A Habitat Consultant's Take on Public & Private Land

Show Notes

It's no secret. Hunting on relatively lightly pressured, manicured private land is very different than hunting the highly pressured public piece down the road. But is one really better than the other? Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and both can afford you a great time chasing whitetails!

In this episode of the How to Hunt Deer Podcast, Josh talks with Greg Kazmierski of Whitetail Partners about Greg's take on hunting public vs private land. Greg is a Habitat Consultant with Whitetail Partners. As a Habitat Consultant, Greg spends time working with landowners helping them improve their property and their hunting. But each year, Greg stretches his legs for public land whitetails in multiple states. So which is better? In this episode, the guys discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both and how hunting BOTH types can make you a better all around deer hunter. Enjoy!

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Show Transcript

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near podcast, which is brought to you by tactic. This podcast aims to educate those who are interested in becoming deer hunters, brushing up on essential skills, or maybe just adding a few new tactics to the toolkit here, we cover a variety of topics that are going to help you be more confident and successful in the field while you're hunting deer.

Thank you so much for tuning in with me this week. I've got a buddy of mine, Mr. Greg Kazmierski of Whitetail partners on the show. Greg is a Habitat [00:01:00] consultant with Whitetail Partners in the state of Ohio and he's also a licensed realtor helping people find the whitetail property of their dreams and I thought it'd be interesting to have him on the show and talk about a Habitat consultant's approach to hunting both private and public land and I wanted to get into the public land piece because Greg doesn't just hunt on private, Greg does a lot of hunting actually on public ground and we tend to separate the two, right?

Those who hunt managed ground that is owned by them or someone else As opposed to those who hunt on public land. And I wanted to pick Greg's mind to hear about, what are some of the carryovers that he sees consistent on both private managed land, as well as hunting public ground, and maybe the difficulties that go into each one.

I enjoy hunting both myself. I think each one offers unique opportunities, as well as unique challenges. The guy hunting on public ground has a lot of gripes and a lot of complaints about, people walking in on him, or pressured deer, or whatever the case may be. The guy hunting a small, let's say 15, [00:02:00] 20, 40, even a hundred acre plot.

He's got some challenges as well. And so we're going to get into that. We're going to get into Greg's hunting strategy and also maybe a little bit about what Greg is looking forward to when it comes to hunting whitetails this year. Thank you so much for tuning in this week. Let's jump right into the show.

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com. Now let's get into this week's show. All right. Joining me for this week's episode of the How to Hunt Deer. I have Mr. Greg Kazmierski from Ohio. Greg, what's going on? Oh, not too much, man. Just getting ready to zone in for hunting season here. Got a couple of days left up in Ohio before we get started.

So putting the final touches on everything and ready to get back out in the woods. Yeah. When do you guys open up? We open up this Saturday, so Ohio always opens the last Saturday in September. So some years, it's like in the early 20 range of September, but this year just so happens to fall right before October.

Doesn't really change a whole lot, honestly. I feel [00:05:00] like that shift already gets started in Ohio. They're starting to transition into the Oaks, so I'm used to it by now, just finding that, that hot sign there. And yeah, really excited to get back in the woods. So it seems like it's taken forever to get here.

Yeah, it certainly seems like it took a long time, man. I turkey hunting quite a bit this past year and it seems like I just haven't been in the woods for in forever. Obviously we've been on client properties and that kind of thing, but like it, I don't know for myself, it feels like it's been a, it's been a long time coming.

So I'm pretty excited as well for. For my season to get crank and our season's open already, but I haven't haven't really gotten going yet with a busy fall and trying to make sure, landowners are on the right track going into their seasons. And, for me, there's just something about hunting the rut.

I like early season hunting, but it's hard for me to get too excited when it's 85 degrees. Hard to get pumped up. Yeah. Yeah, definitely can be hard. There's there's many days that I've spent where I feel like at the end of it in the early season that it was just wasted and you get nothing but [00:06:00] briar, stabbings, mosquito bites, and and sweat.

And it's just man, why did I even come out here? But then there's like that. Very slim chance of that magical hunt. And if it pans out, it's man, it was all worth it. Yeah. And I feel like if if you're on a property and you've got a beat on a good buck and you have a good idea of what he's doing, where he's betting, where he's eating you really can make an early season play and that can be one of the best times to get in there and get on a mature deer, but.

If you're just taking stabs in the dark, I feel like the early season, not a good time to do it. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like that too. I spent a lot of, so 2022 is the first year. I was an Ohio resident before then it was all traveling down from where I grew up in Michigan. And so last year I got to spend the most.

Time collectively in the woods and slow play things a little bit more like where when I came in as an out of stater It was just throw these spots out on the map Hopefully there's sign there If not adjust find the sign and hunt it where this I [00:07:00] was allowed to actually collect some good data on what?

the deer were doing in certain areas and Determine if it was worth my time and not exactly have to dive in right from the beginning, but maybe just sit back on the edge and observe what was going on. And I found that just by even doing that, it allowed me to gain so much intel on just how the deer were using the landscape.

I was hunting like a big river bottom system last year in the early season. Which I was pretty unfamiliar with, but there was a very condensed white oak crop, so I knew where the deer were going to be. So even just like getting to sit back from a distance and observe how the deer were funneling in and out of the area, like that served me well to stay in with the deer herd throughout the season, which I really liked and appreciated.

