Becoming a Better Land Manager with Habitat Podcast Part 2

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Jared Van Hees(Habitat Podcast) discuss his property ownership journey. Jared explains his first land purchase, buying small acreage and what he considered essential for buying land. Jared discusses his work and effort on this small acreage and what areas he focused most on. Jared identifies the importance of food plots, screening, timber stand improvement, logging, native warm season grasses, tree planting, waterholes, water tubs, mock scrapes and tree plantings.

Jared discusses actions he first wishes he took to improve his 15 acres. From failure to success, Jared describes the things he would do over again to improve his property. Jared identifies actions that help him excel on his property and shoots three big bucks. Jared provides tactics to improve and direct movement for deer on a property.

Jared breaks down small acreage compared to large parcels and how he goes about getting more social activity on his property. Jared discusses setting up mock scrapes, to include location, tree type and special techniques to improve and concentrate movement. Jon and Jared discuss buying more land and why Jared is moving to hunting hard properties. Jon discusses the complexity of terrain and variation in ecoregion, which impacts deer interest and movement. Jon explains how he evaluates hunting properties and the impact of lake effect snow and winter severity.  Jared explains his first steps to improving his recent land purchase and why logging will be his first step. Jared explains how and where he is cutting and what he expects from the deer after he makes changes across the landscape.   

Show Transcript

Announcer: [00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer.

Share their secrets to success. The founder of Whitetail Landscapes, your host, John Peter.

Jon Teater: Hi, I'm John Titer, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Hopefully everybody's doing well. This is gonna be part two. In the first podcast that we did, we had Brian Halbe and it was awesome. We had a great conversation about his history. We talked a little bit about the Habitat Podcast, and what they've got going on over there.

They've been a staple in the industry. A great resource. I've been on the podcast a bunch of. Folks that have been on [00:01:00] our podcast have been on that, so we wanted to collaborate with them and, get their input. The other host was on this and we're gonna have him on today and he's gonna talk a little bit about, his history, property management, things that he's been working on over the years.

And so he's got a great story to share with us today. So I'm excited to get him on the line. Jared, are you on the line? I am

Jared Van Hees: John.

Jon Teater: Awesome. How you about man? Good man. How you doing?

Jared Van Hees: Good. Good, good to chat with you again.

Jon Teater: Good. I'm happy to have you on tonight. So let's let's talk a little bit about, where you're at and, a little bit more about your evolution with property and property ownership, because you've gone through, I think a great progression, and by the way, you've had a ton of hunting success.

So it, it kinda shows your expertise, laying out a land plan, giving people a, information, through the podcast and applying it, in your own world and finding success. So I want to hear a little bit more about, where you've come from.

Jared Van Hees: Sure. Appreciate that John.

My name is Jared Van. [00:02:00] Hes, I'm the host at Habitat Podcast. And John, we had you on episode 123 for those who are interested. So that was a good one back then and glad to be talking with you again. I live in Michigan, Southern Michigan. Right now I am 35. I have three kids, wife doing the whole family thing.

Just work hard. and keep going. Basically I bought my first piece of property 15 acres back in 2017, February of 2017. So right before I started the podcast, honestly, I started that in 18. Okay, so that was 15 acres in Southern mid-Michigan. And the reason I bought 15 versus 30 or 40 or 80 it was affordable.

It's what I can do at that. . So that's where I started. I grew up hunting Michigan my entire life, mostly state land. Really learned what I didn't want to do in terms of where I didn't wanna spend my time. And once I learned about habitat [00:03:00] management and land development, how you could change your land and improve it for better hunting, it was really a no-brainer.

It's okay let's find a parcel. I can afford, we can afford his family and get to. So that, that was about about six years ago this

Jon Teater: month. So that 15 acres, that was your first step into the world of land ownership. And certainly, we go back and I guess at that point you, you're oh, early thirties, right?

You're 30 years old. You bought a piece of land that had to be. A big decision probably family-wise to even just buy in a Ford land. Because it, that's a resource and certainly, take, taking away some of your disposable income that you had, what made you buy the particular piece you bought?

What was your thought process behind that?

Jared Van Hees: Yeah, it's definitely something that you have to, to budget. And I can tell you, my wife was looking at me crazy you're gonna spend how much money on a. So to your point Yeah, a hundred percent. It's, but it's really how bad that I [00:04:00] wanted I wanted it bad.

