This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: This past weekend we hosted a field event here at The Proving Grounds. Folks came from Canada, Texas and most states in between. We had a great time sharing about our food plot techniques, hunting strategies and many other subjects.
RICHARD: So, I just want to share some general thoughts…
CLINT: Compared to, like, stepping on a rotten log…
JEFF: When we analyze it, it’s going to be strictly soil.
GRANT: Soil that any ag farmer would be proud of.
GENE: But it has other stuff, too, that will help…
BRAD: Eagle Seed Soybeans.
GRANT: We kicked off the event Friday afternoon with Jeff Hagan from Waters Ag talking about advanced soil testing and soil management techniques.
JEFF: Well, the biggest number one thing — some of you don’t have the luxury as far as, you know, with the rocky conditions, of pulling soil samples.
JEFF: But, if you’ve got an established food plot that you’re going to be pulling soil samples in, remember four inches deep is as deep as you need to go.
ATTENDEE: What about the plants that are there, you gotta pull those out?
JEFF: No, sir. That’s a very good question. No. The first thing people typically want to do is take a pocket knife or something and cut off that top to ensure it’s not in the bag. When it gets to the lab, we’re actually gonna dry that sample out and we’re gonna put it in a grinder and we’re gonna sift it out.
JEFF: So, any rock; any reside; any plant material there is gonna come out. So, when we analyze it it’s gonna be strictly soil.
ATTENDEE: What about wet or dry? Does it matter?
JEFF: Yes, sir. It does. Uh, wet or dry is not the — it’s, it’s too wet or too dry. Um, you know, if you’ve got a situation where you have to take a rubber mallet and drive that in the ground, it’s too dry. The key is getting a good core.
JEFF: It’s – same way as far as being too wet. You know, you can — if you put that in the ground six inches — if you’ve got some work ground and you put that in the ground six inches and you come out and there’s more water running out of it than there is soil, it’s too wet. Just make sure you get a good core.
GRANT: Even using the Buffalo System, where we haven’t needed to add any lime or fertilizer for several years in most of our plots, I still take soil samples annually for testing to make sure that nutrient level is appropriate to produce quality forage.
GRANT: After this session, the GrowingDeer Pro Staff members hosted a bow shoot. We had some Morrell Targets set up and everyone had a blast.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Flatwood Natives, Morrell Targets, Caldwell Shooting Supplies, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana Decoys, Summit Treestands, Drake Non-Typical Clothing, RTP Outdoors, Yamaha, Fourth Arrow, ScentCrusher, Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland, Motorola Lighting Solutions, Scorpion Venom Archery, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.
GRANT: I enjoyed meeting everyone and spending time visiting with our guests. Many of them brought maps so Daniel or I could spend some time helping them develop a habitat and hunting strategy plan.
GRANT: The next morning proved cold and rainy, but it didn’t slow us down. We met in our shop and had some donuts and hot coffee.
GRANT: Because of the weather, we remained in the shop and my friend, Clint Cary from Tactical Trapping Solutions, shared some of his advanced coyote trapping techniques.
CLINT: How do I prepare my traps? How do I treat my traps? And I’m gonna tell ya, like I told the guy yesterday, I treat them real roughly.
CLINT: But this has just been spray painted. Uh. Rust-Oleum spray paint. But, literally, most of mine, when I’m out in the field, I’m hitting ‘em with this. Getting, you know, that old red rust off and then I’m putting ‘em in the ground.
CLINT: Brand new traps. When I get — I’ll call Bill Duke to send me a dozen whatever; he sends ‘em to me; I open the box; leave ‘em in the back of my truck. When I get ready for ‘em, they go in the ground. That’s it.
CLINT: Once they start getting a little bit of a good rust coating, then I’ll spray paint ‘em kind of as we go.
CLINT: Giving that a little bit of pan tension is what I’m calling. How much poundage it takes to push down on this pan before it fires. Okay? This is a hair trigger. I touch it like this, you’re gonna get caught; it’s gonna fire.
CLINT: What you want — I compare to, like, stepping on a rotten log. You kind of give it a little test before you step over it. All right. It feels pretty good. Then you put your weight down. If the log breaks once you do that, you’re gone. Just like that. You fall down through it. Okay? But if it breaks while you’re doing that little test step, then you kind of back out. What you want is that coyote committing.
CLINT: He puts his foot down with all that weight and boom. Okay? There’s no backing out. Even two pounds of tension; three pounds — whatever you want to run — a lot of that changes with the amount of dirt you put on top of it. Just what you don’t want is zero pan tension. You want it to have some pan tension before it fires.
CLINT: Um. Baiting and luring to me is much more important than the type of set. Okay.
CLINT: This is a gland lure. A gland lure works on territorial instincts. Um. It’s a food-based lure and a loud, what is called, a call lure. I’m going to show you a secret that’s never been shown before. Never.
