April Whitetail Checklist w/ Sam Bilhorn of Whitetail Partners

Show Notes

It's April, and that means many outdoorsmen and women in Wisconsin have fishing and turkey hunting on the brain. But wait! Don't forget about those whitetail chores! April is a great month to wrap up some of the major projects on your deer hunting ground and get yourself in a great position to tag a mature buck next fall. But do you know how to capitalize on this time of year to better your deer hunting?

In this episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast, Josh talks with Sam Bilhorn about what he thinks serious whitetail hunters should do in April to stack the odds in their favor next fall. Sam is a whitetail habitat consultant with extensive experience helping his clients maximize their properties for hunting mature bucks. Tune in to hear Sam's April checklist and pick up a ton of great deer habitat knowledge along the way!

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Connect with Josh and The Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast on Instagram.

Connect with the How to Hunt Deer Podcast on Instagram.

Connect with  Whitetail Partners on Instagram,  Facebook or online.

Check out the Whitetail Partners Learning Center for tons of awesome information about deer habitat improvement and hunting. 

Show Transcript

Dan Johnson: [00:00:00] Go Wild is a free social community created for and by Hunters. This means that unlike mainstream social media, your trophy pictures won't be censored. They're encouraged. As you spend time on Go Wild. You will earn awesome rewards such as gift cards, free swag, and big discounts on brands like Garmin and Vortex.

You will even earn $10 just for signing up. Visit, download, go wild.com and sign up today.

Josh Raley: What is going on everyone? Welcome back to another episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast, which is brought to you by Tcam. This is your home for all things outdoors in the Badger State, and I am your host, Josh Raley. Hope you're doing well this week as we speak. I am sitting down in my, uh, in my studio here and [00:01:00] just got done with an entire day of honey Do chores.

Uh, now normally I wouldn't be super excited about that, but I'm pumped about it today because I had a really, really productive day, got my work done pretty quick. Uh, was able to move on to doing some things for the wife, which is going to set her up for success because I. Leave on Friday. So when you're listening to this, I'll be, you know, three days away from heading out for, uh, my Turkey hunt in Iowa, then making my way over to Wisconsin.

As soon as that Wisconsin tag is, uh, is uh, is good soon as the season A or period A opens of the Turkey season. And man, I can't wait. I'm super pumped. Uh, can't wait to get out of here. So I'm gonna keep this, uh, intro really, really short today because I'm going to jump off of here, edit this show, upload a bunch of other shows, hopefully tonight, get those knocked out and out of the way.

That way tomorrow I can turn my attention towards packing and all of [00:02:00] that. But, uh, yeah. Hey, we do have a great episode in store for you today. I was able to catch up with Sam Bill. From Whitetail Partners. Again, Sam's been on the show a bunch of times, so if you haven't heard some of those previous episodes, you need to go back and check 'em out.

I'll link those in the show notes of this episode so that you can go and check those out. We've done a bunch of really good episodes, but today we kind of talk about a an April white tilt checklist for where you hunt. Now, that may look a little bit different from you. Maybe you're a guy that owns land.

Maybe you're just leasing land. Maybe you're hunting that particular spot by permission only, or maybe you're hunting public. So we cover a lot of different things though that are relevant to any whitetail hunter, and I think most of us probably. If we're serious about deer hunting, we probably dream about having a place that we can have a little bit of control and a place that we can, you know, do a little bit when it comes to, um, taking care of the habitat, improving our hunting through [00:03:00] habitat manipulation and that kind of thing.

So if that's your thing, that's what this episode is all about. So you're gonna want to hang around for that. Now, before that episode though, I do want to give a big shout out to the partners of this show. Uh, guys, these partners not only help me, uh, do this show week in and week out, but they also help me do amazing trips like I'm about to do.

I'm leaving on Friday, I'll be gone for almost two weeks, Turkey yaning, which is amazing to have that kind of flexibility. And while I'm there, you better believe I'm gonna have my tact camps on hand. I'm gonna have the 6.0 mounted on my shotgun. I'm gonna have another 6.0 mounted on a Bindi clamp. I'm gonna have my old 5.0 probably set up out in the decoys somewhere, which is gonna be.

Hopefully getting some pretty awesome footage of, uh, of a gobbler or two coming in during this trip. But guys, right now, Tica has an awesome sale going on. They've got what they're calling the Ultimate Turkey package. You can get a 6.0 camera, a barrel mount, and an extra battery for just [00:04:00] 300 bucks. That means you're gonna save $50 on that purchase.

And I can personally vouch for the quality of their cameras and of their mounts and adapters. I love them and I'm really excited. Actually, I just ordered, uh, two more 6.0 cameras, how much I like 'em, and, uh, should be getting those in tomorrow. So gonna get those bad boys in, get the cards in 'em, get 'em formatted, get 'em charged up.

And I should have an entire fleet of cameras going up to Iowa and then on to Wisconsin with me. So go check out their products tcam.com. Grab yourself the Ultimate Turkey package today. Next up Hunt Worth. I'm gonna be wearing the Tarn pattern on into my hunt in Iowa. And uh, you know, so far I've tried out the, the Tarin pattern in.

Let's see, Wisconsin. I've hunted Georgia, I've hunted Alabama. Now I'm gonna hunt Iowa with that pattern. But Iowa in the spring, not in the fall. Then I'll be hunting Wisconsin in the spring. Guys, anywhere that I've been, this Tarin pattern has performed super, super well. [00:05:00] I love it. Looks like we're gonna have some fantastic, fantastic weather, uh, highs up around that, you know, 60 to 70 degree mark, which is gonna be awesome.

That means I'm gonna be rocking the Durham lightweight pants. If you haven't grabbed a pair of those already, guys, you really, really need to that. They've got a little bit of stretch, two of them, but they're also durable. They have reinforced knees, a reinforced seat, which is great for Turkey hunting.

They're also great for saddle huntings. If you're looking for some good early season saddle pants, I highly recommend these Durham lightweight pants. You can learn more about Hunt Worth and all of their gear@huntworthgear.com. And then finally, the OnX Hunt app. Guys, this. Trip that I'm going on to Iowa was such a last minute thing that I have leaned super, super hard on, uh, on my OnX.

So if you don't know how it went, I got a, I got a text from Pierce and Pierce is like, Hey, you grabbing one of those leftover Iowa tags? And I'm like, Hey, I didn't know there were Iowa tags left over. [00:06:00] So I get to looking 22 Iowa tags left over for this zone that I would really like to Turkey hunt in, get online, grab a tag.

Now I gotta think, where am I gonna go? I've never even been in the state of Iowa. Like I've, I've never gone into Iowa before. At least that I, that I'm aware of right now. I've certainly never hunted in Iowa. Only have a couple of. Immediately I jump on. I'm like, okay, where am I camping? I know somebody here.

Boom. Gonna camp right there at this spot. All right. Gonna make a 10 mile radius around that. Are there public lands within that 10 mile radius? Yes, there are public lands. Awesome. Start scouting some of those public lands. All right, this one looks great. This one looks awesome. This one would be cool for duck hunting, but not gonna be good for what I'm doing.

