This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) He’s right there.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) All right. Get ready. Whenever you’ve got an opening, let me know.
NORMAN: Holy cow. He’s a stud, dude! Oh, man, he’s a stud! Oh.
GRANT: This week the Woods family and millions of others will celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. But among the family and food and all the other benefits of this holiday, I want to take time and reflect on the history of Thanksgiving.
GRANT: Years ago, pilgrims left Europe; took a treacherous trip, risked everything they had, including their lives to find a new land. What would motivate people to do that? Well, one of the primary motivations that they wrote about in their journals was the freedom to worship.
GRANT: Freedom to worship. I’m thankful I live in a land that guarantees the freedom to worship and I’m thankful my Savior protected the pilgrims and protects me and my family today.
GRANT: Let’s all slow down and think about the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving.
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GRANT: Team Kentucky has worked very hard during the past five years to improve the habitat and hunting opportunities at their farm.
GRANT: I met Norman, Doc and Graham years ago when they asked me to assist with developing a wildlife management plan for their property.
GRANT: We toured the property during a cold, snowy day. And during the tour, I noticed they had large areas of eastern red cedar and bush honeysuckle. And I recommended they take those plants out and convert ’em either to high-quality native habitat or food plots.
GRANT: And you keep it on a fire rotation every three to five years. Those young cedars are real prone to die from fire. Once they’re that big, they’re not going to. Unless it’s a fire that you don’t want to be involved in.
GRANT: After touring the entire farm, we took a map and I created the entire plan. That plan included a lot of work for the Kentucky boys.
GRANT: To meet their deer management goals, I also prescribed significantly increasing the amount of quality forage available on the farm.
GRANT: I noticed they had several plots planted in corn. And corn certainly provides deer high energy – especially during the winter.
GRANT: But during the summer, while corn is growing, it’s extremely low-quality forage. That’s the time when antlers are developing and fawns are growing. We need high-quality protein during that time of year.
GRANT: I recommended they convert most of those corn plots and plant Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans. Soybeans have a huge advantage over corn; they provide quality forage during the summer and energy in their pods during the winter.
GRANT: Based on my experience as a wildlife manager, if I was limited to one plant, it would be forage soybeans. Again, high-quality forage during the growing season; pods full of energy during the cold season.
GRANT: Soybeans are also extremely attractive to deer and we know what that means – lots of good hunting opportunities.
GRANT: Team Kentucky started implementing the plan without wasting much time.
GRANT: Within a few years of completing some projects, they and their families were enjoying some nice hunting opportunities.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) I’m on him.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) I’m watching him.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Look out.
CHILD: (Whispering) What?
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Pull the trigger really slow.
GRANT: Even though they were enjoying some success, they continued implementing the full plan. This meant removing more cedars, developing native habitat and more food plots.
GRANT: In areas where the cedars had been removed and the native vegetation was off to a good start, they went in and spot treated hardwood saplings so the saplings wouldn’t grow up and compete for sun, moisture and nutrients with the native forage.
GRANT: After lots of hard work, they decided to put a Redneck Blind overlooking a nice area that used to be covered with eastern red cedar.
GRANT: The south facing bedding area the blind overlooks is perfect for does to go into trying to escape bucks or bucks to cruise the downwind side seeking does.
GRANT: Looking into a bedding area is one of my favorite strategies for hunting during the rut.
GRANT: They call this blind Capitol Hill and there’s been several successful hunts from that location.
GRANT: Last season, the team took a huge step and decided to focus on harvesting does and pass all bucks to give every one of ‘em a year to mature. I’m very proud of the guys for sticking to their goal. And this year, they started seeing several mature bucks.
GRANT: During early November, Norman headed out with his bow to see if he could get into some pre-rut action.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Sunday, November the 4th, I was sitting in a spot we call the Mail Set and the Situation Room. That’s what we named the field.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Doc’s running the camera with me tonight. We’ve got a couple of great bucks that we’ve seen here. One’s called “Duke”; one’s called “Short G2.” “Crowd Pleaser” has been in this area as well. Hopefully, we can get one of these bucks up on their feet. It’s November. You never know what can happen.
GRANT: Not long into the hunt, a doe stepped out.
GRANT: Knowing that doe harvest was a big part of the management objective, Norman sent a Deadmeat down range.
DOC: (Whispering) Love it.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Never gets old, man. Never gets old.