CLINT: This stuff right here, I mean. And I use commercial bait, too. But I am a dog food user. And it makes perfect sense. I mean, he is a dog. Baits work good. Lures are great. But, we’ve done a lot of video testing ‘cause, I mean, this is how we make a living.
CLINT: Coyotes spend — lure sets only — we see ‘em spending a minute to two minutes would be a long time at a lure only set. Lure has a job — to stop that coyote, cause interest. Because, literally, we’ve coyotes staying at different bates for 30 to 40 minutes. Okay? That’s a lot more foot movement. And bait will up your odds. Okay? Using two different lures; two different holes — little things. Don’t make it rocket science.
GRANT: Clint is a professional trapper. He’s trapped at my place and several of my friends’ places and we all give him an ‘A’ rating. If you need a little help or maybe some assistance trapping, call Clint. He’ll be glad to either help you trap or give you a training session.
GRANT: Everyone was glad that the rain finished about the time Clint ended his presentation. So, we went outside and started talking about food plots.
GRANT: This is 100% gravel right below here. Literally, 100% gravel.
GRANT: In a couple of years we’re building soil that any ag farmer would be proud of. And we do that with our system and my number one determinant for fall planting dates is never what’s on a bag. That is never even in my mind.
GRANT: My number one determinant is making sure I have adequate soil moisture. Because without that, seeds may die before they germinate.
GRANT: The second thing is I want to be 60 to 45 days before the first expected frost. Soil moisture overrules timing and if there’s no moisture, I’m delaying planting, delaying planting, delaying planting.
GRANT: If I’ve got ground cover like this and my soil is in really good shape, I’m saving moisture. Right? So, if you’ve got that soil structure I showed you back there – uh, literally, 1% of organic matter will hold about an inch of rain per acre.
GRANT: So, if you get a soil – organic matter of let’s just facetiously pick four, you can hold four inches of moisture. So, if you get in a two-month drought and you normally would get two inches of rain a month during that time, your crops never know you’re in a drought.
GRANT: The crimper is my buffalo. So, remember how the Great Prairie was built. Buffalo would come through and trample everything down and urinate and defecate. I haven’t got my crimper to defecate yet. But, I’m working on a model for that. Okay?
GRANT: Uh. No. I want to, uh, lay this down as mulch. Standing up, sun could go through here and weeds can grow.
GRANT: I want to lay it over and break that system every eight inches or so. If I do it now and it’s not in the pollen stage, it will grow back. I promise you. If we ran the crimper through here as a demonstration, two days later it would all be standing right back up.
GRANT: Plants are weaker when they’re making pollen. So, that’s why we crimp at that time of year. But we strongly prefer planting through the standing crop. It’s called planting green. The ag guys call it planting green.
GRANT: And then about three weeks later — this is painful — when my beans get about four inches tall. I know. You drive the tractor and the crimper right over it. And you’re going — “Ohhh!” ‘Cause I did.
GRANT: But they’re young and pliable. And they’re standing right back up.
ATTENDEE: You mean your tractor wheels don’t kill them?
GRANT: Nope. I wouldn’t wait ‘til their eight inches tall. But about the second set of leaves is about the perfect time. There’s a huge amount of clover out in here and, of course, this is the Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: And what I want you to notice — a real advantage of having blends in the fall is that, in some areas, some of the plants will do better than others. Notice, if you can see in there, the clover is doing much better right here than it was over there.
GRANT: Different soil types, slightly different, different aspects to the sun and different dryness, whatever. If you’ve got one monoculture in the fall it might not do too good. The summer is more forgiving.
BRAD: Uh, the diversity of his mix. He’s dead on about that. We don’t want to just plant one crop because, you know, they have different tastes during the year; during the winter. We want to give the deer the opportunity to munch on what he’s feeling like that day.
BRAD: And if your neighbor’s got clover and you’ve got wheat and they’re on his clover plots, you’re gonna notice. And you’re gonna say, “Man, I should have planted what he planted.” So diversity is always a good thing.
BRAD: So, we’ve got clover. The great thing about clover, it’s a legume. It will fix nitrogen. If you introduce the bacteria — the rhizobia bacteria, it attaches to the roots. You know, our atmospheric nights — or the air we breathe in is 78, 79 percent nitrogen. And they’re just amazing that they can pull it out and transform that to usable — in the nodule, on the root.
BRAD: If you ever want to check to see if you’ve got good, healthy rhizobium, just slice a nodule in half and it should be pink in color from the leghemoglobin that’s in there. It’s a closed system, so it has to be — if it’s effectively working — it’s closed. And then it will actually provide nitrogen later as it decays.