And so my thought was, get into the 15 and see what I can do. I bought that 15 acres specifically because I walked five or six parcels with a local real estate agent, and I just wasn't getting the gut. for the amount of money that people wanted. And I was like, holy cow, I'm just not seeing the sign of, again, your first sign though.

So you don't really know what you should be seeing. But eventually I stumbled on a 15 acre piece. It was miss representative, if you will, by a realtor. There was like two pictures and that was it. So when I got there I did some other research, realized there was. Piece of property that it bought it up next to it was in a satellite area of a deer cooperative.

That was one of my main requirements in Michigan. We have to rely on those to get some age class on our deer. So those were two of the reasons, and it was affordable. It was 50 grand. I'm not afraid to talk [00:05:00] numbers. It was 50 grand six years ago. And now the, I wish prices per acre were.

at that, but it was affordable. It was misrepresented, so I don't think it was listed for what it could have been or should have been. And then it had some nice property around it. I knew the area, I knew the county at least, so not really like the neck down area, but I had a decent feeling still, though it was still a risk off the bat.

You don't know who your neighbors are, right? You don't know certain things until you get into it.

Jon Teater: That, that brings up a really important, bit of data. So when people buy land and they have a chance to learn, at least what's the environment like, right? What's the neighborhood like?

What's the hunting pressure like? What's the deer quality like, you're going into a piece of property with all these unknowns. , and I've struggled with that. And if you don't live locally or you don't have that awareness, maybe you don't even have, you're within a half an hour or maybe even 15 minutes.

15 minutes [00:06:00] can be a big difference between, quality hunting and not quality hunting. But to that point, sure. If you're gonna hunt in an area that has a pedigree, Or, you, it's got a good deer population or whatever the case may be. It's got good neighbors. You're setting yourself up at least to try to maintain or meet a goal that you may have an expectation.

So I think that's really important that you mentioned that. . So I'm most interested in this 15 acres on what work you did. And I know that you've killed some stud bucks on this property. I remember at least I think two big bucks that I remember seeing off the property. It could be wrong. But could you tell us a little bit about all the work and effort that you put into it, cuz you've had time to massage it into something productive?

Jared Van Hees: Yeah, no, appreciate the question. Basically what I've done is everything that I've, that I. with the tools I have, the time I have, what I'm allowed to do in terms of property size, government programs, this and that. I've done a little bit of everything with my podcast, it's been, [00:07:00] like you, you get to talk to all these people who you learn tips and tricks from.

It was like my playground or my proving grounds, my learning area. So I'd go out there and I'd, plant the fruit trees. I did food plots. I plant. Screens of about every kind you can think of. Tree stands, blinds, logging, TSI work, inch cutting switch grass, meis water holes, water tubs, max scrapes.

Just, that's just off, off the top of my head. I'm out. I'm to a point now where I'm out of real estate, if that makes any sense. I've maximized or tried to maximize every square inch when it's a micro property, and really it's like I could buy a bunch more fruit trees, but now I'm eating it in my food plot or vice versa.

But I'd say the thing I wish I learned first is get a logger in there. It was logged prior to me buying it like two years prior to me buying it. So nobody wanted to touch it. Everybody's it was just cut. It was just cut. You and I both know [00:08:00] sometimes what somebody else thinks is. Enough, it's not and it hadn't been cut hard enough for my goals, which were to increase wildlife and have opportunities that matured deer.

So if, to answer your question, I've done a little bit of everything, good, bad, and ugly.

Jon Teater: Let's talk about what didn't work and what did work. So what didn't work, at least from a strategy standpoint, maybe when you initially started and then you obviously transitioned into something a little more productive.

Let's talk about your failures and your success.

Jared Van Hees: Sure. I have two failures that come to mind. One I've talked about quite a bit. First thing I did, John, when we got the property I brought my buddies out there who had a skid steer and a big brush hog attachment on the front of it, and we started mowing down cover for food plots, right?

