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GRANT: Last week I shared I hung a treestand in a white oak right next to a recently created food plot. I chose this location because there was a lot of white oak acorns dropping and the added attraction of a food plot planted in Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: Once the stand was hung, I waited to return until there was a favorable wind direction. The Summit was hung in the northeast corner of the plot and a few days later, a strong front pushed through with a northwest wind. This was the first cold front of the season and I really thought deer would be moving.
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GRANT: Daytime deer activity is greatly influenced by the weather. And they seem to be really active during the day when a cold front pushes through.
GRANT: I define a cold front as when the temperature is gonna drop at least ten degrees from normal that time of year.
GRANT: I’ve watched deer respond to weather fronts so many times, I’d much rather hunt based on the weather forecast than any particular day of the year.
GRANT: With favorable conditions for the white oak stand, Tyler and I headed out.
GRANT: (Quietly) The first strong cold front passed through this morning. You can see I’ve got a jacket on. So, I’m excited to hunt this afternoon. We just hung this set a couple of days ago. Two large white oaks dropping acorns right on the edge of a new food plot, but I’m excited to see who shows up this afternoon.
GRANT: It wasn’t long after we were settled in the stand that we saw the first deer.
GRANT: It was a yearling buck that came close, but he wasn’t what we were after.
GRANT: Next, Tyler spotted a doe at the far end of the plot. I was confident, given how early it was in the afternoon, that she’d make it up to the white oaks.
GRANT: Several other does and fawns had joined the first doe and they had closed the distance when Tyler and I noticed two does on the opposite side.
GRANT: Once both sets of does got over the crest of the hill enough to see each other, it’s like they had a staring match – or challenge match, if you will – because the second set of does seemed to make up their mind they were coming to the acorns first.
GRANT: (Whispering) I don’t know – I can’t get a shot yet.
GRANT: Finally, one of those does worked around the tree enough and got under the crown, so I could take a shot.
GRANT: My shot was a tad high, given her reaction, and I hit her in the spine, but it was a great feeling to know I was taking fresh venison home.
GRANT: Not long after that, we spotted a set of antlers at the far end of the field.
GRANT: Two bucks came out of the timber and one of ‘em was a buck we know as HighRiser. You may recall that last year, about this time, I had a close encounter with HighRiser at the stand we call Tracy’s Bowl.
GRANT: HighRiser was a good looking three-year-old last year and I was really tempted to take the 15-yard shot.
GRANT: However, I really enjoy matching wits with a mature buck. I love the chase, patterning, and trying to figure out a plan that will end up with a close encounter with a four-year-old or older buck.
GRANT: Given that’s my mission, last year I gave HighRiser a pass, hoping he’d survive, and I’d have another encounter this year.
GRANT: We only had a couple of pictures of HighRiser during the summer, but it was enough to know he was still around. Knowing that HighRiser was now four, I was eager to try to tag him.
GRANT: It was later in the afternoon and I was afraid HighRiser would hang up on those acorns. So, I grabbed the Messenger and threw out a call.
GRANT: HighRiser certainly was interested in the location of the grunt.
GRANT: With a few more calls, HighRiser started approaching our stand.
GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Is he coming? Is he still walking? I can’t…
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) No, he’s right here.
GRANT: The younger buck that was with HighRiser spotted a doe I had shot earlier. His reaction to the doe caught HighRiser’s attention.
GRANT: Both bucks started skirting around the doe – not running away – but almost as if they didn’t understand why she was laying down.
GRANT: They got behind the canopy of the white oak next to us, so I started grunting even more frequently trying to bring ‘em in.
GRANT: HighRiser and the other buck responded to the Messenger several times and came within range, but I didn’t have a shot because of the canopy of another tree.
GRANT: When we finally lost shooting light, Tyler and I got down and recovered the doe.
GRANT: Tyler and I had a fun hunt this afternoon. Saw about 12 different deer and that’s always fun. This doe finally got within range. I couldn’t shoot too far because of a big tree we were hunting the acorns falling from.
GRANT: But she got under some branches; I took the shot. I believe she reacted because I hit her in the spine.
GRANT: We’re going to get this doe back to the skinning shed and make a little venison.
GRANT: Even though I didn’t tag HighRiser, it was neat to watch him respond to the call so aggressively. During this time of year and throughout the rest of the season, I use my Messenger to replicate a two-year-old buck tending a doe.