BRAD: But, you’ve got to have moisture; we’ve got to have oxygen. You know, good seed to soil contact. Don’t get out there when it’s too wet. You’ll compound your soil and have poor results there.
BRAD: Don’t put it too deep. A lot of people — one of the problems with disking in is that they get ‘em too deep. Or you end up with some seed on top of the ground and the birds love that. you know, opportunity. So, we try to go as natural as possible. That’s why we don’t use a lot of seed treatments because we do have animals out here eating the crops. In some cases, we’re violating federal label laws.
GRANT: We then loaded up and rode down the mountain across the rising creek; got out of the truck and listened to my good friend, Richard Hale. Richard is one of the best hunters I know and he took time to share some of his observations and hunting techniques he’s developed from a life spent in the deer woods.
RICHARD: So, I just want to share some general thoughts with you first. The most significant obstacle to learning can often be what we think we know.
RICHARD: And how many times have you learned something about deer behavior and then when you go out, you start noticing it? Well, you were seeing it all along, but you thought you knew something else.
RICHARD: Another thing that I see that really limits people’s success is they’re fixed into anything. They have, they have these parameters that limit what they can achieve. Don’t just limit yourself to one weapon or one season or one week or one piece of property.
RICHARD: I mean, you can do that and it’s okay if that’s what you enjoy, but it limits what you’re gonna accomplish.
RICHARD: I think deer are really simple. I think that’s why I understand ‘em. I’m simple; they’re simple. They don’t do very much. They eat; they sleep; they try not to get shot; they try to procreate. That’s the whole show. They don’t do anything else.
RICHARD: If you put yourself between the deer and where it wants to be and get the wind right and stay a day or two, it’s gonna show up. If it didn’t, it’s not that it’s elusive. It was just somewhere else. It really is that simple.
GRANT: Even though Richard and I have been friends for years and I’ve listened to him give presentations before, I learned a lot and I’m sure everyone else did based on the comments they shared with me.
GRANT: Unfortunately, the rain started moving back in. That never stops a true turkey hunter and that’s exactly what the boys are from Hook’s Custom Calls. Even with the rain, they gave us a great demonstration of the sounds of an early morning in the turkey woods. I enjoyed it. So did everyone else and they hung around later to give demonstrations and help to those that wanted it.
GRANT: A warm barbecue lunch provided by Redneck Blinds was a welcome sight and smell when we returned to the shop.
GRANT: After lunch, everyone decided being in a warm and dry shop wasn’t a bad location and really, it was a perfect place for Daniel to share his techniques for using Montana Decoys.
DANIEL: What I really like about these decoys is you’ll notice they’re not just flat. They’ve got little cuts in the material. It almost looks like feathers. They get going in that wind and it just kind of rustles.
DANIEL: And you’ll look up close and you’re like, “Yeah, that’s a decoy.” But when you set ‘em out there in the field, and the sun kind of hits them, and the wind’s blowing across that, they look pretty good.
DANIEL: So, you can pass that one around and look.
DANIEL: So, scouting is really important. Getting out, listening to birds, getting where you can observe birds out in the field; where the strut zones are; how, you know, how they’re reacting with jakes, hens, toms.
DANIEL: Trail cameras. You can get a lot of information from turkeys. We use trail cameras for turkeys just like we do deer. And it’s amazing. You can get a turkey on a pattern. They’re coming — they’re walking this old logging road every day. And I know, you know he’s roosted up there on the hill.
DANIEL: Kind of like what Richard’s talking about the deer. He’s almost imagining where that deer is bedded. And when he gets up, he’s stretching, where he’s gonna go and what he wants to do. You can do those same things with turkeys.
DANIEL: So, we do that with, with our, uh, trail cameras.
GRANT: Daniel pays a lot of attention to the stage of the turkey breeding season and changes his decoy setup based on that information.
GRANT: Pairing these decoy strategies with the turkey calling techniques by the Hook’s boys — well, we all felt confident we’d be tagging a tom soon.
GRANT: After Daniel, Gene Price shared some information about Trophy Rock and specifically, Plot Rock. That’s what we use to add lots of natural minerals to our food plot.
GENE: There’s different things added to this. I mean, yeah, it does have all Redmond Minerals. You know, our mother company is Redmond Minerals, so, yeah, it does have our salt; it has our clays in it; it has some other things in it. So, it’s a blend that we’ve used. So, this is just a supplement — a mineral supplement to help your soil and to be taken up with the plant and transfer it to the deer.
GRANT: Plot Rock is spread something like fertilizer and puts more than 60 trace minerals throughout the plot so plants can readily take them up and make ‘em available for deer and other wildlife to consume.
GRANT: The appropriate trace minerals make plants healthier and more palatable for deer and other critters. The last two years we’ve had success hunting over plots that have been treated with Plot Rock.
