This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Earlier this season Tyler and I hunted a food plot we call Pops.
GRANT: My heart sank when I watched Slingshot run out of the plot.
GRANT: The following week we were all extremely anxious to check our trail cameras and see if we got any pictures or video of Slingshot.
GRANT: When we put a mark on the vitals and then show the arrow flight, we see the shot was on target. Unfortunately, Slingshot moved so much that the position of the vitals moved, and my arrow hit elsewhere.
GRANT: After watching the footage, we returned to the shot location and started trailing Slingshot. The only sign we found were small spots of blood and they were far apart.
GRANT: Crystal took the trail about 450 yards. The next morning, the guys went out and did a grid search over many acres. In total, we put about 36 man-hours in recovering Slingshot but couldn’t find any additional sign.
GRANT: I wasn’t surprised when our Reconyx cameras didn’t pick up Slingshot. I assumed if he survived, he was staying in thick cover.
GRANT: I received many comments from hunters that had experienced deer making the same reaction when they took a shot.
GRANT: Some of these hunters harvested that same deer later in the season.
GRANT: Then, a month to the day from when I shot Slingshot, Tyler checked some of our Reconyx cameras and I was so relieved when he shared with me – it was video of Slingshot working a scrape.
GRANT: He returned and worked the same scrape October 20th. Watching this video, he looked perfectly healthy. We would have never known he’d had been hit by an arrow if it hadn’t been one of us that took the shot.
GRANT: These videos were on the edge of a plot we call Back Door, which is down the hill and east of where I took the shot at Slingshot.
GRANT: Then we saw a video of Slingshot coming through Pops early one morning on October 22nd – one month from the day I took a shot.
GRANT: Based on this video, we believe Slingshot was back in his core area and would again be feeding in the Pops plot. That afternoon the conditions were perfect to approach those Summit stands without alerting any deer in the area.
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GRANT: There was a strong west wind so Tyler and I could approach from the northeast, up a fairly steep hill, top out right at the food plot and get in a stand with minimal disturbance.
GRANT: A stout wind not only does a good job of removing any of our scent from the area but also covering any noise we might make going up the hill and up the stand.
GRANT: With these conditions, we believed we were able to slip in and not alert any deer even if they were bedded nearby.
GRANT: It’s the afternoon of October 22nd, and Tyler and I are back in a food plot we call Pops. We’re in a pair of Summits down the southeast corner and there’s a strong west, very gusty wind. And I’m so excited to be here today.
GRANT: (Quietly) A few weeks ago, I took a shot at a big buck we call Slingshot. No trail camera pictures, but the pull we did this morning had a couple of videos, Reconyx videos, of Slingshot working a scrape, moving through the plot, looking excellent. We’re in his core area. I’m hoping Slingshot gives me a second chance.
GRANT: (Quietly) There’s does and other mature bucks in the area. And I’m not holding out just for Slingshot. He looks perfectly healthy and there’s no reason for me to hold out. But I sure hope me or one of the other GrowingDeer Team members tags Slingshot soon.
GRANT: It was a beautiful afternoon and about the time the sun set behind the trees, Tyler whispered, “Deer in the plot.”
GRANT: As Tyler filmed that doe, he spotted a buck entering the plot from the north.
GRANT: It was Slingshot.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
TYLER: (Whispering) This edge, tree line – shoot straight off to the other side.
GRANT: Slingshot had his head down eating the Fall Buffalo Blend and he appeared perfectly healthy.
GRANT: As Tyler and I were watching Slingshot, we heard some deer to our left.
TYLER: (Whispering) I can’t see (Inaudible).
GRANT: (Whispering) Off shoulder. I saw a pile of blood coming out.
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah. Get a – easy, easy, easy. Get another arrow. Slingshot just looked up. He may come this way.
GRANT: (Whispering) Hit the grunt.
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s looking.
GRANT: It’s a great technique to use a grunt call as soon as you shoot a doe. The sound of the deer running and that grunt replicates the sound of a buck chasing a doe and can be very attractive to other bucks in the area, especially a mature buck like Slingshot.
GRANT: Hearing the Messenger, Slingshot put his head up and started coming our way.
TYLER: (Whispering) Easy. He’s coming. He stopped.
