This week's episode we head south to chat with fellow Sportsmen's Empire Network contributor John Hudspeth from the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. You may be wondering how does a guy from Oklahoma relate to Pennsylvania? First, he is a fantastic guy that anybody would want as a hunting partner, second, he is a hard working family man that can relate to balancing priorities in life of Faith, Family, and Whitetails, and third, he knows how to consistently connect on mature bucks with a few certain tactics.
We start the episode off by diving into John's 2022-23 hunting season and the 2 dandy bucks he harvested this season. From here the conversation transitions to how and why he chooses his access and stand locations. John hunts his family ranch which is an operating cattle farm. While the ranch is 1000+ acres, around 90% is grassland and pasture, leaving John with "huntable" ground comparable in size to what many may see in PA. John also uses feeders in his strategy (legal in OK). While many think this is "cheating," Mitch and John both attest to the difficulties of mature bucks daylighting at these locations. The guys dive into how using this valuable tool can orient better stand placement, promote daylight movement, and allow opportunity for the best bucks in the neighborhood. They also discuss the value of elevated tower blinds on private land, especially when hunting near food sources.
[00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast. I'm your host, Mitchell Shirk, and we are rolling right through May. Here I'm in shock, so as I'm recording this, it's Wednesday this week and our episodes drop on Fridays. And tomorrow they are forecasting in parts of the state to be in the twenties as the low for the morning.
And that is absolutely crazy. And I've been getting a lot of calls on the agronomy side of things. What's this gonna do to wheat? We've got wheat that's going through reproduction phases or getting close to reproduction phases throughout the state. What's that gonna do to wheat?
What's this gonna do to any of my emerged soybeans? What's this gonna do [00:01:00] to my corn that I have in the ground? Oh, there's so many factors that can influence that. And the thing I've been telling a lot of people is it's very dependent. It's gonna be dependent on how much moisture is also involved with this.
Because if there's a heavy dew, if there's moisture on those plants that then freezes and causes an actual frost, that is gonna be a major problem. Now, if it's just cold and we have good wind flow and we end up having a relatively dry condition as we are right now, it could be okay. But, any view, people that are listening to this and you're a food plotter and you've got some food plots in the ground coming out of the ground, something like that.
If you get this hard. Crazy weather cold weather, give it about a week. You're gonna need about that much time to see the response from this environmental concern if it actually did something that's gonna justify action to replant or something along those lines. But yeah, it's [00:02:00] crazy to think that we've had that kind of crazy weather.
Cool thing too. I haven't been, obviously I haven't, I've been out of the Turkey hunting game now since I killed both my birds the first week. It's so bittersweet killing this early because I hunted three times and how great is that to be efficient? You got it done, but the fact of the matter is the kill isn't what was important to me.
The hunt is what's important. I miss Turkey hunting. I miss waking up in the mornings, going and listening to birds, gobble, working birds, playing the chess match, hearing them coming close, having 'em surprise you when they go. They gobble all that crazy stuff. That's what I love. I love the chase.
I love the hunt, and I'm sure plenty of you guys can Can relate to that. But I was hoping to give anybody that's still got a Turkey tag in their pocket, a little bit of a encouragement to not give up. And the reason I say that is because this week in my traveling for work, I drive, sometimes 300 plus miles in a day all across the state and farms and stuff.
And in my travels, I've seen way more Turkey [00:03:00] action this week than I did the prior week. The prior week. Some of my friends that were hunting and people I were talking to, were already going through the complaining of, oh, they're shut down. They're this, they're that, it's over.
The turkeys aren't doing Turkey things. And just this week it just flipped on a dime. I've been seeing more birds. And the cool thing is a lot of my friends that have been hunting hard connected this week in fact I had three turkeys. Pictures sent to me on Monday afternoon, noon this week, I should say, Monday throughout the day.
One of them was the very own Jason Miller that came on the show not that long ago and was talking Turkey. He connected on an evening bird. That was Monday was the first day of the afternoon opener for Turkey season in Pennsylvania. So really cool to see some birds dropping. I actually got a picture of a bird killed this morning, that was fairly local to us and, but just been hearing people that have been working birds and having good responses.
It's not over. I know it's, it gets tougher this time of year and birds work differently, but [00:04:00] man, if you can just persevere and continue to grind it out, you still have. Good opportunity here, especially with the weather conditions we have. I still think if it stays on the relatively cooler side of the mornings, it doesn't shut off as much as if we get summertime conditions, but that's just my opinion.
But yeah, keep grinding out guys. I hope, I wish you the best of luck. But, since I am finished with Turkey hunting, I gotta keep my mind occupied. I gotta try to get it off of turkeys, get into the swing of things with spring, summer work. And that also means the same for deer hunting and getting preparations for deer hunting.
And this week's episode, we are back talking a little bit of deer hunting strategy and having a deer hunting fanatic on the show. And this week we're chatting with one of the members of the Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. And that's John HUD Smith from the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast, believe it or not.
Now, the [00:05:00] first thing I wanna make mention of is, yes, I know when you are comparing geographical differences from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania. There's definitely some vast differences. There's vast differences in the amount of. People that hunt, and the I could tell you there's a vast difference in the amount of cattle where John Hunts compared to the amount of cattle where I hunt.
It's a high cattle production area where he's in. And I know there's definitely some drastic differences in the hunting and the style there but I wanted to have John on the show because John does something that I've done a lot of in my lifetime, and that's tinkering and managing private land farms.
Managing and fine tuning sets and how they relate to food sources, whether they're natural food sources on a property or if it's an implemented food source, like a food plot, which I talk about on this show a ton. Or in John's case where he, he also uses food plots, but he also does uses feeders.
And I know there's so many [00:06:00] people that just wrinkle their nose up and say, feeders are cheating. And I don't necessarily believe that. I think. There's an art to utilizing feeders. It doesn't change deer movement. Absolutely, it does, and it's definitely a different way of hunting than if you're used to grinding the public land mountains of Pennsylvania.
It's definitely a different thing. But there's some key interesting things that John has observed over the years in Stan placement, specifically blind placement, and then utilizing the property features to move deer through and use those areas in daylight or hunting in a way that relates to the movement, to those food plots and feeders.
And I think it really I, to me the conversation that we had, John leads in and starts off by going through his season. He had an incredible season. He killed two fantastic bucks, one with the muzzle loader and one with the bow in the late season, mind you in Oklahoma. And, he goes through that story and he talks about the story of.[00:07:00]
A Bucky's been after that's just getting under his skin and slipping away. And it leads into the conversation of how he is preparing to move forward on some of his projects. And then it also allows us to, to break down a little bit more fine fine tune a little bit more so to speak, his thought process of why the locations of certain food plots, why the locations of stands, why the location of blinds, how are you accessing those appropriately to hunt them consistently and connect on mature deer and daylight, cuz that's the name of the game.
It, it can be, like I said we've already said this. I've. Made pretty good emphasis on this, that yes, I know there are differences between Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, but I don't care you know about that necessarily because what I do care about is anybody who hunts, mature deer, whatever part of the country you're in, everybody that I know that's good at it [00:08:00] talks about how a mature buck is a slightly different animal than the rest of the herd.
And it's, a 4, 5, 6 plus year old buck is a different buck than a two or a three year old buck as far as their maturity and the difficulty that can occur in trying to harvest them. And I think it takes good strategy to have good success. And John's no stranger that he targets mature deer.
And like I said, there's so many people across the country that, that. Preach that. So I just thought, I've listened to John's podcast a couple of times. I've had some conversations with him in the past off the air, and, I just think his approach to private land is really helpful, even here in the, in Pennsylvania.
Yeah, I think this is a great episode to relate to. I think the timeliness of this is one, first of all to get your blood flowing again for Whitetails as we're getting into summertime and summer preparations. But now's the time to be doing those preparations in the, in those those [00:09:00] stands, those locations, and making sure that your access is foolproof and and trying to do everything in your best power to connect on the deer that you're trying to harvest this year.
With without further ado, let's get to this episode real quick. Before we do just wanna move shout out to the sh the companies that just. Support us and make this happen. And first and foremost, that's Radix hunting. And what better intro than than to mention their monarch hunting blinds.
They have a soft sided monarch and a hard sided monarch. One of the, that's gonna be a little bit more closed in a little bit more sealed in scent proof. And I tell you what, my experience in hunting and blinds of such, if you have a property that lays out well to have. Such blinds, man, that investment is worth it as far as the experiences and the close interactions you get.