Being able to do that. But like you said, man, it's just, if you just go in there and just dive in the early season, you can really blow things up. And if you're on a, if you're in a situation where you can can either control that pressure and know that nobody's [00:08:00] really in there. It sometimes is just better to ease your way into the good stuff.

And I think a lot of times, on public ground. We can really get gung ho with feeling like we have to beat others to it. And I know at least for me, a lot of the public ground around that I'm hunting, I don't necessarily have to dive in there super deep, super fast. I feel like I need to, because I feel like I need to beat other people to it.

But there honestly just aren't a lot of guys who are going to go in there and take a big swing in the early season. They're going to get in there and they're gonna realize it's thicker than I thought it was. The mosquitoes are worse than I thought they were. I'm a little bit more worried about snakes than I thought I was going to be.

And guys ended up not. Hunting not too far from a road where so you've got a little bit of time where you can slow play it just a little bit. At least in my experience, but Greg, why don't you give us a quick introduction to yourself, man? This is the first time we've had you on the show.

I've talked to you a number of times, but haven't had you on the show yet. So give me a quick rundown of who you are and what you do. [00:09:00] Yeah. Like I said, I mentioned there briefly here just before I. Moved down to Ohio from mid Michigan in the fall of 2022. My wife and I, we got, my now wife, we got married and we sold our house and we moved down to Ohio.

Reason being wanting to move down to Ohio, just for one, the quality of deer hunting was just way better. Didn't own any property. I did some management work with some friends and family up in Michigan. And I always knew I wanted to get into that space, but then just in general, like the quality of deer hunting on even just public land was so much higher from the trips I took down.

I knew that I wanted to get into Ohio and as I was like putting together. Business planning of how can I launch this management type thing? I stumbled across some of Sam's content with Whitetail Partners, and I just reached out to him looking for some general advice, and it just worked out really good that he [00:10:00] was looking to expand his team and Looking for somebody to join in the Ohio area.

So we got to talking a little bit and I was able to join on with Whitetail partners. So now I work with Whitetail partners brand and do habitat consulting and land management in Ohio and the surrounding states, I cover a lot of the Appalachia region. I really liked the mountainous terrain. I just feel that when you.

Pair of these habitat projects with the terrain. It's like a very good collective to really influence deer movement. And then outside of the habitat work, I also am a licensed real estate agent in the state of Ohio, specializing in hunting properties. So I have that all collected together, just slowly building up my skillset.

And value that I can bring to the people that I work with. And so yeah that's pretty much me. And outside of that, I just am pretty much out in the woods. Anytime I have an [00:11:00] opportunity to, even if it's not for work just because deer have quickly turned into a big passion of mine. You also do some drone work as well, right? Yeah, actually I forgot about that. Yeah, so I do drone work. That's like Kind of what pays my bills as I get what I really love to do in the whitetail world going The drone work I do a lot of like marketing content for land investors all across pretty much the same region I work on whitetail properties.

I focus mainly on the marketing side of things just because It's a lot more flexible and it allows me to pair up my work trips together being able to hit my drone jobs when I'm also doing my consulting work. I have enough clients now with my droning that I can pair them up and it works really well together.

And yeah, so I've been doing that right about the same amount of time that's taken off a little bit quicker. Then the consulting and the real estate, just because there's a more of a demand for, there's a bigger market, a lot more [00:12:00] people that are buying and selling that land all over the place.

So I, I do that is what I mainly focus on for the droning. And then I'm also. Adding in some drone work for my consulting as well. I have a pretty high grade commercial drone that has some pretty advanced mapping capabilities. And I'm really focusing this year on using those mapping features to pair with my habitat plans.

Like you think of a 30, 000 foot on X view of a map and you can draw your plan around something like that. This provides maybe like a two to 300 foot aerial view looking right down on your property. And you can print this beautiful picture off and design the habitat that way, and it can also give the landowner a very good perspective on what his land has to offer.

So really just trying to combine everything together again, like I said, just trying to bring the most value possible and try to fit any situation [00:13:00] that gets dealt my way. Man. That's great. So I wanted to have you on today to talk about a whitetail habitat manager's view of hunting public land here as we launch out into season openers all around.

If you're not open already, chances are you're going to be here in the next week, maybe two weeks. Even for, late openers like down in Alabama, they're looking at October 15th. You hunt a mix of public and private ground. And I'd like to talk a bit about the strengths that each one has to offer, the weaknesses that each one has to offer, and maybe some of why you still do a little bit of both.

Does that sound like a conversation you're up for? Yeah, man, that sounds like it's a right up my wheelhouse. I'm ready for that. Awesome. So let's jump right in and talk about maybe some of the misconceptions that folks have. I feel like. A lot of guys like myself who hunt primarily even public land we'll look around and say, you know what, those guys who have acres that they can manage or [00:14:00] acres that they can do habitat improvement to, those are the guys that haven't made the rest of us are just out slumming it.

How would you respond to that kind of view? I would say that, that is true, that you do have that ability as a private landowner to implement these habitat projects, but what a lot of people fail to see is the amount of work and dedication that goes into, one, even just starting those projects, because a lot of guys that own private property.

