This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey Martin have had a lot of success at their lease in Kansas through the years.
GRANT: Late last summer they planted a small food plot with Eagle Seeds Monster Wheat preparing for this hunting season.
GRANT: As it always seems to happen, it turned dry right after Heath planted the plot. So, he tried to water it as much as he could to keep it alive until the rains returned.
GRANT: Heath’s strategy worked because about a month and a half later, they returned to Kansas and had a lot of action on that plot.
GRANT: They saw a lot of critters during that hunt, but never had a shot at a buck they wished to tag.
GRANT: A few days after that hunt, a cold front was forecast to pass through Kansas. Heath and Lindsey made the decision to wash their hunting gear, pack it up and return to Kansas.
GRANT: The daytime highs were forecast to be in the 40s, a northwest wind and high pressure. Perfect conditions for them to hunt out of a Redneck Blind near one of the plots.
GRANT: On the way to the blind, Heath stopped at a Reconyx camera and pulled the card. And then, looked at the pictures once in the blind.
GRANT: While reviewing the pictures, he was pleased to see a mature buck had been in the area. Heath didn’t recognize the buck. It was the first picture of him and it was October 13th.
GRANT: The unknown buck had also walked by the camera on October 15th. So, Heath was hoping he’d show in the plot that afternoon.
HEATH: (Quietly) Well, good afternoon. We just got back up to our lease here in Kansas. It is October the 15th. The high today has been about 45. It was in the high 30s this morning and it’s supposed to freeze in the morning.
HEATH: (Quietly) So, we got into the ghillie blinds here. We had a north/northwest wind. We’re set up good over our, um, Eagle Seed Buck Monster Wheat food plot and this is the place I’ve had a couple encounters over the years with a buck we call “The Other Guy.”
HEATH: (Quietly) Uh, there’s another shooter buck we’ve got pictures of. We don’t have a name for him yet, but he’s a really cool buck. I’d probably shoot him too if we got an opportunity.
GRANT: Not long after getting settled in the blind, two does entered the plot.
HEATH: (Whispering) Oh, there’s a buck behind her.
GRANT: Suddenly, Heath spotted antlers in the timber. It was the buck that had walked in front of the camera.
HEATH: (Whispering) You see him?
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: This buck had a pot belly and big shoulders. Heath knew he was mature and a shooter.
GRANT: After seeing the buck in person, Heath recognized it as “High ‘n Tight.” The last time they saw “High ‘n Tight” was in 2016 and they just got a glimpse as he passed through some trees.
GRANT: This buck had disappeared for a long time, but now he was standing 30 yards in front of Heath.
GRANT: With all the excitement, Heath wondered if he’d made a good shot.
HEATH: (Whispering) Golly. I hope I got him. It was a little bit – I was thinking I’d hit him perfect behind the shoulder, but…
LINDSEY: (Whispering) I think it was a good shot.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey climbed out of the blind and picked up the trail. They didn’t have to walk far.
HEATH: (Quietly) He didn’t make it 30, 25 yards in the woods. And we’re 60 yards from the blind. But, I shot him at 30. He’s dead right there.
HEATH: It’s been a couple years since I’ve shot a buck here on our lease in Kansas. I’ve been pretty picky trying to shoot big, mature deer. I’ve had a couple of really good encounters.
HEATH: Last year I should have killed a big deer out of that same exact plot, actually. A big deer we called “The Other Guy.” He hadn’t showed up this year yet. But, he probably will later.
HEATH: This buck just showed up on the plot a couple of days ago – just in the last day or two. I checked the cards when we got to the blind today – took my computer. Pulled the cards and he’d been on there just the last night or two.
HEATH: And I didn’t recognize him at first, ‘cause he’s a smaller. He’s actually a little smaller, going downhill, then he was a couple years ago. He’s getting so old.
HEATH: But, today when he started coming up in there and I could tell how old and mature he was, I got to putting it all together; I figured it had to be old “High ‘’n Tight.” He’s always had these kickers on the G2s and inside points and big mass. And never been very wide. That’s why we called him “High ‘n Tight.” He come sneaking in with two does on October the 15th. Who’d have thunk it?
HEATH: The last two or three years, we were getting where we killed several deer up here in October. Especially with this cold front – beautiful, perfect cold front weather today.
HEATH: And I mean, I plugged him right in the heart. He didn’t go – well, we can see the blind from here. He probably didn’t go 60 yards from where I shot him.
GRANT: Congratulations, Heath, on an incredible story of “High ‘n Tight.”
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GRANT: “High ‘n Tight” had been missing in action for Heath and Lindsey since 2016. That’s not uncommon.
GRANT: I often hear from hunters that had a picture or saw a mature deer – only for that buck to go missing in action.
