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>>CHASE: [Whispering] Oh yeah. That’s definitely a good buck.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Big deer, dad.

>>GRANT: Chase and Rylan White hunt about an hour east of The Proving Grounds in the Ozark Mountains. The habitat where they hunt is primarily composed of hardwood timber. Lots of oaks.

>>GRANT: And when there’s a large acorn crop, it’s difficult to pattern deer. Acorns are everywhere, deer love acorns. So, they can feed almost anywhere and bed close to where they’re feeding.

>>GRANT: A key to being successful in that type of habitat year after year is doing some scouting and locating bottlenecks where you can hunt.

>>GRANT: Last year during Missouri’s firearm season, Rylan was hunting with a Winchester near a pond. The pond serves as a great bottleneck or pinches down the travel route for deer in that area.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Nice call.

>>GRANT: Their strategy worked, and Rylan tagged a nice buck.

>>CHASE: Alright.

>>RYLAN: Not bad.

>>GRANT: Chase and Rylan were excited, not only because Rylan tagged a buck, but because of the activity they saw. This was the first year of their lease.

>>GRANT: Observations made during the hunt can be very beneficial in planning a strategy for the next hunts. Rylan wanted to hunt some more, and the family wanted some more venison. So, he returned to the lease a couple weeks later during Missouri’s doe season.

>>GRANT: Chase and Rylan noticed a deer traveled the flat of a ridge and crossed through a fence gap.

>>GRANT: The fence gap served as a bottleneck. Sure, deer could jump this barbed wire fence anywhere they wanted. But deer tend to take the path of least resistance and this low spot in the fence became a natural bottleneck.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Yeah.

>>GRANT: Chase knew the property had lots of potential. And after deer season, he got busy with some habitat improvement projects.

>>GRANT: There were several large pastures that had some eastern red cedars growing in them, but they could easily be converted to food plots.

>>GRANT: Chase felled the cedars and saplings, piled them up and burned them.

>>GRANT: During the late winter, Chases snow seeded Green Cover Seed’s Early Start Release into several of the openings. And his goal was to provide critters with high-quality forage during the early spring.

>>GRANT: Snow seeding is a great technique to use with blends that include small, hard seed such as the annual clovers and alfalfa in the Early Start Release.

>>GRANT: This technique works well because that time of year the ground is usually freezing and thawing and that causes heaving and cracking and closing, and all these actions ensure that the seed makes good contact with the soil.

>>GRANT: While planting food plots, Chase found a good-sized shed. And that shed, well, it’s not only nice for his house, but it also provides great information about where bucks were moving during the late season.

>>CHASE: Good gracious.

>>GRANT: Once the seed had sprouted, there was high-quality forage for bucks growing antlers or does still carrying fawns or even nursing fawns.

>>GRANT: Old pastures or other openings are great locations to establish food plots. Often a dozer or an excavator is not needed to remove trees or push that debris off to the side or bury it. And in this case, Chase had created what he called Golden Corral – a buffet of many different types of forages for deer in the area.

>>GRANT: The Golden Corral, as Chase calls it, is right next to the fence gap where Rylan had tagged a doe.

>>GRANT: The fence gap and the barbed wire fence that runs south and along the edge, the southern edge of a food plot, creates a great travel corridor for deer in the area.

>>GRANT: Between the fence and the food plot is a nice stand of oaks and they had produced a good crop of acorns this year.

>>GRANT: Putting this all together, there’s the fence gap that serves as a bottleneck. And that fence that kind of serves as a travel corridor, a great crop of acorns and the Golden Corral – with all of that, Chase knew deer would be using the area.

>>GRANT: There was a northeast wind forecast during Missouri’s youth season. Chase and Rylan assumed that deer would come through that gap, probably stage up in the acorns before making it to the plot.

>>GRANT: Based on this, they entered the plot from the north and walked through the middle. Now, that may seem odd, but if you walk along the edge of the plot, deer are going to cut your trail and possibly become alerted maybe before you see them or they present a good shot opportunity.

>>GRANT: By walking through the middle of the plot, you’re going to see the deer and have time for a shot long before they cut the trail.

>> ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Green Cover Food Plots, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Thlete Outdoor Apparel, Morrell Targets, RTP Outdoors, Fourth Arrow, HuntStand, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Burris Optics, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] It’s the first day of youth season here in southern Missouri. We’re sitting on a plot we call the Golden Corral. We call it the Golden Corral because there’s all types of food plots here. We’ve got everything and there’s a bunch of scrapes around them. And we’re going to see if we can catch a buck cruising through and checking scrapes. So, I guess we’ll see what happens.