NORMAN: (Whispering) What an awesome way to start out our week of taking off and just fellowship with the guys. We don’t get to do this very often. Doc, Graham and myself, we try to take off at least a week to a week and a half; spend the time together, enjoy all the work we’ve done on the farm and maybe get a few rewards. So.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Just a great shot. I mean…golly. The Deadmeat just blew a hole through her. She didn’t run, what, 25, 30 yards out of the field?
GRANT: Great shot, Norman. Some more fresh venison for the freezer.
GRANT: A few days later, Team Kentucky headed to their cabin for the opening of firearms season. When Norman arrived, he made sure his Winchester XPR was ready for opening day.
GRANT: It was a beautiful morning at Capitol Hill and Doc and Norman had a great view.
GRANT: Not long after sun up, they spotted the first deer on the far hill.
NORMAN: (Quietly) We got a couple does up on the hill already. It’s just starting to break. Should be a beautiful morning. We’ve seen a lot of activity in this area like we do every year.
NORMAN: (Quietly) I’ve got Doc with me. He’s getting ready to fly out to Kansas tomorrow. We’re gonna try to pull a double in this blind this morning.
NORMAN: (Quietly) We got enough bucks this year. We really didn’t shoot bucks last year. Killed a lot of does. Should be a fun morning hunt. Should be a great week with this weather that we’ve got coming. So, we’ll settle in; get the toboggans on; and get ready to get after ‘em.
GRANT: Suddenly, a good buck stepped out with two does.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Do you know who it is? Looks like Short G2. Oh. That’s uhh…
DOC: (Whispering) …Crowd Pleaser.
NORMAN: (Whispering) I think so.
DOC: (Whispering) Yeah. It’s a big one.
NORMAN: (Whispering) I lost him.
DOC: (Whispering) He’s right, he’s right there.
NORMAN: (Whispering) Tell me when.
DOC: (Whispering) Go.
DOC: (Whispering) Oh, yeah, baby. Oh, you got him.
NORMAN: (Whispering) I can’t see him anymore. Hold on; hold on. He just went down.
DOC: (Whispering) Yeah?
NORMAN: (Whispering) He just went down.
DOC: (Whispering) That’s what I’m talking about – right there!
NORMAN: Holy cow. He’s a stud, dude! Oh, man, he’s a stud! Oh. That’s my best buck to date, right there. (Laughter)
DOC: I knew he was a big deer when I saw him. I saw him behind it.
NORMAN: Oh, man!
DOC: And she was peeing; when she was peeing, I saw it behind it. I was, like…
NORMAN: Oh, my gosh! He’s a freaking tank, man! Wow. I love this blind.
GRANT: Put another notch in the Capitol Hill blind.
GRANT: Norman couldn’t wait to climb out of the blind and put his hands on Crowd Pleaser.
NORMAN: We drove down to the bottom to where, where he piled up at. We kinda know where he’s at, so we don’t really need to track. But, we’re gonna walk around this little ridge and cut across a little bit of a creek and see what we got over here.
NORMAN: I’m pretty sure we know, but the excitement is about to kill me.
NORMAN: It’s a buck we call Crowd Pleaser. He is definitely one that tickled our fancy. I believe everybody would have been pleased with this guy. It’s kind of why we named him that.
NORMAN: Doing what they do in November – chasing does. Gets you killed every time.
GRANT: Well done, Norman.
GRANT: That same morning, Graham and Dustin were hunting on a different portion of the farm.
GRANT: Kentucky has a one buck limit and Graham had set a personal goal of taking a buck with his Prime bow. That meant, even though it’s firearms season, he was carrying his bow to the stand.
GRANT: Not long after first light, the first deer passed through.
GRANT: Throughout the morning, several deer passed the stands, but Graham was holding out for a hit list buck.
GRANT: Then, two does walked out in a small clearing behind Graham.
GRANT: A good buck followed.
GRANT: Graham identified him as a buck they called Short G2.
GRANT: Short G2 pushed the does away and Graham’s heart sank.
GRANT: This is not the first encounter the Kentucky crew has had with Short G2. Earlier this year during muzzleloader season, Norman had had an encounter with Short G2, but it was out of range. And wouldn’t you know it – it was from the Capitol Hill blind.
GRANT: That afternoon, Graham and Dustin chose a stand about 200 yards away from where they’d hunted that morning.
