Tips For Deer Hunting And Improving A 90 Acre Hunting Property (#343)

Tips For Deer Hunting And Improving A 90 Acre Hunting Property (#343)

GRANT: Throughout my career, I’ve noticed
you can grow great deer anywhere in the whitetails’ range if the habitat quality is there. Last
week, Adam and I jumped on a plane and traveled to a state most people don’t associate with
having quality deer hunting. But when we got there, it was obvious this area could be as
good as anywhere in the whitetails’ range. ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by
Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, Dead Down Wind,
Antler Dirt, LaCrosse Footwear, BloodSport Arrows, Flatwood Natives, Morrell Targets,
Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana Decoys, Summit Treestands,
Drake Non-Typical Clothing, Howes Lubricator, Genesis No-Till Drill, LEM Game Processing,
Fourth Arrow, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds. GRANT: Portions of Delaware, Maryland, and
Virginia lie between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This area has extremely
rich soils and for years has produced giant bucks. There’s a lot of intensive ag in
the area. But even with this history, it’s still a sleeper to most whitetail hunters. GRANT: In fact, Delaware is about 35 to 40
percent ag land. When most of us hear Delaware, we think about urban, east coast areas – but
nothing could be further from the truth. GRANT: The area where Adam and I were working
is composed of relatively small farms. Hunting pressure in the Delmarva Peninsula can be
fairly intense. The smaller land ownership patterns allow a lot of hunters to stack in
a relatively small area. That’s why sanctuaries and controlling the hunting pressure can be
critical for any land owner in this area. GRANT: We were thrilled to get an invitation
to help Terry and Matt Megee design a habitat and a hunting plan for their 90 acres in Delaware. TERRY: …here. I hunted this farm 40 years
ago as a guest. GRANT: No kidding. TERRY: And my, uh, my mom’s cousin had permission
to hunt it – took me a couple of times. And when I had the chance to buy it, I was excited.
I said, “You know, this is pretty neat”, because… GRANT: Sure. TERRY: I’m looking at a farm somewhere else.
And I said, “This is really where I’d like to be.” GRANT: Sure. TERRY: Uh. GRANT: We always start learning about a new
project by considering the sources of food, cover, and water and security. Some folks
confuse cover with security. But imagine a 10 acre block of CRP grass with folks driving
through it or walking through it daily. I don’t think deer will consider that area
very secure. GRANT: And we want security cover on this
farm, on this size farm. And every property is different, but on this farm, we want it
pretty central. We don’t want them, a cover block right on the edge of your farm – if
this is a border and just as likely go this way as they are this way. GRANT: Terry and Matt’s property is about
90 acres. And before they purchased it, someone had created about a 12 acre ag field almost
dead center in their property. GRANT: So we want… TERRY: That’s the problem with this field
being in the middle of my property. GRANT: Well, there’s advantages and disadvantages.
When we were coming in, I’ve studied your map – you sent us some maps and Adam and I
studied it before we got here. One of the advantages of it – this field where it is
– is you can approach with a fairly favorable, uh, minimal impact approach. As you mentioned
in our conversation already – to hunt this field with not disturbing deer. TERRY: Right. GRANT: So, late season when the local ag fields
have been harvested and a lot of the acorns are gone – I – this would be planted every
year, if I owned it. Absolutely. ‘Cause late season, this could be dynamite. GRANT: It’s always the most efficient to
use the existing resources when developing a new plan. So, we knew right off the bat
that that centrally located ag field would be our primary feed destination. GRANT: In previous years, Terry and Matt had
done a little TSI – timber stand improvement – in one corner of their property. GRANT: Well this is a swamp chestnut here.
See this, see this big, tall, white bark tree right here? MATT: Yeah. GRANT: That’s a swamp chestnut. It’ll
have a much larger acorn than any other oak up here. And, and that would be the deer’s
favorite – they love – when those are on the ground, they’re not going anywhere
else. Literally, I promise you. MATT: Those big ones? GRANT: Those great big ones. Some people call
‘em cow oaks – may call ‘em cow oaks here locally. It’s a swamp chestnut – Quercus
Michauxii. And they pretty good about producing – and, and they’re huge. I mean just slightly
smaller than a golf ball – huge acorns. And when they’re on the ground, deer will be
there. GRANT: I would know where every one of those
big mature swamp chestnuts on my property is located. And then I would have one pretty
close to your lodge – to the camp. And when it’s dropping you know the others are gonna
be dropping, most likely. And I would focus on, you know, where the wind is that day,
how I can hunt the best location ‘cause they are coming to those trees – guaranteed.
That is a gold mine. GRANT: So, one of the things I’m probably
gonna end up recommending for ya’ll is do some more logging. This, this closed canopy
forest – deer are gonna pass through it and there may be a, you know, a couple of
swamp chestnuts dropping. They’re gonna key in there, but very difficult to pattern
deer in that closed canopy forest; difficult to hunt; no attraction; it’s the same as
your neighbor’s. GRANT: We’re walking around Terry and Matt’s
property and one thing I’ve noticed is a high percentage of it is open closed canopy
timber like we’re in now. There’s no reason for deer to bottleneck or funnel or really
have a pattern moving through here. The pattern would be determined on minute wind thermals
