This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
STEVE: See if I can get it done.
GRANT: Whew! I hit the deer!
GRANT: Spring is in full swing and much is happening in the woods. Turkeys are still displaying breeding behavior here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: It seems there may be another peak in turkey breeding behavior. It’s probably due to the horrific flooding we experienced a few weeks ago. Flooding is known to destroy turkey nests or make it much easier for predators to find a nest and the hen.
GRANT: Given this, it may be a while before we get pictures of poults here at The Proving Grounds, but that’s not the case for fawns.
GRANT: Recently, one of our Reconyx cameras took the first video of a fawn during 2019. The fawn appeared to be just a few days old.
GRANT: The whitetail gestation period is 200 days. So, using this information we can back-date to when the doe was likely bred. Doing the math and allowing a little error, the doe was likely bred during the week of October 15th.
GRANT: During that week the pre-rut was just kicking off here at The Proving Grounds. There was a lot of activity at our Code Blue scrapes.
GRANT: The pre-rut is one of my favorite times to hunt whitetails. During that time only a few does will be receptive, which means a buck has to seek a lot, or move a lot, to find that receptive doe.
GRANT: The increased level of buck activity during the pre-rut makes the odds of seeing a buck on his feet much better.
GRANT: During this same time when only a few does are receptive scrape behavior peaks. It’s a great time to hunt over or near scrapes.
GRANT: Compare this to the peak of the rut. Often bucks will be tending or bedded with a doe for several hours during the peak of the rut and scrape behavior drops off significantly.
GRANT: Just recently we got a few videos of young bucks working our Code Blue scrapes.
GRANT: Seeing these bucks work scrapes this time of year isn’t surprising to me. Scrapes are simply a communication hub and some scrapes will stay active year-round. We will continue to monitor these scrapes and share the findings on our social media.
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GRANT: We kicked off planting our warm season food plots April 10th. We planted Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans directly into the standing crop of our fall blend.
GRANT: When we planted the beans more than a month ago, we didn’t terminate that standing crop.
GRANT: Some will likely ask why we didn’t spray that crop when or just after we planted. This technique is part of what I call the Buffalo System. I call this system the Buffalo System because it mimics the natural processes that developed great soils on the prairies.
GRANT: A wide variety of plants grew on the native prairie.
GRANT: And every now and then large herds of buffalo or elk would move through, consume some of the forage and trample the rest to the ground.
GRANT: After the buffalo or other large animals moved on, new forage would grow in the rich soils created by the decomposition of the forage that had been trampled.
GRANT: Years of repeating this process developed extremely fertile and deep soils.
GRANT: Giant herds of buffalo are no longer roaming the great prairie. But we can replicate the system that built those great soils by using the Buffalo System.
GRANT: I use the Goliath crimper — what I call a steel buffalo — to terminate the vegetation and replicate that trampling.
GRANT: First, I use the Genesis to drill the seeds in. Because just like the Great Prairie, seeds were there before the buffalo trampled and made enough sun available for those seeds to grow.
GRANT: Then I terminate the crop with the crimper and this keeps me from using an herbicide.
GRANT: We’re in a plot called Well House and it’s the first plot we’ve planted this year, April 10th. There’s been a lot of nights blow 40 degrees since then. It’s now May 20th.
GRANT: The cover crop has matured enough to use the Goliath crimper, so we’re terminating that cover crop without using an herbicide. But remember, we planted soybeans in here April 10th. Let’s take a look and see how they’re doing.
GRANT: Even standing up the bean leaves are a different color than the terminated forage and I can see the beans throughout the duff.
GRANT: You would think, “Well, my gosh. You just ran over this and terminated the crop, probably killed all the soybeans also.”
GRANT: But I’ll show you how that’s not the case.
GRANT: Anywhere I put my hand down and try to pick up the cereal grains and try to stand ‘em up, well, we can see that they’ve been crimped several places — about every eight inches or so.
GRANT: They don’t stand up straight. And that’s because the crimper broke the stem; broke the circulatory system; and terminated the crop. The seeds will not mature. They won’t be viable.
