A few episodes ago on the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast, we each drafted a team of hunters in a mock "Fantasy Draft". One of Parker's picks was a fella named Brett Mashburn. Brett is joining us this week to talk about his extremely aggressive public land hunting style. Brett puts a ton of emphasis on pre/post season scouting when it comes to finding a buck's bedroom. In this episode, he'll explain his scouting and what he's looking for. While Brett definitely values the scouting, accessing the spot is another area of emphasis. According to Brett, when the homework is done and the access is flawless, his style of hunting has led to more opportunities at mature whitetails and overall more encounters with bucks.
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All right, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. Joined here by my buddy, Matthew Reeves and my other buddy, Brett Mashburn. So Matt, you are officially. Uh, it seems like you've talked to [00:01:00] me several times, like officially you are tired of trying to think about deer.
Yes. And think about turkeys at the same time. I was wondering how long it was gonna take you. It, well, it took, you know, my first hunt, but today I actually kinda have had deer on my mind today. Uh, I, I've left the cell camera out and two of my target bucks keep show, have showed up like four different times a day.
Um, one one's completely shed and then one is still holding one side, so I'm thinking about trying to go find the shed or two, you know, during the week. But no, I'm, I'm full blown turkeys as far as what I want to do. Um, so that's, that's been tough. But we're, we're enjoying it, enjoying the season, um, and just trying.
I'm trying to make it too dear season now. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I, I don't, I don't feel like I'm trying to make it to deer season. I feel like I'm pretty well set on how much time do I actually have to Turkey hunt and how can I take full advantage of that time? Um, yeah, [00:02:00] but this is not a Turkey hunting podcast.
We have a Turkey hunting podcast. It's called Limb Hanger. Um, so shameless plug for that. Gonna have a, a new episode rolling out every single week. Um, but in this episode we're talking with Brett Mashburn, south Alabama, and, uh, we're gonna talk about ground hunting, some, uh, rattling tactics, some things that you're working on, Brett, some, just some, some cool stuff.
Now, people may remember I kind of pulled you, you were kind of like my wild card in our draft that we did. Um, I, I, I, I feel like I shocked the world when I, when I said, how about some Brett Mashburn? And the guys were like, I mean, isn't that like one of your friends? Like, isn't that one of Walt's buddies?
You know, um, here's the thing. Brett is an extremely effective whitetail hunter. He thinks about Whitetails 365, and he is incredibly effective at killing 'em in pretty tough areas to [00:03:00] kill whitetails. And not only that, but in the last couple years, been really focusing on, um, doing it from the ground, getting in tight, in thick, um, places where you can't put a tree and also rattling ra rattling for bucks like rattling.
Y'all seen like Texas. Have y'all seen, uh, have y'all seen as, I think it's Earl Dibels Jr. When he is like, rattle for bucks? Somebody listening to this got. And they're rolling right now.
I don't even know who that is. Y'all gotta, y'all gotta look up Earl D's Jr. Oh Lord. Have you not? Have you seen that, Brett? I have. He says, uh, he's basically Earl Ds Jr. Is the one Matt who came up with the whole Ye Oh, okay. That's, I mean, it's, uh, it's, it's pretty funny. They're pretty dang funny. He says, I'm, I'm Earl Dibels Jr.
And I'm a country boy. Um, anyways, I have to, I have digging to it. Yeah. If y'all haven't [00:04:00] listened or watched Earl Dibels Jr. On YouTube, you can. He's got songs on Spotify. It's, uh, it's a country singer. I don't know why my name is, the name is slipping me right now. I'm gonna remember it at some point. Uh, uh, Granger Smith, that's who it.
It's kinda like his little alter ego. Wow. Okay. I know what you're talking about now. What a rabbit trail that was. Um, but we're gonna talk about rattling for bucks. Brett's been doing that, been doing it incredibly effectively, uh, in the last couple years. But Brett, I, I feel like it would be a, uh, disservice if we didn't at least share a little bit about our hunt together in Florida this last weekend.
Um, who do you wanna start it? You can start it, Brett, because, because I think it's fair that, that the, the audience knows your perspective of the whole thing. Then I'll, I'll ask some questions. So, so it's not, you know, [00:05:00] y'all do fighting each other.
Well, I mean, just start it off. It's, it's, uh, on Thursday I roll up, Parker's sleeping in his truck. I had to wake him up. Get 'em going. You know, it's not, it's not false. I was sleeping in there. But no, we, we, we talked for a little bit, went down to a listening spot and Parker heard a goble. I don't, I don't even think I've heard it till like the third time I got what I barely hear.
I have horrible hearing when it comes to hearing go or, or hearing people or hearing whispers. People whisper from six yards away outta a tree. But, um, but this Turkey, I mean, he gobbled early. He's probably one of the earliest, uh, gobbles I've remember, heard, you know, well before normal. Um, like [00:06:00] usually I hear crow, usually when I start to hear crows, when I start to hear goble.
And this was way before that. So we were able to sneak in pretty tight. I think we got 120 yards from the bird, just my guess, somewhere in that area. A hundred, I would say 120 or closer, maybe a little bit closer than that. Yeah. And, and we almost stopped at a couple trees, like, nah, let's go a little further, further further.
We got to the end of this little knob. So the whole, um, this whole hunt, you know, I was gonna be the shooter, Parker was gonna film and so he sat back on the knob and let me go down just in front of him about six yards or so. So when I'm set up on my tree, parker's over my right shoulder and he's up the hill for me a little bit.
And this bird's straight away from us. Kind of have a [00:07:00] thicket between, between, um, him and where we're set up. And there's like a little land bridge, there's a little open spot that if he flies down, he's either going to fly on this road or he's going, he's gonna walk through it to get to us. So we're set up for that and we get set up for a while just versus gobbling his head out.
Just, just hammer. And Parker does this like little super soft call and I'm like, I was like, okay, he's getting his mouth all warmed up, you know? That's cool. And uh, we sitting there hanging out and he's like, he knows we're here. And I said, he knows we're here. I said, I could barely even hear you. I mean, he does this to me.
It almost sounded like a, like a little bubble club, like [00:08:00] feeding, um, little purge and these wines and whistles, how soft they are. That's how soft his tree Yelp was. Mm-hmm. And the gobbler didn't respond to him initially. Maybe 20 seconds later, he made gobbled. So I'm like, Hmm, there's no way this Turkey heard him, but what did I tell you?
