Hey everyone, welcome to episode 162 of the Antler Up Podcast!
On this week's episode Dimitri and I were joined by Michigan native Wade Childs. This episode was a blast to record! I heard some awesome hunting stories from mutual friend Andrew Blair and I knew immediately I wanted to get Wade on the show! This has a lot of great information in it regarding whitetails, specifically hunting more aggressive!
To start this episode off we chat about all the different states that Wade got to hunt and the different terrain, habitat and challenges these states offered. From his home state of MI, MO, IL and IA. From here, Wade discusses how he uses an aggressive mindset/strategy to combat the pressure he is seeing in the woods from other hunters. We also talk about what sign he likes to prioritize when finding “the spot” to hunt. .
Wade had another awesome season by killing a great buck in both IA and IL, while also filling 4 doe tags in MI. I loved hearing some of the key tactics that Wade has adopted over the years bowhunting. A few things stood out to me about his aggressive style and I hope some do for you as well! You will also hear how much stock Wade puts into his postseason scouting, which is always a fun topic to discuss! Enjoy this fun episode!
Thanks again for all the support and best of luck out there and Antler Up!
[00:00:00] Hey everyone. Welcome to the Antler Podcast, brought to you by tethered the world's best saddle hunting equipment. We have a good one for you all. This week we have Michigan Native Wade Childs bringing you some aggressive whitetail strategy awesomeness. I heard some awesome hunting stories from a mutual friend of ours, Andrew Blair, and I knew immediately I wanted to get Wade on the show.
And this has a lot of great information in it regarding Whitetails, specifically hunting a little bit more aggressive. And to start off this episode, we. Talked about all the different states that Wade got a chance to hunt this past season with between the different terrain, the habitat, and all the challenges that these states offered from his home state of [00:01:00] Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, and tagging out in Iowa.
So from here, Wade discusses how he uses an aggressive mindset slash strategies to combat pressure on how what in he's seeing in the woods from other hunters. And we also talk about what Zion he likes to prioritize when finding the spot to hunt. Man, he had a great season by killing a buck in Iowa, like I said earlier, Illinois and filling four DOE tags in Michigan.
And I loved hearing some of the key tactics that Wade has adopted over the years of bow hunting. And a few things really stood out to me about his aggressive style. And I hope you do as well find these things that, they're a little bit different than just saying buck betting. And then you'll also hear him talk about how much stock he puts into his post-season scouting, which is always a fun topic to discuss with it being that time of year right now.
So thanks again everybody, for all the support. Best of luck out there and an lu up. Hey, now real quick, before we dive into this week's [00:02:00] episode, I wanted to mention a few things and one of them being a brand new exclusive code for our listeners. And we offer two exclusive codes that I only mention on the podcast, like I don't post them anywhere on social media or anything like that.
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Welcome back everybody for another episode here at the Antler Up Podcast, and we're joined tonight by Wade Childs. Wade. Man, pleasure to have you on. I heard some awesome stuff about you. Excited to get into it, man. Welcome to the show. Yeah. Thanks guys. Hopefully all that stuff might be true.
Might be a little embellished as well, but yeah, that's all right. Awesome, man. And my eyes are all true. . All right. Wade man, where are you coming from? Let's get down to that. Like, where, what's going on, man? Where are you from? What's your story, dude? I grew up in a small town in South Central Michigan.
Little one stop light blinking red light [00:06:00] town. Grew up on a, basically a sweet orange strawberry farm. Grew up outside. My dad had me shooting a bow in the driveway when I was 17 months old. I didn't have much choice in my life. I was gonna be a bow hunter. So lived in the the Jackson, Michigan area for, 25 years, aside from going to college in Kalamazoo.
Chased whitetails around there my entire childhood and into my early twenties before I started venturing out and doing out-of-state trips. Learned a lot from my dad. Then started branching out, doing more things chasing more curves with my bow yep. I like it, man. Geez, you, Dimitri and I were obviously from Pennsylvania, born and raised here.
We always hear the, I guess you would throw stones at me here, but like we, you always hear of man, Pennsylvania, highly pressured, but man, Michigan is highly pressured. Sta but Dimitri, look at behind him. . Yeah, I got a few Michigan bucks back there. So I'm outta state ones too.
That that one over my shoulder right there. [00:07:00] He's my best Michigan buck. He was 1 59. I shot him right there in Jackson County. Oh. I was a, I was quite a bit younger when I shot him, but it was, one of those classic rut hunts chasing the dough. And I was in a pretty good little funnel with some shooting and he came out and yeah, he got yeah.
I like that, man. That's awesome. Let's start it off with just, describe what kind of. Terrain and where, what what you've been doing for as far as hunting goes, like you said, I know you, you said going out of state, but like even keep it a little bit more, I guess started off with locally I mean for us, we don't really care if it's private, public, mountains, not mountains.
Flatland. We just like to hear, your hunting journey, if that makes sense. . Yep. Yeah, everything I learned and got my feet wet, cut my teeth, whatever you wanna call it. And Southern Michigan was, rolling ag country timber pockets bottom lands, not, we don't have a lot of drainages and creeks and things of that nature.
Like you see in the farther Midwest stuff, like the Missouri, Iowa stuff.[00:08:00] We do have, some swamps and bottoms and some wetlands. That's kinda where our deer in Southern Michigan. If you're gonna find a good one, that's probably where he is gonna be. So I pretty well grew up on private ground.
Used to have, 15 to 2000 acres that I hunted of private ground that's dwindled down dramatically in the last, 10 years of what I have available to hunt anymore. But grew up hunting that kind of stuff. Like I said, it's just a lot of row crop corn and beans is the two big things that are grown in that area.
Get into some alfalfa type stuff and we don't get into any of like the milo and like the sugar beet stuff that's all out west and up north from us. So it's primarily, what you expect the real crop. I would say, once I started getting outta Michigan first place I went to southern Ohio down in the Adams Highland County area, the Amish buck area, I'm sure you guys know that dear.
That was, getting into some hillier stuff. The, one of the leases we had there was, it was still pretty flat c r p ground. It felt like [00:09:00] home, able to kill a buck. I think three out of four years I hunted that, that lease. We ended up losing the lease. The landowner passed away and but I was brought in, brought into that with a good group of guys.
