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WOODS: Good morning. It’s August 11th and it is super dry at The Proving Grounds. Now, wherever you’re watching from, you’ve probably seen the news. There’s a ton of rain up north. Crops are flooded out and farmers can’t get in the fields, but here at The Proving Grounds, it is rock hard, because we just haven’t had rain. And we’re just south of all those rain bands going through. But, these beans have been doing excellent and that’s probably based on the amount of fertilizer to Antler Dirt to composted litter, holding whatever moisture we have and Eagle Seed beans just are so vigorous to grow. But, you can see the difference in the cage here. Clearly a lot of browse pressure.
The reason I think there’s so much browse pressure right here is, of course, the plants and woods have hardened off because it’s dry. It’s not getting the Antler Dirt and the second thing is, just over the ridge is where we burned 50 acres this spring and we created a tremendous bedding area over there. And in between that bedding area and this field, we actually had one of our camera survey stations with the Trophy Rock. We know we’re getting a couple of shooter bucks in there on a daily basis and a bunch of younger bucks so, it makes sense, you know, bedding, food, bedding, food, creek in the middle for water. Bedding, food, water, bedding, food, water, with the least amount of movement a deer has to do and that’s exactly what they want this time of year.
That’s what you should be scouting for that early September opener, so Missouri’s bow season opens September 15th. We’re gambling that pattern will hold unless we get a huge amount of rain and so we want to scout this. So, we just pulled our trail camera early this morning, before it was light enough to film, off that mineral lick. We’ll show you some pictures of those bucks off there and we’re gonna hang it on a tree right back behind me, so we can scout the whole field. We’ve talked about this in the past, but time lapse photography, using those Reconyx cameras is a tremendous tool, especially for early season hunting.
WOODS: When I look at this field, it’s pretty evenly browsed throughout the whole field and no overt sign; the ground is so hard, we’re not seeing tracks of where deer are coming and going. Where do we put the stand or the ground blind? But with Reconyx, using it on time lapse, we can cover almost a whole field, get some pictures without disturbing them of where they’re coming, when they’re coming, put our blind up and we’ll be ready for September 15th.
WOODS: Sometimes hunters ask me why deer tend to eat, to browse off a field so even. You know, it’s not two foot tall in one place and a foot tall somewhere else. And the reason is real simple. Especially on a high quality plant like the soybean, is the highest quality of forage is that tallest leaf sticking out that just grew. It’s lush, it’s really soft. It hasn’t gotten hard yet and that’s what we want. We want them ingesting the highest quality forage to give us the largest antlers and best milk, most fawn production. And that’s what we see in this field. It’s just mowed across the top. But, by doing that, the residual leaves down here are still catching the sun’s energy, photosynthesizing, making sugars and keeping the plant alive. If they just browse it all the way to ground like a sheep or a horse would do, they would kill the plant, so that’s working at the plant’s advantage and the deer’s advantage. Now, the plant is still suffering. These are obviously not gonna make enough beans to leave standing all winter as a valid food source. But, there’s enough daylight showing here, that here in a couple of weeks, as soon as we get some rain, we’ll just come in and broadcast our Antler Dirt and our wheat right on top of this and the deer will continue eating on this forage while the new wheat is growing right between it and then there’ll be a trade off where that becomes more palatable than the beans and we’ve cleaned the table. Deer keep eating here day after day because they’re finishing up one course, if you will, and preparing to start the next course. It’s really important that you don’t clean the table at your Proving Grounds.
WOODS: We put the camera up over the obvious food. This is the obvious bedroom. We just want to use the camera to see what time they’re getting to the food. We know where they’re staying and based on the time the camera shows us, we know we can either hunt the food or back off closer and closer to the bedroom, based on the data we get. It’s all about collecting data and planning your hunt.
WOODS: We’ve just backed off the field we were filming in this morning, about ten yards or less. I love getting the camera back in if the wood line is open enough. There’s a little hole right here where I can put my camera up. I’m, I don’t know, seven, eight feet off the ground, something like that. And I’m looking out over the whole field. I’m giving up just a few yards of one corner, but at this view, I can see 150 yards down the field. Now, my motion detector is not picking up deer 150 yards away, so I’m using a time lapse option we talked about a lot here on GrowingDeer.tv. Remember, on a Reconyx camera, you just set to take a picture. It’s totally programmable, but I’m gonna have it take a picture from daylight ‘til about 9:00 a.m. in the morning every 15 minutes. Now, if a deer runs through in the middle of that, it’s probably not going to pick it up, but one deer trotting through on a non-recurring event is not something I’m gonna hang a stand and put a ground blind up to hunt. But, I get a pattern of deer coming out, either in the morning or in the afternoon, the same way about four or five in the afternoon. It’s programmed to start taking pictures every 15 minutes ‘til dark, boom. Wait. Boom. Wait. Boom. Wait. And if you’ve got some old bachelor groups coming in there, you’re gonna know exactly where they’re coming day after day. You’re able to get these pictures, not walk over the field, scouting, looking, sneak in there and hang your tree stand and put your blind up and you’re ready to do the business end of deer season.
We spent all summer, you know, planting and burning and putting our mineral licks out and doing our herd survey and now it’s time to start scouting and reaping the benefits of several months of hard work. There’s still management activities going on, but we’re easing over; we’re flipping over to the hunting side of deer management and that’s why we manage deer. To enjoy creation. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.