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GRANT: It’s almost Christmas and Christmas, I hope to you, is more than some days off school or some days off work to go hunting or sleep in. I hope you recognize that Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. And more than that, Christ was sent to us as a gift from our Heavenly Father. It’s that relationship, with our Heavenly Father through Christ, well, that’s the whole reason of Christmas. And the whole reason we have eternal hope. The best gift we could ever have. Merry Christmas!

GRANT: During Arkansas’s 2020 firearm season, Lindsey Martin was behind her Winchester at her family’s farm.

LINDSEY: (Whispering) Here comes a good one. I’m going to kill it (Indiscernible).

GRANT: Unfortunately, Lindsey never had a clear shot because vegetation or terrain covered the vitals.

GRANT: Once Frank dropped below that terrain, they never saw him again during that hunt.

GRANT: Heath and Lindsey knew that during that period of December, it was post most of the breeding behavior and Frank was likely on a food cover, food cover pattern. So, they moved a Redneck blind mounted to a trailer on the other side of the food plot, so they could see where Frank had been feeding.

GRANT: It was still fairly early during that hunt when they spotted antlers.

LINDSEY: All right. Well, here he is.

GRANT: Moving their blind based on observations from the previous hunt allowed Lindsey to tag Frank.

GRANT: Studying maps and putting boots on the ground and learning how deer use a property, can lead to repeated success.

GRANT: Through the years, Heath and Lindsey have learned that deer like to enter that plot through a fence gap on one side.

GRANT: Of course, the fence gap serves as a pinch point or a bottleneck and is a great place to a Reconyx camera.

GRANT: One of the bucks using that fence gap this year was a nice eight pointer.

GRANT: Based on this information and the observations they’d made after they moved the blind last year, they decided that would be a great location to start when Arkansas’s muzzleloader season opened this year.

LINDSEY: Good afternoon. It’s October 16th. It’s opening day of muzzleloader season for Arkansas. So, we decided we’re going to set up here on a field on the southside of our property. So, we’re going to sit tight here for the afternoon, see who comes out and puts on a show for us.

GRANT: It wasn’t long after they settled in that a group of does and fawns entered the plot.

GRANT: Throughout the afternoon several deer fed on the Green Cover food plot blend.

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, Morrel Targets, RTP Outdoors, Fourth Arrow, HuntStand, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Burris Optics, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

GRANT: You may notice a deer feeding on some of the species that were in the summer blend and also putting their head down and feeding on that new growth from the fall blend.

GRANT: I never like destroying a crop or cleaning a table. I’d much rather drill into that existing crop, so you’ve still got food going and let that new crop come on.

GRANT: Having a blend also means there’s a wide variety of plant.

GRANT: Many of you know deer are selective foragers but you may not know they’re also balance dieters. That means they will eat what they need to balance their diet. For example, if they’re feeding on something really high in protein, they’re also going to feed on a little bit rougher forage to balance that diet.

GRANT: Lindsey and Heath saw several deer that afternoon, but they didn’t see a buck.

GRANT: Arkansas’s early muzzleloader season tends to be during mid-October. And that means the bucks are typically on a food cover, food cover pattern.

GRANT: To illustrate that point I’ll use the white eight pointer Lindsey was hunting. They had a Reconyx camera on the fence gap and he passed through that gap on the 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th. Clearly on a food cover, food cover pattern.

GRANT: With this in mind, Lindsey returned to that same Redneck blink the following afternoon.

LINDSEY: Good afternoon. It is probably about 4:30 in the afternoon and Heath and I are set up on the south end of the family farm here in Arkansas.

LINDSEY: It’s day two of muzzleloader season. So, we’re tucked into the Redneck blind on this – overlooking this food plot. There’s a fence gap here, pretty close to us that we have a Reconyx on that we’re getting photos of the bucks of using.

LINDSEY: So, like I said, we’re tucked in. We’re here for the afternoon. See if one of these guys shows up. Hopefully it will be a fun afternoon. We’ll see what happens.

GRANT: Lindsey and Heath weren’t in the blind long when they spotted Tines.

HEATH: (Whispering) (Indiscernible) He’s getting down.

GRANT: The buck seemed to be feeding toward the blind, so Lindsey remained patient.

HEATH: (Whispering) He’s going to walk over there. Wait. (Indiscernible).

GRANT: As the buck turned, she realized she’d likely need to shoot out of another window. So, she quietly prepared for that shot.

HEATH: (Whispering)(Indiscernible) Window up. (Indiscernible) Right there.

LINDSEY: (Whispering) Yeah.

HEATH: (Whispering) See, right there in the corner is where I’d shoot through.

LINDSEY: (Whispering) All right. Okay. (Indiscernible).

HEATH: (Whispering) Oh, yeah. You did it.

LINDSEY: (Whispering) So, the south field here has officially become my favorite spot on the farm.

LINDSEY: Last year, in December, I took out one of the older bucks we had using the farm. His name was Frank.

LINDSEY: So, the buck came creeping in over here at the corner of the food plot and Heath had planted some Green Cover summer blend the first part of the summer. And when it all laid it over, probably about six weeks ago now. And the deer have loved it. It’s been laid over and we haven’t had a lot of rain over the past couple of weeks. But it has kept them coming in and using the food plots heavily. While the fall blend had been sprouted out. So, I can’t wait to get my hands on that guy.

LINDSEY: Yep. Yep. Got to love it when a plan comes together.

LINDSEY: This is specifically the buck that we were in here daily after. Like I had mentioned, we had some Reconyx footage of him using a fence gap at the top of the hill over here. And so, lo and behold, this afternoon, he came sneaking out of those same woods, gave me a nice shot, really fun hunt. Really pretty deer.

GRANT: Well done, Heath and Lindsey, on a great hunting strategy. It resulted in more venison for your freezer and another set of good antlers to put on the wall.

GRANT: I’d like to point out that when Heath and Lindsey were processing that buck, they found a lot of fat. And that’s a good testimony to the high-quality habitat management program and good food plots they have on the family farm.

GRANT: Keeping notes of the fat reserves or whole-body weights of deer harvested is a great way to monitor the herd’s health and that relationship to the quality of the habitat.

GRANT: You know, if there’s not much fat on a deer, especially in later season, you probably need to remove some more does or increase the quality of the habitat or do both at the same time.

GRANT: Those deer are just loaded with fat. Man, they’re packed around the rump and the kidneys are covered with fat. You probably don’t need to harvest many does. Except to balance the adult sex ratio and make sure there’s plenty of venison in your freezer.

GRANT: Christmas is a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. Maybe that’s a walk during the day or getting the family together, bundling them up and doing some stargazing at night.

GRANT: But, you know, every day, it’s even more important to take time, be silent and seek the Creator’s will for your life.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.