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DANIEL: Today I want to share a successful early season hunt that I recently had during Missouri’s opening day of archery season.

DANIEL: I’ll be sharing our hunting strategy and the observations we made during that hunt.

DANIEL: (Quietly) It’s opening afternoon here in Missouri.

UKNOWN: (Whispering) Here she comes.

DANIEL: That’s a first for me. Holy Cow! It feels good to punch a tag.

DANIEL: Missouri’s archery season opened September 15th and here at The Proving Grounds, as is the case with much of the whitetails’ range, mid-September can be hot and humid.

DANIEL: Heat, paired with humidity, well, they’re not a deer hunter’s best friend, especially when wind speeds are low.

DANIEL: Those type of conditions can make it very difficult for a hunter to approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer in the target area.

DANIEL: During these types of conditions, we often stay out of those prime hunting locations and save those for when the conditions are just right.

DANIEL: During the early season, we may just hunt ridgetops and areas where we can just easily get in and out without alerting deer.

DANIEL: It’s opening afternoon here in Missouri. Evan and I are going to slip up into the Summit and, hopefully, have a great hunt. Hunting a food plot we call Clover Mountain; and we’ve tagged a lot of does here over the past few years here during the early season. We’ll see if it pays off this afternoon.

DANIEL: That afternoon, Evan was my cameraman. Evan is a GrowingDeer intern and this was going to be the first time he’d ever filmed a hunt.

DANIEL: The Clover Mountain food plot is on top of a ridge that primarily runs north and south. It’s a great early season hunting location because on that east side of the slope, it’s a closed canopy forest. It’s very shaded; deer can bed there during the day and stay cool. They then feed up to the food plot late in the afternoon and it makes for some great hunting.

DANIEL: There’s a Summit ladder stand located on the west side of the plot right where the ridge starts to get narrow. And this creates just a little bottleneck, or a saddle, right there in the ridge.

DANIEL: Southeast winds tend to be the predominant wind direction during the late summer, early fall. So with any east or southeast wind, we can approach the Clover Mountain stand coming from the north, walking along that west side, slip up into the stand and our scent will just be carried down into the holler to the west. And we won’t alert deer on the east side of the ridge.

DANIEL: Not only is the food plot planted in Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend, an attractive food source, well, there’s a big white oak right on the edge of the plot. It overhangs and it starts dropping acorns about the time season opens.

DANIEL: This is a great pinch point to bring deer within bow range.

DANIEL: (Whispering) MegaMeat.

DANIEL: (Whispering) It’s the opening day of Missouri’s archery season and Evan and I have climbed into a pair of Summits overlooking a food plot we call Clover Mountain.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Clover Mountain is probably one my favorite early season hunting locations. There’s just a lot of great things going on. It’s about a five mile an hour wind coming out of the east which is perfect for this setup.

DANIEL: (Whispering) This east wind is blowing our scent back down over the holler. The wind is supposed to lay down right at dark. By that time, thermals are taking over and our scent is just going to be taken down that holler by the thermals. So, I think we are going to have a really great hunt.

DANIEL: (Whispering) No matter what, we’re out on opening day. It’s a beautiful day. We’re going to sit back, enjoy and see what happens.

ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Eagle Seed, Winchester, Avian-X Decoys, LaCrosse Footwear, Morrell Targets, Bog, Hook’s Custom Calls, Summit Treestands, RTP Outdoors, Yamaha, Fourth Arrow, onX Hunt, Thlete, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Burris Optics, Bloodsport Arrows, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

DANIEL: Once the sun went down over the mountains, I spotted movement in the timber.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Okay. So, it’s head down. It’s feeding back up the hill a bit. Crunching on acorns. Okay. Here she comes.

DANIEL: You may think, “Gosh, this doe looks a little rough.” But that’s because she’s molting. She’s shedding out her summer coat for a winter coat. That lighter color coat you see on the bottom half, well, that’s her summer coat. That light color reflects the sun which keeps her cool.

DANIEL: That darker coat coming on, kind of along her back, well, that’s going to be her winter coat. It’s a dark color which absorbs more of the sun’s energy and helps keep her warm during the winter months.

DANIEL: I knew it was a matter of time. And sure enough, that doe turned and started towards the white oak to look for acorns.

DANIEL: (Whispering) She’s checking out the oak. Looking for acorns.

DANIEL: Suddenly, the doe threw her head up. We’d been busted. Evan and I didn’t throw in the towel. We sat as still as we could.

DANIEL: The doe had been alerted but not enough to clear the area. Instead, she tried to circle downwind.

DANIEL: While we were locked in on that doe, we heard another doe blow back behind us. It sounded like she was right on the edge of the plot.

DANIEL: Even though the first doe circled downwind of us, she never completely busted out of there. She just kind of turned and drifted off.

DANIEL: When the doe drifted off, I thought we might still be in the game. So, Evan and I slowly turned and tried to see if we could find that second doe.

DANIEL: (Whispering) There’s one right underneath that oak.

DANIEL: Sure enough, that doe and a yearling buck came out into the plot.

DANIEL: This doe had been alerted by the first. And she too tried to circle downwind.

DANIEL: She was moving quickly, and I knew it was going to happen fast.

DANIEL: As I drew my bow, I ranged her with my Oracle sight. She was at 27 yards and I settled the pin.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Down. Right there. (Inaudible)

DANIEL: (Whispering) Dude, I like that drag, baby. Whew. Well, I gotta tell ya. That felt good. First day, first deer of 2020. It always feels good to get fresh venison down. And it feels especially nice if It’s opening day. I gotta tell ya. And what’s even better is that doe ran down the hill right towards the road. And that makes me very happy here.

