Dr. Grant Woods is a native of the Ozark Mountains in southwestern Missouri. His passion for deer and deer hunting led him to a Ph.D. in deer behavior and management. During the past 25 years he’s been a wildlife biologist and has worked with deer from Canada to New Zealand. He is the host of a weekly show about deer hunting and management at www.GrowingDeer.tv We never miss an episode of GrowingDeer.TV.
Grant, how did you first get into hunting and who influenced you?
I was raised on a farm in the Ozark Mountain region of Missouri. When I was in the first grade I had a rabbit trap line that I checked each morning during the winter. I had heard deer were being restocked in the area. I had a deep desire to see a deer! One morning I found small doe that had been poached in one of our fields. I ran to the house and told my father. He brought the deer to our hog barn and then skinned it out. We salted the pelt and placed it on the barn wall. I would rub that pelt while doing chores and imagine someday I might be able to hunt deer. I’ve been fascinated with deer since that day.
Can you tell us about your most memorable hunt?
Deep in the Ozark Mountain region there was refuge where deer were protected and used as a restocking source for Missouri. During one long weekend each year the conservation department would host a hunt and hunters were only allowed to use bows and muzzleloaders. This was decades ago. Compound bows or inline muzzleloaders hadn’t been invented. My father took me to this hunt and I carried a 32 caliber (squirrel rifle) muzzleloader that was ancient. I remember considering it was a huge privilege to carry that rifle and deer hunt with my father. I still remember the sights and smells of those fall days, camping in my uncle’s “army” tent, and making donuts from canned biscuits on a camp fire.
What are the benefits of hunting out of an elevated blind?
A deer’s eyes are great at seeing movement! Detecting movement is critical to their survival as all predators move when they attack deer. Being in a quality elevated blind conceals a hunter’s movement and some of their scent. This allows hunters to observe deer without alerting them. Elevated blinds also allow hunters to see over changes in topography and therefore cover more ground. Quality elevated blinds also do a great job of concealing or dampening any noise. This is critical as noise can easily alert deer!