This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, yeah, we need to shoot that deer.
TYLER: (Whispering) Okay, right there.
GRANT: That’s a good-looking deer.
TYLER: Yes, it is.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, there’s bucks cruising all over this place. Watch this.
GRANT: I have been so busy hunting that I missed sharing an important episode a couple of weeks ago. It was the tenth anniversary of GrowingDeer. We released episode number 520, 10 years, 52 weeks a year, episode number 520. We’ve never missed a week or shared a repeated episode. I want to thank all of you for watching and I want to thank all the partners for making GrowingDeer possible.
GRANT: During 2012, we shared an episode about when the summer interns and I went to Kentucky to help my good friend, Mr. Terry Hamby, layout a new food plot.
GRANT: We’ve marked it out, harvested the trees, but now we’re preparing it for when we can plant.
GRANT: Mr. Hamby has continued to do habitat improvement projects through the years, and as a result the deer herd number and quality has improved significantly.
GRANT: Mr. Hamby and I have become very close friends, and he’s graciously invited me to return several times and join him for hunts.
GRANT: We were just blessed to find this huge, Kentucky buck.
GRANT: Earlier this year, during September, Clay and I joined Mr. Hamby for an early season archery hunt, and we saw a pile of deer in one of the food plots called High Center.
GRANT: It’s fun to see gads of deer while hunting, but the browse pressure and the number of deer we were seeing was a clear indication it was time for Mr. Hamby to have a serious doe harvest.
GRANT: My recommendation was not based on the browse in one food plot or seeing a bunch of deer during the hunt, but the overall food plot structure of the property and the amount of beans that had been browsed, even though they had a good growing season.
GRANT: When Mr. Hamby invited us to join him during Kentucky’s firearms season, Daniel, Tyler, and I headed to the range to sight in our Winchesters and roll on to Kentucky.
GRANT: Fire in the hole.
GRANT: This season, I’m shooting a Winchester Model 70 in 6.5 Creedmoor caliber. I had never used it and I was eager to see how it worked on harvesting deer.
GRANT: During opening morning, Tyler and I were in a Redneck blind in that ridgetop, pine plantation food plot I designed years ago.
GRANT: Part of the strategic location of this plot was that there was a saddle or a low spot in the ridge right there. And I knew it’d be a great place for bucks to cross, check for does, and grab a bite during the rut.
GRANT: This time of year, bucks are not on a food/cover, food/cover pattern. Rather, they’re cruising throughout their home range, looking for a receptive doe. So, being in a blind that overlooks a natural travel corridor and having food there that would attract does is a great location for a rut hunt.
GRANT: (Whispering) It’s early morning, November 9th, 22 degrees, pretty still, and I’m in a very special plot to me because years ago I actually laid out this plot. This is the first time I’ve really hunted this plot in all these years, so I’m excited to see the results of laying out this design. It’s a little bit of a horseshoe shape; and we’ve got a Redneck blind on a point so we can see both ways, and we’re looking through mature pines a little bit. So, just a really natural landscape, good cover, November 9th.
GRANT: (Whispering) Some does are receptive but not near the majority. Deer should be moving; it’s cold. We’re in the middle of a lot of pines. We’ve got a food source here. Now, I’ve got doe tags in my pocket – I’ve got a buck tag. Mr. Hamby has graciously allowed me to take a buck so it’s going to be a great hunt. I don’t know the deer in this area. I’m just looking for a mature buck and several does. Mr. Hamby needs to take several deer off the property this year. We know of a charity that’s going to take the deer, so I went ahead – don’t move. Buck right down there in the bottom.
TYLER: (Whispering) Is he looking at you?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. No, he’s slowing (Inaudible). Oh, another buck just come out on down there. Don’t move. Don’t move. There’s another – it’s a young – oh, my goodness. There’s bucks cruising all over this place. Okay, now – easy, easy. Now, easy. Now, turn, he’s got his head – away – head away.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, that other deer busted me. That’s a young buck running. See it running? That’s a young buck, but it’s got a good rack. But man look at that rack. Holy mackerel. That’s a – oh, look at that they may fight. I bet they’re gonna fight. They’re both bristled.