You know, I, I'm here, I'm here to learn something, so we're gonna do what he says. Cause I'm not a great Turkey. I'm not a great Turkey hunter. So I was like, well, okay, we'll see what happens. We're gonna do what Parker wants to do. Oh, he's sitting there. Everything's going good. He's staying in a limb it seems like Ever.
Just go one, go one. I'm, I believe Parker did like a lie down tackle or something like that. And, um, I can't remember, did I [00:09:00] like pat leaves or something at the end of that? Make it sound like a, I think you did flew down that, that sounds familiar. Something he, it was, I know it was very, very quickly after that that it all out cause it's kinda running into my last Turkey hunt.
But anyways, not long after that. When hear Turkey, uh, you can hear him flying and he swos up in a tree over my left shoulder, like 22 yards from me. So when he's up in this big old pine, it feels like he's sitting over the top of you. So I'm stuck with this. I'm set up, you know, turn with my right shoulder to the tree.
My left shoulder facing down where I'm thinking now, he's almost behind my left shoulder. So he had had me somewhat twisted and I was fine, but he stayed in a tree forever it seemed like. And he didn't make a noise. And the only thing we did [00:10:00] every once in a while was scratch at the leaps. And after a while, you know, when you sit somewhere for so long, you start getting tired or hurting.
Well, I was sliding down this tree cuz it had a little bit of a bank to it in a roof. I'm like sliding down and feel my back go shshsh. So I'm trying not to make a big movement, but luckily there was a little bit of cover between he and I and I was able, I had to drop my gun to the, to the ground. I got this big old 12 gauge that's super heavy and I had to take my left hand and actually put in the ground to hold myself up.
And a little while later, the bird flies behind us. So he flew to one tree. Now he's flew to his second tree behind us and now he's way behind me. And I can finally move and adjust just the hair, [00:11:00] which was great. And he's sitting there for a while. I think he may have gobbled once. I don't think he gobbled any on that first tree.
I think he just, no, the where he behind this gobbled. And that was a waiting game as well. And he flew to the next tree. And by this time when I got shifted around for that third tree, uh, I think I bumped my camera and it fell over and the batteries died. I can see Parker over there. I'm pretty sure I heard him say that his batteries died.
I'm thinking, crap, crap. We're not even getting no footage of this. So I'm, I got my gun, like chest level. I have a, uh, t cam on the front of my, my gun on the barrel. So I'm thinking I'm going to click this button and then just softly raise my gun and shoot so we can at least get the keel on camera if he [00:12:00] flies out of the tree.
And at this time, I hear Parker mumbling something behind me, not sure what he is saying because I got a tree between me and him. And he starts cutting and this bird just starts gobbling two or three times back to back. And he flew straight down. Soon as he hit the ground, he was right there. I clicked my tap cam about the time I started raising my gun Boo.
He flared down right in front of Parker's beat. And I was just like, so like, oh dang. I was like, I felt like I was like two seconds away of being able to pull the trigger. This bird's just flopping. So what he was mu what I heard Ling was him saying whoever gets his shot needs to shoot because of how difficult this bird and how educated he was.
Which makes [00:13:00] a lot of sense. And then when we got up there, this freaking turkey's got a double beard. Oh. It's like inch and a quarter Spurs just freaking hal of a bird. I measured them. I measured 'em today. Um, one of them's like right, a hair under inch and a quarter and one of them's a hair over inch and a quarter.
I knew they'd be close to inch and a quarter. Yeah, yeah. I got, I mean, the way he looked was like a, just like a osceola with the black wings. Yep. Had them tall, purple, red looking legs, just beautiful birds. It was, it was fun. Sorry, that that's, that's tough. But what were you trying to whisper to him? Per what I was saying to him.
You mumbling what I said. What I said was whoever gets a shot needs to shoot him. Um, because what, [00:14:00] what I, what I, from my perspective, here's what, and I've watched the Theta 360 footage of it, cuz my camera, my main camera died. Um, and I couldn't change the battery out because he was literally like gar oiling over, uh, the whole freaking morning.
And thi and this, yeah, this wasn't just a 20 minute like I fly down. Oh no dude. He stayed up. He stayed up for a while from what I understood. So I would say like, typical fly down would probably be seven 30 in Florida. On, on, on the time zone we were at maybe a little bit 7 35 usually. Yeah. And, and we didn't actually kill him until eight 30 when his feet hit the ground.
Um, but what we was on that bird at six 50, we started moving on him at six 50. So somewhere around there. It was pretty early. Oh yeah, it was, yeah. We started moving on him before seven. Yeah, before [00:15:00] seven. Anyway, so, so the, um, the thing that ha, that I was watching on my, that I wanted to see on my 360 was to make sure that I wasn't just like seeing things like from that perspective where I was at.
What it looks like is Brett is sitting there with the gun in his, like, stuck. Not because he, not for any other reason other than he is just kind of stuck like that because his bird has been. Hovering over him when he flew into that second tree. Uh, and then when he flew to the third tree, he was still like direct line aside on Brett.
And I thought he was just this way. Well, every time he moved I was able to pivot pretty easily cuz Brett was probably on the best tree for the hunt that we thought we were gonna have. I was on probably the more versatile like level ground. Um Yeah. And that, and that's for you to be able to move being the camera man.
Exactly. Yeah. Exactly. So, [00:16:00] but every time the bird moved from tree to tree, I was follow on him, right? So I had my gun, pointed his direction every single time. And so when he finally flew down, when I, when I got him excited, what I knew was gonna have to happen was he was gonna have to get more excited than he was.
He wanted to come down, but I feel like he had, he had done this game before. Potentially, yeah. You know, maybe recently, maybe within the last couple days even, like, he wanted to come down and he believed that there was a hint over there enough to fly over there because of, I, I think the, the more soft, like real, real soft tree Alps is a little more believable for Florida bird.
The Florida HNS that I've heard are not super vocal. Like they're, they're pretty soft. They don't, they don't just make a lot of racket anyway, so when he flew down, he flew down directly in my face, like right in my face, and [00:17:00] he popped that head up real quick. And what I'm looking at is Brett being with the gun on the ground, and it's like, if I get a shot, I'm gonna shoot him because Brett's not gonna be able to make that much of a movement if he flies down right here.
