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GRANT: We’re gearing up for deer season. Last week we shared how we planned and placed a Redneck Blind in a strategic area. We can monitor a bedding area and travel corridors.
GRANT: As we continue preparing for deer season, I’m monitoring hit list bucks and checking food plots.
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GRANT: Earlier this summer, we shared the interns and I putting up a Hot Zone fence at Boom North – an area the deer love to travel during deer season. Boom North is on an elevator ridge or an area that’s easy for deer to go from high elevation to the bottoms.
GRANT: Recently, I went to Boom North and sat in a Redneck Blind, just to see if deer were using it this time of year.
GRANT: It was obvious, from the browse pressure, there was deer in the area, but it wasn’t long until the first deer entered the plot.
GRANT: Throughout the afternoon, deer and turkey drifted in and out of the plot and fed heavily.
GRANT: Two big does and they’re just head down. It’s interesting to see how much energy they spend swatting flies this time of the year – July and all – August. Pests – insects – can be horrible on deer and it’s amazing how much energy they expend trying to defend theirselves against pests.
GRANT: Another great thing to watch for during July is turkey poults. You see turkeys and they’re hens, you should see some poults. Unfortunately, we had a big rain during the first nesting season, and then, oddly enough, we had a lot of gobbling going on; saw a lot of strutting during June, and during that time, we had some more rain. Uh, rain is usually not good for turkey poult survival, and there’s three hens in the field. Not a poult.
GRANT: It’s amazing the difference between inside the Hot Zone fence – the beans in the foreground or at the bottom of the screen – and behind it. These beans are planted the same day, same time, same variety, same rain, but obviously, outside the fence, the beans are getting browsed on every day. We’re feeding deer and meeting our objective. But still, the growth difference is amazing.
GRANT: The difference between in and out of the fence was so significant, Daniel and I went back and checked it out with a camera.
GRANT: As a deer and habitat manager, this area taught me a lot of lessons. The first lesson – there’s obviously too many deer in that area of The Proving Grounds for the amount of quality forage available. I can use that information to make several management decisions.
GRANT: No weeds at all underneath here. I mean just perfect.
GRANT: Because here at The Proving Grounds, the deer populations probably increased faster than we could afford to make more acres of food plots, it’s important that we get as many tons of forage per acre of food plot as possible. I’ve learned through the years that I need to plant more seeds per acre to get more stems, or create more browse. Small food plots designed for hunting are made to attract a lot of deer, and they can remove a lot of browse before hunting season.
GRANT: During past years, planting more seeds per acre that’s kind of compensated for an increase in deer population. But we’ve seemed to have gotten over that hump, and now, we’ve got to get serious about removing the number of deer feeding in our plot. Our management objective this fall will be to harvest twice as many does as we have during the past couple of years.
GRANT: Walking through the beans on the inside of the fence, it was obvious that closed canopy had done a wonderful job of controlling weeds. We used a Goliath crimper to terminate the fall crop, which had some cereal rye and brassicas in it – the Broadside blend – and then, we planted right into it. We haven’t sprayed the area inside the plot and there’s almost no weeds.
GRANT: The canopy is keeping sunshine from reaching the soil and keeping the wind off of it. Those two factors reduce evaporation by a significant amount. Seeing the difference between inside and outside the Hot Zone fence allows me to make some decisions that, hopefully, will improve the deer herd during future years.
GRANT: During the past few weeks, we started paying more attention to the bucks on the Reconyx cameras and we’re starting to develop the 2017 hit list. We have a photographic record of several good bucks using our Trophy Rock and Antler-X-Treme stations this summer.
GRANT: Recently, the Missouri Department of Conservation implemented CWD regulations where The Proving Grounds is located. No cases of CWD have been found in this portion of Missouri. But across the state line, Arkansas’s reported several deer with CWD. The CWD regulations now in place here make it illegal to put out any mineral or feed to attract deer. So as of July 1st, we had to remove all our Trophy Rock and Antler-X-Treme stations.
GRANT: As Daniel and I were out on the property this morning, we passed this camera that’s been over this Trophy Rock station for years and there’s probably not a reason to have it here anymore. We had the handy BoneView in the truck, which is a card reader that fits right in your cell phone. So we’re gonna check the camera, see if the events have dropped way off, and if so, move this camera to a more productive location.
GRANT: This Reconyx has been on this tree for years, so kind of sad to even thinking about moving it. We’ve had some great bucks patterned here. And it’s a saddle, or a low spot in the ridge, but they probably won’t be passing through quite as frequently now that we don’t have a Trophy Rock station here. So we’re gonna just put the BoneView in the phone and review it here versus going all the way back to the office and checking out the card; then, coming back and moving the camera. BoneView just makes this whole process so much more efficient.
GRANT: Camera’s been here awhile.
DANIEL: (Inaudible) buck.
DANIEL: Not much.
