Deer Hunting: Tips & Strategies For Success (Episode 352 Transcript)

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

GRANT: We just held our sixth annual Field Event. We kicked it off with two different camera schools – one for our Pro Staff and one for our Field Staff. Adam and Matt did a great job of sharing tips so everyone could get some higher quality video this fall.

GRANT: That afternoon, after the camera schools, we offered some mini consulting opportunities. And we had several dozens of our guests bring maps, soil tests, pictures and everything about their property so we could sit down at the tables and go through it and help them develop a site specific habitat and hunting strategy for their property.

GRANT: In addition to assisting several landowners, several of the GrowingDeer partners were here to explain their products and the best way to use them to get the most out of their habitat and hunting plans.

GRANT: Morrell Targets even had a great bow range set up so folks could practice and make sure their bows were tuned in for the upcoming season.

GRANT: No doubt everyone here was a diehard hunter and they were all excited about the upcoming 2016 season.

ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, Dead Down Wind, Antler Dirt, LaCrosse Footwear, BloodSport Arrows, Flatwood Natives, Morrell Targets, Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana Decoys, Summit Treestands, Drake Non-Typical Clothing, Howes Lubricator, Genesis No-Till Drill, LEM Game Processing, Fourth Arrow, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

GRANT: The next morning started early as we gathered at 7:00 a.m. and the first stop was with professional trapper, Clint Cary.

GRANT: We met…gosh…

CLINT: I don’t know. (Inaudible)

GRANT: …a long time ago.

CLINT: I’ve known you a little while.

GRANT: And, and I fancied myself as a trapper until I met Clint. And I realized I’m still an apprentice and I’m still learning. So, Clint’s given us some great demonstrations in the past on different sets – flat sets and dirt holes and all this stuff, so – and you can see all that online. So, I’ve asked him this year to go on a little bit to the graduate level and talk about how he particularly gets critters to that set.

CLINT: There’s so many coyotes that run right by your sets. Okay? And you hear it preached all the time – location, location, location. You can be dead on location and miss 50 to 60 percent of the coyotes that come by.

CLINT: This is my trap right here. So, what we’re wanting to do is increase the excitement. So, we’re gonna take this product right here we’ve got and we scatter this all out in the road. Okay. Once we started doing this and putting cameras on it, we had coyotes stopping dead in their tracks out here now as they pass by it. So, that’s the first thing we do is I’ve got him stopping out here in the road. You at least got a chance at him now.

CLINT: Yes, you want to pay attention to the wind, but the wind’s gonna change. It’s always gonna change and have some variability to it. So, you want to stop him somehow out there in the road.

CLINT: I started off using lure out there in the road and that’ll work. So you, you just want to do something, though, to get that coyote’s attention as he’s cruising by. The way I used this loud lure is I take it and I would smear it out here. Don’t step in that.

CLINT: Lure don’t smell natural, really. They’re attracted to it but it’s not something natural. It’s got a loud odor and it’s something they’ve really never smelled before. So, lure has its place, but to me, those loud lures don’t go at your trap. Not loud like that. The lure is to get the animal here. Alright. Animal gets close enough – if she was off location, then she’s got all this out here to create a lot of excitement. She starts feeling more comfortable. Alright. Then you’ve got your bait and your set over here and you can end it right there.

GRANT: Clint explained how he uses lures to get a coyote’s attention at great distance and bring ‘em on in, but uses baits right near the trap to seal the deal.

GRANT: Next, we headed down the road aways to one of our ridgetop food plots.

GRANT: Why would you ever pay to put nitrogen on a food plot? Ever. It’s super common. All you gotta do is plant a plant that takes that from the air – with the right bacteria – converts it and puts it in the soil. And you’re next crop – if you’re doing it the way we propose – will be a non-legume. Legume is fixed nitrogen like a grain, like a brassica or a grain, a weed or a turnip or something. And they will suck up this nitrogen that these plants made for free.

GRANT: You didn’t drive over your field, compacting soil, putting nitrogen down. You didn’t do any of those things. It’s all there. Literally. I mean, literally there. And I know this is so anti what we’ve all been taught for decades. But there’s farmers doing this now extremely successfully and financially successfully.

GRANT: So, by plants constantly growing throughout the growing season. You know, when it’s 20 below or five below or five above plants aren’t growing. Right? But, when it’s possible to grow, they’re pulling nutrients up. These decay, release nutrients and that’s – the next crop takes ‘em up and that’s where we get our recycling.