So now I've got like 12 to 15 different spots that I want to check out. I almost have too many places, but I went from zero experience or knowledge in Iowa to totally ready for this trip. Just ready to get boots on the ground in a matter of about a week. Because of the OnX Hunt app and the work that I was able to do, [00:07:00] because it has features like that radius where I can make a 10 mile radius around my camp because it shows me public and private land boundaries because it shows me things that aren't just large WMAs, but also shows me county properties that are possibly open to hunting.

So because of OnX, I am totally ready to go, ready to get boots on the ground and have an excellent hunt in a very, very short amount of time. So if it can do that for me in a week, imagine what you can do with it when you've got all year to prepare. If you're not already using OnX, you can get a seven day free trial.

Just head over to the app store of your choice and search OnX Hunt. Head to the website if you have questions. OnX maps.com. Now, here's my request to you number. If you would please go support the brands that support this show. I could not do this every week if it wasn't for you guys as the listeners and these brands that have chosen to get behind what we're doing here at the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast.

So, hey, it'd be great if you'd go, uh, go hook those sponsors up next. If you haven't already, please do, uh, like, subscribe, follow all that good stuff, wherever it [00:08:00] is that you get this podcast. If you could leave me a review, that would be greatly appreciated, helps others find this podcast, helps me move up in the rankings if I can get new subscriptions as well as new ratings.

And last but not least, if you want to follow along with my Turkey hunt here over the next couple of weeks, I'll be doing something similar to, uh, what I did for deer hunting this past fall, except I'll probably be a little more, uh, loose and free. Let's. With, uh, with the camera. You noticed this past fall, uh, when I was deer hunting, I kind of kept the, the camera pointed at me when I was doing updates.

I wasn't giving you a lot of, uh, landscape stuff and that, that was kind of intentional. Several people were figuring out where I was hunting. The place where I was hunting was even more crowded than ever before this year. Uh, not saying that that's because of me, but just saying, Hey, I don't wanna draw any more attention to this place.

I'm going to Iowa. I'm gonna be bouncing around to a lot of different public pieces. It's a lot more of a rural area, so I'm not quite as concerned about drawing attention to it. And, hey, [00:09:00] it's spring Turkey. It's not quite deer hunting. So, uh, yeah. Anyway, but if you wanna keep up with what I'm doing, head over, follow me on Instagram at the Wisconsin Sportsman, or at how to hunt deer.

Now, with all that outta the way, let's jump right into the conversation talking The April Whitetail checklist with Sam Bill Horn. Once again on the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast is Sam Bill Horn from Whitetail Partners. Sam, how's it going?

Sam Bilhorn: Hey, great, Josh. Good to be back.

Josh Raley: Yeah, thanks for coming back on the show.

Uh, it's been a couple months since we talked last. When, when's the last time you were on? Was it

Sam Bilhorn: January? I don't know. It was probably the dead of winter. So it's been a little while. Things have changed a little bit. Yeah. Have

Josh Raley: you, uh, dug yourself out of the snow yet?

Sam Bilhorn: Uh, thankfully. Well, I never say the snow is over until we hit June, but it's, uh, the snow is currently gone and we've been having thunderstorms, so it's, uh, spring is on the way.

Josh Raley: Yeah. Yeah. You've been, have you been, uh, staying busy on your own property, getting some work done or has this uh, consulting season swamp.

Sam Bilhorn: Well, I've both, I mean, I'm working hard to, to accomplish both of the consulting [00:10:00] schedule has been busy. Um, I've actually transitioned a little bit into hiring some help and, uh, having some people that I work with closely on the land management side that, uh, I work with my other, with my clients, actually having them do work on my property as well.

And that's, that's been a good move. You know, it's, uh, kind of in a position of life here between family and, and work and all these things that, uh, time is my most limited resource. So getting some help, uh, is well worth the investment. And, and, uh, I tell my clients that, so I gotta tell myself

Josh Raley: that. Yeah, that's right.

I was, I had, uh, Lee Dixon on the How to Hunt Deer podcast mm-hmm. The other day. And one of the things that we were talking about is, you know how, uh, it's kinda like you drive past a, a guy's house, let's say he. Um, you know, he, he's a, he's a landscape guy for a, for a living and you drive by his house and he hasn't cut his grass in three weeks, you know?

That's right. It's kind of what it can turn into if you're not careful doing habitat consulting and, and, and property management because man, you [00:11:00] are so busy on other people's properties, making them, you know, getting them in the chips and getting, getting them squared away. Yes, true. And your work that's so true can fall to the wayside, so.

Mm-hmm. Um, well man, I hope you've got some, some time carved out for that coming up in, in the days and weeks ahead, but man, let's, let's talk about some interesting developments with Whitetail Partners. Uh, this year was kind of your first year, um, not flying solo, so to speak, as far as Whitetail Partners as a brand.

You, you brought a team of people around you, I'm included in as part of the, the team from Georgia. Uh, tell me a little bit about how that has gone, what the response has been, and, um, I have a feeling you guys have learned a

Sam Bilhorn: few things. Well, we sure have, and we, you could speak to that as well. But, uh, just, uh, give a little history in case of those maybe we talked about in our last podcast.

But, uh, just to give a little update, so, you know, in the last year, let's put ourselves maybe a year ago, you know, looking at the landscape of [00:12:00] things and seeing that, um, One of the best ways we can serve people is to have regional experts, not just from a, you know, a operational standpoint to being closer to people, but also understanding the local environment, the local, uh, you know, habitats and also hunting, season culture, people, uh, all these things.

You know, there, it's very different across the country. And while Whitetails act very similarly, and I've consulted in, I don't know, I think it's been 14 or 16 states now, it's, it's, uh, important to have local knowledge. And as I've been doing this for several years now, uh, thankfully I've had built up some great relationships with folks doing similar things across the country.

We got Jake in Michigan, Greg in Ohio, yourself, uh, in Georgia, and, and Lee in Tennessee. We looked and we talked about this a lot as a group, uh, saying that this is a great opportunity we have to team up and work [00:13:00] together under. Uh, the flagship here of Whitetail Partners and, and having one brand to go out and serve people in consulting, in managing properties and all the things that we do.

So, uh, it's, it's been a great startup. Uh, everybody is, uh, really, you know, getting, uh, dug in and they're spot and, and, you know, learning a lot about how we work together and forming a team and all these things. But I think it's been a, it's been a great success as we get going. And also, you know, looking at the number of people we serve, we should add that up.

And the states we've covered, it's a pretty good long list and, uh, I'm excited to see, uh, the momentum gain here. Uh, as we move forward, you know, we'll see if we want to continue to cover what we have with our guys, or maybe we, uh, expand our team, we'll, we'll figure that out in time. So it's going great. Uh, certainly learning a lot, but, um, I can say without a doubt, it's been a good move because, you know, the combined knowledge of all of us here and, you know, we got some [00:14:00] fun things coming up with, uh, YouTube and podcast and, and some of these other things to help people dissect their properties and, and show ourselves a little bit more in those formats.

