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GRANT: January 31st. The last day of trapping season in Missouri, but shed hunting is getting ready to kick in full bore and the hog season is wide open.
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GRANT: Last week Adam went to a friend of ours property about an hour and a half from here and put out some bait to start attracting hogs. They’re doing a lot of damage to his food plots. We also put out some trail cameras to see which bait sites they’re using and whether it’s nighttime or daytime activity.
GRANT: One of the four bait sites started getting some activity late in the afternoon, so Adam and I grabbed a Razor XT ammo and took off for the hunt.
GRANT: It was a exciting hunt because we heard leaves crunching more than once, but it usually ended up being deer. And I always enjoy/love watching deer – especially those mature bucks still holding their antlers at the end of January.
GRANT: (Whispering) That’s a good buck. We’ve got a secret weapon. Trying to declare a little war on these hogs. We’ve got a Foxpro caller hidden out there about 70 yards in the weeds. And I’m kinda used to a little piggy distress call. Trying to call some sows in. We really want to remove some large sows because that’s the reproductive driving force of the herd.
GRANT: One great reason it’s illegal to bait turkeys, which I think it should be, is we had turkeys coming in like crazy to the bait site we put out for the wild hogs.
GRANT: I really didn’t want those turkeys around that bait site so I turned on the Foxpro caller and used some pig squealing trying to get a double edge effort of spooking the turkeys off and drawing the pigs on in.
GRANT: However, turkeys are so addicted to the yellow acorns that they kept on that bait site and didn’t chase off even though I turned that volume up pretty loud.
GRANT: But the next morning was just one of those days you appreciate to be alive and enjoying Creation. The sunrise with the clouds on the horizon was as good as it gets.
GRANT: (Whispering) It’s about 8:30 in the morning and we decided to try the little rabbit squealer – see if we could get a predator to come in. I’ve actually got a big praise – see that buck come in. That was awesome. We’ll give it a few minutes to do some more squealing.
GRANT: Wild hogs being what they are – super sensitive, super smart – we never had hogs come in during daylight to that stand. Adam and I are on a mission to put some fresh pork in Tracy’s freezer and we love that excuse to keep on hunting coyotes and hogs until turkey season opens up about a month and a half away.
GRANT: You may recall Adam and I found a gray fox dead in one of our food plots and we did our necropsy, or autopsy, on it. It was obvious something had mauled it with canines about an inch and a half apart. Coyotes or feral dogs even, catching that fox and killing it and taking its prey. And I really didn’t worry about it because it’s really rough out here at nighttime. But I did get a little bit more concerned when I found a raccoon dead in a trap last week.
GRANT: As I pulled up just to run my trap line, I found a raccoon with very little fight marks around it – just laying dead. No evidence of what had killed it from the outside.
GRANT: We caught four or five raccoons that morning and when I took ’em to Pete, I told him one of these may be a little different, let me know if you find anything out of the ordinary in one of these raccoons.
GRANT: I had actually caught several raccoons that morning so I wanted to do a little test. And I told Pete, “One of these coons is a little different than the other. I want to see if you can tell me which one.” Pete, what’d you find?
PETE: Well, when I got into this one, uh, all this area you seeing here has all been chewed on – bites, uh. Some puncture wounds.
GRANT: Something’s just tore it up.
PETE: Yeah. Just chewed on it and…
GRANT: And coons are mean.
GRANT: I mean, even if a coon has one foot in a trap, I still wouldn’t walk up to it. It’d take me out. So, here’s a coon pelt that Pete just skinned from the same day – same batch – you see how clean it is relative. And these are all puncture marks or bite marks with teeth and paws on there. The longer scrapes – like these longer scrapes may be claws.
PETE: Yeah. Yeah.
GRANT: But there’s puncture wounds, so we don’t know what did this, but something’s roaming around The Proving Grounds, ‘cause in all my years of trapping, I’ve never had this happen.
GRANT: Have you ever had a coon come in that’s been in a trap tore up like this?
PETE: No. You, you, no. Never see it.
GRANT: I’ve never seen it in my years. You’ve got more years than me. You – that, that means you’re older than me, but…I’ve never seen it. We gonna be getting the Foxpro Screamer out now that trapping season’s about over. But we’ve still got some time to do some calling and just see what comes into the ole screamer. Maybe just – this could have been a pack of feral dogs.
PETE: Yeah. Could be.
GRANT: Cold be some coyotes. We don’t know what it is, but we’re gonna try to find out. We’ve got the Reconyx cameras running and we’ll just, we’ll just see. But for now I’m, I’m stunned. Because coons are mean.
GRANT: Even with its foot in a trap, with ten feet of leash – as that raccoon had – the way I had that trap set up, it would be a really formidable predator. Think about those canines and the claws and how fast a raccoon is. Whatever took that coon down was big, strong and agile.
GRANT: Reconyx are also telling us it’s about time to really kick in high gear for our shed hunting. We had a great sequence of a large buck that we call Split Brow 14. He’s easy to identify because the eye on his right side was apparently injured or knocked out during a fight and his left side antler got busted up. Of course, with that right eye knocked out, it doesn’t shine back at nighttime, so when he’s in front of the camera, you only get glare out of one eye.
GRANT: At 1:52 AM on January 25th, Split Brow came into one of our Reconyx sites with both antlers still on his head.
GRANT: 16 hours later, the same day at the same camera site, Split Brow comes in, blind in one eye, at the same Reconyx site with no head gear on. I’m gonna start searching right around that site and see if I can’t find his sheds before Tracy and Crystal do.
TRACY: That’s it.
GRANT: Just within the last week, we’ve had a large eight-pointer show up at two different camera sites that we haven’t identified all year long.
GRANT: He also has the unique feature of being blind in the right eye. He’s in the part of the farm with a very large sanctuary and we don’t go in there for hunting or putting our trail cameras out, so he could have been here all along and we simply missed him.
GRANT: Either way, if he adds ten or twenty percent next year, he’ll definitely be on my top list.
GRANT: I received a lot of comments this year that I’m not very artistic in giving names to bucks. Large Left, Giant 8. I’m a biologist. I’m very logic minded. I’m not very artistically minded. So, I’m gonna post these pictures here and on my Facebook page in a couple of days. If you’d like to help us come up with a name for this buck, just go to our-my Facebook Page. You can see the address right below me. And suggest names for this large eight-pointer that’s blind in the right eye.
GRANT: It’s definitely time to start shed hunting. Maybe you’ve got some wild hogs in your area you need to hunt or you’re out with your Foxpro doing some screaming. Whatever it is, get out and enjoy Creation and thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.