And the Monarch Cunning Blind has that capability. And in addition to that, Radix is known for their awesome trail [00:10:00] cameras. Guys, it's that time. We're getting closer. I don't hardly have any trail cameras out yet. I'm thinking about it. I'm hoping to make a push sometime in early summer. I got some cameras that have been soaking all year long that I still have not got to, but I'll probably replace and I'm probably gonna put a couple more of the Gen series cameras out, check out the Gen 600.
And I want to increase my cell cameras. And I think probably the most affordable thing for me is to go with the MCO cell camera. They are very affordable and cost effective. But the best thing with these stuff, with these cameras guys, they have awesome image quality. Check them out. I really encourage you to check them out.
And if guys, if you're local to Southeast Pennsylvania, you're not Far Drive little Mountain Outfitters in Richland, Pennsylvania, they are a dealer for Radis cameras. You can get your hands on 'em, you can check 'em out, buy 'em in person, and while you're at it, you can check out all the other awesome things that Little Mountain Outfitters has to offer.
Hey, let's get to this episode.[00:11:00]
Hey, on the phone with us tonight, we got a fellow podcast host on the Sportsman's Empire. I love doing these doing these episodes with, fellow hosts on the network just because it's fun to converse with these guys. And I like trying to get as many of 'em on my show as possible just because it's, they're fun to connect with.
But tonight we're talking with John Husk from the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. And John's on the road tonight. Little bit of fun travels for you. So John, thanks for coming on and what's happening. Absolutely man. Just trying to, make the most of my life right now. My wife was gonna be out of town for the next couple days and my sister has sent me before we hit record.
My sister gave me an awesome gift a couple years ago and married an Nebraska farm boy. And so I got my daughter loaded up my nine month old daughter, and we are headed to Nebraska to chase some Marriam Turkey. Did you, did, was that like, was there a sign off permissioning? Like you had to accept that she could [00:12:00] marry this guy, like Yep.
This fits all the criteria pretty much I need from you. Pretty much. Yep. Pretty much. Yeah. He's huge. He could definitely beat me up if he wanted to, but you know what, he's a good guy and like I said, his family owns a bunch of farm ground, so I'll let it slide. I guess you will. There's nothing wrong with access to farm hunting ground.
I think that trumps a lot of things in the mind of a hunter. It does it especially when that state has a September 1st opener, is that right? Is that when Nebraska opens? It is. Yep. And so usually you got a few days in there where you can chase some velvet bucks. And so I went up there last year, but I only got to hunt two days.
It was a very last minute thing. And just, and I'd never been there before, had never stepped foot on any of the ground. I got there and all the OnX tents that I had set ahead of time come to find out my brother-in-law's brother had dirt bike tracks going all through that place.
So it, it's very much a fly by the season pants time. But man, I had fun. I learned a lot.[00:13:00] And so yeah, that's a little bit of this trip is. Yeah, I'm not a huge Turkey hunter. I had a great experience last year that kinda lift the fire inside of me, but usually when I go to Turkey hunting, it turns into a deer scouting trip, so most likely that's what this is gonna turn into also.
Yeah, I can echo that. I, when I was younger, I guess when you've got youth and you got ambition you're, you wanna hunt everything and you're gonna indulge a hundred percent into everything. And I think the older you get, the more you fine tune what you're interested in. And I was always like, as it narrowed down, it went down to just.
Deer hunting, Turkey hunting, and bear hunting in Pennsylvania. Now it's getting down to just deer hunting and just bear hunting because turkeys, while I love Turkey hunting, I love chase and spring goers with my work schedule. It just makes it so hard to really invest and say, I'm hunting turkeys now.
I still go Turkey hunting, but I just feel like I'm out there trying to find a Turkey in the mood that wants to play the game and come in goblin, and that's about it. Like the time investment of trying to [00:14:00] actually be a good Turkey hunter and kill a Turkey. It's just not happening for me in the springtime.
But yeah, I know what you mean. Like this the first day of our season, so we don't open up in Turkey season here until, it's April 29th, I think, this year, I'm planning on going. This year. Yeah. I've been really on a kick. I want to try to kill a bear with my bow in Pennsylvania. So the first weekend I'm going to a cabin with family and it's gonna be a camaraderie thing, but I have the mindset on that weekend as well as a couple of the ex the other weekends where I'll be able to go out and Turkey hunt.
I'm gonna hunt new ground with the mindset of I'm exploring and scouting and learning ground to hopefully connect this fall on a bear. And if I happen to run across a Turkey, I'm okay with that. And if I don't it's okay. It's time well spent. It's the way I look at it. Gotcha. Awesome. Man. Man I'm jealous of the Pennsylvania bears by the way.
I would love to come up there and knock around at sometime I'll gladly trade a [00:15:00] Oklahoma hog hunt for a Pennsylvania bear trip. You don't have to trade. You can just come. You're welcome. Anytime. Okay. It's the, I, it's such an interesting I've just been trying to learn as much as I possibly can about bear and bear hunting, cuz I've just noticed different cycles in our state and, certain people and the trends and things like you'll go, I'll just think about some cabins in central Pennsylvania that I've hunted or been around people that I have hunted.
And there's times where one cabin will bring 10 to. 15 bear out in one hunting season, you go, holy cow, 10 to 15 bear in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Now it's certain, some of those places where they would kill 10, 5, 10, 15, whatever, if they kill one or two it's really good.
And, scratch 'em ahead. It's just been cyclical with our mass crop and, there's certain areas that produce consistently with a lot of the places that I bear hunt, we average like killing one a year with our 18 guys. We've had years where we shot at five of 'em [00:16:00] and killed one or two, and we've had years where we didn't see any, this year was a rough year.
The mass crop just wasn't there. But it's one of those things that like I. Again, I'd say I go bear hunting and I've gone bear hunting since I've legal age to go hunting. And it's an animal intrigues me, but I never would consider myself a bear hunter. And I that's like the next thing that I want to indulge in and something, but i, I gotta ask you I'm tangenting. I wanted to go back to you. So what was Mrs. HUD's reaction when you said, Hey, I got to expand my hunting season by September 1st this year? Oh, she was not a fan. So oddly enough when me and her were dating, we actually broke up for just a little bit. And just so happened that we broke up during deer season, and then we got married about a week into the next deer season.
So when we got married, she had never experienced a deer season with me or a hunting season in general. And so she got a very rude [00:17:00] awakening. She was well worn and she'd sing all my mouth and stuff. She knew and my wife is awesome. I did an episode with her actually back around New Year's.
I really encourage people to go back and listen to it. And we talked about, the balance of family and hunting and now that we have a child and everything. But yeah, it just, I think also getting more plugged into the Sportsman's empire is not her dream. Also I had some of the guys down this last weekend for a hog hunting trip just like talking to you, maybe going to Pennsylvania.
And yeah I can't say it's her favorite thing, but it works out. She works in youth ministry. And so her spring and summer are usually really busy. And so by the time fall rolls around, I usually have a pretty good amount of of Brownie point saved up. That's good.
I So much of what you're saying, I'm just thinking. Yep. I can relate. Yep, I can relate. Yep. That sounds like my life. And I can't lie, man. I've talked about it. A bunch of my shot. I will say. Folks, if you're listening to this, and if you haven't checked out John's podcast, I've [00:18:00] listened to a number of John's episodes and you've got some great hunting stuff and you've also got some great family stuff and connecting the two, which I really appreciate.
I try to do the same thing in my show, but that episode you did with your wife, it was so funny cuz I listened to that. I'm like, oh my gosh, this is this is exactly first of all what I needed to hear and second of all, I can relate so well to it. So then what was funny is the episode that I just did a few weeks ago I was speaking with our guests and he said, include your family in your show.
People like when you're real with them. So I had, I had John Hud Smith's episode with his wife on my mind, in addition to this gentleman who was on my show saying that, and I brought that to my wife, said, Hey, I got multiple sources say that you should be in, included in my show.
What do you think? She's get outta here. That is not happening. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I had been thinking about doing it for a while and my wife, she was so slow. Like she, I wouldn't say she necessarily was super excited about it, but said she would. And it just so [00:19:00] hap we recorded that between Christmas and New Year's.
Cause I had trouble getting the guest that week. But man, I got a ton of feedback from it. So I'm definitely glad we did it. And I think we're gonna try to make it a yearly thing, as as our daughter gets older, maybe, hopefully another kid down the line. So yeah, I'm, yeah I'm all about it.