GRANT: (Whispering) Tell me when his head’s down.
TYLER: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s at the plot. He’s looking.
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s walking this way.
GRANT: Unfortunately, Slingshot hung up feeding on the Fall Buffalo Blend.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can’t see him.
GRANT: I didn’t consider that event a loss. Slingshot hearing the doe run, hearing the grunt, calmed him down and he continued feeding in the plot ‘til dark.
GRANT: Knowing that Slingshot and other deer were still in the plot, Daniel and Clay come from their hunting position, drove the Yamaha into the plot to clear the field.
GRANT: Tyler and I then could climb down without alerting any deer and giving up the location of our stands.
GRANT: We’re back at the shop and we did not film a recovery of this doe. It was easy. Shot her; she ran about 100 yards; down. But tonight was different for a very special reason.
GRANT: We were looking at a buck we call Slingshot. A buck I actually wounded a month ago – September 22nd. But it was a very superficial wound. He looks great.
GRANT: As a matter of fact, if I hadn’t have known – if I hadn’t have been the one that shot the arrow, when I saw him tonight in the field, I would have never known that deer had been hit by an arrow a month ago.
GRANT: We’re in the game and I can’t wait to get back out there chasing Slingshot again.
GRANT: Huge blessing. Huge great feeling to know Slingshot is alive and well. More venison for the freezer. And when we get another favorable wind, you can probably bet I’ll be right back in that same tree.
GRANT: So just an awesome hunt. We’ve got the Redneck going on here because we’re gonna make a little venison out of this one.
GRANT: Hope everyone is having a good afternoon, good evening.
GRANT: Before we hoisted the doe up to process her, I noticed her hooves were sloughing. You can see how the hoof is cracked in many areas.
GRANT: The sloughing of the hoof was likely caused by a chronic case of EHD, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. EHD is a virus that’s transmitted by biting flies. EHD often occurs during the late summer months when a lot of mud is present.
GRANT: This presence of mud can be caused by a drought where the water levels have declined or a wet year and then the water recedes leaving a lot of mud in many places.
GRANT: Mud is a critical factor in EHD because it’s the breeding habitat for these biting flies.
GRANT: It’s obvious several areas experienced a larger outbreak of EHD than we did this past summer. Folks were reporting finding dead deer by ponds and creeks.
GRANT: There are two forms of EHD – acute and chronic. The deer found by these bodies of water, obviously, contacted the acute form and died within just a few days.
GRANT: Many deer survive the chronic form and one of the lesions or signs that they did will be sloughing hooves.
GRANT: This doe likely had EHD this past summer. But she was looking fine when I took the shot. EHD is not transmissible to humans and she’ll provide lots of great venison meals for the GrowingDeer Team.
GRANT: During 2012 there was a large outbreak of EHD at The Proving Grounds and throughout much of the whitetails’ range. I estimated about a third of the deer at The Proving Grounds at the time died from EHD.
GRANT: We found many dead bucks and does on the property by ponds or along creeks. And Tracy and Crystal found a lot of buck and doe skulls throughout the property when they were antler hunting that winter.
GRANT: The reported doe harvest has been down about 20% during the past two years throughout much of the whitetails’ range. This reduced harvest may allow deer populations to exceed the habitat’s capacity to provide quality forage in many areas.
GRANT: Even if there was a bit of EHD this past summer where you hunt, I wouldn’t be afraid to harvest a few does and provide some quality venison to your family.
GRANT: Remember – a healthy deer herd on quality habitat can increase their population by a third each year. And it doesn’t take long for those populations to exceed the habitat’s capacity to produce quality forage.
GRANT: Next week we’ll share Daniel and Clay’s recent hunt. Daniel and Clay read the sign, created a plan and executed that plan perfectly, which resulted in antlers and venison.
DANIEL: Find him Clay? Did you find him?
GRANT: Tune in next week to learn their strategy and see the entire hunt unfold.
GRANT: If you have some friends that would benefit from the strategies and techniques we share, please encourage them to subscribe to GrowingDeer.
GRANT: It’s the pre-rut throughout most of the whitetails’ range and a lot of us are trying to hunt every opportunity we can. But even though you’re busy, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy Creation every day. And most importantly, take time to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.