Like, it just, you're not gonna have that amount of time with a Turkey. And so I was just gonna shoot him as soon as he flew down. And if we both shot at, at the same time, then cool. It's your bird or whatever, you know. I don't care. That bird just needed to, he needed to go to heaven that day. And yeah, you worked, you worked too hard to get in those situations to not kill a Turkey.
And that's, you know, anybody I, I hunt with, I say, Hey, this is a group effort. Um, it is. I don't, I don't care who kills the bird, but if it comes to my side, it's gonna die. And I, and I went with the guy one time on his property and we, the goal was for him to kill a Turkey. I was fine not killing Turkey, but he walked right down my gun barrel at 30 yards and I couldn't, [00:18:00] I couldn't shoot him cause I was there for my, you know, for my buddy.
Um, so, but you know, we could keep talking about turkeys, um, Let's try to get into some deer hunting. Let's try to shoot. I wanna hear about, i, I want to hear about this rattling. You know, just a fancy rattle bag on the ground. You know, Brett, is it don't, about that rattle bag? No. Heck no. Not a rattle bag.
Hey, I did find one of those on public this year, uh, just laying in the woods. Is that considered a shed? A modern shed? A plastic rattle back. That's a good, a good win. All right, so a very good win. So this is funny. So I have found a shed, right? I found a shed in Kentucky that I am pretty sure is a, I haven't cut into it to check, but I'm pretty sure it's just a rattling antler, like a plastic rattling ant that's been sitting out there [00:19:00] forever.
No, I swear you gotta take a picture of that. It's so light, like it's so stinking light. I can't, I, I don't know. I think it's gotta be, well, they will dry out and it doesn't have a, uh, it doesn't have a brow tie, so it's almost like it's made for rattling. I don't know. Dude, I found two of those this year on public land laying side by side where somebody had left them in the woods.
Did you think it was a shed? No. Oh. Well, Brett, you, uh, you've been kinda getting into this, like we said, you hunt in South Alabama a lot in Florida, a lot. One thing we know about those places is, uh, it's tough hunting and weather's not super great to you, but also it's super thick. Like it's really stinking thick.
And I imagine, is that kind of what got your wheels turning when kind of dipping into this style of public land, honey?
[00:20:00] Um, yeah. My style as in on the ground. Yeah. Yeah. What kinda your approach to it? I would, I would say that stem from, from all my outta a season scouting, like just, I like to take a deer season, take that information. As soon as deer season is over, I go in and walk every trail I've seen deer on, I'm trying to figure out every detail.
I wanna know everything about the deer in my area. I want to know where they live, where they go. I wanna have every trail that's in a piece of public map. I want to know my piece of public better than five other hunters who are in that same area and put together. So I started noticing that the mature deer were hanging in areas you just could not hunt traditional, like even in a, a saddle, you could not get in a tree.
I mean, it was just, gimme a gimme an [00:21:00] example of like, you started noticing that the mature, like you, you made a, you made a separation there that the mature deer, the places that you were seeing, was this like you following those trails back into these areas? Well, yeah. I mean it was following trails where I've seen 'em, but it was also finding all their sheds in there as well.
And like these bedding areas I like to hunt and bedding areas and not necessarily a bug bed, but an area that the deer seem to prefer to bed in being, uh, thick cutovers that are grown up and just really thick pines, you know, cuz everywhere in Alabama you got everybody's planting pines and you have tons of cutovers on these WMAs where they log.
And a lot of times there's, you know, with small planted pines, you can't get in a tree and if you stand up in 'em, a lot of times you can't see. You had [00:22:00] to get on the deer's level and you can actually see, and some of the stuff and then like cut overs and stuff like that. Obviously most of all the trees are cut and the deer are finding, there's no, I guess, human sense or pressure out in these places.
And that's just where they're going naturally because they're not finding people there. I mean, I've also done that and then a lot of times when I find an area I believe is good, a lot of sheds and stuff, I put cameras on and I like to verify what I think. And between doing that, I've actually learned to be able to trust myself pretty good on certain things.
Explain that. And I've always, I wanna, there's always been places that I'm like, I wish I could hunt this. I would totally hunt this, but I can't.
And there was [00:23:00] a, um, some people I've seen who talked about ground hunting. One guy you had on your show with Lance SMAs on the podcast. I reached out to him some just asking him certain questions and maybe different things to like, sit on, uh, different questions, different people. And also I thought of two things going into the off season a few years ago that I felt like I was lacking in maybe per se, like a week in or something I really needed to work at.
And that was, I was not confident being on the ground and I was not confident in calling. So I told myself that I was going to give, calling a try for a whole year, not just trying once or twice, I'm going to give it a real effort. So I studied up on it, listened to other people, try [00:24:00] to take some things away from them.
I thought I could use myself and I told myself I was really gonna give ground hunting a try, uh, starting in 2021 season. And that's kind of just where it took off. I mean the, the beginnings. Yeah. It's, uh, it, it's, it's so true. If you're gonna hunt the southeast, you kind of have to know how to hunt these kind of places in the heart of 'em, not necessarily on the edges.
And I, I find myself always being on the edges because of several things like self filming. It's hard to sell film from the ground. It's hard to sell film from a tree. It's harder to do it from the ground. And, and so I typically take that, that route. But I know exactly what you're talking about, where you're, I, I always find it on tracks, like after I shoot a deer.
Um, and you kind of follow in his blood trails, especially if you get some of those longer blood [00:25:00] trails, man, you start weaving in and outta this stuff and you're like, crap, dang, I didn't even know this was here. And you're just going in and out of it. Like there, there's a gigantic rub. I obviously didn't kill.
The best buck in here. And then you go a little bit further and you're like, golly, look at this crossing where all these 15 trails crossed together. It's like when you shoot a deer and you go on the blood trail, it's a magic carpet or like a, like a magical, uh, trail. What's the, the yellow brick road? It's the yellow brick road.
And it just leading you to all these places. You're like, how have I not been here? Um, and it's because I think like what you kind of talked about, we train ourselves not to go into those places. Like, Hey, this would be really cool if, if I could hunt it. But it's hard to convince yourself. What are some of the things that you did to convince yourself to really give it a shot?
Like it, was there something that you heard, something you saw, um, something that you learned that you're like, okay, [00:26:00] I've absolutely got to try this. I mean, several things. Let me clarify something. Everything that I'm talking to you about is 100% bow hunting and 100% public. Alright. It's not gun hunting.
