This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: As part of your preparation for deer season, don’t forget to enter the GrowingDeer contest to win some BloodSport arrows shipped to your door.
GRANT: We’re making some big steps in preparing for deer season, and we’ve got some good bucks showing up on our trail cameras, so we continue sharing techniques on how to age a buck on the hoof.
ADAM: July here at The Proving Grounds means one thing to me, deer season preparation. And what that means: trimming tree stands, putting up safelines, and putting out Muddy seats. Of course, we’ve hung our stands in years past, but every year, we take down our Muddy safelines and our seats, just to prevent any squirrels maybe chewing on ‘em, or any weathering throughout the off season. We’re gonna put on our rubber boots, spray down with Dead Down Wind spray, and try to eliminate as much scent as possible, just so we don’t alert the deer anymore than we have to.
ADAM: This may seem a little extreme, but when you’re trying to pattern mature bucks, we’ll take any advantage we can get.
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ADAM: You never know what you’ll find after leaving your stands out here all off season, but I got to say this is a first for me. Can you see that? Snakeskin. Kinda freaked me out when I first got up here, but looks to be a green snake, so.
GRANT: There are several steps to safely preparing a stand for the hunting season. Check the straps, put our safeline back on, put the cushions back on, and trim the shooting lanes.
ADAM: I will address one important thing, and that’s for stands that stay in the same tree year after year. Every couple of years, you’ll have to loosen up your straps to prevent that strap from growing in the tree, and ultimately, killing the tree.
GRANT: Tree stand maintenance is the first step to avoiding an accident this hunting season. Make sure those straps are secure, and check ‘em out when you’re not hunting, so you can be strapped to the tree and everything with maximum safety going on, before opening morning of season.
ADAM: This tree is loaded with acorns and I’ve noticed those persimmons right over there are loaded up, too.
GRANT: A really important step, and a technique that I think helps us increase our success rate, is making a trail to the tree stand.
ADAM: We typically use a weed eater, or a chainsaw, and remove any vegetation that’s in the trail. Then, we’ll take a leaf blower and blow out all the leaves, so we can walk in quietly without alerting any deer.
GRANT: There are several reasons we go to this effort. First, with the blown trail, it’s easy to find your stand and never get lost. Don’t laugh. How many of you have set in home have went in before daylight and spent 10 minutes walking a circle trying to find the tree where your stand was located? Second reason is, those crunchy leaves make a lot of noise, and what else in the woods has a size 11 boot during hunting season? You know deer have small feet, coyote has small feet, humans have a very particular cadence and sound when they walk through the woods. And thirdly, those spongy leaves are full of pores. They hold a lot of scent when you walk by. Getting ‘em out of the way, and walking on dirt, or rocks here in the Ozarks, leaves a lot smaller scent input than it would be walking on that thick mat of leaves.
GRANT: You learn to walk sideways…(Fades out)
GRANT: I was checking some trail camera cards this morning and found a great surprise.
GRANT: Look at that.
TRACY: Oh my. He’s a (Inaudible). Golly.
GRANT: You don’t, I mean that’s 100, that’s a mature doe. Look at the face. (Fades out)
GRANT: We’re in the Ozark Mountains, as ya’ll know. No commercial ag fields anywhere around, so bucks rarely get over 200, 210 pounds, but check out this monster we found.
TRACY: Do you recognize him?
GRANT: No. None of us do. I think, I theorize it’s the deer dad didn’t shoot last year, ‘cause I don’t know of any other buck in that neighborhood could’ve got that big.
GRANT: Mature does here tend to weigh 100, 120 pounds on a top end, and look how much bigger this buck is than this doe.
GRANT: Sometimes you find a buck that you instantly just know it’s a shooter. You don’t have to worry on any particular technique, or tactic, to age it. But this buck is so huge, he highlights some of the characteristics I look for to determine if a buck is four years of age or older.
GRANT: The Reconyx actually captured several pictures of this buck, but this is a great broadside view and it just shows a tremendous pot belly, sway back, and a little bit of a hump over the shoulder. Although, overall, this buck’s body is so large, some of the features aren’t as clear as a slightly smaller buck. Clearly, this buck is mature – four, five, six, maybe seven. I’m not sure. This buck is mature enough that we see he’s got split G2’s coming on and we can also see some extra points coming off in other places. Even though he shifted around posture, we’re still seeing a huge pot belly, sway back, really defined front shoulders, the neck merging all the way at the chest. The eyes look small, ‘cause there’s so much flesh on the face. Clearly, an older deer.
GRANT: This secondary buck is probably four years of age or older, based on some characteristics. But clearly, the initial buck dwarfs him in size and dominance, as the secondary buck is wanting some of that Trophy Rock but he’s not gonna approach ‘til the big boy walks away.
GRANT: Why do we talk so much about older bucks? Well, the first reason is, deer herds were created to have a balanced sex ratio and an older age structure. Older bucks elicit more, and/or, different pheromones, external hormones, than younger bucks do. They help synchronize the rut, and keeps younger bucks from participating as much in the rut so they can express more of their potential. Quite frankly, healthier deer herds have older bucks to keep younger bucks from getting in so much trouble. Bucks in ag areas, or have great nutrition, will tend to get larger and larger, even at five, six, seven, and eight years of age. Bucks in the hill country, well, they kind of reach that glass ceiling. They peak out at what the nutrition will allow them to express at four or five. We don’t get bigger and bigger bucks at six, seven, and eight years of age.
GRANT: We’ve shared some easy to identify characteristics of mature, or shooter bucks. Next week, we’ll pop out an intermediate buck and talk about some of those bucks that are a lot of tougher to age on the hoof. I hope you’re getting some good bucks on your trail cameras, but most importantly, when you’re outside checking ‘em this week, find a nice quiet place, and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
UNKNOWN: Oh. Yep. That’s another buck. Another good buck.