It’s been a busy week here at The Proving Grounds. Missouri trapping season is coming to a close and we’re also in the middle of our post season camera survey. These days are usually busy for the GrowingDeer.tv Team as we check our Duke Traps every morning and replenish the Record Rack feeding stations. It was during this time when I received a phone call from Mrs. Tracy saying she had found a “sure enough big buck.”
As many of our loyal viewers know, Mrs. Tracy loves to shed hunt with her dog, Crystal. Grant, Brian, and I are leaving January worn down from the long haul of deer season but Mrs. Tracy is just getting fired up! With the close of archery season on January 15th Mrs. Tracy heads to the woods to start looking for sheds and skulls of the bucks who didn’t survive the season. Especially after this year, with the outbreak of EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease), as the shed hunting enthusiasts start their search for those treasured antlers, they will have their hands full of EHD stricken deer remains. There are a couple reasons why I feel this will happen.
We are beginning to switch out of hunting and back into the management side of things. We are starting to enter into parts of the property that have been left untouched during the hunting season. As we’ve started doing these projects we have been finding carcasses, both recent and from months ago when EHD hit the hardest. For example, Monday we began collecting soil samples and in a few hours of work we had already found two carcasses by the creek we were working by.
As the season progressed here at The Proving Grounds we noticed that some of our bucks had come up missing. First there was Bean Flipper in late August, then Tightwad in mid-September, next Giant 8 in late September and finally Pumpkin face (after a firsthand encounter in early November). Typically bucks are not as easy to pattern during the rut but as we enter a late season feeding pattern we would expect to see them on our cameras. We’re now almost into February and still haven’t seen “hide nor hair” from these bucks, until I got the phone call.
I could hear the excitement in her voice and I was just hoping she couldn’t hear the disappointment in mine. She had found a large buck dead and now my only thought was, “Who is it?” She sent a picture to my phone and based on what looked like split G2s my instincts told me it was Bean Flipper. After we hiked down the valley to her and the buck, I put my hands on the antlers and crossed Bean Flipper of the MIA list. You can catch the entire recovery on next Monday’s episode at GrowingDeer.tv (GDTV 167).
As we make our way into the post season/shed hunting time of year, the GrowingDeer.tv Team will start focusing on who survived and who still remains MIA, and we’ll bring it all to you right here semi-live!
Good luck to all of you planning on hitting the woods searching for sheds!