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GRANT: This portion of July is a great time for deer hunters. Although we’ve got some hot days left, and the dog days of August are still to come, antlers are really starting to take shape and everyone’s getting excited about their trail camera pictures. The antlers are big enough that we can start identifying unique bucks from last year and developing our hit list. Even though the dog days of summer are still yet to come, and August can be pretty hot out here in the field, there’s a lot of excitement in the deer hunting world. It’s tough to quantify what percentage of antler growth normally occurs during the month of July because deer are such unique individuals. Some grow really early and are showing most of their potential by mid to late July. Others seem to be late bloomers, and they’ve got the frame, but really pour on the tine length during late July.
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GRANT: Another reason hunters love this period of July is bucks tend to be very active right before the sun sets, especially in fields or food plots. The days are very long, so if they don’t feed during daylight, they’re gonna be in the bed 16 hours or so and the forage this time of year is very digestible, passes through the system rapidly; so about this time of year, we can slide out to a soybean field or a food plot and see a lot of bucks an hour or two before dark. That’s exactly what Adam and the interns did one afternoon last week.
GRANT: They opted to go to a Redneck blind we’ve placed on a food plot we call Raleigh’s Field. This field’s kind of long rectangle – with the west being the far end, and the blind on the very east end, and a steep hill right there.
ADAM: (Whispering) This field’s perfect for getting into and leaving without spooking the deer. I climbed up on the ladder. Deer already in the field. We had one little hiccup, and we had some wasps we had to fight off, but we found some wasp spray in the truck. Wind’s perfect, hitting us in the face so. We’re gonna give the wasps a little bit of time to fall out of the nest, and we’re gonna climb up, and hopefully, the deer are gonna be in the field.
GRANT: The conditions were such that three guys were able to get into a blind with two different sets of camera gear and not alert any deer. In fact, they were there just a few moments before deer started showing up in the plot.
GRANT: They were able to watch a great bachelor group of bucks enjoying the soybeans. A couple of ‘em probably will end up making the hit list. Not long after some of the deer had left, they caught movement coming through the timber at the backend of the field.
GRANT: The movement ended up being three more bucks making their way onto the field. One of ‘em, especially, caught everyone’s attention.
GRANT: The interns and Adam had a great afternoon watching all those bucks in the plot.
GRANT: Normally when I’m kneeling behind a deer, I’m thankful for the meat that’s been provided for my family but today’s a different story. Yesterday evening late, my daughter, Raleigh, and I had come out to take some pictures and she noticed a bunch of vultures on a pond up here about 30 yards. We peeped over the edge of the pond dam, and there laid this doe about half in the water and about half the meat left on her. That was relatively close to dark last night and it’s 7:00 o’clock this morning. Adam and I come out to film this, and something has drug the doe about 30 yards, and obviously, removed all the meat off the carcass.
GRANT: There’s no real way of knowing what killed this doe at this stage of decomposition. I do notice that her front right hoof was enlarged, infected, and might have been snake bit, or just stumbled on one of the rocks here, and got a – a break, or a bad infection. Deer die all the time. Oftentime, guys that don’t live on the property to get to hunt like I’m blessed to – you know your absentee landowner – or you got a lease, or whatever, don’t realize how many deer die throughout the whole year, not just hunting season.
GRANT: So, there’s no super diagnostic or investigative work that can be done now, and one deer out of a whole deer herd really isn’t significant but if you start finding a lot of this, especially during fawning season, you might suspect there’s too many predators and that predator prey balance isn’t adjusted on your property.
GRANT: Checking out the progress of a couple of our projects this morning, and exactly 14 days ago in this plot, we put up a Hot Zone electric fence.
GRANT: And I can already tell a difference, but let’s step a little closer and take a look.
GRANT: Here’s a big fresh scat pile right here, when you talk about outside – sign outside.
GRANT: When we put the fence up, we weed-eated a strip all the way to the ground, so the soybeans wouldn’t short out the current in the fence.
GRANT: When we’ve done the same technique in the past, I’m amazed that an Eagle Seed bean that’s been weed-whipped all the way to the dirt level still comes back – just like a deer browsing it to the dirt, and it still grows.
GRANT: Fences serve like a giant utilization cage where outside the beans are clearly suffering a little bit from a lot of browse. Now, they’re still making plenty of forage and feeding the deer herd, but inside they’re putting on a lot of tonnage. Tells me we have more deer than we have quality forage. We’ve got to seek a balance, which means Adam and I need to fill a lot of doe tags this fall.
GRANT: Pulled this plant from right inside the fence, and this is an average outside the fence, and it’s easy to see this is gonna make more tonnage and mature and develop pods that will feed deer, and turkey, and other critters throughout the late winter.
GRANT: One technique I’ve learned through the years when using these Hot Zone fences is keep the fence, oh, 10 yards or so off the wood line so deer don’t come right out and stumble into the fence, or a coyote chase ‘em out. Give ‘em a little time to dodge and move. You can clearly see heavy browse pressure out here; zero leaves missing in here. Now remember, these beans looked exactly like these beans until we put the fence up. It’s amazing how these Eagle Seed beans have recovered since we put the fence up.
GRANT: I hope you have some time to get out and check out your food plots, or put up a trail camera, but most importantly, just get outside and enjoy Creation. Take a few moments and be still and quiet, and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.