This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: It seems like a lot of stores want to skip Thanksgiving this year. Everybody’s focused on Christmas. But I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and I’ll bet you do to. Gosh, my Dad made it through cancer. We’ve had a great season, even though the conditions are pretty dry. And we’re having some great hunts this fall. More importantly, I’m spending time with family and friends enjoying Creation.
GRANT: The biggest reason to be thankful is that we were created by a loving God. And he gave us all this to enjoy and He’ll speak to us daily if we’ll slow down and listen to Him. This Thanksgiving, take a special moment to be quiet and get your family together and enjoy Creation.
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MATT: Well, it doesn’t take much convincing for Adam and I to pack the truck and head west. We’re headed to Kansas with our good friend Richard Lee.
MATT: After looking at the forecast, we knew we’d be facing warm temperatures in Kansas but still felt confident we could fill a tag. We were gonna be focusing our hunting efforts close to water but never imagined just how close we’d have to get.
MATT: Well, the hunt started off great the first morning. We were covered up in critters.
MATT: There were deer within range at first light. And although this wasn’t a shooter buck, it was still good to see a buck on its feet and moving through our area.
MATT: As the morning continued, we had a few more deer move through the area as well as turkeys and even a few coyotes.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Wow!
MATT: With all that activity we’re excited to get back in the stand that afternoon. Little did we know we would never make it; during a mid-day scouting trip on another portion of the property, we spotted a bedded buck.
MATT: We were out moving blinds – saw a buck bedded in a creek bottom. We think we can put a stalk on him. He’s a good ten pointer. Come over a little bluff, hopefully put an arrow in him. We’re headed that way; we’re gonna take our time getting in – hopefully put an arrow in him.
MATT: This buck was bedded next to water in a deep ravine. Adam and I felt confident we could close the distance.
MATT: (Whispering) Got it, in my back pocket.
MATT: (Whispering) Go in light; come out heavy.
MATT: Before making the stalk, we had made up our minds to be patient. We needed all the help we could get and we were only gonna move when there was a breeze. The woods were dry and anything but quiet but we were excited to make the stalk.
MATT: (Whispering) Got southwest wind right now blowing that way. Creek coming down from the south and a creek coming in from the west. And in that ravine, right where those creeks collide is where the buck is bedded right now. So, if we can be quiet enough, I think we can creep over this bluff and he’s bedded right down there and we’ll give it a shot.
MATT: (Whispering) This buck is right over top of this bluff. We’ve got like 25 yards to go. (Inaudible) Time it right, when the wind picks up, we make our moves and just inch our way in.
MATT: Taking our time, we crept closer and closer.
MATT: Finally, I had made it and Adam stayed back just enough on higher ground so he could capture the moment.
MATT: To make a lethal shot, that Bloodsport was gonna need to fly over the hams and drop into the vitals. After envisioning the flight of the arrow over and over in my head, I was confident I could make the shot. Now it’s just a waiting game on the next gust of wind.
MATT: To limit movement, I drew my bow behind the root wad and then stood up for the shot.
MATT: (Whispering) Yes. Woo. He’s down right there. 50 yards. (Laughter)
MATT: (Quietly) Did you think that was gonna work?
ADAM: (Whispering) No.
ADAM: (Quietly) I didn’t think it – I didn’t know if it’d work cuz it’s so dang loud in here.
MATT: (Quietly) All I knew, it was enough to give it a try.
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Quietly) It was a situation you had to at least give it a try ‘cause if you didn’t you went and sat in a stand and you got skunked, you’d have been kicking yourself for not.
MATT: (Quietly) Course I got right here behind this dozer deck and used this log to be as quiet as I could to resituate my feet – get ‘em up underneath me so I could stand and make the shot.
ADAM: (Inaudible) (Quietly) I don’t even want to step down there.
MATT: (Quietly) Well. That’s – that’s where he’s bedded right there.
MATT: (Quietly) Oh man, this is steep. Ooo.
MATT: (Quietly) Feel how cool it is?
ADAM: (Quietly) Yeah.
MATT: (Quietly) It’s a lot cooler down here.
MATT: (Quietly) This is where he was bedded right here. You can see this impression. It’s a big body.
MATT: (Quietly) Just to the touch, this sand is so much cooler.