I wanted a huge two acre food plot. What on all the shows and everything else. We got out there in April. We started cutting. I left barriers, to hide my access and hide from the road. I didn't totally go [00:09:00] crazy, but I cut a lot down and , that was mistake number one, right? Our deer in Michigan, similar to your deer in New York and Pennsylvania, and some of these heavier pressure stays are a little bit on edge, if you will, cover has become more important to me than anything really. So now that I look back and I mowed it all down, that was a mistake. That was probably the biggest mistake I've made in trying to rebound from that. Took years. Yeah. That, and then to top it all off that same day, first day out there, we get the darn skid steer stuck in the mud on, in the middle of the property.

And you. , you can't get to it. Next thing my buddy's truck, we tried taking that down. That gets stuck right off the road, . So I get to meet the neighbors by banging on their door, Hey, I'm Jared. I'm the new guy and can you help pull me out? Literally and then we actually had different wrecker coming in for that skids steer drive through my neighbor's property and [00:10:00] come in from the high side and pull that skid out with a.

this was all day number one. , just say that mistakes haven't been made would be a lie. Another mistake that I often look at, because it's something I walk by all the time and I sit in my one tower blind and I look at it, I tried to make a screen out of hybrid willows. Ah, and while I, and yeah.

Plenty about willows. We talked about that on the episode when you, I'm not sure , what I did wrong. . I don't think I planted them with wet enough feet in, in a wet enough area. The area gets wet. But I've had success where unless it's an already established potted willow, the cuttings, I was just doing cuttings, they did not take as well as I had hoped in that area.

I think some of it was due to the fact that it probably dried out. And then again, I don't think I prepped enough for the competition. I did two of. , but I don't think I prepped enough with the re canary and everything else around there to really give him a fair shake or a fair shot. Yeah. So those are a couple mistakes that, that are coming off the top [00:11:00] of my head.


Jon Teater: far, yeah. Appreciate you being vulnerable and that's great. Those are obviously common mistakes and a lot of people like you, they get into the project and they have this vision and it evolves. So you know where you're at today. , what's changed? And where have you found like some, I guess maybe of a new approach to maybe design or maybe your perspective's a little bit different, maybe even today as it was a few weeks ago.

What are you thinking today that you've done on that property that's helped you excel to the next level?

Jared Van Hees: Yeah, another good question. I think what I've done is I've, that's helped me out is I've really shrunk down the wide open food plots to a. Movement directed food source, right? Like I don't have enough ground or acreage to, to hold them all night long for a destination food plot.

They'll spend a while there, especially with the quality food plot, as but what I've done is I've taken those wide open fields that I cut in right off the bat [00:12:00] and I've spent the last three, four years growing 'em back in on the edges, making more of a shape out of it, more of. A boomerang or a kidney shape out of it, then a wide open rectangle.

What that's allowed me to do is it's allowed me to get the deer into bowl range at one point as they're transition, transitioning from my swamp to the big Ag, which is about a mile down the road, and when they're coming through my piece they're taking these food plot trails and these smaller corridors by.

right next to my blind, then next to my tree stand, et cetera. Using a more permanent screen. Willows are a great screen, but a more permanent screen like switch grass. I've been using that a little bit more to form just a little bit of a push should push 'em in the right direction towards my stand as they're coming through.

And that's really been a great way to help direct movement that I. My, my obsession with mock scrapes. I know those are, but a, talk of the [00:13:00] town in the last couple years, but I've been using those for a while and I think they're extremely important, especially on a small piece, what's to keep to that buck from going through your neighbors versus yours, you got, you need to have all the social hub.

Yeah. So I, I've taken that and then I've just, my access and tree stand. , they've all been the same, but I'm just still, I'm still remaining extremely anal about when, where, and why you're gonna go hunt. And if it's not perfect, I don't show up. So it's just there's a few different things that I think I've honed in over the past two years there on

Jon Teater: that piece.

All right. I'm gonna ask you to a little more specific one, and people probably want to know this. So from a mock scrape stand, , how do you create your setups and where do you put 'em? Do you put 'em on the edge of the field? In the field? What's the layout?

Jared Van Hees: Great question. I like to do mine. And we recommend this to all of our land plan clients as well.

I make mine very obvious, so I'll first, I'll tell you how I make 'em, then I'll tell you where I put 'em. Great. The [00:14:00] fir, so the first would be I'll find an overhanging area where I, they're all within both range. A tree stand, or I should say every tree stand has a max scrap. I make more of them but are not in bow range.

