Tagging Deer | Post-Rut Strategies And Lessons From The Hunt (Episode 471 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: During Missouri’s firearms season, the entire team was working toward our doe management goal.

GRANT: She’s down. Down in view.

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GRANT: The afternoon of November 18th, Tyler and Owen took one of our Winchesters to a plot we call Pops in hopes of tagging either a mature buck or a doe.

GRANT: A few weeks earlier, Daniel had tagged a buck we call “Frost” from the eastern side of that plot.

GRANT: The wind was more favorable to hunt the west end, so Tyler and Owen went into a Redneck Blind.

GRANT: It was a misty day and deer were likely to be on their feet.

GRANT: Tyler and Owen hadn’t been settled in the blind very long when the first deer stepped out. It was a doe.

GRANT: Tyler started preparing for the shot when he noticed a buck stepping out.

TYLER: (Whispering) You see him?

GRANT: It was Slingshot.

TYLER: (Whispering) Film it.

GRANT: This is the second encounter we’ve had with Slingshot this fall. Daniel had had him at about 20 yards earlier this year. Before the season opened, we had decided to give Slingshot a pass this year, hope he’d survive the entire season and then allow him to turn into a very special buck next year.

TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah. Dude, he looks good.

OWEN: (Whispering) Yes, he does.

TYLER: (Whispering) He’s a beautiful deer. He’ll be a stud next year. Oh my gosh. Dude. He looks awesome. He doesn’t look too worn down for as much as he’s been cruising around, though. Man, dude, he’s a pretty deer.

OWEN: (Whispering) Yes.

TYLER: (Whispering) He’s a beautiful deer.

OWEN: (Whispering) Yes.

TYLER: (Whispering) Dude, look at the body on that deer.

OWEN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: Knowing that we decided to give Slingshot a pass, he got back on the doe and prepared for the shot.

TYLER: (Whispering) Ready? If she stops. Ready?

OWEN: (Whispering) Yeah.

TYLER: (Whispering) Well, Owen and I haven’t been out here very long and, as you can tell by my breath, the temperature has dropped. We’ve actually got a cold front that came in. It’s been misting about all afternoon, so it’s only about 4:00. We just had a doe and a buck we call Slingshot come out. And Slingshot looks absolutely great. So, I let the Winchester bark and hopefully we got one doe down. I’ve still got another tag, so we’re gonna sit tight and see what happens.

GRANT: It wasn’t long after the shot when Slingshot returned to the field.

TYLER: (Whispering) That’s Slingshot. He’s just running around trying to find a dead doe.

GRANT: A few minutes later, another buck – a great looking 10-pointer entered the field.

GRANT: We call this buck “Potential” because he’s very large for his age class in this part of the whitetails’ range.

GRANT: He fed on the Fall Buffalo Blend and put on quite a show. But once again, Tyler gave the buck a pass.

TYLER: (Whispering) Beautiful deer. Yeah, he’s three.

GRANT: Tyler and Owen had seen a lot of inches of antlers during this hunt and tagged a doe. Clearly, they are team players.

TYLER: Well, Owen and I had an awesome hunt here at The Proving Grounds tonight. Cool front came through. It’s been kind of misty throughout the day, so we knew deer would be on their feet.

TYLER: We got in a blind; had a doe come out. One of our good three-year-old bucks we call “Slingshot”. We’re giving him the pass, hoping he turns into something awesome next year.

TYLER: The doe was at 200 yards; settled my crosshairs and sent the Winchester down range. She only ran about 60 yards from the plot, so we’re gonna drag her out and get her back to the skinning shed. And that’s one more doe closer to the management goal here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: Well done, Tyler. You’ve tagged several does for us this year.

GRANT: There’s a neat lesson to learn from Tyler’s hunt. He shot a doe with a buck not far away and the buck returned to the field.

GRANT: In addition, not long after the shot, Potential entered the plot. We’ve had many similar experiences throughout the years. Once I shoot a doe, I remain in the blind or stand, especially if she goes down within sight.

GRANT: Tagging a doe during the hunt usually helps the local deer management goal and serves as an attractant for bucks cruising the area.

GRANT: Just a few days before Tyler’s hunt, I had dropped a doe in sight and, a few moments later, a spike walked in and started to nudge it.

GRANT: The buck actually became aggressive and started rolling the doe around.

GRANT: Last season, Daniel shot a doe that went down on the edge of the plot and, not long after, a buck came directly to the doe.

GRANT: Daniel harvested the buck while he was standing over the doe.

GRANT: These and many more observations are why I advise people to keep hunting after you harvest a doe. The harvested doe serves as a visual and scent attractant to other deer.

GRANT: It’s obvious deer do not associate dead members of their species with danger as humans do.

GRANT: The regular firearms season is closed in Missouri, so we’re adjusting our hunting strategies for the post-rut.

GRANT: It’s common for bucks to lose up to 25% of their body weight during the rut. So, after the rut or as the rut’s winding down, they often seek high energy food sources.

GRANT: We started planning our post-rut hunting strategies early last summer when we planted Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans. These beans produce a lot of pods; they are extremely nutritious and super high in energy.

