Two Old Mountain Bucks Down: Planning, Patterning, And Hard Work Pays Off (Episode 468 Transcript)

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

DANIEL: (Whispering) You want to? That’s Frost.

GRANT: A few weeks ago, I shared that Heath and Lindsey Martin traveled to Kansas to hunt during a cold front.

GRANT: The first afternoon of that hunt, Heath tagged an old buck they called “High and Tight.”

GRANT: The following morning, Lindsey tagged a large 8-pointer they called “45.”

GRANT: After tagging out in Kansas, they returned to their home state of Arkansas and waited for a good opportunity to hunt the family farm.

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GRANT: Last spring, Heath and Lindsey decided to use prescribed fire to restore an area that hadn’t been a food plot in many years. They wanted to get rid of the weeds and get it ready for a spring plant.

GRANT: After the prescribed fire, Heath planted most of it in Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans and left one end to grow up in native grasses for cover.

GRANT: In timber country, having quality cover and food can make for some great hunting. With the beans doing good, during the summer Heath and Lindsey decided to put a Redneck ghillie blind overlooking the plot.

GRANT: During the late summer, Heath drilled a portion of the plot with Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend. This created the perfect combination of standing soybean pods and greens – a great attraction for whitetails no matter the conditions.

GRANT: The pods tend to attract deer on the cooler days when they’re seeking high-energy foods and the greens tend to attract deer on warmer days.

GRANT: After Heath returned from Kansas, a favorable wind was forecast for the family farm. Another chance to tag a buck.

HEATH: Well, hey guys. Today is October the 19th. And as you can hear right now, it’s actually raining pretty hard. I’m in a Redneck ghillie blind overlooking some Eagle Seed Soybeans and some Broadside Blend and Buffalo Blend – kind of drilled around the edges of it.

HEATH: But, we’re in about a three-acre field. There’s probably two acres of food plot. We’ve got a pond to our left and we’re actually here on our home farm in Arkansas. It’s the first time I’ve hunted in Arkansas this year.

HEATH: And tomorrow morning is opening day of muzzleloader season. So, we’ll probably try to hunt here again a time or two. But, we’re after a buck we call “Redman.” He’s a great big, nice, wide 10-point. Probably a 150 type deer. For here, that’s a really big deer.

HEATH: The first time we ever got pictures of him, for some reason, he had a great big swollen jaw. I figured he had an abscess or something and then a couple days later he came in and it was gone. So, I don’t know if he got bit by a snake and got over it or what it was. But, anyway, he had a great big ole puffed up jaw. So, we called him “Redman.” And it kind of stuck.

HEATH: He’s been in here. He’s still around. He’s a big, nice deer. I’d love to see that deer. “Mr. Squiggles” has been here daily. I mean, we will likely see that deer. I don’t know that I will shoot him, but we will likely see him. At least, I hope, hopefully, we get some good footage of him.

HEATH: I know this has kind of been long-winded, but I’m kind of waiting on the rain here. So, we’re gonna kick the camera around here and be quiet for a while and see if we can get into some action.

GRANT: Heath’s hunch that the deer would be active was correct.

GRANT: A doe and a fawn came out and started feeding in the beans.

GRANT: Not long after, several young bucks entered the plot.

GRANT: These deer were hammering the pods.

GRANT: As Heath was enjoying the show, he spotted a large buck entering the plot. It was Redman.

GRANT: Unfortunately, Redman caught Heath off-guard and walked through the shot opportunity.

GRANT: Once Redman passed, all Heath could do was watch the buck feed.

GRANT: Right at dark, another large buck entered the field and started feeding with Redman. Heath calls this buck Mr. Squiggles.

GRANT: Soon after that, Arkansas’s muzzleloader season opened and Heath was able to hunt several mornings and afternoons. Heath saw a lot of critters.

GRANT: Several days later, there was a favorable wind to hunt out of the Redneck Blind overlooking the plot they had established using prescribed fire.