GRANT: So, this field – as beautiful as it looks – we’re going on our – what will be our fourth year that we have not added any nutrients to this field. No lime, no fertilizer, nothing. Not Antler – nothing. And we’re doing that through refining our rotation of what plants we do.

GRANT: So, some plants are really good at taking up some nutrients. This is obviously making a lot of nitrogen. Some plants pick nitrogen out of the soil and store it. Some pick phosphorous. And figuring out those – we call – generically call ‘em cover crops – or farmers do. I call it deer browse.

GRANT: And what I’ve been really working on – and Adam and Matt and Daniel – is finding crops that are good at that. That deer like to eat also. Not just – there’s hundreds of species that could be used for cover crops or plants. But finding ones that fit our need – that deer want to eat – that I prefer deer browse – is really the secret to where Eagle and I are going. Working together and putting together blends that are more than just, “Boy that’s green. A deer walks out and we can shoot it.” But, actually improving the soil and saving money.

GRANT: And quite candidly, you might pay a couple bucks more a bag for this type of seed because these are not, you know, the standard run-of-the-mill seed. But you’re saving tons of money by not having to put all the fertilizer down. And you’re getting, improving the soil. All those things that make it the browse plan. I mean, this is designed for what we’re doing – not just a soybean plant.

GRANT: But, I encourage you to grab a bean there, here, whatever. Pass ‘em around. I saw a couple being passed around. And look at all the nodules on here. I mean, it’s just incredible amount of nitrogen putting down that our Broadside – we’re gonna drill Broadside next week if we get any more rain. We will drill next week. Right through this.

GRANT: And, and, and, and so our nitrogen is already there. And these soybeans break down pretty quickly. But look at this cover. Weeds aren’t growing through that. I mean, there may be one here, there. A little, you know, maybe where we walk today. We’re exposing a little soil or something will happen and you – but in a food plot, the occasional weed just isn’t an issue. Right?

GRANT: And if it’s a nasty weed that – pigweed or something – and we don’t want a seed base to get started – and you’ve got twelve through the field, you just walk out there one day and nip ‘em off or hit ‘em with a little Roundup, whatever, and move on.

GRANT: So, the other thing we’re doing here – and I’ll go into this in more detail – but we are converting not to a herbicide-free environment. I’m not anti-herbicide at all. But like most people, I’d like to use the least amount I need to.

GRANT: Well, in this situation, weeds aren’t coming in here. I’m gonna be able to drill my cover crop through here. And if I have a great cover crop. You know, if the deer don’t browse down too much and my Broadside does great this winter. Next spring, about turkey season or so, we’ll smash it down again, drill our soybeans right in here and I haven’t had to have a herbicide.

BRAD: Just got through with about six weeks of sitting on a bucket in our field every day cross-pollinating these plants trying to, uh, get the traits we want for either the row crop farmer for higher yield, disease resistance, uh, and, and in this case, we want more forage yield, larger leaves for, uh, producing more groceries per acre in the field for the deer. These are very late maturing soybeans, um, and that gives us an advantage in a food plot setting that it does provide, you know, four weeks longer – in some cases six weeks longer – available leaf for them to eat while they’re making pods. You can see the purple flowers all along here. These are all gonna be the pods and so he’s right on schedule for, uh, for seed production.

BRAD: The inoculant, we recommend, especially new food plots that have never been – yes, definitely, what Midwest farmers, all, you know, U.S. farmers – they don’t have to inoculate because they’ve got the inoculant built in their soil as long as they have soybeans in a rotation every two years. Uh, we do it as a fail-safe every year. There’s different types but it has to be a soybean inoculants, not a clover inoculant or a pea inoculant. So, it is specific. It’s just insurance for our nitrogen. That’s why we put it on.

GRANT: We inoculate very year here.

BRAD: Yeah.

GRANT: I mean, it’s inexpensive – inoculant is the cheapest thing we do.

GRANT: In this plot, we demonstrated use of a roller crimper. They’re designed to terminate a crop without using herbicides. Who doesn’t want to use fewer herbicides? And in addition, by creating that thick mulch layer, that protects the soil moisture that’s in the ground from evaporating, eliminates most of the weeds from coming up and creates an incredible erosion barrier – as rain falls on that vegetation, slows it down and it slowly seeps in to the ground.

GRANT: So, the crimper – not just a roller – a crimper. You see how it – I mean, totally broke that plant. Right? This top part is dead. Adam! Is Adam back there? Bring it on.

GRANT: We simply will drill right through here.

