This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
RAE: (Whispering) I’ve got a shot; I’ve got a shot right now. Are you ready? Daniel, are you good?
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah.
RAE: (Whispering) Boom! Yes. Boom!
RAE: There he is. Dang!
DANIEL: (Whispering) The plan worked perfectly. Oh my word!
GRANT: I nailed him, man. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
GRANT: Deer season in Missouri ended about a month ago and we’ve received a lot of questions asking if we reached our goal of removing three does per 100 acres.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) That was fast.
GRANT: Unfortunately, we only met about half our goal of doe removal. We had some great hunts, but we also spent a lot of time in the stand or a blind without seeing a deer.
GRANT: Even our Reconyx cameras didn’t record as many photos and videos as they normally do during deer season.
GRANT: Many of my neighbors and friends that hunt in timber country reported the same type season.
GRANT: I believe the limited observations we experienced was due to a huge acorn crop.
GRANT: Most of The Proving Grounds is a contiguous stand of hardwood timber as is the neighborhood. And these hardwoods are dominated by red oak. There’s not a lot of white oaks and the white oaks we have didn’t produce a big crop of acorns last fall.
GRANT: There were so many red oaks that it kept deer in the timber throughout the season. In fact, I’m rarely seeing deer or turkeys in plots now.
GRANT: When there’s a huge acorn crop, deer don’t have to move far between bedding and feeding and it’s very tough to approach either area without alerting deer.
GRANT: This pattern of a reduced deer harvest in areas that have a huge acorn crop has been studied and well known for many years.
GRANT: A friend of mine, Daniel Applebaum, shared with me a map he created based on the Missouri deer harvest. He compared the total harvest between 2017 and 2018 by county across the entire state. Statewide, the deer harvest increased in 2018 compared to 2017.
GRANT: Most of the counties in northern and central Missouri are primarily composed of ag and those counties showed a strong increase in deer harvest.
GRANT: Many of the southern counties in Missouri are primarily composed of timber. And that’s the case here at The Proving Grounds. In fact, the harvest here was down about 20%.
GRANT: My observations from the tree stand and the number of deer we tagged here at The Proving Grounds during the regular hunting season indicate that data is correct. These data are a great indicator of how variable food conditions can be across the whitetail’s range and, therefore, also the amount of deer a hunter is likely to see while hunting.
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GRANT: It was a tough bow season in Missouri. Lots of acorns and the deer stayed in the timber. So, I drug my bow through the timber day after day. Bow season is over and I’m getting ready to start hog hunting.
GRANT: I’ll be hog hunting in south Alabama and south Florida. Thick habitat with a lot of water. I need to make sure my strings are treated.
GRANT: I’m gonna use the Scorpion Venom bow wax to give it a good solid treatment and protect these strings, especially knowing I’m headed to the swamps.
GRANT: There’s an applicator on the inside; make sure I have plenty of wax on the applicator; wrap it around the string and work it in.
GRANT: As always, once you work the wax in really well, it’s best to pull your bow back and forth a time or two. That lets that string work it in to the inner cords.
GRANT: Bows seem to be an item that a lot of people fail to maintain. But I promise you, maintaining your bow not only saves you money in the long run, but it will shoot faster, quieter and better while you’re hunting.
GRANT: Clay and I are headed for Alabama in a couple of days to chase hogs with our good friends, Andy Andrews and his sons, Austin and Adam.
GRANT: I really enjoy spotting and stalking hogs or stalking, and trying to spot a hog, and then moving on in.
GRANT: (Quietly) She’s gonna go down. She’s down.
GRANT: Sometimes the best opportunity comes when you’re hunting from a blind.
GRANT: I almost always practice from a standing position. But before going hog hunting, knowing I may end up in a blind, it’s important to practice while sitting.
GRANT: It’s cold and windy in Missouri, but thankfully in a couple of days I’m headed to south Alabama to chase hogs. Just because it’s cold and windy doesn’t mean I don’t need to be practicing with a bow.
GRANT: Once you learn form and the proper techniques to shoot a bow, one of the most important things is muscle memory. Shooting all the time to make sure your form is correct.
