This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Seth Harker’s been a member of the GrowingDeer ProStaff for many years, and this year, he had a great season.
GRANT: During the early archery season and even rifle season, Seth showed us great patience as he passed up several mature bucks waiting on the hit lister he called ET.
SETH: Look at those brows, dude.
GRANT: One look at those brow tines and we can all see why ET was worth the wait.
SETH: Wow! Look at the brows! Southern Missouri – this is a treat for Southern Missouri. I just don’t know what to say.
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GRANT: After ET, Seth had two objectives – a good buck for Trace and another one for himself. As typically happens on his property, new bucks show up during the late season. Seth’s got the best forage crops in the neighborhood. This season was no different as an unknown buck started using his plots. Seth named this buck Comrade. He was likely to leave the property after hunting season, during spring green up, so he was the perfect candidate to go to number one on his hit list.
SETH: (Whispering) We’ve got a doe coming in right here. I spooked a dozen deer coming in here. I love December, man. I mean I love it. And this is why I love it. If you’ve got a food source, you are the beacon. It’s a button buck. Let the new chapter begin. What hit list buck will we see tonight? I don’t know. I just have a feeling. We’ve got some good things in store for us; got a little snow on the ground. I absolutely love it.
GRANT: After a cold snap had dominated the weather for several days, the pattern changed as the wind shifted to out of the south. Seth knew that a melting snow can cause food plots to green up rapidly and he had greens right next to Eagle Seed beans and a Redneck Blind in a perfect position.
GRANT: It wasn’t long ‘til the action heated up. The deer were hammering those greens after the snow melted. Talk about a window with a view.
GRANT: Suddenly, there was a big buck in the plot. It was the new buck, Comrade.
GRANT: This was almost too easy. Just like that, the late season plan for Comrade was coming together.
GRANT: Self-filming as usual, Seth was filming out one window and shooting out another.
GRANT: I’m not trying to make excuses for Seth, but self-filming is tough to do.
SETH: (Whispering) I hit the window. That deer should have been dead. Son of a gun. That was a buck we call Comrade.
GRANT: Unfortunately, Seth’s broadhead catches just a bit of the blind and Comrade will live for another day.
SETH: (Whispering) Dang it. Man alive.
GRANT: The next afternoon it was time to try to get Trace a good buck. With such great action, Seth was going back to the same Redneck.
SETH: (Whispering) Alright, here we are. Trace has the crossbow tonight. We’re hoping to let a Bloodsport rip out of it. I don’t know what the night is gonna entail, but, he’s killed several small bucks so if I can keep him from that trigger finger – from doing this too much. Ready?
TRACE: (Whispering) Ready.
GRANT: Getting Trace a nice buck can be a little tricky cuz Trace likes to shoot and he’s got the green light to shoot any deer he wants.
SETH: (Whispering) Here comes another one. They’ll be a buck coming out here – I’m about certain of it.
GRANT: They did not wait long ‘til deer were entering the plot. Trace was really hoping for a good buck, and sure enough, soon they saw big antlers at the edge of the plot.
SETH: (Whispering) Here comes a big buck. I kid you not. Don’t – quit moving a lot now. Do you see it?
TRACE: (Whispering) You see it?
SETH: (Whispering) Oh yeah, oh yeah. He is a big one.
GRANT: This was a perfect buck for Trace.
TRACE: (Whispering) (Inaudible) quartering to?
GRANT: They waited for the buck to get well within Trace’s range. Trace was already shaking as he had big buck fever.
GRANT: Trace’s adrenaline kept him shaking as the buck came closer and closer.
SETH: (Whispering) Easy. Easy.
TRACE: (Whispering) Is he dead? He’s dead?
SETH: (Whispering) Yeah, you smoked him, I think.
TRACE: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: It looks like Trace has got himself a good buck.
GRANT: The arrow didn’t go all the way through; so maybe not a heavy blood trail, but that buck shouldn’t go far. Seth wisely decided to be a bit cautious so he gave the buck some time and gathered the troops to help take up the trail.
UNKNOWN: Right there!
GRANT: Now here’s where the story takes a couple of odd turns. What Seth found was hard to believe. Just an occasional drop of blood and it looked like the buck went much farther than Seth expected.
SETH: So, this blood trail’s taken quite a few twists and turns. We winded up…
GRANT: It is dark; tough to put it all together so Seth decided to take up the trail the next morning. Now, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret – you may recall that the previous afternoon Seth shot at a buck named Comrade. Evidently, he nicked that buck. As Seth was following Trace’s deer’s blood trail, he evidently crossed paths with where Comrade had ran and started trailing a very healthy buck. It’s no wonder he was curious why that buck went so far.
