This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Hey. It’s Sunday afternoon, August 21st, just wrapping up a great weekend here at The Proving Grounds. We had our annual field event. We had folks come, literally, from New York, Florida, Texas, and most states in between, here to talk about all things deer – shooting bows, shooting guns, scouting, food plots, sanctuaries. Hey, come along and let’s have a little recap of field event 2011.
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GRANT: Friday afternoon at our field event, people flying in, driving in from all over, but we got ‘em entertained, as soon as they get to The Proving Grounds, with a 3D archery range, but plus – just a 3D archery range, we had a Redneck blind setup, that Predator 360 with the big archery window. So they can shoot from an elevated position at different targets to really practice that real life bow hunting situation. Nothing like peer pressure and being in an elevated position to replicate what you need to know when old Granddaddy comes walking by your treestand this fall. That was a great event.
GRANT: Down in the bottom, in a safe area, we had a .22 shoot going on. Now, what was really cool about that, most guys just practice with a single crosshair, and they got a Kentucky wind, at different differences, and almost everyone shot 100 percent because of that BDC scope. The crosshairs for different yardages and you just point it, put the right crosshair on it, and shoot.
GRANT: Man, it was a lot of fun, but hidden in there, like I like to do, was an educational experience. This kind of practice, without recoil, and not much noise, is tremendous practice for shooting longer ranges at a whitetail later on this year.
GRANT: After four or five hours of shooting different targets and different weapons, everybody’s hungry. No problem because we’re headed downtown to a big buffet meal, private room. Everyone got a prize, everybody’s happy. But I sent ‘em home early, cause the next morning we’re doing all things deer out in the woods.
GRANT: Right off the bat, before everyone gets really sweaty, because it’s a hot day, we take that group photo – it’s traditional with these kind of events. We get everybody around – gathered up – everybody smiling and click, click. But I’m pushing the crowd to get off, cause I don’t care about photos. I’m all about getting in the field and learning. So we get that photo done, we’re off to our first stop.
GRANT: First stop is a classic example of what worked and what didn’t work in the drought conditions we experienced here at The Proving Grounds this year. This is a failed corn field. We, this, was – should’ve been corn this year. And in, in – here at our world, we went from cold and wet – very cold and wet – to hot and dry in four days, literally. I had corn on one side of the road. I planted it. Wireworms consumed most of it, and when I recognize that, while the corn is still small, I ran over it with a no-till drill, planting beans, because I have such limited food plot acreage at The Proving Grounds. I need every acre to be productive.
GRANT: Ten feet across an interior private road is a six year old clover field that’s been very productive. Same range, same fertilizer, but the drought causes clover to pull down all its nutrients in the root system, hanging on to survive. That’s what a perennial does. It survives. Clover’s a perennial plant, and its defense mechanism is, “Man, I see tough times coming. I’m gonna pull everything down in the root system, survive this drought. When I start feeling good again, I’m gonna jump back up.” A bean is an annual. It says, “I got to do it, or die. I’m gonna give it everything I got, no matter what happens. I’m giving it everything I got.” And that’s the difference, and I mean, here’s the line. I got a weed patch. There’s room for both of ‘em on a property, but if I’d a had all my acres in perennial, my deer would’ve been very hungry this year. Clover certainly has a spot, but never 100% of your food plots in clover.
GRANT: The next stop is right down the mountain. And it’s an 11 acre area that was covered with cedars when Tracy and I purchased the property. We went in by hand – physically chainsawed, cut down those cedar trees – let ‘em get good and dry, ran a fire through it, and a tremendous response to the native vegetation. When we cut those cedar trees down, that serves as a thousand utilization cages all across the hillside. The deer eat the easy stuff, without wading in that cedar top. These native plants mature in that cedar top, disperse seed, and continue replenishing the area. That’s so much better than dozing those all up in one area and burning, and all the nutrients from the trees, and all the seed source being in one place. Fell your unwanted trees where they are – burn it – let the native vegetation come back, and you’ll have much better natural resources for your wildlife. The bell went off with everyone on the tour.
