Turkey Hunting, Look At Those Hooks! Improved Food Plot Techniques (Episode 390 Transcript)

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

GRANT: The Proving Grounds, as well as many areas throughout the Midwest, recently received very heavy rain. In fact, one of my neighbors reported over 11 inches. It’s tough to turkey hunt during heavy rain and really limits us because we can’t get our cameras out in that kind of moisture.

GRANT: After having poor hunting conditions for about a week, Daniel and Clay were eager to get back out chasing toms.

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GRANT: With high anticipation, before sun up they headed up Cave Ridge hoping to locate a tom. The point of Cave Ridge is an outstanding listening location. Several other ridges across the valley come to points there, so from Cave Ridge you can hear a large circumference and easily get to a roosted tom.

GRANT: As the sun’s light started to creep over the mountain, the boys were eager to hear that first gobble.

GRANT: Even though they were in a great location, they never heard a gobble. We knew that some toms had been using further up the mountain, so they started to climb. Just hoping to hear a gobble in the distance.

DANIEL: Well, we got three days left in Missouri’s turkey season. So Clay and I are out this morning on a ridge listening to several ridges around us, knowing that we can just drop off, get around, and get on a turkey as soon as they start firing up. It’s quiet right now. It’s been quiet throughout the week. Had a lot of rain move through. But hopefully, they get fired up soon and we can go to ‘em.

GRANT: As time passed and they hadn’t heard a gobble, they knew they needed to change strategy. The weatherman had forecast the winds to gust up to 20 miles an hour later in the morning and they thought the toms would be working their way off the ridges down into the valley.

GRANT: Once they reached their destination, they gave a few calls, but didn’t hear a response and decided to move further down the valley.

GRANT: Last week, I shared that my dad tagged a turkey in a food plot we call Big Spring. It was just below where Daniel and Clay were. And they knew, based on the recent prescribed fire in that area and the short vegetation, it’d be a great location. So they pushed on down the valley trying to make it to Big Spring.

GRANT: The gobbler cut Daniel’s call and he knew that tom was close, so he hustled back, got Clay, and moved into a better setup.

GRANT: As soon as he got set up, Clay gave some soft calls and they heard the gobbler. Seemed closer and they felt they were about to be in some action.

GRANT: Daniel and Clay were pleasantly surprised by what stepped out.

DANIEL: (Whispering) You on him?

CLAY: (Whispering) No.

GRANT: Daniel had a good shot, but Clay was setting just off to a side and did not have a good view from his position.

GRANT: The toms seemed to be drifting off when they didn’t see a hen that they were expecting, but they drifted right into Daniel’s only other shooting lane. And this time, Clay had a good view.

DANIEL: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Okay. Give me just a second.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Got to take the front one.

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Ready?

CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.

DANIEL: I was, man, I was hoping they’d just walk right down the road. But when they turned, I was like…

CLAY: Well, it would’ve been good if all that stuff wasn’t in front of you.

DANIEL: I don’t know. That might’ve been the only way we got away with it. I was gonna try to cut it. But I was like, “I don’t have time.” ‘Cause I got a shooting lane here. Which, I was like, “Are you on it?” And you said, “No.” And then, they crossed into my next shooting lane and I got about five yards where he is and then another two feet and then I’m out of it.

GRANT: Once again, Long Beard XR chalks up another tom for the GrowingDeer Team.

DANIEL: Whoo-ee! Look at those hooks.

CLAY: Holy cow.

DANIEL: Those are black and thick. Holy cow! That’s, by far, biggest spurs I’ve ever shot. Holy cow. Some hooks! Thick. You don’t see that in the Ozarks. What a beautiful bird. Look at that beard. Look at this fan. I can’t believe that.

DANIEL: Third week of season. I mean late season in Missouri and that fan is beautiful. Golly! It’s up on these berms right here. Not 70 yards away. That’s where they were. I guarantee it. They – I bet you they pitched off the limb and it went straight to the berm. Of course, it’s, it’s short. It’s prob – it’s shorter in there than even this wheat. And they’re bugging and can see predators. I mean they’re just clear up there.

CLAY: Yeah.

GRANT: This hunt is a great example of how sometimes hunters can struggle to locate toms but how good habitat makes hunting so much easier. Daniel and Clay knew that there was a lot of toms hanging around where we had used prescribed fire earlier this spring and had food plots growing in the area. That combination of good habitat, good bugging habitat, and great strut areas was enough to put toms in the area and make this a successful hunt.

GRANT: It’s now time to start focusing on preparing our warm season food plots here at The Proving Grounds. Late last summer, we planted Eagle Seeds Broadside and cereal rye. It’s a great food plot combination and serves as a very beneficial cover crop.

GRANT: We’ve already shared how the cereal rye develops a tremendous root system and help hold the soil in place in our food plots during the recent floods.

GRANT: This crop normally protects the soil by standing up. It also adds a lot of benefits when it’s laying down.