or hunting pressure on other properties. So, one of the things we’re gonna do is layout
doing some timber management. And an easy way in this type of timber is the hack-n-squirt
technique. GRANT: In trees like this, three, four inches
dbh. We’re simply gonna take a hatchet, go in at about a 45 degree angle, use the
appropriate herbicide, one to two hacks on the opposite side of the tree, squirt-squirt,
walk away, and that tree will die without impacting the surrounding trees. So, when
I look through here, they’re literally a couple hundred stems per acre of these trees
that are shaded out. They’re not going to mature. They’re not gonna ever produce any
timber value. And we can make the property more attractive for wildlife and more valuable
by doing some TSI or timber stand improvement. GRANT: Adam and I took time to walk their
entire property crisscrossing certain areas. And during that time, visit and learn as much
as we could from Terry and Matt. GRANT: So, we’ve walked the entire property,
made kind of a circle. And couple observations. When the local forest is producing acorns,
there’s no difference between acorns on your land and a neighbor’ land. There’s
no really a reason for deer to be anywhere. They’re just eating acorns where there’s
the less pressure – where they feel the less danger. GRANT: But in those years where there’s
a late frost, and there’s a low or no acorn production, and all these ag fields have been
harvested, combined, and you have this nice field with standing soybeans – grain and greens
in there – then all the deer that touch your property are probably gonna concentrate on
that food source. GRANT: Now, if they’re over here five miles,
and their home range doesn’t include your property, they don’t know there is a food
source there. That would be a rumor, but … GRANT: After we walked the entire property,
we pull out some maps and had a little planning session. It became obvious that we needed
sanctuaries in most corners of the property. Areas where deer would feel secure. Allow
them to filter in to the primary feeding area in the center of their property but we needed
something to reduce the pressure from that central feeding field. GRANT: They’re gonna be here 30 minutes
an hour before they’re out there. And this is just an incredible staging area set up.
That, with the, the correct wind, in an afternoon hunt – this is an afternoon hunt – you
slide up, you know, sun’s up out in the middle of the field, not alerting anything
at all. You get to your tree stand somewhere over in here. You’ve got his hidey hole
food plot, staging area plot, that deer are absolutely gonna stop by before they go on
over there. GRANT: One of the keys to their plan will
be one of the same tools we successfully use here at The Proving Grounds – hidey hole
food plots or staging areas. We’re gonna put the sanctuaries near the outside edges
of their property because the feeding area was already developed in the central portion.
But between those sanctuaries, in that central feeding field, we’re gonna develop some
staging areas or hidey hole food plots. This will allow Terry and Matt to go in, no matter
what wind direction, to a specific hidey hole food plot around their property and catch
those mature bucks that are staging there before they enter that primary feeding field
– primarily after dark due to years of pressure in that area. GRANT: While touring the property, we happened
to see several red fox active even during the daylight hours. That is a welcome sign.
They shared with us they’d never had a trail camera picture of a coyote on their property
and one of the neighbors had only had one picture of a coyote. GRANT: I noticed the deer we observed, were
fairly relaxed. I think that’s probably due to limited pressure from coyotes. I’ve
seen similar things in areas where guys have went in and intensively trapped coyotes to
reduce that population. When deer are under constant predation pressure from coyotes,
they tend to be alert all the time. If they can avoid coyotes, they can certainly avoid
dumb two-legged predators. GRANT: It’s easy to make two predictions
about this neighborhood. One: When coyotes arrive in full force, the red fox population
will go way down; coyotes love to eat red foxes and are very successful at catching
and killing them. And secondly: I strongly suspect the deer will be much more alert and
more difficult to hunt. GRANT: Another technique I’ve advised Terry
to use is – once coyotes populate the neighborhood – have his property trapped intensively.
Remove as many coyotes as he can. Lots of research has shown that deer readily adapt
to using portions of their range where the coyote population is lower. GRANT: The Megee’s property had several
neat features. And I’m confident by increasing the number and size of sanctuaries, adding
some strategically located food plots and a great hunting plan, they will take more
than their fair share of mature bucks in that neighborhood. GRANT: Designing hunting plans always gets
me excited for deer season. Another reason I’m really excited this week is Hook’s
Custom Calls just announced that the Messenger Grunt Call is finally available. GRANT: You may recall that last spring and
summer, the Growing Deer Team studied our entire library of footage of bucks grunting.
And more importantly, what the grunts sounded like that other deer responded to. We took
that information to Hook’s Custom Calls and asked them to build Adam and I some custom
grunt calls to use during the fall. GRANT: We were able to get about 24 of those
calls and let our Pro Staff and Adam and I use them throughout last fall’s hunting
season. I was able to tag a mature buck using that call and watch several other bucks respond. GRANT: Look at that chest, I mean, th – look
how far that is. GRANT: Raleigh, my daughter, harvested a nice
buck that responded to Adam using the Messenger just before dark last year. GRANT: In addition, several members of the