But every one of 'em has a max scrap location within bow range, 20, 25, 30 yards. I'll take the ground. I'll clear out like a five foot diameter circle. Way too big, right? Just obvious. What that does, the soil, emits a smell. Deer can smell that. It's visual, they can see it. It's very obvious.

And where I put. , I'll put these along, the travel corridor. And what I do is I hang a, above that big five foot circle. I call it like, like a car hood. Above the car hood. I'll cut a oak branch from a green live oak tree, and I'll hang that branch via zip tie, para cord, whatever straight down over the the car hood area that I clean.[00:15:00]

Now what that does, all those oak leaves, if you think of it like a wic, they're all, there's that much more matter up there to grab scent. Now, it may be overkill. You may not need it. I've seen guys use fires. I've seen guys use ropes great in Michigan. I haven't had much luck with either of those. I prefer to be as natural as possible, and there's no question this great.

I choose a synthetic. I've used some synthetic products in the. , I've hung drippers up there. I've not hung drippers up there. Basically I'll set it and then I will not go back and touch it, get near it, anything like that until I either need to swap a camera battery or something like that in a rainstorm.

So if you picture this, there's this big wide open circle on the ground. You have a oak branch hanging there. Those leaves will stay on there forever. That's what oaks do. And then a little bit of synthetic. To start or not, but once the deer take it over, you don't need to go back in there, in my opinion.

Where I'll put these [00:16:00] now, I'll put 'em in obvious locations. I'm not gonna go put one in the middle of the pine ticket off to my right, where deer aren't exactly gonna run or it should run, travel, move through, et cetera. They'll find it. Sure, they'll smell it. Sure. But I wanna make it as easy on them as possible to.

use it and move on. So it's, they're pretty much, you're almost like creating a line of movement with them along with the travel quarters I'm creating with the food plots I talked about the hinge cutting back and forth on both sides to create the cover, you're really just creating a direction for them to move or emulating what they're already doing and increasing the value of it by humming around it and things you can do to, to.

So I hope that answers your question. I

Jon Teater: think it did. You did great there. So let me let's talk about the food plot. So we had this large area. Now it's, it's maybe took on a different shape. Let's say it was two acres or roughly, over an acre. [00:17:00] What's the size of it today? It's about cut in half.

Okay. So you shrunk it

Jared Van Hees: down and there's, go ahead. Yep. There's still a big end on the one side and the big end on the other. , but where it really sh got shrunk down was right throughout the middle. I pretty much put a big blockade kind of in the middle to where they have to, they don't have to, but they tend to work around it.

Jon Teater: That blockade that you put in, how did you create that?

Jared Van Hees: So first when I started doing it, I used hybrid willows. I used treetops that I drug out with my. and I put 'em in a line and that lasted for a little while. The treetops broke down. The deer find their way through there, which is fine. I'm not trying to trap 'em or create a fence wall.

I want them to be able to do what they wanna do or they won't use the property. But I then switched to some mecan that did. Okay. Where I'm at now is I'm at Cave Rock switch grass at eight to 10 pounds per [00:18:00] acre. I pretty much. I prepped and frost seated that two years ago, oversedated again and been keeping up on that.

And they can walk right through it. But if you give 'em the path of least resistance through some nice cover right next to it, they tend to walk that with the mock scrapes, some food on the ground that, so that's where I'm at now. Right now it's cave and rock switch. Seated thick enough for a screen, not for

Jon Teater: better.

That's a great bit of information. I'm just gonna add a suggestion for folks who are, listening to this in detail is you've got this point coming out, or I guess we could, say it's in a diamond shape or whatever the case we need pitch pitching these deer down, on that pinch point, great place to put fruit trees. , right? Just another little option for you. If somebody wants to put, small fruit trees, whether they're pears, crap, apples, whatever the case may be, I think that's a little added feature that, that may pull those deer up a little bit closer and give them some added interest.

Just to add on to Jared's point there. All right, Jared. I love it. , I want to take you to the next phase because [00:19:00] you were successful. You've killed big bucks on this property. You recently purchased a new. and I think you purchased it for a unique reason. I think you can share that with everybody.

And then I wanna talk a little bit about that piece and some of the, maybe the pitfalls or concerns that you currently have with it and how you're gonna attack it. Cuz it's a little bit different from the 15 acres probably eco region wise. You know it, I know that fifteen's a little swamper.