GRANT: This was the same location where Heath tagged a buck they called “Spindle Top Junior” last season.

HEATH: (Whispering) Yes. Yes.

GRANT: Deer were active that morning, feeding both on the pods and the greens. But, no hit list buck.

GRANT: The following morning, Heath returned to the blind.

GRANT: Not long after the sun was up, two does entered the plot.

GRANT: Heath noticed something had the doe’s attention.

GRANT: It was Redman.

GRANT: Due to all the smoke, Heath couldn’t tell if his shot was true. So, he quickly grabbed his Nikons and tried to spot Redman.

HEATH: (Quietly) Put the smoke on ole Redman. Have to get out of the blind and go take a look at him here in a minute.

HEATH: Well, here’s a buck we call Redman. That’s the buck I thought I wanted to kill this year. And I actually had an encounter with him three or four days ago with my bow; wasn’t able to get a shot at him.

HEATH: This is actually the spot where I killed Spindle Top Junior last year. I got in the blind and heard deer fighting before daylight and, when it got light, there was young bucks and does in the food plot all morning. And then about 7:50, this guy came cruising back through. And he came through the beans and walked out in the open in the little, green food plot there.

HEATH: Put his head down and started feeding, so I took that opportunity to make a good shot and drop the hammer on the ole muzzleloader. And he run out out here 60 yards in the grass and fell over. So, wrapped up another successful hunt here on the farm in Arkansas.

GRANT: Well done, Heath. Your work in improving the habitat, paired with your excellent hunting skills, has paid off once again.

GRANT: Earlier this year, we created a new plot I named “Pops” because my dad enjoyed hunting in that area.

GRANT: My good friends, David and Brenten, cleared that plot for me and not long after they finished, Tyler drilled in Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans.

GRANT: The Pops plot primarily runs east and west. Once the plot was planted and the beans were germinating, we placed a Reconyx camera in the east end to see if deer were using that area.

GRANT: We were pleased to find that that corner was a hot travel corridor. Multiple bucks frequented Pops throughout the summer.

GRANT: We were regularly getting pictures of an old buck we call “Swoops,” a hit lister we call “Ringer Eight” and a buck that has great potential we call “Slingshot.”

GRANT: Based on all this activity, it was a no brainer to hang some Summits in the east end of Pops.

GRANT: Daniel picked the tree and hung some stands well before hunting season.

GRANT: The stands were hung to be hunted during a strong south or west wind. That way we could enter from the east without alerting deer in the area.

GRANT: This plot was designed as a feeding location. A feeding location simply means it’s large enough to produce a lot of forage and, hopefully, won’t be over browsed. That’s compared to small hidey hole or staging area plots which are primarily designed as hunting locations.

GRANT: Larger plots can be difficult to bow hunt because deer can easily enter and exit out of bow range.

GRANT: During the late summer, we planted Eagle Seeds Fall Buffalo Blend in Pops. Then, Owen, one of our interns, spread Trophy Rock’s Plot Rock in one portion of the plot.

GRANT: Plot Rock is taken from the same mine as Trophy Rock; ground up really fine; clay added in; and still has the 65 plus trace minerals that plants can easily absorb and make available to the deer.

GRANT: Not only is this good for deer, but it makes for healthier forage. It’s an easy win-win.

GRANT: During the early part of bow season, multiple bucks continued frequenting Pops.

GRANT: Last summer, we had seen a buck we call “Frost” not far from Pops.

GRANT: We believe Frost was likely spending a majority of his time on neighboring properties.

GRANT: After summer bachelor groups of bucks break up, it’s very common for some of the bucks to use a different portion of their home range.

GRANT: We were pleasantly surprised when we got a video of Frost using one of our Code Blue scrapes in an area we call “Blackberry Patch” on October 19th.

