This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: It is the time of year we celebrate Veterans Day. It’s one of my favorite holidays because if it weren’t for veterans, we wouldn’t have the freedom to celebrate many of our other holidays. This year – hey man, take a break from hunting, take a break from work – find some veterans and give them a sincere thank you.
GRANT: Father and son Pro Staffers, Nathan and Levi Remole enjoy spending time in Creation together and one way they do that is hunting.
GRANT: Team Remole hunts in northern Missouri where the habitat consists of small blocks of timber, CRP fields and production ag fields.
GRANT: This type of habitat is very productive for deer and deer hunters. The production ag fields produce a lot of high-quality forage during the growing season.
GRANT: And the patchwork of CRP fields, production ag fields, which are primarily harvested during the winter or bare during the winter, and those small blocks of timber creates lots of edge and bottlenecks.
GRANT: Last year we shared that Levi tagged a great buck during the morning hunt and he had his stand hung in a bottleneck in a travel corridor where deer moved from food to cover.
LEVI: (Whispering) I can’t believe I just shot a giant buck with my bow. Man. This is awesome.
NATHAN: Thank the Lord.
GRANT: That hunt was a lot of fun and the Summit was certainly hung in a great location. So I’m sure the Remoles looked forward to hunting that stand again during 2020 when the conditions were favorable.
NATHAN: It’s just a great, great time together, so.
GRANT: During the fall of 2015, Nathan started getting pictures of a good-looking young buck. He hoped that buck would survive the season, mature another year and express more of its antler growth potential.
GRANT: The following season Nathan was happy to confirm that buck had survived by getting trail camera pictures of him and noticed he’d grown a kicker off his left side. And that’s why the buck got named Kicker.
GRANT: When Kicker showed back up on trail cameras during the fall of 2017, he had certainly expressed much more of his antler growth potential.
GRANT: While bow hunting during the January of that season, Nathan had an encounter with Kicker.
GRANT: Unfortunately, there was never a good shot opportunity at Kicker.
GRANT: During the 2018 season, Kicker showed back up, but this time his left antler had grown abnormally. We’ll never know for sure what caused the left antler on Kicker to grow abnormal that season. But when he showed up the next season, the antler appeared normal and it had a kicker on it once again.
GRANT: It’s important to note that no one can predict a buck’s antler development from year to year. However, some folks, if they only saw Kicker during 2018, would have said he’s a cull and would have tried to remove him from the herd.
GRANT: When hunters cull bucks, they’re almost always making a decision on what they see at that time – that buck’s antler expression that year. That’s called phenotypic expression. But that’s not what’s important.
GRANT: What’s important is the buck’s genetic potential or it’s genotypic expression. And that takes several years to see a buck’s genetic potential.
GRANT: It’s important to note that more than 70% of a buck’s antler traits are inherited from the doe. There’s no way to tell by looking at a doe – seeing if she’s got a bigger left ear or some indicator – that her male fawns will have larger antlers than average throughout the herd. And this is the primary reason why culling never works in wild, free-ranging deer populations where you don’t have a pedigree of who bred who.
GRANT: During 2020 Kicker was a mature, heavy antlered buck.
GRANT: During the morning of October 30th the wind was forecast to be from the east. East winds are pretty rare throughout the whitetails’ range but that was the perfect conditions for Nathan and Levi to approach the stand where Levi had tagged a good buck last year.
GRANT: There’s a large ag field to the south of this travel corridor. And during the mornings, deer tend to work from the south – that feeding area – to the north where there’s a bedding area.
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NATHAN: (Whispering) Good morning. It is October the 30th and we had a doe just feed through here actually downwind of us. There’s hardly any wind this morning. It’s a nice, brisk morning. I think it’s supposed to about 28 when we were coming out here.
NATHAN: (Whispering) But it’s about eight o’clock now and we just had the one doe feed through. So this day of the year, it usually heats up, you know, here in about 30 minutes. It seems like that’s about how long it takes for ‘em to get from their food to where we’re at.
NATHAN: (Whispering) Anyway, we’ve got the big bow man with me this morning. There he is.
GRANT: This doe group passed by using the same trail where Levi had shot the buck last year.
GRANT: Suddenly, they spotted antlers through the brush.
LEVI: (Whispering) I think there may be a big buck coming. Big buck. Big buck.
NATHAN: (Whispering) Who is it?
LEVI: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
NATHAN: (Whispering) Which one is it?
NATHAN: (Whispering) That’s Kicker. That’s Kicker. Levi, that’s Kicker. That’s Kicker.
LEVI: (Whispering) Can you see (Inaudible)?
