This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode, click here.
>>GRANT: Out scouting for acorns and, you know, it’s almost September 11th, 9/11. I’m walking around free as a bird doing what I love to do. And that’s only possible because of the many that sacrificed for the freedom of the United States of America and are still sacrificing.
>>GRANT: I’m not talking current politics. I’m talking about freedom – hard won through hundreds of years. I want to take a moment and thank everyone in the military, police, first responders, firemen that make this a better place to live every day.
>>GRANT: And I encourage you not just to say it, but to act it – to go up and support to contribute the funds to help those that help us live this free and great life in the USA.
>>GRANT: It’s August 31st, and Missouri’s archery season opens September 15th. Some states, a bit earlier; some states a bit later. But no matter where you chase whitetails, it’s time to be doing some serious scouting.
>>GRANT: If you hunt in an area that’s primarily row crop ag, including corn and soybeans, deer can hide in that corn until it’s cut. But they’re going to be eating in bean fields and that often means using travel corridors to get there.
>>GRANT: And you can use HuntStand to study the area, find those travel corridors and may not need to put a lot of boots on the ground to know where to place your blinds.
>>GRANT: If you’re like most of the whitetail hunters, you hunt in timber country. You hunt in stands of pines or hardwoods like here that have food plot programs.
>>GRANT: Some properties have no food plot programs or you could be like here at The Proving Grounds which have large food plot programs. Either way, you need to be out scouting and figuring out which food plots deer are feeding in and how they’re approaching those areas.
>>DANIEL: There’s a deer right there. I got two, three –
>>GRANT: They look good, too.
>>GRANT: Even in timber country, food plots aren’t the only source of food for deer. But about this time – September – deer go from seeking high protein foods to foods high in energy or high in carbohydrates. And in timber country, that often means acorns.
>>GRANT: If you hunt in an area with large, contiguous stands of hardwood forest, you’re going to have to put a lot of boots on the ground, good set of glasses and find the trees that are producing acorns this year.
>>GRANT: You can’t just go on past observations because the weather each spring is a huge determinant on which trees and which species will produce acorns.
>>GRANT: You may recall that this spring a wicked cold front went through a large swath of the whitetails’ range. Texas was hit hard. Here in Missouri, we didn’t lose power, but it was way colder than normal. Way down in the freezing temperatures. And that occurred at a time when oaks were setting flowers. And if those flowers are frozen, just like peach trees or apple trees, they won’t end up producing a fruit or a nut.
>>GRANT: Standing by a white oak and this time of year they’re making flowers. And it’s supposed to be 27 here tonight – much colder up north. It’s going to rain and snow. These are going to freeze and get damaged and it’s going to greatly reduce acorn production. So, I know right now that if I can find a tree this fall – a white oak that made acorns somehow, that’s going to be a hot spot. That’s going to be what I call a feed tree.
>>GRANT: If you’ve been in Florida, you’ve seen large fans in the middle of the citrus groves. And that’s to keep air moving. Because if you can keep air moving, the freeze or frost may not settle on the flowers of those citrus trees or even oak trees. And those flowers will develop without being frozen and produce nuts or fruit.
>>GRANT: That’s why I was excited to get out and scout this large white oak right behind me. It’s on top of a ridge, so any air moving would have been moving here.
>>GRANT: Cold air settles, so it probably wasn’t quite as cold here. And being out in the open, that wind could blow and keep the frost from settling on the flowers versus over here in the timber where the air is much stiller.
>>GRANT: If this tree produced acorns and the rest of the white oaks in this neighborhood didn’t, it will be a hot spot once those acorns start to fall.
>>GRANT: Scouting for acorns is relatively easy. I like to go out a couple weeks before season so my disturbance can fade away, have some good glasses and spend some time zooming in and out of that canopy looking thoroughly for acorns.
>>GRANT: Now if the tree is loaded, you can probably glance with your eyes and find them. But if it’s a spotty year and not a lot of production, you’re going to have to zoom in and out through that lush, green canopy to see if any acorns were produced.
>>GRANT: I’ll share that I snuck a peek at this tree while Daniel was setting up the cameras and I’m so excited. There’s not a lot of acorns but the ones that are there are huge.
>>GRANT: That means that the acorns won’t be falling over an extended period of time – over weeks on end.
>>GRANT: It’s going to be a narrow window when those acorns hit the ground. And if you’re not hunting in that narrow window, you’re going to miss this feed tree opportunity.
>>GRANT: This food plot is called Big Boom. It’s on Boomerang Ridge and it’s the largest plot on this ridge system. It’s about three acres, but it’s really long and skinny.
>>GRANT: So, we put the Redneck Blind years ago on the high spot, so we could see deer throughout the entire food plot and, conveniently, that was about 20 yards from the white oak. And through the years, my family, friends, and I have had several great hunts out of that Redneck Blind, especially during the early season when the white oak is dropping acorns.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] You smoked him.
>>RAE: There he is. Dang.
>>GRANT: This year we’re going to need to time it just right and make sure we don’t miss the window because someone in probably just a week’s period of time or so will likely have a buck within bow range.