And they were their stepping stone to start leaving the state. Since then, I've hunted, the high plains of Western Nebraska. I drew an Iowa tag this last fall. I've hunted Illinois for five years. I've hunted Kentucky, and that's the one state that I feel I'm probably gonna go back to this year because I have yet to kill a Kentucky buck.
And that does not sit well with me, . And I've killed deer in Missouri as well. So talk about a little bit about your tactic and strategy. Start maybe. At your home state of Michigan, since you are hunting, private, are are you aggressive on, in the early season?
Do you you talked a little bit about shooting up fucking the rot. Is that typically, what you safe, typical spots for, just give us a quick rundown of, what your strategy leading into a season is for, mainly your home, property, whether it [00:10:00] is private or public, if you're doing any of that in Michigan.
And maybe, maybe one time you were doing it differently and then you've changed over the years or anything in that nature. Yep. So yeah, my, primarily all my Michigan stuff is gonna be private stuff. I've dabbled a little bit on the public stuff. I actually live about a mile from Lake Michigan now, straight Western Grand Rapids.
It's pretty populated over here. It's pretty hard to get into anything private, so I have messed with a little bit of the public around here. It's like you said, it's hit pretty hard. To attack a season in Michigan, it's gonna be, I'm hunting farms. I've hunted for 15, 20 years.
I got 'em pretty well dialed in. I'm not afraid to be aggressive like I'm not saving spots for the rut I'm diving in. I don't think a deer. Isn't Killable every day of the season. I'm not afraid to go after one. He's always gonna be there. It's not like they get absorbed into the ground.
Like you see, I always see a lot of guys, it's not time yet. It's not time yet, but [00:11:00] I've got other buddies that, will go after it. And we seem to be, pretty successful. And I used to do, like pre-hung stands and all that stuff. And about 10 years ago got into the mobile game using muddy pro sticks, muddy vantage stands.
And in the last couple years, got into the saddle game, started, I've got everything tethered now. Probably two seasons now, a hundred percent saddle. If not, like a weird instance where you're hunting on the ground or something. But yeah I'm, I get after him. I chase him. I don't like to sit back and wait for him to come to me.
That's just waiting, that's not. really the way I like to attack it anymore. So I've started paying more attention to, everything I hauns based on the wind and I'm taking it to 'em. And what makes you be aggressive and not afraid to be aggressive? It, you relying on TRO cameras or, is there just certain pieces of the property, that you're able to be more aggressive?
What is, is it the fresh sign that you see, going into that fit? [00:12:00] What makes you feel confident that being aggressive is gonna be successful? I guess like the, just the mindset I take into it. I'm literally constantly thinking about deer and how I can get 'em killed.
There's always puzzle pieces getting put together in my head. What are they gonna do on this wind or that wind or what's their food source right now? And we do run a fair amount of cell cams. I run. Between my brother and I, we probably have six or eight of 'em in Michigan. We ran 22 of 'em in Iowa this year, and I think I had 14 of them in Illinois.
So I do have some pretty recent intel on everything that's going on. One deer's on the property, and one they're there and why they're there. And I can take pretty good mental notes of that. And if he's doing this on a northeast wind, how can I use that northeast wind that he thinks he has the advantage to get him on a quartering wind and slip around him and have him come by me.
That's, that's what I'm doing. I like that. And man, I'll tell you what, Wade, when you said about not saving spots, right? And [00:13:00] you were just saying you just go after, get in there. Yep, man I've been guilty to saying ah, man, that's a good spot during this time. And even if, there's intel of, that Buck could be traveling or living nearby y I've gone into that stalemate basically of not wanting to get into a particular spot until a certain time period. And it, as you were ta talking like that and my mind's going yeah why do you do that Jer?
Like why do I do that? And I guess it's because it's that old school mentality of what we, I'm, Dimitri and I were, be raised by our fathers and you, it seems like too wade about that of, we were told one, one way and like you said, just take it to him. And ironically enough, I was talking to my father today and we were talking about a, an area back at home in northeast Pennsylvania that, I had some decent bucks on it, but he and I did not go in there until.
Later on in November and he's we gotta get in there earlier. And I was like, [00:14:00] yep. . Like I was driving, I was like, wait, what? What'd you say? And cuz I, that's what I was thinking and like what you were saying, man, because if you get in there in, in October 14th, I know people have said, oh, it's done, but do we really know if that spot's done?
Do you know what I mean? I don't know. I think the longer we've been doing this and the longer we, there's education out there, it's, I don't really think it is. You know what I mean? Yeah. I agree with you. Those do you have to eat and they have to drink and they have to get up.
They're not gonna lay, they might move in the last 30 minutes of daylight. He might not have that all day, chasing phase or, something of that nature that you get in November. But they're gonna do something at some point in the day that makes 'em killable. And I'm not afraid to go after him.
. What are some of your maybe key attributes that you've honed in on? Like obviously being aggressive, doing a whole mobile thing, and when it comes to maybe like Dimitri, I liked what you said earlier about using certain tactics. Are you like, what are maybe certain sign like buck sign that you're prioritizing with [00:15:00] like scrapes or rubs time of year?
What do you do anything along those lines? Especially for being aggressive cuz you to me, like being aggressive and sign goes hand in hand for that. Yeah. I mean if I'm not, if I'm not doing food source stuff, I'm definitely definitely probably looking for scrapes. And then keying in on terrain features of, leeward side bedding is probably, it's like I say, I'm always chasing wind stuff.
That wind stuff is always related to leeward side bedding or traveler routes to food source. Tactics that, you know, carrying on to some of these out-of-state trips. Just because you've talked about several different states, and the terrain features in all of those are a little bit different and you're gonna counter different things.
What are some things that, maybe you're doing in Michigan that you are taking with you in applying those to the other states, even though the terrain and, the habitat is so different? I would [00:16:00] say really what I learned on my primary farm in Michigan is just understanding how they use those east side and South side Hill faces.
For your, your getting in early and getting 'em coming back to bed on those, they're typically brushier, they're typically thicker than, your north side or west side faces. And with that I'm taking. Knowledge that I'm learning in Michigan, applying it to topographic map in OnX and looking at, satellite views coupled with topography, taking it to like the Iowa public land that I hunted this year.