Uh, there's the combined knowledge of our group. It's gonna be fun to, to show that and, uh, see what that can

Josh Raley: do. Yeah, I, I, I'm really looking forward to that as well. And I think that's one of the things that, that sets Whitetail Partners apart is, and I, and it's been the case since I was just keeping up with you on Instagram, the, the educational element, the bringing value to people, you know, beyond the, um, You know, boots on the ground or beyond the delivery of a plan you're delivering value to, to landowners in, in general.

You know, if somebody just doesn't have, uh, let's say the funds to bring somebody out or have a consultant, they can go look at your Instagram page and learn a whole lot just from all the many articles that you've posted there.

Sam Bilhorn: Yeah, thanks. And, and the website too is really becoming a, a hub for that. We have, [00:15:00] uh, what's called our learning center on the website, which we're posting all these articles, you know, short articles, longer articles, uh, video, you know, we got a pile of podcasts out there now.

I don't know, 15 or 20 podcasts we got out there. And just the, uh, you know, the amount of information we're putting out there. That's our goal. We want to serve people. Uh, we wanna put this information out there. They, and, and we want them to know us. And if they need our individual help on their properties, we're there if they need it, you know, we, we know that the more people we can reach and make aware of the content we have, we're gonna help 'em.

And that's our goal. If they wanna hire us, great. That's a, that's a, you know, our goal as well. But, you know, people can certainly learn plenty out there, uh, for free, uh, on our

Josh Raley: website. Yep. So, Sam, there there are two questions that I want to ask you here about what you've learned. And I think about them from two different directions.

The first is from an entrepreneurial PERS perspective because, um, before starting this [00:16:00] podcast, I was never like an entrepreneurial kind of person. Like I was never the type to, let's let's start something from scratch. I always wanted to find something stable and just like find where I fit in on that thing.

Mm-hmm. And obviously the last two years have been anything but that for me as I've taken more and more steps away from the stable and comfortable and out into kind of an entrepreneurial space. And then the second is related to habitat and land management and, and property design and things like that.

So the first question, what have you learned when it comes to the entrepreneurial side of things? Uh, as far as bringing this team on? Like, what has it taught you to go through this process? Uh, as a team leader and as a manager, and as the mm-hmm. The guy that we look to as the glue that kind of holds everything together.

Sam Bilhorn: Well, one of the things that I am thankful for constantly is the diverse skillset that our team has. You know, I look at the different things that we need to make this grow and be successful. And [00:17:00] it, it's, we aren't gonna get all those skills from one person. I certainly didn't have them. Um, but as I look around and see all these things that, that these, you know, resources and talents, skills and experience that people have, I, I'm excited because whether it's podcasting yourself with yourself, or, you know, drones and, uh, website with Greg, or, you know, I could go on and on of the skill sets of these guys, you know, Jake with his YouTube and things like this.

Uh, the, it's exciting to see all these, uh, experiences that people have. And then also, you know, it ties back to what we were saying before, the. The regional understanding of things, we're pulling that knowledge together to have a more comprehensive coverage and experience for, uh, the people we're trying to help.

Yeah, that's good.

Josh Raley: That's good. So let, let's talk maybe about what you've learned from a specific to, uh, designs and properties. Like have you picked up anything as a consultant over the last [00:18:00] few months as a result of adding this team and, or, or has it maybe just solidified something?

Sam Bilhorn: Well, I learned it gets greener earlier in the south than, oh, than it does in the north.

That's, uh, Sam, that's one thing that does awareness that I have 85 plus here

Josh Raley: today. It's gonna be over 85 degrees. I'm taking my kids to a beach today, Sam.

Sam Bilhorn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, well, we we're, we're still searching for some green grass here, but, uh, it's all good. Well, but, but to that end, I mean, as you've seen, we on the, on the national brand of Whitetail Partners, as we, uh, transition into content that hits all of those things, you know, we're addressing what it's like in the south.

Right now we're addressing what it's like in the north and, and trying to explain what is, uh, applicable to people. And, and obviously people need to understand where they are and, and that, you know, what somebody's saying that's, you know, 600 miles north is going to be very different, you know, but it's, it, it's, anyway, [00:19:00] my point in all of this is just saying is I, I think having those, the awareness of the differences across the country have been great.

So that, that's certainly one thing with the team. Um, also, uh, just knowledge of design, knowledge of properties, uh, I think we're accelerating, uh, our knowledge base by having these experiences and seeing how people do things. I think one of the, um, as it always is, if you are so focused on one idea, um, you.

Not always have the best idea. And I think that that's something we see as a team is we learn and, and talk, discuss plans, and we will, you know, we'll vet plans across our group to say, Hey, you know, what do you think of this? You know, this is how I'm approaching this solution. I mean, there's, there's multiple ways to solve a problem.

And I think that as we see how each other, uh, dissect something and learn, learn from something, as we review each other's plans and things like that, I, I just think [00:20:00] that that's leading to a much better product, uh, for the client in the end.

Josh Raley: Yeah, that's a, that's a really, really good point. And you know, there are some, there are some consistencies, right?

And we've worked to make sure that there are, in the way that we approach designing a property, right. Um, because that's what makes us whitetail partners, right? Like that's one of those kind of core elements. That's right. That's who we

Sam Bilhorn: are. There is a process to everything we're doing. And that's, that's vital.

That's right. We need to be consistent so that when somebody comes to us, we, they know they're going to get a high quality product. And, and that was one of the things we started with is process and format and experience being top-notch for anybody coming in. Um, but yeah, that then, then the artistic element within that obviously, uh, varies from, uh, guy

Josh Raley: to guy.

That's right. It there's, there's an art and a science to it. The science part. That's right. We're all on the same exact page when it comes to the art of how some of the principles flesh out on a specific property. Mm-hmm. It's gonna look different, not only from guy to guy, but from property to property. I [00:21:00] mean, Sam, you're not going to approach two properties.

The exact same way when it comes to the art and creativity side of, of designing that piece. One of the things that I have learned, I mentioned it in the podcast with Lee, I've mentioned it in some other podcasts before, uh, and maybe it, I haven't learned it necessarily, but it's just reinforced it for me is, dear, do dear things no matter where you are.

That's right. Deer just do dear things. They, they behave in, in somewhat predictable ways. I was, I was working with a client, uh, and one of the things he said was, Hey, I told my buddy about what we're doing here. And my buddy says, well, you can't make a deer. Do what it doesn't want to do. You, you can't make a deer do anything.

Why do you have this guy coming out to help you with your property? And, and I just explained, man, your friend is exactly right. We can't make a deer do what he doesn't want to do. We're not tying it to a tree, uh, so that you can come out here and shoot it during bow season. What we can do though, [00:22:00] Is to make certain routes, certain bedding locations, certain feeding locations, the absolute best option that that Deere has, right?