GRANT: On October 22nd, Frost walked through one of our small hidey hole food plots and used the Code Blue mock scrape we’d established a few weeks earlier. It seems Frost may have returned to using this portion of his home range.

GRANT: Recently, while going through some camera cards, Daniel picked up a trend that it seemed bucks were cruising the downwind side of food plots scent checking for does.

GRANT: November 1st, Frost showed up in front of our camera sites we call “Crossroads”; then at the Blackberry Patch scrape headed right for the Pops food plot.

GRANT: Knowing this pattern, based on our trail cameras and that several does were using the Pops food plot, Daniel thought there was a good chance Frost or another mature buck would cruise on a downwind side scent checking the area. So, Daniel and Owen decided to go hunt the Summits they’d hung earlier and this would be the first time that location was hunted.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Well, it’s November 2nd and it’s just a beautiful afternoon. It’s that time of the year that we all just love to be out in the woods.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Got a west wind blowing our scent kind of right past us. Got a little north in it, which I like because we’re kind of threading that needle. The game plan is this – the food plot runs east and west for the most part. This time of year bucks are looking for those first receptive does. These bucks are gonna want to cruise on the downwind side of this plot – not only to visually look out and see if there’s deer out here, but also to scent check it.

DANIEL: (Whispering) I suspect that deer are gonna kind of loop around the bottom side of this plot and we’re gonna be right here within bow range. That’s the plan. We’ll see if it works. Stay tuned.

GRANT: Not long after they were up, Daniel spotted movement coming through the timber.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Behind that big tree.

DANIEL: (Whispering) What’s really neat about that bobcat encounter – that cat is just living by its nose, just like deer do. He was cutting across the wind coming from the south to the north – cutting that wind with that little north hitting him there in the nose, so he knew what was up ahead of him. Sneaked right through the bottom side of this food plot. There’s a good chance that deer will be doing the same thing.

GRANT: A while later, several deer entered the west end of the plot.

GRANT: These deer were well out of bow range, but it was early in the afternoon and it was great to see deer were active.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Get a lot of questions if we blind grunt. It depends on the situation. This afternoon I’m not gonna blind grunt at all. The reason being is this – we’ve got a west wind and we’re sitting at the eastern side of this food plot. We really can’t see a lot back behind us where all our wind is going. If I blind grunt, a lot of that sound is gonna be carried back to the east.

DANIEL: (Whispering) And if a buck does hear the grunt, there’s a good chance he’s gonna try to circle around the edge of this food plot on the downwind side of us and we may never see him. So, I would rather not grunt unless I see a buck out in the food plot, and I need him to come to me.

DANIEL: (Whispering) That’s how I’m gonna play the grunting game this afternoon.

OWEN: (Whispering) Deer.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Where?

DANIEL: (Whispering) That’s a good buck. That’s a shooter. That’s Frost. That’s Frost, isn’t it?

OWEN: (Whispering) Yeah.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Are you rolling? Dude, he’s right here in front of me. You on him?

OWEN: (Whispering) I’m on him.

DANIEL: (Whispering) That’s Frost.

DANIEL: (Whispering) You on him?

OWEN: (Whispering) Yeah.

OWEN: (Inaudible) The only deer (Inaudible).

DANIEL: (Whispering) That’s Frost. Thank you, Lord. Oh my word. I’m so jacked. I think that, that’s a buck we call Frost. We had him at four years old.

DANIEL: (Whispering) And – he did exactly what we thought they were gonna do. Because he was cutting across on this lower side, looking up scent checking for sure – up here on the main part of the field sneaking through this bottom side.

DANIEL: (Whispering) But he came from the north. We thought they were gonna come from the south. But it doesn’t matter because Frost is down; Frost is down. Oh, my word, dude.