And I had, four different instances this year in Iowa that I had 140 inch buck under 30 yards. And I was lucky enough to be in there, win the last one of them. So when you look at that and you're looking at like the terrain features and like for us like Dimitri and Iowa, we key in on like what hunting the bigger mountains here.
We're key in on points and trying to access to see where, we're deer are maybe going to funnel two and all that type of [00:17:00] stuff. What are like your bread and butter, especially with the wind access because for me, That's always been, I think, like a weak side, like a weak like attribute to my hunting skillset and something that I tried to do better at for this year, which I think I did a pretty good job at.
But, I'm still trying to understand, I guess like the thermals and how that all plays a part in especially in the big Woods se setting. Like, how much of that do you take in effect to go with your wind and kind of your terrain features? As far as the thermal stuff, it's generally about going up in the mornings Yeah.
And down in the evenings. Yeah. I pretty much have developed the mindset in the last five or six years of that. You gotta give something up, if you think, Ooh, I like that. If everything in your head makes sense that Deere's doing that, but you're afraid you're gonna blow everything out and 90 degrees to your, to your north or whatever.
On a south. Directional wind, you just have to accept the fact that you're gonna scare deer. You're gonna scare deer walking in, you're gonna scare deer walking. Now, obviously, you don't wanna do that, [00:18:00] and you try to make your entrances and exits as clean as possible, but once you accept the fact you're gonna scare some deer and you think that you're gonna put yourself in a better position rather than watch him walk by at a hundred yards, that's where we, I started seeing more success and getting shots and shooting under and over and finally into deer when I started doing it.
Yeah. Now you said about don't be afraid of, scaring deer. Is there any instance or story that you can you know think about that maybe you've done that or, maybe you didn't kill a deer, but you bumped the deer and then you used that kind of knowledge to your advantage to set up a future hunt that, maybe you had an encounter with the same deer.
Maybe you killed the deer, do you have any kind of stories. Being aggressive in that way. Yeah, I think really about the first year that I started doing some mobile stuff would've been like 2013, I wanna say. There was a deer in Michigan, we were chasing we called him Bubba. He was, that low one 60 s deer.
[00:19:00] And he disappeared on us, showed up December, first day after gun season. Came walking in broad day, late morning. Like for all intents and purposes, I shouldn't have been hunting. It was the morning after gun season closed in Michigan, which is just a slaughter fest. It was raining. It wasn't very cold.
And he, here he come walking in and I distinctly remember I was sitting in an old ladder stand. and I was lazy and I didn't want to hang a stand that morning, you know that, that whole rhythm rule. I had a buddy call me up, he's Hey I'll film for you this morning if you want to go.
I'm like, hell yeah, man. Let's, let's go. We walk in and we're not seeing shit and all of a sudden look up and it's holy crap, here's come, here's, walking straight down this lane, , and he is walking straight into the wind, no quartering whatsoever. And it was like, okay, it's on.
I'm gonna be chasing this dude for the rest of the season. So I had exactly one month to get him killed with my bow because season of Michigan ends [00:20:00] January 1st. It's our last day. And I ended up seeing him three more times that season. And every time I would try to move, try to do something different.
I think that deer I'm a firm believer that he would watch me access. , I, I would. Tried to slip around these ridges cause the farm that he was living on is very long and skinny and the access was from the north and it's the only way he could get in there. And he would live on the east side of it.
And the holy east side was a big oak ridge with a I wanna say it was picked corn in the middle of that year. And he would lay on that ridge top and either smell everything coming down the access road or, watch just over the top of the ridge if the wind was, north or south rather than straight west.
And I just couldn't get into him. And he was not afraid of walking around in the daylight and everything I could do to kill him. And he beat me and he survived the season. And that deer, I was able to sit back and, think about it for nine [00:21:00] months, apply everything that I learned from him.
And actually the next season I had him at 12 yards full draw. Couldn't get the, I was dedicated to filming at the time. Couldn't get the camera on him. Had him beat, I just had to shoot him. He ended up giving me about eight to 10 seconds right there, a full draw. And, he busted out of there and two days later a neighbor killed him and he was 180 7.
Wow. Yep. That one hurt I've got is actually, I have a sheds upstairs. He is he, he is like the deer that I still haunts my dreams, it's been 10 years , oh, man. And I think that's something that not a lot of people talk about is, deer, a lot of mature bucks.
To, watch access and know where people are gonna come in from and, and sometimes it's we get in this mindset that those mature bucks are just gonna head to the deepest thickest areas that, that humans can't get to or some sort of predators not gonna find them.
And I don't think that's always the case. And not a lot of [00:22:00] people are saying, what, say what you just said. And, and I've seen it before especially during rifle here in PA where it's a slaughter fest too, right? And you have all these people and there was a small clear cut, 60 yards from some, from the pull off and where the trucks parked.
And we just skirted past it, going deep into this public ca, came back through, did a small push through this little piece. And there was a nice mature buck that jumped out, and you could see the truck from where he was vetted. And I think, , we those are the overlooked spots that we can find some bucks beded in that are easy to access, where you could probably get around or take a different route to get near that bedding.
And, I just think that not a lot of people are thinking in that mindset or talking about that, where you could really use that to your advantage. Yeah I agree. I actually had a really similar thing to that happen this year in Iowa. I was hunting there with one of my best friends from Missouri.
Him and I were tagged together, we've been looking forward to it for all [00:23:00] these years. And he had a situation at home where he needed to head home and be with his girlfriend. And so I was up there by myself and I'm sleeping in the back of my truck, doing it cheap, doing it down and dirty.
I was on, I wanna say day five or six, and I pushed. I was probably a mile and a half deep on public and some pretty, pretty good sized piece of timber. And I had saw some deer that morning and nothing really all that exciting and I slipped out. It was it was Halloween morning. I slipped out.
I met, I happened to run into the hunting public eyes that morning at the parking spot, talked to them talking to some other guys, called a buddy from Missouri just to talk and he's you're not blowing past the deer are you? And I got to thinking and thinking like those words just kept resonating with me as I was sitting behind my truck in the shade cuz it was pretty warm that day thinking man, these deers are in this pit corn at night.