GRANT: The same is true for the big brassicas. I’ll try to pick one up, but gosh, right where I try to pick it up, it’s crimped in several areas. There’s no chance all these seeds are gonna mature.
GRANT: You’re thinking, “Man, Grant. That crimper is pretty devastating. You had to have killed the beans.” But, I’ll dig around, find a soybean. Here’s one right here. Let me get the stuff all around it.
GRANT: I’m just gonna pull it off at the ground level. And you can see it’s not been crimped. The crimper clearly ran over here, but this is so young and pliable, it’s not making seeds.
GRANT: So, it just bent over, sticks right back up. It’s gonna grow right through the mulch in a perfect environment.
GRANT: What makes this a perfect environment for these young soybeans that were planted more than a month ago? Well, they’ve got tremendous mulch all around here suppressing weeds from trying to grow.
GRANT: The larger seed of a soybean or other crops has much more energy than a really small pigweed or ragweed or something. So, it’s got enough energy to come up through this mulch.
GRANT: You know that this crimped vegetation will turn a light brown when it dies and that’s reflecting heat, keeping the soil from warming up as much, which does a great job of preserving soil moisture. If the soil gets too hot, moisture evaporates.
GRANT: Perfect growing environment, about 70 degrees, for these young beans.
GRANT: Crimping works because it breaks the plant’s circulatory system every few inches. Broken or crimped, but not cut. I share that because I often receive questions, “Can’t I just mow my plot after I’ve planted?”
GRANT: Many forage plants that are almost mature will try to grow again if they’re mowed. In addition, mowing rarely leaves the mulch or the terminated crop evenly spread across the field.
GRANT: If the mower throws a windrow and leaves some places bare and others with thick vegetation, you end up with strips of weeds and strips of vegetation so thick it may smother out the new crop.
GRANT: Helping us out. These are predators. And they eat species that might attack the plants, the forage plants. These are predators. Seeing these is a good thing.
GRANT: There’s a lot of advantages to using a crimper. We don’t have to worry about when it’s gonna rain or how cold it is, unlike using an herbicide. The mulch created by crimping becomes very high-quality, slow release fertilizer.
GRANT: I use Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend and it includes an annual clover. You might know that clover — of course, it’s much more pliable and not as sturdy — it doesn’t stand as straight as a cereal grain. And that means it will decompose much easier and become the first source of fertilizer available to the new plants.
GRANT: Typically, the brassicas will break down next. Now, this isn’t like a start and stop. It’s in phases. Following that will be the small grains.
GRANT: Again, they stand more erect. They have a tougher cell wall. It’s called lignan and that will break down last, creating a great slow release fertilizer through several months of the food plot season.
GRANT: This is perfect because the crop we just planted doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. Not a big dump all at once. So, that little bit of decomposition that starts at the first is the right amount of fertilizer for the new crop.
GRANT: As that crop matures, more and more of the mulch will break down.
GRANT: As the mulch is breaking down and fertilizing the new crop, the new crop is getting larger, making more leaves, more solar collectors, if you will, and more shade. And that shade will shade out weeds that may want to grow once the mulch is partially decomposed.
GRANT: Simply stated, the Buffalo System is an easy way to build rich and productive soils.
GRANT: Years ago, we started trying and tweaking the Buffalo System. And it’s been a great pleasure for me to watch our soils improve, our input cost go down and our deer herd become healthier.
GRANT: Not only am I using the Buffalo System to improve the soils and provide quality forage for critters here at The Proving Grounds, but it’s also providing quality food for my family.
GRANT: Last year we shared our Buffalo garden technique which was simply putting a wide variety of garden seeds in our no-till drill and drilling a few strips in a food plot.
GRANT: Based on those lessons we refined the technique, got about 25 plus different varieties of garden crops, mixed ‘em all together and calibrated the drill.
GRANT: Some people may be wondering, “Well, how do you calibrate for all those different seed sizes?” I wish there was a secret, but there’s not. I learned many years ago when I was planting varieties of fall crops that had lots of different seed sizes, just to simply mix ‘em all up, put ‘em in the drill and the calibration would work.