DANIEL: (Quietly) Well, Owen and I have packed up; we’re on the ground. I’m excited to be on the ground and go look for Frost. But, it’s a little hike getting back in here. We’re gonna take our gear; drop it off at the Yamaha and drive around and come back. So, that’s what we’re gonna do. Give him a little extra time just in case he needs it. I don’t think he does. I think he actually went down not too far out of the plot. I sure hope so. Because I can’t wait to get my hands on him. So, it’s gonna be a long hike – a lot longer than it was getting in here.

DANIEL: (Quietly) We’ve given him about an hour and a half, which, I think, is plenty of time based on the shot. I can’t wait any longer. So, I’m gonna turn on the Motorola and go pick up this green nock out here in the field.

DANIEL: (Quietly) Blood. Here’s blood. Oh, is that good blood. Blood there. Now we’re going. I love, I love trailing through these brassicas – those big, those big leaves sure help.

DANIEL: (Quietly) There he goes; this is where he turned; this is where he went up and now he starts turning back this way. Because there’s blood there. There’s blood there; blood there; there’s the arrow out of the other side. Right here. So, we’re about ten yards from where we found the, the last six inches of that arrow, if, if that.

DANIEL: (Quietly) And then have just found the rest of the arrow which I saw coming through him on the offside. And I didn’t know when it would work out, but here it is. Deadmeat’s doing the job.

DANIEL: (Quietly) There’s a lot of good blood through here, so we’re gonna keep on going. Thick, long blood. Dude, he’s spewing. Look at all blood. Oh my word.

DANIEL: He’s right there! You see him? We’re maybe 80 yards from the plot. He’s down! Oh my word! Dude! Yes!

DANIEL: I don’t even know what to say, man. It’s just been an incredible night. Such a blessing. Such a blessing. We’ve been going hard the past couple of weeks and it was fun and a blessing to just slow down and have this moment with this deer.

GRANT: Nice job, Daniel, in both the strategy and the shot.

GRANT: I’m also very proud of Owen. Owen had never filmed hunts or ran a camera much before he started his internship. Owen did a great job filming this hunt and is doing a great job assisting us with the wildlife and habitat management here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: There are a lot of lessons from Daniel’s hunt. Just because you’re not getting pictures of a buck on trail cameras doesn’t mean he’s disappeared from the property or that he won’t be back.

GRANT: I also wanted to point out how stained Frost’s tarsal glands were. This is common this time of year – especially on mature bucks.

GRANT: Bucks, this time of year, will rub their tarsal glands together while urinating on them. They commonly do this while working a scrape.

GRANT: Tarsal glands serve as a scent wick and hold that scent as the buck travels through an area.

GRANT: Research at the University of Georgia several years ago, showed it’s not just a urine smell, but other interactions on the tarsal glands that produces the odor.

GRANT: As we all know, scent is a huge part of communication in the deer world.

GRANT: Daniel did a great job of planning a strategy that was appropriate for this stage of the rut.

GRANT: Often, hunting strategies or locations need to be changed during the pre-rut, compared to the rut or post-rut.

GRANT: I recently used the same strategy and planned my hunt based on the stage of the rut. That hunt was a couple of weeks ago and it was during the early stages of the pre-rut.

GRANT: Bucks were kind of checking out does, but not very aggressively. It was a rainy afternoon, so I selected a Redneck Blind overlooking a fairly large food plot and placed a couple of Montana doe decoys not far in front of the blind.

GRANT: During that hunt, a nice three-year-old buck – about 120 yards away – stepped out of the timber and, not long after, locked on the decoys.

GRANT: It was clear, watching this buck, that he was paying attention to the decoys and started working toward ‘em.

GRANT: The buck ended up within my bow range, but I’d identified him as a buck I wanted to let grow another year.

GRANT: It’s extremely rewarding when your strategy pays off and I really enjoyed that hunt.

GRANT: If you liked our updates on hunting strategies each week throughout the season, please subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter and share it with your friends.

GRANT: Watching deer behavior is just one way to enjoy Creation. But the best way to have a relationship with the Creator is to slow down, be quiet and listen to Him daily.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.