>>GRANT: They weren’t in the stand long before they spotted a yearling buck eating acorns.

>>GRANT: The buck came to the barbed wire fence and then kind of turned and fed toward Rylan and Chase. And this is a good illustration of how fences or other structures can serve as the edge of a travel corridor.

>>GRANT: The buck turned, walked to the edge of the plot and checked the scrape.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] There’s something [Indiscernible].

>>GRANT: A few minutes later, two fawns entered the plot.

>>GRANT: Deer were obviously on their feet and moving to feed, but Rylan was waiting for a mature buck.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Hey. Big buck to our left.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] [Indiscernible] I can’t tell if it’s a shooter or if it’s just a three-year-old.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] Oh, yeah. That’s definitely a good buck. Definitely a mature buck.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] I’m shooting if it’s mature.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] Are you on him?

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Yeah. I’m on him.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] Huh?

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] [Indiscernible] Oh, yeah. He’s a good deer.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] Don’t move. He’s gonna turn around.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Yep.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] Don’t’ move.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] That’s a big deer, dad.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] I know. Just wait. Wait for him to turn.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] You turn your safety off?

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] No.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] Go ahead and click it off. As soon as he comes out there. Not yet.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] All right. Right behind the shoulder. Go for it.

>>CHASE: [Quietly] He’s down.

>>RYLAN: [Quietly] He is?

>>CHASE: [Indiscernible]

>>RYLAN: [Quietly] Yeah.

>>CHASE: [Quietly] Yes.

>>RYLAN: [Quietly] I had it right on the heart.

>>CHASE: [Quietly] You got him.

>>RYLAN: [Quietly] Let’s go. Let’s go.

>>CHASE: [Quietly] Yes. You just hit a five-and-a-half-year-old. Yes. The kid smoked him.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] He’s – he’s big. He’s tall. He’s tall.

>>CHASE: [Whispering] He’s [indiscernible] both sides, that’s a 150 deer.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Yeah, I know.

>>RYLAN: [Whispering] Well, I just shot a big one. It’s only been ten minutes, but we heard him crash, so, we’re gonna go ahead and get down and see if we can find him.

>>GRANT: I know Rylan is a good shot from watching several of his videos. And I’m really confident that buck didn’t go far.

>>RYLAN: Yes!

>>CHASE: What do you think of that, buddy?

>>RYLAN: That is a [indiscernible].

>>RYLAN: He’s definitely a mature deer.

>>CHASE: Yeah. I know that. What do you think of that? Oh my.

>>RYLAN: He is an old, old deer.

>>CHASE: He is an old deer, buddy. Look at that.

>>RYLAN: I just shot my first buck with the Winchester .243. Just put him in the dirt. We found this guy eating acorns. And it’s just been awesome.

>>GRANT: Wow. What a great, mature Ozark Mountain buck, Rylan. Congratulations.

>>GRANT: We often receive questions, something like, “Hey, what’s the best caliber to use for whitetails?” And I usually respond, “It’s not the caliber, but the bullet performance and shot placement.”

>>GRANT: Rylan was using a Winchester .243 and he had that baby loaded with Deer Season XP ammo. Rylan made a great shot and even on the large-bodied buck, when they skinned it out, it was obvious that Deer Season XP had done its job.

>>GRANT: Prior to this hunt, Chase only had three trail camera images of this buck. And that’s fairly common not to get a lot of pictures of a mature buck in big timber country, especially when there’s acorns on the ground, as they can travel and feed almost anywhere.

>>GRANT: Chase’s work to create high-quality food plots and attract deer to a specific area, as well as scouting and hunting bottlenecks, resulted in putting this big boy on the ground.

>>GRANT: Bottlenecks are often created by terrain features, low fence crossing, easy places to cross a creek or other areas that encourage or restrict where deer travel.

>>GRANT: Scouting or even designing the habitat to create bottlenecks is a great way to see more deer and get more venison.

>>GRANT: Chase enhanced this area of his lease near that fence gap bottleneck with a food plot and the results are obvious.

>>GRANT: Understanding how deer use a property and improving the habitat are great ways to get outside and enjoy Creation. But you may not have time to do all that. And I strongly encourage you, no matter where you are, to enjoy Creation and daily take time to be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.