This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: It’s the time of year we celebrate Christmas and I hope you join the Woods family in celebrating the real reason of Christmas – the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas.
GRANT: This week I want to share a great rut hunt from GrowingDeer Pro Staffer, Jeff Therrell.
GRANT: Jeff lives and hunts on nine acres in Kansas and I want to share how he successfully manages and hunts that property.
GRANT: During 2017, Jeff was chasing a large buck he called Wrecking Ball. He finally had an encounter with Wrecking Ball during October of that year but did not have a good shot opportunity. Jeff wasn’t discouraged and returned a few days later.
GRANT: Wrecking Ball dropped significantly, and the arrow hit high.
GRANT: Shots this high are rarely lethal, but you can bet it was a sleepless night for Jeff.
GRANT: Just a few days later, one of Jeff’s trail cameras got a picture of Wrecking Ball, so Jeff was all excited and returned to the Redneck blind.
GRANT: Wrecking Ball did not react near as much the second time. Jeff’s shot was true, and he finally was able to get his hands on Wrecking Ball.
JEFF: Dude, there he is right there.
GRANT: While Jeff was chasing Wrecking Ball that year, his Reconyx cameras were taking pictures of a young buck that had lots of potential.
GRANT: The next year during 2018, that buck’s antlers had increased a lot in size. This buck looked just as good in person. Jeff decided to give this buck a pass but at the end of the season, that was the best buck Jeff saw all year and, of course, he was wondering if he made a good decision given the size of his property.
GRANT: In Jeff’s area quality forage and cover are very limited once the surrounding ag crops are harvested. So Jeff has worked hard to create a good food plot and a sanctuary. In fact, that winter Jeff removed several large trees on the edge of the plot so it could be expanded, and he could produce more forage.
GRANT: Jeff’s plot is about three quarters of an acre and that’s obviously not large enough to provide forage for a lot of deer throughout the entire winter. But it’s the perfect size to provide quality for forage once the surrounding crops are harvested and make an excellent hunting location.
GRANT: That spring Jeff broadcast Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans into his plot. Not long after he planted the plot, he put up a Hot Zone electric fence to allow the plot to mature without deer browsing on it and make a full crop of pods.
GRANT: Jeff planned to remove the fence once the pods had matured and deer were seeking the energy-rich food source.
GRANT: During early November, Jeff checked his camera which is mounted on the Redneck blind and overlooking his plot.
GRANT: There were several pictures of the big eight Jeff had passed the previous season. Knowing the buck was still in the area, he couldn’t wait for the conditions to be right to return and hunt that blind.
GRANT: November 6th, there was a northeast wind which was perfect for Jeff to hunt the Redneck ghillie blind on the western side of his plot. Given it was during the pre-rut, Jeff believed bucks would scent check the plot from the downwind side which meant it was a perfect setup. With the northeast wind, bucks would be cruising the south side of the plot.
GRANT: Jeff’s setup is what we call “threading the needle.” The wind wasn’t 180 degrees in his favor – it was kind of crossing a little bit – but it was just enough to make sure Jeff’s scent didn’t get to where he thought the deer would be traveling.
ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Eagle Seed, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Morrell Targets, BOG, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana Decoys, Summit Treestands, Drake Non-Typical Clothing, RTP Outdoors, Yamaha, Fourth Arrow, onX Hunt, ScentCrusher, Scorpion Venom Archery, Bloodsport Arrows, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.
JEFF: (Whispering) Well, it is November 6th. I’ve – this is the first day of my rut vacation. I’m overlooking a soybean field with some smorgasbord Eagle Seed and got temperatures of about 35 degrees. We’ll see what happens.
GRANT: At first light, Jeff spotted movement on the far side of the beans. It was a yearling buck.
GRANT: It was still early when Jeff spotted another set of antlers. It was the big eight-pointer. Unfortunately, the buck turned and drifted out of sight. The temperature reached the 60s that afternoon but that night a strong cold front passed by and the temperatures dropped to the 20s.
GRANT: The wind wasn’t favorable for Jeff to hunt the food plot, so he spent the day making sure his gear was ready.
GRANT: Jeff believed, due to the cold temperatures, deer would be targeting the pods in his plot, so he couldn’t wait to return and hunt it the next day.
JEFF: (Whispering) Well, it’s November 8th. This is my favorite day of the year to hunt. Historically, I’ve seen more activity on this date than any other day while hunting or on trail cameras. So, I’m excited to hunt today.
JEFF: (Whispering) I’ve got a south wind today. It’s very calm. Temperatures are about 21 degrees, so it is cold. Got a buck that I passed in here last year. I had an encounter with him two mornings ago. He just wouldn’t close the deal, so, hopefully, he’ll come through here and give me a shot, or some of the other mature deer that I’ve got in this area. So stick with me and we’ll see what happens.
GRANT: Soon after he was set up, Jeff spotted a doe running on the far side of the plot. Deer were active and Jeff was eager to see if the big eight would show.
GRANT: Then two yearling bucks walked into the plot eating pods.