GRANT: This was a great looking buck if I just looked at the antlers. But when I got a good look at his body, I could tell he wasn’t fully mature and had probably not expressed his full potential.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s all bristled up. That other buck is still over there. He’s just moving…
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s walking the wrong…
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) Watch this.
TYLER: (Whispering) That’s a good deer.
GRANT: (Whispering) Man, yeah, that’s a nice rack, but he’s young. Oh, he’s pawing. He’s mad. Look at that. Man. That buck on down there. Look at that. It’s beautiful.
GRANT: (Whispering) That buck is just pawing away. Look at the…you see that other buck?
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s a good deer.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh my gosh. That is so cool. Scrape, rub. That’s a Creation moment right there.
GRANT: (Whispering) It’s going to be interesting when he crosses our tracks. You can see where we walked – clearly. Let’s see. He’s going to go right there.
TYLER: (Whispering) Is he crossing them right now?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. Yeah, not a big deal.
GRANT: (Whispering) There’s been times in my hunting career that I’ve interrupted describing the hunt because I saw a deer, but I don’t remember any that was interrupted for such a good reason. My goodness. That was a show, folks.
GRANT: (Whispering) We got to see a couple of bucks ball up at each other and assume that posture like, “I’m the bull of the woods,” and make a scrape and rub for minutes.
GRANT: (Whispering) And we were just talking about a saddle where we think deer will cross and this buck on the right come up out of that deep ravine, and the buck on the left come up on the other side. There’s a big rub right down here, and he just made another rub right by the scrape. So. That frost is, you know, it’s moisture and man, it holds scent like crazy. They didn’t – they just knew a little something was up. Obviously, they didn’t blow out of here, but you walk through frost.
GRANT: (Whispering) That’s the reason I walk right down the middle of the field when entering something like this. If you skirt the edge, they may hold up, and you never see ‘em. Walk right down the middle, and you got plenty of time to take the shot if you so choose. As a matter of fact, he’s – he’s stopped broadside, right there in your shooting lane. So, when you’re in a situation like this, walk right down the middle of the field and then cut into your blind.
GRANT: (Whispering) Easy, easy, easy.
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) It is not a button buck, but I’m going to see what happens.
TYLER: (Whispering) There’s a little buck coming out right next to it.
GRANT: (Whispering) I knew something was getting ready to happen. See what happens here. She’s got that position. Look, she’s got that little squatty position. I’m going to see what happens before I drop her in her tracks. Oh, don’t do that. Get ready.
GRANT: I was thrilled the doe dropped in the plot. A doe – any doe – alive or dead in front of a hunter this time of year is a great attractant for a buck cruising the area. As the frost began to melt, we saw several other deer.
GRANT: Suddenly, I looked behind us and saw a good set of antlers.
GRANT: (Whispering) Did he hear us or he’s just crossing?
TYLER: (Whispering) No. He’s crossing. I can see him right now.
GRANT: This buck was gone as quickly as he appeared, and it seemed he was cruising looking for does.
GRANT: (Whispering) Just be ready.
GRANT: Just a few minutes later, another doe entered the plot on the other side.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, it’s a good (Inaudible) there.
TYLER: (Whispering) You smoked her.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, she went in right there between the pines right before the last timber.
GRANT: During mid-day, we collected the does and headed back to the cabin for a good lunch. While back at the cabin we Scent Crushed our clothes we had worn hunting and dragging out the deer. It had obviously worked great that morning as we had deer all around us.
GRANT: That afternoon, Tyler, and I returned to the same Redneck blind.
GRANT: (Whispering) It is the afternoon of November 9th. We had a great hunt this morning. The wind is still favorable, so no reason to change locations. Daniel tagged a good doe this morning. I think in total we harvested about 11 does with Mr. Hamby and his guests this morning and one buck. So we need to take some more does off here, and I’m looking for a mature buck.
GRANT: As the sun began to set, a yearling buck appeared.
TYLER: (Whispering) Little spike.
GRANT: (Whispering) Spike. Yeah, he’s working the scrape. Working the overhanging limb.
GRANT: (Whispering) That looks like a big doe.
TYLER: (Whispering) Two deer.
GRANT: (Whispering) Huh?
TYLER: (Whispering) Two of them.
GRANT: (Whispering) Two does?
