This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Brandon Rhea recently shared a video with us that I had to stop and watch again and again. It’s a video of a couple of coyotes – not even large coyotes – taking down a good buck.
GRANT: Hey, it’s almost trapping season, and if you’re in an area where it seems the predators are out of balance with the prey population – there’s too many predators – and they’re actually impacting prey populations, you may want to consider trapping like the GrowingDeer Team.
GRANT: Now predators taking down prey, that’s a natural process. But if something has happened where you hunt that has made that balance get skewed towards predators, it’s probably time to do some predator management.
GRANT: It’s a very exciting time with deer season either open, or about to open, throughout the whitetails’ range. There’s some other big events coming up, and one is the elections in November.
GRANT: Gosh, I’m saddened that stats show during the last presidential election only about 50 percent of hunters voted. Folks, we’ve got to do a lot better than that, and I encourage you, if you’re not already, to register to vote. If you think you’re not gonna be home during the November election, get busy right now, register for an absentee ballot, and make sure your vote counts.
GRANT: It’s easy to remember the opening day of deer season with all the excitement, but let’s not forget another very important day, 9/11. 9/11 was a horrible day in our nation’s history. It shouldn’t be forgotten. We can learn lessons. We can learn the strength in freedom, the strength when we’re united. It’s so important to take time and thank first responders and give some care to a family that lost a loved one. Let’s don’t forget 9/11 this year.
GRANT: Clay and I are getting ready to head to Kentucky and hunt with my good friend, Mr. Terry Hamby. Last year Clay and I had a great hunt with Terry. We were hunting beans, and the bucks were keyed on those beans coming to those plots every afternoon.
GRANT: Beans are one of the most attractive and most nutritious forages for white-tailed deer. Oftentimes in small plots, deer will browse them so heavily, they’re not that productive. In this situation, we’ve got a Hot Zone fence around the beans. And that’s allowed them, even in the fifth driest August on record here, to get almost shoulder tall on me.
GRANT: We’ll be headed back to Kentucky, but we may not spend all of our time on the edge of those great-looking food plots.
GRANT: Last year we saw good bucks almost every hunt but not within bow range. We were playing “cat and mouse” as the bucks would come out one side of the plot and then the other, and we could never predict where we should be.
GRANT: I know from past experience that it’s better to find a pinch point or a travel corridor going into the food, than hunt right on the food, especially during early season. Oftentimes, when the days are a little longer like this, the bucks may not reach the food source until just at or after dark.
GRANT: We did some scouting last year during that hunt and later during the rifle season. We’re hoping this year we can get in some pinch points and cut deer off before they get to those fields.
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GRANT: You may be hunting in a situation where food plots or ag fields aren’t available. That’s the majority of The Proving Grounds. It’s a big ‘ole block of timber. Early season strategies are pretty much the same no matter where you hunt. Where the deer are going – the food source may change – but the behavior is fairly predictable.
GRANT: This time of year bucks still have velvet in most areas, and that means that testosterone level is not all the way up to full bore. Bucks are still on a food-cover/food-cover pattern. During the next week or so, they’ll probably still be in larger bachelor groups. When that testosterone level is low, they’re pretty tolerant of each other. But as it climbs, they start sparring, kicking around, figuring out the dominance. Those big bachelor groups will split up.
GRANT: So if you’re hunting in the next week and you find a big bachelor group, you need to move in quickly before those deer split up because some of them will use a different portion of their home range for the rest of the season.
GRANT: Deer changing the portion of the home range they’re using this time of year sure baffles some guys. They’ve been out scouting during the summer, seeing those big bachelor groups coming into a food source. They hang a stand or place a blind accordingly. Season finally opens – some states September 15th, some states October 1st – and by the time they get ready to hunt, those bucks are nowhere to be found.
GRANT: Lots going on this time of year that would cause that shift in the portion of home range deer are using.
GRANT: Food sources is a big factor in the portion of a home range deer are using. There’s a lot of factors that can influence which food source deer are using on any given day or week. Farmers may harvest a crop, maybe acorns are starting to fall, or, if you’re like us, you just finished planting all of your fall food plots and they’re starting to germinate.
GRANT: During the early season, food is king. Scout and find the food source that’s most preferred where you can hunt.
GRANT: Bedding areas can also be key but a little tougher during the early season. You got to think about it. Deer are getting back to that bedding area pretty early in the morning this time of year and leaving it fairly late. It can be tough to get in close to a bedding area this time of the year without alerting deer.
GRANT: I like to know where deer are bedding, but I rarely hunt right there. I’m trying to find a pinch point in between a food source and bedding areas during this time of year.
GRANT: I’m not lazy, but I primarily hunt afternoons during the early season. Typically, during the early season, deer feed at night and return to the bedding area before the sun is too high and the temperatures are too warm.
GRANT: It can be very difficult to get to your stand or blind in the morning because deer are feeding in that pre-daylight hours while you’re trying to move to your stand. You’re moving, the deer are moving, and you’re very likely to alert some deer.
GRANT: A perfect setup is if you have what we call a backdoor stand. You know the deer are feeding over here either in acorns, soybeans, or whatever, and they tend to bed over here. And the wind is such that you can come around somehow and get into that travel corridor knowing where the deer are before the sun rises.
GRANT: Backdoor stands are tough to find, especially in big areas of contiguous timber like here because you make so much noise approaching the stand.
GRANT: The odds are much better of approaching a stand or blind without alerting deer during the afternoon this time of year. The days are pretty warm, and typically deer are in a bedding area during midday or even early afternoon. And that’s a time you could approach a stand or blind being confident deer are in the bedding area, and then let the deer come to you as it gets closer to dark.
GRANT: Knowing where deer are bedding and feeding during the early season are two big factors in tagging an early season buck.
GRANT: However, the benefit of that knowledge can be canceled if you don’t pay close attention to your scent.
GRANT: Early season tends to be warm and humid, and humid, warm air carries scent very far.
GRANT: Another factor, given that it’s warm, especially in the afternoons, is it’s easy to perspire on the way to the stand.
GRANT: Given these considerations, I strongly prefer when there’s a pretty good wind during the early season. I want to be able to predict with great accuracy where my scent is going. A dead-still day may seem nice, but we tend to just build a large scent cone. Even if we’ve treated our clothes appropriately and it was a short walk – we didn’t get too sweaty getting to the stand – we’re breathing all the time and just building a big cone around us with our respiration. And it’s tough for deer to get within archery range given that cone.
GRANT: I’m always eager to hunt, especially during the early season. But if it’s a dead-still afternoon, I’m probably gonna practice with my bow, maybe use onX to do some scouting, but I’m not gonna risk going to my favorite stand.
GRANT: Clay and I will be applying these strategies in just a couple days, and you can see the progress of our hunt on our social media channels.
GRANT: It’s an interesting time in our society, and it’s a great time, as it always is, to get outside, chill out a little bit and enjoy Creation.
GRANT: But no matter the year, season, or day, it’s important to take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.