GrowingDeer Pro Staff tagged nice bucks that were responding to the first prototype of
the Messenger Grunt Call. HEATH: Big ole nine pointer. GRANT: Based on our research the Messenger
Grunt Call is designed to sound like a subordinate buck tending a receptive doe. And that sends
the message to other subordinate bucks and mature bucks in the area that they can likely
come in and take that receptive doe from the buck. GRANT: That sounds good doesn’t it? I mean
not too commercial – that just sounds good. GRANT: Next to my bow, the Messenger Grunt
Call has become one of the most important tools I take to the stand each day. GRANT: All of us want to stay healthy enough
to hunt, and unfortunately, tick-borne diseases are becoming more common throughout the United
States. Many of these diseases have serious implications for human health. GRANT: One of our bedding areas we’ve prepared
with prescribed fire in the past years and it’s about perfect poult and fawn habitat.
High quality fawn and poult habitat will be thick at ground level. It doesn’t necessarily
need to be thick above that. In fact, ideal poult habitat will be thick for a foot or
two tall – allow that hen to periscope or look for predators above that. GRANT: Unfortunately, that habitat is also
ideal for ticks. A couple days ago, we had a Reconyx picture where a fawn’s eye was
almost totally enclosed by ticks. When you get that many ticks on there, it’s easy
to get a secondary infection or other problems that result in death. GRANT: When deer have that many ticks on ‘em,
there can be a lot of problems, including a secondary infection that could result in
death. Lots of research has shown that ticks and other parasites can actually reduce fawn
survival and/or antler size by 15% or more. GRANT: Not only are ticks a concern for several
species of wildlife, there are several tick-borne illnesses that can have nasty impacts on humans. GRANT: We’re currently testing several methods
to reduce ticks here at The Proving Grounds. Research out of Oklahoma has shown that prescribed
fire can be an effective tool at reducing ticks. But there is a limiting factor. If
you’re only burning 20 or 30 acres, about the time that greens up – of course it’s
attracting deer and other animals to the new forage – they’re repopulating the area with
ticks almost as quick as the vegetation is growing. Where ticks can be reduced by fire,
is when the fires are large, several hundred acres, and animals aren’t penetrating the
entire area right off the bat – repopulating it with ticks. GRANT: This is a 26 acre burn unit. But it’s
long and narrow, football shaped. So, this morning, we’re gonna have some of the interns
walk through here – it’s been burned twice in the last couple of years – and check out
the tick population in an area that has been treated with prescribed fire. GRANT: When I was younger, one of my favorite
television shows was Wild Kingdom. And I used to notice the lead guy would always sit in
the safety of a blind or truck while the workers would go out and wrestle the 30 foot anaconda
or the sabre-tooth tiger, or whatever it is. I thought, man, when I grow up that seems
like a smart thing to do. So, this morning, interns Chance, Mark and Mark are gonna go
collect ticks while I stay back here at the data collection station ready to count ticks
when they return. (Laughter) GRANT: This is something you can literally
do at your hunting club. You need some white pants or some white cloth. Just simply put
it in front of you and bust the brush just like you would think about a doe going to
check on her fawn. GRANT: We’re gonna have them go out for
five minutes, just walking little circles in here. They’re gonna take masking tape
because ticks might get on this slick material and then get knocked off – unlike deer hair
where they can grab on and hold on. So, they’re be collecting ticks with masking tape, come
back and we’ll do a count. GRANT: So, gentlemen, I’ve got my stopwatch
ready, you’ve got five minutes. Let’s go get as many ticks as we can gather. MARK: They may take our lives, but they’ll
never take our freedom! GRANT: Don’t walk. Yeah, spread out – spread.
Yeah, work it around; don’t be scared of the tick stuff. GRANT: How is it the camera crew got more
than the tick collector? GRANT: Our interns gathered 39 ticks in five
minutes. And I imagine that deer with their head down and browsing in here, or especially
a fawn laying still and breathing – because what we exhale is what attracts ticks – might
attract even more. Well, you can see where that’s definitely a problem. GRANT: Ticks are a serious problem to human
and deer populations. That’s why we have ongoing studies here at The Proving Grounds
to try to find practical and inexpensive ways to reduce the tick population. We’ll keep
you posted as we continue working on ways to reduce ticks here at The Proving Grounds. BRAD: Anyway, what we’ve got…. GRANT: As much as we enjoy it, it’s not
practical for us to go to everyone’s hunting property and create a habitat and hunting
management plan. That’s why we offer Field Events here at The Proving Grounds. The next
one will be August 12th and 13th. Come join us and we’ll share with you all of our food
plot and habitat management techniques and our hunting techniques of how we hunt here
at The Proving Grounds. We limit it to 100 folks so we’ll have plenty of time to visit
and share with everyone who comes. Register now for August 12th and 13th. There is special
pricing through the end of June. GRANT: Whether you have time to go out and
do some habitat management projects or watch some bucks in velvet, I hope you take time
each week to go out and do something and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time
each day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching
GrowingDeer. GRANT: How many did you get Chance? GRANT: How is it the camera crew got more
than the tick collectors?

