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GRANT: I love spending time in the turkey woods. Being out before the sunrise. Listening to all the birds start telling their tale – especially those gobblers. And to think it happens every year, year after year without much change. To watch that sun rise every day as it always has. Well, it leads to a Creator. It doesn’t lead to anything else but a Creator. And that Creator was God and His Son, Jesus Christ. This year during turkey season, take a little time to reflect on the real reason we celebrate Easter.
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GRANT: A couple of episodes ago, we talked about how important it was to use this tool – a soil probe – and collect soil samples for your food plots. So, it’s important to take a soil sample to know what nutrients are in the soil, so we don’t add too much of one and make sure we add enough of the others, so the plants can be healthy. Healthy plants, of course produce more forage and even more important to us hunters, are more palatable or more attractive to deer. And who doesn’t want to attract deer to their food plot versus maybe that deer eating on the neighbor’s land?
GRANT: There’s a lot of numbers and symbols on a soil test result and that’s probably confusing to a lot of folks as it used to be to me.
GRANT: Part of a test I really want to share with you today that’s really important is organic matter. Organic matter is exactly what it sounds like – decaying plants or decaying organic material, turnip bulbs or radishes that are rotting and breaking down. And those are super important for the fertility and moisture holding capacity of soil. Organic matter is not talked about much, especially in the food plot world. Everyone’s talking about nitrogen or lime, but organic matter, that decaying plant material is what builds up soil – dark black soil that’s got that dark color. That’s the amount of carbon in there and organic matter is great at holding moisture. You know, we’ve been through a couple of wicked droughts here at The Proving Grounds, and I still produce pretty good quality soybeans we’ve showed you on a couple of episodes back, and that’s because the organic matter we had acts like a sponge and actually humus, a part of that organic matter, I build up by using Antler Dirt fertilizer. It holds four times its weight in water. Where regular soil or certainly, commercial N, P and K fertilizer, pelletized fertilizer, well water goes right through that. It doesn’t hold any water at all. But organic matter acts like a sponge and keeps water right in the root zone for your plants.
GRANT: Most food plot guys know to look at the first couple of columns – phosphorous and potassium. A lot of food plot guys don’t get the trace minerals, but as we talked in the past, trace minerals are critical for deer to express their full potential. Bucks to grow the biggest antlers they can and does to produce the most milk and healthiest fawns they can. It’s the old Liebig’s Law of the Minimum we’ve talked about in the past that all living organisms are limited by the most limited resource. So I could have all the P and K I want, but in this field if my sulphur or boron is low, and those may be critical elements, those deer or the plants may not be able to express their full potential. This soil sample tells me I don’t need to spend money on phosphorous, potassium or calcium or lime, but I need to add a little sulphur and boron so my plants can express their full potential. The price of this soil sample way than more paid for itself by saving me guessing on these other elements that I don’t even need to put out and just a few dollars for these minor or trace elements.
GRANT: Every year this time, about mid-March, I start receiving a bunch of questions on Facebook about food plots. Blame it on cabin fever, tired of shed hunting, trapping season’s over. Whatever it is, about mid-March I start seeing four-wheelers going up and down the highway or a little disk or whatever, with guys thinking about food plots.
GRANT: A lot of seeds we commonly plant in the fall like brassicas or clover are small and hard and they can lay there on the ground forever and still remain viable. But seeds we plant in the spring, like soybeans or corn or buckwheat or others are real soft seeds and they’re real vulnerable to insects eating ‘em up or turkeys eating ‘em up if they’re broadcast on top of the field or suffering from cold weather.
GRANT: And the only sure way to know when the best time is to plant is not by the map on the back of a seed bag or on the internet somewhere but it’s with a really simple tool – a soil thermometer. Soil thermometers are available at a lot of ag stores or farm stores. They’re basically just a thermometer where the bottom inch or two is the receptive part to get the temperature. Holding it here doesn’t change the temperature. But if I hold it here, it will change the temperature.
GRANT: Soybeans are typically planted an inch, two inches at the most, deep in the soil profile, so I want to stick this in the soil about two inches deep, simply give it a minute or two to register that current temperature and I want to plant soybeans when the soil is 60 degrees or more at 9:00 a.m. in the morning. In addition to finding a day when the soil is 60 degrees, I want to look at the forecast. We’re probably in the low 50’s right now. But, I know the temperatures are predicted to be in the high 20’s and low 30’s this coming weekend with a 70% chance of snow. Obviously, my soil is gonna cool down a little bit, so I want the current soil temperature readings and look at the weather forecast to make sure there’s not a big cold front coming in. This very simple technique will allow you to get your food plots out of the ground, growing rapidly and allow those soybeans to get up and grow past where deer can really damage them by over browsing.
GRANT: An activity we do this time of year in addition to preparing to plant spring food plots is switching those Reconyx trail cameras from watching for deer to scouting for gobblers.
ADAM: March the 12th here at The Proving Grounds. Today we’re going around replenishing our new Trophy Rock Four65, checking our Reconyx cameras to see if we can get a better feel for where the turkeys are most active here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Early season gobblers are in big flocks, still sorting out the dominance. They typically come to open areas like food plots and strut and display and fight. And you can get a great pattern by setting that trail camera back on the edge and putting it on time lapse. We like ours to take a picture every ten to 15 minutes just boom, boom, boom. And then we can scout from a distance to see which fields the turkeys are most likely coming to.
GRANT: Using trail cameras to pattern turkeys is an awesome tool. And you’re also getting pictures of deer using the food plots, so you can tell which bucks have shed or which food plots are getting the most use at that time of year and how many predators are on your property. Using that time lapse feature on the Reconyx camera is a great way to have a great spring turkey hunting and know more about the critters using your property.
GRANT: I hope you have time to get out and do some neat projects at your Proving Grounds this week. But more importantly, take time to enjoy Creation and as always, talk to the Creator. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
ADAM: Not only our motion sensor but also our time lapse motion, but also our..motion. You know here in Missouri we’re about a month away from turkey season. So we’re gonna get in our Reconyx cameras, we’re not gonna get in it. We’re gonna crawl inside and peek out. (Laughter)
AJ: That’s the best line we have.