They have a full time job and they don't have a lot of free time to do these habitat projects. And if they are committing that free time to do it, a lot of people aren't willing to do it at 100 percent effort level. And are they going out there and are they doing it the correct way? I feel like that's a very, like, Baseline level of thinking saying that they have it made.

It's like the grass is always greener on the other side, because a private land guy could also say you can just go run around public land and you can [00:15:00] jump in eight different betting areas in a week. And then you just leave and go to the next place. So I think it's like really more so about perspective.

And I think just playing with the cards you're dealt and trying to make the most of it rather than thinking the other side has it better. That's going to do, that's what's done me better, like I don't get to hunt a ton of private. Right now I'm hunting mainly public land and I'm okay with that because I've learned a lot about deer and deer hunting on public land.

And I also feel like I have very good opportunities to harvest the same caliber of deer that I would on private land. It's. It's the same effort level. It's just a different kind of effort. If you want to get those top tier boxes is really my best way to summarize it. And yeah, a lot of that, the public land grind, let's say what we think about a lot of trail camera moving around, we think about a lot of boots on the ground, scouting and a lot of that kind of stuff.

And yeah, that's work. That is absolutely work, but man, you haven't lived until you've been out there in late [00:16:00] July or August. And you're trying to plant food plots and it's dusty and it's hot and it's humid and it's nasty outside and the bugs are everywhere. You're trying to get your food plots in, hang some tree stands.

That's a grind in itself. It's not like one has to work hard and one doesn't. It's just the kind of work is different. And the timing of the work maybe is a little bit different for most guys. Yep. Yeah, exactly. And like that's the beauty of it too. If you have this hybrid type style where you're going to do.

Public land and private land. If you really want to commit to, I call it the whitetail game. If you want to commit to this game fully, you can really get your public land stuff taken care of in the winter time before any of that foliage comes back on and then as it starts to transition into that spring green up phase, that.

That borderline time, you can really start hammering out the projects on your whitetail property, and it really can turn into a year long endeavor, which is what I [00:17:00] really like about it. I just feel like the more time I spend out in the field, whether it be on public or private, the better off that I am because I'm always constantly learning more and more about deer.

So let's talk about let's single out private land just at the beginning it comes with some benefits. It also comes with some drawbacks. I'm curious if you can just lay out for us, what are the benefits of hunting on private land? Maybe that you have access to manage.

But then some of the drawbacks as well that I think maybe a lot of folks don't normally think about. So I would say the advantage, probably the biggest advantage in my mind to a well managed piece of private ground would have to be. Your ability to control that hunter pressure and your ability to control how you access the land.

You know as well as I do that when you have a well designed habitat plan on a piece of private property and you really limit how you access that property for one and how [00:18:00] often and when you're in those areas you can virtually go undetected by the deer. I look at it like on a good piece of private, try to do like an 80, 20 rule where I'm like giving the deer 80 percent of the property.

And I'm trying to use 20 percent or less. If I can do that, I'm really creating like these sanctuaries. And I would have to say that. Being able to have that ability to make the deer feel so secure is going to influence so much more daytime movement that's just not something you can control when you're on public land, because yes, I can control when I walk through the downwind side of this bedding area to check for a nice rut funnel, but.

I don't know if there was three other people that were in there today that were just out for a walk and they don't even know what a bedding area is and they just walk through it because they're just out for a walk and through the forest, and so that's what you can't control. And then I would then say the disadvantage of hunting private land is like [00:19:00] what you have is what you have.

You can only hunt that, if you're just a guy that manages your farm and you don't spend a lot of time out on public or don't have access to any other properties, even if you have a nice size, well managed piece, there are some things that you can't control, like last year, Southern Ohio got hit really hard with EHD.

And I had that problem. It was on public land that I was tracking a lot of really nice bucks through the end of the summertime. And then the last two weeks of September, they all disappeared. And, like a lot of people would say that's just the shift. No, it wasn't just the shift. It was that I started finding these bucks dead in the creeks.

And then it's now I'm starting at square one. landowner. And you have this well maintained, tuned habitat, and then you're following these bucks all summer long. And then all of a sudden, something like that happens. And then there's just no bucks left and now you don't have any targets for the season.

That's, you're stuck, it's like you either have to figure out a [00:20:00] different plan or you just have to scrap the whole season and just be okay with not having a, not having any kind of, those caliber bucks. They're similar, the advantages and the disadvantages, I would say.

It's you get to control what you have, but then it's you also only have this. So it's a double edged sword own in the private, in my opinion, if it's just that piece that you're hunting. And that's where, I always encourage guys, like if you've got a lot of time to hunt or at least a decent amount of time to hunt, even if you own ground, you should push yourself to get out there onto public land.

You should go beyond. What's comfortable, what's known because of a few reasons, one, a lot of times conditions may not be right for your property. Or your cameras and your Intel, your scouting may be telling you, Hey, you, yeah, you can go in and make a set. Your odds of success are very low and your odds of disrupting what the deer are doing are very high.

Do you really want to risk that? Do you really want to go in there and blow up your 40 or your 60 or [00:21:00] whatever it may be? Why don't you just learn the public land down the street? And have yourself a couple more opportunities to get out. You got a day to hunt, you get to go hunt without necessarily putting the pressure on your specific piece of ground.