GRANT: For years, I’ve used utilization cages as a tremendous tool. This was extremely important this year, because I wanted to make sure it was just the drought, or was it my fertilizer, or what’s going on – why my beans weren’t very tall. And this utilization cage showed us exactly what’s going on. You know beans two/three feet tall inside the cage, ankle tall outside the cage, clearly indicated browse pressure. Now, do I need to harvest more deer, or plant more acres? That answer’s as simple as having utilization cages across your property, and all our attendees got that message loud and clear.
GRANT: Not all food plots across America are big enough for a big tractor and a no-till drill. Matter of fact, some of my favorite hunting spots are the smaller food plots. And that’s where the Firminator comes in. I asked a friend of mine to come demonstrate his equipment, so I could check it out, and everyone on the tour could make their own evaluation. It was just that simple. Tom James come over with a Firminator and his own tractor and went to one of my little hidey hole food plots and showed us how he would set it up to plant that plot. And I got a tell you, everyone was captivated and amazed – even me – on the rough, rocky soil here at The Proving Grounds, hav-how it places seed, and how easy it was to turn and maneuver in that very small hidey hole style food plot. It was a great lesson for all of us. We enjoyed it, and hey, I got a food plot planted for free. That was a great deal for me.
GRANT: Any other questions, while we’re right here, and it’s fresh in your mind? If not, we’re gonna go talk about trapping a little bit.
KID: Trapping what?
GRANT: Matt Dye is our intern this fall, from Virginia. And, and Matt is getting 12 hours of college credit on a very difficult course. Uh, he has to kill a lot of coons to pass. Of course, coons are the number one turkey predator, they bust up nests, they eat the eggs, they also would kill the hen on the nest. But they, if they stop your reproduction, your turkey population dwindles and dwindles.
GRANT: Most of us, we raise our hand – grew up quail hunting, squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting, whatever – we did not grow up deer hunting. Deer hunting, to a young kid, can be boring. My kids run a trapline a lot. You see it on the videos. Man, we’re driving around, we’re eating candy bars, we’re catching coons, we’re having fun, and it’s a lot better way to introduce them, I think. And, and a really good trapper is almost always a experienced hunter, because when you trap, you learn to read sign really well.
GRANT: By the time you buy the steel and the gas you’re – you’re – there’s no way to make money. You’re losing money. So it’s up to sportsmen to remove predators. And I love coyote calling. Next week, I’m going on a – a four day long calling trip with FoxPro calls. Man, that’s fun, that’s great, but you’re never gonna kill enough critters calling. You gotta trap to reduce population, so I want to introduce you.
GRANT: This is a real trap site. I’ve caught – I’ve shot many coons out of that tree. Many coons out tree, and at night, you catch most of your critters at night. I want my trap where the scent, the food, the, the hormone – whatever I’m using – as an attractant. At nighttime, I know the air is going downhill towards that creek, so the air is coming from my trap, across the road. Trap placement is not as important as where the scent stream is going when the predators are moving. They’ll find the trap. This is called a dog proof trap. Bass Pro just started selling these, because Bass Pro’s recognized predators being a problem. They’re selling Duke dog proof traps. They’re reasonably priced.
GRANT: So, we demonstrated a couple of different trap types, trap placement, and some additional tips and techniques I’ve learned over the year to make each trap night more likely to result in a coon in the trap. Landowners love that, because I got to tell you – as fur prices decrease, the amount of people trapping decreases – it’s up to hunters and sportsmen, in general, to manage that predator population. And if we don’t manage it, the predators will certainly manage the prey population for us.
GRANT: You know most land managers and hunters have heard about the benefits of prescribed fire, but a lot of people haven’t seen it, touched it, smelled it. So we took a little walk up into a 35 acre bedding area that we had burned back in July. And we lit this baby down through here. Adam and I come through here. Brad came down that way. It was rocking. The cameraman’s up on top. When a cameraman calls you and says, “Are you sure it’s okay for me to be here?” You got a good fire going.
