Hunting Strategies: Food Plots, Acorns And Dead Deer! (Episode 201 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: We finished all the food plot work for 2013 here at The Proving Grounds and we have some more kills to share with you. Unfortunately, they’re not the result of a bow.

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GRANT: After tagging several deer that were going to soybean food plots at the Kentucky Proving Grounds, we couldn’t wait to get home and check our food plots.

GRANT: We’ve just returned from Kentucky, we saw in the last episode, deer were heavily using the Eagle Seed beans. Season is now open in Missouri, so Adam and I are eager to see if deer are coming to beans as aggressively here as they were in Kentucky.

GRANT: The combination of Antler Dirt and Eagle Seed beans has produced a crop literally shoulder tall on me.

GRANT: More than just forage, they’ve made a huge yield of bean pods, which are filling out nicely, even though we’ve had another drought growing season.

GRANT: It would seem after our experiences in Kentucky, we’d want to open the gate or take the fence down.

GRANT: When I look at the beans outside the fence, I’m seeing new, small, lime green leaves and dark, lush, a little bit more mature leaves all over the plot. Clearly the beans are recovering from being heavily browsed all summer long. They appear much different than the beans that were over browsed in Kentucky, and the reason is acorns.

GRANT: My Proving Grounds here in Missouri is heavily forested with a lot of oak trees. We’ve got a fairly good crop of acorns coming on here and some of them have started to fall. Once acorns fall, deer typically abandon forage crops and move to the woods to get those acorns as a source of carbohydrates.

GRANT: Adam and I thought we’d come up here and take the fence down or open the gate based on Kentucky, but it’s clear – deer aren’t coming to the soybeans as hard as they were in Kentucky. We’re gonna leave the fence intact and allow those bean pods to mature and have a great location for the late season.

GRANT: If you’re in an area where there’s very limited oak trees, like an area that’s heavy ag and they start dropping, great. Those oak trees are like a hidey hole and you know exactly where the deer are gonna be feeding. If you’re in an area where most of the property is covered by oak trees and they had a good yield of acorns, it can make hunting very tough because deer can have food and cover very close by, making it very tough to get into where deer are being active without alerting the deer.

GRANT: This variety of beans is still very green and lush and that’s because they’ve been bred to stay green and still growing until the first frost. A lot of guys hunt production bean fields and a lot of those beans are turning yellow and have lost their palatability.

GRANT: Farmers almost always plant a variety of soybeans different than what we plant in food plots. They select a variety that has a lower uniform height for the combine and one that matures much earlier. They want a variety of soybeans that matures early so their pods will mature and they can harvest and get ‘em out of the field before the potential of damaging the winter weather that might really destroy their crop.

GRANT: With that MRI, most recent information, Adam and I decided to leave the fence in place protecting those beans so the pods will fully develop and then take it down for the late season when the acorns aren’t as plentiful and deer will really be attracted to those soybean pods.

GRANT: Another project we’ve been working on this week is maintaining our clover food plot. You’ve watched us go through the stages of frost seeding back In February, to spraying our food plots this spring to keep the weeds and grass out, to now – we’re going in and just touching up a few spots and establishing a few new ones.

GRANT: In the clover plots where we’ve got a really good stand and just a few tough weeds, we go through with a backpack sprayer and hit just the weedy spots with a strong dose of glyphosate. It’s important to remember we’re only treating the spots that are impacted with the weeds, so most of the glyphosate’s being caught by the weeds and clover is so dense, we may brown up some of the top clover and the green clover underneath comes right through. So don’t be scared to use a little glyphosate and treat some weeds in your clover. I’m not talking about broadcasting over the whole plot, but going in and spot treating to clean up those weeds before they go to seed and spread throughout your food plot.

GRANT: In other plots where weeds were extremely bad or we never got a good clover stand for whatever reason, we simply go in with glyphosate and kill everything and prepare it to plant more clover this fall.

GRANT: Glyphosate, of course, is ground neutralized. That means it doesn’t stay active after you’ve sprayed for long. So, we tend to go back and overseed those areas quickly.

GRANT: When we’re establishing clover in a whole plot, we follow the directions on the bag and if it’s a really rocky rough area, we may actually increase by ten or fifteen percent to make sure we’ve got enough seed to give us a lush, thick stand.

GRANT: We use about half the recommended rate of clover when we’re just hitting little spots within the stand because we know there’s probably clover seed laying there already and again, glyphosate doesn’t hurt any seed in the soil.

ADAM: You can see behind me a pre-established clover field. Actually, it’s a really nice clover stand. But, we did have a weed problem in some places, so we went around spot spraying with herbicide. Now, we are going through and now spray, spreading clover in those spots where we had weeds and killed off with glyphosate.

GRANT: On my property and most plans I create for clients, we use clover in about ten percent of their total food plot acreage. When clover’s productive, it’s not too hot and there’s plenty of moisture, it’s super productive and it takes a lot of deer to over browse clover. So, therefore, it doesn’t require a lot of acreage of clover to feed the deer herd.

GRANT: But, when it’s hot and dry or really cold in the winter and clover is dormant, it doesn’t matter how many acres of clover you had, it’s not gonna feed the deer herd.

GRANT: One of’s pro-staffers, Kable McAlpine learned a tough lesson this week. Just because the deer herd where you hunt didn’t get exposed to HD – hemorrhagic disease – last year with that massive outbreak, doesn’t mean you’re immune this year.

KABLE: Um, EHD, I would assume. Um, the, uh, the antlers their self are sharp and you can tell that it was, uh, just coming out of velvet or still in velvet when it, when it died. That’s a good sign of uh, letting you know it’s EHD. It’s hollow. It’s kind of very pretty, pretty shallow, but uh, pretty sure this is an EHD buck. So, we’re gonna get in the creek and uh, see what we can find.

GRANT: Kable recorded this footage September 18th, along about a half mile of creek near where he hunts.

GRANT: During Kable’s walk he found deer in various forms of decay indicating to me that HD had set in long before Kable took that little walk.

KABLE: This was a half-mile walk and I probably found eight to ten dead deer – one nice buck, three and a half year old, three year old, I believe. So, it’s hard to say what is all the way up and down this creek. So, disheartening, but that’s Mother Nature and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just have to ride it out and, uh, uh, know what it is. So.

GRANT: Unfortunately, the only good news I can share with you is that it should frost soon throughout much of the whitetails range and a hard frost will kill those biting flies that are responsible for spreading HD from one deer to the next.

GRANT: Those of you that keep up with the GrowingDeer Facebook page know that we had a nice buck show up recently.

GRANT: He has a unique rack in that both of his G3s are split. We recently posted Reconyx pictures of that buck on our Facebook page and asked for some help coming up with a cool name. We had hundreds of good suggestions. But we settled on a name offered by Rick Garner as he come up with Chopsticks. Because those two tines look like chopsticks coming off the main beam. Thanks, Rick.

GRANT: We use Facebook to get out daily updates and what we’re finding as far as acorns or stage of the rut, so follow along and give us feedback from your area.

GRANT: Whatever the conditions are where you hunt, I hope you slow down and enjoy Creation and as always, take some time this week to listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching

GRANT: That is some beans.

ADAM: Hold on. Don’t move.

GRANT: Got a bug on me?

ADAM: No. Maybe.

GRANT: A yellow jacket on me.

ADAM: Grasshopper.

GRANT: All right. Me and you getting ready to go after it. Dang-gum.

GRANT: Ready? You filmed that?