>>GRANT: I mentioned earlier deer are really starting to crave carbohydrates. Acorns are one but look at this great stand of milo. That was part of the Summer Release blend we planted in this field.
>>GRANT: Deer have eaten a lot of the beans and peas and other legumes that were in here. This milo is just starting to ripen. And as we get a little cooler and it ripens more, deer are going to be flocking in here.
>>GRANT: So, right off the bat, hopefully, we can hunt that white oak and, a little bit later, this place is going to be buzzing because there’s not many acorns throughout the timber where deer are feeding on the tons of milo seedheads produced in this field.
>>GRANT: I was eager this morning to check out this white oak. This was our first stop because white oaks have a sweeter nut than red oaks. White oaks are lower in tannins.
>>GRANT: Tannins make food products taste a bit bitter. So, when these white oaks hit the ground, they’re going to be first choice. They tend to fall quicker, and they taste better than red oaks.
>>GRANT: But I know where there’s a big red oak also in the food plot, so the air was moving, should be a crop of acorns and we’ve also seen and tagged a bunch of deer below that tree.
>>GRANT: Another reason I need to thoroughly check out red oaks is they’re different than white oaks. White oaks set a flower in the spring, almost like this milo and then it produces grain. The acorns, like this milo, produce seedheads.
>>GRANT: Red oaks – they produced a flower last year, held that flower throughout the year and then it produces an acorn this year. So, it takes two years from flower to acorn on a red oak.
>>GRANT: White oaks flower and produce nuts the same year. Red oaks flower, hold that through the year and then produce acorns. So, the late freeze we had this year did not impact the crop of red oaks that set flowers last year.
>>GRANT: Red oaks are likely to have more acorns in the open or in the timber. But those ones in the open can photosynthesize more and tend to make a lot more acorns. Let’s go check out a red oak that’s an open-grown tree.
>> ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Green Cover Food Plots, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Thlete Outdoor Apparel, Morrell Targets, RTP Outdoors, Fourth Arrow, HuntStand, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Burris Optics, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.
>>GRANT: This is a big red oak right behind me. If we look close, you’ll see little hairs or bristles on the end of the lobes of the leaf versus on a white oak which would be smooth. And this baby is loaded. Now, remember, red oaks set flowers last spring – a year ago last spring – that are the acorns this year. So, they set flowers in 2020 and those are now maturing into acorns during the fall of 2021.
>>GRANT: And what’s interesting and I don’t know why – I assume it’s to do with the cold and the amount of air moving – but the acorns lower on the tree are about normal size. The acorns like the last third up in the crown, babies are golf ball sizes. They’re huge. I can’t wait to watch a deer try to get that jawbreaker in there and chewing on it, distracting them when I come to full draw.
>>GRANT: This tree out in the middle of the food plot again is loaded. Now we’ve got a history here. Daniel tagged a great buck out of that tree.
>>GRANT: We can get into it easy with a west wind or a north wind or a south wind. We can come in from the east, walk right down the food plot edge, cut into the tree, shinny up early in the afternoon because it’s in the open. And out on a high spot on the ridge, the wind will be more constant. If we were off this ridge 100 yards, it would swirl much more.
>>GRANT: We’ll plant this with the Fall Release blend, so we’ll have greens amongst the grain that’s in here.
>>GRANT: Now, this food plot is kind of isolated and much of the milo has already been gnawed on here. And there’s several reasons why. This is a dry, west-facing slope. Some other factors have caused it to mature a little bit quicker. But they’re consuming a lot of the milo heads on the edge, still plenty to eat in the middle.
>>GRANT: This is going to be a hot spot. We call this Twin Oaks and I promise you we’ll be bringing you some hunts from Twin Oaks soon.
>>GRANT: Knowing the difference between red and white oaks and how the weather impacts acorn productions of both are a great way to determine where you should go scout this fall.
>>GRANT: You need a really good set of binos; you need some good boots; be willing to cover some ground. Go out now because the acorns are large enough, or they’re totally absent. And you can determine where deer will be feeding come hunting season.
>>GRANT: If you’re in ag country, acorns can still be a factor. You’ve got a big white oak and fence row in Illinois or Iowa, and it’s raining. Deer are going to be feeding there versus some cropland at least while the acorns are available.
>>GRANT: If you’re in timber country, you need to do more scouting to find those feed trees, get a stand set up, let it settle down and get ready to hunt.
>>GRANT: If you’re doing a hang and hunt, especially in big timber – you’re looking for acorns and you’re going to hang and hunt, you’ve got to be on your A-game. Because those deer are likely not bedded far from that source of food and it’s easy to blow them out.
>>GRANT: Hang and hunts are a great way to hunt. Very fun. Really thrilling when it works out. But if you’re doing that on acorns and not just a trail or something, realize that deer tend to bed close to the feed trees. You need to get up as quietly as you can.
>>GRANT: Scouting for acorns is a great way to learn the terrain and just get outside and enjoy Creation. Even more importantly than scouting or tuning up your bow, is stay in tune with the Creator. And the way to do that is find time every day to be quiet and seek His will for your life.
>>GRANT: Thanks for watching Growing Deer.