GRANT: The next day Seth rounded up the family, took ‘em out to find Trace’s buck and they were all in for a pleasant surprise.
SETH: We’re gonna pick up the blood trail. Hopefully, we’re gonna find this buck. Um, hopefully it’s a short blood trail but, it’s just a lot different, uh, in the daylight, so hopefully that helps us. Hopefully we find this buck at the end of the trail.
SETH: You guys gonna look or not? Ouch! Hey, here’s blood right here.
SETH: Here’s blood right here.
TRACE: Hey, there’s blood.
TRACE: Look, there’s a deer, there’s a deer, there’s a deer. It’s a body.
SETH: Is it?
TRACE: Ah huh. (Laughter)
UNKNOWN: Well that was easy.
SETH: Worked out last night and, uh, he has a buck that he’s pretty dead set on mounting and putting in his bedroom. So we’ll see what happens with that. But, harvesting and not – he wasn’t – he didn’t go 80 yards, so we don’t have that long of a drag.
GRANT: Not only was this a great hunt, but a great family experience. I love seeing the families getting together, help trail and celebrate the harvest.
GRANT: As a follow-up, Comrade is still hitting the food plots and looking very healthy.
GRANT: After Trace punched his tag, Seth is back to the woods and this time he’s got his muzzleloader.
SETH: (Whispering) It’s January 1st. Hopefully we’re gonna bring in the new year with a bang. We’re muzzleloader hunting. There’s a doe already in the beans just over my shoulders. We’ve got greens and beans. We’ve got a Redneck setting right there for when we keep the fence closed on the beans. That way we can hunt the greens but, it’s that time of year where we’ve taken the fence down; where I’ve actually opened just a huge section of this corner over here. So, this doe is already in it, eating the beans. I’m hoping one of our hit listers do the exact same thing. Make an ole chip shot for the muzzleloader. We’ve got several hit listers here in the area. We’ve got Comrade. Oh. Here comes a whole bunch of does.
GRANT: Here’s a sight hunters don’t see very often, this buck’s carrying some extra jewelry. At first, Seth thought it was a fence tangle. But when he’s seeing it better, he could tell this buck was collared and probably wearing a GPS unit.
GRANT: There’s a large ongoing study by the Missouri Department of Conservation where they’re placing GPS collars on deer to determine home range size, birth and mortality rates and lots of data to help the department do a better job of managing this critical resource. We don’t know for sure, but looks like some of the does are pretty impressed with this extra jewelry.
GRANT: Seth was back in the beans and sure enough the bucks are coming in. One of the first bucks he sees is a mature buck he calls Squiggles. Notice his G2 has a little bit of a corkscrew shape to it.
GRANT: Squiggles is a mature buck but he’s not the one Seth is looking for. Seth was excited about the buck behind Squiggles. Comrade’s back in the house.
GRANT: Sure enough, behind Squiggles is Comrade. And once again, it looks like Seth is gonna make short work of his late season tag.
SETH: (Whispering) Dad-gome-it.
GRANT: Did he miss? He can’t tell for sure because of all the smoke.
SETH: (Whispering) I hope I hit that buck. It’s Comrade. Whew. Comrade Eight. Poof, smoke, I don’t know if I hit him or not but…
GRANT: After a thorough search, they found no sign of blood. It looks like Comrade got away again. Seth has no idea what happened. He recalls a slight delay between the percussion cap and the gun actually firing. And maybe that’s enough to have thrown him off.
GRANT: During the last few days of bow season, Seth hunted hard for Comrade.
SETH: These last 15 days of Missouri archery season are sometimes my favorite cuz we finally start getting the weather like we like. The cold temps, the snow – makes our food plots really active.
SETH: (Whispering) It’s January 8th, we’re still trying to bring in the new year with a hit list buck. I’ve got one over here that’s been giving me fits; I’d just love to tag. His name is Comrade. We’ve got a blanket of snow on the ground. We’ve got standing beans – what’s left. I mean they’ve really hammered ‘em. The greens are covered up by the snow so I’m hoping this is where they want to be. I’m hoping we get a hit list buck here in good light – make it happen tonight. Seven days left. The clock’s counting down so, here we go.
GRANT: This is a great example the benefits of protecting Eagle Seed forage soybeans with a Non-Typical Fence. Seth protected the beans all summer and then opened ‘em up during the late season when those cold December winds were blowing.
GRANT: This is exactly why we put in all the hard work during the off season. Just look at all those deer pouring into the beans.
GRANT: This technique of protecting beans into the late season can make your late season hunts some of the most exciting of the whole season. The only buck missing out of this plot is Comrade.
