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GRANT: During this time of year, a deer’s travel tends to be limited to moving from food to cover, making them relatively easy to pattern in certain types of habitat.

GRANT: If you can identify the food source they’re currently using, especially, if it’s an acre in size or less – not a giant ag field – or you can set up in a pinch point or travel corridor between the cover and food, you have a really good chance of getting some fresh venison.

GRANT: Kentucky’s archery season typically opens several days before Missouri’s and I enjoyed traveling there to hunt with my good friend, Mr. Terry Hamby.

GRANT: I’ve shared many fun hunts with Mr. Hamby at his farm and I was excited to return there again this year.

GRANT: We checked some of his Reconyx cameras and there were some great looking bucks using the farm.

GRANT: Mr. Hamby is a great habitat and wildlife manager and the results are obvious.

GRANT: Knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep in during the opening morning of archery season, Clay and I decided to hunt in a Redneck blind along an interior road that was overlooking a small food plot.

GRANT: Opening morning, the temperature was forecast to be below 60 degrees, unheard of for that time of year, and, in fact, when we left the truck that morning, it was showing 55 degrees.

GRANT: This temperature was much cooler than it had been the previous few days and I felt this was just the ticket to get deer on their feet and feeding during the morning hours.

GRANT: I like to hunt when there’s at least a 10 percent or greater favorable change in the weather. And this time of year a decrease in temperature I consider very favorable for deer movement.

GRANT: During the early season it can be difficult hunting during the mornings without alerting deer. Deer are typically feeding or moving back to cover at the same time hunters are going to their stand or blind.

GRANT: However, I felt due to the cooler temperatures, deer may wait until right after sunrise to get up and feed giving us time to slip in and take advantage of the situation.

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GRANT: (Whispering) It’s the morning of September 5th, opening day of archery season here in Kentucky. We’re hunting at my good friend Mr. Terry Hamby’s property and we’ve seen a few deer strutting around. There is no wind this morning and it’s our first morning here.

GRANT: (Whispering) So, we decided to sit in a Redneck blind at a crossroads of a little food plot right here just so we can maybe get a pattern of where deer are moving.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’ve got the bow here. May get something within range, but our primary objective this morning is to see where deer are moving and learn about the property.

GRANT: (Whispering) Right off the bat, I see that they’ve had a really good rainfall here. The clover is doing great. The Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans, even in a small plot, they look really good and they’ve been browsed on heavily. But this is probably an acre or less food plot so, we know we’re in an area of deer.

GRANT: (Whispering) We’re gonna gain some information, maybe get a shot. But do some scouting mid-day. Hopefully, we’ll get set up in a tree stand this afternoon.

GRANT: Daylight was just starting to come through the trees when we noticed several deer feeding in the back of the plot.

GRANT: (Whispering) That’s a dark one. Look how dark that is.

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Got her winter coat on already.

GRANT: These deer were really gobbling down the Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans.

GRANT: These deer never presented a shot, but it’s always a great feeling to see some deer during your first sit. It wasn’t long until we spotted a different group of deer down the road.

GRANT: Suddenly, these deer were obviously alert.

GRANT: The bobcat bounded into the timber and the deer started feeding again.

GRANT: As we were watching these deer, one of us turned around and spotted some deer feeding in the beans behind us.

GRANT: (Whispering) See him working a scrape?

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah. He was doing it earlier, too.

GRANT: The doe turned and started coming straight toward the blind.

CLAY: (Whispering) Oh, (Inaudible). She’s coming this way. She’s gonna come right here.

GRANT: I was probably holding my breath, but she turned back and headed for the beans.

GRANT: (Whispering) Are you on her?

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.

CLAY: (Whispering) I’m good.

GRANT: (Whispering) 30 yards.

CLAY: (Whispering) You smoked her, Grant. She’s down right there, Grant. Are you kidding? That’s awesome.

GRANT: (Whispering) On the board. Doe down. We were gonna scout midday, but it looks like we’re going to be processing some venison.

CLAY: (Whispering) Oh, yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Whew. Man, it’s a good feeling. Good way to start off 2020.

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: Just out of the Redneck and pretty excited to go retrieve the first deer of the season. Should be an easy recovery. Clay saw her stumbling down. But I like to follow the blood trail and see about lessons I can learn.

GRANT: Somewhere right in here, I believe. Oh, I see it. Stem to stern. Oh, that looks good in the neighborhood, too.

GRANT: A lot of dew, but you can see on the white fletches, it’s stem to stern.

GRANT: Man, look right through here. Yeah. Look at this. Just – I mean, this is – you got to figure this is one side and this is the other side here.

GRANT: Here she is right here in front of us.