GRANT: We use several techniques to plant food plots depending on size, location and what we’re planting. And in this field, we demonstrated how we use the new Genesis No-Till Drill.

GRANT: But see how the drill conforms to the lay of the land? Because each one has individual springs. It’s not a solid bar or a solid roller type thing across the back. Those – and so you want each wheel to adjust to the perfect height where you are.

GRANT: So, I’m, I’m just gonna tell ya – I am thrilled that we can take something this rough, this slopey, this high a stand of forage and put a successful crop in. And we did it in two passes. Just that quick.

GRANT: After talking in great detail about these food plot techniques, we rolled down the mountain where Adam spent some time showing how we use mock scrapes.

ADAM: I think last year, we put up 15 different mock scrapes. We love to monitor ‘em with the Reconyx cameras. But we’re using this one as a hunting tool.

ADAM: So, we’ve got this big food plot and we’re trying to bring deer out in the middle. They may be eating right on the edge, but now we want every buck that comes in this field to come to the middle. We’re gonna do that by adding a mock scrape.

ADAM: So, I’ve cut a sycamore. First thing I do is I kind of like to trim out the bottom limbs. Basic t-post. You can get ‘em for, like, under ten bucks at a hardware store.

ADAM: You do want to make ‘em solid. We thought we could get away early on just driving ‘em in a few inches. We actually had video of a young 3-1/2 year-old and he is going to town on this mock scrape. We have a video of him just thrashing his antlers. The next picture – it’s all over the place. All over the ground. So, they can get violent with ‘em.

ADAM: We’re using just basic wire. You always want to anchor it in two places. Even if there’s not that many deer out here, this is a communication post. He may come out here to check and see if any other deer have came and worked the scrape that morning or that afternoon. Of course, in the fall, I’m wearing my LaCrosse – scent rubber boots. I want it to look like a deer has already worked it. And just like that, we have a communico – communication post mock scrape right in the middle of the food plot for any buck that comes in here during the fall to come check out.

ADAM: One thing we are trying out this year – I’ll start off – it’s synthetics. It’s all synthetic – Tink’s lures. These are the, uh, the scrape bombs and the scrape starters. We’re gonna try ‘em out and see if we can just peak the curiosity of the deer. Of course, they’re curious animals, so any extra scent out here that may cause a deer that’s just downwind to walk in here and, and offer a shot is, uh, something we definitely want to do. So we’re gonna try this out. Any you guys have questions, comments about mock scrapes?

UNKNOWN: When are you putting them out?

ADAM: I usually put them out early October, mid-October. One thing that I mentioned early on is using oak trees. That’s very important for us. I cut the sycamore ‘cause, basically, finding a good oak tree around here for that is – can be difficult sometimes. So, I’m not gonna waste one putting it out in August, so.

GRANT: We turned down a valley and went part way up a mountain to where I had a great encounter with a 3 year-old buck a couple of years ago. That buck responded to a grunt call. So, it was a neat setup to share exactly how and when I use grunts to bring in mature bucks.

GRANT: And Adam and I were set up and everything was right and we look up – I think Adam saw him first. And I don’t know, 100 yards up here or so. We saw Gumby, which is – was a great 3 year-old that year, cutting across and I grabbed a grunt and just barely (Sound Effect). You know, you think about rattling. All the commotion, movement, shiny stuff going on or (Sound Effect). Which one would you rather do, as a hunter?

GRANT: Yeah. No doubt.

GRANT: And Gumby went up. He looked at us and then disappeared. But Adam and I were both very confident. And he come out right here and stood about where that buck – he was actually a little closer – about six yards from the stand. Really tempting as a 3 year-old.

GRANT: I didn’t want to shoot him. Now, Adam said, “Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.” But I, I wasn’t gonna….

GRANT: I much prefer – like 90 to 1 – grunting over rattling. What attracts bucks – your best odds are – I mean, just write this one down. You see all these calls or shows talking about, “Man, you’ve got the Big Bruiser Call. Sounds like a 14-1/2 year-old buck. The stud out of the woods.” You know. Whatever. Well, that scares 90% of your bucks away.

GRANT: We’ve learned from experience it’s best to replicate the sounds of a 2-1/2 year-old buck tending a doe. That’s exactly why we designed the Messenger Grunt Call to sound like an immature buck tending a receptive doe. In that situation, other immature bucks – and especially mature bucks – will want to charge in and take that receptive doe from a buck that’s not capable of defending her.