Like we can, we can make the bedding in the absolute most prime location for him and for us. We can make that travel route the best way for him to get from point A to point B. We can make that food the best food in the neighborhood or the most food in the neighborhood, or whatever it is we're trying to accomplish with that specific food plot.

Mm-hmm. And when you start piecing those influencers together, deer can become pretty predictable. We can't force 'em to do anything, but we can certainly encourage them to do, to do certain things. So I was back out, uh, we did some implementation on this, on this specific property. I went back out to the property kind of doing a checkup, looking at, uh, and we're, I think we're two and a half weeks after we cut in bedding and after we cut in some travel corridors.

And so first of all, we're hanging one stand. And a deer [00:23:00] approaches exactly where it's supposed to come from. While we're hanging the stand, we go to another travel route, it's beat down to the dirt. The deer are already using this travel route. They've abandoned other trails that were similar. Mm-hmm. Uh, then we get up to the bedding and we are, I don't know, 80 yards from the bedding or so, and we're talking loud, we're figuring out where we're gonna put a mock scrape and a water hole, and we hear a deer get up and run off from the bedding that we just cut in two and a half weeks ago.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So just, just confirmed over and over and over again, these dear do dear things. When you give them the right pieces of the puzzle, they're going to put it together. Does that make sense?

Sam Bilhorn: Oh, absolutely. No, I'm sitting here. No, and, and, and just agreeing. It's absolutely the case, which is why there are consistent design, uh, traits or design philosophies that we have that you're going to need to incorporate this to develop.

A predictable pattern, and then you develop a way to hunt it without disturbing it. And that's a plan. Yeah. You know that in the, the core essence of what we're doing, [00:24:00] it's finding the predictable things, making them better or, uh, more defined and hunting them wisely. Yeah. That's how there is to it.

Absolutely. You wanna make it simple. So, Sam, as,

Josh Raley: as, as you say that, as I think through, you know, the, the pieces of a plan or, or the, the, the philosophy that goes into it all. What are, are there any pieces that when you're working with clients, are there any common hangups where they're like, ah, this part right here, or, or, I'm not a big fan of, or that you just see as an obstacle where, where they're, it almost becomes person management as much as it becomes habitat management, right?

Like it becomes Oh yeah. It becomes getting them to hunt it appropriately and helping them to be. Maybe patient when they need to be patient or aggressive. When they should be aggressive. Are there any consistent things that you see that pop up when you're working with a client where it's like, man, this, this is a hard one for people to swallow, but I need 'em to go here with me.

I need 'em to trust me on [00:25:00] this because it will pay dividends.

Sam Bilhorn: One for sure. A two come to mind. The first one that's just glaring is access. We could talk about this. I mean, so many conversations start with hunter access. How are you getting to the stand? So when I ask people, you know, can you come in from this side and you know, can you get permission from that neighbor to enter at that corner of the property?

And they say, yeah, you know, I probably could. I'm like, and it's like it, it has never once occurred to them to enter their property from a neighboring parcel, uh, to get at a hunting setup. But when they see it, they go, yeah, that. Perfect sense. And they, they, they latch onto it and understand it. So I guess it's awareness in some of those things.

And access is certainly a big factor that you touched on it too when you said aggressive or conservative on how they're hunting their setups and things like that. But the other thing too, I would think that comes to mind is, uh, all about food plots and how they hunt them. There's, so they're, I would say, I don't know, [00:26:00] it might be a hundred percent.

You go to these properties. Yeah, right. I know what you're do, where you're going. You go to these properties that have, you know, they, they got food plots. They, they've been trying their hand at it. They, you know, mowed down the football field, square parking, you know, parking lot type, uh, food plot. And they got stuff growing in it.

And there are three tree stands on the perimeter of this, this plot. There are, there's a blind in the middle of it. All these things where they hunt. Uh, in a way that is so invasive to that attraction. And in, in the first week of the season, they screw up those patterns because they're out there disturbing those deer on that plot and, uh, and, and being unsuccessful.

And it, and it just, then the dominoes start falling of how their property falls apart, uh, over the course of a season. Um, and they're not successful and their neighbors are, and all these things that, yeah. Tho I guess those are two that come to mind probably are common offenders. Um, and [00:27:00] what do those both have in common?

Hunting, hunting people? You know, it's, it's, they're their choices and how they do things. It has nothing to do with what the deer did, you know? And it is everything to do with mistake that the hunter made.

Josh Raley: Yep, absolutely. That's a, that's a really, really good point. And I wanna circle back just cuz I, I want to encourage somebody with this story, maybe.

Mm-hmm. Um, on a property we were, I had worked, uh, up a plan. And we had to eliminate one of the potential hunter access locations because uh, you know, I said, Hey, is there any way we can get permission, uh, from this neighbor neighboring landowner here? Any way we can get permission to access from this corner?

Because if we can, that transforms everything. Like that changes a ton. Mm-hmm. Uh, no, I can't. I can't. It will not happen. That's an adversarial relationship with the previous owner. It's never gonna go well. Um, just so happened though, we were out [00:28:00] marking the, uh, property boundary, cuz one of the things we were doing and working on was posting, uh, yeah, this specific property.

And we get over there and the guy is out on his tractor. So I give a good wave and he gives a good wave back. And I think, well, this looks more inviting than adversarial. So we walk over there, we start talking to the guy. Within five minutes. We've not only got his phone number and are working with him on some of the trespassing issues that we've had, we've got permission to access the property from that location that we didn't even ask for.

He simply said, oh, you've got this much acreage. Well, if you need to come in from this direction anytime, just let me know. You know? Mm-hmm. You can park your car right there and you can walk up the hill and do whatever you need to do. Mm-hmm. So just an encouragement to people. Uh, it, it may feel uncomfortable.

That may be one of those things that pushes you further than, uh, than maybe you're comfortable doing, but it's certainly worth it, and it's almost never as bad as, as you think it's going to be. I [00:29:00] mean, the, the thought behind that one was, we'll never be able to get access over there. Mm-hmm. And then we got it without even asking.

Sam Bilhorn: Yeah, your, your, uh, hits on those things. You, you know, your, your success rate is a lot higher than you might think. That's, and, and that just emphasizes it. But I have a, a buddy of mine that, um, hunts a lot of permission properties in the area, and he has permission in so many different locations, and people ask him, well, how do you do that?

And he's just like, I ask, you know

Josh Raley: what I mean? That that's right. That's it. That's right. That's it. I just asked. It's that simple. And they, they just

Sam Bilhorn: aren't asking.

Josh Raley: Yeah. Yep. That's exactly right. That is exactly right. Well, Sam, let, let's transition a little bit. Here it is, uh, no. Or April, um, fifth, I think as we're recording this.

Is that correct? Sounds right. So here we are at the beginning of April. I want to do a check-in on your property checklist. Ask the question what guys can be doing right now. Um, maybe you can just kind of run me through [00:30:00] the list a little bit. And I was looking over it earlier. There are a couple of pretty specific questions I want to ask.