I'm bow hunting pretty much 95% of the time and 95% of the time public land. So I'm just sitting that. Yeah. But yeah, that,
I just feel like just trying to get better and I've seen other people who have had success doing it and like you said, I found other people's deer that were like dead in certain areas maybe that they didn't find. And it is really a telltale sign cuz a lot of times they'll like to run back to their bed and mm-hmm.[00:27:00]
Uh, you can find some really cool stuff by going on blood trails, seeing where they go and. You know, just find out exactly where they live and you're also right about, you don't want to go in there and blow it up. And that's one thing. I still don't go in there to blow it up. That's why I put so much emphasis on at off-season scouting.
Mainly post-season scouting. You want to scout that area before season, so you know it like the back of your hand, you know, where all the um, um, X marks are spot type trails where there's 2, 4, 5, 6 trails coming together. You want to find them in spots that you can surgically enter without disturbing too many deer to be able to hunt is kind of what I'm looking for.
Like maybe something that's just 50, 60 yards again. And I've tracked all [00:28:00] them trails out and I'm like, okay, well here's how I have to enter. Cuz access is key if you're gonna do this as well. Cause I mean, if they know you're there, it's, it's game over. So I'm doing all the work during the off season. Do what?
You're an, you're answering all my questions right now. I'm not even having to answer stuff. This is great, but I want to know all these trails. I'm walking all these places that I think are been there. It's like the places you're hunting, you're like, I don't want to go in there and blow my deer out. Maybe I have a hundred acre lease or something.
I don't want to blow all these deer out. Well, I got maybe a three quarter square mile area that I really hone in on. I really wanna know everything, so I don't wanna blow the deer out of there. So I'm doing all this soon. The season is over when all the signs fresh. Leak covers out. You can see it [00:29:00] easy.
The weather's nice. You can really get out there and figure things out. And yes, it will not apply the open end day of season, but as your season progresses and pre rep starts to come in and you know, the majority of your season, all this is going to apply. And finding it during the off season so you don't blow it up during season, I feel like is, is key of what I'm doing.
And I'm, I'm not finding many spots I can, I feel like I can ground hunt without blowing a lot of deer out. So I have three spots right now that I feel like I can really get in Deer hunt on the ground and do it, you know, three or four times a year and be safe with that. And I'm judging on which one to go just by the wind.
I'm not going on an off wind because [00:30:00] I'm bow hunting. I'm trying to get these deer close and typically the area I'm hunting as well to, I usually don't see the deer till within 30 yards of me, so it's really hard. Like the first year I got my butt, whoa, I seen tons of deer, but I couldn't quite seal the deal.
Like I had 'em, like I need two more steps here, or three yards there. I'm like so close in 21 the first year, and I figured out kinda what I needed to do a little better. Um, I'm probably going over and beyond your question. No, it was rolling. Here's what we're laughing about. We were laughing, laughing because like we both will have the hand, so for people who don't know, you probably don't know this, uh, we have these little hand raising gestures that we use on Zoom for whoever has the next question, right?
And like Matt will put it [00:31:00] up and then you'll keep talking a little bit more. Matt's like, well, fricking crap. You answered, you answered that one. So Matt takes his down. So I put mine. Literally, as soon as I put it up, you said exactly what I was, the question I was about to ask, and I was like, okay, well, uh, do you want to know more about saddle hunting?
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[00:32:00] Here's that. Um, but, uh, that one of the things that I want you to maybe talk, expand a little bit more on, um, Is the, the conditions in which you hunt these areas like this. Um, you mentioned surgically, you said you wanna surgically insert yourself into those positions. And so obviously this can't be the type of place that you hunt a whole lot.
Like when you, when you say that you have just a few of these spots where this actually works, and how often are you actually hunting those spots and like, are you waiting for the perfect days to do it or are you just like, Hey, I have this day to hunt here. I'm gonna hunt here. So for me, I'll, I, I like to run like these areas.
For instance, this area, just one particular area where I [00:33:00] killed a deer on the ground this year, I started probably. It originally started in 19 when I found a big shed in there, and then in 20 I put a non cellular camera and let it run all year. So I had a whole year's worth of information. I pulled that camera, took that information, and basically try to figure out when the best time of the year to be in there, or maybe what conditions the deer were in there the most.
And so what I found is around the rut, I found a two week span around the rut where the, the, the bucks that I'm after really using this, these trails, there's, there's actually six trails in that particular spot that all come together, and they're cruising [00:34:00] in and out of it a lot of times, two to three times a day.
And so I seen that.
Hmm. I just lost my focus, but so I, I seen that, so I figured out a two week period. And also I noticed like for Pines, for instance, like when bad weather's coming in, like really stormy, rainy and windy conditions, the deer are just in there. It's like they're just funneled pushed in those kinds. It's like where they want to be.
And it's also what I capitalized on, that deer I shot in there this year was actually earlier than rut, but it was in the right condition. So I'm only hunting it that two week period. I feel like the deer, I feel like I have a chance to shoot the type of deer that I'm after, which is a three and a half year [00:35:00] old.
Or older dear is kind of what I'm aiming for. I say, you got your hand up there. So Brett. Yeah. Yeah. I've wanted to kind of jump into, I've got a scenario, so like I'm a listener. I'm interested in wanting to get an into ground honey. Um, we've covered a lot of, a lot of good topics and I've learned a lot from this.
So I just want to kind of throw out a, a scenario of a spot I have and kind of get your take on it. Um, I hunted this place about two years ago. It's ride alongside a big thicket that they like to bet in and chase in. And I'd hunt the edge, like Parker talked about, and that we talk about all the time. We, we hunt edges religiously, like that's what we believe in.
But a side of me said that I needed to get in this, the middle of that thicket. And I, I had shot a deer and walked through there, you know, and saw a bunch. A bunch of stuff in there, but it wasn't, it wasn't a pond thicket, it was just an old natural re, you know, thicket that'd [00:36:00] probably been, I don't know, four or five years old.
Not, not stupid, crazy. So say, I'm gonna go in there bow hunting with a bow, you're very limited on say, you know, shooting lanes, what you can shoot through in these thickets, are you finding kind of an, a little bit of an opening inside of these thickets to be able to sit up on, or are you just setting up on these trails?