I know that they are cuz I seen 'em when I pull in here to hunt in [00:24:00] the mornings. And I got in my head that I just needed to go deeper and I just needed that, that last piece of the puzzle, that something needed to spark in me ended up walking. Hundred 50 yards across this cornfield parallel in the parking lot.
Yep. I dumped maybe 50 yards into the timber and two hours later I filled my tag. Man, same. Yeah, same situation that deer and I had seen people that morning coming from the other side and they came as every bit as far as I did. They were at least a mile in to be able to see their headlamps as they were walking the opposite ridge.
Everybody was, pushing past them, trying to be that Billy badass. And the bucks are just, one up in everybody watching 'em go and doing their thing by the parking spots. Yep. Spartan Forge stands at the nexus of machine learning and whitetail deer hunting to deliver truly intuitive and sign space products that saves the hundred times spent scouting, planning, and executing their hunts.
You have dear prediction, journaling and the best maps on any hunting app platform there is. Use code antler [00:25:00] up to save 20% off your Smart and Forge membership at Spartan Forge. Dot ai. Yep. Dimitri, that one that happened to you and I that what, two, three years ago when you saw the chocolate horn antler buck, like just up on the trail like we were, that's not that far from where we parked.
You walked what? Only a hundred, not even up, probably a hundred yards up, up the snowmobile. And then Zach Farba talked about that on our podcast where a friend of his was watching, same thing, like a Buck was watching them. And then there was a recent podcast too, that I listened to another individual was talking about that it's funny how it's not a mo, it's not a more common, topic that people talk about.
But man, I cuz even think about it, how. individuals love those big, loud mufflers on their trucks every morning, and they're just, at three, four in the morning, they're going down that, that wmu, like the, our road and those deer here [00:26:00] that it's the same thing. Like even it's even the same thing that I have, on the private mountain.
I don't, I hate going to where we park, but there's really not another spot for us to park. We can, it's just, I don't know. It's like you said it's being almost lazy. So something that I've co want to change as, as well for my dad and I, because at the same time I'm, it's, it is a road that we could walk on basically.
So it's just, why don't we just walk on 'em. We're not gonna be ripping through brush, at least we could be a little bit more quiet and it's not gonna be driving right up because hell within 80 yards o on a camera that I had near where our truck is. There was a, one of the bigger deers ever and that I've ever seen.
So it's like you said, like he's around somewhere and you just have to go un unnoticed a little bit. And that's definitely one of the tactics that I want to implement for next year. Yeah. That's some of these deers I live in, Michigan and Pennsylvania and, these high [00:27:00] pressure states they give big because they know they, they know the game, they know what everybody's doing.
And I think that they're hunting us or hunting the avo sorry, predator. Yeah. Come up with the records. They're avoiding us just as much as, we're trying to hunt them. Yeah, no doubt. You said the word pressure, and I, like you said earlier, when it comes to hunting Michigan you're more so on that private side of things.
And I, we've talked about it here on the podcast. I still think hunting private land still has its challenges, it's still not. Oh, you got private land. I betcha it's so easy you do this. Yep. You know what, some are some things that you've had to adjust and get better at, on, on private pieces that you think is still a challenge.
Yeah, it's, I think, some of the private, especially in an area like where I'm at, it's so many small parcels, tied together and the piece I'm on is the second biggest, I think, in the section. And it's 155 acres. So it's not terribly big, it's not small, but Right. [00:28:00] There's, I think that I counted, I, the, I think I counted 22 people hunting at opening morning and just my square one mile this last year.
So I've pretty much just developed the tactic of when there's this many people just. , don't worry about the best spots, just avoid the people as much as you can. , the spot that I hunted opening morning of rifle sea or shotgun season this last fall, which I think is the first time I've even hunted one in 10 years.
It's, it was 150 yards behind one of the houses that kind of borders the property. Just cuz I knew that all the pressure's gonna push every deer up, to this sick little bottom that just has a lot of understory in it. And I did see, I think I saw 42 or 44 deer that morning.
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. We have some numbers, but quality is just lacking. Here's a question Free Wade. How do you find the spot? Like that is the core [00:29:00] area. What kind. Check boxes are checked when, what boxes are checked when you see X and you're like, this is where I'm going.
Yep. I would say, it's all gonna be, obviously I'm gonna keep preaching wind dependent, but it's gotta have, the right facing slopes or two of my big things. Are the deer going to come my direction because of food in the evenings or are they gonna be coming back in the mornings?
So I'm trying to get in between that bedding and that food. I'm looking for historical sign and obviously fresh sign. Old, older hubs, easy to spot. And then you've got your interior and your community scrapes. The interior scrapes, I think are probably my favorite thing to hunt. That's what I shot my buck on in Iowa.
That's what my buddy I was hunting there with, he shot his buck on this ridge line that was full of interior scrapes. That's probably what I would look for as the number one thing. It seems to be a magnet of all these deer are [00:30:00] gonna go at least, stick their nose in the branch one time as they're walking by, or at least check it in a somewhat downwind fashion to where you can use that as a, way to get a shot off.
I don't really go into the woods looking for man, I need to find a buck bed, or I need to find, warm season grasses or an oak tree that's dropping. I always have, a fluid mindset when I'm walking in let's just go find something that looks good and when it feels right. CL tree.
Yeah you talked about the right facing slope. Can you dive into a little bit more of what that entails and what you're looking for for those slopes? Yep. I'm always looking, like I said earlier, I think leeward side, the don wind side of a slope. So if I'm looking at a topography map, something that's got either some type of bench or like a toe off of a ridge that a deer can lay just over the top, see everything in front of them, then anything that's coming over top of the ridge, they're gonna smell.
So the wind has to be right. And that, I think those spots [00:31:00] change, day in and day out just because the wind is changing with them. And they'll change throughout the year as the understory changes as well. If it's, later in the season, you can throw some cedars in there. I'm gonna, go towards that early October, looking for.