You know, when it comes to some of the cutting, when it comes to some of the plantings, um, sp specifically of bear root trees, I think that's something mm-hmm. Maybe not a lot of guys have given a shot to, especially, you know, when I talk with landowners and, and there's kind of that shock factor of like, oh, trees are really expensive.

It's like, well, not if you're buying, not necessarily if you're buying bare root trees, if you're buying the big trees in a big pot, like those can be really, really pricey. That's real money. But if you change the way that you're, you know, pur purchasing your trees, buying your trees, then uh, then you can save yourself a lot.

So let's start at the top of that list. Uh, remind me what's there. I think it's cutting first,

Sam Bilhorn: right? Yeah. So I, I was, uh, look at this time of year and say, this is the, it's the last call to get your timber work done. Um, it, things are already green down by, uh, you in the south, and, uh, but we still have a, at least [00:31:00] a, a month here before the time runs out and leaves are really popping.

Um, getting in there to do your, if you have any, any type of cutting. So these could be areas, it could be, um, doing some timber stand improvement. It could be doing corridors. You, you know, list goes on and the details thereof. You know, quite a bit we can talk about with that. But this is the time to get that done.

I also like to emphasize to people, you know, if you want to be adding a stand this year or you know, stands to get done, you wanna pick those trees and mark, you know, even if you don't cut 'em down, mark the trees, you want to cut for shooting lanes or stuff like that because you wanna look now, you don't want to be looking when.

It's after Greenup and it's just a jungle out there and making poor decisions on over, you know, over clearing a shooting lane, for example. That's a very common mistake is if you're in there in the middle of summer hanging stands and you didn't take a look at it before, uh, that [00:32:00] time, it's likely you're gonna wanna cut more down than you should.

So, uh, getting all that timber work done, this is really kind of, A key time to do it. And for those of us who've had a lot of snow, there's still snow in northern Wisconsin, for example. Um, you know, as that snow melts, it's really an optimal time to move quickly across your property. It's, it's so difficult with heavy snow on the ground to move around and do work, but the second that's all melted and gone, the ground dries a little bit.

You can really move and be productive with your time to get that done. So that, that's number one on the list here in the early spring. Just wanna take a quick minute

Josh Raley: to let you know that the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast is brought to you by Tcam makers of the best point of view cameras on the market.

For hunters and anglers, they're on the cutting edge, making user friendly cameras to help the everyday outdoorsman share your hunt with friends and loved ones. Their new 6.0 camera has a ton of upgraded features this year, but the one I'm most excited about is the new l cd touchscreen. In my mind, that is a total game changer.

And one area tactic cam really [00:33:00] shines is with their mounts and adapters that are made with the sportsman in mind. If you've tried to film your hunting and fishing excursions, You know, just how frustrating it can be to try to get an action camera aimed just right or get it attached to your weapon or in a good spot for a second angle.

Well, Tika makes all of that a breeze with their line of mounts and adapters. This fall, I'm gonna be using their stabilizer mount on my bow with the 6.0 camera and their bendi clamp paired with the 5.0 wide camera for a second angle. And to make sure I don't miss any of the action. To learn more and check out their full line of products, head over to their website, tcam.com and share your hunt with tcam.

I wanna stop you on that point of, of cutting shooting lanes. Um mm-hmm. You know, I, I, obviously things will, will grow back in a little bit when, you know, throughout the spring and summer when it comes to cutting lanes, though, there's such a temptation that I have found to cut, not a, not a shooting lane or a window, but to cut like a shooting roadway or, you [00:34:00] know what I mean?

Mm-hmm. It's, it's, it's all the way to the ground, you know? All the way out to where they think their shot opportunity is going to be. Tell me a little bit about how you sort of maybe persuade or talk to your clients about cutting, shooting windows or opportunities in such a way that aren't gonna result in you getting busted.

Because there's nothing worse than having a great stand set up. And as soon as that deer steps out into the lane, there's zero cover between you and him and it's over before you get your shot.

Sam Bilhorn: Sure. Well, most, if not all setups, I've struggled to think of any that don't have a mock scrape on them. Um, and that's a, that's a key, uh, starting point.

And then a certain percentage, let's say maybe a third of 'em might have a water hole at 'em. Uh, both of those are ideal, you know, focal points. You're gonna design your primary shooting lane around that. And when I say Lane, I'm talking enough space on either side of that to get a [00:35:00] shot. In general, I would say, uh, you know, I need six feet either side of that.

Uh, uh, element to make that shot. Um, and, and I've told stories of this before, you know, the deer that are on the wall behind me, the, uh, the testament to that is these, uh, shooting opportunities. I might see a deer coming in on a corridor, and I, even if I have a secondary lane that they're passing through, I'm not trying to stop 'em.

I'm not doing anything. I am waiting for them to come to that point, because between a water hole or a mo scrap at the times of year that we're hunting, the probability of them hitting that one of one or of the two or both, is so high. That I have a lot of confidence in that spot. So I'm gonna start by having one primary shooting lane to a mock scrape and or water hole.

Uh, that, that is gonna be my shot opportunity. I will have sometimes a secondary lane. I mean, several of my setups only have one. [00:36:00] I am banking on that opportunity and I feel highly confident in it. But some will have a secondary where it's a, you know, that last chance opportunity where they blew right by a mock scrap or something like that.

And, and you have an opportunity to stop 'em or get aggressive and, uh, you know, try and get that deer to stop that you might have that opportunity. And that's gonna be, you know, at your 10 and two or nine and three type windows. Um, as far as where that location is, all of my stand setups, thankfully were all right-handed in in our hunting group.

We have 'em all set in such a way that, you know, we have the ideal, um, Sit, uh, sitting position with that shooting lane. That's how we pick the tree. That's how we have the setup, that it's either straightaway or, you know, slightly to our left. That's the way we like it. We have, you know, we're hanging in bigger trees, so we're not worried about having to be behind that tree or to the side, or some of these things you might do with a mobile setup.

But anyway, maybe more than what you wanted to [00:37:00] hear there, but those are the details that we look for in a setup and how all of

Josh Raley: mine are made. No, that's exactly what I was looking for because I feel like there's, there's often a temptation to, Hey, I found this really great spot, but I wanna see to shoot in it, so I'm gonna come in and clear out everything.


Sam Bilhorn: Deer 360.

Josh Raley: Yeah, exactly. Deer 360. And then all of a sudden, uh, what happens is what made that spot great is now gone, namely the cover. So you've, you've essentially pushed the deer in one direction or the other by creating this big swath. Of mm-hmm. Of no cover or you're just going to get busted when they pop out, you know, wherever in, into one of your many shooting lanes where there's nothing, nothing between you and them.

Mm-hmm. But also nothing to hold their attention for, for the moment. Right. So, I, I want to talk to you a little bit about the mock scrape piece. We've hit on it before, but I think right now is a really, really, really good time to get those mock scrapes going. [00:38:00] Uh, it's an opportune time to get 'em kind of, um, get 'em hanging, get the deer used to them, acclimated to them, um, well ahead of summertime and bucks, beginning to, you know, shift areas or, or, or anything like that.