GRANT: We planted these in a plot we call Prickly Pear and, soon after we planted ‘em, we put up a Hot Zone Fence over a portion of the plot. The fences exclude deer allowing the forage inside to grow without being browsed.

GRANT: The Hot Zone is a very interesting design. It’s a two-layer fence with the layer closest to the forage you wish to protect having two strands. One 10” and another 24” above the ground.

GRANT: Three feet away from that layer is a single strand of wire that’s about 18” above the ground.

GRANT: The system uses a solar panel to trickle charge a battery and keep the fence hot day and night.

GRANT: The summer interns and I put the fence on the southern portion of the plot.

GRANT: Right after we created the plot, Daniel hung a pair of Summits in the southeastern corner. Perfect for hunting a north or northwest wind.

GRANT: We try to always have a strategy for each stand or blind we place. And if you’re hunting soybean pods, it’s probably gonna be cold, which means the wind is likely out of the north or the west.

GRANT: So having a stand or blind on the south and east side is the ideal location.

GRANT: Even though we experienced severe drought conditions last summer, the beans inside the fence were extremely productive. That’s especially true when you look outside the fence and realize the entire plot was planted with beans at the same time.

GRANT: This comparison is an excellent indicator that there are currently more deer at The Proving Grounds than the amount of quality forage we can produce, especially during drought conditions.

GRANT: This and other observations is why we’re trying to double the doe harvest this year.

GRANT: For deer to be healthy and express most of their potential, they need to have ample quality forage during the two primary stress periods – late summer and late winter.

GRANT: To help us toward the goal of having ample forage, when the bean leaves started changing colors, we broadcast an experimental blend into the beans to have greens and grain.

GRANT: Not only does this technique provide more food, but it’s a critical part of the Buffalo System. We want a living plant on every square foot growing as many months through the year as possible.

GRANT: Knowing that we’re past the peak of the rut and with cooler temperatures forecast, it was the perfect time to create a gap in the Hot Zone.

GRANT: Using the same strategies that Daniel used to place the stands, knowing we’d probably hunt the area on a cold, northwest wind day, we opened the southeast corner of the Hot Zone.

GRANT: November 26th and the wind chill this morning was eight above zero. It’s cold out here.

GRANT: Because we’re currently carrying a few too many deer, the beans outside the fence, well, they were primarily over browsed. But, inside, they did great, even though we had a wicked drought last summer.

GRANT: I am thrilled with the productivity of the Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans. I’m 6’1” so the beans in this portion of the plot are clearly over four feet tall.

GRANT: Not only did the beans grow a lot, but they made pods all the way from the bottom to the top. And the pods are all filled out with three beans. Nice, big beans – lots and lots of pounds of food in this plot.

GRANT: In addition to all the pods for an energy-rich, attractive food source, we broadcast a special late season experimental blend. And it’s germinated and there’s a green carpet all over the ground.

GRANT: As I always like to say, the best food plot for late season is a combination of grains and greens. And that’s what we have inside the Non-Typical Fence.

GRANT: We didn’t open the fence earlier during the season because there were a lot of acorns and I doubt deer would have patterned to using the beans.

GRANT: Now that most of the acorns have been consumed and the beans are dry and tasty, it’s a great time to hunt this plot.

GRANT: We’ve got some Summit stands right over my shoulder and Daniel has been filmed taking several does from those stands.

GRANT: This year, we think those stands will be even more productive because the beans make such a great yield and were protected by the Hot Zone Fence.

GRANT: It’s a simple process. We’re simply gonna cut the wires; pull ‘em back; turn the fence back on and get ready to hunt.

GRANT: Preserving forage or grain ‘til the late season is a great technique no matter whether you’re hunting five or 500 acres.

GRANT: Food is king during the late season, especially when the temperatures are cold. And using a Non-Typical to protect forage is a great way to ensure you’ve got a hot hunting location.

GRANT: Cold days, we’ve got pods; warm days, we’ve got greens that haven’t been browsed on. You can bet you’ll be seeing this plot again in a future video.

GRANT: It will probably take deer a few days to find the opening we created, but not long given these cold conditions. I can’t wait to hunt this plot soon.

GRANT: Quality food sources this time of year are often the key to patterning and tagging mature bucks.

GRANT: It’s very important to keep the rest of the Hot Zone hot, even when you’ve created a large gap. We don’t want deer learning they can jump the fence, or it won’t protect forage the next growing season.

GRANT: Using a Hot Zone to protect forage for the late season is a great strategy no matter if you’re hunting five or 500 acres.

GRANT: During the late season last year, I hunted over some soybeans that we protected by a Hot Zone Fence and had a great encounter with a mature buck we call “Herman.”

GRANT: Unfortunately, Herman had shed one of his antlers when I finally caught up with him. And what’s really interesting – later that week, we pulled camera cards and the night before, he was close to those beans and he had both antlers. I was one day too late.

GRANT: I expect deer to find the gap in the Hot Zone during the next few days, and when they do, you can bet I’ll be hunting there.

GRANT: The temperatures are colder than normal throughout most of the whitetails’ range, but it’s still a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But no matter what the temperatures are, it’s important every day to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

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