MATT: (Whispering) Waaa. Right down here buddy. (Chuckling)
MATT: When it was right for us to put on a stalk, we just took it easy. When the wind would blow, we moved. When it wouldn’t, we stayed still. We stayed patient; crept within 34 yards up on a bluff above this buck. He was bedded down in the cool where the wind was swirly so. He thought he had the advantage, but we actually did this afternoon. First time hunting Kansas and first day hunting Kansas and put a tag on him. Man, what a hunt.
MATT: From the angle of the shot, the Havoc entered the last few ribs, flew through the chest cavity and lodged itself in the opposite front shoulder.
MATT: Nope. It ain’t comin’ out. Heavy bases and a brut of a body. It’s gonna take everything we got plus the Tilt-N-Go to get him out of here. Obviously we’re in a little bit of a drain so it’s gonna be quite the haul but, um, Adam, thank you for being along. Awesome, awesome hunt.
MATT: Ready for the Tilt-N-Go?
MATT: This buck was bedded down right next to water on a shady sand bar. Our plans from the start were right – as we wanted to hunt close to water. We just didn’t imagine our hunt would turn out like that.
MATT: Kansas treated me well but I wasn’t the only one to strike pay dirt in Kansas.
GRANT: Let’s check on our Pro Staff team Heath and Lindsey Martin. During August, Heath and Lindsey started preparing for this hunt. They’ve positioned some of their Redneck Blinds and created some food plots using Eagle Seeds Monster Wheat.
GRANT: Soon after germination, deer started using the plots that Heath and Lindsey planted and our Reconyx trail cameras started picking up pictures of hit list bucks.
GRANT: As soon as the weather conditions improved, Heath and Lindsey rolled the camera to start the hunt.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Well, it’s about 5:45 and we’re set up here over a hidey hole food plot that Heath and I put in back in August. And, um, when we originally set the plot up, we had our Redneck Hay Bale Blind on the other side from where we’re sitting now, overlooking the wheat and the Trophy Rock in hopes that we would be able to catch a big buck cruising and using both of this as he travels back and forth.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) And the good news is it’s just a couple days ago, we actually did get a big mature buck, um, on the Reconyx. We’re pretty confident he’s coming in here pretty consistently though. So, we actually moved our ghillie blind from one of our other spots and just set it up this afternoon – about 2 o’clock – so at this point, this thing has been sitting here less than four hours. But, we’re hoping that the does and the big mature buck that’s been using this will go ahead and come in for the evening and give me a shot. So, we’ll see.
GRANT: During their first hunt, it wasn’t long before they heard movement.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey know this mature buck, they call him High and Tight. High and Tight gave ‘em a quick show but he was on a mission to be somewhere else.
GRANT: A few days later, Heath is up to bat and the deer really put on a show.
HEATH: (Whispering) You’d hear him chomping on acorns and breathing and chomping on the grass. I don’t think I’ve ever had a deer quite that close and it’s pretty cool.
GRANT: Thanks to Reconyx, they know even a big hit lister showed up.
GRANT: With the forecast of high pressure and a good wind direction, Heath checks the camera one more time with anticipation of a fun afternoon hunt.
GRANT: No sooner did team Martin get settled in and they hear something walking their direction.
GRANT: They’ve never seen this buck before, but Lindsey would take him if an opportunity occurs.
GRANT: This buck is close but not in a good position for Lindsey to shoot.
GRANT: Finally, the buck works his way into an active scrape and this gives Lindsey the opportunity she was looking for.
HEATH: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
LINDSEY: (Whispering) You on him?
HEATH: (Whispering) Yep.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) I mean, we kept hearing something and you know how it is. You’re like, “Is that a squirrel? Is that a deer?” You stop and look, nothing comes up. And so Heath and I had actually, basically, kinda stopped looking. And about the time – about that time he pops his head up and just like we had planned, he came in and he worked this scrape here and gave me a really great shot. Um, probably about a 25 yard shot.
HEATH: (Whispering) Awesome.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) I feel like it could have been a little bit back but not like way back.
HEATH: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
LINDSEY: (Whispering) I kinda did too. I feel like…I feel like it was a good shot. It sounded like a good shot.
HEATH: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: The shot seemed a little back so they wisely give this buck a couple hours before taking up the trail.
HEATH: (Quietly) Looks like it’s got bubbles in it – you may have got the back of them lungs.
LINDSEY: Not really. (Inaudible) There he is. There he is.