Yeah, so it is a little bit of an opening and I'm not just setting up on a, a trail, I'm setting up on multiple trails coming together where, yeah, I'm going, I'm going to increase my odds by three to four times, depending on how many trails are there. But I also run a camera in there for one whole year to get the information I need.
To use it for the next year to know kinda what I need to know going into that. And I would also suggest to [00:37:00] get out there right now and scout it all and figure out where that opening is. And once you find that spot, you really want to hunt, start mapping your trail, your deer trails and figure out how you can come, how you can access that spot from wherever you had to park and uh, what winds you had to have and access it where the wind's gonna be.
You know, you're gonna be walking into the wind. But yeah, that's the keys. You gotta figure that out now. I like how you, you talked about putting a camera out for a whole year. I've, I've, this is my second year doing that and it's, it's like you said, you can find that span of when there's deer in there the most, and say you had three or four cameras out each year, you're gaining three or four new spots for the following year that you have.
Yeah. You know, down to the t uh, information on, on what's in there. But you, you, you [00:38:00] talked earlier about, you know, you, you wanted to set aside a year to really focus on ground hunting as well as, as calling. And I, myself, I, I mean, I, I may carry around a little bleak can, you know, the dough and Esther can just, just, cause that's, you know, that's been talked about in the outdoor industry, you know, have, have your dough, Esthers can, whatever.
But I want you to kind of like, you know, tell us your. What you first started out calling with that you'll never call with again. Uh, I hope, I hope you have something like that and then, you know, get into what you found, found out works here in Alabama, because I know Alabama's totally different than a Midwest state where you can be a lot more aggressive and it's kind of how we talk with turkeys.
You know, the calling can be different per state. So, you know, let's, let's jump into that and kind of give us a rundown of how, how you went about it. So, I guess [00:39:00] one thing I used a long time ago was like this rattling bag and, uh, just think back on watching all these Midwest hunters or they
crashing these horns. Like, like just thinking about it now. It's like when you originally hit 'em, it's so loud. You probably just ran everything off, but, right. Um, here what, what I found that works. For me, uh, what I use to rattle with is I actually found sheds off of this property the year before and 2020 2021.
So every year when I find fresh sheds that are dropped, I use them. If they're somewhat in the right size around that, I would say 90 to a hundred inch deer. You know, somewhere around there. Yeah. Maybe a three year old deer. Real quick, Brett, three kids real quick. Have you ever found the sheds and rattled in [00:40:00] that deer and killed him?
So, no. But I did find, I did find the Deere's. The shit is that I was using to call in these bucks in 2021. I actually killed that buck. I didn't rattle him in, but I killed him. And I was calling in all his buddies with his sheds. That's cool. That is cool. That that'd be a cool one. So I mean, that's what I'm looking for for rattling horns is some fresh sheds within two years or so.
That's not, definitely not some bleach. You want to find 'em pretty quick. I just feel like it sounds really realistic. And that's the horns. There's deer hat in there. So I mean, it doesn't get much more realistic than that. And I have a grunt call, matter of fact, I think I have it right here. I have a, I think it's called a hatty bow or something.
[00:41:00] Grunt call. You can blow in one end and the other end you can turn around and you can suck in. And I really like that. The part where, Suck in cuz it's a real light grunt. Quit laughing Parker. It's a real light grunt. It's kinda like tricky hunting with your soft calling. How it sounds so realistic. Well, the softer part on this is just really dear.
I mean, it just speaks dear. So I like using, I, I think Parker Parker wants you to suck on it. Give us a, uh, an example. Yeah. Listen, I don't care how old I am, if I ever stop laughing when I hear a man saying, then there's another sign that you can suck on it. And I prefer the sun. You suck for the softer stuff.
I mean, like, maybe, maybe I just have the maturity of a 12 year old. I don't know. But [00:42:00] God, I can't be the only person that thought that was hilarious. It, it gets him every time. Brett, don't feel bad. It's not this, you. So, I mean, when I started out with it, like just rattling was like with a bag or something, super loud and obnoxious.
Uh, always from a elevator position. And then when you did your grunt call, you, I would always do more of a traditional like you see in the Midwest. Cause that's basically all you would see back in the day. Like when we were growing up, I would hear this loud grunts or like these crazy grunt roars. Or you just, these extended grunts.
And what I've found that's really, really worked is just really soft grunts. More like a, just a tendon grunt where you just burp, burp, burp, you know, nothing real loud a lot of times. And, uh, [00:43:00] it really works well on the ground and in those thick places, cuz that's naturally where the deer are going to be doing that more often.
And it just sounds more natural. You have to remember in a tree, you're in a tree. So that could potentially not be very natural. So I've, I've run it up deer from the tree, but I've only rattled up one deer past two years in the tree. But the majority of my colon is really working on the ground. And I think a lot of that has to do with the areas I'm in.
If you're not, I mean, it's, if you're not calling in the right areas, you're not going to get a reaction. Being in some more thicker stuff around bedden areas where a deer naturally has [00:44:00] to come into an area to actually see that deer's kind of like Turkey hunting where you're hiding the hen, but it's kinda like you're, you're hiding this dope.
You got just somewhat think about like that where they actually have to come in to investigate, but you also have to be by that thicker or those bed areas to really work. Cause if they can see down there, they're just like a Turkey going to hang up, they're going to look from afar. You may not even know they're there.
So, and the cutovers and the thicker pines on the ground, it's like it really works, but it don't always work. Just, I would say maybe 15% of the time it actually works. So that sounds like a low number, but. When it works. I mean, it is awesome, especially when you're trying to self them. Cuz you can start your camera, [00:45:00] do your rattling or you're grunting, whatever you're about to do.
And your camera's already rolling, you're ready? You know, like you have a 360. I don't have one, I just have an action cam and some stuff. So I had to kind of get my stuff rolling a little earlier. But, um, he, it also works the best in pre and ru Go ahead. I wanna make sure I'm getting this right. So you said 15, 15% of the time it works, like, or you gave it that number are, so first off, I don't think that, I would not call that a, a low number for sure.
When you're talking about deer, you know, like any, any percentage is, is a pretty high percent cuz you just never can that I, I know what you're talking about though. Like there are certain things that I do. Then I'm like, I could probably put, put a percentage on how many times this works, but that's also being pretty conservative with how many, like, I'm gonna be in those [00:46:00] areas in the, in the timeframes where these things are gonna work the best.
