This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: I’ve eagerly been awaiting opening day of turkey season. You may think it’s because I love turkey hunting so much. But my greatest satisfaction during turkey season is being able to hunt with my daughters and my dad.
GLEN: That’s a good – that’ll be good and tender.
GRANT: Hmm. Hmm.
GRANT: I’ve shared in the past that my dad has always been my favorite hunting partner. We’ve shared a lot of fabulous hunts together. But, two years ago, dad was diagnosed with 43 large masses of cancer in his chest and abdomen. Through a lot of prayers and great medical help at the Mayo Clinic – in dad’s last checkup – he was pronounced cancer free.
GRANT: I want to take a moment and thank all the GrowingDeer viewers that have prayed for my dad, sent us encouraging emails and sent a well wish for him.
GRANT: Even more than before, every hunt we share is special. So, I couldn’t wait to take him during Missouri’s opening day of turkey season.
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GRANT: The weather conditions opening morning was overcast and rainy. But that was scheduled to blow out of here about mid-morning. So, we selected a Redneck ghillie blind on the edge of a small hidey hole food plot.
GRANT: Through the years my family has had a lot of success at this plot we call Prickly Pear.
GRANT: Based on that track record and Reconyx videos of turkeys in the area, I was confident dad and I would have a good hunt.
GRANT: We were all eager to get in the blind – especially dad. But Clay and I were excited also. So, we got in the blind, started getting quiet and let the hunt begin.
GLEN: My boy is good enough to come and get me and bring me down to hunt. He does very well; treats me like a king. So far, I’ve been lucky. I get something every time I come. And we love you. Thank you, son.
GRANT: Rain. Gosh, it rained about an inch last night and the sun is just starting to pop through. So, it should be great. In Missouri, we can hunt until about 1:00. It’s about 10:00 now. So, we’re gonna let it get quiet and do a little calling and see if we can’t get an old tom to come strutting in this hidey hole food plot.
GLEN: That would be wonderful, son. Give me another chance.
GRANT: As I got dad settled behind the Winchester and even before I made the first call, Clay looked up and saw a turkey about 100 yards up the road.
GRANT: (Whispering) I see it. (Inaudible) We’ll see what happens. Just sit still.
GRANT: It was a good sized jake and my dad was ready to make something happen.
GRANT: I made a couple of soft yelps on the Redeemer call and that jake blew up and started putting on a show.
GRANT: The jake strutted back and forth across the road, but didn’t budge in our direction. Based on his behavior, I felt confident there must be a hen close to him.
GRANT: After a few more minutes passed and I did some soft calling, I noticed a hen coming down the road toward our setup.
GRANT: (Whispering) That’s a hen walking to us. Don’t shoot that one.
GLEN: (Whispering) Okay.
GRANT: The jake followed behind, but the hen was clearly on a mission and came right to the Montana Decoys.
GRANT: As I’ve shared many times, if you’ve got any type of gobbler holding up and not wanting to come and there’s a hen present, call the hen in and the gobbler will almost always follow up.
GRANT: There’s not many temptations worse than having a legal turkey in range and not pulling the trigger. But I was holding dad off trying to get a little better footage and get the turkey in a little bit better position.
GRANT: I could tell dad was drawing up on that gun pretty tight and wanting to pull the trigger. I knew that jake was well within the effective range, so I gave him the green light.
GRANT: You okay?
GRANT: Oh, dad. What happened?
GRANT: Dad had taken the gun off the FieldPod which normally absorbs some of the recoil and had crawled a little bit far up the gun with all the excitement. He got a little scope kick when the Winchester barked.
GRANT: I see it. I’m so sorry, dad.
GLEN: That’s alright. I had to lean over too far.
GRANT: Yeah. I saw you leaning on there. I’m sorry, Pops.
GLEN: That’s fine.
GRANT: You okay?
GRANT: You nailed him.
CLAY: Turkey didn’t (Inaudible).
GRANT: I think you’re bleeding more than the turkey, Pops.
GLEN: Probably am.
GRANT: We quickly started cleaning up dad and trying to stop the bleeding. But my dad is the toughest guy I know and all he was worried about was the turkey laying there. His face was a mess and he couldn’t see, so I had to assure him the turkey dropped right where he shot, so he wouldn’t get out of the blind and go down there, leaving a blood trail along the way.
GLEN: I hope I sure got him.
GRANT: Oh, he’s laying right there. I can see him.
GRANT: After we got dad cleaned up, we took some time to re-tell and enjoy the moment and wait on Daniel and Tyler to bring the first-aid kit and take some pictures.
GRANT: Let’s go check out that turkey, Pops.
GLEN: Alright. Good…
GRANT: You made a great shot on him.
GLEN: …good deal.
GRANT: About 45 yards. Peppered his whole head. You can have some more of that. You had that for supper last night. You can have some more now.
GLEN: Oh, oh my gosh. I think we had a good day.
GRANT: We had a great day.
GLEN: Thank you, son.
GRANT: I love you very much, Pops.
GRANT: Alright. Let’s get you back this way.