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) I don’t know if they’re gonna wait much. One’s a button buck.
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah. The one closer, the back one.
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m making sure it ain’t either. I gotta – turn its head. It’s a doe – it’s a doe. Here I go.
GRANT: (Whispering) You in focus good?
TYLER: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: (Whispering) She’s down.
GRANT: Tyler and I remained in the blind – saw lots of young bucks cruising but did not see a mature buck during that hunt.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. Oh, there’s a buck. Yeah, young buck. My gosh.
GRANT: Obviously, a lot of deer were using that area, and I believed it was just a matter of time before a mature buck presented us a good opportunity.
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GRANT: Tyler and I returned to the same blind the next morning.
GRANT: Just as light began to break, we spotted a dark object at the far end of the plot.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh yeah, we need to shoot that deer. Get on it.
TYLER: (Whispering) I’m on it, but it’s a (Inaudible).
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s just feeding this way right now.
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah.
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s got big shoulders.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, yeah.
TYLER: (Whispering) I can’t see it that well.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, he’s good. Oh yeah.
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s behind a tree right now for me.
GRANT: (Whispering) I’m dead on the shoulder right now.
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s behind a good pine. I can’t see anything.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s head down kind of semi pointed this way. Tell me when he steps out behind the pine for you.
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) There, he’s walking.
TYLER: (Whispering) I can start to see his rack again.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s got a good rack.
TYLER: (Whispering) I don’t have Go Pros, but I’m dead on him.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s going to go. Let’s see what happens here.
TYLER: (Whispering) Wait. He’s behind two trees.
GRANT: (Whispering) Still coming this way, I think.
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah, can you see him now? He’s walking to the right. He’s about to go off. Can you shoot him?
GRANT: (Whispering) I can’t see him. Where is he?
TYLER: (Whispering) Dang it. I’ve got him. He’s about to walk in the woods. He’s walking in the woods. Right in the woods.
TYLER: (Whispering) He heard it.
GRANT: (Whispering) Is he coming?
TYLER: (Whispering) No, he’s looking right at us. He’s kind of messing with a scrape. All right. Walking back (Inaudible). You on him?
GRANT: (Whispering) No.
TYLER: (Whispering) Walking towards us. If you can shoot him, shoot him.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s right behind that tree for me.
TYLER: (Whispering) Dang it.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can see his butt, is all I can see.
TYLER: (Whispering) Come on, buddy. He’s about to step back out. He doesn’t know what he wants to do.
TYLER: (Whispering) No. Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep.
TYLER: (Whispering) Going in the timber.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can’t see him. He’s right behind a tree. Dead behind a tree. Is he in the field or timber?
TYLER: (Whispering) No, timber. Just on the edge of it, right behind a tree.
GRANT: (Whispering) I don’t see him at all.
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s still there.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, I see him. I just see his antlers.
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s going deeper in the timber. We’ve got to be more aggressive.
TYLER: (Whispering) He can’t…
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s in the timber. (Inaudible)
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah, he’s right on the edge.
GRANT: (Whispering) Is he coming out?
TYLER: (Whispering) No. He’s going in.
GRANT: (Whispering) Did he hear it?
TYLER: (Whispering) No, he’s just messing with his antlers.
GRANT: (Whispering) Is he coming back out?
TYLER: (Whispering) Nah, he turned around. He’s just standing there. All right. Walking out in the food plot.
GRANT: (Whispering) I see him. I see him.
TYLER: (Whispering) You on him?
GRANT: (Whispering) No. I mean, he’s in the brush. I’m on him, but I can’t shoot.
TYLER: (Whispering) Right, but he’s walking back to the left.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
TYLER: (Whispering) I’m behind a tree. I’m behind a tree.
GRANT: (Whispering) Okay, he’s behind a tree for me. Now, he’s coming…
TYLER: (Whispering) He’s right on the edge.
GRANT: (Whispering) I see his tines. All I can see is his tines.
GRANT: (Whispering) Hold on. Looks good. When he stops, I’m gonna take him.
TYLER: (Whispering) Behind a tree, behind a tree, behind a tree. Behind a tree. Still behind a tree. Okay, now.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s behind a tree. He’s gonna come out the other side. I can see his tines coming out the other side. He’s coming this way. Just let him come this way (Inaudible).