Right. So, um, I, I, I wanna know, Brett, you've hunted a lot in Missouri, kind of Midwestern type areas, and you've hunted a lot obviously in Alabama. Is there a, is there a drastic difference in the way that you call from one region to the other or what you feel like the deer do from one region to the other in those, in those thicker areas?
Mm, I don't call any different. Maybe I rattle and maybe grunt a little louder in the Midwest because it's a little more open. So you're wanting to reach a deer that you may not be able to see, but it's just at a sight, so you have to be a little louder. Right? Which makes a lot of sense. But when you're in a thicket, you can only [00:47:00] see 30 yards.
You don't wanna blow their ears off. You want to sound realistic. Um, so I don't call a whole lot different, but if I do, it's a little louder in the middle Midwest.
Um, I would say though, like when I'm rattling, I've actually tried rattling in grunin through that the whole year. Cause when I told myself I was actually going to give this a real try, like calling, I'm going to try all the way through season. I want to see how the deer react. If I can get any deer to do anything before I just completely just debunk.
Because I've just never really had anything work with it very well. Um, so I did an early season. I had some do [00:48:00] with some phones out feeding. They just did some soft little grunts and they didn't really even pay much attention to Big Dough. She picked her head up and moved her ears around, went right back to feeding.
I hit it again. She looked and just kept feeding it like it did not bother her at all, just doing soft grunts. Uh, but when you're doing this, when you're doing this, it sounds like you're expecting like a pretty quick, a pretty quick result. Like if it's gonna work, it's gonna work quick, right? Like is that what I'm kind of putting together?
Pretty much. Yes. So when you're on the ground, it's when I'm been on the ground, it's happen quick. So it's nothing, it's not any of this like sit and wait 30 minutes and no or an hour and he's gonna come through at some point looking no. So what I actually have been doing, [00:49:00] being I'm bo hunting on the ground, when as soon as I, I've had him while I'm still calling, come running in on me and like bust me like I can't move.
I have one, two years ago come running in so fast that when I heard him, I looked up, he was like 20 yards and just stopped and I'm froze and he's in there just looking around and I can't move. And I have one this year I called, I heard something before I could put the antlers down, look over to my left and there's a.
Small buck standing 10 yards from me. I'm like, froze, and the deer actually gets out from me where I had enough time to set my antlers down and get ready. But normally when I rattle, I try not to do it longer than like 30 seconds, which seems like [00:50:00] a long time. But when you're actually doing it, uh, 30 seconds comes by real quick.
And as soon as I set the antlers down, I have my hand on the bow with my release clip in the ready position with tension basically on my string. And I, I count to 60 seconds because typically when that happens, they're going to be there within 60 seconds. I've had 'em take a little longer before I've had 'em take almost two minutes, but that was very, very rare.
So I had to be ready. As soon as I see legs, I'm draw back and I may not know what the deer is yet, but I have to draw back before it gets right up on me so I don't get busted. And what I figured out between the first year and the second year is back cover is a hundred times more important than front [00:51:00] cover.
I mean, picture it like this, you have something in front of you, which I could demonstrate to y'all being we're on Zoom, but you're behind it if you move. It's kind of like being skyline. Yeah. They can't see, uh, depth perception Well, but when you're behind it and you move, you have light behind you so they can see you move a lot easier to whether you're in front of it and they have bad depth perception and it's real dark, thick.
There's not the light getting through there and you move. They could tell something happened, but they don't know if that's a limb just blowing from the wind because you're not skylin and they have bad depth perception. So you're better off having a lot of cover behind you than in front of you. And that was, that was key.
What's your, from one year to the next, what's your, uh, like what's your sitting position? Right? So are you just [00:52:00] sitting there, do you have like a gobbler chair or a seating cushion? Like what are you using something similar? Yeah, so the first year I used my Predator platform and just hung it real low so I didn't have to buy anything else.
I just hung it real low on the tree, like I foot off the ground and I have like one of those little cushions that's got a handle where you can hold it. Mm-hmm. A little square key cushion. And I just ran it over to post, so it's sitting on top of the platforms. So I had a little bit of cushion. That's what I used the first year and what I found that I really like the second year is actually a, I believe it's some type of like rock climbing chair, and it folds up into a bag that's about a foot long and about six inches around.
It folds up real small, so you could just throw it on your back or throw it in your bag and be real light, put it [00:53:00] together when you get there, and it doesn't have size to it, but it's got a back, it's got like these little holders in it, so you have nothing around your arms. You just basically have a back that's below your shoulder.
So if you had to turn in the chair and draw, your draw arm will always be above the back of it, so it's not restricting you in any type of way, and you're only sitting maybe 12 inches off the ground. And works out really, really well. It's super light. So I transitioned to that, um, this year and I also practiced shooting, you know, like that as well during the off season to make sure there wasn't anything going to affect my shooting or make sure I could draw my bow back and just make sure everything was good.
I tried turning in a chair and shoot for different positions to try to work out any kinks beforehand. [00:54:00] God, this is awesome. I'm you, you're gonna have me sitting on the ground and a thicket waiting on a 62nd result. Now it, now say, it say it doesn't happen within that 60 seconds, are you waiting a certain amount of time before you call again?
Uh, are you repositioning, kinda No, I'm not repositioning. I am, I will. Tried to recall basically like every hour. Yeah. Uh, just depending, just really, it just really de depends kind of on what you want to do. But if the weather is like primo, like super cold, you know, the deer's out running, I might do it a little earlier.
I might do it 30 minutes or 45 minutes. And it definitely seems to work the best the first two hours of the [00:55:00] morning for the last 30 minutes. A lot. I have had it work during the middle of the day as well, but it seems to be the best for me. You know, just maybe what I'm doing or the way I'm hunting, but seems to be the best in the mornings and usually the first two hours.
So as soon as I can see good enough to shoot with my bow. I'm ra Yeah, because typically that's gonna be the primo time, and then I'll probably do it 30 minutes later on that first one, and then maybe an hour later. Yeah. I've, I've noticed a lot of times, like early morning walking in, I'll walk in on like a buck chasing a dough pretty hard in the dark, you know, grunting doing this thing, and then right there within that first hour of daylight, you know, he's, he's in there grunting, you know, pushing those around kind of deal.
Mm-hmm. Uh, so that, [00:56:00] that, you know, solidifies exactly what you're saying, why, why they're going there. I think they're, you're catching them, you know, they're getting a little too excited and they're staying out a little longer, you know, into the mor from, you know, early morning in the dark to early morning with a little bit the daylight, and you're able to capitalize on their vulnerability right there.
