it’s a long ways from where I want the trap to be to an anchor – I can simply take another cable, run it through the loop and extend the length.

GRANT: Another point to remember is these cables are extremely durable. I’ve had these for many, many years. Super lightweight; easy to pack; much lighter than a bunch of rebar stakes.

GRANT: You want your trap located in an area where it can be upright. Coons are curious and the trap is designed to work best when it’s upright and they reach inside.

GRANT: Once I know my cable will reach where I have the trap, I have a little D ring with a screw on the end of my trap and I simply can put that around the cable and make sure you fasten it tight. Once it’s tight, it’s not going anywhere.

GRANT: With raccoons, you don’t need to cover it up. If I was coyote trapping and fastening a coyote trap like this, I would take leaves, dirt, whatever, and cover the cable a few feet away from the trap. But with raccoons, that’s not necessary.

GRANT: With a dog proof trap, I bait it and get it all right before I set the trigger. The raccoon reaches inside to remove food and trips the trigger.

GRANT: The trigger is steel and can be really cold on these winter days and that can get a little trap rejection. Rejection of the animal setting off the trap. So, I take either a marshmallow or a candied orange slice and cover the trigger. That way, they never feel the cold steel.

GRANT: When it’s warmer, I use marshmallows. But when it’s cold, I prefer the candied oranges. It seems they have a stronger scent and when it’s cold I need a strong scent to call in the predator.

GRANT: The trigger is not set, so I safely just take this candied orange – I ate some on the trap line to tell you the truth – and put it on the trigger. Just squish it down on there and make sure it’s all the way on it so the trigger easily works back and forth. Like this.

GRANT: Once you’ve done that, the raccoon is not gonna feel the trigger and it’s gonna be more attracted to the trap.

GRANT: I raise the trigger once I have it covered and use some dry cat food to put in the trap.

GRANT: When it’s really cold outside, raccoons are really attracted to meat. So, when it’s warmer, they seem to be attracted to sweets more. But right now, I’ve got a cat food – a really inexpensive brand. Inexpensive brands seem to have more odor to them and that’s exactly what I want when I’m trying to attract a predator.

GRANT: Once I’ve got it filled up, it’s now a good time to go ahead and set the trap. I’m going to push my trigger back down to the bottom through the bait I just put in there and then lay it on a level place. You don’t want it rocking back and forth.

GRANT: When my fingers are cold, I don’t like squeezing that spring all the way. So, I use a screwdriver just as a little leverage. Stick it under here and set the trap.

GRANT: And I just squeeze it down. In this case the gravel is kind of slick, so I’m going to put it on my glove to give it a little traction. But once you break over the halfway point, it’s really easy to hold it. Make sure you’ve got the trigger set good. And it’s set and ready to go.

GRANT: Now, I don’t like to set a hair trigger. If it’s a hair trigger and a coon starts bumping on the edge of this thing, it might fire before the coon is committed. I want a really solid trigger to make sure the predator is really committed before the trap fires.

GRANT: Once I’ve got it all set, I’m going to be right here at the intersection where my scent is going down – especially at night when the thermals are active. Take my can; cover it up; and I’m ready to move to the next trap site.

GRANT: You may be wondering why the trap is painted a bright white. There’s two reasons. The primary reason is I use a quality paint that serves to limit rust. Year to year, if you don’t paint the traps, they’ll start rusting and reduce the strength of their spring.

GRANT: We clean our traps after every trapping season and then paint them and store them until the next year.

GRANT: But a secondary reason is that raccoons are very curious. And the white trap may be a visual attraction. If you’re using the paint as a visual attraction, it’s necessary to paint the can that’s covering the trap.

GRANT: Using the box and dog proof trap gives me ample tools to set up for any situation.

GRANT: I’m already starting to think about the hog hunts and turkey hunts I have planned for this spring. And I do habitat management year-round. If you’d like to see our techniques, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.

GRANT: Even though it’s cold in most parts of the whitetails’ range, the days are getting longer, which gives us a bit more time during daylight hours to get outside and enjoy Creation.

GRANT: But it’s important every day to take time to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.