GRANT: Hey, the noise you hear in the background – well, that’s like a herd of buffalo coming to us because we’re crimping some cereal rye today.

GRANT: A roller crimper is like a roller with special steel blades on it at a certain shape that not only mashes over a crop, but the blades hit it about every six or eight inches, breaking the stem every few inches and causing it to die. We don’t want to cut the stem ‘cause it could re-grow. We just want to crimp it, break its circulatory system in several places and allow it to die right there in place.

GRANT: Now, the timing of this is important. We want to crimp when the seeds are starting to pollinate or even get in the dough stage but not mature. Too early and it’ll stand back up. Too late and the seeds will be viable and we’ll have a crop of rye out here competing with our next crop. So we’re basically just like a herd of a buffalo coming through. Mashing it down into the soil, making a great mulch – which is a slow-release fertilizer – and that mulch conserves water from evaporating out.

GRANT: Here in the Ozarks, even though we just had flood conditions, we’re never more than a few days from drought. But this rye making a dense mulch – keep moisture from evaporating out of the soil and save it for our next crop.

GRANT: When we bring the Genesis drill in here to plant our soybeans, we’ll go exactly the same way as we’re crimping and it goes through it just like combing your hair. It will make just a little spread, put the seed at the right depth and the rest of it’s covered. So we don’t have weeds coming up. So our mulch is not only a slow-release fertilizer and conserving water but it’s going to provide great weed suppression.

GRANT: You can actually hear it crackling or busting the stalks. I’m gonna try to get my mic down here where you can hear it.

GRANT: When I pick up a stalk, you’ll see that was crimped right here and I’ll just kind of run my finger up. And crimped right here. And broken again right here. You can see just a little pressure and this breaks the circulatory system. So this will just die. This is about perfect, ‘cause you can see the seeds are just starting to form, kind of in what we call the dough stage. If they went too far, they would be viable. We’d have a big, thick crop of cereal rye coming up and we don’t want that. We want to suppress all weeds and this thick mat is suppressing the weeds.

GRANT: If we crimp too early, it would stand back up. But as is, you can see I just picked this up. See where it’s crimped right here? Circulatory system is broken. There’s no way for nutrients to get to these seed heads. They won’t develop. And they just become slow-release fertilizer.

GRANT: We’re gonna watch this a day or two, make sure it doesn’t green back up and then we’ll be full bore – crimping and planting here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: You got a little stand up here but you can see where it hit a rock right there. Our land is so steep and so rocky. Here we are. We’re gonna have a little bit of stand up every now and then.

GRANT: As I’ve explained, there’s many benefits of crimping to terminate vegetation and it’s important to build the soil because we all know big antlers start in the dirt.

GRANT: Terminating a crop is only half the process and the next step is putting seed in the ground.

GRANT: We’ve been using the no-till drill for 14 years. One thing I’ve learned during that time – it’s very important each year to calibrate the drill.

GRANT: The reason to calibrate is very simple. Even if you’re planting the same crop, like Eagle Seed forage soybeans, year after year during the warm season, each year that bean size may be a slightly different simply due to growing conditions. It may have been wetter, or drier, or other factors that influenced the size of the seed pods. And a little bit of difference on each seed makes a huge difference when you’re talking a couple hundred thousand seeds per acre.

GRANT: Applying too much seed means each plant will compete with the other plant for nutrients, water, and sunshine and won’t express their full potential. And too few seeds means that you’ll leave gaps which allow weeds to grow during the later summer.

GRANT: We’ve developed a special video to show step-by-step how to calibrate the Genesis drill. If you’d like to watch that video, simply check out this link.

GRANT: The creek is just to my right about 20 yards and probably 10 feet below me. But during the recent floods, it was over this bottom. Scoured out roads and dropped tons, or hundreds of tons, of gravel in our food plots. Nothing to do but roll up our sleeves and get to work. So we brought in a contractor to repair our roads and remove gravel from our food plots. At this location, we’re getting gravel from where the creek cut a bank, but right on up here, there’s plenty of gravel in a food plot.

GRANT: It’s probably hard to believe, and I doubt the camera will tell the whole story, but this whole area that looks like a rock dump was food plot. The creek come through here and deposited these large rocks and small rocks. And you’ll be able to see this in a different angle, but I’m at least a foot tall or taller on rocks. I don’t know. 100 tons, 200 tons of rock right through here and down through the end of the food plot. That’s the power of a flood.

GRANT: There’s so much rock here, I don’t even know where to put it, so we’ll use what we need to repair the roads and the rest of it we’ll probably have to move over here and try to recover the use of this area as a food plot.

GRANT: It’s hard to believe but it’s probably a foot deep or deeper of rock that got deposited here where the creek jumped this bank and cut right through this food plot.

GRANT: Whatever projects you’re working on this week, I hope you take time to slow down and appreciate Creation. But most importantly, take time every day to listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.