GRANT: We enjoyed looking at the jake and everyone congratulating my dad. But, internally, I stacked it on top of a lifetime of great memories of hunting with my dad.
GRANT: So during the middle of the week, my daughter, Raleigh caught a bad case of “gobbler fever”, stayed home from school and early in the morning, Daniel, Raleigh and I headed out to a plot we call Clover Mountain.
GRANT: If you’ve been watching GrowingDeer this spring, you know we’ve had a lot of turkey activity at Clover Mountain. In addition, the evening before, I roosted some toms just off the edge of Clover Mountain and I was very confident Raleigh would have a good hunt.
GRANT: It was another cloudy morning at The Proving Grounds, but just off the edge of the mountain, some toms starting gobbling from the limb.
GRANT: I gave just a couple soft tree yelps, just to let those toms know we were in the area.
GRANT: It wasn’t long until it sounded like they were on the ground and headed our way.
GRANT: Two toms stepped out about a hundred yards away and a third tom stepped out all the way at the end of the plot.
GRANT: Then as toms often do, they hung up and even took a few steps the other way. It seemed they wanted the hens to follow them.
GRANT: As they were heading away, I cut on the Redeemer and all three toms started approaching our setup.
GRANT: Wow! What a show!
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Three for one. That’d be a great shot right there.
GRANT: (Whispering) When they gobble, turn your safety off. When they gobble, so you won’t make noise. Make sure you’re right on or you’ll miss him.
GRANT: Once they were in range, Raleigh patiently waited for the toms to separate. Hunters in Missouri are only allowed one tom during the first week of season.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) There’s a three for one. If they would stop lining up. I’m going for the back one.
GRANT: (Whispering) Okay.
RALEIGH: (Whispering) Ready?
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: Smacked that one.
GRANT: Raleigh made a great shot and we’re celebrating once again here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Raleigh Ellen, you smacked a big one.
RALEIGH: And they came in fast.
GRANT: Yeah. (Inaudible) Running in.
RALEIGH: And there’s still an hour before school starts.
GRANT: Perfect shot.
RALEIGH: Thank you. It was…
GRANT: You waited for ‘em to separate so we wouldn’t have to call the game warden.
RALEIGH: …it was cool to see it on my iSCOPE.
GRANT: Yeah. We can re-watch it. That’s (Inaudible) cool.
GRANT: Oh yeah. You had it right on there. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. That was perfect, Raleigh. Did you see ‘em start running up – see his little beard swinging back and forth?
DANIEL: His whole body was….
GRANT: Even though we’d pulled our face masks down and we’re talking loud and celebrating, the other two toms stayed close and were putting on a show.
GRANT: Nice, Raleigh.
RALEIGH: Thank you.
GRANT: Wet from the dew. Man, great beard! Good spurs! You pummeled him right in the head. Nice job, girl.
RALEIGH: Thank you.
GRANT: Man. About 40 yards. That was fun watching ‘em come in.
RALEIGH: Oh yeah, they all three started running in. Kind of really straight in a line. Just kept gobbling the same direction. It was really neat symmetry to watch.
GRANT: Yeah. Called a couple times. They got focused on those decoys and come on in and gave us a great shot. At first, I thought it was gonna be three-for. They were all lined up. Of course, in Missouri, you’re allowed one bird. But, I had to make sure Raleigh knew not to shoot until they separated out a little bit.
RALEIGH: That’s, that’s, that’s an interesting story when that happens.
GRANT: What a great few days of hunting. Spending time with family and enjoying Creation. Well, that’s what it’s all about. And what makes it even more enjoyable is knowing we have a great turkey population due to all the habitat work and constant work of balancing predator and prey populations.
GRANT: You’ve probably noticed that the entire GrowingDeer Team is pretty family oriented. So, we’re following up with father/son duo, Chase and Rylan White.
GRANT: These boys have also been spending some time in the turkey woods. Rylan is currently eight years old, but he’s already a veteran. Because you may recall, two years ago, he tagged a nice tom.
CHASE: (Shot) Yes!
RYLAN: He’s a tough one, too, isn’t he dad? He’s a tough one, too, isn’t he daddy?
CHASE: He is. Yeah. Six years old – your first turkey.
GRANT: You can tell that this father/son duo really enjoys hunting together.
GRANT: Last season, Rylan got close to tagging another turkey, but some tree bark got in the way.
CHASE: No you didn’t.
CHASE: The 2017 Missouri youth season for turkeys is about to open up in a couple days. My son is at school right now. Um, time to switch out the modified from dove hunting to the new Long Beard XR turkey choke. And we’re ready to go.
GRANT: This season, Rylan is hunting at his Pawpaw’s farm and they’re all excited for opening morning.
GRANT: Opening morning the conditions aren’t ideal, so they select a small food plot that’s out of the wind.
GRANT: The air is full of birds and even some distant gobbles. After fly down, things get quiet and slow.
GRANT: Chase calls about every 20 minutes and, otherwise, they simply wait patiently.
GRANT: As midday rolls around, they hear a close gobble. And then all the sudden, there’s a tom right in front of ‘em and he seems to be locked on to MISS PURR-FECT decoy.