GRANT: I’m looking down right here, and I’m seeing young ragweed, I’m seeing wild strawberry, I’m seeing a deer dropping right there, I’m seeing a lot of native grasses. This is clump grass, or big bluestem, right here. Fescue makes a carpet; native grass makes a clump. That’s what you’re seeing in here. Even under these areas that were extremely shaded, look at the green up coming on.
GRANT: We created a 35 acre food plot in the middle of a drought. I think everyone really got that message. It was a great time for a lot of people to see something totally new and think about how they might apply that to their Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Uh, you may remember an episode last year where we videoed a-a-an immature buck – a buck that I didn’t want to harvest – walking right through the gap, or the gate. Well, this is it right here. That’s the blind right there. And-and this year, literally, I, I’ve got a number of 150 plus inch deer on a – on a camera site, which is right over there. That’s why we’re not going over there. And-and a week before Missouri’s bow season, which opens September 15th, this is obviously the best forage in this whole valley. We sat in that blind right there. I got a 20 yard shot, and I know exactly where the deer are gonna be. That’s called patterning. The fence has served me extremely well here. It will serve me very well, here in a couple weeks.
GRANT: I think I ate a few too many cookies at lunch, cause I got on a sugar high, and I do something I rarely do. I let a bunch of people walk in a sanctuary, right before hunting season. Now, Matt had trimmed me out a little entrance to a Redneck blind – we did months ago, overlooking a big sanctuary bedding area. We could get in, get dozens of people in, and get out, without even letting the deer in the sanctuary know we were there. It was an awesome testimony to where we placed the blind – Matt’s job at putting a trail in there, all the way to the ground level. I can’t wait to do it with just two people this fall, and my gun, let alone, getting a dozens of people in there. It was an awesome experience, but I won’t do it again.
GRANT: The next stop up the hill is a bit more serious, because I realized more hunters are killed, or permanently injured, in treestand accidents than all other forms of accidents about hunting combined. And I take that very serious, cause I have a kinship with all hunters out there, so we stopped and showed them how we use a Safeline when we’re getting in our Muddy hang on stands. It’s so simple that everyone should use it on every hang on stand, and we did a great job of demoing that, and I could tell everyone was watching, and ooing and ahing, and thinking, I’m gonna do that, too. You know safety is job one, while we’re hunting.
GRANT: Slide that up. Keep it going up. I can reach. Take one easy step. Now, slide it up. There you go. You’ll get to where it doesn’t take any time at all. Slide it on up. One thing I really liked about Muddy, is you can just pull that center knob out and adjust the angle of your platform, if you’re in a slopping tree. And that will slide up and down, and then, lock back in, and that’s a huge advantage, when you – I mean, look around. I have very few straight trees here.
GRANT: We want to finish on something that’s really important to all hunters, and that’s scouting, and how I use trail cameras for scouting, positioning, where, why, when, the data I collect. Everyone uses trail cameras. All eyes on. Everybody listening. Getting copies of the data sheets I use. It was a great exchange where I’m learning, and hopefully, sharing the information about scouting with trail cameras.
GRANT: You know, after a couple days of sharing – hopefully, I’m sharing information – I’m certainly learning from the attendees. Techniques and tips they’ve mastered at their Proving Grounds. We’re off to Bass Pro’s world headquarters, getting in that air conditioning, for a great dinner in Uncle Buck’s Auditorium. I give a little seminar to wrap up and answer some last minute questions. Then, everybody gets that VIP discount card to go shopping, that night only, at Bass Pro. Man, they’re out of there like someone yelled, “Fire” – shoving stuff in their baskets; reminiscing about techniques they learned with their buddies in the aisles. It was a great time. But the most important thing is that we give information away every week, here at GrowingDeer.tv. What we’re doing that week – hunting, planting, burning, trail camering, strategizing, every week, 52 weeks out of the year. I hope we can help you enjoy Creation even more. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.