GRANT: (Whispering) I can clean his clock right there.
TYLER: (Whispering) Now, behind a tree.
GRANT: (Whispering) Can you move to get to it?
TYLER: (Whispering) No.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s turning back around. Let him stop.
TYLER: (Whispering) I’m on him.
GRANT: (Whispering) Now, he’s moving.
TYLER: (Whispering) If he turns –
GRANT: (Whispering) I’ve got his butt.
TYLER: (Whispering) – if he turns, can you take him there?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, oh, yeah.
TYLER: (Whispering) Okay. I’m all over it if he turns.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s got a kicker.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s coming straight to me. I ain’t got no shot. Are you on him?
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) Are you still on him?
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah, right there.
GRANT: (Whispering) He went right beside that tree. He’s going down.
GRANT: (Whispering) I got to sit back and think about that a second. I normally don’t get that shook up on a deer. Oh my gosh.
GRANT: (Whispering) We got in the Redneck. Shooting light, but not camera light, barely. Barely shooting light, I see this big body come out of the far timber – much different light than right now. Tyler is trying to get the camera on him. I’m trying to get the gun on him, and he gets – there’s a series of pine trees right here between us and him, and he’d be on, off, on, off. One of us could see, and one couldn’t, and he started drifting over here. Drifted into timber – thought it was going away – hit the Messenger – head comes up – kind of in and out of timber. One of us can see him, one can’t – one can see, one can’t – one can see, one can’t. And then comes back out of timber then behind tree, not, behind tree, not.
GRANT: (Whispering) The trees are great because it’s a little camo but tough to film and shoot. Finally got there where I could see the shoulder good – Tyler could see, and then he turned a little bit. I didn’t want to booger the shot and so on and off the emotions. On and off. It’s gonna work, it’s not gonna work, it’s gonna work, it’s not gonna work. Finally, got to where it was gonna work, and I believe it was a good shot. He was – yeah, good shot. Man.
GRANT: (Whispering) I just got this new 6.5 Creedmoor – all the rage about 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor. So, I had to try it myself, you know, and yesterday took four does in probably a total drag job or a total trail drag – total, for four does – was maybe 50 yards. Loving this setup. Winchester Model 70. I’ve used Model 70s for years. They’re just solid, incredible action, very accurate, just known to be accurate. I’ve done nothing except take this gun out of the box, put a scope on it and go to the range. There’s zero – it’s factory 100%, and it’s looking good.
GRANT: We were celebrating, but it wasn’t very long until Tyler spotted another doe in the plot.
GRANT: (Whispering) Definitely a nanny. Tell me when you’re ready.
TYLER: (Whispering) Behind a tree, behind a tree, behind a tree. She stops. Good.
GRANT: (Whispering) I got to hug a tree right there, Bud.
GRANT: (Whispering) There’s another one over here.
TYLER: (Whispering) Where? Where? On it. Um.
GRANT: (Whispering) Oh, yeah, that’s a – you good?
TYLER: (Whispering) Yep.
TYLER: (Quietly) Other one still back there, far back, far back. Walking to the left.
GRANT: (Quietly) I see her, I see her.
TYLER: (Quietly) Right there.
GRANT: (Quietly) I see her.
TYLER: (Quietly) Can you shoot? You see her right there?
GRANT: (Quietly) I see her. You on her?
TYLER: (Quietly) Yep.
TYLER: (Quietly) She’s down.
GRANT: Of course, we were all pumped up, but Tyler and I waited a bit to see if anymore does would come into the plot.
GRANT: Helping landowners meet their doe harvest objective is a great way to get invited back for another hunt. But I gotta tell you, after a while I couldn’t take it anymore. I called Mr. Hamby and Daniel and told them to come join us for the buck recovery, and Tyler and I tried to keep ourself busy gathering up the does.
GRANT: Damage from the Creedmoor. My goodness. Even entrance is right there, and it just fragmented the shoulder where you can tell it’s demolished, and that’s on the entry.
GRANT: So, we got three does and a buck this morning.
GRANT: Eight does and a buck total so I…
TERRY: That’s good.
GRANT: …I did my part of helping on the sex ratio.