I do I try to keep locations fairly on the down low cuz I, I'm being very open with people about, Deer that I'm chasing, my hunting and everything. And so I try not to play pounds or anything like that, but I'm, I try to be fairly open with, family stuff. Hunting, just like you said, it's a game we play.
At this you want to be as open and real with everybody that we listen to, but at the same time, you don't wanna, you don't want to give 'em all the, the last four of your social and everything else at the same time with the show. That's a, it's a fun card you play, but the, the changing in life, getting into marriage, that's one of those things that I keep talking about so much and I'm talking about it because, good lord, it's just, it was overwhelming the change of my life and realizing the [00:20:00] things that I needed to have brought to my.
My own self-interest, like just having my eyes open to what was on my heart and what needed to change on my heart for the better. Cause I realized, my priorities were not in line for that. So it's and you and I talked about this, in the past off air and stuff, and it's just it's just one of those things that nobody's talking about, but everybody's living.
Yep. And for me, like getting married wasn't too big of an adjustment. Again I have an amazing wife and she is super independent and so if I wanted to go hunt for a weekend, she was like, Hey, you go ahead and go I'm gonna have my girlfriends over or I'm gonna go, have a girl's night, whatever.
But man, adding a kid, that did definitely change things. Especially, so my daughter was, I think four months old on opening day of deer season this year. So she wasn't sleeping through the night. She was still waking up two or three times during the night. Had to be, watched. All the time.
You couldn't leave her in the other room or anything. So it was definitely an adjustment. This year. I got super lucky, still [00:21:00] had a great deer season. But it was a different, I think I, I keep track of how many sits I do every year. And I was down about 40% on my sits this year. So it definitely changes some things.
Oh, kids change everything. And I don't say that in a bad way. I say it in as positive ways as you can, but the same way, like when you were dating or married without kids, it was, Hey, I'm gonna go do this. All right, let me know when you're coming home. Just keep me posted. And now it's Hey, when are you coming home?
It's a, it's different. And it's, yeah, exactly. Yeah. It's just shift and stuff. But yeah. You did you really did have a pretty great hunting season. I was following along and listening to some of your crazy stories that you had. You had some really interesting things happen to you throughout this year, throughout your whitetail season and your trips and everything else.
And, I'm I try to re, everybody that we have on our show, whether where, whatever their background is or wherever, whatever part of the country that they're from, I love to try to connect it back and it's relatable to our area. And one of the things that I've noticed in your shows and just, back and forth [00:22:00] and stuff like, you have some similarities in the hunting style that I do.
And while we're different parts of the country I'd love to pick your brain on a couple of those things. But before we do that, man, re recap your season in a nutshell. Like the highlights and the stuff that you'd you'd like to bring everybody up to speed if they haven't listened so far.
Oh man. Let's see if I can think back that far. So I started in Nebraska went up there, I think I actually drove up there on opening day on September 1st and got to hunt the evenings of the second and the third. Was not successful. Again, I was purely eess scouting, never stepped foot, learned a ton.
I would absolutely suggest to anyone to do a hunt like that, whether it's public or private, doesn't matter. But just go somewhere where you've never hunted before because it just forces you to learn and read Deer sign. And I learned so much in those two days that it's just unbelievable.
Hunting the [00:23:00] same property over, over and over again is great because you get to learn it and that deer movement, but you stop learning in a way because again, you just, you know where the deer are, their habits. So going somewhere different is great.
And another example of that, so was unsuccessful in Nebraska, came home I've tried to do a little bit more hunting on public this year because we used to have two properties. We're down to one property now and I, so I lost a lot of my hunting spot. So I started hunting in public a little bit just to expand my horizons, and I found the same thing that, and I like this public ground is like a 15 minute drive from my private ground.
But again, just being on that new ground, having to figure things out again, I was just learning stuff like crazy. So anyway did a little bit of hunt. I sat two or three times on public had some do with no bucks. But again, with the new baby, I knew I was gonna have limited time. And so I told my wife, I was like, all right, there's three weekends that I really want to [00:24:00] hunt.
The first one was the last weekend of October, which is the last weekend of our muzzle loader season in Oklahoma. And then the first weekend of November is always Texas rifle opener. And I have a buddy who lets me hunt on his lease. And then the third one, I, I can't remember if I had a date for the third one or not.
Oh, the third one was my, that's right. Yeah, so starting out I got to hunt a little bit in October, usually it was like drive up there, hunt the afternoon and drive home, be home to help the baby. But that first, or that last weekend in October, I just love that weekend.
Our property, for whatever reason, it just seems like the bucks start running a little bit earlier than most parts of the state. And but unfortunately we had a crazy weather system come through. It rained and rained for days and on the last evening, the rain finally cleared out and I was like, man, I just know these bucks are gonna be on their feet cause they've been, pushed down.
So I went and sat a stand that I hadn't hunted all year. I was actually after a different buck that we'll get into later. And but ended up had a [00:25:00] really nice 10 point come down the property line, hitting the scrapes and was able to take him with my muffle loader at about 75 yards.
Beautiful 10 point. And then so the next weekend went to Texas. I'll try to speed things up. Went to my buddy's place in Texas. Rut was on full swing, but just didn't find the deer that I was after. He manages that place like crazy. And so he is, very much five year olds and older type thing.
It's your stereotypical Texas hunt box blinds and feeders, some dars. It's a really fun, but also just, like I said, he is very picky, so unsuccessful there. And then I don't think I hunted a single day. I hunted one day in November on my own property, but most of it I was just saving up for my elk hunt cause I was, I drew a fourth season Colorado elk rifle tag.
For those of you, a lot of people have heard the story. First day of the hunt or before the hunt, I stayed in Denver, Colorado in a hotel and was gonna drive onto camp the next day. [00:26:00] That next morning I walk outta my hotel room and my truck was gone along with all my stuff, my four-wheeler yeah, somebody stole my truck, or I was actually in my dad's truck, sold the truck out of the parking lot.
And the trip didn't get much better after that. I ended up going to Cabela's, spending about a thousand bucks on New Deer. Stuff I didn't really want, but just stuff that it was all they had left. Still went on the hunt, got my butt hand into me all week. We had an early snow storm it was like two feet deep of snow.
A lot of places I'd actually bought Snowshoe, believe it or not. I was probably the only person in Oklahoma who owned snowshoes. But those were stolen out of the truck. And so that was no good. I had brought my four wheeler to help with the snow but that had gotten stolen, so that was no good.
And so a buddy of mine, we basically just got our bus kicked all week. But came back home. My wife was very understanding with how the trip ended up going, so got to hunt a little bit more. And I had this one duck I love. Late season. Late season is my favorite. [00:27:00] I know a lot of people if they say, if I got one day to hunt, I'd choose November 7th.
I would probably choose either December 28th or January 8th, one of those late season days. So yeah, this year for the second year in a row on December 28th I ended up shooting a really nice big eight point with my bow same stand, actually same day, and same stand as the year before. So that kind of capped out my deer season.
So Oklahoma's a two bucks state, and I've been on a heck of a roll lately. I think this was my. Fourth year in a row to, to fill both my butt tags. So I'm very fortunate. Yeah, very fortunate. And y l let's face it I always think no matter how prepared you are, there's always an element of luck with hunting.
W with the consistency that you're doing it you're doing something right and you're well prepared. And I think that's what attributes to a great part of your success. And I wanted to dive a little bit into that, with this time of year you and I were talking about not really being much a Turkey hunters, we're thinking about whitetails, like we're thinking about [00:28:00] preparation.
And I wanna get the backstory a little bit on the property dynamic that you hunt. You said you had two properties, now you're hunting one property you have to drive up to. What does that look like for you as far as the property? Is it a family property?
Is it a lease? What does that look like? So it is a family property. My brother was in the Army for eight years. He lived in Italy for three years in Germany for two years and was finally just ready to be home. And when I was a kid, my family was into ranching and farming. My dad grew up straight up cowboy horse every day, the whole nine yards.
But he had gotten out of all that, but my brother wanted to get back into it. And so we bought this property all together. And so yeah it's very unique. I tell people that all the time. It's, and it's honestly pretty lucky because it's not what you would see or imagine as a hunting property.
The county we're in is one of the top cattle producing counties in the entire [00:29:00] United States. And so you get a, it's a lot of bermudagrass pasture that is worthless for Whitetails, but there's just enough topography, just enough little scattered woodlock. To hold some really nice deer. And so it, it's a large property and it's deceiving.