NATHAN: (Whispering) Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. I can’t believe that just happened. That’s one of the bucks I was coming for here. This buck – I’ve got so much history with this buck. And wouldn’t you know it? He showed up this morning on this cold, cold morning.
NATHAN: (Whispering) Oh, my goodness. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord. I’m so blessed to be able to do this – what we do. And, oh man, I’m super pumped. Super pumped to share that with my – with Levi. I’m so glad you came with me. It’s so awesome.
NATHAN: (Whispering) You know, sometimes it’s not about inches. You know, GrowingDeer is all about letting deer grow, mature to the point that you’re satisfied. Everybody’s a little bit different; everybody has different culls. But, anyway, what do you think, Levi?
LEVI: (Whispering) That’s awesome.
GRANT: Nathan was super excited to climb down and put his hands on this buck he’d been chasing for several years.
NATHAN: (Whispering) All right. Well, I can’t hardly believe this has happened this morning. I’m just so thankful for the – to the Lord to be able to enjoy Creation like we do. It’s such a, just a, just a gorgeous morning. Almost no wind at all. Cold. Crisp. There’s a lot of frost on the ground this morning.
NATHAN: And to be able to share this memory with Levi and to record it here on, on video. It’s just a, just a huge blessing. So, I’m very grateful. So, haven’t put my hands on this deer. I – so, I’m really anxious to, to get my hands on him.
NATHAN: But, anyway, let’s, let’s go, let’s go take, take a look at him. Check him out.
NATHAN: All right. Well, we got him, got the big boy cleaned up here. I just wanted to show him to you a little bit better here. But his deer is – Levi just said it. He’s like, “There is nothing, nothing small about this deer anywhere.” And he is. He’s just a, he’s just a tank of a deer. So blessed to have him.
NATHAN: But, I’ll give you a good look at this mass here. He carries that – of course, he doesn’t have much – he should have mass because he doesn’t have much for tine length and things. But just – he’s heavy all the way out. Just a solid rack.
NATHAN: So much history with this deer. You know, that’s what I love. I’ve always loved deer hunting. But since I started filming, I don’t know, 15, 20 years ago probably now – close to it, off and on. It’s just been fun to watch these deer – to watch ‘em grow.
NATHAN: You know to try to see how, you know, letting that deer walk one year and, and think, “Well, the neighbor is just gonna shoot him.” But, you know, he’s not going to live if you, if you shoot him. So, we’re starting to see some big dividends in letting those deer walk. And we’ve got some neighbors on board with us as well.
NATHAN: But, I tell you – it’s just being out in Creation and being able to do that with, with family. Levi is, of course, out here with me today and, and to be able to shoot a big, old, mature deer like this.
NATHAN: Great hunt this morning. So thankful and blessed.
GRANT: Congratulations, Nathan. Kicker was an old warrior and your strategy was spot on to put your hands on that great buck.
GRANT: Nathan’s hunt serves to illustrate a great lesson that I would like to share in a bit more detail.
GRANT: The stand located in this travel corridor has been used to harvest multiple deer, including a couple of really nice bucks. Stands in great locations can be hunted several times as long as the hunters can approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer.
GRANT: If deer don’t know hunters are in the area, they don’t become alerted to that location and only use it after dark.
GRANT: Hunting travel corridors, such as Nathan and Levi’s hunts, are great ways to minimize disturbance.
GRANT: Travel corridor, by definition, is an area where deer are moving through – unlike a bedding or feeding area where they spend a fair amount of time. And the more time deer are there, the more likely the wind or thermals are to swirl and send your scent right to their noses.
GRANT: Another benefit of hunting travel corridors is they tend to be there during daylight hours. They may be in the bedding area during the day when it’s tough to hunt or at night. They certainly spend a majority of their feeding time at night.
GRANT: But a travel corridor tends to be a dawn/dusk movement when hunters can see deer and it’s light enough to make the shot.
GRANT: For example, if Nathan and Levi had tried to approach the food source where they thought Kicker was feeding before daylight, sound, movement or their scent likely would have alerted the buck.
GRANT: But they were able to come into an area where they thought the buck was a few hundred yards away, settled in quietly and then let the buck come to them.
GRANT: The same is true for afternoon setups. If hunters try to get too close to a bedding area, there’s a big chance they may alert deer. Or if they hunt right on the edge of the food source, deer may not arrive until after shooting light.
GRANT: In summary, if you can identify a travel corridor, there’s a really good chance you can approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer and the deer are likely to use that travel corridor during shooting light.
GRANT: Nathan and Levi have had several years of being outside and enjoying Creation together.
GRANT: I hope you have family members or friends that you can enjoy Creation with every day. But most importantly, be sure you have a great relationship with the Creator. And you do that by finding time every day to be quiet and seeking His will for your life.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.