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GRANT: One project we’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks is controlling noxious, or invasive, weeds. You might ask why that’s important, but just think about everywhere that weed is growing, the sun it’s taking, the nutrients and water it’s drawing up, especially, in drought conditions like we’re in right now. It’s taking away from more beneficial plants, either plants that provide better cover, or even more importantly, good nutrition to many forms of wildlife.
GRANT: Oftentimes, there is not a good management plan to control these weeds except walking around with a sprayer on your back and treating those spots. If you’ve waited ‘till you can do it all with the tractor, and it’s a huge area, you’ve lost acres already, but seeing weeds when they first move in your area, and doing some treatment with a backpack sprayer, and selective herbicide, leaving the good stuff – killing the bad stuff – is a great way to add more habitat to your existing property.
GRANT: It’s really rewarding to ensure you’ve selected the proper herbicide, when you can see you’ve left what you’ve wanted. We’ve got this big bluestem coming on strong in the middle of a sea of dead sericea. Now, this used to be a lot of bluestem in here, and the sericea literally just choked it out, so selective herbicides allow you to almost perform miracles. We use Pasture Guard, which was aimed to kill the sericea, and a couple of the broadleaf weeds, but not touch grass, cause we have some big bluestem growing in this area, which I designed, because of the steep slope, to be a bedding area. When you see this big bluestem, right next to this sericea, look at the lush color of the bluestem, and the sericea is clearly dying. What will happen over the course of the summer is the sunshine and nutrients that this was going up in the sericea plant can now go in the bluestem. It should make a huge seed crop. We’ll be able to control the sericea, from now on, much easier, and the bluestem will spread, converting this useless area into great wildlife habitat.
GRANT: This is a nice little opening that could be beneficial to wildlife, but unfortunately, it’s crowded out with sericea lespedeza. Now, you can tell we burn this area pretty aggressively this spring, and unfortunately, sericea is a noxious weed that responds very well to fire. You clear the ground, make a place for the seed bed to start. Now, a lot of very beneficial plants respond really well to prescribed fire. We don’t want to inhibit anyone from using prescribed fire, it’s just that if you have sericea in your area, you got to be careful. Soon as you see it, control it, so you can preserve that wildlife habitat.
GRANT: In these summer months is when antlers are really growing rapidly, and of course, does are producing milk for their fawns, and both does are trying to maintain body weight, and trying to add body weight. It’s a heavy, heavy draw on deer this time of year, and that’s one reason I want to make sure I’ve got plenty of minerals out there in this time of year. That can even be more important during drought situations, when plants aren’t up taking those minerals from the soil, and they’re not readily available. Having them in a concentrated form, and a broad spectrum of trace minerals, like offered in Trophy Rock – over 60 different trace minerals – is really critical to your deer herd management program. I just want to show you some Reconyx images from here at The Proving Grounds, and you can see how heavily both bucks and does are using those minerals this time of year.
GRANT: Reconyx is just picking up huge usage, day and night time, on our Trophy Rocks right now, and that’s not a surprise to me, because we’re in the middle of June, and antlers are growing vigorously right now. Does are producing a lot of milk for those fawns. Mineral needs right now are at about a all-time high for a white-tailed deer. Not just mineral, in general, but I want to supply as many trace minerals as I can. You know there’s an old German scientist named Liebig, and he wrote Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, which simply says no organism, animal or plant, can express any more potential than the least limiting factor, and usually, that’s a mineral, or something like that, so if your only supplying N, P, and K, or the standard cow block, they’re not getting the whole spread of minerals they need to express their full potential. You can tell the deer have really shined up this rock. Matter of fact, I’m sure the interns will be replacing the rocks on our 20 mineral licks throughout The Proving Grounds this week or next, cause we want to make sure the deer can express as much potential as possible come this fall.
GRANT: Now, when I accept interns, I jokingly tell them anywhere between midnight and 6:00 A.M. is your time. You can do whatever you want, but the rest of the hours are ours, and I’m joking…just a little bit, so we’ve had them really busy. Besides doing all the projects here at The Proving Grounds, one of our clients owns a ranch about an hour and a half away, and we’ve noticed some wild hog sign, and actually, observed six wild hogs over there. They’re very destructive, and I want to get ‘em out of there. I want to kill them and remove them – not trap ‘em, move ‘em, let ‘em breed somewhere else. I want to destroy them.
GRANT: So, we set up a trap, and I got lazy and used regular corn, and we had a pile of deer coming and going. I don’t want to catch the deer. So I let Nathan and Hunter go over on a slightly warm day and start mixing up what we call “Granny’s Brew.” It’s milk, and yeast, and even some Jell-O flavored pudding mix. All that stuff together, let it sit out in the sun for awhile, to make a great soured corn batch. I think they really had fun, although, they told me it had a little bit of an aroma coming off the mixture.
HUNTER: Few days ago, we headed over and made some soured corn, because we had some problems with a lot of deer entering the trap and eating our bait.
NATHAN: So that corn’s been sitting out in the sun for a few days, and we have this bucket here we had it in. Just the residual smell of it is something awful. I sure don’t want to open it.
HUNTER: So, in addition to making the-their corn sour, we’re gonna bury the corn in about a foot deep hole.
NATHAN: So, we put a lot of sweat and work into catching these hogs, so hopefully, Grant one of these days will give us some time off. We can go out and check that Reconyx trail camera and see if there’s any hogs visiting the trap.
GRANT: Now one of the funner management activities this time of year is predator hunting. Man, this time of year, the research is clear. Coyotes can really wear out your fawn population. I mean just huge, devastating predation can occur. Besides that, it’s a great way to hone up your hunting skills. You got to sit tight, you got to watch the wind direction, practice some calling. Man, I love using that FoxPro call and getting it positioned right, and trying the different sounds to see which sound is most effective at that time of year in your geographic area. Do you have cottontail rabbits? Do you have jack rabbits? Can you mix in some coon sound? We were actually using the sound of a cottontail rabbit with a raccoon. Now, a lot people don’t look at raccoons as big predators, but check out this big coon come pounding in like a grizzly bear on the run to the squealing sound of a cottontail rabbit and a raccoon.
GRANT: Coon. Get on the record. Get recording. Record. Record.
GRANT: Keep recording.
GRANT: Keep recording.
UNKNOWN: He’s right on top of it.
GRANT: It’s not coon season here in Missouri, so I couldn’t take the shot, but it’s amazing how aggressive this raccoon came in.
GRANT: Don’t forget to do some predator hunting this time of year. It’s great practice and a great wildlife management tool.
GRANT: Currently, the conditions are really tough here at The Proving Grounds. It’s hotter than normal – 96 degrees today. Drier than normal. We were flooded all spring. The rain shut off all at once. We go into a drought. How does a good manager cope with those harsh conditions? Well, you can come check out our successes and failures August 19th through the 21st when we host another field day here at The Proving Grounds. Now I limit this to the first 100 people that register. You can find out more information right here on our website, and what we do is go around the whole property, over the course of that time period, and look at all of our management plans, and our hunting techniques. I mean where do we locate tree stands? How do we use trail cameras? What do we have growing in our food plots? What do we do to mitigate drought, or floods, our road management techniques, all of it down to how we manage our clothing for hunting, right here, August 19th through the 21st. Come join us. We’re gonna end up on Saturday night going up to Bass Pro where everyone gets a discount shopping card. I’ll give a seminar – private seminar – just to our food plot field day guests, and everyone gets to shop for a couple hours. It’s a great learning experience, and I hope you’ll join us here, August 19th through the 21st.
GRANT: I hope the growing conditions are perfect at your property. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.