Oak trees or nearby green bean fields, things of that nature. And then get to that closest bedding from there. Nice. Now if you're talking about those those slopes now, do you think if a buck's beed on the leeward side and, maybe the wind, it's a finger ridge and the wind shifting the opposite direction, do you think that he'll actually, move, will you hunt and move to the opposite ridge that, that following evening or the day you're hunting do you think he flip flopping like that?
Or do you think, how do you feel like those mature bucks are adjusting to the change in wind? I typically seem to have more success and more sightings and even, trail camera data of them using these features and which direction they're like, [00:32:00] they're. always traveling.
I think maybe 80% of the time, I shouldn't say always, at least the wind is someone into their face, whether it's across their face or dead on, so if that wind changes, the morning to the night, then I'm gonna adjust accordingly as well. I think the deer are probably doing that midday as well, so I'm not afraid to always assume the deer has the wind in its favor, so I'm trying to use that against the deer.
Yeah. Let's dive into then about your season. You got the Iowa buck in Michigan, man, like wherever you want to start with recapping this past year, because I'm fascinated because I want to see what, I have a couple ideas that I, where I want to go then afterwards, but I wanna see what other questions, will pop up because of the stories, dude.
Yep. So the season started I had a piece in Northern Illinois walked away from it this summer. Randomly had a buddy that I've talked to online for, five or six years about hunting and never met him in person. [00:33:00] He just called me up one day, he said, Hey, I've got an opportunity to hunt or to add a guy onto this lease.
We had a guy back out. Are you interested in joining it? And I, here I was, not really an idea of where I was gonna hunt besides Iowa. Yeah I'll go check it out. He's been sending me pictures of this deer that, that was. We're talking like mid-July, so he's, got a good frame, but he doesn't have much time length.
And it's like he'd send me these progression of this growth pictures and it's just like jaw dropping. I'm like, dude, you really want me to come hunt this farm with you? And he lives in Phoenix, so it's like he's not gonna be there very often. So I almost felt guilty that I was gonna go hunt this farm that's, five hours, six hours away.
So ended up joining in on a lease with him. Long story short, another buddy was able to get on it as well, cuz another guy wasn't able to hunt it because of some health issues. So two of us went down there October 1st. My buddy that I hunt pretty much everywhere with him and I travel all over.
[00:34:00] He shoots a dough in the morning, first time he'd ever been on the lease. We looked at a map and said, let's choose these two spots. They're not very invasive. , obviously the pm it's gonna be better October 1st because we've still got some green beans. So let's just do something that's on the outskirts near the road.
He shoots a dough. We're celebrating, drinking beers, midday, meet a, the landowner. Having a good old time. It's time to go out for the evening. We chose, decided to sit. There's it's like a series of bays that the way that this, these ranges come out in this timber and we just each picked one.
And he happened to pick the right one. We had a six or seven year old deer come out, walked right to him, he shot it. Great day. He te filled both his Illinois tags the first day. So now here I am, nobody to hunt. Was in Illinois the rest of the season. until, my buddy Brad from Phoenix shows up late.
And then, I've got the Iowa tag. Ended up going to Iowa the next weekend. I think it was this, it would've been like October 8th that [00:35:00] weekend. Okay. I had a work trip. I had to go, I think I actually went to PA that day or that weekend, and I had a rental car. I'm like, the hell would I'm gonna drive this rental car out to Iowa for two days and hunt.
And we did. And I had a big deer, like mid one sixties hammer heavy hunting some like what I thought was gonna be the early season biting. I think I was off on that to be honest with you. But I happened to be close enough to it to where I had this deer and some briars at 30 yards, unable to get a shot, per usual and picked one tree away from what I should have.
And he stood there for five minutes feeding and I was just able to pick out bits and pieces of him through the maple leaves. So didn't kill him that week. Ended up, I think I went to Illinois one more weekend, saw some deer. Nothing. It was, I remember it being really hot. We were camping out outside on the neighbors mowed lawn, he allowed us to throw a tent up there.
Great [00:36:00] guy. Super thankful that we met him. And we roughed it, camped it hunted pretty slow. Turned around, went back to, I was driving back to Iowa and I was gonna meet my buddy Kylie in Iowa. And this would've been like October 28th. And I'm like, coming around Lake Michigan, I'm nearing the Indiana border.
I wanna say cell cam goes off. I look at it, it's oh shit. There's, one of the deer that we've been. Waiting to show back up to go hunt Illinois. Kylie's in Iowa. He had already been there for a day. I call him, it's four o'clock in the morning, right? And I call him and I wake him up and he is you're not coming to Iowa, are you?
I'm like, Nope, I'm turning. He south, going to Illinois. Ended up going cuz it was, you drove halfway to Illinois, the Illinois farm on your way to Iowa. Anyway, so went hunted Iowa for one sit and I was like, this is not any fun. I'm here by myself. It's miserable. I don't even want to do this. And I hopped in my truck, [00:37:00] drove back to Iowa, back north again to Iowa after dark that night.
Hunted with Kylie for two days and then he had to go home, stayed in the truck couple more nights by myself sleeping in the backseat. And I'm like, I'm six foot four and I don't really fit in the backseat of an F-150. All that. , So get to Iowa or get to this unit. And I think we were in unit five, get to this piece of public land.
And like I said I ended up shooting that deer Halloween evening. Rattle them in. I walked in until I found, that first interior scrape. I remember seeing one of those along this ridge line, a trail that looked like it was pretty, pretty heavily used by doze. Heading out to that pit corn field.
It's Halloween, right? Boxer gonna be starting to check this. I decided that was where I was gonna sit. The wind made sense, everything made sense when I got in there, found a tree that offered some pretty good shooting. I didn't want to have a October 8th situation again. I had just had another one of those [00:38:00] situations, I wanna say two days before where I rattled another buck.
He was probably mid one fifties then to 35 yards and picked the wrong tree in the dark. Didn't get a shot at him either. Halloween evening I picked a tree that I thought was gonna be the one climbed up it, and then right as the sun went over the ridge, I looked down and, he was walking up this ridge and he gave me about a 32, 33 yard shot.
Hit him back. I'm not gonna sit here and tell you I'm the best mo shot in the world. I am horrible . But I continue to press on. I shoot a lot and I'm, I've been more confident and successful the last several years than I was, six, eight years ago. But We let him lay overnight.