30 thoughts on “Tips For Deer Hunting And Improving A 90 Acre Hunting Property (#343)

  1. I have to ask, with your GoPro or something can u upland quail or rabbit hunts, if u can that would be sweet…. I know it's not in season but when it is maybe?

  2. Do you hunt in an area like the McGee's with lots of neighboring farms stacking in hunters? What have you done to ensure hunting success?

  3. Will this help with turkeys too? We don't have many turkeys on our property because coyotes. I'm about to start trapping them and calling them in.

  4. I would like to know if you have done or read any research on using pesticide minerals for cattle on whitetail deer!

  5. I live in Maryland about 2 hours from that this is just like my property we have many coyotes in Maryland and they have killed many we predator hunt for them we have taken many out thank you for the information keep up the good work I love watching you guys

  6. Awesome video!!! This one I feel has been one of the most if not the most informative that I have seen with the Delaware farm, the messenger call, and the ticks…. This one covered all the bases. Thanks for the info and keep doing what you love. God definitely put you on thie green planet for this!

  7. i would say it's hard to manager a herd on 90 acres, but if you have something better then the neighbors, you can likely draw deer to your side of the fence. My area is very prone to hunters shooting anything. so growing large deer is not likely to ever happen. but with my food plots vs no food plots, i do see more deer per year then most.

    Great video guys.

  8. Grunt calls like "The Messenger" are awesome during the rut, but what are some good methods y'all use to get responses from deer during the early season?

  9. Hi can u give me some deer tips I have a 15 acre hunting property haven't seen deer but there's deer tracks and they eat the apples I put out but my neighbor has a 10 acre property and kills deer ever season thanks

  10. this year was horrible for ticks! I have 2 dogs and I had to pick at least one tick from both each time I took them for a walk. I had to stop taking them to the bird sanctuary because my old dog had 8 ticks on him AFTER I applied frontline! I have 10 days until I can start my season. I found 3 zip ties. I see that as providence that I'm going to tag 3 deer. speaking of which I need to purchase tags!

  11. great tips on management considering I live about an hour and a Half from that property. Same land same habitat. Thanks Guys!!

  12. I wonder if we could create male ticks that breed females and create sterile offspring. i think they are trying that with mosquitos

  13. About 30 mins north of me I’m about 5 mins south of the Delaware state line. Awesome to see y’all making a video being so close to me! It’s a beautiful place to live but now we are getting recognized for our sika deer…haven’t got me one yet they’re hard to hunt but I guess that’s why we call the β€œmarsh ghosts” haha

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