New Strategies for Hunting Old Bucks in the Early Season
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New Strategies for Hunting Old Bucks in the Early Season

August 14, 2019


DANIEL: It’s late summer and we’ve been
shooting a lot preparing for deer season. DANIEL: When we’re shooting out in our yard,
there’s a lot of dust that’s flying over from the driveway that’s nearby. And with the yards being mowed once every
week or so, there’s a lot of dirt and grime in the grass. And every time I lay my bow down to go fetch
an arrow, it’s getting on my string. DANIEL: About once every week or two, I’ll
treat my string with a bow string cleaner to get all that dirt and grime off the string. DANIEL: This increases the life of the string,
keeps my bow performing at top notch and that way I’m ready for when that deer steps out. DANIEL: It’s late summer and across most
of the whitetails’ range, bucks have completed most of their antler growth. DANIEL: For the next month or so antlers will
still be in velvet, but they’ll be undergoing the hardening process. DANIEL: Bucks are no longer transferring large
amounts of protein to their antlers for new growth, but they’ve now switched to needing
and transferring minerals, such as calcium and phosphorous, to help harden the antlers. DANIEL: Because antler growth is nearly complete,
many bucks are easy to identify by their unique antler characteristics. DANIEL: This is a good time to be out scouting,
but it’s a great time to really be diving in and studying trail camera pictures. By studying late summer movements, you can
begin planning a hunting strategy for the early hunting season. DANIEL: You may remember that last summer
we had a new buck show up and he had very unique antlers. DANIEL: We shared a picture and video of him
on our Instagram and Facebook pages and we asked what folks thought we should name him. DANIEL: He had split tines and they resembled
slingshots, so they all said we should name him “Slingshot.” And the name stuck. DANIEL: We had several encounters with Slingshot
last fall. DANIEL: We’re thrilled that Slingshot survived
the winter and we’re getting lots of pictures of him. And we can’t wait to chase him this fall. DANIEL: Swoops is another buck that we’re
paying really close attention to. We estimate Swoops is eight years old this
year and we’ve had a lot of history with him. ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester,
LaCrosse Footwear, Morrell Targets, Hooyman, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana
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onX Hunt, ScentCrusher, Scorpion Venom Archery, Bloodsport Arrows, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Blinds. DANIEL: We’re looking at past trail camera
pictures and this year’s to try to figure out how Swoops moves throughout The Proving
Grounds and develop a hunting strategy. DANIEL: During Missouri’s early archery
season of 2015, Grant had the first encounter with Swoops at a food plot we call Big Boom. GRANT: (Whispering) He’s that deer that’s
got the real swooping forward tines, real bowed forward tines. Man, he’s eating like crazy. Oh my gosh. DANIEL: We didn’t have another encounter
with Swoops for several years. But we were getting a lot of pictures of him
and we were really studying on how he moved throughout the property. DANIEL: We thought we had him pegged down
and sure enough, last fall during Missouri’s firearm season, Grant had another encounter
with him at the Boom Pond Powerline. GRANT: (Whispering) I’m gonna wait. There’s just a little bit of grass. I don’t want to deflect. DANIEL: Grant knew that a single blade of
grass could deflect a bullet, so he wisely gave him a pass. DANIEL: We’ve learned through the years
through observations and trail camera pictures that Swoops tends to spend his summer range
on the southern portion of the property. And then somewhere at the end of September,
mid-October, he shifts north to the Boomerang Ridge. DANIEL: Throughout the years we’ve noticed
that during hunting season, Swoops tends to make short trips back to the south, but then
always comes back to Boomerang Ridge within a few days. DANIEL: We believe that Swoops is the most
vulnerable during the pre-rut, as most bucks are. They’re on their feet more hours out of the
day trying to look for those first receptive does. DANIEL: But we also believe that a chink in
his armor is when he’s moving from the Boomerang Ridge to the south and back to the north. DANIEL: Just the other day, Clay found another
piece of the Swoops puzzle. CLAY: Hey guys, we’re out walking today
with the Missouri Department of Conservation looking at a few things on the property. And we were walking through this creek bed
and we were just talking about finding some sheds that maybe have washed down over the
years. And about five minutes later, I looked down
and I found this. CLAY: And I’m not 100% sure, but the way
it looks, it looks like a deer we call Swoops. We’ve had a lot of history with him. Looks to be a few years old — still a pretty
cool find. DANIEL: Even though this shed is old and all
chewed up, it gave us a lot of information on how Swoops is traveling between the two
ridges. DANIEL: Swoops usually falls off the grid
and goes MIA several weeks during September. As Swoops travels to the south and back to
the north, he’s crossing a ridge we call 50 Acre. DANIEL: There are several stands of mature
white oaks on 50 Acre Ridge and we believe those white oak acorns may be the reason Swoops
goes MIA during September. GRANT: When the rut kicks in, it seems Swoops
settles down on Boomerang Ridge. But, that’s tough country to hunt. GRANT: So this year I’ve got a strategy. I’m really looking at either early season
on the south end or that two-week period of time when we don’t know exactly where he’s
hanging out. GRANT: This stand of mature white oaks right
here is difficult to hunt because it’s on a slope. But it’s the perfect place Swoops could
be cutting through and not detected by our trail cameras. GRANT: We had jumping oak gall early on and
many of the white oaks lost their leaves or got very stressed. We know we’re going to have a limited white
oak acorn crop because that jumping oak gall. You find the white oak with a big full canopy,
it’s likely to have some acorns. So, I believe any white oaks that are producing
acorns during that period of time when Swoops has been missing in action, well, that could
be like a hidey hole food plot. It’s a limited food source in the middle
of a lot of timber. GRANT: By this time of year, acorns of most
species are large enough to spot with good binoculars. So, we’re just spending some time out here
glassing up in the trees and trying to find two things: what species had a good crop that
year; and where they are, especially if there’s not an even distribution. GRANT: So that’s what we have this year
at The Proving Grounds. GRANT: So I’m out scouting, trying to find
exactly which couple of trees have the most acorns, get a stand moved in here early on,
wait for that period of time, move in, and hopefully have a great encounter with Swoops. DANIEL: While we were out scouting for acorns,
we also stopped by one of our food plots to see how the Eagle Seeds forage soybeans were
doing. GRANT: We are in a small food plot between
a couple of primary ridges. And it’s critical we have a good food source
here. GRANT: Bucks cross here and before the acorns
fall, this will be a primary feeding area. I gotta tell you, I am shocked at how well
the Eagle Seed forage soybeans are doing. GRANT: They’re probably three foot tall inside
the wire basket. This is four foot tall wire, what we call
a utilization cage. And outside, they’re about a foot tall, but
making new leaves about as fast as a deer can browse. GRANT: Inside the utilization cage, the leaves
are bigger, much bigger on average, than outside where there’s constant browsing. GRANT: If the whole field had beans this tall,
there would be more pods produced. But as it is, it’s feeding deer. There’ll be a few pods produced and it will
be easy to drill the Fall Buffalo Blend directly into this stand. By using that technique, we’ll never clean
the table and those bucks can keep feeding here every day. GRANT: I assist landowners every year that
don’t have utilization cages in their plots. And sometimes they ask me, “How come my
food plot isn’t doing too good? Gosh, look how short is.” GRANT: Well, without a utilization cage, we
don’t know for sure if there’s something wrong with the soil, or it’s too dry, or
something else is going on. Or, more likely, the deer are simply browsing
more than the plants can grow. DANIEL: Several weeks ago, we shared that
the summer interns were using the hack-and-squirt method to do a little timber stand improvement
up on the Boomerang Ridge. DANIEL: The interns were targeting sassafras. This morning I returned to the Boomerang Ridge
to follow up on the recent hack-and-squirt project. DANIEL: This area has historically been poorly
managed. There’s been a lot of soil disturbance up
on top of this ridge and sassafras is one species that comes back when the soil has
been greatly disturbed. DANIEL: When all those leaves were canopied
up, it was blocking sunlight. You can see there’s really nothing growing
underneath where these sassafras are. DANIEL: We came through with a hatchet and
a squirt bottle and terminated all these trees within just a few minutes. DANIEL: That was just a few weeks ago and
already, the leaves have turned brown or fallen off and the limbs are already very brittle. DANIEL: There’s now a lot of sunlight reaching
the forest floor. There’s going to be a lot of native grasses
and forbs growing offering great cover and food for wildlife. DANIEL: This week Grant and Rae are at the
Aim Nationals. Everyone here at The Proving Grounds is wishing
Rae and her trap shooting team the very best. RAE: Pull. GRANT: There you go. DANIEL: If you enjoy learning about hunting strategies or improving wildlife habitat, I encourage you to go over to our channel and check it out. We have over 500 episodes about wildlife habitat and hunting strategies. Check us out and give us a thumbs up. DANIEL: Whether you’re out scouting for bucks
or just enjoying a nice walk, I hope you take the time to enjoy Creation. But more importantly, I hope you slow down,
and learn more about the Creator, and the purpose He has for your life. DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