Let's shift over now to the public land spot. I think disadvantages probably start lining up real quick to people's minds when we start talking about public land, but there are opportunities as well. So do the same thing. Give me a rundown advantages and disadvantages to hunting on public ground.

Yeah, I think. I think for me the biggest advantage which I don't know, some people might not look at this as an advantage, but it is for me just being able to try to accomplish something that a lot of other people are trying to do and actually having the ability to accomplish it. It's a very good feeling when you actually do it, especially when you're talking about trying to harvest the higher caliber deer that a piece of public ground has to offer.

I [00:22:00] think that being able to go in and attempt something like that. Arguably, I don't know. It's I feel like I've learned more about deer collectively hunting public ground than I ever could. Hunting private being able to watch how deer use the landscape and a pressured situation and a pressured scenario has just really showed me like.

What things to focus on when I do get on that private property and I can control things because it meshes really well together. So I just think a very good advantage is one, getting to achieve something that's very hard feat to do and two, just really getting to learn how deer use the landscape because if you want to have success on public land, like You, you have to figure it out.

Some guys will get lucky and just go out there and hunt. And that's great, good for them. But, for a lot of people, you really just have to figure it out. If you want to have that continued success [00:23:00] and, the disadvantages you could, like you said, there could be a laundry list of disadvantages to hunting public land.

I think the biggest one, in my opinion, is that it doesn't matter how good of a hunter I am, I could have this plan and everything set up and right down to a tee, and if there are no external factors that are going to affect that scenario, I would go in and kill my target buck that night, but you can't control what you can't control.

And you might go in there, have somebody walk underneath you and go right to where you anticipate him to come from. Or somebody could have been in there, walked through and did a scouting session an hour before you showed up. And these are all things that you can't control, but can affect. Your outcome.

And I think to me, that's like the biggest disadvantage and it makes your odds of success go way down over the course of a full season. There are just so many other factors that can play into [00:24:00] that. I want to touch on one advantage that really is one of the reasons that I love hunting public grounds still, even though I've got, the family farm that I can go down and hunt.

Is that piece of just having room to roam, having the ability to get out there, figure things out, move around, be mobile and do the style of hunting that I enjoy doing now. Don't get me wrong. I love going home, hunting the family farm hunting the stands that we have set up, hunting the food plots that we've created, knowing what the deer generally do on that property.

It's great and it's wonderful, but you give me three, four, five days of that. And boy, I'm ready to, I'm ready to spread my wings and fly a little bit, no, no doubt about that, man. I feel the same way. That's, I always, I have these public areas that I really tried to get some patterns and stuff on box for the early part of the season.

But when it comes to the pre rut and rut time, we have a lot of. Big state forest and national forest ground in Southeast Ohio. And it's all that big hill country, man. It's [00:25:00] just, there's something so special about going into that massive type of landscape where the deer density isn't as high, that there are some freaky big bucks walking around.

And the likelihood of success is low, but that sense of just adventure, like you feel so small when you're out there in those big national forest grounds, and you're trying to narrow down all of this deer movement into this one little condensed location. And it's this probably is not going to work, but it's going to be a great time the whole time I'm out here.

And I just love that. I love that sense of adventure too. It's really hard to compete with that, especially to me, like in those. Big wooded terrains where it's just not a lot of people are willing to stomp around. It's man, that's where adventure starts. Hey guys, just want to take a quick minute to let you know that the how to hunt deer podcast is brought to you by Tacticam.

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com. Share your hunt with Tacticam. Let's jump into a little bit of talking about what one has taught you about the other. I think, spending time with clients on their properties. And then spending time on, public ground and seeing all that it has to offer. And [00:27:00] especially that how pressured deer respond and use the terrain.

What has one taught you about the other? What has private land taught you about hunting public land? And then what has hunting public land taught you about hunting on private? And when I say private, maybe I should distinguish between hunting highly pressured land versus hunting relatively low pressured land.

Maybe, some pieces of private are just as pressured, if not worse than the public down the street. You got the guy with an 80 acre farm and he lets everybody that stops by and knock on his door, go hunting. You might as well count that as public hunting ground. So that's not the kind of property that I mean, when I say private, I'm controlling the pressure, being careful how we hunt it versus.

Public land where who knows if people are out there all day long walking their dogs and just kicking the bushes. Yep. Yeah. So I would say to get started with what I touched on earlier. So I'll dive into it a little more here. What public has taught me about private property is what deer do, whether it be in [00:28:00] a Whether it be in a high pressured or low pressured situation, getting to see more often how the deer want to use the landscape, whether because they're in an unpressured piece of public ground and they're just naturally doing so, or they're in a high pressured piece of public ground and you're watching where they're escaping to, to avoid that pressure, what that has allowed me to take over to private ground especially when working on clients properties, because one of the biggest things, one of the biggest I would say one of the biggest barriers to somebody wanting to put this big investment into a habitat plan and improving the property is if they own that 40 acres, but then all of the neighbors are high pressure type farms, no QDMA, like nothing like that in place.

How can I possibly justify making this investment to make my property better? What public land has shown me is that there are sanctuaries, even on the highest. [00:29:00] Pressured piece of public ground. I can find, I can almost guarantee you that there's a mature buck living somewhere on that piece of public ground.