Maybe a little bit more shrub bland, but what's this new situation you've got going? .

Jared Van Hees: Yeah. So just when you think you have it all figured out and the 15 becomes a little bit turnkey, a little bit. I've killed three nice bucks out there in the last five years, but it's been fun.

It's just the family and I weren't using it together as much as I'd hoped. It was more of a Jared's going away to, to work on his. Project out there and hunt and hone my obsession. But this next piece is more family oriented. [00:20:00] So we're switching from southern Michigan where there's a ton of deer.

The hunting pressure's high, but they're a little bit better. I don't know if I wanna say age class, just better nutrition down there. A lot more corn, soybeans, the deer are just bigger, antler wise in the southern part of the state, or at least I should say, there was more of. . So now we're going the opposite.

If life wasn't challenging enough, now we're going northern Michigan, almost to the upper peninsula in God's country. Up there bought, I bought a 70 acre piece that is in one of the areas of the state where they get a lot of snow, more snow than a lot of other places. So the idea was what's the next project?

and then how can we get this to be more of a family oriented location to where we can go up north. We always say a mission, go up north. And that's what I did. That's where we're at. We ended up putting a cabin [00:21:00] on it first thing, so we could have a place to stay. And that's where I'm at right now.

This place up here is a lot more, has a lot more undulation to it. , the 15 was relatively flat. This has, I sent you the thing there, Ana, I think it's got two to 300 foot elevation change on just the one side. So yeah it's quite opposite. It's quite opposite. Different ecor region, like you said, a lot more hardwood, hard, maple forest, beach, forest.

It does have some low ground throughout the center at the bottom of all the higher. . There is a small creek that starts down there and flows out towards some bigger water as it moves across the state. But it's totally different piece. Hard way, harder to hunt up there way, or I should say a lot less deer.

And they're, but they're still around. So I have I'm excited about it. I have some high hopes.

Jon Teater: Yeah. And it's a challenge. It's interesting. You're [00:22:00] pushing yourself to, to, how far away is it from your. three hours and 42 minutes. Okay, so you even added, certainly that's a, that's another complication,

Jared Van Hees: so Sure is.

Yeah. The other, the 15 was about an hour and 10 or so, so that was doable on most

Jon Teater: days. Is land a little less expensive up there?

Jared Van Hees: It is. Yep, it is. And that was part of it too. It's definitely. Less expensive, but also, bought it years later. And prices have, as been insane the last five years, it's a good piece though.

Jon Teater: So I did look at it on a map and I didn't do musk research and I know that you're starting to work the layout for it, but two things I recognize just based on its location. It's a, it's in a marine area, so that means there's undulation and change.

So I look at the eco region first, right? And then I break down what the species would be like. For your example, you said there's gonna be sugar, maple, and beach, in those, marine areas. And then there's gonna be low land areas, which. Typically you're in a house, your wetter species, black spruce, [00:23:00] tamarack, like those type of things.

So you're gonna start to know, without even walking I've never been in this location at all. I'm gonna know the species. The next thing I'm gonna start looking at is how do you access this thing? How do you have this, particular parcel? And then to this point is You're three and almost four hours away.

Do you even have the time to do the work? And certainly, I'm sure you're looking at, what logger can get in there to start ramming and cutting and you're probably doing your layout and thinking, okay, how do I hunt this? Cuz it's a big timber lot, it's 70 acres essentially, of timber and you're trying to figure out the best way to attack a parcel like that.

And the other thing I'll add is like you adding the fact and let's be clear. Lake effect snow, and I'm a lake effect snow region, lake effect. Snow is like super impactful for the deer. It actually, shifts their locations. They're gonna go in lowland areas. Yes. They transition earlier in the season to certain locations.

Yes. And I have that same issue right here. Where I live is, I'm on a north facing slope. The deer tend to go in the valley earlier, so you've gotta hunt 'em at certain times. It's, there's just a lot that goes. [00:24:00] making the decision and you can know all these things getting into the property.

We talked earlier about making some decisions before you buy a property, these are the things you knew. You went into this like wanting tough and you're getting tough. So what do you, how are you gonna attack this project?

Jared Van Hees: Yeah, said. What I've learned from that area is there's, there's no corn beans anywhere near.

