Deer Hunting: Strategies and Fall Food Plots (Episode 96 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: Tuesday, September 20th. Beautiful day here at The Proving Grounds. Now bow season has been open five days, but it’s still warm enough and we finally got a little rain. So, we’re doing some hunting and habitat management this week.

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GRANT: September 15th, Thursday afternoon, was the first day of archery season here in Missouri. Adam and I went to a stand I’ve kind of been putting on the back burner. It’s on Boom Back – right where an elevator ridge comes up to the main ridge. I like hunting such intersections even during the early season as deer are in that food, cover, food, cover pattern.

GRANT: (Whispering) Deer should be coming up or coming up this feeder ridge right here into the main ridge. Big white oak in front of us with some big acorns on it. They’re just starting to drop. Let’s see what happens.

GRANT: (Whispering) Another note. Always put your street clothes in the truck in case it starts raining.

GRANT: (Whispering) Acorns seem to be the ticket so far. I can hear ‘em crunching ‘em as well as see the deer.

GRANT: (Whispering) Great start to the 2011 season. Saw some deer, found all our gear. Everything’s ready to go. It’s gonna be a great year. Stick with us.

GRANT: Those light sprinkles of Thursday turned into sure enough rain on Friday. Perfect planting conditions. Now, my big fields have all been planted with equipment. But I maintain several little hidey hole locations. I define hidey holes as food plots so small that they provide enough forage just to track deer during the hunting season, but all that forage is gonna be consumed and long gone before the late winter stress period when deer really need it. They’re just planted simply to attract deer to an area for great hunting locations. Adam and I went out and grabbed some seeders and planted seven of those during the rain.

GRANT: I really like planting hidey holes in the rain, because again, they’re so small, I usually can’t get equipment to ‘em. They’re hidden. They’re off a back way or something like that. But I just spray the area, which we did earlier this year; trimmed it out – when you saw the interns and I doing that this summer and then go in at the right time when there’s soil moisture and it’s raining and spread the seed. Those raindrops actually happened to hit the ground, bring dirt up and help cover the seed and provide great moisture so that seed will put a root out and get into the ground. If it just lays on top of the ground when it’s dry, squirrels and birds will consume most of those seed or they may desiccate and die. Planting during the rain is great if you’re just using a hand spreader.

GRANT: I knew we were a little late getting in there, so we selected a stand that had a great entrance and while I’m pulling my bow up, sure enough, Adam says, “Deer, deer.”

ADAM: (Whispering) That’s good. On it.

GRANT: Now, when I saw those deer, I thought maybe old big boy might be following ‘em and I’m pulling that bow up and made a little too much movement and we got busted at the end.

GRANT: (Whispering) We may be in the calm right before the storm. The wind’s kinda laid down. We’re right here. It’s coming, folks. It’s just a matter if we get to hunt or it gets too wet for the camera.

GRANT: The light rain of Friday night turned into a serious rain on Saturday and we really needed the moisture. So I got up, saw there was no hunting opportunity; go back to bed. A little later, get my youngest daughter, Rae – nine years old – up and said, “Honey, let’s have some fun. Let’s splash in the puddles.” She didn’t know splashing in the puddles was gonna be in our hidey hole spots with a seeder on, but she’s a good sport.

GRANT: We had some soybeans that a friend of mine had just gave me. He had two bags left over. But, young soybeans, this tall, are just as attractive to deer in the fall as they are in the spring. Certainly the frost is gonna kill ‘em before they make pods, but that’s great forage for another month or so.

GRANT: (Laughter) We had a great time and I can’t wait to hunt over those soybeans here in a couple of weeks.

GRANT: Here’s a real world follow up for you. Adam and I planted on Friday. We were filming this morning on Tuesday and the clover and some of the wheat has already germinated. Now clover is a small seed. It can bust and germinate quick. That rain this weekend and hot sunshine today had clovers already germinated. Such a huge difference in planting in ideal conditions when the seeds don’t get stressed out laying there for a week or two or planting during a drought or tough conditions and each seed becoming weaker and weaker, waiting for enough moisture to cause germination. Looks like we’ve got a great stand because we took the gamble, got out in the rain and planted.

GRANT: Tuesday morning, September 20th and Adam and I had a great afternoon in a treestand yesterday overlooking a milo field.

GRANT: Now, we’ve got milo in four different places. We planted the milo in June when it was wicked dry; no rain in July; almost no rain in August. No doubt the deer are gonna start using it. But it’s a little iffy because there’s no milo in counties around me. Deer have never seen milo on my property. But we hunted last night and got a little feel for how quick the deer are going to adapt to milo this year.

GRANT: The unknown question was: will deer learn to eat milo on my property? But, we watched several yearling bucks last night consuming the milo. Now, we were overlooking a white oak acorn tree that was dropping, thinking a deer would come to that. And they eventually did – late on – but for the first hour, they were out in the milo field consuming milo. The milo is not quite ripe yet. You can tell those heads are still green. But each seed pod is filled out. We’re just a week or two away from hunting a lot of milo.

GRANT: I hope you’ve had time to get out and enjoy Creation with your family this week. And I hope you’ve accomplished two other goals: you’ve identified some hit list bucks – no matter what your harvest criteria is – and you’ve identified the most limited of the limited resources – food, cover, water. Putting those two together, the most limited of the big three and hit list bucks is a great recipe for success. That’s what we’re doing here at The Proving Grounds. Thanks for watching