Yeah. And I'm also, pretty much, when I'm ground hunting, I'm in their bedroom essentially. Like I'm where they want to be. Like, they may not be right there, but I'm around it to where when I rattle, I'm probably reaching a couple bucks, you know? Yeah. I've had, I've had multiple, I've had more than one come in before.
Um, yeah. And that, that goes to show you, you know, when you're calling, you don't know what's in the area or what's, what's gonna walk by within that time, or how far away these deer were when they heard it. Cause you know, these deer aren't just stationary, they're constantly moving, [00:57:00] especially in a thicket where they feel safe.
Um, so kind of what you said, you know, they're pretty active first thing in the morning. You get it. But like, you know, say an I where you go to call again, there may be a totally different deer coming through that hasn't, e hasn't heard your calling sequence yet, and then here's it, and hey, it's game on.
Yep. I think the most I've ever called up in one day was three different bucks. Uh, two of 'em come in together and then a hour later I, I rattled again and called in a totally different buck. And all these deer were deer that I was going to shoot. And the two that come in, I was drawed back. I needed him to take two steps and the last one that come in was a, a nice butt.
And he stayed just behind some kind of, some grass stuff growing up. I need him to make a two yard, [00:58:00] two yards over to get my shot on him. God. So there's a lot of heartache in it as well. Like you get so close, you'll get busted. There's a lot of heartache can come with, it's not easy. It's not for to faint of heart.
You have to. Like when I get home from ground huntings, cause some days I'll sit there all day and it mentally wears on you when you're bow hunting because the whole time I'm hunting, the riser is in my hand and my release is clicked on the whole time I'm sitting there like you just had to be mentally strong.
Like probably like, I wasn't with the Turkey, but I was deer hunting. You had to really be mentally strong and sit there and just be ready because when one comes in, in that particular area that I'm hunting, like, like I said, it's 30 yards or less. When you see 'em, you have to get drawed back. It's super hard to get drawed back when they're in there [00:59:00] because a lot of times they're just walking at a steady pace.
They're not feeding around or you know, walking. So the chances of them stopping and maybe looking around or giving you a couple seconds to get draw back, it's, it's slim. So, I mean, it's not for to faint a heart. It will break your heart and it's mentally tough, but you can do it. It's, it's definitely sounds doable.
I mean, the more you, the more content that comes out about it. I mean, you kinda get, I, I, I tried it a couple times this year, um, during bow season, and I mostly had the heartbreak. Um, I got busted several times on that one hunt. I don't know, by, I don't know what by, it was just like, Matt, I don't know if you remember that day when I went out and I sat on the ground.
And I was like, screw this by like 30 minutes after daylight. I was like, it's a [01:00:00] perfect, perfect day. And I'm out here sitting on the ground, you know, beautiful morning and I'm, I'm walking around at seven o'clock, what am I doing? I remember it. God, I was like, I felt like I ain't never hunted a deer in my life.
I got busted like five times before daylight. It was just like, it was bad, man. And I thought I was, I, I, I know a lot about this area, Brett, like I've hunted here a lot and I thought I was surgically inserting myself into the right area. Like I hadn't hunted the place all season. It's like, it's a freaking cold front coming through and it's a beautiful, clear morning.
Like ev all the history I have with this area, this is gonna be a great day for deer movement. I wasn't, how about you? When I was not wrong that it was a great day for deer movement. Um, but it was a r it was a better day for deer. Moving away from me is, is more what it seemed like. And I don't know, [01:01:00] like I, I was really paying he heavy attention to the thermals and to the wind direction.
Like, I don't hunt this spot unless the wind direction is correct. And it was, it was right that day. I don't, it was something about me going into that, the heart of that where I usually go more perimeter, like going into the heart of the area really dang messed me up. It messed me up real bad on that day.
Ha. Had you scouted that? Absolutely. Absolutely. I, I knew this whole place. Okay. Yeah. I know. I thought I was gonna, I thought I was gonna catch you slipping, man. No, man. No. I knew I've, I know this whole, I've hunted it for. I don't know, four years now. It's about 200 and something acre piece of public that's there.
And it's Brett, it's the spot that I was telling you that, um, looks very similar to the videos that I've seen of the deer that you've killed. Um, Matt, [01:02:00] it's the place where I had that cell camera at. Gotcha. Right. So it's like, you can see it, you can see the pine thicket back there in it. Brett, you got your hand raise.
So how, how did these deer bust you? Explain that. I don't know. Like, did they wind you? Did they come from behind you? No, they came from in front of me. They were in front of me and I would see 'em, they would just run in and then run out like they'd leave. So I was like, well, crap, maybe I need to change my position a little bit.
So I kind of moved over just a hair to where I was maybe a little bit further back trying to get it to where the, I could get 'em when they kind of come into the opening a little better and had another one come in and do the same exact thing. Um, I mean, just real quick with that in mind, you know, besides having the great back cover, another I guess tip I figured out, um, [01:03:00] that just come to mind was between my first year hunting that area to my second year had to completely move my setup.
Um, because I had a few of the main trails when the deer come in. They were like quartering towards me and I would always seem to get busted. So I, I had to take all that knowledge as well from me hunting it first year and figure out how could I set up where, when the deer come in, they're not quartering to me, they're not walking straight to me, but they're walking more parallel with me, per se, like more broad side or walking away from me.
Like something where their eyes aren't as focused to the area that, that I'm at. Mm-hmm. I had to, had to figure that out as well, the hard way, which is, you know, something maybe to keep in mind when you're trying to find that right spot to, uh, set up at or when you do find a spot, [01:04:00] just think about all those things and yeah, I just took a bunch of deadfall on it.
It wasn't a perfect, it wasn't a perfect spot to set up when I first did it, but I took a bunch of deadfall. And I stacked up and made it where I had great back cover, took all those dead limbs and dead logs and then just, uh, saplings and stuff like that and put in there and just made my back cover where I needed it.
Did you also, um, did you also add any, like, are you using any front cover at all? The only thing I use her front cover was this, like little burnup pine I laid on, there was a one big tree right here and I laid kinda in a 45 across the front of me, and then there was a decent size log that was about three foot long that I leaned up on the other tree.
