This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Last week there was snow in the forecast. So we had no problem packing our bags and heading south. Way south. To south Florida for the opening of turkey season.
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GRANT: We had several stops planned on this trip, but one of the most exciting parts was actually turkey hunting in one of the earliest turkey seasons that opens throughout the United States.
GRANT: We were scheduled to meet with our friends, Chris and Tina, from Flatwood natives. They’re both avid hunters and we were excited for a chance to hunt with them.
GRANT: Some friends of Chris and Tina invited us to a ranch to hunt turkeys. And they had spent some time scouting the area and knew where some birds had been roosting.
GRANT: We paired up with Gabriel and he’d been watching some birds using a group of oaks in the middle of a large cattle pasture. With the toms possibly being so close, we elected not to call until we thought the gobbler was on the ground.
GRANT: After 45 minutes of not hearing any toms or hens, we decided to do some calls and see if any turkeys were in the neighborhood.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) I heard one.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Where was it?
GRANT: A gobbler immediately responded to the call and it wasn’t long until we saw turkeys several hundred yards away moving through the pasture.
ADAM: (Whispering) I see him. I see a turkey anyway.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can’t see him yet. I see two of ‘em, two of ‘em, two of ‘em; three of ‘em, three of ‘em; four of ‘em.
ADAM: (Whispering) Coming our way.
GRANT: Four of ‘em. Five of ’em; five of ‘em.
ADAM: (Whispering) Oh yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can’t see ‘em now. They’re in the grass or something.
GRANT: Based on that observation, we decided to try a fighting purr and see if it would bring the tom on in.
GRANT: (Whispering) Can you break that one – you see the one palmetto leaf sticking straight up?
GABRIEL: (Whispering) He’s coming. Gobbler’s coming.
GRANT: A few moments into the fighting purr calls, we heard Gabriel whisper they were looking at the Montana decoy and coming our way.
GRANT: (Whispering) There’s a gobbler in front. I see him, I see him, I see him. Safety’s coming off. (Inaudible) okay. Just be filming.
ADAM: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: (Whispering) I can take the Gobbler.
ADAM: (Whispering) (Inaudible) and take that one.
ADAM: (Whispering) No, no, no, no.
ADAM: (Whispering) Just like those (Inaudible).
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m good if you are.
ADAM: (Whispering) Take it, take it, take it.
GRANT: (Whispering) Talk about knocking a gobbler stone dead. He ain’t even flopping.
GABRIEL: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
ADAM: (Whispering) I heard (Inaudible). And I was like…
GABRIEL: (Whispering) These birds are drunk around here.
ADAM: (Whispering) Wow. Yeah. And then when he was right there at that decoy, I was, like, “Oh, my gosh.” (Laughter)
GRANT: Yeah. I had a clear shot much earlier. Of course, there wasn’t a little footage, but it was behind some palmetto fronds for Adam. And then he moved over this way. And I was just about out of room this way and I was going, “Adam, can I take him? Can I take him?” “No. No.” But he got kind of in the middle for us so it worked out perfect. Yeah, it worked out perfect.
GRANT: Oh yeah. Ooo, that’s a hooker there, buddy! Good.
GRANT: Look at those hooks on that thing. I mean, that’s a limb hanger. That baby will hang. Now, that’s the way to start the year right there. Whew. Man, look at the hooks on that thing. We’ve got to find a limb. I mean, I think it will – look at that. It’ll hang. It’ll hang on the hooks.
GABRIEL: That decoy pulled him in.
GRANT: Yeah, it worked great, didn’t it? And you know, the great thing about that is you – you can have four or five decoys with you; they’re not clowning around; they’re not making a bunch of noise; they just fold up and fit in your pocket. We love those decoys.
GABRIEL: That’s really nice.
GRANT: That beard’s gotta be 11 inches or so. I mean, it’s…
GABRIEL: (Inaudible) Those spurs are impressive.
GRANT: That is an impressive bird there. Look at that. Yeah. That worked out like a champ, didn’t it? Just starting to do a lot of strutting. Look, they’re not wore off as – you know, they’ll getta lot more wore as the season goes.
GABRIEL: That’s probably the most strutting he’s done this whole year was that last 100 yards.
GRANT: I couldn’t see. When y’all were saying, “60 yards, 80 yards, 100 yards closing.” I couldn’t see him the way the palmettos were. I could not see him. I ‘m going, “Man, those guys are getting a show and I’m missing it.”
GRANT: Thank you so much.
GABRIEL: Well, congratulations to you.
GRANT: Man. Look at that.
GABRIEL: There ain’t no denying he’s an Osceloa. Huh.
GRANT: That hunt on a cold, cloudy morning was a great way to start our 2015 turkey season.
GRANT: While we were in south Florida, we also took some time to help Chris and Tina design and plant a tree plot.
GRANT: You can tell it’s super flat. Not at home today, we’re actually in south Florida. I’m with Tina from Flatwood Natives. Tina, thanks for having us down.
TINA: Glad you’re here.
GRANT: So, Tina and her husband grow trees for a living, but they also love to deer hunt. So, that’s where I got invited down. They’ve got a large farm and they want to use this corner for family recreation. We kind of want to develop a screen away from the farm. Not just for us as visual esthetics, but to make the deer more comfortable coming out here feeding, morning and afternoon, while there might be farming activity on the rest of the farm. That about right, Tina?
TINA: That’s right.