GRANT: Graham chose a stand in a timber on a ridge line. It’s about 100 yards away from a hidey hole food plot in a known travel corridor. Graham felt that bucks might pass – either coming or going. They got settled in and hoped deer would be active.
GRANT: They spotted antlers in the timber, but it was going away.
GRANT: Then Graham spotted a larger set of antlers.
GRANT: It was Short G2.
GRANT: Finally, Graham and Dustin were both on the buck.
GRANT: Great shot, Graham.
GRANT: Graham and Dustin climbed down to pick up the trail.
GRANT: The Deadmeat broadhead worked perfectly again for the GrowingDeer Team and Short G2 didn’t go far.
GRANT: Well celebrating, and enjoying the moment, Doc looked down and found something close to where Short G2 had fell.
DOC: That’s his left side. We just found it.
UNKNOWN: Bring it over here.
GRANT: Only a couple of yards away, Doc found Short G2’s shed from last year.
DOC: That’s his side.
GRAHAM: That’s amazing.
GRANT: What an incredible story.
DOC: How often does that happen?
GRAHAM: It doesn’t, dude.
UNKNOWN: That’s unreal.
DOC I get amazed every day by God. I really do.
GRANT: The guys checked the trail camera after the hunt and found out Short G2 had worked the Code Blue scrape in the food plot on the way where Graham shot him. Graham’s hunch was spot on.
GRANT: You may have noticed that Doc was wearing orange while helping Graham recover Short G2 and it’s always wise to wear orange when you’re in the woods during firearms season. But, also, Doc had been hunting.
GRANT: Since Norman had took Crowd Pleaser that morning, Doc and Norman changed positions and now Doc was behind the Winchester.
GRANT: Doc decided to hunt a food plot they’d planted with Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans during the spring and then, during the late summer, they drilled portions of it with Eagle’s Fall Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: The advantage of this technique is it provides grain and greens throughout the fall.
DOC: (Whispering) It’s November 10th, opening day of gun season. We had a great morning. Norman shot one of our top hit listers, Crowd Pleaser. And we’re hunting a field we call the Charlie Field. We’ve got three hit list bucks that we’re running between this – between this side of the farm. So, stay tuned.
GRANT: Not long into the hunt, they spotted a small buck just inside the timber.
GRANT: Not long after that, they spotted a doe walking up the hill and hoped a buck would follow.
GRANT: Suddenly, a buck they named “Next Year” went bounding by. Doc and Norman hoped Next Year or another buck would sneak into the plot and grab a bite.
GRANT: They didn’t have to wait long as they heard a soft grunt and noticed that behind them a doe and a buck had snuck in.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
DOC: (Whispering Yes!
GRANT: The blood trail looked good, but while following the trail, they bumped the buck and wisely decided to back out and take it up again in the morning.
NORMAN: Thank you so much, man. (Inaudible)
DOC: Great day yesterday at our farm. Killed three hit lister bucks: Crowd Pleaser, Short G2. We thought this was “Chevon” but it’s actually “Nubs” – another deer. It’s a 9-pointer. And, uh, but, definitely, a good mature buck.
DOC: And we kind of went to go find him last night; jumped him a little bit. So, we backed out; waited ‘til this morning. We kinda knew where he was at – sort of direction.
DOC: Brother Norman found him for us and we’re excited to have him down.
NORMAN: Yes, sir.
GRANT: Congratulations, Doc. That was a great hunt and a great buck.
GRANT: Team Kentucky has done a great job of improving their habitat and they had an incredible opening day as a result of years of hard work.
GRANT: I’m very proud of Norman, Doc and Graham for setting goals, sticking to their goals, doing all the hard work and then reaping the rewards. I expect their work will pay dividends for years to come.
GRANT: November 10th was also the opening of Missouri’s firearms season and Pro Staffer Chase White took his wife, Sheena, to the woods.
GRANT: During 2016, Sheena harvested her first deer with a rifle.
CHASE: That’s your first…
SHEENA: I killed a deer! (Inaudible)
GRANT: This year Sheena was back and looking for another buck.
GRANT: Chase and Sheena hunted opening morning and saw a deer; had a close encounter, but she decided to give it a pass.
GRANT: That afternoon, Chase took Sheena to a hollow where several ridges come together. Such locations are usually great travel corridors, especially during the rut as a buck can scent check multiple ridges from a small area.