If he's not living on there, he's living very close to there. And he does in fact, spend time there. It's just there. It's not always the furthest back. It's not always the thickest area. It's just that one weird overlook spot. And that's where you're going to find these adult bucks. Because I look at it like.

Again, it's like the law of numbers. The bucks that are more curious, the bucks that are more nonchalant about their movements, don't take wind or anything into consideration, all of that stuff when they're operating on public land, those are the bucks that get killed when they're one, two years old.

The bucks that are more... They're more cautious about how they use the landscape, they're more selective about when and where they go, and they find those better areas, those are the deer that are going to make it to maturity, just because they don't have as many interactions with humans. Therefore, those are the bucks that are going to find these little pockets [00:30:00] because they've lived there their whole life.

Now they're five, six years old, and they're living there. Understanding that. And being able to start to find these sanctuary type pockets on public ground, I can transfer that over to private property. And if the piece of private is either pressured around or you want to try to create that regardless on the property, you already know what the mature bucks are.

Like what type of thing they consider to be a sanctuary and a safe place, because it is very consistent from one piece to the next. If you're talking about being in the same type of region, like farm country in Ohio, where a mature buck is going to live. It's very consistent from this County to the next County.

Now, when you're talking about going from what I've learned on private land that has helped me on public land, I would say that learning how to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. So on private ground, you have the ability to put in these habitat [00:31:00] projects in place. Like just for an example, let's say travel corridors.

You know that if you have a travel corridor on the downwind side of a dough bedding or a food plot, something like that with a nice mock scrape installed on it, like during that pre rut timeframe, you can dial in your cell cams and you can figure out when your target bucks are going to be using that, pairing it with trail camera data and wind data.

And it's I know that now is my time to strike. I can do the same thing on public ground. It's just that you have to use a different set of data. But I think what it is, it's like, it's taught me that if you see an opportunity and it feels right, go in there with the confidence that you're going to harvest that year tonight.

And I feel like that just naturally is going to make it more likely that's going to happen. Yeah, that's really good. So a, like an algorithm with different inputs, in a lot of ways you're just dealing with different data that you're plugging in. I had a great example of that last year.

There was a trail that I'd found that was a fantastic trail. I wanted to hunt it so bad and I did [00:32:00] hunt it. I hunted it several times. It was just a nice little pinch point and funnel. But the deer kept doing something different than what I anticipated. This trail that looked great and should have been wonderful just wasn't getting the attention that it should.

So finally one day I was like, all right, I'm seeing all these deer back behind me every time I hunt here. They seem to be crossing 75 yards up that way. I need to know why, like, why are they way up there? So I got down out of my saddle that day and I decided to take a little walk. And in my walk, I found a large white Oak tree had fallen over that trail.

Just out of sight of what I could see. The little ditch crossing that was there that used to get used all the time, no longer being, no fresh tracks in it or anything like that. The deer had just all but quit using that section of the trail. The way that the that the tree had fallen, joined up with some, I don't want to get too specific because some folks know where I'm hunting.

Joined up to an area where... It didn't provide enough of a pinch. And what had happened, the deer actually adjusted, we're [00:33:00] using a different ditch crossing a little bit further up. And so instead of, using their normal trail and then going around that tree, they had just moved the whole movement pattern up like 75 to a hundred yards.

And so I decided on, when I, after I found that the next day, I was like, okay, I'm going to move my setup up another hundred yards to take advantage of this. This other line of movement, and that's the day I shot my buck coming down that exact trail. Yep. Yep. That's special. And that's just what it takes on public ground.

Sometimes is that everything can seem so cut and dry obvious Oh yeah, I'm just going to read this sign. It's a great pinch point. It's going to work. And then just doesn't happen. Doesn't happen. And it's just that's perfect example of something being completely out of your control. You just adapted to it, and then you just made the most of it.

And I feel like you can use that in both scenarios. It's just a lot different Actions that you're implying, whether it's private or public, right? And if that had been private [00:34:00] ground, I know what I would have done. I would have, it's November. So I probably would have broken out the chainsaw at that point, not too worried about it, broke out the chainsaw, corrected that crossing, so that the deer could continue to use it because it was honestly more beneficial for me as a hunter.

My access was better if I could press all the way in just a little, that extra a hundred yards. And hunt that spot rather than having deer anywhere in this, 50 yard range that they had now adapted to. But it's also a good example of what we try to emulate when we're on landowner property of how do you influence deer, deer traffic and deer travel?

And, you have people say all the time, it's like, you can't make deer go where they don't want to go. And it's you know what? You're exactly right. But I can make this the best option for them. Yeah, we can get. 80 percent of the deer, 85 percent of the deer to use this travel for these deer to use this travel route, 85 percent of the time, as opposed to using this other one that isn't as good for my access, isn't as good as my, for my wind or my [00:35:00] setup or whatever.

Something like a fallen tree covering up a trail, that's a lot of the stuff that we'll use sometimes, there's a pinch point or there's a good spot that we really need to narrow down the movement for that 20 yard bow shot, but they could travel anywhere within. This a hundred yards span you cut down one tree.

Now I will say, I probably would not have cut down the big white oak that fell. That, that was a good acorn producer. But, doing something like that, blocking up that trail some way, clogging that secondary trail, if I'd wanted to move that up a little bit more would have been very very conducive, I guess you could say to the deer travel.

