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GRANT: Missouri’s archery season has been open for two weeks, and most of our Reconyx cameras are showing deer movement after sunset and before sunrise.
GRANT: I often receive questions this time of year asking, “How can hunters encourage deer to move more during daylight hours?” There are several factors that influence the time of day deer are active.
GRANT: First, deer are unique individuals and some deer simply move more during daylight hours than others. As bucks mature past their prime many of them tend to be more active during daylight hours. When an individual buck tends to be active primarily at night, I don’t spend much time hunting that buck except during the pre-rut and rut when they’re actively seeking receptive does.
GRANT: Another reason deer may be primarily active at night is if they’re frequently alerted during daylight hours. This can be due to hunting pressure or other disturbances they associate with danger. Deer can quickly become alerted to hunting activity in areas where hunters frequent and, if this happens, they either shift to using a different portion of their home range or become active primarily at night.
GRANT: Another explanation for why deer are active at night during certain times of the season is weather. It’s been extremely warm here at The Proving Grounds with daytime temperatures about ten degrees above normal. Deer cannot regulate a thermostat within their habitat to control temperature like we do. So, they have to be in areas that tend to be cooler, like north-facing slopes or creek bottoms, or move during the cooler portion of a day.
GRANT: We shared a few weeks ago, while Clay and I were hunting in Kentucky, that we saw deer with the light red summer coat that reflects heat and deer that already shed and grew their darker winter coats, which absorb heat. By now, most deer have shed that summer coat and are wearing that darker gray winter coat, which means it’s very uncomfortable to be moving during daylight hours when the temperatures are warm.
GRANT: I believe the limited deer movement we’ve observed here at The Proving Grounds during the last couple of weeks is due to the temperatures being higher than normal.
GRANT: I believe there’s one additional factor that probably trumps the rest right now here at The Proving Grounds. And that factor is we have a huge acorn crop.
GRANT: When acorns fall in large contiguous stands of timber, it can be very difficult to pattern or even see deer. Deer tend to bed and feed in close proximity and simply aren’t covering many acres. That makes it difficult to figure out where to put a trail camera and even more difficult of where to put a stand without alerting deer when you approach or exit.
GRANT: When quality acorns are available, deer tend to prefer them over any other food source. Bucks simply don’t have much reason to move far between feeding and bedding.
GRANT: There are several white oaks on the eastern side of a ridge we call Clover Mountain.
GRANT: If you watch these deer closely, they come to the white oaks, clean up all the acorns that have fell since they fed there, and then leave.
GRANT: This MRI, or most recent information, was enough to get Daniel and Tyler in some Summits on Clover Mountain.
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DANIEL: (Quietly) So, we got a good pattern of does coming right up this ridge. They’re eating on white oak acorns and could be bedded off 50, 60 yards off this ridge so we’re really going to sneak in, hug the bottom side of this food plot called Clover Mountain, try to sneak in, get up the stand as quiet as we can because deer could be close, but I think we’ve got a good shot of seeing some does this afternoon.
GRANT: The stands at Clover Mountain were only 40 yards from the white oaks. With a southeast wind, Daniel and Tyler were able to approach on the western side of the ridge without alerting any deer on the east or south.
DANIEL: (Whispering) September 26th and Tyler and I are at Clover Mountain. There’s several white oaks right out here in front of us that are dropping acorns.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Reconyx shows there’s a good pattern the past several days of does coming in, feeding on those acorns, and working through this area.
DANIEL: (Whispering) So, we got a southeast wind cutting our nose right here, dumping off over in the holler. It rained all yesterday and last night and then got sunny today so a lot cooler. I think deer are gonna move. I think we got a good shot at maybe punching the first tag here at The Proving Grounds of 2019.
DANIEL: (Whispering) That far oak is 40 yards, so if they come out moving around, going around there, we’re in the game.
GRANT: The sun had not even set behind the mountain when Tyler spotted a deer coming through the timber.
GRANT: The doe made a B-line for the oaks that were dropping acorns.
GRANT: The doe was quartering away at a steep angle, and Daniel held off, hoping for a better opportunity.
GRANT: The attraction power of white oaks is extremely strong, and Daniel was confident they’d see more deer.
GRANT: As the sun set, Tyler heard something coming from behind them.