GRANT: They ask me, “Do I think he’s still alive?” Well, it’s impossible for me to know. But, I do know as bucks mature, often their home range gets smaller and smaller. And it may be that from one year to the next, the home range shrunk enough that it’s no longer covering an area where that hunter was hunting.
GRANT: Bucks also shift and use different portions of the home range based on conditions and the time of year.
GRANT: With all these factors, just because we’re no longer getting pictures or seeing a mature buck, doesn’t mean that he’s been killed somewhere else.
GRANT: The next morning, Lindsey was eager to get behind her bow and try to punch her Kansas tag.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Good morning. It is October 16th and Heath and I are set up here in what we call our northeast plot. We, um, we’ve got two bucks on here that are, that are shooter bucks – one we call “45” and one is yet unnamed.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) But, we have some pictures of ‘em coming in and using, basically, the food plot (Inaudible) coming up into it, but also, there’s a Trophy Rock. So, we’ve got some Reconyx pictures of at least one of ‘em coming up over the Trophy Rock.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) So, pretty consistently, they’ve been here in the morning. So, we’re gonna set up here and see if I might could get a shot. It should be a good day.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) It’s nice and cold this morning. Um, I think when we left the house, it was 29 degrees with high pressure. So, we should be in good shape. Um, which, I will say, it was 90 degrees where I am two weeks ago. So, for this southern girl, it’s a little bit of a shock to the system to be bundled up like this. But, hopefully, it’s gonna have the big bucks on their feet and I’ll get a shot at ‘em.
GRANT: True to the forecast, it was a cool morning and deer were active.
GRANT: A great looking 10-pointer, with a lot of potential, walked within range of Lindsey, but she had her sights set on the 8-pointer they called “45.”
GRANT: Suddenly, “45” steps out.
HEATH: (Whispering) Shoot, him, Lindsey. You got him. Good shot.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) So, what you guys couldn’t see is there’s a road that comes into this food plot and we have two shooter bucks – one we call “45”, which was the buck that I really wanted.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) And then there’s, I know, and then, and then there’s another buck that’s a really unique buck – pretty buck. I would have shot either one of ‘em.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) The point to the story is they came in together and just appeared right out of camera view in this road.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) “45” paused long enough that I got a shot out of him. It looked like it was a good shot. He was slightly quartering away. I feel like I tucked it in right behind – right in his armpit.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) They ran off back here. So, hopefully, we’ve got a buck down. And if so, that will be two bucks in, like, 13 hours.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey re-watched the shot on their camera and it looked pretty good.
GRANT: However, based on the sign on the arrow, Heath and Lindsey decided to back out and wait a few hours before taking up the trail.
GRANT: That afternoon, they headed back out to look for “45.”
LINDSEY: Well, we replayed the shot this morning after, um, I shot “45.” And the shot looked really good. Um. He was slightly quartering away; I felt really confident about it.
LINDSEY: Um. But, when we went over and took a look at the arrow, it looked like it had some stomach or, maybe even gut matter, more than we were comfortable with. So, we decided to back out and just give him a couple of hours.
LINDSEY: So, we’re out here; it’s early afternoon. Um. We’ve been able to follow the blood trail to a spot where it looks like he bedded down at least for a, a period of time here. But, he’s not here at this point.
LINDSEY: So, clearly, he’s gotten up. So, we’re gonna continue tracking him. Um. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get him within the next hundred yards here. So. We’ll see what happens.
LINDSEY: Whew! I cannot believe we found him.
HEATH: He’s got long G2s.
LINDSEY: He does. Look at this.
LINDSEY: We ended up tracking him about 150 yards from where I shot him. And found him out here, um, down in this native grass. But, man, I am super proud of this guy for numerous reasons.
LINDSEY: One of which is – this is the first time I have ever harvested a buck that was specifically the buck I went in to kill that morning. And so, that’s a pretty cool feeling, um, to know that you’ve gotta, you’ve got a deer on pattern.
LINDSEY: We had pictures on the Reconyx and go in specifically to harvest that buck. So, this was a really fun hunt. He is a fantastic trophy to remember it by. So, um, could not be more proud of this guy. Proud and excited.
GRANT: Wow. What a great buck. Congratulations, Lindsey.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey tagged two nice bucks within 24 hours. That’s the power of a cold front.
GRANT: It’s important to note these two hunts occurred during the notorious October lull.
GRANT: I got to tell ya – any time the conditions are favorable, is a good time to go hunting. I’ve said it before, but I’d much rather hunt cold fronts than any specific day of the year.
GRANT: Be that cold front in late September or October or November – any time the conditions are favorable, you can almost bet deer are gonna be active during daylight hours.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey weren’t the only ones taking advantage of a cold front. Griffin Gandy had been getting ready for youth season, along with his dad, Graham, and brother, Maddox.
