This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
>>GRANT: Turkey season is finished in some states and is winding down in others unless your in the way, way far north. And I’m starting to think about deer hunting myself.
>>GRANT: I think about managing deer year-round and I think about hunting them year-round. I need to move that stand or blind; it wasn’t in the right place last year. But this year, I got a great early season tip to where deer are going to be feeding.
>>GRANT: Two weeks ago, a very strong cold front swept through much of the whitetails’ range, and temperatures dropped not just below normal, but way below normal.
>>GRANT: The temperatures were so far below normal that I remember reading a report that said more records were broken on that day than any day that weatherman had ever remembered.
>>GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds, temperatures got in the twenties – the low twenties – and that’s on top. You know, cold air sinks and down in the valley and all the way down by the creek, I’m sure it got to the really low twenties or maybe in the teens.
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>>GRANT: That’s kind of cool, you know, the records and what-not, but as a whitetail hunter, there’s a huge amount of scouting information packed in that.
>>GRANT: In fact, it got so cold that at about this elevation and lower here at The Proving Grounds and throughout a lot of places I’ve been working, it damaged or killed the leaves on oaks and several other species of trees.
>>GRANT: I don’t mean it kind of nipped them; it killed them. If I grab the leaf and crunch it up, well, it just breaks up in little flakes like a dry leaf that hits the ground in the fall.
>>GRANT: That’s kind of cool, but what’s really big for deer hunters is that it killed the oak flowers. They were in full form right at that time.
>>GRANT: I’ve shared in the past that oaks, red and white oaks, make flowers – there’s male flowers and female flowers – but those flowers were frozen. They were destroyed by the wet, cold conditions. And without flowers, it means there won’t be any acorns from here all the way down to the valley.
>>GRANT: Knowing that about half the property, or half the elevation, won’t have any white oak acorns is a huge thing when it comes to scouting and where deer are going to be feeding this fall.
>>GRANT: In short, the conditions were so harsh that it killed the female flowers. They may have already been pollinated or weren’t pollinated yet, but it’s the female flower that becomes an acorn and they’re gone.
>>GRANT: So, everywhere that the trees lost their leaves, turned brown like this, we know at that level they’re not making any acorns. And that’s a huge advantage to deer hunters. You can take pictures now, maybe fly your drone and if it’s brown now, there’s no need for scouting for white oak acorns in that area.
>>GRANT: And cold air sinks. So, the white oak acorns – the trees that weren’t damaged by this extreme weather event are at the higher elevations – the ridgetops. The wind is more stable at ridgetops and it’s much easier to hunt.
>>GRANT: Take a bunch of the side slope out of the picture and that’s where the wind swirls the most. And the deer are going to be on the ridgetops seeking white oak acorns. It makes it much easier to pattern deer.
>>GRANT: There’s a very sad side to this event also. A lot of white oaks are not going to make acorns and that’s a big food component to a white-tailed deer and other species of wildlife.
>>GRANT: White oaks are full of energy. They’re not very high in protein, but full of energy and critters use that to get ready for the winter conditions.
>>GRANT: Red oaks are a little bit different story. They have male and female flowers also. And the female flower, when it’s pollinated, becomes an acorn. But it would be pollinated this year and then produce an acorn the following year – next year.
>>GRANT: So, the red oak flowers that were destroyed this year means there won’t be any red oak acorns next year.
>>GRANT: There may still be some red oak acorns this year in the area where this heavy freeze occurred because those flowers were pollinated last year.
>>GRANT: When white oak acorns are on the ground, deer are feeding on them. And when you hunt in a timbered area, that can really spread deer out and make it difficult to pattern.
>>GRANT: And now, knowing that this fall the deer are going to use half of their range, just an approximation, makes it much easier to find and pattern deer.
>>GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds, we have excellent food plots and even our summer blends have green forages in there and some grain species – milo and other species. So, we will produce grain in our food plot crops which will certainly help the deer.
>>GRANT: In addition, deer are going to be attracted to our food plots even more than a normal year because they’re not getting that energy source from white oak acorns or at least as big of acorn crop.
>>GRANT: This is one reason I always recommend folks plant blends – several different species at one time in their plot.
>>GRANT: For example, clover is a great crop. But if you’ve just got a clover field, that’s not going to compensate for the loss of that energy source from acorns.
>>GRANT: But if you’ve got clovers, and brassicas, and small forbs, and big forbs, and seed-producing plants, maybe sunflowers, milo, corn and other plants, well, that’s going to attract deer and give them that critical source of energy going into winter.
>>GRANT: Meteorologists were only able to forecast that extreme weather event a few days in advance. But I’m very confident forecasting right now that the hunting conditions, the ability to pattern and find deer in the areas where this freeze impacted the oak flowers, is going to be better this year.
>>GRANT: Find the food source; you’re going to know where the deer are as far as acorns. We’re going to have acorns here at The Proving Grounds on the upper elevations and at upper elevations the wind is more stable. It’s not swirling as much. And it’s much easier to approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer.
>>GRANT: Paying attention to what’s going on in the environment is a great way to enjoy Creation. And I hope you do take time to enjoy Creation every day. But more importantly, that you make it a priority every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.