If the other stand site was where I really wanted to be, can really help you get those deer I guess within range a little bit, if that makes sense. Yeah. Oh, go ahead. I was just going to say to pair with that is how I try to explain is that, yeah, you can't fully control yes, the deer are going to use this travel corridor, but all of those things that you do around it [00:36:00] is you're stacking the odds to make it.

More likely that it's going to happen and that's where the full plan comes together in my mind Is that when you create a travel corridor, but then you also take in mind wind and thermals and place bedding and food around that travel corridor and then you're also pairing that with Hunter access in areas that the deer don't want to go and then a hunter stand location in an area that it's even more likely That the deer is going to travel, in like those pinch point type areas.

I just look at it like stacking the odds because we're playing a game that has very low odds of success, like you're talking about, we're only successful one time a season if you're not hunting in multiple States or cause I don't know about every state, but like Ohio, we only get to. Shoot one buck per season.

So if I go out there and I hunt 20 times and I have one successful buck hunt I was only [00:37:00] successful 5 percent of the time, you know So it's like you're talking about a very low odds game and the first Place. So how can I make my crappy odds better is basically like the game. I feel like we're playing, but you can do that with these habitat projects.

And that's what I like so much is that you can really create a system. And if you're very smart about how you approach it, you can have continued success year after year. Yeah, that's really good. And almost nothing else. Would we say that batting 0. 05 is a good thing? Yeah, exactly. It's not very often that we would say that, but yeah, if there's a booner on the other end of the line, then, yeah, then it's worth that.

That's right. That's right. Yeah. And you look back, you have 20 hunts, let's say where you blank and then hunt number 21 you get the deer that you're after. That, that's a successful season. Like you don't just say that was a successful hunt. You look back at your whole season.

You're like, yeah, man, did it. Look at that. It was all worth it. That was right. All those days, all those cuts, all those cold nights, everything, it was all worth it. And that's all you say at the end. Yep. Time well spent. Man let's jump into [00:38:00] talking about your approach. Maybe when it comes to hunting on private land and how that differs from your approach to hunting public land.

And maybe we specifically talk about this early season timeframe. This is going to launch. Oh goodness. I don't know what today is. It's going to launch on the 28th of October. This conversation will go live. So we got guys who are heading into an October 30th or not, September 30th or an October one opener for bow season.

What's your mindset. What's your general approach when it comes to hunting private land and we'll get into public land after this. And now we're talking for those early season. Time frame or like when, that more so when this episode is going to come out, like getting closer to that pre run. This is actually going to go live tomorrow.

So the Oh, my bad. Sorry about that. No, you're good. Yeah. So when it comes to early season, okay. Yeah. So starting with private land I think that. I would be, and am very delicate about early season approach. And if there's not like an overwhelming set of evidence for me [00:39:00] to go into a spot, especially like a highly intrusive spot, there's just absolutely no way that I'm going to do so because I'm a really big sanctuary person.

I feel like creating the sanctuary and giving the deer that sanctuary is going to pay dividends in the long run. And. If I have a buck that is on my property, if I have my target buck and I'm getting very consistent pictures of him, but they're all at, 10, 11 at night, whatever it may be, even in the seven, eight o'clock range where it's just after dark and I have a pretty good idea of the zone that he's living in, but he's just not quite into that daylight movement yet.

And then there's no significant weather events coming up, or there's no data backing up the fact that he may come out before dark, then there's just really no reason for me to even take that chance of going in there because, I could maybe stroke of bad luck. Weird wind shift that [00:40:00] blows into him and then it just makes him use the area differently or he might be coming through the area when I am exiting the tree stand and then I blow him out that way.

There's just the risk and reward isn't quite there. So when it comes to private land, I like to try to lean on the side of caution again unless there's that overwhelming amount of evidence that it's really worth diving into the interior property. Early season can be a great opportunity to, if you're looking to get a couple of dough harvests in, pick away those edges, hunt those food sources on those low intrusion spots and get those dough harvest done and out of the way, and then you're good to go, you can let your property have some time to relax, and then wait for whatever it is that you need to dive into the good stuff and go after your target bucks.

I rely on trail cameras a lot. I found a way to log trail camera data and get pretty analytical about [00:41:00] why deer are using these areas based off of things like the wind direction temperature, variation, precipitation, everything like that. And then. Now, switching over to the public land side of things, coming out with an early season approach, I think it's very situational.

There can be somebody that gets a very intimate relationship with the piece of public ground that they feel like they know very well. I feel like I'm at that stage. Personally, with a couple pieces of public ground that I focus on the majority of the time in early season, I feel like I know that there are a few core areas that there's a high likelihood that I'm going to have a mature buck in that zone, at least.

And then if I can just pair that up with where they're eating in the summertime and where they're eating now. Probably a white oak tree that's dropping there's always like that one white oak tree if I can find it and just really position myself in that zone, at least I know I'm in the game.

I try to lean on the side [00:42:00] of caution still on public land until I have that evidence that it's really worth me going in there, but right now, I felt way more confident last year going into opening day than I did this year. Right now, I feel like I have a half mile radius of where I'm pretty confident there's a buck in there that I would shoot, but I don't really know how he's leaving his bedding area, and I don't know exactly what white oak section he's eating under.