GRANT: Suddenly, Jeff looked to his left and saw the big eight moving through the plot.
GRANT: Jeff realized the buck wasn’t in frame, so he had to let down his bow and reposition the camera.
GRANT: By the time Jeff got the buck back in frame, the deer had moved behind a tree and seemed to be going away.
GRANT: Jeff wisely used his Messenger grunt call.
JEFF: (Whispering) I just shot an eight-point that I passed last year. He – I had a couple of small bucks come in here pushing a doe, and the doe turned and ran off, and the three other does popped out over here. I turned around and there’s this eight-point. I tried to get the camera on him. She’s probably really shaky, but he came back over here, 53 yards, and I drew on him.
JEFF: (Whispering) I noticed I didn’t have – didn’t have him in frame, so I had to let down and readjusted the camera, and he started walking off. I hit him with a grunt and I think he thought that little buck was grunting at him so he turned back around. He stood right there at 53 yards and I think I just smoked him.
GRANT: Jeff climbed out of the blind and went to where the buck was standing to look for sign.
JEFF: (Whispering) Here’s my arrow. Must have broke off on that off shoulder. As you can see the – you can see the blood trail here. He’s done. Oh, there’s the rest of my arrow.
JEFF: (Whispering) That’s good. Good blood on the Blood Ring there.
GRANT: The Deadmeat broadhead appeared to do the trick and it was an easy trail to follow.
JEFF: (Whispering) Oh, there he is. All right.
JEFF: Well, I got it done this morning. This deer – I actually passed him last year as a three-year-old. And he showed back up this year and I got it done this morning.
JEFF: The blood trail is just amazing. I’m really impressed with the Deadmeat broadheads by G5 and this new Prime. He didn’t go 60 yards from where I shot him. And that’s the kind of tracking job I like. So gonna get him drug back to the house and get him cleaned up. Very excited this morning.
GRANT: After a private celebration, Jeff took the buck back to his house, where he uses the same Redneck hoist we use to process the deer.
GRANT: While Jeff was processing the buck, he found that the Deadmeat had went right through the buck’s heart.
JEFF: Made a perfect shot on him right through the heart.
GRANT: Well done, Jeff. And a great shot on a nice buck.
GRANT: Jeff’s hunt had several lessons we can all learn from. First, you don’t have to have access to a large parcel of land to have great hunting. Jeff manages and hunts on 9 acres behind his house. Jeff knows he’s not holding deer on his nine acres. But he manages it appropriately to make sure deer want to use that nine acres as part of their home range.
GRANT: Jeff identified a resource that he could provide for deer that wasn’t available on neighboring properties. Jeff worked to create a great food source that would provide high-quality, high-energy food after the local crops had been harvested.
GRANT: Jeff accomplished this by using a Hot Zone to protect the beans and ensure they made a full yield of pods and then giving deer access to those pods when he was ready to hunt.
GRANT: No matter where you hunt, a key management goal is identifying some resources that are not available on neighboring properties and providing them where you hunt.
GRANT: Another key to Jeff’s success is that he hunts his property wisely. He’s careful to hunt when the conditions are favorable for him not to alert deer. Alerted deer quickly learn to avoid that area or only use it at night.
GRANT: Jeff’s management and hunting strategies have resulted in multiple bucks and lots of great venison for his family.
GRANT: Missouri’s trapping season opened a couple of weeks ago and Tyler has already caught 23 predators. We often receive questions of why we trap and why we trap every year. Research and my personal observations show that trapping can be an effective tool to reduce predators and balance predator and prey populations.
GRANT: I mention trapping every year. Reducing predators one year will not reduce them for multiple years. Only one neighbor here at the Proving Ground, that I know of, traps. And he doesn’t have a lot of time, so all around me there’s an abundance of predators. And if I remove predators and don’t trap again the next year, the population will build right back with predators disbursing from other properties.
GRANT: Last winter we removed more than 80 raccoons and opossums from The Proving Grounds. So think about it. All those predators, if they weren’t removed, will be circling day after day and, most likely, finding turkey and songbird nests.
GRANT: Like most of the Midwest, there was lots of rain, even flooding and cold days, this spring. But even with those tough conditions, we observed a lot of turkey poults this summer.
GRANT: Even more impressive, we observed a lot of poults, but many states are reporting a concern about declining turkey numbers. At the same time of reporting a decline in turkey populations, states are also reporting a decline in the purchase of trapping license.
GRANT: If the goal is to increase survival of game bird or songbird hatchlings, then research clearly shows the best time to trap is just before or during nesting season.
GRANT: Unfortunately, Missouri’s trapping season closes January 31st. We have a relatively short trapping season in Missouri, so we have to be extremely efficient when we can trap.
GRANT: Through the years, we learn several techniques that increase our trap efficiency. And when I say efficiency, I’m talking about the number of predators caught versus the number of traps you have out.
GRANT: We’ll be sharing these techniques and giving updates on our trapping season on our social media.
GRANT: The days are getting longer which means it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But no matter what you’re doing, I hope you’ll take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.