What are you doing to make sure these mock scrapes get hit? Because you've got a really, really high success rate, I imagine you must be buying some really expensive good p from Walmart. In the hunting aisle?

Sam Bilhorn: Nope. Just my morning coffee. That's all that they get. Uh, no, but to that end, I mean, quick highlights on those.

You know, we're, we're, we are generally, we have a lot of vines. Um, and what I like about vines, not just that they're talked about a lot, but the, the reason they're good is they're very, they're fibrous. You know, there's a lot of fiber and texture and a lot of place to leave scent. Uh, p ropes are popular.

People hang ropes and then you can buy all these different products to, to, to do that and emulate that. Uh, you want something that has a lot of texture because that they leave scent there. They're, they're rubbing, [00:39:00] they're scent on this throughout the season. And, um, Yeah, that's what it's all about. And then, so chunk of vine, that's uh, four to five feet long, three quarters of an inch to an inch and a quarter.

You know that about that, uh, size and, and the length and and width there. What that's all about is having it be, have enough weight that they can press against it without flicking it all around. It's not too narrow cuz uh, something, some, uh, uh, has less, uh, uh, girth than that is gonna be a fragile and, and break.

I've seen that happen too. If you get bigger than that, they're too heavy. It's like a log hanging in a tree. So it's kind of that sweet spot in between. Uh, hanging that down at, uh, belt height, the bottom of it so that it's, um, you know, the doze and fonts can still reach it, but the middle of it, the bucks are gonna hit.

And really that maximizes the amount of deer that hit that thing and leaves scent on it. Um, one of the mistakes I see people make frequently is trying to locate that somewhere that's off of the corridor [00:40:00] because they didn't have a tree on the middle of that spot. They wanted to, people always look up and say, where am I gonna hang this from?

Well, if you do a little bit more thinking on that and hang a piece of para cord, you know, parallel to the ground from one tree to another, usually within a reasonable distance, you can find two trees that puts that parallel para cord, uh, at about 10 feet. Between two trees and then that, that will cross your corridor where you want it to.

And then that creates a spot where you put a suspension cable, I call it, but a, a piece of paraic cord from that 10 foot height down to what works out to be maybe eight feet, uh, eight or nine feet, just a short, a short distance. Uh, and then that lets that, um, that vine, that mo scrape or that, um, licking branch, I guess is what we should be calling it.

Cuz that's, you know, what's happening there. Um, to hang at that right height and, [00:41:00] and be functional where we want it so that, that helps us locate it exactly where we want it, because we want this thing smack middle of the corridor that, that the deer trailer that they're coming in on, such that they almo they have to step around it because that just increases your frequency of use.

Uh, the final thing worth mentioning here, Is, uh, a flat piece of ground. Uh, all the scrapes that I see, very few of them occur on a slope. Um, they, I, I suggest making about a six by six area that's flat and in your corridor may have some slope to it in either plane, either direction, and you can just take a shovel and work that ground around to get a flat spot at that location.

Uh, just so when they step onto it, you know, I'm not sure why that is. Uh, just their habits. If the, if it's because when they urinate on the ground, they want that to concentrate there and not run off, or they just like a level platform to be working their, uh, work at licking branch. [00:42:00] You know, the, those are two of the things I, I think.

Matter to them. But, um, you know, then that will, all those things, if you do those right, you'll have a successful, uh, mock scrape in that location that you're looking for. So quick, high level bullet points of what that mock scrape checklist would look like. Yeah.

Josh Raley: I I think that's really good. You were the, one of the first people that I heard say, I want that in the middle of the corridor so that they almost have to step around it.

Mm-hmm. Like, I want them, basically, if they just walk straight through, I want 'em to, I want it to hit 'em right in the face.

Sam Bilhorn: So that and that, yeah. That's your shot opportunity. I mean, I'm, I am waiting on that moment cuz it might only be a second. They might just nose it and that's all you're gonna get.

Yep. But that should be all you need if you're ready. Sure,

Josh Raley: sure. So when it comes to, you know, a, a vine or a rope or something like that, have you seen a difference in the Deere's response as opposed to, you know, if you find a tree with a suitable branch, or you attach a branch to a tree, Any difference on, [00:43:00] on the, the consistency with which they're picked up?

Sam Bilhorn: Well, those can both be good. The, the natural scrape, for example, you know, a low hanging branch. Um, the trouble with those is setting it in a location and if you do, uh, say like a T post, you pound it next to your corridor and put a branch right there that I haven't tried that. I would think that that would seem so unnatural to just have this branch located in the location that's makes it more difficult.

Um, if you have a tree though that's adjacent to your corridor, you can you hang one of those brackets that, that hangs a branch over it. That's certainly worth trying. The thing that I don't like about using branches with these brackets that are on the market or even just coming up with your own is that branch is going to.

A abused, it's going to get worked hard. It one buck can come in there and just tear it up or tear it down and it's gone. The, uh, paracord setup that I talked about and having that suspension cable, [00:44:00] a buck really can volley this thing all around a couple times I've seen them, uh, hook that, uh, that vine into their rack and they, they either tear it down or, um, you know, they might stretch it out or move it a little bit on that parallel line.

You know, there, there's certainly ways that a deer can disturb that, but, uh, my experience is, you know, the, the natural, even looking at natural scrapes, um, they're, you know, they're getting abused and getting worn, and they do change over time because those branches get busted off and all that. Um, and also to locate it exactly where you wanted, all those details we went before, went through before.

That's, that's hard to accomplish. When you're trying to create it yourself.

Josh Raley: Yeah. When it comes to a scrape in a field, let's say you're, you're setting up a food plot, designing a, a food plot that's a little larger, you want to open up those, some really great archery opportunities and you're gonna put a mock scrape at a nice little social area in, in a food plot.

How are you designing those [00:45:00] there?

Sam Bilhorn: Yeah. So that is where we, uh, create a, what we call an open fields grape. Um, and that is the, the, uh, I've had success with that in two ways. One is to, uh, Transplant, but really you're, you're not doing this with a live tree, you're cutting off a tree. Cedars work great. Or even just any other tree.

I have elms on my property that often have these branch structures that, uh, come out at a nice angle and simply, I, I'm gonna go look for a four, a six inch tree and cut it down, uh, and dig a hole with a post hole and put it in the ground right at a, uh, designated distance for me and my plots. I love to have 'em at like 25, maybe 30 yards, um, from that hunting opportunity.

Often it's a blind, uh, with proper screening and that will, uh, serve as a tree that you then can attach. I still use the vine and the paraic cord to take it from a branch and drop it. [00:46:00] And have that be, uh, you know, it is seemingly more unnatural, but they get hit really, really well. Yeah. The other, the other way we've tried is, uh, simply putting a landscaping post to the ground, like a landscaping timber, uh, with a, a wood plate on top with some branches.