GRANT: I believe that’s the message that makes the most bucks respond – an immature buck tending a doe.
GRANT: Because any buck – another young buck or a mature buck – will come right in without a big fear of being whipped.
GRANT: Before the Messenger, I used to use calls that sounded like the bull of the woods. And, in fact, I had a lot lower response rate. And it makes sense. If you’re sounding like a five-year-old buck or the biggest buck in the area – certainly, some bucks are gonna be intimidated to come in.
GRANT: The Messenger has helped me and the GrowingDeer Team have many great encounters during the past couple of years.
GRANT: Not only have we had encounters, but it’s brought bucks within range or turned them for a better shot position.
GRANT: I consider a grunt call one of the most important tools I take deer hunting and you can bet I’ll carry the Messenger on every hunt this year.
GRANT: The next afternoon, Tyler and I headed to Boomerang Ridge to hunt in the big timber.
GRANT: (Whispering) So, this afternoon we’re on a ridgetop – a ridge we call Boomerang. There’s a little dry pond right beside us. We’ve spread a little bit of food plot seed in there and there’s some acorns dropping on the pond dam. Big bedding area over here. Hopefully, deer will pass through here; get a little snack; head on over to the timber for some more acorns.
GRANT: We’d been in the stand about an hour when Tyler saw movement. A doe was walking quickly toward our stands.
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m gonna have to let her pass. (Inaudible) Get a head on shot. (Inaudible)
GRANT: (Whispering) It is a button buck. No, it’s a doe.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: As the doe got near, she ended up circling 180 degrees around our stand.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Easy.
GRANT: Finally, on her way to the white oak, she offered me about a 12-yard broadside shot.
GRANT: (Quietly) Yes. Perfect.
GRANT: (Whispering) 46 yards. 46 yards. Meat on the ground. Whew. Thank you.
GRANT: (Whispering) Long nose. I was looking at that really long nose. Oh, thank you.
GRANT: (Quietly) We could see the shot, but it’s always nice to see the fletchings drenched in the right color blood. And, of course, the broadhead worked perfectly. We saw the deer fall in about 46 yards from the stand. So, I’m gonna look for the blood trail just to see.
GRANT: It’s always good to learn. But, we know exactly where the doe is laying. Clean this arrow up; put a new broadhead on it; try it again tomorrow afternoon.
GRANT: This is the offside and punched right through the shoulder. The other side is perfect just the way she was angled. And the arrow blew through her.
GRANT: I only shoot 40 – excuse me – I only shoot 55 pounds and it blew through her like nothing in the shoulder. I mean, right in the meat. It just jellied that shoulder bone.
GRANT: So, the DeadMeat works again.
GRANT: Not only do I love it when deer crash within sight of the stand. That way, there’s no doubt of what happened. But, in the Ozark Mountain country, it’s also great because she didn’t run downhill and it was a short drag to the Yamaha.
GRANT: A big part of my hunting strategy is to always select stands that have a favorable wind direction for that hunt.
GRANT: When hunting in big timber, it’s very tough to predict exactly where deer are gonna walk when they close the distance for a bow shot.
GRANT: In addition, this doe approached straight up the road where Tyler and I had walked to the stand.
GRANT: This encounter is a great illustration of why scent control is such a huge part of my hunt preparation. I use a combination of washing my clothes, storing them properly and treating all my gear to make sure I can approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer.
GRANT: Acorns are definitely a hot hunting location now at The Proving Grounds. Another great location that’s getting better day by day is scrapes.
GRANT: Our trail cameras are showing a lot of activity at the scrapes we’ve treated with Code Blue.
GRANT: This time of year, we’re using Code Blue Synthetic Buck Scent because bucks are still checking out the dominance within their home range.
GRANT: Not only are bucks using these scrapes, but does are active at ‘em, too.
GRANT: Scrapes are the primary communication hub this time of year. Bucks and does come to scrapes this time of year not only to leave their scent, but to see which other deer are in the area.
GRANT: Knowing this, Daniel and Owen selected a stand that had three scrapes nearby a couple of days ago.
GRANT: They watched a nice three-year-old buck work those scrapes.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Five yards.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Huh. I don’t know him. He’s a rock star.
DANIEL: (Whispering) I’m calling him three. I’m gonna pass him.