I'll go it's a thousand acres which I was telling some of the other Sportsmans guys who are just down here on a hog hunt. I know up in the northeast that probably sounds like the biggest thing ever, but around here, that's not that uncommon. It's a lot of property, don't get me wrong, a lot of property.
But if I tell someone from around here, we have a thousand acre property that's not like an eyebrow raisin type thing. But again it's a cattle property, so 800 of thousand acres is wide open pasture where a whitetail would not be caught dead in. But in the very back we had this, 200 acre section with a big draw.
And and the biggest thing, the closest county road to that section is I think a mile and a half. So just very secluded.[00:30:00] We have big neighbors all the way around us that's changing. One of our neighbors just sold and they're splitting it up into the smaller tracks and stuff on it.
So I'm hoping that doesn't affect me too much, but it's just, it's a little hidden gym. And I'm fortunate enough to wear, I've killed some good deer. I'm not afraid to let deer walk. I basically get it to myself. My brother hunts a little bit, but not much. My sisters don't really hunt anymore.
They used to. So I just have this little playground to myself. I do have my my nephew, my brother's oldest boy, he did kill his first deer this year. So that's exciting. I'm very excited for him. But it does change the dynamic a little bit. When that two year old walks out there, I'm not gonna say, Hey, don't you dare shoot that.
Cause I, again I'm in it for the family. I want, I want him to have the same opportunities that I had when I was young. But man, like I said very unique property. And I know I'm lucky. I'm very lucky. And yeah, that, that's the rundown. Yeah. And I think, the property dynamic you're talking about, there are [00:31:00] to, there are a ton of people out there that would probably point fingers, make accusations, oh, if I had that piece, I could do this and that, blah, blah.
But there, there's a couple things. First of all you're put into a situation with family that allowed you to do that. And we're all bestowed blessings of somehow in life. And I think it's nothing to take for granted. And number two, the one thing I'd like to say is the property and that you're hunting, being a maybe a little bit of a diamond in the rough, I guess is how I would interpret, as you're describing it, you've had to have.
Been able to learn some incredible things about Whitetails with Whitetails, doing things Whitetails do in their own world with little human pressure and stuff like that's allowed you to be successful, not just on that property, but other places just because of that interaction with Whitetails.
Absolutely. It's a great place to, to study and I've learned a ton about how Deere used topography. Cause that's, I've never really hunted topography,[00:32:00] it's pretty darn flat down here. But this place is pretty rugged. My favorite stand on the whole place is I call it the saddle.
And unfortunately, it's pretty much just a muzzle litter and rifle stand. Because there's nowhere to put a tree stand down in the saddle, but just it's some of the best natural deer movement I've ever seen. Because it's thick cover on both sides. The top is, was wide open pasture. I recently put about a acre and a half food pot in there just to, get deer to slow down as they come through it.
But yeah it is a very unique learning opportunity as well. You're right. Do you, so obviously the majority of this property, it has a purpose. It's generating revenue. And that's how you guys can afford to do this. Now you've got a section that you're able to use as your playground a little bit.
So talk a little bit about that balance. Like I'm curious in your, we've classified it as like a 200 acres of your play land. Does it ever, is there ever any overlap on the cattle side of things or is that [00:33:00] pretty much for you to do as you wish and, it's that piece is your canvas to paint how you wish?
Almost I wish it was a little bit more my side, but again, like we did not buy this property whatsoever for hunting. It was meant to be a ranching property, and that's what we use it for. But this back section, because it's a little rougher. And because it's, there's a big creek at the base of the hill, it's a little bit harder to access.
So we don't use it much for cattle, but the grass back there, it, instead of Bermuda, it's actually still native grass. So there's a lot of stem, Indian grass, that type of thing. And so the compromise we've come up with is typically we do not put cattle back there all summer and all fall.
I get it for deer season. But that, because that native grass, it holds, it nutrition much more than Bermuda or fescue or your typical grasses. And so after deer season is over, my brother and my dad and [00:34:00] stuff, we'll usually turn the cows back there for a little bit. Let them eat some of that native grass, utilize that land, save on the feed bill a little bit.
And then pull 'em. Now this last year, Unfortunately, that's not the way it worked because we had a terrible drought down here, just like most of the country, and they were completely outta grass, and so they ended up turning them back there in the middle of the summer. Really hurt it. I had done a big, 30 acre burn back there that I was all excited about.
But the cattle just came in and decimated a little bit, and then we still didn't get any rain and so it didn't have a chance to bounce back before, before a season. So it, it definitely hurt it and I saw the effects this year. I just, there weren't as many deer back there as usual.
But but like I said, in a typical year, yes, it's my playground. I'll have some food flops back there depending on the time of year if we return the cows back there, I can use an electric fence to cut those off and the cows don't decimate it. I can do some controlled burns and so I, I have pretty good control, but not total control.
Yeah, that [00:35:00] Like I said, we can echo that in properties in our neck of the woods too, for very similar things, even though we're talking about different structure and property type and, grassland versus woodlots and everything else. One of the big reasons that I wanted to chat with you is because it's open land I know you do a decent amount of hunting in box blinds or maybe tripod stands and stuff like that, and I really wanted to pick your brain.
I know you are after one specific buck for a number of years. It's been probably putting some gray hair in your head and I wanted to peel some of the layers back of your. Pursuit with this deer. And then I wanted to tie in how you are going about stand locations and blind management because I think it's a really valuable tool when you're talking about properties of this nature.
Absolutely. So yeah, that, that was a newer [00:36:00] development this year. So just back to kinda the property makeup, the guy, the old man who put this property together back in the day passed away a few years ago. That's kinda how we got it. But he was, straight cowboy did not care about wildlife and he clear cut basically the entire property in 2008.
And so logged it I don't think he even logged it. I think he just dozed it and burned it and stuff, he just, he was trying to get as much grass as possible. So because of that, There are, maybe five trees on the whole thousand acre property that you can hang a tree stand in.
And there's a few more than that, where you would want to deer hunt. There's basically nowhere to hang a tree stand. So one of the deals I made with my dad and brother when we sold that other property, which is where I did most of my hunting is that we used some of that money to buy some box lines.
And so this year I got four they're banks, stump fours absolutely love 'em. I love the windows set up and everything. [00:37:00] And so this was my first year getting to, to hunt out of those and I bought those because you can rip on out them. And yeah. So the, you're referring to this year I took the, every year I give myself about a 1% chance of killing them.
This year I thought I would a little better shot. I think the whole cows, grazing in the summer screwed me up a little bit. So this year I gave myself a 2% chance. But just a, the most beautiful big 10 point you can imagine. I actually passed him as a three year old going through that saddle I was just telling you about passed him during rifle season and that was the last time I saw him until this year and with my own eyes.
And that when I passed him, he was a three-year-old, and this year I believe he was seven. So we, we have some history. Oddly enough, I'd never saw or got a single picture of him as a four year old. I thought he might've been killed, but the next year he came right back. He was the most visible as a five year old.
And by [00:38:00] visible, I got the most pictures of him, but I think I wanna say that year I got 100% nighttime pictures. And then the next year, which would've been last year as a six year old, he was less visible, but more, a little bit more daylight active. I think I got three daylight pictures of him last year.
And he, but he was all over the place the past. He had always been at this one stand. We called it the cemetery pasture. There's an old cemetery in it. But in that it was a 50 acre pasture, and in that pasture was one tree. And so I had my stand in that one tree and we're a BA state, so I had a feeder there.
But so I got lots of pictures of 'em, but they were always at night. And I knew it was because I wasn't close enough to his vet. He beds on the neighbors. I'm fairly certain. But I had no other option because that was the one tree. And man, I ran that feeder for probably two years with that stand there and probably only hunted that stand maybe [00:39:00] twice, because my only hope was that he would just get so comfortable with that feeder that he would start daylighting, that just never happened.
And so this year learned a little bit more about him last year, like I said, I got some more pictures of him in the back and during the rut and everything. And so this year I bumped him up from a 1% chance of killing him to a 2% chance. Unfortunately he took a big step back antler wise but still a very nice deer.
But, so because of that box blind, I was able to move to the complete other side of the pasture where I thought it'd be closer to his bedding. Moved to the feeder over there and everything. Set one box blind up in that saddle. I set up a tripod on the other side of the saddle on a trail that I mow, and then I hung a, another tree stand at a creek crossing.