GRANT: Entrance side. Got that summer coat on really thin here. Let that heat out. Blood – legs are all bloody. It definitely did the damage.

GRANT: Double lunger but high. And a little bit far back. She made it a hair bit farther than I thought. We saw where she stumbled and thought where she went down. She made it an additional 50 yards, so probably 110 yards; something like that.

GRANT: But she is down and we’re getting ready to head towards the truck, pulling a doe uphill. One down.

GRANT: It was a great feeling to be bringing a big doe back to camp here in the opening morning.

GRANT: Once back to camp, we set up the Redneck hoist to start processing the venison.

GRANT: Just eviscerated the animal or gutted it for those hillbillies like me. And when we look inside, there’s a real story. So, here’s the entry hole. She was facing this way. And it’s about a knife from the bottom or so.

GRANT: Again, we turn it around to the exit hole. And it’s more than a knife; more than a knife distance from the bottom.

GRANT: But we look inside – same thing. So, I’m going to measure the spine. So, there’s the spine and the entry hole is a knife down; one knife width down, length down. I go to the exit hole and it’s only that far down from the top. So, inches different.

GRANT: How can that be? Well, she reacted to the sound of the bow going off and the arrow traveling to her. Most deer do. And she dropped and rolled toward the closest cover.

GRANT: If you’re thinking before you shoot, deer are going to go towards the closest source of cover. And because she dropped and rolled so much, the arrow actually exited higher. Even though I was in a 10-foot-tall Redneck blind, the arrow exited higher than the entrance. Very interesting.

GRANT: This hunt illustrates some lessons about hunting during the early season and I’d like to share a few. We often talk about how important it is, especially for bow hunters, to locate bottlenecks or pinch points. And during this hunt, the attractive food source served as our pinch point. All the deer were coming to that location.

GRANT: Mr. Hamby had planted some food plots with Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans. But what you may not know, there are several acres of agricultural land on this farm. And those fields were planted with production beans.

GRANT: Production beans tend to mature much earlier. Those leaves were already brown and no longer attractive to deer, putting that feeding pressure that just a few weeks ago was spread out over the ag fields into those smaller food plots.

GRANT: If you’ve planted or hunted over Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans, you know what I’m talking about. They mature much later than ag beans. In fact, oftentimes, depending on where you hunt, a frost will terminate them.

GRANT: They won’t mature to termination like ag beans. But that’s okay because they’ve been bred to be making lots of pods and still providing green, lush forage on top.

GRANT: A pinch point isn’t always a physical barrier crunching down where deer have to pass through. In this case, it was an attractive food source. One of the few really attractive food sources on the property during that week.

GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds, it’s still really dry. Just enough moisture for the food plots to be growing well. So, water is a limited resource, especially standing, free water.

GRANT: Our creek is primarily dry, but there’s a couple of ponds on the ridgetop that are holding water. And with the right wind, I believe they’d be an excellent hunting location. Because now, we’re hunting over a very small limited resource.

GRANT: I believe weather conditions were also a huge factor in the success of this hunt. The temperatures were quite a bit cooler than normal. I believe cool enough that deer stayed in cover and then got up to feed after the sun started warming the air up just a tad. And that was just enough of a window for us to slide into the blind without alerting deer.

GRANT: There was almost no wind that morning, so we opted to hunt out of a Redneck blind. When the wind speeds are less than 8, 9, 10 miles an hour, depending on where you hunt, the wind can easily swirl. And that’s especially true if you hunt in areas that have a lot of timber just making little pockets, little eddies, like water swirling around. Or really steep terrain can allow that wind to swirl unless the breeze is pretty stiff.

GRANT: Swirling winds, of course, pick up the odors and tend to make a cone around the source of scent. Well, that cone can be 30, 40, 50 yards or more and it kind of effectively keeps deer from getting Into archery range.

GRANT: While hunting out of the Redneck blind, we kept all the windows shut – they’ve got a great gasket in there that really keeps scent in – and then opened one just before the shot.

GRANT: Watching the dew evaporate off of the side of the blind and seeing how it was swirling was a great illustration of how swirling winds can carry our scent.

GRANT: Clay and I enjoyed some other good hunts while we were in Kentucky and even encountered a good buck.

GRANT: Unfortunately, he never presented a shot opportunity but that’s okay. I’ve still got that tag in my pocket and I look forward to returning and hunting with my friend, Terry Hamby.

GRANT: With Missouri’s archery season open, one of us is likely in a stand every day. If you’d like updates on our hunting, check out our social media channels.

GRANT: Deer season is a great opportunity to provide your family with some fresh, healthy venison. But more importantly, it’s a great time to be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.