A good buddy, Tyler Cooper from Missouri drove up the next morning, walked in and he was 125 yards dead right there. So that was that was Iowa. He was 143 inch, we figured four year old, heavy base, short time, 10 point 24 inch main beams and 10 inches of brow time [00:39:00] total and good mass. Just short times.
Yeah. So drove from there to Missouri to Kylie's hometown. Hunted with my other best friend in Missouri, Cody Howard for two days. Just I've got 10 days off of work. I'm just gonna, I just killed a great buck. I would dream come true, gonna enjoy this, gonna help my buddy that I don't get to see that often.
Him and I had three encounters and three, six in a row. 150 to 170 inch deer. We didn't get arrows into. It's okay, I need to go have a bow in my hand. I'm leaving Missouri. Drove to Illinois. Hunt a couple days there. Ended up getting sick while I was there. Caught my vacation short drove home, went back down the next weekend and now it's fast forward.
It's November 11th, I'm on the Illinois lease sitting there and I remember it being really cold that day. It was like the first day I broke out my real, real heavy, warm gear and I was [00:40:00] Snapchatting of video. To my brother about how nasty the wind was cuz he was sending me pictures of videos of deer in Michigan.
It being, bluebird sky, sunny, awesome. Everything that you want it to be. And I'm just miserable by myself, freezing. And I send the Snapchat, I put my phone in my pocket, I look to my left and there's one of the target deer 30, 30 yards, right? So it was another situation, pick a tree in the dark.
He ended up giving me like a 22, 23 yard shot. I hit a limb and bounced it right over his back. Oh he ran off and I climbed straight down out of the tree, cut the tree down that I hit. Cause I was mad at it. I didn't wanna sit there and look at it any longer. climbed back up the tree, got back into the, and cooked back into my saddle and.
15 minutes later, here comes this deer that we knew to be six years old from all of Brad's [00:41:00] trail cam pictures, and he's got this dough. He's tending her hard. And I ended up watching him for three and a half hours 60 yards an in, he almost gave me two or three different shots at about 30 yards.
Finally this little buck that was trying to get in on his though, that he had, he ended up coming between the buck and I, the big old mature buck. Got up, chased him off, turned broadside at 20 yards, and yeah, I slipped one through 'em. I hit him, onside long and out, like back of the liver.
So he was quartered, the arrow set up, I'm shooting not a, not afraid of that shot. And I watched him walk off, lay down. I shot him right at, it was like 1201. So I shot him right at noon and Watched him walk off, lay down, I slept out of there, let him lay all night, went back in the next morning.
There he was. So that was pretty well my season. I ended up shooting three or four dos in Michigan after that. And that was, [00:42:00] yeah, that was about it. Dang, man, you were in it. Yeah. Like constant. That's awesome. That's what you, they're the opportunities, the chances that you want to have, right?
Like they're the things that we, right now, in February, we're like, man, I cannot wait for the season to roll around to, to have those encounters. And I think. for these out-of-state trips. Obviously the Iowa, you have to draw that tag. Illinois, you're, it's, it, you don't have to draw that one.
But then going to Missouri and, bouncing around a little bit, obviously you have to do some ees scouting. Do you go , do you nerd out on that type of stuff at all? Yeah. I spend a lot of times looking at maps and satellite imagery and just trying to, drop pins.
My, my OnX is pretty you zoom 'em out, it's just a dread blob. Yeah. You know what looks good. I'll take those pins and those ideas and start applying 'em once, the different weeks of the season roll around. But yeah, I bet 80% of my scouting is ees scouting. Yeah. [00:43:00] Living in Michigan and, working full-time job, I'm always, My vacation is the fall.
I don't take the time in, the spring and the summer that I should like, you talk to guys like Andy may he's killing his deer in April or March, , that's how he kills the majority of his bucks is all that scouting, and I don't do that. I'll be the first to admit it.
I wish I did, I wish I had the time, but I don't have the time for it. So I have to do what I can and let's look at maps and apply the things that I've learned in the woods. To what I think that those maps are telling me, and I'll walk in there. If I like it, I'll set up. If I don't like it, I'll keep pushing to the next one.
So that was going to be my next question, is like, how much stock do you put into this timeframe, right? Like, how much do you get out there this post-season? See what sign was laid down the most recent, or this past season, the years pass, I've coached baseball. So I didn't have that opportunity to really get out that much.
And now I don't have that opportunity and I'm trying to do more of that, [00:44:00] right? And I know that, I know now helps you, but it doesn't, it's no guarantee, right? I don't know how many people, one we've had on the podcast or you listen to on podcasts or videos. It's still deer hunting, right?
Like it's still a, a real animal. It does. Like you could put 500 miles on that doesn't mean you're gonna kill a deer. So I think, but the other side of that is, For me personally, it's yeah, that's great. Finding a new sign, maybe new opportunities I want to gain better enhance my woodsmanship.
That's what I want to try to do. Because for me in the years past, it's okay, ees scouting little bit of in the summer and then, like you said, you don't wanna be hoping for the best. And that's where I fell into that trap. So I'm trying not to fall into that.
So my woodsmanship, I want to enhance. So that was like a question for you, Wade, was how much stock do you put in? And obviously not that much . No I would be lucky to make especially the Illinois lease, I think I, I made it down one [00:45:00] time before it was, I was there with a bow in my hand. And then Iowa, Kylie and I made a trip out there one time in July and hung a bunch of cell cameras and what we thought was gonna be good in the fall.
And it ended up, we're looking at. Features of the land more so than current Deer sign. Obviously you're not looking at Deer Sign in July. What are they? Whatever they're doing in July isn't gonna mimic what they're doing when we're there with bs. So I don't put very much stock into spring and summer, other than knowing the bucks that are in the area.
That's really all I care about is how much time you put in, just because, there's out-of-state trips, you, like you said, you limited time, days off, so you're not gonna spend a lot of that time. , scouting, you're gonna take 'em in the fall when you can actually hunt.
And I had a similar situation where, I went out to Ohio this fall and I had one day of scouting out in Ohio and setting some troll cameras, and it's like you said, it's hard to gain [00:46:00] any, knowledge. We went out in August, which is similar to July, where there's, you're looking at train and different features versus, rubs and scrapes and, all that kind of sign that's gonna tell you where those bucks are hanging out.