And this is where we have used, uh, actual branches, not, uh, um, not vines. And having those out at that elevation, they, that looks less natural. Um, even more so I think. But, uh, it still works. But again, I think there's more maintenance and difficulty in maintaining those over time that, um, makes me a little less appreh or more apprehensive to, to use them.

Josh Raley: Sure, sure. Well, that's really good. I, this isn't a podcast on mock scrapes. I just had a lot of questions

Sam Bilhorn: here. Yeah, yeah. We get, get into the rabbit hole. We'll, we'll keep going. So, yeah. Well,

Josh Raley: it, it's really good though, I think because yeah, the, the mock scrapes that I have been successful on, as I've thought through them, Are typically the ones [00:47:00] that I've created earlier in the year, they've been the April May timeframe.

Mm-hmm. As opposed to the July, August. I've had a lot less success in July, August, setting up mock scrapes. Not to say that they, it can't be done, I'm just saying like success wise, it looks like the earlier in the year I can get it there, the better. And I've even had mock scrapes that I set up July, August that didn't get picked up that year, get picked up the following year because the structure is still there.

It just took six or eight months before the first deer hit it, and then after the first deer hit it, boom. It's, it's on.

Sam Bilhorn: Yeah, I'm usually doing those and, and maintain going through, you know, seasonal once too and maintaining them more in June, July. Still early to your point. Sure. Yep. Um, and, and not in disagreement whatsoever.

It's just April is just such a, uh, sprint to get all these early Yeah. Spring things done, um, which we can get back into now with, you know, some of the stuff with tree planting and all that. Yeah.

Josh Raley: So let's [00:48:00] jump into the next part of your c.

Sam Bilhorn: Well, right. I just said it there. Tree planting it and, and you'll hear me talk about bear root trees all the time.

I love 'em. There's a lot of great suppliers out there. And to be clear, I'm not talking about your, you know, state or government agency supplied, uh, seedlings that are, you know, six inches tall and might have three inches of root to them and you put 'em in the ground with a hope and a prayer that a few might survive.

I'm, I'm talking sizable trees. Okay. So, uh, there are trees from the size I just described all the way up to four foot. Conifers that you put in the ground and they have, when I say bear roots, I'm talking a two or three foot root structure on the bottom of these things. You can go on the social media and see pictures of 'em.

Uh, this time of year. If you go back in the post history, you'll see a pile of 'em, um, and those trees. And, and, and if we talk about cost, a tree like that might cost two to $4, depending on the species. These are not [00:49:00] 40, $5,000 trees. Um, they are, and let's talk about the work amount here. They are still work to put on the ground.

You're not doing these with a little bar and sticking 'em in and, you know, stepping 'em down and five seconds later you've planted a tree. It, it does take more work than that. So you're, you are digging a hole and putting the tree in. Um, you can still do these with planters if you're doing mass plantings.

You know, they make spades to put these in and all that. But if you're doing these by hand, You're digging a, you know, maybe a five gallon hole. Putting, uh, putting that tree in there and getting the roots, uh, put down properly, put some water in and put it in. So it, you know, with a couple of guys, you can still do a tr about a tree a minute, you can move pretty good, but, um, it, it does take time to do 'em.

Um, and, and it's all in balance. So the other thing that I've come to like too are, uh, doing even the smaller sized trees, especially in timber areas where you're adding, [00:50:00] uh, conifers to, um, hardwood, uh, bedding areas, for example, going and doing smaller trees because they will get, uh, harassed a little bit less from the deer because they're less significant while they're, while they're rooting.

Uh, and then hopefully they're gonna be able to grow vigorously and overcome any of that abuse they might get from. Uh, from deer in their, their early years. Uh, the other thing that, uh, I've been working with more recently are plugs. These are, if you picture the going to a garden center and buying, uh, flowers that you put in the front yard, uh, flowerbed much like that, they're a plug that you pull out of a conifer, uh, that has, uh, four to six inch little root ball on the bottom of it, that you dig a small hole and put it in the ground.

And those are, are really great. They have a strong, uh, rooting and they, they're, they're, they get going right away. And they're also very quick to plant. So smaller [00:51:00] bear root trees and plugs are excellent in those timber settings, and we're doing a whole lot more of 'em also in the timber. It's a numbers game as I was talking about before, with, uh, you know, those trees getting harassed by deer.

You need to, uh, somehow overwhelm them with trees, uh, because then, you know, you'll, you'll have, even if you have a lower survival rate in the, uh, timber versus out in the open, I think you have a higher success rate. Um, you, you know, you can, you can win the war, so to speak with, with numbers. So anyway, just some of the highlights of barrier trees, the things that we're doing, um, and every year, you know, get back to the cost side of things.

You know, we might put in, um, maybe 500 trees on our property annually. Um, and, and just continue adding to them. I think we probably have. I don't know, three to 4,000 trees we've put in, um, over the course of, uh, the, the years we've owned it. And we are continuing to hammer away at that. And, uh, we [00:52:00] just, we're gonna keep planting trees until we think we've done too many, um, and, and really just keep after it.

So, um, it's fun to watch 'em grow and start to take off. Um, the other thing worth mentioning too is I've talked a lot about conifers, but, uh, fruit trees, hardwood trees, um, and, uh, other things too. You can buy, uh, bear, bear, bear route, just about anything. You go on these supplier websites, you will see all kinds of stuff, uh, that you can buy a bear route these days.

And it's an excellent option for developing habitat, uh, on your whitetail

Josh Raley: property. Yeah. I'm curious, just real quick, I, I realize it's something that may be just kind of assumed, uh, but what's the reason for some of these trees? I mean, you've got separate species or a lot of different species that you like to plant.

Maybe run me through Yeah. A a couple of the basics mm-hmm. And specifically why you're planting those kinds of trees on your landscape, because they're, they're not all there for the same reason.

Sam Bilhorn: That's right. Yeah. Awesome. Awesome question. Uh, number one, uh, comes to mind is [00:53:00] screening. So a lot of times you'll see these, uh, roadside screens where you wanna block off the view of the roadway perhaps, and it's your, your hunter access and all those things.

So screening is often in long lines where you're doing a checkerboard of trees to, um, develop a long-term screen, annual screens, and even perennial warm season grasses have their, uh, downsides that, uh, really you can only overcome with a long-term conifer screen. Uh, so that's a, a high use for, for tree plantings.

Um, others in moving into the, uh, other open ar open area, uh, locations like around food plots is softening those edges. So we might do some. Uh, edge feathering taking trees down periodically around the sides of an open area, and then just drizzling trees. I say plant 'em like a bird, would plant 'em, you know, put 'em in, in, you know, random areas along these edges.

We're trying to develop edge habitat, so we're influencing the [00:54:00] quality of that habitat around those edges, making them more inviting for deer to enter that area and then, you know, make it more comfortable to enter into a food plot. Uh, so that's another common space in bedding areas. I mentioned that before.

Adding conifers into hardwood bedding. So you might have a, a flat a, uh, let's just pick, you know, take a stereotypical, uh, hardwood ridge that comes out onto a point or a flat where you have, maybe it's even south facing, you know, these, all these qualities we might look for in a bedding area. Getting that open up to sunlight, knocking some of the trees down.