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  1. Hey growing deer tv, I’m just curious to know with the amount of property you all own, have to ever seen an American chestnut or allegany chinkapin? If you find any of them that’s we’re all the deer are going to eat; of course I know that they are very rare to find.

  2. Is that a Optimizer Ultra sight on ur bow ??. U know u could make a hanger to hang ur bows on so u dont have to lay them in the grass.

  3. I just noticed that you dont shoot a stabilizer on you're bow. I have a 2015 prime ion and it's very accurate without a stabilizer but I'm thinking of trying a 6inch stabilizer for 40yard plus shoots. An ideas? Is it just a personal preference?

  4. Thanks for the video I always learn so much. I feel like I know your dr grant! I dream of managing my little 7 acres the best I can. I plan to get some plots going soon as we can afford it. I’m in south east Missouri and land is a lot like the proving grounds. Any tips on what you can do if you own only 7 acres of woods but your woods backs up to 150 acres of woods? Rocky and hilly terrain.

  5. We enjoy naming and getting info about the bucks on our place. But we see them alot one year then they seem to disappear the next. They can't all be getting harvested.

  6. I was wondering if your techniques to improve habitat like eliminating the small trees to allow sunlight to hit the forest floor are contributing to the abundance of ticks on your property?

  7. So I would like to get into hunting but I don't have any land of my own and the public land here gets way to many hunter's and I'm not sure what to do for a place to hunt could you please give me some advice on what to do?

  8. Hello growing deer I was deer discovery but I changed my account name it’s bin a while but now I’m back watching all of your vids you guys seen some good deer when I was gone

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