I'm going to start out the first few days, even leading up to season, maybe if it works out. By just doing these very casual far back observation sits in, I might not put eyes on him, but if I see some of the younger bucks or some of the members of the doe families working through an area, at least I have a general idea on how those deer in and out of the bedding to the food and where are they going after, and that can allow me to start getting a little bit closer and closer.

So both situations. I'm not going for that kill early season, unless I feel like I [00:43:00] have a good chance of doing so. But that doesn't mean I'm not spending time out in the field. If it's on private, perfect time to go out and harvest some does. If I'm hunting public, it allows me to really dive in and try to figure out what's going on in that area until I have that evidence be like, okay, tonight's the night I'm going to go in there and try to get them.

When it comes to that public land piece, in private, ideally, you've got your camera set up and that kind of thing, but it comes to a public land piece. You've got, let's say a half mile that you're like, Hey, I know there's a buck in here. How much of your strategy is going to lean on trail cameras and how much of it is going to lean on that observation stuff?

Because. I think depending on the situation, the trail cameras and trying to get in there with those can almost do more harm than good this time of year. If we try to get in there and get too fancy. Yeah. So I played the trail in my mind, I played the trail camera game on public land the long way as I really started.

I don't, I like, I look at my whitetail [00:44:00] journey, like there was a point in time in history where I went from liking deer hunting to just being completely obsessed with it. And when I became completely obsessed with it and I was hunting 100 percent public land, there was a period of a couple of years where I was playing the trail cam game completely wrong.

And I was trying to set trail cameras up very close. And a lot of times in sight of the trees that I planned on hunting out of because in my mind, I thought if I can get a trail cam picture of this buck here, that means he will come back to this area. But what you said, you're almost doing more harm than good a lot of the times.

A lot of the times, if you have a spot that you think you can kill that buck, but you're in and out of there checking your trail camera Grant, this is if you don't have a cell camera, but even though, whatever it is, you're still, Intruding on where that buck likes to spend daylight hours, then you're potentially doing more harm than good.

So what I've started to do with my trail cameras [00:45:00] is place them in I call them low impact zones where I know where. The food sources or food sources. I know where the bedding area is. So let me back up from where I think I might be able to kill this deer and hang a trail camera, at least to get confirmation that this deer is using this area.

So if I know he's bedded up on the top of the hill and he works his way down to the Oaks and then funnels his way through a big drainage and he's out to some Cloverfield on a cow pasture, that's a mile away. And I get that picture of him. It might be a quarter mile away from the zone. I'm hunting him, but I still have that data and I can use the terrain to backtrack.

I know where he's coming from. And then I'll pair that I'm not going to waste an observation sit, if I think that there's a big buck in there, like I'm only going to do it. If I know that there's a buck in that core zone that I want to go after. And that's when I stack that data on top of each other [00:46:00] to really.

Again, stack the odds in my favor and know when it's worth going in there. I've completely changed that trail camera strategy just because I feel like I was doing more harm than good the majority of the time. So if you're putting in cell cameras then, does that change that a little bit for you?

Let's say a guy's going to put up a couple of cell cams on public ground are you then going to put them maybe a little bit closer to where you might think you could kill that deer? Or are you still going to stick with what you got going? So I will if I can. Unfortunately, it's just a lot of the public I hunt in Ohio.

I just don't get self enough cell coverage to be able to hang cell cameras. That's just the unfortunate truth. If I did have the luxury of say this little half mile zone I was talking about if I had great cell reception and I felt like I could scatter them around I would spend. A half a day going in all those major entry exit points and being more intrusive with my trail camera set up, but I just don't have that luxury.

So [00:47:00] again, it's like focusing on what I can control and setting up accordingly and just working with what I have. So that's why I have this strategy more in the conservative sense. And then. I also like getting the trail camera pictures like that too, just because I know that no matter what, even if I get a random daylight picture of that buck on this trail camera, I'm not going to be hunting back there because it just doesn't make sense.

Like I think he might use that area, but for me to set up and hunt there, it's just not going to happen. So I completely remove that possibility from my brain whatsoever. No, that makes a ton of sense. We mentioned a couple of times this overwhelming set of evidence and for guys who are maybe wondering what that overwhelming set of evidence is that this is the spot or this is the time to move in.

What are those factors that you're trying to line up that tell you like, Now's the time to strike right here. Yeah. I can tie that into a story of a public land buck. I [00:48:00] killed in Ohio and it's cool because the whole process took a couple of days, but it was actually an intraday movement that led me to harvesting this buck.

I was out there. The day before leading into dark. So this was when I was still a Michigan resident. So I traveled down to Ohio and again, it's pick my couple of spots on the map and dive in and speed scout and figure out how I'm going to set up on these deer. So I came in. I scouted around a different area for a day, didn't find anything.

Then I came into this area the next day, this zone that I killed my buck in. And I find, found something similar to what you were talking about. A very beat down crossing on the top of a drainage. And it was just. Absolutely hammered with deer tracks. It was the first week of November and I found a really nice scrape line coming off the two tops next to it.