TERRY: Yeah, you did your part. You did your part. I was on a ridge just over the valley from him when I heard the shot, the first shot, early. I thought, hmm, I hope that wasn’t a doe shot, but then you sent me the message. You know, this field is, uh, it’s the kind of thing that you kill one here because I can remember when you and I came down through here on a four-wheeler…
GRANT: Oh, yeah, you couldn’t hardly get in here.
TERRY: …weaving our way through all these pines.
GRANT: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
TERRY: And you marked it out with…
GRANT: Flag, with blue flagging. Yep, yep.
TERRY: …flags, with blue flags and then we clear cut it, then we pulled the stumps out…
TERRY: …with a track hoe and that was a…
GRANT: It’s worked out perfect.
TERRY: …five years ago.
GRANT: Of course, the plot goes on around, but where the Redneck is you can see it all.
GRANT: When we were up there this morning, and the sun was just right it looks just like a golf course through the Masters coming through those pines there. I mean it is stunning.
GRANT: It was stunning through there. The pines are awesome, unless the cameraman and the shooter is trying to get on the same deer at a time, but.
GRANT: Well, who know when we was laying this out that many years later this would work? But it’s been an incredible hunt here.
TERRY: And I’m glad it did today.
GRANT: Man, you don’t know how glad I am buddy.
GRANT: So, you can see his belly right there. He didn’t make it far, and you can see those big old’ tines sticking up from here.
TERRY: Look at those. Look at those G3s. (Inaudible)
GRANT: Yeah, look at that. He’s got one broken off right here; a little kicker on the inside is broken off right here. That one might make the wall, Mr. Hamby.
TERRY: I think it’ll make the wall.
GRANT: Another of those kickers come off here.
GRANT: Man, yeah.
TERRY: You know, one thing that gives me as much pleasure as anything is creating, like you’ve taught me to create, a habitat where this magnificent animal can grow and thrive.
GRANT: Express his potential, yeah.
TERRY: And. Yeah. And then when your friends come, and they get the opportunity to harvest one, that’s as much fun to me as shooting one. You know, old man, that you’ve killed a deer or two in your life and it’s nice to see other people be successful and, especially, my best friend. So.
GRANT: Whoo! That’s a good-looking deer.
TYLER: Yeah, he is.
TERRY: Oh, man. He’s awesome.
GRANT: I am so proud of Mr. Hamby for all the habitat improvement work he’s done on this property that started like a lump of coal.
GRANT: This was an incredible hunt, but it didn’t just happen. This was a result of years of Mr. Hamby’s hard work.
GRANT: An aerial view of this property shows a great mosaic of habitat types. Hardwood runners in the bottoms, pine stands, bedding areas, food plots, travel corridors. But it wasn’t just, “Hey, we need some of those.” It was a plan, putting those all together in a specific way to maximize the amount of deer the property can hold and hunting opportunities.
GRANT: Habitat management plans are almost never, do once and be done.
GRANT: As I was hunting there, I noticed the pines need to be thinned again to allow sunshine to once again reach the soil. We need to knock out the hardwood saplings that have encroached in the area and some other projects that I discussed with Mr. Hamby. And you know him, he’s eager to get started.
GRANT: As we continue to improve Mr. Hamby’s property, the timber value is increasing as well as the herd quality and hunting opportunities.
GRANT: Andrew and John were the GrowingDeer interns the summer I marked out the plot where I was hunting. Andrew worked for Mr. Hamby and helped him do much of the habitat work for years and has now moved up to working on a much larger habitat program. John went on to school and has become a well-known researcher on grassland habitat.
GRANT: If you’d like more information about becoming a GrowingDeer intern – and I will share with you they’re pretty competitive – simply go to the bottom of GrowingDeer.com and check out the intern tab.
GRANT: Next week, we’ll share how GrowingDeer Pro Staffer Jeff Therrell manages his nine acres in Kansas and how he recently tagged another great buck using his Prime.
JEFF: Well, I got it done this morning.
GRANT: If you enjoyed the habitat improvement and hunting strategies we share at GrowingDeer, please consider sending our link to some of your friends.
GRANT: You don’t have to be going hunting or laying out a habitat improvement plan to have an excuse to get outside and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, be intentional about finding a place to be quiet and listening to what the Creator says to you every day.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.