DANIEL: That was an incredible encounter. I was sitting here. I look over – it’s so windy – can’t really hear anything. I look over and I see antlers right underneath that white oak. He’d snuck in silent. He was crunching on acorns.
DANIEL: Great deer. Put on a show. Just tore up a couple scrapes. His antlers looked good and it was tempting. But I called him three and he got a pass. So – that was a good buck.
GRANT: Holding out for a more mature buck isn’t about trophy status. It’s about matching skills with an animal that’s a better survivor.
GRANT: Sometimes this means a hunter is gonna eat buck tag soup, but for us, we already have plenty of does in the freezer.
GRANT: Activity at scrapes should continue to increase until several does become receptive. Then scrapes go dead for a week or two during the peak of the breeding season.
GRANT: After most does are bred, bucks, again, will start tending scrapes.
GRANT: We enjoy learning about deer and deer habitat and sharing our observations with others.
GRANT: Recently, the wildlife class from College of the Ozarks visited The Proving Grounds. I was able to share our soil improvement techniques and how the Buffalo System has improved our soil health and the deer herd.
GRANT: You know, there’s about – in soil health, we’re talking – not necessarily human health here – there’s about 1,700 beneficial species of insects – I’m just talking insects – for every damage (Inaudible).
GRANT: You know, we think about corn worm or cutworms on your tomatoes – some real nasty things. Or armyworms have been a big problem this year – especially down south. And they could clean a food plot like this, literally, in two days. Just all the forage gone.
GRANT: And we have armyworms here in the Ozarks every now and then, but not as frequently as down south where it stays warm longer.
GRANT: But, for those bad ones, there are literally a thousand plus good ones. And when you cultivate a soil type where you’re not tiling it ‘cause like tilling – let’s just think – when you till, you’re killing earthworms by the gazillions. Right? You’re cutting ‘em; you’re dicing ‘em. You’re drying ‘em out. You’re doing all kinds of horrible things.
GRANT: And earthworms – just earthworms – if you have a healthy earthworm population – which few places do anymore – but if you’ve been no-tilling for a long time like us and you see all this organic matter or duff – that’s last year’s crop on top of the soil – that’s perfect earthworm food.
GRANT: And if you have a healthy population of earthworms, they literally – listen to this and remember now – ‘cause you’re not, you’re not gonna believe me but you can go Google it. The research was done at Penn State; you can find all about this stuff. They will defecate about a, a million pounds per acre, per year.
GRANT: Now, you’re thinking a million pounds, “Man, it would be four foot deep. I’d be swimming in worm poop.” No. A million pounds per acre is a soil about the thickness of a sheet of typing paper. A sheet of typing paper across one acre. A bunch of weight.
GRANT: Think about this – what is the main component of this?
GRANT: All right. We got someone thinking today. Carbon.
GRANT: What’s the main component in the human body?
GRANT: What’s the main component of this planet we live on?
GRANT: Carbon. Nothing works without carbon.
GRANT: So, if you’re a believer in global warming or climate change or anything (Inaudible), it’s all about carbon sequestering. I’m not plowing; I’m not releasing carbon to the atmosphere. I’m sequestering a huge amount of carbon and putting it in soil.
GRANT: What makes black soil black?
GRANT: Carbon. I’m building carbon. The number one building block of a plant. And I’m building carbon by not discing. And I’m saving carbon by not using as much diesel fuel, and wear and tear on equipment – that’s gonna end up on a fence row somewhere here in the Ozarks.
GRANT: I really appreciate universities that get their students out of the classroom and into the field. Seeing these real life applications will make them not only better students, but better professionals.
GRANT: It’s a great time of year for deer hunters; it’s a great time of year for everyone to enjoy Creation. But more importantly, I hope everyone takes time daily to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to them.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
GRANT: If you would like current information on the stage of the rut and our hunting techniques, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer Newsletter.
GRANT: I saw this doe fall, but it’s always fun to watch the blood trail. Goodness gracious, it’s a paint bucket through here. It was amazing how much blood she was spraying out. Holy mackerel.
GRANT: Not spraying out – pouring out. She went in on that way, but I’ll – it’s all covered. Goodness gracious, look at all this. Look at that. Holy mackerel.
GRANT: No wonder, she only ran 46 yards. Big, ole nanny.