It's very hard to pieces puzzles together, especially on out-of-state trips when you have limited time and resources. But, and I think it just goes to show, the current situation of when you're out there is gonna play more important role than that. That scouting and that camera inventory.
Yeah. I'm a more definitely a big believer in mri, most recent intel. What do you finding when you're there? More so than, what was there in last year or the year before? I think that, your deer are gonna do historically similar things, the buck you're chasing might do something just one off.
So let's go, with most recent intel. Now could you share maybe a story or an opportunity where on either out of state hunt or instate that. You okay, the wind's doing [00:47:00] what I thought it was supposed to do. Or maybe it's doing the other thing where you really need to pivot and do something totally different where maybe you were able to capitalize on seeing a deer or killing a deer.
Anything along those lines because I they're the good learning moments that in the moment that I don't think we realize until obviously something happens, right? You know what, what has, maybe it doesn't even have to be from this past year, it could be from previous years. Anything along those lines way that kind of sticks out.
Because again, I think those are really good learning opportunities and learning moments. Yeah. Trying to think of a good one. I would say 2018 I was hunting my first time down in Missouri, I was hunting some public ground down there. I had just killed a buck in Illinois. I went down to my buddy Cody's house, stayed with him and gonna go hunt some public and.
I remember watching or looking at maps, again, and finding this area this piece of public we were hunting was pretty damn flat as [00:48:00] far as where you want it to be, like with the timber and the river. And there's like a big marshy area that was involved in this. And it was all just one big flat.
And I remember sliding in there the first afternoon that I haunted it and it was the wind was not what I thought it was gonna be doing in that spot. And I was really like, this year has to be in this bend of this river. It has to be, there's one terrain feature. And it was like a dried up, washed out creek bed that came down and made like that 90 degree turn and that, that was really all that there was in this timber.
And there was a fair amount of signs, walking in into it. So I knew everything between this dry creek bed and the actual river, which was quite high like. , you or I aren't gonna cross it. I remember slipping in there and it was wrong. It was bad. I was going to just ruin the spot.
And it was, I knew it was a spot that I wanted to hunt. Found a tree. Pick, pick, picked the tree out, climbed up it, I [00:49:00] think I sat there for 20 minutes and I'm like, this isn't good. These deer aren't gonna be doing what I think they're gonna be doing. The wind, what I expected to be doing was walking either north to south or north, and it was wa and the wind was blowing pretty well straight west, which would've, I don't think, I don't think a buck would've been doing anything that I wanted to do on that wind.
And I slipped out of there, went back to the truck and left and came back in the morning. And I actually shot the farthest buck on the bottom over there that next morning. And he was doing that dry creek bed walk, ended up missing him. , he ran to the brush. I got down, checked my arrow, climbed back up.
He must have heard me, thought I was a deer. Came back to investigate and took one in the side. And I think if I would've stayed that night and tried to hunt that incorrect wind, I probably wouldn't have killed him. Wow. What are some things that you're doing now to kind of prep for your upcoming season here in [00:50:00] 2023?
Some people are shed hunting, some people are shoot, shooting and tuning their bows. What is your February March looking to prepare for that 2023 season? Really all I've got is I'm in this weird limbo funk right now of I don't know what state I'm gonna end up in this fall.
We had plans to hunt. Kansas talking to some buddies and some other people that had been out there and it's, it seems like Kansas has just really turned into a circus the last couple years. . I don't know if I wanna just go hunt, hunt alongside of a bunch of Michiganders 900 miles away.
I've got some thoughts about hunting Kentucky. I've got, my, my like best hunting buddy that I travel everywhere with. He actually lives in Kentucky. He's got some awesome pelvic ground around his house, some private ground that I can hunt. I think right now, my biggest thing is I don't even know where the hell I'm gonna be this fall, aside from Western Illinois.
I don't know where I'll be. So it's gonna be figuring out, what [00:51:00] tag I'm gonna have in my pocket come the. . And once I get that determination and work schedules, everything lines up, it's time to find those pins to start chasing. If I can make it out there in July to at least get eyes on the ground to know what I can rule out come the fall.
And yeah that's really all I have on my plate right now with that and shooting my bow. I shoot as often as I can in this dreadful Michigan weather. , this time of year we get, pounded by Lake effect snow, and we don't see the sun for 30 days, so it's hard to be outside. But I shoot as much as I can just to try to keep target panic down and start east counting.
That's really the two things on my plate, until probably July, August. I like it. That's good. That's good. Wade, what about, you were the key thing and one aspect that I love that. The theme of it was earlier when you were talking about some of your strategies and some of your key characteristics of being aggressive.
And I [00:52:00] think if you would've asked us three years ago what does being aggressive mean, mean to you? And I would've been like, oh, getting as close to that betting as possible. And putting yourself in a situation where I guess we have a thought or an a notion that we think a deer is there.
We're gonna just go in and at 'em. What, where can you, or what can you maybe explain to a listener or someone that's changing tactics that wants to be a little bit more aggressive, like maybe some learning curves or tips, tricks, tactics, things that, you wish you would've known.
Obviously you're doing is the best learning experience, what are maybe certain things that like you really key in on to hopefully not make a mistake at? The biggest thing that I've learned, I hate to admit this. I've got a good buddy in Missouri and he's a Turkey hunter and he's one of the guys that chases states all over the place and he's trying to kill a Turkey in every state and watching him and talking.
Aren't those guys, aren't those guys really weird? They're so odd. [00:53:00] We, like you have no idea. You have no idea how much we make fun of this guy for being a Turkey hunter, but I love him to death. But yeah, I know that's, we're the same way. There's a Andrew Mills honey hole game calls here locally.
Dudes on the same mission as well. And I guess the same could be said for us freaks that want to go kill a whitetail in every state, right? Like we go do all this stuff. And don't get me wrong, like I like going out Turkey hunt when I have the opportunity, but it does not get my rocks off by any means.
