This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode, click here.
>>GRANT: Bow season in Missouri opens tomorrow, and by the time we get this edited and you watch it, hopefully, we’ll have been in a blind several times.
>>GRANT: You know bow hunting is all about getting critters close – that’s one reason I really enjoy bow hunting – and to do that you need to be in a travel corridor or some type of limited resource.
>>GRANT: Now, it’s been wicked dry here in the Ozarks. We started off really wet in early growing season, but August/September – well, you can tell this pond has receded a long ways. And number of tracks around here indicate that water is clearly a limited resource. And when you find a limited resource, probably a pretty good chance deer are using that.
>>GRANT: This pond is built pretty high up on a ridge. There’s a bedding area behind me – about 26 acres of it. Food plot over here a couple of hundred yards. It’s right in the middle. So, it’s kind of a natural travel corridor.
>>GRANT: But for bow hunting, you know deer can be over here 50 yards, over here 100 yards. There’s no reason for deer to be pinched down, a pinch point, as you will. But there’s an attraction right in the middle – that middle of the hourglass if you will. And that’s water.
>>GRANT: A few acorns are starting to fall but not enough. I haven’t found any trees like, “Boy, I’m hunting right here.” But acorns are really dry, and when deer are eating a lot of acorns, they need moisture.
>>GRANT: Our food plots have a lot of milo in them. Now, milo was a big part of the Summer Release blend. Milo is really dry. Deer are starting to use it. All these food sources are dry. And, of course, the vegetation’s dry. We’re in a drought. So, deer need water.
>>GRANT: Now, you may wonder, “Grant, why are you standing here if it’s such a hotspot to hunt?” Well, the humidity is really low this morning. I’m just not leaving a lot of scent.
>>GRANT: The second reason – the real reason – I’ve got a Reconyx right behind the camera guys here. And almost all the activity at this water source has been at night. Temperatures are high – some days higher than normal – and when you have that dry and higher-than-normal temperature, here in the Midwest especially, deer activity tends to be first 10 minutes at the most, last 10 minutes, and primarily at night. So, I’m probably not hunting this right off the bat. If conditions change, I’ll hunt it. It’s so dry I’m just not leaving a lot of scent.
>>GRANT: This water’s gonna keep receding because there’s not much rain in the forecast, which means it’s gonna become more and more of a limited resource. And as time goes on, more acorns are gonna fall, which means deer are eating that dry diet. Think about eating a box of Shredded Wheat with no water. Man, you get pretty clogged up after a while, so.
>>GRANT: We got a Redneck blind already positioned by this pond. We saw these conditions developing a couple weeks ago; moved a portable blind right there. We’re set to hunt; just waiting for the conditions to be a bit more favorable and for that Reconyx to pick up some daytime activity at this water source.
>>GRANT: I share this with you because bow season is opened or just about to open in most states throughout the whitetails’ range. And if you’re a bow hunter you probably know this. But it’s not just going out and finding some tracks or something. You’re looking for a limited resource. Maybe that limited resource is – you know, in the ag part of Midwest – there’s a narrow fence row that goes from cover to food, and deer are using that little bit of cover and that narrow fence row to get there. That’s a bottleneck or pinch point. That can be a great stand location.
>>GRANT: Here in big timber country, we’re looking for different types of limited resources.
>>GRANT: Rarely is water a limited resource, and I’m not worried about deer not having enough to drink. There’s seeps and springs throughout the mountains. But we can get to this easy. And clearly with all the tracks, deer prefer to use this site. So, it’s between a bedding area and a food area. It’s an unknown bottleneck.
>>GRANT: We think that most bottlenecks is something you can physically see. Boy, there’s a tight pinch point or the road swings in here, or the river swings in here and really pinches ‘em down. Sometimes that pinch point is an attractive feature like water.
>>GRANT: We have food, cover, and water to work with, and in this case water is a limited resource. No matter where you’re bow hunting, try to focus on the limited resources or use HuntStand, zoom out at the properties around you. And maybe there’s a limited resource on a neighboring property but cover or another limited resources on your property or the other side of your property, and you can figure out where deer are traveling.