GRANT: And here’s one last thing I want to say about this tool. I mean, it’s an awesome tool. I’m not just gonna see deer and grunt. I’m thinking, “Where is he going? Where is my wind stream? I need to time this grunt just right.” There’s a big difference in when you grunt. And our set up is gonna be, typically, what Adam referred to earlier as threading the needle.

GRANT: If the wind is perfectly hitting you dead perfect right on the nose, what does that tell you? It’s dead against the favor of a mature buck. If it’s perfectly in your favor, it’s 180 degrees the wrong way of where a deer wants to be.

GRANT: Our best hunts when we can get the wind at about a 45 degree angle. We’re right on the edge of getting busted and the deer is right on the edge of being safe. And don’t take that lightly. There’s a huge – Adam and I and Matt and Daniel – we work really hard to pick stands on a day to day basis where we’re right on the edge of gettin’ busted. Because if we’re fail proof – man, there’s no way a deer is gonna bust us – a mature deer is probably not going to be there, in bow range.

GRANT: We stopped again just up the ridge where on one side of the road, we used traditional timber stand improvement techniques and the other side of road we used hack n squirt.

GRANT: And I sent about a 30 yard head fire up through here to try to kill all these sassafras – these are sassafras saplings. This is obviously dead. It’s been burned multiple times, fairly hot. And look at all the stump sprouts coming back.

GRANT: So, we did all this dangerous work – chainsaws, felling trees this size and that size. Tracy doesn’t like walking over a lot of logs, uh, shed hunting. It’s tough dragging deer out of here – blah, blah, blah. This is Story A. We’re gonna go to Story B. Stay where you are.

GRANT: And we walk through with a hatchet, hopefully, a sharp hatchet. I like a little bit heavier hatchet. Hit a tree this size one time. Take my squirt bottle, put one squirt in – walk away and that tree is dead. Much safer than a chainsaw. Much less expensive than a chainsaw.

GRANT: The little limbs will dry out and fall off in a year or two. Half inch, three quarter inch or bigger, will take three or four years to dry up and fall off or an ice storm or snow storm or something.

UNKNOWN: What are you spraying?

GRANT: On sassafras, we just use glyphosate. On maples or tougher to kill trees, you go to Tordon or other herbicides. Imazapyr – spelled I’m a zapyr. Generic brands – Chopper, Gen 2. That kind of stuff is wicked on almost all species of hardwoods. But it is root and ground active. So, if Matt’s filling a bottle over here and he spilled some Imazapyr on the ground, he’d probably kill all these trees that had a root underneath him. So, in this case, I’d much rather – for pollution and cost and safety – use herbicide than mechanical means.

GRANT: All this learning had the crowd really hungry, so we turned around and rolled down the mountain and back to the house for lunch. We had a great barbecue provided by Eagle Seeds.

GRANT: Everyone had plenty to eat, but we didn’t waste any time ‘cause there’s still a lot to share. We headed back down the mountain and up another one to one of the ponds where James Hennis recently convinced me he could take a rocky soil and make it hold water.

JAMES: But don’t let nobody kid you. If you’re building a pond, a new pond or a lake, regardless again of the size, I always insist on proper construction techniques. That’s very important. Very vital in achieving success with any project you’re working on.

GRANT: James shared that almost all ponds eventually leak. And that by applying the appropriate sealants in there during construction can be a really inexpensive way to ensure that pond lasts for many decades.

GRANT: I’m just curious how many people have a leaky pond. I’d like to see this.

JAMES: Wow. (Laughter)

JAMES: I would estimate, Grant, that probably 50 out of 100 ponds that are built, at some point in time in the very near future, fail for one reason or another.

GRANT: I don’t feel so bad now. (Laughter)

JAMES: A good rule of thumb – when I’m building a pond or a lake for someone – if I can reach down and grab the soil, wad it up and hold it about shoulder high, drop it, it doesn’t shatter – pretty good soil. Provided you can (Inaudible) her up, you’re probably gonna have a good success rate making that project hold water.

JAMES: It’s also self-healing. A lot of people ask, “Well, what if a deer steps in? What if a cow or horse steps in?” No problem whatsoever. It will heal itself right back up. It’s 100% safe, non-toxic, NSF approved. You can eat, drink anything we put in this pond or any pond. Period.

GRANT: For established ponds that are leaking, James often identifies the soil type and the difference in substrates and uses a combination of sealants specific to that location to seal the pond and he guarantees his work.

GRANT: Our next stop was at a location we call Boom Pond Powerline. This happens to be where I harvested the hit list buck, Butterbean, last fall.

