This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: We journeyed to central Florida last week to hunt with some friends and plant our first food plot of the 2016 spring season.
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GRANT: Adam and I traveled to central Florida last year to hog hunt and we had a very productive hunt.
GRANT: Like last year, Adam and I started out in a hay bale blind placed in an opening amongst some live oaks and palmettos. Hogs will frequently use large stands of palmettos as bedding areas during the daytime.
GRANT: Hogs are considered a pest species in Florida and an effective way to hunt them is by placing bait, such as corn, in openings near these large palmetto stands.
GRANT: The sun wasn’t far above the horizon during our first hunt when a medium size boar approached our setup.
GRANT: Since only one hog came in and the light was still somewhat limiting to film, Adam and I decided to wait to see if other hogs would join him. I prefer to harvest sows because they’re the reproductive unit of the hog population. However, in truth, this was a meat hunt as trapping is a much more effective way to reduce hog populations.
GRANT: We watched this boar for several minutes, but during that time we didn’t see or hear any other hogs so I decided to prepare for the shot.
GRANT: (Whispering) Just getting light in south Florida. We’ve already got a boar out in front of us and can hear a turkey gobbling off to a side. I love hunting in south Florida.
GRANT: (Whispering) We’ll see if he gets squared up for a great shot.
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m just gonna call him 20 yards.
GRANT: In addition to the hide and the bones being tougher than the average deer, hogs roll in mud and that mud cakes in their hair and makes it even more difficult for a broadhead to penetrate. When I came to full draw and settled the pin, the hog was still quartering away, so I took the shot.
GRANT: (Whispering) You good?
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) Young boar; great eatin’ size; quartering away pretty hard. And usually (Inaudible) zip right through so I think we hit the off shoulder, which would mean we took out the lungs. We thought we saw the lighted nock tumble out there but we’re gonna wait here. I think we can get some more action. We’ll trail it a little later.
GRANT: It sounded like the hog ran a short distance before we heard a crash. So, we were confident there’d be fresh pork in the back of our truck when we headed home.
GRANT: We remained in the blind with hopes that more hogs would show up. However, it wasn’t that long before curiosity got the best of me and I decided to get out of the blind and take up the trail.
GRANT: He was right in here this morning about 22 yards; ran right through that gap. So should be pretty easy to find. Well this is super easy. Probably ran 50 – 60 yards. There’s blood right here. Lots of blood just pouring out.
GRANT: I had only taken the trail just a few yards and I could see the hog sticking out behind the bush and it was clear the Havoc broadhead had done a great job.
GRANT: Nice boar; about eatin’ size. Oh, they’re always heavier than they look. Golly, gee, that thing is heavy. Must be hung on the arrow. Yeah, I feel broadhead right there. I thought I could see a hump. I can feel the broadhead right there. We’ll roll him over and see where my arrow is. I hope that arrow didn’t break it ‘cause that was like my favorite BloodSport. I’d shot four does with that arrow. I’m gonna be mad if this pig broke my arrow.
GRANT: The arrow was in the ground. Can you believe that? That arrow didn’t break, folks. It was in the ground. I’m dragging on it. It was quartering away. Obviously did the number. That’s the power of a BloodSport arrow there. Can you believe that? Arrow did not break; I’m dragging the pig backwards in the ground. I have to pull it out; clean it up; put a new broadhead on it; shoot a pig this afternoon. Can you believe that didn’t break?
GRANT: As many of you know, we’ve been helping design and testing the Genesis no-till drill since mid-summer last year. We’ve planted throughout the year, and even in the winter when it was so cold there was no chance that seed would germinate, as a way of testing all components of the drill. Finally, I was about ready to yell, “This is not a test! This is not a test!” when the drill showed up in Florida and the conditions were just right to actually establish a food plot.
GRANT: One of the most important processes of using a no-till drill to plant a plot is calibrating it to plant the right amount of seed. If this step is skipped, it’s likely too much or too little seed will be planted and the food plot will not be a success.