GRANT: It’s one thing to hit a dot; it’s another thing to be stalking through the swamp or sitting in a blind and have a shot at a big, ole boar. You need to make sure in that moment of excitement, you’ve shot so much your form is perfect, even though you’re focused on the pig.
GRANT: I try to remember and take time every day that I’m home to practice with my bow.
GRANT: Knowing I’m going hog hunting, I might well end up in a blind. So, I need to practice sitting down.
GRANT: The important thing about shooting while in a sitting position is ensuring the form is the same waist up as compared to standing.
GRANT: It’s tempting to get in the blind and sit looking right out the window where you think the hog is gonna come from. But then, when it does, it’s easy to forget and turn to be in the same posture you would be when standing and shooting.
GRANT: Oftentimes when you see me hunting from a blind, I’ll sit perpendicular to where I think the game is going to appear, so when I get ready to shoot, it’s just natural to shoot that way without moving and making a lot of noise.
GRANT: It’s pretty simple, but a little practice ahead of time makes sure that when a hog comes, I can capitalize on the opportunity
GRANT: Another advantage of practicing a lot when preparing for a hog hunt is that hogs tend to move almost all the time. And they’re in a herd, usually. So they may be moving in and out of each other and you may have to wait for a clean shot so you’re not getting a pass-through and wounding an additional hog.
GRANT: That hold time can be much longer than a typical practice shot, but if you’re shooting a lot and your muscles are in tone, you’ll be able to hold through that shot; not having it break down and come home with some pork.
GRANT: After we return from Alabama, Clay and I are headed to south Florida to join my buddies at Flatwood Natives and turkey hunt with them again.
GRANT: We’ve hunted with them for several years and it’s always a great hunt.
GRANT: For several years I’ve hunted with a scope on my shotgun. But this year, I’m excited to try the new Nikon Spur.
GRANT: Tyler recently mounted the Spur on our Winchester 20 gauge and took it to the range.
GRANT: He found it very easy to use. A couple of shots, a few clicks and he had it dialed in at 20 yards.
GRANT: Tyler backed up to 30 and the shotgun was dead on again and certainly a killing pattern.
GRANT: I’ve bounced back between a 20 and 12 gauge during the season and I can’t wait to take this 20 gauge out and give it a try this year.
GRANT: For years, myself and the entire GrowingDeer Team have used Winchester’s Long Beard XR shells while turkey hunting and we’ve all been extremely pleased. Heck, I remember last year, Rae and I miscommunicated; thought the gobbler was at 40 and she thumped that thing at 62 yards.
RAE: (Whispering) You ready?
GRANT: (Whispering) Go. You nailed him. You nailed him. You nailed him.
RAE: Oh, my gosh.
GRANT: With a performance like that, I’m not changing what shell I use.
GRANT: I’m not the only one getting excited about turkey season. Last weekend my family and I attended the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 43rd Annual Convention. And it was packed.
GRANT: I hung out at the Bass Pro / Cabela’s booth, as well as the RTP, and Flatwoods, and Hooks, and some others. And there was a big crowd at every booth. I really enjoyed visiting with people and some folks even brought their maps and I laid out a habitat plan for ‘em.
GRANT: It’s always good to be with fellow hunters and talk about hunting and habitat management.
GRANT: When visiting with people about their property and they care enough to even bring a map, you know they’re serious managers. And those conversations can last a long time and even develop friendships while we’re sitting there developing a habitat plan.
GRANT: If you missed the NWTF convention, don’t worry, we’ll be attending several more events.
GRANT: Simply check out the “Events” tab on our Facebook page and see if we’re gonna be at a town near you.
GRANT: If you’d like to check out the techniques we use during hog and turkey hunting this spring, simply subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter
GRANT: You don’t have to travel to another state to get outside and enjoy Creation. Often, there’s nothing funner for me than taking a walk here at The Proving Grounds and seeing what’s happening that day out in Creation.
GRANT: But most importantly, I take time every day, no matter where I am, to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to me. I hope you do the same.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.