GRANT: One of our favorite rifle hunting spots and I want to explain why it’s such a good spot. We knew receptive does would be in one of these bedding areas and bucks would be crossing back and forth. I call it beagling or bird dogging – trying to bust up a receptive doe in there or find a receptive doe.

GRANT: And just got set up and actually doing the interview. You know, talk about why we’re hunting here or whatever. And I look down and right out of this side stood one of – one of our hit lister bucks. And, uh, man, he just come out awesome. I mean just big as life right there.

GRANT: And, and Matt was still focused tight on me and had to change the focus and all those things. So, the buck starts working his way kind of diagonal away from us. Just about to the power poles down there. And I was patient. And it was, you know, a great hunt.

GRANT: That deer – we had pictures. We knew he was in the area. We had pictures at a place up here – 250 yards or so. And some other pictures here. We knew he was in the area. We hadn’t hunted this before because we needed that strong south wind and that area is, basically, like a sanctuary. And, and if we had hunted this on a north wind or, or no wind – not a strong wind where a scent is just wanting to drift down the hill – we’d have contaminated, basically, that area and that hunt probably wouldn’t have worked. And we’re that picky about hunting.

GRANT: A lot of days we will not hunt. We’re not lazy. We just know that we’re gonna do more damage than good. We may go sit on a far mountain and glass and scout or hunt a stand we don’t have much faith in but we’re gonna save our best stands for when the conditions are absolutely in our favor.

GRANT: Because this hunt started in August when we cleared all the saplings and trees so there would be no bullet deflection. And, and that’s what it takes. I mean, if you make a living in this rough a country harvesting deer or sharing education, teaching people our techniques. We just don’t show up one morning and go kill a deer. There’s a lot of work that goes into that.

GRANT: We shared our strategy behind the Butterbean hunt and how we had stands located in proximity to bedding areas, a food source and overlooking a known travel corridor.

GRANT: The last stop of the day is always one of the most popular. And rolled up to the world headquarters of Bass Pro. We had a great meal and while folks were eating, we took one of the properties we had done a mini consult on during the day, put it up on the big screen and walked through how we would use techniques to improve the cover, water and food resources on that property.

GRANT: Each year our Pro Staff share some amazing hunts. And just as importantly, the techniques they’ve used to be successful. So we took a little time to honor our Pro Staff in different categories.

GRANT: This deer hunt was really a neat hunt. We didn’t think so solely, our viewers thought so. And this hunt occurred in the great state of Kansas with Heath and Lindsey Martin. Thank you. (Clapping)

GRANT: Heath recognizes the mature buck. It’s a big bodied eight-pointer they’ve seen during years past. It certainly appears he’s looking for the source of those grunts.

GRANT: The GrowingDeer Team wants to present Heath and Lindsey with a $1,000 check for their efforts. And it’s not (Clapping) – this was a very mature, big buck. But I gotta tell you – that’s not why – we know from viewer comments (Inaudible) on, it was the creativity and the professionalism of the videography in the field and taking time to explain the hunt and why we use the grunt call and when to use the grunt call and how they pick the stand and why they were there. Because anyone can go kill a deer on any given day – kill a good deer. But they took time to do what we’re all about – teaching others to enjoy Creation. Thank you Heath and Lindsey.

GRANT: And the top award for the GrowingDeer Team is Producer of the Year. It’s not just one great hunt. That’s important. This is producing multiple segments, as we call them, over and over that do above and beyond teaching people and sharing the joy of Creation. And as the years went on, I’ve become a huge fan of Seth and Chase as Producer of the Year.

SETH: The Havoc has done its job and that’s all good.

SETH: The riddle is over. We have solved the riddle at three o’clock in the morning on….

GRANT: …and they have families and children and busy church lives and take time to film great deer hunts. You can achieve your dreams, you can do whatever you want if you really want to do it bad enough. Thank you for leading, guys. Thanks for being…(Clapping).

GRANT: Congratulations. Each of the teams worked really hard and I can’t wait to see the hunts you produce this fall.

GRANT: Here’s a neat opportunity for us to cross paths and talk hunting. Matt’s gonna be in Baltimore, Adam’s gonna be in Nashville and I’m gonna be in Memphis at Bass Pro stores. It’s all part of their great Fall Hunting Classic. Come share some hunting stories with us and let us help you with some hunting strategies and techniques.

GRANT: It’s a lot of fun visiting with other hunters and having conversations about the upcoming deer season, but the most important conversation you’re gonna have this week is when you slow down, be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.