The lake effect, snow is real. The deer migrate at a certain point. You hit the nail on the head there. Yep. It's mostly forest. There's some clear cuts around there. So I understand, Northern Michigan and a lot of places, clear cuts are the corn fields of the north, if you will, for lack of a better term.

Yep. But yeah, it's a challenge and I'm okay with that. What I like about it is the fact that it's, Steep and a pain in the butt to navigate that. Humans and trespassing are gonna be a very low issue or non-issue, and they have been so far, vice versa. That makes it hard for me to get [00:25:00] around too.

So first things first, you mentioned mostly timber. That's very true. It's going to be cut. First things first, we don't. in a walking trail on this place, there's no ATV trail. There's nothing. So I, the only way to get down what we call the belly of the beast to the bottom, me and my buddie, who've owned it this past year and coming back up is straight up hiking.

So that's gonna be number one, is create some infrastructure, first of all. For me, but mainly for, the loggers are gonna create this as they harvest the mature timber. The timber hasn't been cut. about a hundred years based on what the Forester said. And what that's gonna do is that's gonna create infrastructure for me, for a tractor, for anything else.

But what we're gonna do while we have to heavy equipment in there is I'll probably spend all my timber money paying these guys with their big equipment to help me map out and create some travel or some food plot locations if they can. I'm just gonna run a dozer [00:26:00] myself and I'll do it myself.

Yep. But step one is to open up that canopy to that forest floor. It's the number one thing in my book, in everybody's book really. And just to get that native vegetation coming. We have a lot of beach brush and a lot of tulip maple, which are gonna be interesting cuz even when you open up the canopy you still have this slower sub canopy of these.

More undesirable trees than I'm have to deal with. So that's where, the dozer or ture or something might come in and help as well. But long, long story, long. First things first is great infrastructure and cut some trees yesterday.

Jon Teater: And yesterday couldn't came soon enough no, sir. With the elevation let's maybe get into some of the specifics and strategy you have on this.

I work in elevated trains. My, my property's elevated, there'll be areas that are. Four to 500 feet elevation. I'm like around a hundred fifty, two hundred fifty foot change in elevation, kind of drumlin [00:27:00] setting. Okay. It's not extreme. It's not like rock out craps or cars Sure. Or anything that are very like cavy like, but it's it's steep terrain.

One of the things that we typically do on steep terrain is we'll go in. and I'll cut. I'll cut on contour. So the timber will be cut on contour. I'll go in with dozers. I'll put in benches and then I'll funnel deer and then I'll create like little mounds or pockets throughout that. And you'll find like forensically, like I can look at a forest and tell you forensically, okay, this is once, this type of forest, right?

And I'll know a lot of the desirable species in that particular area. So you could look up your eco region. Like we could look up Jared's eco. And then we get in the details of what the natural plant life would be at a certain state and time. And you can diagnose that based on the soil type.

And so I'll think about that, which seems pretty involved. But we're thinking about things that are gonna be edible, should I cut this area? Those type of things. And then, it's trying to, build this architecture where the deer can move through it, but we're not getting nailed hunting wise.

And I didn't look at your [00:28:00] property like in a ton of detail, but a lot of times, this sounds really odd, I'll actually put a trail right down the center of the property. Topography is correct and everyone wants these trails the next year. I'm not saying don't do that, but I'll put a trail right down the center property so it can spider web out and work in the different areas, and I'll use that depending on like its location.

I'll use it as an access to maintenance and maintain the property. I may not hunt off that area, but that's one of the strategies I would employ. And then working with those tops those high areas, those high mounds. You can do a lot on those just to, keep deer up there. But then it's a question of how do you conceal them because they can see, a million miles away and catch it coming in, in an area.

So I, I guess those are some things I'm just thinking about offhand. What are you thinking? Like, how are you gonna attack this project?

Jared Van Hees: Yeah I couldn't agree more. There's really only one spot based on talking with the. that he wants to go get down the hill. What we'll call the hill. Yeah. So we come off the road, it's an, and the majority of the property, I'd probably say two thirds, is a north [00:29:00] facing slope, where up by the road it starts steep and then it gradually, flattens out more towards the center of the property.

But I'm the top. Those north facing points, the same thing that we recommend. Same thing you just. as, I'm gonna cut on those knobs. There's these outcrops or finger ridges that come off the main ridge and they drop down the hill. I'm gonna cut on that terrain like you're talking.