GRANT: Last year, Griffin tagged his first deer.
GRANT: This year Griffin had his sights set on a buck. During opening day of youth season, Griffin and his friend, Doc, climbed in a Redneck Blind overlooking a food plot.
GRANT: As the light began to break over the horizon, an owl sounded off – almost like it was waking up the deer for Griffin.
GRANT: Suddenly, the buck turned and started walking away.
GRANT: Griffin decided he’d like to tag that buck if it offered a good opportunity.
GRANT: The buck’s vitals were covered by the vegetation and Griffin wisely decided to pass on that shot.
GRANT: Bullets can be deflected by a single blade of grass and I was very proud of Griffin for passing that shot.
GRIFFIN: (Whispering) Doc, I can’t take the shot.
DOC: (Whispering) What’s that?
GRIFFIN: (Whispering) I need his head up more. I can’t take the shot.
GRANT: The buck walked out of the grass and Doc hit the Messenger call.
GRANT: Hearing the grunt, the buck turned and headed straight for Griffin.
GRANT: Then, it seemed like something caught the buck’s attention across the field.
GRANT: The buck turned 180 degrees and headed the other way. Once again, I was pleased with Griffin’s maturity. Clearly, he’s been taught well.
GRANT: Griffin hoped there’d be another opportunity and we’ve all experienced that feeling while deer hunting.
GRANT: Fortunately, Griffin didn’t have to wait long as two bucks stepped out the other end of the field.
GRANT: Griffin and Doc worked together to get set up and find a buck in the scope.
GRANT: Once again, these bucks moved into the tall vegetation.
GRANT: Based on his past experience, Doc hit the Messenger hoping to pull the bucks out and give Griffin a shot.
DOC: (Whispering) Do you see his body? You see his body?
GRIFFIN: (Whispering) Yeah.
DOC: (Whispering) All right.
GRIFFIN: (Whispering) Ready?
DOC: (Whispering) Yeah. Oh, good shot. Good shot. Yes. Yes. Good job.
DOC: Hey dad?
GRAHAM: Yes, dude. You shot a big one?
DOC: It’s down right here, dude. Smoked it.
GRAHAM: Is he really?
GRAHAM: We’ll make our way over. Okay?
DOC: Yeah. Sounds awesome.
DOC: See him? Look at that.
GRAHAM: Oh, daddy.
DOC: Look at that.
GRAHAM: Griff, did you think you were gonna shoot something that big? Huh?
GRAHAM: You did? Well, you did.
GRANT: Great job, Griffin. I’m very proud of you. Your practice and patience paid off with a nice buck.
GRIFFIN: Oh, my gosh.
DOC: Oh, my goodness, gracious, Griff.
GRANT: I met Team Kentucky years ago when they asked me to assist with developing a habitat management plan.
GRANT: Through the years, they’ve done a great job of implementing that plan and improving the habitat.
GRANT: And now it’s paying off with great hunting opportunities and good bucks. These guys aren’t just about great habitat and big deer. They’re about passing on the hunting tradition to the next generation.
GRANT: Both Heath and Lindsey and the Kentucky Team are part of the GrowingDeer Pro Staff.
GRANT: If you film with a buddy, have some good hunts and you’d like to try out for the GrowingDeer Team during 2019, simply send me a link to some of your videos at info@GrowingDeer.com.
GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds, we’re also busting out the Winchesters and getting ready for firearms deer season.
GRANT: I typically clean my rifle after deer season and shoot coyotes and groundhogs and whatever with a variety of ammunition through the summer. And then clean it again and sight it in for deer season.
GRANT: I’m shooting a .308 and I like that about 2” high at 100 yards; so it’s about dead on at 200 yards and about 8″ low at 300 yards.
GRANT: I’ve been using Deer Season XP for several seasons and it’s worked great.
GRANT: But this year, I’m stepping up my game a bit. I’m using Deer Season XP Copper Impact. Copper has some advantages: deeper penetration; maintains about 95% of the weight all the way through the critter; shoots almost exactly the same as Deer Season XP.
GRANT: Gun’s clean. I’d expect the first one to be slightly off because it’s a clean barrel. But let’s shoot a group of three; see where they are.
GRANT: After a few shots and an adjustment or two to my Nikon scope, I’m ready for deer season.
GRANT: If you like the information we share at GrowingDeer, please share a link with your buddies.
GRANT: With the leaves changing colors in many areas, it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But it’s more important every day to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
DOC: Come on, Griff. Hey, Grant, I need an intern.
GRAHAM: Interns in Kentucky needed.
GRIFFIN: Thanks for a path, deer.