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>>GRANT: I mentioned that I probably won’t hunt here for a day or two. So, you may be wondering, “Well, what’s his hunting strategy?” And that’s a great question. And I think what I’m gonna do is hunt like a bobcat.
>>GRANT: Now, what does that mean? Well, I learned this technique – or at least I got it refined – from a good friend, Richard Hale. Richard’s a tremendous hunter, and his primary hunting technique is to hunt like a bobcat.
>>GRANT: If you trap or you know much about bobcats, they kind of move around and they time it to where they arrive at a location when they think the prey will be there. They just don’t wander aimlessly, and they don’t sit there for hours.
>>GRANT: If we just sit at this pond all day in this closed-canopy forest, I’m sure the wind would swirl. There’s so many leaves out here that I can feel it when the wind slows down just a little bit. It’s hitting me in the back. The rest of the time it’s hitting me in the face. So, closed canopy muffles wind kind of like muffling sound. So, it takes a pretty strong wind to get away with hunting here.
>>GRANT: But when you’re hunting like a bobcat – and my strategy is gonna be there’s a creek bottom that goes through The Proving Grounds. And that last 30 minutes to an hour the thermals are gonna sink down that creek. And I can get below a couple of food plots – just stage up down there pretty far below it, because before that the thermals are gonna be rising. The scent’s gonna be rising. Stage up way below at the south end of the property, wait until I feel that thermal coming down the creek, and just slowly, like a bobcat.
>>GRANT: You sit in your stand, and you watch a bobcat. They’re not going anywhere quickly when they’re hunting. Ease up that creek, peek over the bank, look in some food plots.
>>GRANT: If there’s a deer I’d like to harvest, ease up to my best, closest location; get out there; try to get a 20-yard shot. If nothing’s there I’m interested in or no deer at all, ease up to the next food plot.
>>GRANT: You’re trying to time your approaching to that limited resource – in that case food. And you’re getting there just after the deer get there. You’re not sitting there for three hours out in the open with a big chance your scent’s gonna swirl and fill the area.
>>GRANT: That’s especially important these first days of season that are hot and warm, and you’re making a lot of scent. Hunting like a bobcat can be a very effective technique.
>>GRANT: If you’re hunting in timber land, if the acorn trees all made acorns, that’s clearly not a limited resource – this tree, that tree, that tree. It’s hard to get within 30 yards of the right tree. If there’s a really spotty acorn crop, that can be magical.
>>GRANT: If you’re hunting in ag production areas where there’s just not many trees, not many oak trees. Man, fruit trees or acorn trees, they can be like feeders, and you need to hunt there.
>>GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds, my wife, Tracy, has some fruit trees in the yard, and they’re getting fairly mature now. They’re making a good bit of fruit. We put a camera out there every year, and it’s amazing the bucks that come, primarily at nighttime, in our yard to that limited resource.
>>GRANT: So, maybe you’re a person that likes to prune trees or spend a week or so grooming trees each year. And if you do, a tree plot can provide some excellent hunting opportunities. A tree plot is just a food plot, but you’re using trees as the food source or the attraction. Or you can combine them – have a great clover stand or another food plot crop growing around the trees.
>>GRANT: Tree plots can be excellent tools. I don’t use tree plots a lot. I have one here at The Proving Grounds. Because they do take more work per ton produced than a standard food plot. You’ve got to groom them; you’ve got to make sure there’s no herbicide drift on there. You’ve you got to worry about insects coming through or fungus.
>>GRANT: But if you enjoy doing that, they can be a tremendous attraction and provide many hours of satisfaction, not only watching the trees mature and consuming the fruit – you and your family – but also attracting deer and getting some venison for the freezer.
>>GRANT: With season opening up, we’re getting a lot of great pictures. Keep sending those pictures of those early successes or how well your food plots are doing.
>>GRANT: And most importantly take time to enjoy Creation while you’re out scouting or hunting this year. And even more important, make time every day to be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life.
>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.