LINDSEY: Alright, well we just found him, um, really good blood trail. I think I made a pretty decent, um, quartering away shot on him and so we had a really good blood trail to follow. Didn’t take us long to get down here and we actually thought that we heard him fall. It was a fatal shot. He went down pretty quickly after I shot him. So, I’m proud of him.
LINDSEY: Um, it was a really fun hunt. We’ve really had a good time sitting overlooking that food plot and watching all the action that it’s brought in over the past couple of weeks. So, first time I’ve ever got to check a buck in here in Kansas and fill my tag. So, I’m excited. I actually don’t have any tags left here in Kansas. So, I’m excited to move on. Maybe next time you see me, I’ll be in Arkansas.
GRANT: Now that Lindsey’s punched her buck tag, it’s Heath’s turn to chase a mature buck.
GRANT: Even though deer movement is light, Heath gets the opportunity to remove a coyote from his hunting area.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yip. (Inaudible)
HEATH: Man, no big bucks for this morning but we got a good predator on the ground. So, probably saved a few fawns and I’m sure some turkey poults this next spring. So, I feel like we did our duty this morning.
GRANT: The next day they’re back at it but this time they’ve got a new addition to the crew.
GRANT: It doesn’t take long for Dreamy Doe to make some friends.
GRANT: Decoys can be a great tool for bow hunters. They often encourage deer to close the distance and offer a bow hunter a better shot. But, it’s even more fun when a big buck comes in and challenges that decoy.
GRANT: Awesome hunt, Heath and Lindsey. I can’t wait to see how the rest of your season goes.
GRANT: Like Heath and Lindsey, we’ve spent the last month or two getting ready for Missouri’s firearms season. We spent some time moving blinds and making sure our Winchesters were sighted in perfect.
GRANT: We’re shooting Winchester’s Deer Season XP again this year. Goes without saying, it’s served the GrowingDeer Team extremely well.
GRANT: This is great Rae. We like to be two inches high at 100 yards, that way we’re dead on at 200 yards. So, great shootin’ girl.
GRANT: Let’s let Raleigh shoot one of the .308s.
RAE: Okie dokey.
GRANT: In addition to making sure scopes haven’t been bumped or any other problems – sighting in is just a great way to get everyone comfortable with the trigger and ready to go long before the pressure of seeing a deer in the crosshairs occurs.
GRANT: No, I want you aiming dead center.
GRANT: The bullet’s gonna go two inches higher.
RALEIGH: To the right.
GRANT: Wow. Awesome. Now, shoot another and see how it groups, okay? Do exactly the same thing.
GRANT: Excellent shooting Raleigh; you cut the bullet hole.
GRANT: Guns are sighted in, just as importantly everyone got plenty of practice rounds in and are very confident – can’t wait for gun season opener.
GRANT: During the opening morning of Missouri’s rifle season, Matt and Raleigh chose a blind on the south end of a food plot we call Crab Apple.
GRANT: You may recall we did a lot of work in that plot this summer and recently I had a great encounter with some hit list bucks out of one of the Redneck Blinds there. Adam had seen a dandy three year old he calls Early Bird and I had seen Handy at the far end of the plot.
MATT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Shoot at anything right now.
GRANT: It was the coldest morning of the fall so far – with the temperatures reported to be in the 30s and I’m sure they were even colder in the bottom near Crab Apple field.
GRANT: The morning started off great as deer entered the field at first light. They expected to see even more deer as the sun got up and melted the frost off the forage. Oftentimes, deer will wait ‘til the frost leaves forage before they start feeding.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) It’s finally opening day of gun season here in Missouri and the weather could not be better. It’s been really warm and it’s finally cooled down – we’ve got some frost in the field. The sun hasn’t even fully came up – we’ve already seen two deer and heard two shots so, it looks like it’s gonna – solid day here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Once the frost left the Broadside, more deer entered the plot. Raleigh and Matt were focused on a fawn feeding about 30 yards from the blind when Matt noticed a large body further in the plot.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Oh yeah, I’ll take that one.
MATT: (Whispering) That’s Gumby. Raleigh, that’s Gumby. We’re taking that one.
GRANT: It was Gumby, his large drop tines a dead giveaway. Not many deer here in the Ozarks with drop tines that large.
MATT: (Whispering) Ready when you are.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Shoulder shot.