Yeah, like maybe two tiny [01:05:00] 40 fives in front of me. Yeah. But not really at all, any cover in front of me besides what other trees that are naturally in there. Yeah. Man, I, I, I think we covered a lot right here in this little short amount of time, talking about finding the spot, putting yourself in there, setting the spot up, things to use to, to make a little bit more doable.
Uh, man, I feel like we covered a whole lot. Um, I do know that, um, Brett, you, like I said, I I chose you for, for my team, right? Uh, and that's for good reason. Like a lot of these, a lot of these, um,
Brett, Brett is the real deal. That's how, that's how I'm trying to say this. Uh, Brett's not out there to get famous. Brett's not out there to do a whole lot of, um, whatever. Like, like, but Brett is a Wiley freaking [01:06:00] woodsman. I've watched him in the Turkey woods looking at Deer sign. Um, he's all over the place.
And one of the things that I have. Been really impressed by is, Brett, is your note taking, like taking these notes from the woods, all the, like you were able to, you were able to go through Matt, I don't know if you noticed this, but he was going through like that year I saw like three, and that year I saw like, Hmm.
Six or whatever. He's got it all written down and I think Brett, what, what, what made you start doing that? And did you start doing it whenever you were doing this more like surgical procedure style of honey? Yeah, basically. So just, I've heard other people talk about just writing things down and looking at it later and I just, that was something that in interested me that I wanted to do and I was kind of two years wanting to do it and I didn't.
[01:07:00] Um, so 2019 and 20, I really would like to wrote stuff down, but you know, How we are, we just post stuff to the back burner. I did do it, I did mornings, afternoons, I did this for stand hunting and then I did a separate column for ground hunting, morning afternoons. Then basically when I got done with the hunt, I put how many doughs, how many bucks I sang, and then basically at the end of the year I put like the total numbers of sits.
I had total number of just deer. And then I kind of just did that with how many deer did I see per sit And I, you know, it's pretty simple. And as you go through, you'll find more stuff that you may want to add to the list that you can, but you know, those are the few things that I've wrote down and just kept up with, um, a hundred percent from 21 last year.
And this. [01:08:00] What, what would you say, um, from o obviously I would imagine you, you saw some pretty good numbers from ground hunting versus Stan hunting. Was, were the numbers like drastically different of the number of deer that you were seeing? And also was it different from the amount of mature deer that you were seeing?
So just 2021, for instance, I felt like the number of deer I seen or see it
may have been a little bit more, but pretty equal to, to my sand. But what I did notice was the buck numbers [01:09:00] skyrocketed. Like a big difference in how many books I seen versus doze when it come to ground hunting like it was, I went from staying hunting or seeing, you know, majority dos to when I'm on the ground, I'm seeing majority bucks.
That makes a lot of sense. I mean, getting up, getting up into the cover, getting up into where bucks are gonna be at, not necessarily high deer traffic areas, right? Like is that kind of how it usually works out? Like where you find that the most mature deer at it's, that's not really around the population.
Well, I would say, uh, where I'm finding mature deer ass. Where, where others aren't, huh? Yeah. Where the least amount of human presence. So it's not necessarily, that could be, that could be a mile back. That could be, that could be the first boot [01:10:00] plot on the left, on the walk-in, you know, just you had to put your home, you had to do the work and put your time in to have that, to figure that out.
Yeah. To find those quote unquote honey holes. Yeah, I mean that's, that's kind of what we're looking for here. Do some numbers with y'all just to entertain me. 2021 Alabama public. 106 hours of off season scouting. I did 45 total. 6 75 deer Equaled out to be 1.6 deer per set. Uh,
deer from a tree. 48, 27 bucks. So majority dose. When I ground hunted, I did [01:11:00] six morning hunts on the ground and three afternoon hunts. Seen 11 bucks and six dose, huh? Majority in the morning. Every one of 'em in the morning. I didn't see nothing. The three afternoons interesting. Um, I had 2021, I had eight opportunities.
What I'm labeling opportunity is a three and a half year old or older, within 40 yards of me. How many opportunities? Eight. Eight. Eight opportunities. And then 2022. This past year, I had 89 hours of off season scouting, 60 miles per Alabama. For Florida, I had 58 hours and 32 [01:12:00] miles off season. I did 30 total hunts in Alabama and I sing 30 deer.
So as you can see, the numbers drop. That's one deer per sip. And I put that towards, there's so much outta state pressure now that there's probably more outta staters hunt than local people, the public. Hmm. But I seen on the ground,
I seen 11 bucks on the ground and zero do, and I hunted the exact same six mornings and three afternoon. Hmm. And then I had seven opportunities last year. So out of in Alabama, out of six? Out of 6, 6, 6 [01:13:00] mornings, three evenings, you had seven opportunities on the ground or that seven opportunities altogether for the whole year.
Okay, gotcha, gotcha. Yeah, but I seen 10 bucks and six morning hunts. Gosh. And then, so here's the crazy numbers. Florida public six morning hunts, I seen 10 and nine bucks, six afternoons, nine, two bucks, 2.5 deer per sit, a total of $19 and 11 bucks. And 12. Six. You like that 11 number on bucks, don't you? You just gonna keep seeing 11 bucks.
It's crazy. Seem way more deer in Florida than I did in Alabama. Well, we need to be moving all them non-residents over to Florida or over? Yeah, over to Florida. Florida's great. Yeah, I think y'all go. [01:14:00] Y'all go. Florida's the best deer hunting in the southeast. Go on down. Well Brett, man, I appreciate you coming on.
Yeah. We're, uh, We're running up here on time and we gotta, I, I don't know if you're Turkey hunting in the morning, but I'm Turkey hunting in the morning. I think Matt's Turkey hunting in the morning. I'm definitely not. I ain't gotta work. You gotta go make that money. Somebody's gotta work. Yep, that's right.
It ain't gonna be me tomorrow. That's gonna be you. All right, Brett, thanks for coming on, buddy. Hey guys. Thanks for listening to this week's episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. You can keep up with Southern ground hunting by following us on Facebook or Instagram or subscribing to the YouTube channel, and you can be sure to check us firstname.lastname@example.org to pick up some of our merch, read some blog articles and all that good stuff.
I truly hope you enjoyed this week's episode, and we'll see you here again next week. Remember that God gave you dominion [01:15:00] over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the earth. So go out and exercise that dominion. We'll talk to you next week.