GRANT: So this is really cool. This (Inaudible) to fall through, but you can just take this off, turn it over and that catches our seed. So you can calibrate real easy. Instead of, like, we’ve put blankets on the ground; you’ve got to get under there and weigh it and spill seed and…
UNKNOWN: Pulling it out, flip it. Now you can catch.
GRANT: One of the cool things about the Genesis is the calibration tray. We can actually turn the wheel just a few times, catch all the seed in the calibration tray, pour that in a bucket and weigh it. Do the process again and within two or three times – or a matter of a few minutes – have the drill calibrated perfectly and not waste any seed. This is a huge change from the drill I’ve used for several years where we had to lay a blanket on the ground, catch the seed, try to get all the seed off the blanket and start again.
GRANT: The addition of the calibration tray is probably more important than I can communicate. We can literally calibrate in the field no matter what the conditions are and have an accurate result without wasting any seed in a timely manner.
GRANT: Adam and I are in south Florida once again. You might recall last year, we came down and helped establish a tree plot and did some great hog hunting.
GRANT: This morning, we had another awesome hog hunt. But today, we’re gonna refine the tree plot. The trees are doing great, but we want to plant a crop right between the trees. This will be an additional attraction and help suppress the weeds. We don’t want a disc right next to our trees. A much safer option is simply kill the grass, come in with the no-till drill, plant the seeds close to the trees. We’ll have a great crop that also leaves the sod right in place which will help preserve moisture.
GRANT: The soil where we were in Florida was extremely sandy. So, preserving soil moisture has got to be job one and is extremely important to making sure this plot can grow throughout the summer.
GRANT: Like most landowners, our host had traditionally used a disc to establish food plots. Discing, of course, exposes the soil to a lot of air, allowing for rapid evaporation of any moisture in there and all the weed seeds that are in that soil profile have a chance of kind of getting stirred up and placed near the surface of the soil – making for a perfect seed bed and rapid germination of those weed seeds.
GRANT: In contrast, the soil is not turned when using a no-till drill. Only a little narrow slot is made for the seed to be dropped in at the perfect depth. This does a great job of preserving soil moisture and it doesn’t bring any additional weed seeds to the surface and encourage their germination.
GRANT: The drill goes through with the opening coulter – or disc – making a slot and cutting any duff out of the way. The second two coulters actually spread the soil slightly; drop a seed to the perfect depth; followed by a packing wheel which seals that up and ensures good seed to soil contact.
GRANT: This was the ideal technique to establish a food plot in an existing tree plot. We really like combining tree plots and food plots. By giving multiple attractions to the same location and using the food plot to control weeds from the trees, and then the trees producing fruit that’s usually only available at that location – well it’s easy to see why that’s a dynamite deer attraction.
GRANT: You can tell we’re in south Florida. This tree has already leaved out and looking great.
GRANT: This tree plot was established by the folks at Flatwood Natives and is a combination of nut and fruit trees. First food plot of the year for me planted – looks great – and I’m ready to go get back in a hog blind and get some more pork this afternoon.
GRANT: We frequently design the combination of tree plot and food plots on our clients’ land throughout the whitetails range. I don’t know of any way to put more attractants and make an acre more productive.
GRANT: One of the most important steps to maintaining young trees is pruning.
KEYLAND: The first thing we want to do here this morning, Grant, is remove some dead wood. If you find any dead wood on the tree – or, or diseased wood – get it pruned off and remove it from the site to prevent contamination. And you want to make sure you have sharp pruners. You want to make a good, flush cut where the limb comes off the tree.
GRANT: So, step one – we want to remove any dead or diseased limbs – put them on the ground, but before we leave, take them off the site.
GRANT: Keyland got the dead wood off. We know we’re gonna take it off site when we’re finished. What’s your next step?
KEYLAND: The next step is to remove interior limbs.
GRANT: One advantage to taking interior limbs off is when the wind’s blowing and the tree is shaking around, they’re not rubbing against each other, causing scarring or allowing disease or insects to penetrate the tree.
KEYLAND: The next step is pruning limbs that grow downward or grow in a, a weird shape outside of the crown of the tree.