Between that saddle and the feeder where I was getting those pictures, there's a big creek. And so I basically went to the bottom of the hill where there was a fence line, kinda acting as a funnel. Put a tree stand there so I could hunt there [00:40:00] if I thought I needed to, excuse me, and really just put a lot of eggs into the basket of killing this buck.
But I think once again, so from five to six I got less pictures. And then from six to seven I got less pictures. I had one really cool close encounter with them. I was hunting in that box blind in the cemetery pasture. And I was watching, I had a few deer out in front of me in the posture, and then I just for some odd reason, looked out the back window and I saw four do on this hillside, way out in the middle of the wide open pasture.
It was a brushier draw down below it. But I was like, oh, that's odd. I just never see deer over there. And then so I looked back in front of me watching those deer turned back around and pulled up back window. And I just see the most giant body of any whitetail I have ever seen pull up my binoculars.
And sure enough, it's old 2%. And so I think, like I said, I guess that'd be four [00:41:00] years since I had seen him in person. And just absolutely no doubt that it was him. Again, just a huge body. This would've been December. Before Christmas, I wanna say this is around December 14th ish, somewhere in there.
So post rut, he saw those doughs but wasn't really interested in them. And I immediately start trying to make a game plan on this buck. I was about to climb out of the stand and see if I could make a a stock on him, because again, yeah, I've been after this dude for four years and never even seen him with my own eyes.
And so I'm playing all the thoughts through my mind, whether I make a stock on him or not, there's two big draws in between me and him, but he's just in the wide, wide open. So there's just no way I could get within Bow Ri rifle was over. I was bow hunting. So sitting there watching I got about, I don't know, 20 minutes the light left, trying to figure out enough time.
The wind isn't great. And so while I'm playing all this through my mind, All of a sudden he turns and starts coming to me [00:42:00] and I was like, oh my gosh, this might happen. And I knew the path he was on, that he was gonna be downwind of me. Deer always do that. I wouldn't say always, but any mature buck is always gonna be downwind when they come into a feeder.
Killing a mature buck over a feeder is very difficult. People think dating and stuff makes it easy. He's deer smart and they know what they're doing. So as I see him coming, I close all the windows I can. So I lose, he goes down in that ravine, I lose sight of him. I'm looking around, it's just getting darker.
I'm checking the clock, picture off, shooting light, and and all of a sudden I look over and he's at the fence line. He's about 50 yards, and my heart jumps through my throat and I'm like, This is actually going to happen. And so I knew he had to jump that fence and go through my downwind side. I think I had my ozonics with me randomly.
I'm pretty sure I was running my ozonic. He hops the fence and luckily [00:43:00] jogs, jogged straight through my wind without stopping. I opened the front left window and the very front window. He stops in that front left window and I arrange him at 44 yards. And I just, he was on high alert.
Again it's getting really dark. There's about three to four minutes of legal light at this point, and I just didn't feel comfortable taking that shot with my bow. And I just assumed he was gonna come and jump in the feeder pit and be right at the feeder at 20 yards. So I let him go through that window.
Instead of coming to the feeder, he actually did another big circle all the way around. You just, These deer are just so cautious when they get into a feeder situation. So I'm sitting there. I'm clipped in. I am ready. I'm in kill mode calm my heart down. I'm, controlling my breathing.
I'm whispering to myself, aim low, because I always tend to shoot high on deer. And finally he turns and he's coming in and I'm like, man, this is finally going to happen. And then outta [00:44:00] nowhere a stupid half drink water bottle that I left in that blind during rifle season as that sun went down, getting colder and that water bottle popped because of the expanding or contracting, whatever, and made this super loud plastic cracking noise.
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Yeah. Oh, that's an absolute ridiculous story. And something tells me that you just weren't supposed to shoot that deer at that [00:46:00] moment in time. I guess not. I guess not, but the leaves another year for the journey. And like you were talking about the blinds and shooting mature deer at blinds and feeders and stuff.
So do you so you have food plots, but you also run feeders. I do. Cuz it's legal in Oklahoma debate. Do you view feeders and food plots any differently from the sense of hunting strategy and how do you utilize them? Yes and no. I think when people say feeders are cheating, I do not agree with that.
I don't see, I don't see big difference in having a feeder and then brush, a couples of corn right in of your, I don't big difference in that. I will say deer feel more comfortable in a food plot than they do approaching a feeder. Because just, the deer can spread out more.
There's not so much sink concentrated in one spot. Feeders also bring in a lot of predators. Raccoons will [00:47:00] come up and eat the corn. There's so much deer sent there that coyotes often come by and check 'em. So I would say you, you deer will feel more comfortable in a food plot situation.
That being said, typical argument, but it's true. Everybody here runs feeders. And so if you're not running a feeder, there's a very good chance that the deer are gonna be on your neighbors and not on your spot. So I do a combination of both. I just think the more you can do the better. Over the years I've learned how to.
Effectively hunt feeders, but I'm also not just reliant on feeders. I'd still have stands and stuff that are on trails or food, food flops, field edges, all that stuff, just like anybody else. But if you want to successfully hunt a deer over a feeder your access is huge and your wind is huge.
Just like anybo any other stand. But I think it's even more so because you're, your routine routinely having deer come to the exact same [00:48:00] spot over and over again. And so they learn that spot because their life depends on it. They learn every inch of that spot. So having, finding ways that you can get in and out clean, hunt it effectively, and only hunt it when the time is right.
I think that's where a lot of people go wrong. They buy one or two feeders and because there's a concentration of deer there, they hunt there every single time. And that is you're just not going to kill a tree, especially bow hunting. And your rifle hunting is a little different when you back up a hundred yards.
But if you're trying to get that deer at 20 yards there's just no room for errors, right? So Pennsylvania is is not a baiting state. I think the only baiting you're allowed to do is in the off season. You must have all remnants of that site removed 30 days prior to the start of our season. So I've never personally hunted over Feeder stations or bait stations, so to speak.
But I'm huge in the world of food plots, love food plots and love the [00:49:00] strategy. Yeah, my mind, you can correct me if this is, if the wrong way of viewing this. I actually viewed feeders to be a little bit more difficult as far as mature buck hunting than food plots for some of the reasons you mentioned.
Another one is, with a feed station or a bait, like you're putting more human interaction at that location than you would on a food plot. I plan a food plot, I do my my preparations and such. And then, especially now with cell cameras, like I don't go to a food plot unless I'm going in to hunt and, we've got your access and stuff nailed down.
So the your visitation to that is, and I've heard people talk about this, again, I haven't experienced this, but this is always in the back of my mind, is that the people talking about deer patterning you, which I do believe that. I've seen that in other cases that I would hypothesize that to be potentially true.
So like in your case, but when you were talking about putting your eggs into one basket. Okay. You're talking about how you're viewing a feeder and how a mature buck views of feeder, like [00:50:00] that hunting strategy, ideology. I like everything you're talking about. I can relate so much with food plots and the, that same hunting style, because I've been fortunate, I've had some very good luck killing deer or being part of mature deer being killed on food plots. One big change to that whole mix was was. Blinds was box blinds for the main reason for where we're at in the state with the, heavy des deciduous forest.
And a lot of the time we're dozing out food plots. So you'll have this little opening in a hardwood closed canopy forest. So you know, you're gonna create wind tunnels and, things like that. As far as swirling winds, topography has a big deal. So we deal with a lot of swirling winds.
So sitting on top of a food plot is so hard when you're trying to talk about consistent winds where we're at. But box blinds change so much for that. And, you were [00:51:00] talking a little bit about that on your shows. Do you have any thoughts on that as far as relating that to feeders?
You were talking about that the 2% buck coming in and he came down wind, Do you think you would've had that same close interaction if you didn't have a box blind sense? I know you were probably lacking in trees, but let's just use the sheer fact of box blind versus not in that si situation.
I wonder what your experience has been in the past. In that situation. Yes. The box blind probably did save me. That being said they're not foolproof, right? When it comes to when, and I've heard pe bill Winky I love Bill Winky. Just so much knowledge, but, I've heard him say more than once that you're almost invisible in a box blind.
I do not believe that I have still been busted in box blinds, especially, down here, early season, opening weekend, it might be 90 degrees still. And, trying to close all the windows and sit in the, basically a Chinese torture device. It's just not happening here.
You gotta crack at least one window. And yeah. [00:52:00] Do they help? Absolutely. I don't think there's any doubt, but I also don't think they're foolproof. And oddly enough, my best hunting location on our place where I killed my archery buck the last two years is actually still an old school tree stand.