GRANT: This tom is slowly making his way right in Rylan’s range.
CHASE: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Yeah!
CHASE: Go get him! Go get him!
GRANT: Way to go, Rylan. A perfect head shot at 21 yards.
CHASE: Bud, that’s a big bird. I don’t, I don’t think you realize.
CHASE: You’re eight years old; you’ve killed two gobblers in your life. One had three beards and one had two beards.
CHASE: You’re lucky is what you are.
CHASE: I love you, bub. You made a awesome shot. I’m proud of ya.
GRANT: That’s a great hunt. Obviously, Rylan’s excited, but it’s also cool to see mom, Sheena, and sister, Reagan, sharing in the excitement.
GRANT: These two are on a roll and the next week, they head to southeastern Kansas.
CHASE: We are on pursuit of a Kansas gobbler. We got the truck loaded up. It’s just me and him – father and son. Got a camera and a Winchester 20 gauge and we’re gonna go give it a whirl in the flat state.
GRANT: The first morning they set up on the edge of a field and watched for critters. That was a cool encounter, but not what they’re looking for. Soon, there’s turkeys in the field. Looks like two gobblers and a hen. This doesn’t seem unusual, but watch what happens.
GRANT: See that bearded hen? Not only does she have a beard, but she goes into full strut and shows some dominance. It seems the hen is picking on the subordinate tom and then hiding behind the dominant tom.
GRANT: This is definitely an unusual sight to see.
GRANT: Soon these birds drift off and Chase and Rylan decide to move to a new location.
GRANT: After a few calls, they fire up a big Kansas tom. He’s close and moving in fast.
CHASE: Yeah! Go get him. Atta boy! Whoo! What do you think about that? Look at me. Huh?
CHASE: Day one here in Kansas and God has blessed us once again. Last weekend, I got to watch my son put one down in Missouri. This weekend, he gets his first Kansas bird. It is an eastern. He was kind of hoping for maybe a hybrid or a Rio, but when this one came strutting in, I don’t think he was gonna be picky. Was ya? He did everything we wanted him to do. Worked out perfect. It was a great hunt – couldn’t be more proud of him.
GRANT: There’s no doubt that spending time with kids and Creation is extremely satisfying. It just takes a quick look at Chase and Rylan and you know, those boys are happy and will do that again.
GRANT: Of course, rye is a fabulous nitrogen scavenger. It’s taking the nitrogen that is produced by our bean crop last summer in here, pulled it up – we’re gonna crimp this over, it’ll decompose and slowly release it for the new crop coming in. This has just worked out perfectly.
GRANT: Turkey season is wide open, but I’m always thinking about improving the habitat. This time of year, that usually means preparing food plots.
GRANT: Last fall we planted Eagle Seeds Broadside Blend and added just a little bit of cereal rye.
GRANT: I’m receiving lots of emails from throughout the whitetails’ range asking if it’s time to start food plots. And the answer could be ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘way no’. If you’re way down south, it’s probably time. If you’re here in the Midwest, not yet. And if you’re up north, certainly not.
GRANT: This is cereal rye – not to be confused with rye grass – that we’ve blended in with the Broadside mix we plant here at The Proving Grounds. And you can see, gosh, it’s four to five feet tall. Deer don’t like cereal rye, especially at this stage. They like it when it’s young, like in a grass stage, but when it’s this tall they don’t like it. It’s not palatable or digestible to deer.
GRANT: By allowing the rye to get this tall, it’s shaded out most of the soil and there’s almost no weed competition down below.
GRANT: I want to let the rye start to pollinate and it’s just barely starting because it’s easiest to terminate or kill rye when it’s in the pollen stage using the crimping method. A crimper is like a roller with sheets of metal at a certain angle on it and when it goes over, it breaks the stem several times throughout the length of a stem.
GRANT: Basically, it replicates a herd of buffalo or a herd of elk coming through and trampling this to the ground. It will kill this crop, but mash it down to the ground as a mulch. Then, we use the Genesis no-till drill and go the same direction that we crimp so the drill will be like parting hair and placing the seed at exactly the right depth.
GRANT: I am not anti-herbicide but I want to use the least amount possible. I want to do what’s best for the planet every day that I can. And by using the crimper and replicating nature – like a herd of buffalo coming through – we’ll put this down, make mulch. This will decompose. Earthworms and other beneficial insects will eat it over time and add the best slow release fertilizer right to the soil.
GRANT: As part of our testimony, you know we soil test every food plot here at The Proving Grounds every year and we haven’t needed to add any fertilizer in four years. That’s a huge cost savings and better for the environment. We’ll be sharing the exact steps we use to create our food plots and improve soil health so you can use ‘em at your Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Loving how bare the ground is down below where I can part it and see. Almost no weed competition. Rye is a great, great crop to pull nitrogen out of the soil. So that’s just gonna lay over and decompose slowly and return that and other critical elements to our next crop.
GRANT: Even though there’s lots of pollen in the air, it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. But every day, slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.