We could talk about how to do a cutting. Uh, we probably covered that before, but, you know, then supplementing. Conifer plantings into these both for long term cover, uh, and also the thermal cover too. Having different types of cover within a high quality bedding location is just gonna allow it to be used, uh, that much more.

So, um, really, I think you can plant, uh, talking again, just conifers here. I'll get to [00:55:00] hardwoods in a. And you can plant conifers in so many areas. It's just more about the, uh, setup and the, uh, regularity of planting. You know, even in large open switch grass areas we're, we're dropping in say, Norway spruces periodically, for example, just to break up that landscaping.

And it might provide a betting opportunity too that you may not get betting in an open switch, open area of switch grass, but you put a few trees in there and all of a sudden you created some really attractive places you might, uh, bet deer as far as hardwoods. Um, a lot of times it's supplemental. Uh, you know, you're trying to develop a species, you gotta understand what's shade tolerant, what's not, and, and some of those things.

By the way, a great reference there too, people wanna look back is the whole series we did. It's both on the website and on social media of a forest built for deer. Talked about all these things. So, you know, you do a massive tree harvest and you can let what's there, flush up and see what you get. Uh, or you can take a, take control and, and [00:56:00] try and influence the species you want to have on that landscaping, uh, or on that landscape rather for, uh, the future of your property.

And that's a lot of times what we're, we're doing hardwoods for to get into all these other things, fruit, trees, shrubs and and so on, the different uses for them. But, um, you know, that's kind of a high level look.

Josh Raley: Yeah. And I wanna point out too, you know, when it comes to a plan, uh, when you hand somebody their plan, not only do you have specific planning recommendations, you've also got a list there.

That's gonna let them know, Hey, for your property, shady areas, these are the trees to consider. Full sun areas, these are the trees to consider. So if you work with landowner, you're not just saying, Hey, go plant some trees. Right? Like you're Yeah, that's right. You're giving them the specifics to be able to do what they, uh, what they need to do for their property.

All right. So that's, that's good. On the, on the, on the. Tree planting. What's the next one?

Sam Bilhorn: Well, I just have a couple things here I'll hit, uh, quick succession, uh, frost seeding. Obviously, if, uh, [00:57:00] depending on where you're at in the country, still taking advantage of those freeze thaw cycles to incorporate your warm season grass, uh, making sure you've had a good prepared seeded from last year, or you'll struggle with that.

Um, a lot of us want, we could talk a whole lot episode about running fire across, uh, a property in the spring. And, and I know that that's something you're passionate about, something in the, uh, done a lot in the south and the benefits. That are there. Um, you know, as we talk about how properties are gonna green up and, and flush up, um, I, I like to just say general cleanup.

You know, this is an opportunity. You got old trashy stands, you got that, uh, you know, debris that the former owner dumped in the field, whatever those things might be to just clean up the landscape and improve it, um, you know, for the next generation and get that stuff where it belongs. Um, I could go on here just a couple more.

Um, spraying, so that initial spraying, maybe you're trying to clear an area for, uh, new planting. Uh, as soon as that green up does occur, getting that, uh, first [00:58:00] spraying done before it gets to be knee high is critical. Otherwise, you're just gonna have a mess on your hands. Um, and then the final thing I just, uh, wanna mention here on this, and, and there's more on the list, but, uh, we talked about corridors in our, you know, in the cutting, creating corridors by, uh, doing perpendicular cuts and, and directing deer.

One of the things I've been doing more and more, especially recently, is emphasizing the quality of that trail itself. So I want somebody to picture, um, You know, a hillside trail that's, that's side hilling. It's maintaining the same elevation as it works around a hill. So, you know, picture, picture running a topo line around a hill.

And as we know in, in our experience of seeing properties and doing designs, deer want to follow a, an elevation as, as long as it's getting 'em to where they want to go. What makes it difficult sometimes in a trail and a picture, again, the side hill trail is, and this [00:59:00] is even more important when you're creating a new corridor, that existing ground could be sloped, you know, and you're asking a deer to run against or wi yeah, not against the slope, but with that side hill, you know, so that as the profile is, as you look at that trail, it might be sloping from left down to right.

Let's just to try and give a visual and the simple act of going in there and. Uh, we, we like to do this in teams with multiple people cuz it can be kind of a drudgery for one person, but it is shovels, picks, rakes, just going down that trail and pulling a little bit of soil out. In creating just the slightest bit of flat area, and now I'm talking, this can be 10 inches, 12, one foot would be plenty wide, where all you're doing is just creating this little bit of a flat as it works across that side hill.

And then even more important is if you're asking that deer to gain [01:00:00] elevation, if you're asking him to move up a slope, like you're trying to get, you got him to come around the sidehill and now you want him to climb a little bit to maybe, let's say, go around a cutting, uh, go, you know, try to pinch him to a, you know, get him to a pinch point if you're asking a deer to go uphill, especially if it has some of that cross slope to it, knocking down that cross slope ever so slightly so that, that deer has, as they view, Uh, more of a flat platform to walk on.

And the the test is simple. Walk it yourself, you walk it. Initially, you know, with, with the side hill elevation, it's, it's more difficult once you cut this little shelf out and it's tiny. It's just enough to walk on, uh, on this corridor and then walk it. You, you, you'll see instantly that this is a walking trail.

Now this is a trail that's easy to traverse and the deer will use it.

Josh Raley: Yeah, man, that's really, really good. Any, anything else on, oh, real quick. So you're, yeah. [01:01:00] You're kind of digging into the uphill side,

Sam Bilhorn: correct? That's right. If you, okay. If you wanna picture the cross section of this, you are taking one shovel and pulling it downhill, uh, ever so slightly.

Basically what the first guy that goes out ahead can just be shoveling and they're just turning over one shovel of dirt and keeping working their way up the line. Pickax sometimes helps, especially if there's a root or something involved in this. That's all for this episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in this show.

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever it's to get your podcast. You're, you could leave me a five star review. I would very much appreciate that. You can also follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at the Wisconsin Sportsman platform. How to Hunt, dear, that's

Josh Raley: also the best way to get ahold of me.

Suggest topics. Anything else on the list or are we wrapped up here for April on the show? Hey, thanks for partner.

Sam Bilhorn: Please go support the brands that support this show. And if you're looking

Josh Raley: for more grid outdoor content, check out Sam, man, you so much for coming back on the show. My other podcast folks where they can find more [01:02:00] you and the rest of us suppose a ton of other awesome outdoor podcasts.

Sam Bilhorn: Uh, you can, and until next time, make sure you make the time, get outside and enjoy the incredible natural resources that are ours. All our social medias are whitetail partners. Uh, or excuse me, at Whitetail Partners in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia. Um, you'll find us out there. Just go take a look and, uh, appreciate being on here.

Josh. Thanks a

Josh Raley: lot. Absolutely, Sam. Anytime.