Yeah. Yeah. I'll go kill one and then I'll go do something cool. Yeah. Cause that's like my mantra of Turkey hunting, . No, he just talking with him and we've got this chat of a bunch of us. There's 12 of us that talk on there and, just rip each other the shreds every day and actually get into some hunting content as well on the side.
But, just being that ninja in the woods, and when you're pushing, you have to be observant. If you're not gonna pick those puzzle pieces up as you're going into the woods to be aggressive. I like that. And you [00:54:00] just walk, you walk past 'em. You're, you might be blowing the whole thing up before you even get set up.
So I would say if you're gonna be aggressive, it's to slow down, which, doesn't sound like the advice that you would give, but yeah. Slowing down so you can speed up. Is the number one thing. What is it? Smooth as fast and here's slow is smooth and. Smooth as fast or whatever. Yeah, it's, yeah, something like that.
But that's what I would say. That'd be the number one thing I would recommend. I like it. What about your setup? You were saying you've been saddle hunting the last two years and you're doing a little bit more mobile with the hang on and stuff. Did it just take you that long cuz you didn't want to want Blair to be right?
Or what was that about? So I was at the ATA show and probably I think that they had just released the Phantom. So it would've been like, what, 2020? I wanna say 2019, somewhere in there. And Blair has me come over to the tethered booth. He's dude, you just gotta try it. I'm like, I don't want some stupid, or in front of me being in my way.
Like I already [00:55:00] struggle enough shooting a bow. when I say I'm bad at shooting my bow , I'm bad at shooting my bow . But I got in this thing at the ATA show and I just looked at him. I was like, God damn it, dude. You're right, . And I don't like to admit that about Andrew Blair, but I did. And long story short, yeah I've got a phantom ma, I've got four one sticks, and that's what I go in the woods with.
And that's, I literally haven't sat in a tree stand in two full seasons. Yeah. Yeah, no that's good that, that's some good stuff. I, dude, it's amazing how someone like yourself that hunted out of a tree stand all that stuff. And we, you switch to that saddle and when you find your comfort and you find your comfort as far as actual comfort sitting in it, as well as your comfort moving around the tree, shooting out of it, all that stuff, it's amazing how.
y that's it. I know that you'll hear some people like certain situations, and I'm like, [00:56:00] what other situation would you not use it? Like that's that's just, I'm not trying to be an asshole, but it's the contradictory where it's like where would you not use it?
You could use it anywhere. Yeah. Especially, the biggest thing, even when I did get into it was a weakside shooting. How do you handle the Weakside shooting? I've shot probably 12 Deer of the Saddle, and I think I've shot one strong side with my bow Yeah. At, it's like you just figure it out.
Yeah. You just, you either use your platform like a tree stand and I do have a Phantom or a Predator xl, so I do have the bigger one. Yep. And I do wear a size 13 boots, so it's not like I'm a small human being. Yep. But I'm able to use it like a tree stand if I need to. I use it like a saddle if I, need to.
And I. You just make it work. It's not it's not hard. Yeah. You spend an hour in it, it's figured out. Yep. I agree. I like it. What about filming? You were saying earlier, having a friend come film you, do you do any more of that type of stuff or you just what, whatever happens in the woods? It's, that's what's going down.[00:57:00]
Yeah. No we got out of that whole filming thing. I did a couple of like trips for Tricon. Got to go over to New Zealand a couple times. The Red Stag yeah, I shot a red stag while I was there. Oh dude, that's crazy. I was filming these stags, walk across this pasture and Dan Callen, the senior Vice president of the Wildlife Gallery, I was there with him.
He comes over, taps me on the shoulder and he's Hey, lemme see your camera. I'm like, damn, what do you want me to film for you? And he brought me here to do this job. He's no, I'm gonna film you. Shoot that stag. I'm like, holy shit. Let's do that. . Yeah, I was fortunate enough to. To shoot a study while I was there.
And then went back the following year just a great family, a great place to go. Pretty incredible. Did a fair amount of filming for new gen, the Motor City madman. Yeah. That kind of put a sour taste in my mouth and after that I just, that said, that's it for me. So I just go in the timber now by myself or with my buddies, yep. No, that's cool. Is it true or false that you killed a Turkey do using a grunt call . I [00:58:00] killed a Turkey using a grunt call on Facebook Live . Yeah, I did do that. Yeah. I was with my buddy Andy Burk's, still on my Facebook. Yeah, we were just being as dumb could be, checking the wind, just being stupid.
All of a sudden these turkeys hammered at like 40 yards behind us and it's like we went from. , being idiots to being serious idiots. And I ended up shooting one. Yeah, it was pretty cool. It was funny. Probably my favorite Turkey hunt. You don't need a freaking Turkey call. You don't need that $90.
Whatever meat eater slate call. You just need to go after and use some grunts. . Yep. Absolutely. Wade, that dude. That's awesome, dude. I, man, this was fun. Dimitri, anything else before? I don't think so. Awesome man. Wade, dude I appreciate it. I gained a lot because again it's very similar for what you get, what you're going through, dealing with.
Man. I just love talking to people that just are so passionate about hunting and you could see it, man. And I thoroughly enjoyed your stories.[00:59:00] I got stuff. I've wrote a good amount of stuff down, man. I app. I appreciate it, dude. And where could people find you? After listening to the podcast, maybe see all the nice big bucks that that we see hanging behind, behind you, maybe on, on social media and whatnot.
Yeah. Probably my Instagram's probably where I post the majority of my stuff. I pretty well only use that for hunting things. I don't really put much, life or work things on there very often. So just wait, childs on Instagram. It would probably be the place to find me. Awesome, dude. I appreciate it.
One last question, now that you have that Iowa buck, are you putting in points again for another couple years? Oh yeah. It's I, my buddy and I we deleted all the we sh you know, we brought our cell cams together and put 'em all under my account and we had a big long talk two or three days ago, okay.
We need to delete these cameras off my account so we stop paying for 'em. Yeah, it's time to put a pin in it until, 2028 we can go do this again. And it was a little tough pill to swallow, looking forward to it for so long. But [01:00:00] yeah, we're going back to Iowa for sure. Awesome. I like that dude.
I appreciate it Wade. Everybody go check out Wade. Great dude. He's a killer man. Check him out. Thanks again everybody. See you next week. Antler up.