. Now my thought was cut hard up there for the visibility blocking. And I'm speculating cuz I haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking if I cut hard enough up. . I know they like to bet up against it, but if I can create enough blockage with tops and lay those down the slope far enough, hopefully there'll be some site blockage with that.

And then I plan to access behind all that. So I plan to access I don't plan to access to where they can look down at me. Like you said, that's where the trail's gonna be cuz there's the one trail they get down on the hill is right through the center. [00:30:00] It's. And those deer use it already. I've watched him use it cuz it's the easiest path of least resistance to get up that hill.

Sure. It's a little draw. That's where the road's gonna go in. Just because I asked you, but to your point, I'm not gonna walk down that road during October or November to hunt because while the deer are gonna be vetted up on the hill watching, so my thought is cut hard on the terrain. I didn't think about creating a bench with some dozers that, that's interesting.

that could be something to help define some more travel up higher. Most of my plan is gonna be. cut hard on those ridges for vetting up top, but most of my food whatnot's gonna be down more towards the swamp that kind of runs through the middle on that flatter

Jon Teater: ground. Yeah. It's probably the easiest place to put it.

You almost don't have a choice. An example. I think so. Yeah. Yeah. And you, so I'm gonna give you a strategy and just, I'm spitballing because this is stuff that I Sure. I've gotta come up with all the time. This is exciting, man.

Jared Van Hees: No. This is what, that's what we like to do, right?

Jon Teater: This is like [00:31:00] real design here.

What I think I find at least in the north facing slopes, just as an example, is the deer typically, depending on the slope of the terrain, it's the deer are gonna the deer are gonna typically gonna crisscross those. Now they may sit on the high points. If that's, that's an ideal location.

but the slope terrain, the north terrain, typically you're gonna get a thermal drop all day long, at least a good percentage of the day. This is, contingent on a lot of weather conditions and obviously snow in the gates, all that. But generally speaking, those early season, they'll drop through there and then they'll find if there's a knob just below, let's just say you have a north facing slope, and then you have a, oh, like more towards the bottom and you have a knob or kind of a carve out and there's, flattered terrain.

So it's less slope, it's within. Three to five degrees, slope terrain and it could be just little points, little mounds, et cetera. You'll see them bed a lot lower in a north facing slope, and they'll stick in that location and they'll stick there to oh, I don't know. Sometime in the morning as things heat up and you, they may be nine, 10 o'clock, and a lot of times I catch 'em in transition, so I'll hunt a deer on transition to those.[00:32:00]

and then you'll pull 'em down to the bottom with food and then they'll transition to another knob. And again, I think there's a lot of thermal aspect in the morning to consider those afternoon, what happened in the afternoon is they come out of those areas and they come right back to those kind of thermal drops.

Cuz again, this quick temperature drop in these locations that those northern slopes pull error into these bottoms. Those are really hard to hunt areas and. I've had to deal with that on my own property and client properties, finding even the lower third in the morning can be an ideal location for a temporary bedding as they move off.

They'll spend 15, 20, an hour, two hours in those locations as long as they're isolated and like you said, enough cutting and cover in that area, and then they'll transition to the next stage. And that could be, depending on the wind conditions or what's preferential, maybe they want to get warmed, right?

So they may go to Southern slopes. So if you have variation in the landscape, that's gonna draw them to these different locations. Because I really believe, and I'll just say this, not as a fact, but just as an opinion and this is how I based a lot of my hunting strategies. [00:33:00] It's deer typically wanna thermal regulate stay warm or cool depending on the circumstance.

And they're gonna wanna take advantage of the winter thermal. These are, not all individualistic deer, but there's a general tr trend towards that. That's how I base how they're gonna use terrain. And if you can play that into the strategy where you're giving them options and maybe there's a thicker area over here on a south facing, or in this case a north facing, they're gonna start picking and choosing those locations.

And sometimes it's catching them in transition between those two. That can be ideal, again, depending on the timing of things, but you'll get the data down when you start doing data collection with your trail cameras. But I dunno, just a thought that popped up into my head. I see this a lot on the, on either properties or my own properties.

So I'm actually in a similar both than you. It's

Jared Van Hees: yeah. Yeah, I'd like to actually see a par your parcel one day and maybe ask you some more questions. What I'm wondering is with the lake effect snow and being, the fact that it gets colder, quicker up there. Yeah. How long are they gonna use these north, north facing slopes for bedding before they're switching gears?