GRANT: So, we’ve got access to trees, obviously, so I’ve suggested we’re gonna plant a row of pines or several row of pines as a visual screen between here – this feeding area – and the working farm. But the little magic to get the deer to come out right here is we’re gonna plant a variety of fruit trees or what I call a tree plot. Think about a food plot being soybeans or corn. Well, we’re gonna have fruit, use a tree plot because nothing’s more attractive to deer than a sugary, fresh fruit.
TINA: We’re gonna measure this tree – the pot size. I usually use my shovel – helps me make some indentions.
GRANT: Okay. So, you’re marking off one and a half times the size of the pot.
TINA: My soil to the side. Wanta get it too deep.
GRANT: Okay. So, you said a key there. You don’t want it too deep.
TINA: No. We do not want it too deep. And I want to clean some of these old roots out from weeds and some debris. And gently hold the roots and pull my pot off. All right, let’s bring some of this soil back.
GRANT: And I always notice you pack it down, Tina. Tell me why we want to pack this down.
TINA: We want to pack it down because we don’t want the roots to get exposed to air. We want the soil to touch the roots.
GRANT: Because if it hits a big air pocket, it will probably kill that root. Right?
GRANT: So, we want the soil aerated, but that means loose, not big pockets down in there. Just think about if a root’s growing and hits a big air pocket, it’s gonna, what we call, prune or kill that root off.
GRANT: After we finished planting the pine trees, it was time to move on to the fruit trees.
GRANT: Tina got all the trees planted, but there’s some additional steps we can take to ensure this is a successful tree plot. What would you like to do next?
TINA: You’re right, Grant. The first thing I’d like to do is prune this tree to promote some upright, healthy growth.
GRANT: Tina, I gotta tell you, a lot of, you know, landowners, myself included, are a little scared to go knocking a bunch of wood off something they just paid to plant. What, what’s going on here?
TINA: Well, Grant, don’t be too nervous. What we’re gonna do is we’re just gonna take this extra limb off. We’re gonna give this guy a, a healthy start and he’s gonna grow straight up. We’re gonna come down here…
GRANT: Hmm. Hmm.
TINA: …to the main leader…
TINA: …and we’re just gonna make a nice, clean cut.
GRANT: Okay. Wow.
TINA: Don’t get nervous.
GRANT: (Sigh) Okay. Yup.
TINA: All right. And we’re gonna come down here – just a couple little snips.
GRANT: Yup. Nice and close to the tree.
GRANT: Real clean.
TINA: Real clean. A couple. We’re gonna move this out.
GRANT: So, now we’ve got a tree that looks like a tree.
TINA: Exactly. And he’s healthy and he’s gonna grow straight up.
GRANT: Okay. And the limbs can spread without rubbing up against other limbs which might cause disease or allow insects to get in there or something.
GRANT: Tina, what’s another step we can do to make sure this tree is healthy?
TINA: All right. Well, we’re gonna come in and put a, a weed mat in. Of course, we’re gonna lay it shiny side up.
TINA: It’s going to prevent weeds and other competition for our roots. Shiny side up.
TINA: And we’re gonna come on top of the tree, just gently bring it down.
GRANT: And another thing. Because you keep all the grass and weeds away, when I’m out here mowing or weed eating or whatever, I can clearly see where the tree is. That’s a big protection in itself.
TINA: Exactly. All right. We’re gonna place the staples here and we’re gonna bend our corner up just to give a little bit extra stability.
GRANT: Okay. Two layers instead of one.
TINA: Exactly. And here in Florida, it’s real easy to push the ground staple down. But you, in other states, may have to use a hammer.
GRANT: I’m loving this. I can just go whoo…
GRANT: …that’s amazing to me.
GRANT: Tina, I get the concept of, you know, protecting the tree against weeds and grasses. What else can we do to give this tree a great start?
TINA: All right. Grant, we’re gonna take this tree stake and we’re gonna give this tree some stability from the wind and it’s gonna help our tree, too.
GRANT: Okay. I remember way back in college, tree tubes were solid. Tell me why there’s all these vents in here.
TINA: All right. We want the tree to be able to breathe. We want moisture to be in there and we want a little greenhouse effect.
GRANT: Okay. Like a little greenhouse, it’s encouraging top growth. This is giving us stability and we’re good for years like this.
GRANT: Okay. So, we’re just gonna reach up and gently put this down. And do you worry about going over these leaves, Tina? What do we need to do here?
TINA: Well, you can be cautious, but if the leaves come off, it’s gonna be all right.
GRANT: Okay. All right. So, we’ve got it lined up where our holes are right here by our stake and we just take some ties and fasten that together?
TINA: Exactly. We’re gonna use these little zip ties.
GRANT: Tina, I see one additional advantage. Of course, this is gonna protect the tree from deer rubbing on it. Fruit trees are aromatic. Deer like to select aromatic or trees that have a really nice odor coming off to rub on, so a lot of protection in here.
GRANT: So, we’ve taken care of the tree. And because we’ve done that, the tree is gonna reward us in a couple years this will be producing quite a bit of fruit. Obviously, attract deer, turkey – even wild hogs, unfortunately – to the area. We already know we’re gonna have a tree stand over here because of the predominant wind and make a great hunting location.
GRANT: We had a great time turkey hunting and establishing a tree plot. We also went on a hog hunt and helped another landowner. Stay tuned next week as we share the rest of this road trip.
GRANT: Whether you’re at home this week or traveling, I hope you take time to enjoy Creation and most importantly, find time each day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.