MATT: (Whispering) Take some deep breaths. We’ll let him – we’ll let him turn and get really good broadside, okay?
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Sure.
GRANT: Raleigh waited patiently for the right shot opportunity.
MATT: (Whispering) We got plenty of time so. Plenty of time.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Oh, I know. It’s just so fun.
MATT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: Gumby was feeding heavily on the Broadside blend, especially the bulbs. It’s like you could almost hear him crunching, even from 200 yards away.
MATT: (Whispering) That one right there is a good one. That shot – if he turns his head to the right like that. Yeah.
GRANT: It seemed Gumby was gonna feed all the way to the blind facing them and never offering a broadside shot.
MATT: (Whispering) There’s a good one right there – going back.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Should I?
MATT: (Whispering) He’s looking – definitely up there. I’d go ahead and take a shot.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Like shoot, like right above his leg?
MATT: (Whispering) Above his leg, yep – right in the center mass of his shoulder.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Alright. Game on.
MATT: (Whispering) I’m on him.
MATT: (Whispering) You got ‘em, Raleigh. You got him. You got him.
MATT: (Whispering) He’ll go down right here.
GRANT: Nice shooting Raleigh. Gumby’s down in the plot…
MATT: (Whispering) Way to go, girl.
GRANT: … and once again the Deer Season XP serves us well.
MATT: (Whispering) Nice shot! Nice shot!
RALEIGH: Oh, that doe’s right there – two for one.
GRANT: Does stayed in the plot even through all the crashing of Gumby going down so Raleigh jacks another shell in – puts the crosshairs on some more venison.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) (Inaudible) She was limping.
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah, oh yeah, you got her, you got here. Alright, talk to me.
RALEIGH: Oh my gosh, that was awesome. It was so pretty to watch just the sun behind the deer right there and just comin’ over the hill. It took forever because he was standing straight towards us eating um, that’s Broadside, right? Broadside.
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah.
RALEIGH: Yeah, the whole time and so he like gave us like a shot maybe once but moved too quick. And so, finally he kept turning a little bit more towards us so I took the shot. Took a few steps down the hill and – he’s down. So – excited to go see that.
MATT: (Whispering) You go girl. That’s an awesome deer. That’s a five and a half year old buck we call Gumby.
RALEIGH: Oh my goodness.
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah.
RALEIGH: That’s awesome.
MATT: (Whispering) We’ve got his sheds from the past two years.
RALEIGH: That’s so cool.
MATT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Drop tine – not at all.
RALEIGH: Hmm. Hmm. This is the field where I killed my first like, big deer kind of. I thought it was huge at the time but it is not that big. (Chuckling) So.
MATT: (Whispering) And, then you just got a doe too, right?
RALEIGH: Yeah – two for one tag day.
MATT: (Whispering) That is so exciting.
RALEIGH: Quick morning, quick.
RALEIGH: There’s some frost down here.
MATT: What have you done, girl?
RALEIGH: Oh my goodness.
MATT: My goodness.
RALEIGH: He’s a big one. He’s got – big body, you can see where like he scraped a little here. Um, just an awesome morning out in the woods – just super pleasant – really quick hunt. Has a really unique set of antlers with this drop tine back here. Um. I haven’t killed anything with a drop tine like that before so that’ll be fun to have mounted. Um. So it’s gonna be an awesome day finishing up here at The Proving Grounds.
MATT: Your dad passed that deer at three and a half years old. Really close to where he’s hunting this morning. And we didn’t have any good encounters with him last year as a four and a half year old. But, we got his shed from last year and him as a three and a half year old – lots of video of him scraping.
GRANT: What a great buck! Gumby’d been on our hit list for the last couple years. Before that, Adam and I’d had an encounter with him and thought he was three years old at that time.
GRANT: This hunt was a perfect way to close another chapter of a hit list buck here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Gumby down in the field.
GRANT: Adam and I had received a text from Matt and were sitting in a Redneck Blind celebrating their success.
GRANT: I was wanting to get to Raleigh and join the celebration, but it was opening morning of rifle season and we’re sitting in the middle of “Handy land”. About that time I heard Adam say he saw movement on the far ridge.
ADAM: (Whispering) That’s our guy, that’s our guy – that’s Handy.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can take him.
GRANT: You don’t have to tag a hit list buck to enjoy Creation. Whether you’re outside working or simply taking a relaxing walk, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.