GRANT: We shared planting this food plot, North Field, several weeks ago. But we left a few strips down the middle we didn’t plant. You may be asking, “Why?” But the answer — well, it’s in the Genesis.
GRANT: I’ve got 25 plus different varieties of garden plants: squash, melons, peas, beans, you name it – all blended together. Put in there and I’m gonna put ‘em right in the middle of this plot.
GRANT: I’m actually planting a few strips of my garden blend in three different plots. I didn’t want to put it all in one place. Deer like garden plants just as much as I do.
GRANT: We waited to plant the garden seeds until now because they need a warmer soil temperature — at least some of the varieties do — than the Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans we planted in this field almost a month ago.
GRANT: We’re using the same technique we used to plant the food plots. We’ll crimp it all at one time, let the soybeans grow and feed deer. I’ll come pick the veggies to feed the Woods family.
GRANT: This isn’t perfect. Some of the varieties will do better than others. We tweak the blend each year kind of figuring out which garden varieties work well with the Buffalo System.
GRANT: We’re going to start planting seed and we’ll give you some updates as the garden starts producing.
GRANT: Whenever we start planting a new plot or change blends we’re planting in a plot, I plant just a few feet and then get off and check soil depth.
GRANT: Take my knife, dig down in the dirt just a little bit and see how deep the seeds are. That’s very important and I want different depths based on the conditions.
GRANT: Today, I planted about a quarter to a half inch deep because there’s a forecast of an inch of rain, a 90% chance. So, get ‘em in the ground, get ‘em covered, let that rain get there, let ‘em germinate and come up strong.
GRANT: We really enjoy getting our hands dirty in the food plot process, but it’s also time to start pulling our bows back and getting ready for deer season.
GRANT: Recently my friends, Aaron and Steve Gould, put on a shooting exhibition at Bass Pro’s Shooting Academy.
GRANT: The Academy is close to where I live, so they stopped by while they were in town and we decided to pull our bows out and have a little fun.
GRANT: I said, “Hey, our target’s gonna fall over.” And all at once, Aaron whips out an arrow and puts it right here so it can’t fall over. You gotta learn, don’t challenge the trick shooter.
STEVE: Don’t you hate it when you’re about to make the shot on that deer; a bear walks right in front of the deer? Gotta send it anyway.
GRANT: Absolutely. A double lunger.
AARON: Look at that.
GRANT: Below the shoulder. A double lunger below the shoulder. That trophy is down.
GRANT: We gotta drag this bad boy out of here now, man.
STEVE: Yeah. Let’s get this. Oh. A few months and it will be real. Okay?
STEVE: Okay. I got a 60-yard shot. I can see the deer between the bear’s legs. The problem is I’ve got to shoot over the top of the bear to shoot the deer below the bear. Let’s see if I can get it done.
DANIEL: Oh, that’s not good.
STEVE: I don’t see it.
STEVE: We gotta go check it out. Might have one down.
GRANT: Oh, man.
STEVE: Look at that! Whew! That’s the 60 yard over/under the bear shot.
GRANT: That’s – man.
GRANT: I hit the deer? I‘m a…I hit the deer!
DANIEL: Well, Grant, it did take them two shots to get the shoulders.
GRANT: That’s right. That’s right
UNKNOWN: Gotta rub it in.
GRANT: That’s right. That’s right.
GRANT: Aaron and Steve are extremely talented and they have several trick shot videos on their YouTube channel. I encourage you to follow them and check it out.
GRANT: If you’d like to learn more about the Buffalo System or follow us as we prepare for deer season, simply subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.
GRANT: Whether you’re practicing with your bow, messing around in food plots or simply getting outside, I hope you take time to enjoy Creation.
GRANT: And more importantly, every day, slow down, be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
STEVE: Another bear just walked out.
AARON: Another one.
AARON: Oh. I hope you’ve got a bear tag.
GRANT: There is more meat in a bear.
STEVE: That’s what it’s all about.
GRANT: That is impressive.
STEVE: Thank you.
GRANT: I didn’t want to say that to you.
STEVE: It was good coaching. You know, we took a couple practice shots. You had some profound wisdom right before this shot. So.