CHASE: (Whispering) Opening day of rifle season here in southern Missouri – 2018. I’m filming my wife this evening. We went this morning; had some encounters; it was a little bit too quick for a video. We couldn’t get in here where we wanted to.
CHASE: (Whispering) Tonight, the wind switched; got good southeast breeze. We’re up in the Summits; new set. And I think we’ve got an awesome spot. We’re gonna sit here and see what happens. We’re in early. It’s about 1:00. Hopefully, we can catch a buck cruising.
CHASE: (Whispering) This spot right here is really good for bucks checking for does – in between does. It’s a little holler with several ridges running through this one spot. So, hopefully, this funnel that God made will bring us a nice buck tonight.
GRANT: Chase had several trail camera pictures of a buck he called “G3” and believed the rut was just the ticket to get G3 active during the day.
GRANT: Sheena and Chase didn’t have to wait long.
CHASE: (Whispering) Aww, that’s a good buck, Sheena.
SHEENA: (Whispering) Is it, hon?
CHASE: (Whispering) Yeah, that’s a shooter. That’s a big – that’s G3. That’s G3.
SHEENA: (Whispering) Nope.
CHASE: (Whispering) Take your time. You’re all right.
CHASE: (Whispering) All right. Get ready.
CHASE: (Whispering) Whenever you’ve got an opening, let me know.
SHEENA: (Whispering) I’ve got one. (Inaudible)
CHASE: (Whispering) You tell me when to stop him.
SHEENA: (Whispering) Stop him.
CHASE: (Whispering) Right now.
SHEENA: (Whispering) Did I get him?
CHASE: (Whispering) You definitely hit him.
SHEENA: (Whispering) Play it back and see.
GRANT: Sheena and Chase couldn’t tell exactly where the shot hit, so they decided to review the footage.
GRANT: Chase thought the shot looked good, but Sheena wanted to lay her hands on the buck before she celebrated.
CHASE: (Quietly) That’s G3.
GRANT: They climbed down to pick up the trail.
SHEENA: (Quietly) All right. We just got down from the stand and we are gonna go see if we can find the buck. I’m pretty anxious. This is the biggest buck I’ve ever shot at. And I, hopefully, killed him.
CHASE: (Quietly) All right. Let’s go.
CHASE: (Quietly) You got (Inaudible).
CHASE: (Quietly) Yeah?
SHEENA: Oh, my gosh. Holy crap. That is freaking awesome. Is that the one you thought it was?
CHASE: Hmm, hmm.
SHEENA: (Inaudible) Feel this big when it’s in your hands.
CHASE: That’s a good deer.
SHEENA: Oh, my gosh. My first, my first buck. That is so cool. Oh, my Lord. Thank you, Jesus.
SHEENA: Oh. All right. I am so excited right now. This is my first big buck. And we got a chance to look at him this morning, but I didn’t get him on film. Couldn’t get a shot off at him either. And so, we came out this afternoon and we weren’t sitting too long and here he came down the ridge and had a good shot at him. And here he is. And I’m so excited. This my first big buck and I never imagined I would get something like this today.
GRANT: Congratulations, Sheena, on a fine buck.
GRANT: Even though it’s the rut here in Missouri, I recently took some time out to visit with the Rogersville, Missouri FFA class. These young men and women toured The Proving Grounds and I shared some advance soil improvement techniques with them.
GRANT: So, I’ve got this mulch. It’s never disturbed. My goal is to keep the ground covered with a living plant as many months out of the year as possible.
GRANT: And I get more than anyone else in Taney County I’m aware of. You know how that is?
GRANT: Because all the beneficial bacteria and earthworms and everything I’ve got in this soil that I didn’t have when I started, I could not… (Fades Out)
GRANT: Many of the students are leaning toward a career in ag, while some of the others are looking at a career in wildlife. I was thrilled the students wanted to learn about soil conservation and improvement techniques. And I hope our visit inspires them to continue on in their education and improve these techniques even more and have a heart for conserving our natural resources.
GRANT: About half of the deer season is left in most states. If you’d like to see the techniques we use week by week, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.
GRANT: It’s easy to be busy during Thanksgiving, but I hope you take time to get outside and enjoy Creation and, most importantly, find some quiet time and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
SHENNA: Hey, bub.
CHILD: Whatcha doing? Kill one?
SHEENA: Guess what I, guess what I got?
SHEENA: I got a big deer.
SHEENA: It’s G3.
SHEENA: I shot G3.