GRANT: Even though we’re in south Florida, pruning limbs that are growing down are important everywhere – especially in northern latitudes where ice can be a problem. It tends to break those downward pointed limbs off easier, leaving an open scar where insects and disease can penetrate the tree easier.
GRANT: Keyland, it may seem with all the limbs removed, this tree might produce less fruit. But that’s not the case. Is it?
KEYLAND: That’s not the case.
GRANT: Actually, we get better air flow, more sunshine, everything’s healthier. So, the remaining limbs in their right form – being healthier – produce more fruit than a tree that hasn’t been pruned.
GRANT: Keyland, we’re at a little different part of the tree plot here and this guy looks like a football player. He’s got all this protective gear. What have we got going on here?
KEYLAND: This is a tree tube which protects it from animals, such as deer rubbin’ on ‘em.
KEYLAND: And it also acts as a greenhouse.
GRANT: Yup. I can see that. Then we’ve got the weed mat down here. Very simply, moisture can go through it but weeds don’t get enough sun to come up so it keeps all the competition around from the base of the tree. And also, if there’s not weeds growing all up around, your kid will see it easy and won’t hit it with a lawnmower.
GRANT: Gosh, with this protective gear, it’s no wonder this tree is growing so fast. And you guys kind of developed this over time ‘cause a lot of people don’t realize this, but the bigger company with Flatwood Natives has literally planted and established millions of trees throughout the years.
GRANT: Keyland, trees are plants and all plants need nutrients. Too many nutrients causes them harm and not enough stunts their growth. How do you address that?
KEYLAND: We use fertilizer. 10/10/10 fertilizer is what we have here. It can be found almost anywhere. The application rate we use is one pound per every inch in diameter at ground level.
GRANT: So for each inch the tree is wide, we’re gonna add one pound of 10/10/10 fertilizer. Where do you add that fertilizer?
KEYLAND: You want to start at the edge of the root ball or the drip line of the tree and spread it evenly around the tree.
GRANT: Okay. That’s simple enough.
GRANT: Just the opposite of pruning, folks tend to want to add too much fertilizer to a tree. Just a small amount of fertilizer will do a great job of getting the tree off to a productive start.
GRANT: Looks like we’ve got our players all dressed with their protective gear; we’re getting ready to plant a food plot crop in between our tree plot; and it won’t be long ‘til deer will be using the area.
GRANT: If you want a hands-on look at how we design and manage tree plots or any of the habitat management practices here at The Proving Grounds, join us April 1st and 2nd for our next Field Event.
GRANT: While on our way to Florida, Adam and I had the pleasure of stopping by First Emmanuel Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.
GRANT: I don’t worry about it. Not that I’m a big guy. But my wife literally won the tommy-hawk throwing contest in Wyoming. And you’re liable to be walking like this if you poach on our land. She’s pretty protective.
GRANT: But out of all these white oaks and oaks in here, where do you put your stand?
CHILD: I don’t know.
GRANT: A – I don’t know either. Acorns taste about the same. It, it, it’s tough to pattern deer in cover like this.
GRANT: And I know some of y’all come up and say you watch (Inaudible). You know, I had kind of a tough fall. My dad was going through cancer; he’s 85 and my best friend. He was my best man at my marriage; just, you know, been a strong figure in my life. And I just want to share that those people that have been following along – about a week and a half, two weeks ago – I took my dad back to the Mayo Clinic and he had a PET scan and praise God, he was cancer free. So, I really appreciate your prayers.
GRANT: This is a huge praise. And I can’t wait to have my dad out turkey hunting here in a month or so.
GRANT: In a couple of months, we will return to the Mayo and have another scan to ensure cancer isn’t popping up. I hope you all sincerely continue to pray for my dad. And I really, really appreciate those of you that have been praying.
GRANT: Clearly, I’ve got a huge praise to share. Cancer impacts everyone – either directly or a member of their family. But even with cancer, even in those tough times, it’s always important to slow down and enjoy Creation. And even more important each day to listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.