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

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] It’s the afternoon of October 19th and Carter and I are in a hidey hole food plot we call Hightop.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] A couple years ago Grant and I hunted here. Grant tagged a buck we call Tall Eight early November during that pre-rut. Bucks are just kind of cruising through, stopping by this little hidey hole, grabbing a bite to eat and then moving on.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] It’s our strategy this afternoon as well. We’ve got a southeast wind, and there’s cut cedars all around us, so, there’s quality cover. Bucks like to cruise through here, work in this cover.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Now, we’ve got a Reconyx camera on the back side of this hidey hole, and there’s been a pile of deer hitting a scrape. Scrape activity is increasing as we kind of enter that pre-rut, and I think there are about five different bucks that have cut through here.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Most of the activity has been in the afternoon and the evenings, so we’ve stayed out of here during the mornings, getting in here when the conditions are right in the afternoon. I’m real excited to see what happens this afternoon here at Hightop.

>>DANIEL: I was thrilled to be hunting at the hidey hole we call Hightop, and based on that Reconyx, I could tell that a lot of deer were coming in from the northeast, east, and kind of that southeast. So, with that southeast wind, Carter and I were able to approach from the west, slide up the tree, and not alert deer on that eastern side of the Hightop food plot.

>>DANIEL: One of the nice bucks that had worked that scrape at Hightop was a buck we call Lopper.

>>DANIEL: During the summer in the past few weeks, we’ve gotten a lot of Reconyx images and videos of Lopper. And it seems that within his home range, he’s been very active around one ridge. And I was excited to see that on October 14th, Lopper was at a food plot we call Prickly Pear. On October 15th, he hit the scrape at Hightop.

>>DANIEL: Things were pretty quiet that afternoon, but at around 6:20, Carter and I spotted antlers coming through the timber.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] That’s Lopper.

>>DANIEL: Lopper hit the brakes and went head down feeding in that Green Cover food plot, but I could tell he was kind of angling on the edge of that plot, and I figured he was headed toward that scrape.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] He’s gonna go to that scrape, I think.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] He’s at 40.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Heading for the scrape.

>>DANIEL: When Lopper finished working the scrape and he turned, kind of started feeding back the way he came, I was a little worried. He was still at about 40 yards.

>>DANIEL: Now Grant and I, we’ve decided we’re not taking shots at a whitetail over 30 yards. We’ve just seen so many deer react to the sound of the shot, and we want to make a clean, ethical shot. So, 30 yards is our max. So, I just waited to see what would happen.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Man, my heart is pounding.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] He’s at 39.

>>DANIEL: After several minutes, Lopper had kind of worked in, and he was broadside at 30 yards.

>>DANIEL: Lopper was taking his time and browsing on quality forage. He’d been in the plot for close to 10 minutes.

>>DANIEL: Finally, Lopper turned broadside, and he was at 20 yards.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] Down! He’s down! Yes!

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] Ten minutes. Ten minutes.

>>CARTER: [Quietly] Nice going! You’re so good!

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] Oh, my word! Oh, my hands are shaking! Dude, I can see the arrow here is painted red. I saw him when he was running off. Did you see that hole from that Megameat?

>>CARTER: [Quietly] Dude, you smoked it right in the boiler room.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] Oh, my.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] I gotta – I gotta gather myself right here because that was absolutely incredible.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] I told you we were coming in here because this scrape has been torn up, and it’s the pre-rut, and bucks are on their feet – daylight checking scrapes. We’ve been seeing it on our Reconyx. There’s a lot of scrape activity in that camera we pulled yesterday. And there were bucks all over it, and we knew we had to be here.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] And that buck came out, and as soon as he came out, you could tell he was heading straight to that scrape, hit that scrape. It was about ten minutes, and there’s just – I mean we have great wind, but you’re always on edge because you’re like, “Man, is the wind gonna shift? Is he gonna turn and walk out?” And ten minutes is a long time to have a buck at 40 yards. I’m just glad he worked right to us to 20 yards. Oh, man!

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] Well, I don’t think we have to wait long.

>>DANIEL: Oh, there it is. Look at this. Look at that! That is just painted, bubbly. I’m thinking it’s probably a heart shot. Well, it got a little lung there. Gosh, have a two-inch cutting diameter with the Megameat. So, I’m seeing some lung and probably some heart.

>>DANIEL: Well, look at that. Look at that. Oh, my word! There’s just blood everywhere. There are two and half, three feet of blood just right here. This is gonna be an easy blood trail.

>>DANIEL: We’ll put this back in my quiver.

>>DANIEL: Here, blood. Blood, oh my word! There’s there. Blood there.

>>DANIEL: There it is, dude, right there. Oh, my word! That is an Ozark Mountain buck right there. Dude, look at this thing. Look at this joker. That is just a cool deer! I can’t tell you how happy I am. I’m so thrilled. It’s October 19th. To have my hands on an Ozark Mountain buck like this – it’s a blessing. That’s what it is.

>> ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Green Cover Food Plots, Winchester, LaCrosse Footwear, Thlete Outdoor Apparel, Morrell Targets, RTP Outdoors, Fourth Arrow, HuntStand, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Burris Optics, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

>>DANIEL: Well, this afternoon was a pre-rut hunt down to the letter.

>>DANIEL: I mean a little hidey hole food plot in the middle of the timber. Had habitat work – we had felled all the cedars all around it. So, there was tons of cover here and food source – an attractive food source – in the middle of all this thick cover, and we’re able to slide in. There’s a scrape about 40 yards from the tree stand.

>>DANIEL: Bucks this time of year are on their feet looking for those first receptive does. We’re entering that pre-rut.

>>DANIEL: And this buck, he came out of that cover, and he was munching on some of that Fall Release that we had broadcast in just a few weeks ago. Grabbed a few bites, went over, he hit that scrape and then fed to 20 yards in front of me. Put the pin on him, and he didn’t make it 40 yards out of the food plot. I am – I’m thrilled.

>>DANIEL: Carter and I are gonna get this buck up to the truck. I’m gonna take him back to the shop, start cutting up venison.

>>DANIEL: Once we got Lopper on the Redneck hoist, it was time to remove the hide and the organs and prepare to remove the venison.

>>DANIEL: Now, we’ve shared this process in the past, and you can check out those steps on the videos listed on the screen.

>>DANIEL: One thing we really like to do at the skinning shed is to evaluate our shot – get inside, see what that broadhead passed through, look at the angle of our shot, and put that together with our blood trail, with that sign. That way we can make better decisions on deer we harvest in the future. When we come to a blood trail, we can read that sign. All those lessons work together to make us better hunters.

>>DANIEL: We got the hide off, removed the organs, and looking inside to see what the old Megameat hit, and I’m not too surprised. I kind of knew by the blood trail it was probably a little lung and most likely heart. And that’s exactly what it was.

>>DANIEL: So, this is the lung – the bottom side of the lung on the entry, and you can see it. It hit that lung – sliced right through it, and that’s where we saw the – the bubbles on the arrow. But then there was also a darker red but still not like a liver but a little darker – not that light colored red like we would see with the lung.

>>DANIEL: And there was – there was a lot of blood, and it was very smooth. And that was heart blood. And sure enough, I look here and there, the old Megameat went straight through the heart – straight through the heart, and that’s typical of what you see. That deer ran about 60, 70 yards and crashed. So, that’s a heart shot. Had one lung in there.

>>DANIEL: Of course, you have that two-inch cutting diameter on the Megameat, and it actually sliced through a couple ribs going in on both sides and then coming out it – it cut kind of the edges and went kind of in between two ribs and had enough energy just to zip right through that deer – pretty large-bodied deer. I am super pleased.

>>DANIEL: We’re gonna start taking off the meat, and you can bet here pretty soon I’m gonna have some venison steaks. So, it’s late. I’m gonna get to work, and hopefully be back out in the tree soon going after does.

>>DANIEL: I love getting my hands on a nice set of antlers, but I really like venison. In fact, I’ve already enjoyed several great meals as a result of the Lopper hunt. I’ve eaten slow-cooked heart and stuffed tenderloin, and I’m looking forward to my next meal.

>>DANIEL: The Lopper hunt is a great example of how a hot, active scrape paired with a small hidey hole food plot in the middle of the timber can be a great bottleneck to get deer within range.

>>DANIEL: Now, keep in mind this hunt was during mid-October. We’re in the pre-rut stage, but as we move closer and closer to the peak of the rut – that’s when the highest percentage of does are receptive – scrapes are gonna pretty much die out, and that means our hunting strategies need to change as we get closer to the peak of the rut.

>>DANIEL: We’ll be sharing rut-hunting strategies almost daily on our social media pages. So, tune in so you can know day by day what we’re seeing here at The Proving Grounds so you can plan your next hunt accordingly.

>>DANIEL: Most hunters are thinking about the rut this time of year, but I hope you consider something much more important, and those are the freedoms and the blessings that we have being a part of the United States of America. And that is all because of the men and women who have served this great country – the veterans.

>>DANIEL: So, I want to take time – I want to thank all the veterans out there for everything you’ve done. And I hope you do the same. You see someone or you know someone that has served this country, thank them. Thank you, veterans, for everything you’ve done.

>>DANIEL: I hope you’re able to get out in the woods this week and maybe tag some venison to bring home and share with your family, but if you’re not able to, that’s okay. You can enjoy Creation by just taking a walk or maybe just looking out the window. I hope you slow down, enjoy Creation, and more importantly listen to what the Creator is saying to you and the purpose He has for your life.

>>DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.