GRANT: Even though the weather and the rising creeks weren’t favorable for touring The Proving Grounds, it was a great day; and that evening, we all headed out to the College of the Ozarks for a banquet.
GRANT: Eagle Seeds sponsored the banquet and the meal and service were excellent.
GRANT: After the meal, Brad shared some great information about forage soybeans.
BRAD: Eagle Seed soybeans – why are they different? And how are they different? One thing, we get to develop them. My wife, my wife being a soybean breeder — we have a nursery of genetics that we have from a collection that her father has built through the years.
BRAD: The first thing you see is leaf size. So, we go out and we select for leaf size. We don’t need a large leaf to make an agricultural soybean. We actually probably want the smallest leaf and the smallest plant that’s the easiest to harvest and keeps us, you know, gets out of the field quickly.
BRAD: But, uh sorry. Bigger leaves, obviously that are gonna capture more sunlight, more carbon. They leave more biomass behind. So, that’s another bonus of planting a forage type is you just, you have excess vegetation leading to the same grain yield.
BRAD: Part of what we do, also, is measure the — through the use of trail cameras, digital photography — is measure how fast the canopy or the leaf covers the ground. So, that’s pretty important when you’re trying to shade out weeds and maximize light interceptions. You know, these are light interceptors from the sun — photosynthesis, the carbon, hydrogen, oxygen that was mentioned earlier today. They need to be as efficient as possible.
BRAD: And so, we’ve got different varieties that have different leaf canopy. Uh. There’s different planting methods — whether you use a drill or you use a wide row planter. Probably not great when you’re putting soybeans on 40-inch rows. You’re missing out a lot on there. So, these are some of the studies that we do in northeast Arkansas.
BRAD: These stripes are actually 20-foot long replicated plots that are five feet wide. We have a special drill that allows us to plant on the go and we can look at thousands of varieties, side by side, planting it on the same day.
BRAD: So, we’re almost — we try to — we’re almost 10,000 plots a year we look at on the side-by-side basis like that.
GRANT: Each year I like to take time to acknowledge GrowingDeer’s fabulous Pro Staff. They’re not only great hunters, but incredible people and I’m proud to be friends with each of them.
GRANT: And we’ve just been blessed. Every year has been better than the previous year. That’s a tremendous track record for any business. And we’ve just really, really been blessed.
GRANT: Everyone knows I’m an overt Christian so when I say “blessed”, I mean, I mean really, really blessed. And, again a big part of that is our Pro Staff. So, Daniel, will you come up here and help me, please.
GRANT: Graham, would you come up, please.
GRANT: So, in Kentucky, you’re allowed one buck a year no matter what weapon and Graham really wanted to tag a good buck with his bow. So in gun season while his two compadres were taking a big boomer out, Graham stuck with his Prime and tagged a great buck. Congratulations, Graham.
GRANT: That was a great hunt. I enjoyed watching it.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
GRANT: Thank you. Thank you for being part of the team.
GRANT: So to start the family off, Rylan put some venison down. Dad, here kind of helped and guide a little bit. And then, Mama puts a hit list buck down, dad guiding and filming it at the same a little bit. That was a precious episode there. And then, Christmas afternoon, he says, “Heck, I’m gonna slide out.” And he puts a buck down. So, congratulations, man. What a super season you had.
GRANT: Congratulations, man.
GRANT: So, we let y’all tell us who should be producer of the year and again, this year, it’s Heath and Lindsey Martin.
GRANT: Thank y’all so much. Congratulations.
GRANT: At the end of the banquet, we gave away some great prizes from many of our partners.
GRANT: All right, Daniel, what are we going for first, buddy?
DANIEL: Code Blue bag.
GRANT: Code Blue bag. Nothing we’re giving away is something we don’t use. You might say it’s a GrowingDeer test of (Inaudible). I’ll just read the last three. We’re gonna go quick. 664.
DANIEL: Motorola headlamp.
DANIEL: Scent Crusher Ozone Go.
DANIEL: G5 Striker.
DANIEL: Two Duke dog proofs.
DANIEL: A Hook’s call and shirt.
GRANT: I gotta tell you. Even with the weather, it was a great event. I made new friends, visited with some old ones and learned some techniques that will make me a better land manager and hunter.
GRANT: Even though the calendar says it’s spring, I’m confident spring-like weather will arrive soon here at The Proving Grounds. And if you’d like to stay tuned to our food plot and turkey hunting techniques, please subscribe to GrowingDeer’s newsletter.
GRANT: Whether you’re with a group or walking by yourself, I hope you take time to get outside and enjoy Creation.
GRANT: But, most importantly, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
CLAY: Stay right there just a second.
CHASE: I can’t hold it long.
CLAY: Okay. Okay. All right. Okay. Now, go back.
CLAY: All right. Do it.