DANIEL: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Let it go by. Can you spin? Easy. Stop. Don’t move. Okay, spin. Yep.
GRANT: Like the first doe, she fed on some acorns, quickly turned, and went back the way she came. Fortunately, this doe’s exit route brought her back by the stands.
DANIEL: (Whispering) There’s always something about that first deer of the season. That doe – we worked for her. She came in behind us downwind, walked right up the edge of the plot, went to the acorns, turned around and came back. As I drew, I knew it was gonna be tough, but I had to make it happen quick. As I drew, she brought her head up, and I had to shoot quick. Whew. Oh. It feels good to throw an arrow for sure.
GRANT: We all know Daniel is a big guy, has a very long draw length, and his Prime stores a bunch of energy.
GRANT: The doe was quartering to Daniel. Daniel has tagged a lot of deer and knew from experience he’d get great penetration, so he settled the pin on the front portion of her shoulder. If Daniel would’ve aimed right behind the shoulder on this doe, given the angle she was at, he probably would’ve got one lung and a liver, and it’d have been a much longer trail.
GRANT: Daniel’s shot resulted in great pass through, and even from the stands, they could tell his Bloodsport arrow was covered with good sign.
DANIEL: Good, bubbly blood. Really. Looks really good all through there, and I can see blood all the way out of the plot – just an awesome trail. Deadmeat doing the work again tonight. Gosh. And I suspect it’s going to be a great trail right down the hill. I think I heard her crash maybe 60, 80 yards down the hill.
DANIEL: The only bad thing is we got to drag her up, but no one is complaining ‘cause we got venison down here at The Proving Grounds.
DANIEL: Blood, blood.
GRANT: You know it was a great trail with plenty of sign because Daniel could follow it at a walking pace.
DANIEL: Kind of did a little twist and turn right there. Good blood there. There she is, right there. 10, 15 yards in front of us. All right. That’s what I like to see right there. We are maybe 50 yards off the food plot. I like that drag. I’ll take that.
DANIEL: Golly. That speaks for the Deadmeat right there. It went through that shoulder, right behind the other shoulder. Clean pass through. That’s awesome.
DANIEL: Man, this is doe number one here at The Proving Grounds of 2019. I’m on the board, excited because it’s just great to be back out in deer woods and flinging an arrow this evening.
DANIEL: The plan worked. We were looking at Reconyx cards this afternoon, and there was a great pattern of a group of does coming into Clover Mountain and feeding on a couple of white oaks that overhang in the food plot.
DANIEL: So, we had a great wind, southeast wind was blowing our scent back on the other side of the mountain. And Tyler and I came out and it paid off. It didn’t work out exactly like we thought it would. This doe actually came in back behind us, but our scent control kept us hidden. She came in, walked by us, she went straight to the white oaks, turned around, and gave me a shot opportunity.
DANIEL: And she was kind of quartering to us just a little bit, so I went ahead and I put my pin on her shoulder. I knew she was a little smaller and could probably blow right through that front shoulder, so, sure enough, the Deadmeat did the job. It went straight through, came through all the way to the offside. Had great penetration, clean shot, and great blood trail. She only went maybe 70 yards so thrilled about harvesting this doe, excited to get some venison in the freezer.
GRANT: Tyler pulled out his Uncle Henry knife and started processing the first venison for our season.
GRANT: There was massive trauma as the Deadmeat cut right through the shoulder just as Daniel had planned. I’ve always been very impressed with this broadhead and this is just another notch in its belt.
GRANT: When it’s hotter than normal and most deer seem to be moving at night, finding a good food source close to where deer bed can lead to fresh venison.
GRANT: Even though we haven’t been hunting much, we have been out doing some great habitat improvement projects.
GRANT: The hot, dry conditions have been great conditions for using prescribed fire during the growing season. We’ve completed several prescribed fires during the past few days and I’m super excited for these improvements to our habitat.
GRANT: We are still hanging Summit stands and getting ready for the next cool front that passes The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: If you have some friends that would benefit from the timely tips and hunting techniques we share at GrowingDeer, please ask them to subscribe to GrowingDeer.com.
GRANT: It’s a great time to get outside and scout or be looking for some MRI – most recent information – but the best MRI you can receive during your life is when you’re quiet and listen to the Creator daily.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.