GRANT: Not much. Whew. Yeah. Frequency of events has really decreased here, so I believe we might as well put a new card in this baby; take that back, and we’ll get that buck registered in our software, and put this on a food plot or a pond. ‘Cause unfortunately, with the new regulations in place, we have to change our camera placement on many of The Proving Ground sites.
GRANT: The BoneView’s an awesome tool for trail camera users. You can check cards in the field, reformat ‘em, delete, save pictures, email ‘em to your buddies, or do any of the functions you’d normally do with a smart phone.
GRANT: Go put it in a new location.
GRANT: A few weeks ago, we shared that groundhogs were going under one of our Hot Zone fences.
GRANT: Daniel’s recently taken care of some groundhogs in another food plot we call Tree Plot. But we need to manage this plot differently. It’s a bit further from our office.
GRANT: Groundhogs can do a lot of damage to food plots, so I didn’t want to ignore it. Rather, I grabbed a couple of Duke Traps and put ‘em to use even during the summer.
GRANT: Had a groundhog getting in one of my Hot Zone fences and he’s already taken about a fourth or a fifth of the beans. Took ‘em almost to the ground. So brought up a couple of Duke Traps. Gonna put ‘em in the fence, where I know the groundhog is feeding. And I raided Tracy’s refrigerator. Shhh. Don’t tell her. Because one thing groundhogs love is fresh fruit and vegetables. So I got some cantaloupe. Got some watermelon – I may have a bite or two while I’m out here working. We’re going to bait these traps up; see if we can’t take care of that soybean predator.
GRANT: When you’re trapping anything, the scents is what draws them in, so the juice from the watermelon and the cantaloupe is just as important as the actual pieces of those items. So I’m gonna grab a trap and some of the bait. We’ll put some in the fence right where we know he’s actively feeding; see if we can’t take care of him. Trapping is often more efficient. Although I love groundhog hunting, I can’t afford to sit here on all the food plots day after day. So traps can be working while I’m off doing another project.
GRANT: Well, I’m gonna be crossing the fence several times, so I’m going to turn it off, ‘cause I don’t want to be the one getting lit up here today.
GRANT: It’s easy to see where the groundhogs have been feeding. He’s coming out of this timber over here. Probably feeding this way, so I’m gonna get kind of at the edge of the beans here where I know he’s passing through, put some watermelon in here, see if we can’t get a groundhog in the Duke. I’ve got a can in here left over from catching coons this winter, so I’m simply gonna get a big dose of some juice in there. I’m gonna take some melon. Again, it’s the smell that’s attracting ‘em. We’re not trying to feed ‘em. We’re just trying to attract ‘em. Take the can, put it in the very back of the trap, so he’s got to go across the trigger to get to it. Get it set real level.
GRANT: I don’t want this one soybean right here getting in the way of the door going down. Set the trigger. Looks natural; blend it in. Good to go.
GRANT: I baited and set the traps and hoped that soon groundhogs won’t do any more damage to this plot.
GRANT: I love practicing with my bow. But there’s many ways to get in some true field practice. Frog season just opened in Missouri and my friend, Danny, had been scouting some ponds.
GRANT: My oldest daughter, Raleigh, and I were quick to say “yes” and we grabbed our bows and headed towards Exeter, Missouri to meet up with Danny.
DANNY: There goes a big one. Raleigh, you want to shoot that one?
DANNY: (Inaudible) back to the seventeen. We’ll go there.
UNKNOWN: You going over there?
DANNY: Yeah. We’re out here shooting bullfrogs today. Missouri’s frog season just opened a couple of days ago. Trying to beat the storm and get a few frogs shot before get too wet. Mine’s bigger. Just means you’re a better shot, though, right?
RALEIGH: I’ll take it. Yesterday, Dad’s like, “Hey, we’re going frog hunting. Do you want to go?” I was like, “Yeah, sure. Never been.” So driving out here, saw a storm coming, but it’s holding off for now and I’ve gotten my first frog, so it’s good news.
DANNY: Hope to get many more.
GRANT: Normally, you frog hunt after dark ‘cause they’re easy to find, as their eyes reflect light.
GRANT: To shoot a frog at a closer distance, you’ve got to hold low and kind of guestimate where to put your pin until you get used to it.
DANNY: That one’s dead. (Inaudible)
DANNY: Smoked that one.
GRANT: Raleigh tagged several frogs and we all had a great time.
RALEIGH: Frogs for dinner.
GRANT: Frog hunting was so much fun and I love eating frog legs – that soon, we’ll pick another night to go out frog hunting when it’s not raining and share more of our techniques, so you can enjoy this fun sport.
GRANT: You got it.
DANNY: Oh, smoked that one.
GRANT: You smoked him. Go get that one. You smoked that one.
GRANT: This time of year, we’re super busy getting ready for deer season. If you want to see what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis, check us out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Whether you’re trying something new, like frog hunting, or simply going out to a blind one afternoon before dark and watching deer, remember to slow down and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
DANNY: Oh yeah. Got up on that one.