It just has the perfect everything. It's actually a little further up in, in the wide open Bermuda grass pasture. But there's real thick timber on the neighbors and it just so happens that this creek kind of comes out at a 45 degree angle. And it, it's a bait side there, no food plot because the cows would just tear it up.
So I have a feeder there that's fenced off from the cows. But I come over this hill and. The creek sit so low with the trees that are along the creek edge basically block my view of that woodlock, so they can't see me coming in. I drop into that creek, I climb my tree is right on the edge of the creek and I have it set up to where the feeder is a little bit [00:53:00] southeast of the tree stand and down where I'm at.
You're pretty much always gonna have either a south wind or if there's a cold front coming in, you have a north wind. We hardly ever have east winds. We hardly ever have west winds, like it's gonna be one of those two so I hunt the stand with a south wind and basically that creek just acts as the perfect little wind tunnel.
And so the creek actually pushes to the southwest. And even if the wind's a little off to the southeast, when I go in there for a evening sit, the thermals work just good enough to pull my foot down that creek and push him off to the southwest. So both the deer that I killed there the last two years, just like they usually do, they come outta that woodlock, they circle around to the south of that feeder, down wind.
They smelled everything up above it. But that creek is just pushing my wind. Just 20 yards to the west of them. And, but they smell everything. They feel safe, they jump right in. And I've been successful there two years in a row. [00:54:00] Just because the wind just works so perfectly. And again, that's just an old fashioned tree stand.
Box lines are great, but you don't necessarily have to have one if you have the right foot up. Yeah I can definitely agree with that. I just think it's one of those tool boxes, tools in the toolbox that has helped me when you're talking about food source destination, because like you said a prey species is vulnerable at those locations.
And, another thing that you know, you had mentioned on, I wouldn't mind you. Digging into a little bit more is not only do they attract deer and game species, they're a huge, attractive for hunters. You put all that time and investment into a food plot and you, why wouldn't you wanna sit it, it's usually a, a high percentage place of seeing deer who, who doesn't want to see deer. And it can be extremely detrimental if you don't hunt it appropriately. And, we were talking, I say all the time, I don't want deer to see me hear me or smell me when I'm accessing two, I'm on stand and I'm [00:55:00] leaving.
I wanna minimize those three things as much as possible. Access is everything. Screened access for a lot of the places that I hunt is really important to be able to get in and sit right on a food plot. Not bump deer when I'm leaving or coming in if there would be something there.
So that's really huge for me. But I still feel like whitetails, we can't fathom their sense that they have, especially their nose and their capabilities of figuring out the timing of when we go and come from a place. And I still feel, even when you've got your access in your mind, pin down as well as you can I still feel like there's only a certain percentage that they're gonna tolerate before you're gonna change it.
And that's really hard. When you talk about mature bucks, what's been your take on some of the places, like how do you hone in on some of these locations? Are you using cameras to tell you most of that? Or are you use that as far as history with specific deer? What's been your take on that?
Yeah, cameras are huge. Especially now with cell cameras. That is such a big [00:56:00] advantage. Like especially at a bait site like you mentioned or a food plot. You know what, whatever it is. Yeah, being able to stay out until you have a very good chance that deer's going to be there.
And that's the biggest thing. Like I said, whether it's a bait site, crude plot, doesn't matter if the buck that you want to kill is not there, there's no reason for you to be there either. And that's one thing I had to really learn the hard way. Cause again, so if you go back to like my high school college years, I didn't really grow up in a hunting family.
YouTube wasn't a thing yet, so I learned a lot of this just by the school, hard knocks and growing up so close so I actually grew up in Texas, moved to Oklahoma a little later. But I was still hunting Oklahoma because my grandpa had land there, so I was hunting in Oklahoma, but kinda, I was, just grew up hunting that Texas culture where you hunt a feeder and that's the only way you hunt.
That's how you hunt. Being a poor high school student, I couldn't afford to have all these [00:57:00] feeders. And so I had one feeder, and so that was my hunting spot. Every single time I went, I sat at that feeder. Morning, evening, didn't matter when, didn't matter. And just over the years, I kinda learned that I was hurting myself, like the first time, maybe I'd have Thanksgiving breaks, so I'd run up there in my first hunt, I'd see, four deer, and then the next hunt I'd see two deer, and then I wouldn't see another deer, I might see one deer there in my next three, six.
So over time I'm just figured out on my own, like that I'm overhunting these spots. And so that's why it's very important to have multiple spots. That's why I have, multiple feeders, multiple food blocks and you just, you have to be disciplined to stay out. As I mentioned before, that the 2% buck that I'm talking about, again, he's shrunk, but in his prime, I used to call him cr which stood for county record because if I killed that buck with my B bow, I'm very confident he, that he would've been the county record typical.
I hunted that deer maybe four times, three years [00:58:00] ago. Last year. I think I hunted him two or three times. And then this year I think I hunted him twice. And again, that's running that feeder, that's having a true stand this year. Had that big, expensive box blind. And he was coming at night a lot of times.
Like he'd come in there at night. But if that deer wasn't gonna be there in the daylight where I could kill him, there was just no sense of me being there because I was only hurting myself. And it, and that's, it just takes that discipline. Even with all that invested, those box lines aren't cheap.
Heaters aren't cheap. Corn is super expensive now. But even with all that invested I just had to stay away because if I wanted to kill him, that's what I knew I had to do. And again, so this year I think I hunted that box line twice. The first time I hunted, I ended up killing my, my with the Mezz loader.
And then the second time I hunted it, I had that encounter with him. And I hunted that blind because the day before, I had a picture of him like three minutes after legal light. And again, he came in right at last light, the day that I saw him.[00:59:00] And yeah and it sucks. I hate staying away, but it's just so important to have.
Multiple spots you can hunt. And even, like I said I set up four different locations to hunt that one deer because I knew I couldn't just tie it in. And one other thing, I'm gonna throw it out while we're on this topic. Lindsey Thomas Jr. Actually reached out to him about coming on my podcast about this article he wrote an article about basically how revocations are hurting hunters.
And I 100% agree with it. I have never taken a true revocation the most I've ever hunted. Since I was college or whatever. But I rarely hunt more than three days in a row. And some of that I would like to hunt more. I just, I have a family, I have a job. And usually I'm sha saving up my vacation time to, go to Colorado or Idaho, or hopefully I'm gonna draw Iowa this year.
So I just I tend to save my vacation time for those bigger trips. But I think I still have great luck because I'm just [01:00:00] not putting as much pressure on my property. Even peak of the rut. I may take a Friday off work and hunt Friday, Saturday, Sunday, but then I'm leaving that property alone Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and maybe even next Friday till I'm hunting again.
I, and I think that has made me more successful. I've heard a lot of the big time famous deer hunters talk about how hunting less yet killing more is a thing because you're choosing the right times, you're choosing the right conditions, and other than that, you're just staying out.
Yeah, you're talking about being calculated and being calculated is, is important. But it's hard and I think the on the surface topics that we talk about, a lot of people have heard that and understand the basics, but I like digging in and talking about those calculated moves and the, how you process, the things you learn on the property and the, what you've done and what you want to improve upon.
And that, that that calculated adjustment, I think is how we learn. Because you're thinking, you're trying, you're [01:01:00] probably bouncing stuff off of, people that you respect and then you're applying it and you're just thinking outside the box yourself. And I am curious, you were talking about, you had four spots set up specifically for that deer and this year you finally had a, had an encounter with them.
I know access is tricky just cuz you have open pasture in a lot of cases. So you probably have to play about, are you thinking of any ways that you can either. Add or change food sources and maybe make situations that, maybe you either create a, an a destination location that maybe is better, that you can hunt or, maybe a food source location change.
Does that create a stand opportunity between food and bed? Like what's been some of the things you've gone through your mind that you're gonna continue to approach this deer or any other mature deer that are on your mind for the upcoming season? Yeah, all of the above. And again I am very limited because of the cattle.
Like [01:02:00] trying to convince my dad and brother to give me three acres of prime grazing ground to, fence off, make a food plot, just that conversation doesn't go over well. But just let's the, yeah, just two days ago, I was out there planting switch grass screens, which this is my first time I've never planted switch grass.
But yeah, two, two of my locations, I just plowed up a strip right between the pasture and the food plot and planted that switch grass to try to get that screen working. Again, with the box blind I talked about in, in the cemetery pasture, I moved the, from the tree stand to the box blind.