So I'm like, this is it man, like slam dunk. I'm going to set up on this travel corridor. So I came back out there the next morning. I was planning on just sitting that [00:49:00] little crossing on top of the drainage all day, and I was out there. And I actually, I seen a nice buck first thing at daybreak. He came down and hit the scrapes, but he was a little ways away.

And I was anticipating him to come down that little connector on top of that drainage. He never did. He turned around and went back up to the top. And then about an hour later. There was a chase going on top of the hill and they never came down. And then half hour after that, same thing, chase going on top of the hill.

And I just like finally hit me. I'm like, man, if I actually want to kill a deer today, it's not going to be out of this tree. Like I thought it was going to be out of this tree, but it's actually going to be up on that tree that I just seen the deer run by the three times in the last hour. So I tore all my stuff down and mind you, this was like noon, high noon.

I tore all my stuff down, went up to the top of the ridge, set back up, and by the time I set up, it was like 1230. I'm not kidding you, I shot my buck at 1243. It happened that fast. There was just, it was, you know how [00:50:00] you like get into those rut zones, that it's just this is where the action's happening, like that was where it was, and it didn't matter what I did, it just mattered that I was there.

And that's just how it works, that's like the type of adaption. It's just like you have to, whether it be from one day to the next and slow playing it through these observation sits or being in like that rut packed action and being like, man, I'm only 150 yards away from where I need to be to kill this buck.

I'm just going to get down and go and do it. I think it comes down to confidence, There was a point in time in my hunting career where I wouldn't have been confident enough to tear my stuff down in the middle of an all day hunt and move a hundred yards. I would have thought I was a fool, but I had enough experience in the woods where it's man, you have to trust yourself that got you this far.

So why do you not think this is the right move? And then it's, I stack those experiences on top of each other to know that when I get that gut feeling out in the woods to do something, I'm going to listen to it because it didn't steer me wrong before.[00:51:00] Man, that's really good stuff. Really good stuff.

Man let's touch real briefly. What are your plans for this fall? You've got Ohio obviously coming up, you're going to get some opportunities to spend. Quite a few days out there chasing them. Yep. Yep. So I'm getting started here. My wife and I are going to take a little bit of time off.

We've been working pretty hard these last couple of months. And she's getting back. She hunted a little bit growing up, but she's really getting back into bow hunting now, and we got her a new bow earlier this summer and she's been shooting it like crazy and she scouted out her own spots with me.

So she's real excited to get out in the woods and. So yeah, we're going to take a little break here and we're going to get to hunt quite a bit, like the first 10 days of the Ohio season. And then after that it's going to be a little bit of a pause. And then if I don't have any success to start the year, it's probably going to shift into a lot of rut hunting in Ohio.

And then outside of that, the only other trip I have on the books right now is up to my dad [00:52:00] and I have deer camp. Up in the upper peninsula of Michigan that we go to. I go up there for usually a long bow hunting weekend and then about a seven or eight day hunt for Michigan's rifle season. It's right in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest.

It's just great. Big timber with very low deer numbers, but it's a special place that I really enjoy spending the time up there. And then, if everything goes well and I start filling tags early I'll find somewhere to keep me interested and keep me out in the woods and hunting.

I just don't know where that is. It'll all depend. No, that's good. That's good. A couple of things though, we've got coming up from. From Whitetail partners. We've got some exciting stuff going on. So why don't you give us just a quick update of what all is going on there with Whitetail partners before we wrap things up?

Yeah. We started launching a lot more content here, just trying to help help landowners, deer hunters, just really everybody in general, we started rolling out some weekly YouTube videos that we usually post those Sunday morning [00:53:00] and they're just. Quick tips on either how you can improve your whitetail property or season relevant type information.

Outside of that, we started putting together some podcast episodes that we're going to be releasing out and same type of content, just in a different format, and then also outside of that, we. We are constantly adding information to our websites through blog articles just quick things like that.

And then we're always trying to stay active on our social media accounts, really just trying to provide that value anywhere, because we, I know myself personally in every. All the other guys with Whitetail Partners, we just really want everybody to enjoy their time out in the woods, whether it's somebody that we're working with directly or just somebody in general, I have a lot of guys that I message back and forth on Instagram that I know I'm never going to work with them, I, I also want to see them be successful because I can just tell they love deer and deer hunting.

And I think that's what it's all about. Like we're all in this together, whether you're a private land or a public [00:54:00] land hunter, you Like we need to join forces and think of the greater good. It's not a, this versus that. It's just we're all deer hunters at the end of the day. Absolutely, man. Tell folks where they can find you real quick on on Instagram. We know we can go to whitetailpartners. com to find a lot of those good resources, but if folks want to find you specifically, chase you down, where can they find you? Yeah, so I am most active on Instagram. That is going to be at whitetail underscore partners, underscore Ohio.

I post on there quite a bit, same kind of stuff that was just going down. And then if you ever want to reach out to me via email, that's just Ohio at whitetailpartners. com. Feel free to send me a DM, email me, whatever it may be. And always happy to talk deer hunting. That's for sure. Greg, thanks for coming on the show today and good luck this season.

Thanks. That's all for this week's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in. If you dig this show, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, wherever it is that you get your podcasts. [00:55:00] If you can leave us a five star review, I would very much appreciate that. While you're at it, you can follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at HowToHuntDeer.

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