DANIEL: (Whispering) And I don’t know if the camera saw it. But I could see it. Right after that Bloodsport went through her, there was a big, ole spark on the backside. That, that MegaMeat hit a rock. It threw a big spark.

DANIEL: Just climbed down out of the stand. We’re going to go pick up the trail. I see the lighted nock just down the hill. We’ll go to it, take a look at the Bloodsport.

DANIEL: Well, all I’ve got to say. That’s a first for me. Going through a deer, zipping through her, skipping off a rock and landing in a tree. And it’s just hanging there.

DANIEL: Talk about all that energy going right through that deer, had enough energy to skip off the ground and go up in the air. So, that’s good. That’s what we want.

DANIEL: So, I’m going to put this arrow in, in the quiver. We’re going to keep on with the blood trail.

DANIEL: Oh, yeah. That’s lung blood. Here we go. That ole MegaMeat is painting the trail. There she is. Right there.

DANIEL: All right. What have we got here? Holy cow! (Whistles) Holy cow! Look at that. My word! That put a hole in her. Golly!

DANIEL: All right. I’m going to throw the Buck Cuff on her and we’ll take a look.

DANIEL: Well, what an exciting hunt. I’ve got to say. It feels good to punch a tag. You know, this hunt – it wasn’t perfect. I think it’s probably a great hunt to start off the year with – kind of get those, you know, those jitters out of the way. But, when it all comes together and you’ve got fresh venison, you can’t complain about anything.

DANIEL: So, super thrilled; great doe. Man, I’ve got to tell you. I just started shooting the, the MegaMeats. And it’s got a two-inch cutting diameter. And this doe, she gave me that strong quartering-to and I put that MegaMeat right through that front shoulder.

DANIEL: I knew at that angle, I had to go forward quite a bit. If I would have even come here, I could have potentially just got one lung and came out further back past that off-side lung.

DANIEL: So, put it straight through the shoulder. It came out perfectly on the other side. And I’ve got to say my arrow had enough energy to go through that shoulder, come out, skip off the ground, go up in the air and land in the tree.

DANIEL: So, I think everything’s tuned up well. So, I’m excited to see what this season holds and we’re going to get this doe back to the shop, start skinning her and cutting out some venison.

DANIEL: Well, we got the doe back to the shop, hung up on the Redneck hoist. We’re excited because this was Evan’s first hunt that he’d ever filmed. He did a great job. Proud of him. Now, it’s time to show him how we take off the venison.

DANIEL: So, we’re going to start skinning, removing the meat. Once we get inside, we’ll take a look and see what the MegaMeat did.

DANIEL: All right. So, we’re going to take the ball roast out. We’re gonna just roll it out.

DANIEL: As hunters, we always enjoy honing our skills. And one way that we’ve learned that we can do that is to evaluate every shot after skinning a deer.

DANIEL: This doe was quartering-to me fairly strong. Now, I’m shooting a Prime Logic and I know that I’ve punched through a lot of front shoulders at that angle. So, I felt comfortable and confident in my shot.

DANIEL: We’ve removed all the venison. And now, I want to go in and evaluate the shot. I’m super thrilled with what I see. I see the MegaMeat; it went through, cut through the heart, clipped the bottom of the off-side lung. It makes complete sense why that doe only ran about 50 yards before she tumbled over.

DANIEL: Now, these lungs look small right now. But, remember, when they’re inside a living deer, they’re going to be filled with air. There’s no extra room inside.

DANIEL: This shot placement resulted in cutting through the heart and both lungs and it was a 50-yard blood trail.

DANIEL: Hunting during the early season can yield fresh, tasty venison. But stand locations – they need to be carefully considered.

DANIEL: If you can find a stand or a blind location that has multiple limited resource, such as a white oak dropping acorns, a tasty food plot – well, those limited resources act as a pinch point or bottleneck to get deer within range of the hunter.

DANIEL: I’ll admit this next observation hurts just a little. But I think we’ve all been there if you spend enough time in the deer woods. I got busted. But sitting still went a long ways and it resulted in fresh venison.

DANIEL: You’ve got to remember, deer see movement all the time in the woods. Squirrels are jumping from limb to limb. Leaves are rustling. Birds are flying around. It’s not the movement that alerts deer and gets them out of the area.

DANIEL: A deer lives by its nose. If they’re alerted by a movement and they think it’s danger, they may try to circle downwind. And that’s when scent control becomes a big part of your hunting strategy.

DANIEL: Earlier that day we had washed our clothes with D/Code to remove any scent or odor that had collected during the off season. Removing as much scent as you can is always a positive in the deer woods.

DANIEL: Even though we got busted and that first doe circled downwind of us, she never was alerted enough to clear out of the area. And I’ve got to say if she would have done that, I think it would have been a different story and I would have been eating tag soup instead of venison.

DANIEL: The GrowingDeer Team is excited deer season is finally here. And we’re going to be hunting when the conditions are favorable. To stay up to date on our observations in the field, check out our social media pages.

DANIEL: Deer season is a great time to be in the woods. And if we pay attention, there is many lessons we can learn about hunting and even life.

DANIEL: I hope you slow down this week and enjoy Creation. But more importantly, listen for the Creator and the purpose He has for your life.

DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.