I moved that 400 yards and, all of a sudden I had an encounter with him, just trying to get closer. I would love to, the property that I think he beds on actually came up for sale and I begged and begged my dad and brother to go in with it on me, but it's just, it's not a cattle property, it's a hunting property.
And so we didn't but but yeah, that's the stuff that keeps me up at night. What could I [01:03:00] tweak? And I struggle with that the whole. Because one thing I used to be really bad at is carrying too much, trying to improve stuff too much. And I'd go in there and I'd cut trees and, try to make the food plot bigger and try to do a water hole and I'd just completely change the landscape and I would find those bucks, shifting their range a little bit.
And I think it's cause I was putting too much pressure on there. So nowadays I try, I, instead of going out there for two hours, I try to go out there for six hours and whatever project I'm working on, I try if at all possible to start and finish that project. And then I'll move to, I'll go work on a different location or something the next day, wait a few weeks and then come back, if I didn't get finished I'd come back and finish later.
So just, even in the off season, you gotta be really careful. While you're making these improvements of just the human intrusion. And I don't know the balance, it's easier said than done, at some point you have to get the work done, and if you have to go up there for two [01:04:00] hours of time and do it, I understand that.
But Yeah, that, like I said, I can't help you with that balance, but I just know it's important. That's really in interesting because my experience has been very different in that I've been fortunate, like I feel that when it's the off season, so basically from the time our season closes in January from then up until about one month before season, I feel like most of the properties, and actually I'm gonna take that back.
I'm gonna feel like all the properties that I have the ability to tinker with and do stuff on, I can, I feel though I can do just about whatever I want and need to on that property, whether it's hunting or not hunting related and not have any detrimental impacts. And I feel like the things that I'm doing are trying to create a vacuum during hunting season because it, in theory I'm gonna have the food, the cover, and the security that Deere want to have to be used in that property in daylight.
One thing that I'd be curious though and the first thing I have is like you were talking about, [01:05:00] The differences in your property that you're hunting compared to what I'm used to here, there's definitely a higher density of people. There's definitely a lot more road structure, and probably the interaction with people in my location in the country is probably significantly different to where you are.
So I think that's really unique that you're observing a different behavior or a different handling of that human pressure compared to what I'm experienced. That's really interesting. Yeah. Yeah, that's a good point. And I've heard different theories on that, Lisky, everybody's probably heard of Lisky in Iowa.
One thing he talks about is consistent pressure. Yeah. Is where, he's on his properties every day. He wants to be there every day. When he goes by a feeder, he presses a button to throw some corn out. So they, basically think of it as like a reward when he is there.
And I, and I can see that working, that consistent pressure working but I think you have to be in a pretty [01:06:00] special situation for that to work. If you have to drive two or three hours to your property, most likely that strategy is not gonna work for you because you're probably just not gonna be able to be there enough for them to get used to.
And oddly enough, and kinda, I just thought of this while you were talking I, the, I've seen a shift just on our property. So I think this is our, this was our sixth year of owning this property, I believe. And when we first got this property, I felt like I could do whatever I want. And the deer didn't really pay any attention to me, and I think it's because they had never been hunted.
The previous owner didn't hunt. There's a little bit of hunting pressure on the neighbors and it's getting worse. But it was not bad. And so I felt like the deer were not very spooky at all. And then, but I think they've gotten more spooky because I'm hunting it more. So yeah.
That's an interesting Interesting point. It's, we're always tinkering. Like another thing that, I'd be curious how you handle on your property. The topic of ac you know, we were talking about access [01:07:00] to Stan. We're talking about, deer not seeing you, hearing you, smelling you to and from stand locations.
But when you know you're talking about, a thousand acres of your property, you're using a vehicle of some sort to access through that property to some location. Just the other day I was out. My, my day-to-day job this time of year I'll be driving an ATV through crop fields, I'll be looking at right now.
This past week I've been looking at barley, winter wheat winter rye trik that's gonna be taken for forage or for combining and, I'll be driving through and, this time of year it's, the sun shining through this high pressure bluebird days are so beautiful and you can see a mile through open hardwood timber this time of year.
There's no kind of cover. And it's amazing that when I'm driving through a field, I'm not, driving overly fast. I'm not stopping, I'm just driving in an open field. Hundreds of yards away from fields, and I will see deer run out of those wood lots consistently while I'm driving that. And it [01:08:00] brings me to a point to say I used to think that on the properties I hunted, that you could drive through your property and you can get deer condition to them.
And I think you can, to some degree, under the right situations. Like you were talking with Lee Lukowski and talking about good stimuli versus bad stimuli. But the thing that I noticed is, I would sometimes see on my properties, I hunted, I would see dough groups fawns, sometimes young bucks watch me go by and not really react and run off.
I've never ever seen a mature buck do that, so that was one time I felt like I was getting deceived. But, the I brought up the springtime driving through and seeing those deer run, I actually feel that certain properties and certain stimuli, and I think it's all relative to what's in the surrounding neighborhood and how people use those machines to access and what the deer associated with.
I think there's probably times where we're using equipment on certain properties [01:09:00] and we're chasing deer and we don't even realize we're doing it. I don't know how that relates to you, but it's just one of those things I'm thinking out loud on my neck of the woods. Yeah, that's a good point.
My buddies and I talk about that all the time when we're elk hunting, like. How many Elks have we walked by A Nazi? And and yeah, said, you said chasing deer, wow. You could be literally chasing gear through the timber, not know it. Cause they just took off running before you got, they got the side of yeah.
Yeah. I don't know man. A good buddy of mine, the buddy that I hunt with in west Texas he just I guess last year bought an electric Polaris ranger, so an electric side by side. And he's like adamant again. So he has this lease in west Texas. He's trying to manage deer. He, if you're rifle hunting, he wants you to have a suppressor.
Just, he's really trying to limit human intrusion. And I remember I was in my deer stand after the evening sit and he was coming back to pick me up and I heard this odd noise and I just couldn't place it. [01:10:00] And then all of a sudden I see his headlights come over a hill, and I realize it was that range.
I, I was hearing the gravel under the tires before I was hearing the machine. And I guarantee you he probably wasn't spooking deer at that thing. I don't, maybe the gravel, but maybe not. But a lot, I know a lot of people are moving to e-bike for getting in and out of their stands and people are swearing by 'em.
Yeah. But, that's something I battle all the time because, unless you come up with a zip line system, you have to go to your stands somehow. So I just think there's, there's better ways than others, can you drive around the field instead of driving through the field?
Can you walk in from a downwind side? Yeah. There, there's just, and all those things that you need to be thinking of those things. Way before you're just going in there for sitting your stand, that you gotta work that into all your pre-season prep, your stand placement and everything like that.
And I'm bringing all this up and we're just skirting back and forth and, feeding off of each [01:11:00] other in this conversation. I bring this all up to for one main point. I think it's a good way to wrap this conversation up. And that's, we're talking about one philosophy in one part of the country, another, in another part of the country.
And, people that we've respected in the hunting industry that have had good success and they're talking about this and, you may differ in your opinion on how to access certain places, but the concept that I believe is if you're trying to hunt mature deer, if you are trying your best to put yourself in a situation to put the best buck in the neighborhood in front of you during daylight hours, I personally would rather be, A little bit more on the cautious side and give them the benefit of the doubt as far as my own intrusion than anything else.
Because one thing we haven't even talked about, and this is probably a whole nother series of podcasts, is different deer are different behaviors and they tolerate different things based on their life [01:12:00] experiences. I just talked about this on another episode. One of the deer that I was I personally did not kill him, but I got to watch this deer for a number of years through trail cameras and then one of my hunting partners was
Fortunate enough to wrap his tag around it. And that deer, where he beed was he literally listened to us, drive past him on a routine basis where, and the only reason I know that is cuz he took us into his bedroom and that's where he died. And I saw his beds and it was so close to road and like what that deer put up with and the amount of trail camera pictures and daylight hours where he would come out and I'm not talking about daylight hours as in the last half hour.
It would literally be three or four hours toward the evening. He was betting close and he's just got comfortable with it. You talk about access and what you can get away with. Yeah, you could get away with a lot with that specific deer, but in the grand scheme of things, I personally would rather be safe than sorry in the big picture.[01:13:00]
Absolutely. Absolutely. And yeah, it comes, I think it comes back to that discipline that we were talking about earlier. And it's hard cause I feel like a lot of times you can't learn a buck's personality without physically seeing, it's hard to tell from trail cameras and stuff like that.
And unfortunately, a lot of these big bucks just, most people don't get to see them that often. So it's really hard to learn and can take a really long time. But but yeah definitely something worth noting and keeping notes of how different bucks are acting.