GRANT: This is a buck called Lucky. Lucky’s played tag with Seth throughout the season. Now Lucky’s broadside – giving Seth the perfect shot, but he’s gonna give him another pass. Notice, instead of walking the easy path, more mature bucks can sense something’s off and give it a wide birth. Seth knows enough that passing up good bucks means you can tag great bucks later on.
SETH: (Whispering) It’s 3:04. January 15th. Here we go. We’re gonna buckle up. Hopefully, we get Comrade down. Uh, something mature, something to aid us with our quality deer management practice here. So, I’m gonna sit back, save my card space and enjoy this last evening’s hunt.
GRANT: Seth stuck to the plan and with the last of the season on him he decided to take some backstraps home to the family.
SETH: Oh, lookey there. There it is, blood right there. Time’s up, we got fortunate enough to harvest a doe tonight. And I seen her fall from the stand but it’s dark now and the fog’s rolled in. I just stumbled on the blood so, we’re gonna follow the blood trail.
SETH: I can’t tell, but I always check. Even though, I check. Yeah, she’s a nice size doe.
SETH: This closes the 2016 archery season. That’s a wrap. We were fortunate enough to harvest a doe tonight. We’d been holding out for a hit list buck probably the last three weeks, four weeks – had several encounters – got lots of footage of ‘em. We just didn’t close the deal. But, we’re happy to have some backstraps to put in the freezer.
GRANT: Thanks Seth for sharing your hunts with us. Your off season work and patience inspired us all to be better hunters and managers. We look forward to hopefully seeing Lucky next year and maybe even Comrade.
GRANT: The GrowingDeer Team has been blessed with many great hunts this year. With all those big racks and fun hunts, it’s easy to forget that the real work occurs during the off season. Last week Clint Cary visited The Proving Grounds and shared some of his techniques with us. He’s an extremely talented trapper and I knew it wouldn’t be long ‘til some of the predators found his Duke traps.
GRANT: Well, Jessica was checking traps this morning and called me and said we had a double here at Boom Mountain. For those of you who don’t know, Jessica is our intern this spring. Jessica, where are you from?
GRANT: And just finished with her degree in wildlife management. Was checking traps this morning, gave me a call and said we had a double here at Boom Mountain. Congratulations, Jessica!
GRANT: Oftentimes when you make a catch and you have multiple traps close together, you will get a double because the scent and sound of one predator will attract the other predator.
GRANT: It is a beautiful day here at The Proving Grounds. Not just because the weather is gorgeous – stunning for this time of January. But we’ve also caught a grey fox and a coyote. Last week, I shared with you that Clint Cary visited The Proving Grounds and worked his magic.
CLINT: I take out just a spoonful…
GRANT: One of Clint’s strategy is not just willy-nilly placing traps everywhere, but to look for sign or even trail camera pictures of where predators are and knowing that they travel using roads – I’m on an old logging road right now – and set multiple traps in areas with good potential.
GRANT: Clint’s strategy and his sets paid off well as we’ve removed two predators here at what we call Boom Mountain. And just as it would work out, when Daniel and I were driving up we saw a large flock of turkeys – maybe 70 or 80 yards away – even before we rounded the corner – and saw these predators. It’s almost as if those turkeys were flopping their wings and clapping and saying, “Way to go boys, a few more poults are gonna survive this year”.
GRANT: We’re going to dispatch these predators, remake the sets and then I’ve got another surprise that Daniel spotted on the way here.
DANIEL: That’s a good shed right there. Oh, man.
DANIEL: Well, this shed belongs to a buck we call Letterman. He was a late show this year – end of December – came in. We’ve had a lot of pictures of him in this plot and around in the neighboring plots. We’re drawing deer in because there’s no acorns and we’ve got the best food. So, Letterman is in the area and I’m guessing the other half isn’t too far away.
GRANT: I’m not surprised we hadn’t seen the buck we call Letterman until the late season. Oftentimes when bucks home range barely encompass The Proving Grounds, they will shift and use that portion of their home range during the late season – as I think we have the best food plots in the neighborhood. And during the late season, forage is king. That’s the power of quality food plots or using electric fences to save beans until late season.
GRANT: If you’ve got bucks like Comrade or Letterman, that rarely use that portion of their home range and you’ve got the best food in the neighborhood, come late season, those bucks typically will shift to that food and you can get a pattern on ‘em and have some great hunts.
GRANT: The weather’s warming up and it’s almost prescribed fire season here at The Proving Grounds. But whether you’re getting ready to burn, out trapping or doing some shed hunting, take time each day to enjoy Creation. And most importantly, slow down and listen to what the Creator says to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.