Are they more aggressive, less aggressive, that can play into get, are they worth calling to or were they gonna run from the call? I had a really nice deer, I think he was three years ago that I saw him, he was on the neighbors and he was looking at our side of the fence, wouldn't jump.
It was both season. And so I, and again, very big mature buck. So I grunted at him and that deer took off running away [01:14:00] faster than you can imagine. And like I, so I took from that okay, that is probably not an aggressive buck. And Colin is probably not going to work. But yeah, how you learned that every buck I wish I knew.
But you're absolutely, you're right. They definitely have different personalities. It's just part of the fun game of whitetail hunting. It really is. And you brought up a great point, if you're not. If you're not experiencing mature deer in your hunting, like it's really hard to know what to do in order to get that.
But once you do something that puts you in the game, it's a learning experience. And it's like that first, it's like that first barrier, like into a new world. Cuz the properties around here that I've, hunted with people or, network with friends and stuff like that.
Like it's usually just understanding how deer behave in that area and how the hunting pressure that's in that area are on their property. Just needs to be manipulated a little bit in order to increase your chances and it can be done. Like I said, while [01:15:00] there's a lot of differences between Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
We're talking about a lot of the same things in in, in a little bit different draws, I guess so to speak. John? That's right. That's right. That's right. I feel like I need to throw this out here too. There's been a, I've heard on several podcasts lately about, Oklahoma and the good hunting and everything like that.
I feel like I need a little Oklahoma sucks. Y'all should go to Kansas. Don't worry about coming down here. It's just, it's not worth your time. That was a great episode you did with Dan talking about hunting regulations and such. I you'll probably keep me out of Oklahoma just because the distance is not that conducive to drive there for the weekend.
But, I've, I have goals that I'd like to try to, do some ad adventure and it's here's the big one. Like I know you said you might draw Iowa this year. I have not gone down the rabbit hole of putting in my points for Iowa. Like I was just talking about this with my one good friend that I went to college with.
It's hey, I would you have any interest in putting in points and going to Iowa? I'd like to experience it one year. And he, [01:16:00] at first he was like, yeah let's do it. And then he goes, till we draw Iowa, we're gonna have close to a thousand dollars wrapped up into that. And that doesn't even include buying the tag and this and that.
And he's and we can just go to. X, y or Z state and do the same thing we wanna do. I'm like, you're right. And I'm like, I know, but I just want to, I just want to exper, I just wanna go to Iowa and bow hunt whitetails one time just to say I did it and experience it. I know it's not a 200 inch deer behind every bush, but at the same time I just love that the idea of hunting the whitetail mecca of the world.
Yeah. I'm the same way. I have five points this year which should be enough to draw. And I am going to Iowa knowing that I am more than likely not going to kill the biggest fuck of my life. I think, I'm trying to be realistic about it and everything, but I'm going for the experience, I'm going to.
Or hoping, to see a dough run by and there'll be eight different bucks, trailing here, that [01:17:00] crazy rut, that's what everybody wants to see. And I would, it, getting started is is intimidating, but you just gotta do it. And after that it's really not that bad. And I wanna say it's a point is $50.
So five point. Yeah I'm $250 in at this point. And then, yeah, I think the, I think a non-resident tag is around 700 bucks or something so yeah, I'll be all in about a thousand bucks if I draw it. But yeah I like to it's kinda like financing, 50 bucks a year for a while and then kinda the big one at the end.
And I'm fairly new to these venture hunts as well. I founded Texas and Oklahoma both for a while. Last year in Nebraska. I think that was actually my first, real out-of-state. Hunt. I've had a Kansas point for four years now and have yet to use it.
Just cause my vacation time and stuff hasn't worked out. Yeah I'd encourage anybody to, I know there's probably a lot of people trust cussing me for an encouraging people to get out there. Cause it seems like every, even there's more competition. But yeah, it [01:18:00] just, do a little research.
I believe Iowa, I believe they opened it in May, I believe it's May 1st to May 31st. And, it sucks. It takes forever. One year, I forgot. So I've actually been. Trying to get John for six years, but I only have five points cause I forgot one year. But man, just set a reminder on your phone.
And yeah, if I go there and have a great experience, I'm, I don't, I may never go back. I may go back, I don't know, but I'm just excited to experience it. And will you do something with an outfitter or something semi guided? Are you gonna do it all on your own and experience what you can?
I think I actually have a hookup. A guy I met at ATA about two years ago he, his cousin has come down and hog hunted on our place. And me and him just hit it off. And so he said he thinks he could probably find me a place to hunt. If that doesn't work out, I'm probably just gonna do the public thing.
I know a lot of people do end up going with an outfitter by the time they, cause I have so much vest in getting the tag. But again I'm just in for it, [01:19:00] for the adventure. I've taken a lot of good whitetails. I just, for some reason a guided whitetail just doesn't do it for me.
That's so high. I would happily go on a guided elk hunt if I could afford it. Bear hut, same thing. But for some reason I've just, I feel like I've been successful enough of whitetails, but I think I'd just rather do it myself, even if that means not killing as big of a buck.
Yeah. That's how I am too. Like Whitetails, I love white tails and. I've had good success with them, and I feel like, why would I want to go, this is just me personally. Why do I wanna spend money on a guide in another state for something that I literally hunt right out my back door and I'm hunting good deer.
So it's just not some of the things. But I. I went, like the elk hunt that I did a couple years ago was a guided elk hunt. I killed a beautiful ball and it was a great experience. And now I'm like you were talking about I was thinking about this too. I'm trying to figure out my avenue for some of the other western hunts I wanna do I'd like to shoot a nice mule deer with [01:20:00] my bow.
I'd like to shoot an antelope. We're doing this. And people always talk once you start putting in for the Western tags, then you're gonna wanna start doing the sheep stuff. And I'm like that's a rabbit hole right there. I don't think that's gonna happen. But I'm like I'm on that fine line there.
Do I want to go a couple times and do it on my own school hard knocks, experience the that western hunting and try to figure it out? Or do I just save my pennies and do I go with an outfitter? I don't know. I have no problem with an outfitter and nobody that does. I'm just like weighing those options out for what's best for me.
Yeah. Yeah. If you pick the right state, it's not too I wanna say Wyoming, I think a point in Wyoming's, 50 bucks, I wanna say Mom Montana isn't the same. And to get one of those true crazy, trophy units, yes, you might have to put in for 20 years. But I've heard and experienced a little bit myself.
I think there's a lot to say for those like three and four point units, just limiting the pressure that much compared to just an over the counter tag I think makes a [01:21:00] huge difference. Now you may not shoot 400 inch, six by six but again, that experience, you're more likely to hear a bugling bull more likely to call one in cause they haven't been just called out, a hundred different times that day.
And yeah again, a lot of people are probably cussing me for encouraging people, but So this, the elk count that I went on last year, that was actually the first draw hunt I'd ever been on. I've done a lot of over-the-counter and I went to college in Idaho and got a lifetime license.
So I've hunted Idaho quite a bit. And but like right now I'm currently getting points in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and I believe Utah. And I just fixed those states and going for it. I think the highest point total I'm at now is four, something like that. But, somebody told me a long time ago not a long time ago, but several years ago, that, it's never gonna get easier.
There's never gonna be less people putting in. And so the best time to start is right now.[01:22:00] That's a good very good point. And I think that's motivation for me to get my rear in gear and finish the tag process that I started and didn't finish. But John, this has been a lot of fun. I've, like I said I've really enjoyed listening to your show over time.
And, there's, like I said, even though we're in different parts of the world the style of hunting and as far as the private land, we like to tinker and do projects and preparation and, and the style of hunting on stand and everything else. There's a lot of overlap there.
And I, that's why I wanted to have you on and just bs about deer hunting but take that, that calculated approach and just peel the layers back and what you've been experiencing. So I really thank you for coming onto our show. Before we let you go, let make sure you can plug everything that you're doing or anywhere people can reach out and follow you.
Absolutely. Instagram is by far the best Oklahoma Outdoor podcast. Somebody is done with the podcast. Oh man. She is. But yeah. [01:23:00] Oklahoma Outdoor Podcast on Instagram and Facebook. You can also email me. Okay. Outdoors podcast gmail.com. And just like you part of the Fortunes Empire my show comes out every Monday and yeah, give it a look sometime, guys.
Absolutely. Hey, thanks again, John. Yes sir. I'll see you later.