Luckily, on the other side of [00:34:00] the property and the north side, they go straight back up again. So we go down. There's a swamp down in the. , which they do better as well based on the hunting that I've seen and the, what my scouting tells me. But on the other side, it goes straight back up. So I do have south facing slopes as well to work with.

Which is why I like this piece because it's so diverse. You have north facing, you have a wetland in the bottom of thermal cover. A ton of cedars, very mature cedars. Oh yeah. Cedars. And the other side you have the north facing, I'm sorry, the need of the self facing as it goes. So to your point I like that.

And I'm with you. I think everything is created around that all the activity seems to be right now without any cutting around that lower one third where it transitions and to your point, I'm gonna make it such a diverse piece with the cuttings and the food. There's nothing like this within, Quite, quite a distance.

So yeah, I think, like you said, giving 'em the options of what they want. Multiple options, different [00:35:00] directions, thermal bedding, betting up on the ridge. You really have it all right there. It doesn't make it easy for me, but it makes it easy for them.

Jon Teater: It's gonna be a hard property to hunt, no doubt about it.

Yep, yep. But what you've got going for you has got that diversity in terrain features, which give you, I would say, a lot of opportunities stack deer. And that's really critical to the design and layout. And that's the reason I bought my property. Two reasons why I bought my property personally is quality soil number one.

Terrain variation. And then I knew it wouldn't be very huntable. I can only hunt maybe three or four days a year on that property. And it's ideal conditions. I'm starting to lose deer as the temperature starts to drop. So I knew that. , I do have some south facing, which is, in those areas.

So in the south facing, we've planted warm season grasses, light food. I've done heavier cutting. I use that kind of as a pulling source. And then off those, I'll have on my property, I have little knobs similar to what you're talking about. And I'll stack deer and I'll isolate. But I'm positioning them in directions where they're not gonna see me, and then I'll [00:36:00] position 'em back further and maybe give 'em the ideal kind of visual acuity to an area.

But it won't allow me to, be caught in transition if I'm going to hunt a particular particular region. The other thing that's to my benefit is the timing of deer figuring, and this is this, not having this intel until you buy a property is. When they're using a property. So when you're diagnosing when, then you can look at all the weather com, weather features and see how they're advantaging themselves on the landscape.

And so like I think over time you'll start to jot down, what you're seeing. And I've been able to increase or get them to come to my area an hour earlier than they were, in certain locations an hour earlier. Cuz they have general trends and movement trends an hour earlier, which has actually made the.

A little more productive for me just based on the style and volume of cutting that I've had. And you'll see these, like these annual trends, start to creep in and change based upon your habitat improvements, which is really cool cuz it tells me I'm doing something better cuz they're attracted earlier on my property rather than later.

Just from a timing standpoint. . [00:37:00] And then the question is, how long did they stick around? I think those are all interesting features and facets and I certainly will talk to you off this about, what your project's because I think following along this project's gonna be an interesting story and knowing what didn't work and what did work and what you would do a little bit differently.

Cuz I think cutting out a property like that's very tough, especially with your slope and elevation like you're talking there. I think you'll. You'll work with the logger, obviously, but you'll go in and do a lot of fine tuning and I think you'll figure out what works for you based upon what you're observing.

Jared Van Hees: Yeah I couldn't agree more. And to your point about annual patterns, yeah, that's something with the 15 acres. Another benefit to that was, that I had zero, zero mature year coming in until mid-October year. and now they're showing up in August, in September after five years of their work.

And they're there longer, but the annually they're there at some of the same times during season. So I couldn't agree more. Some of the stuff you're talking about, same stuff we like to talk about and study and focus on. And every, a lot [00:38:00] of my clients are in northern Michigan too. I've hunted all around Northern Michigan.

It's tough. Yeah. But I've been successful up there and everybody else wants some help. That's where, we're trying to help because up. . It's just it's tough. It's a little bit more spread out a lot of big country and not a lot, is there specifically for the deer? Like there might be in, different parts of the state or other states.

Jon Teater: Yeah. Really interesting. And I think it's important to kind think through this entire conversation we had today. Not only, Jared's evolution and his growth, but him him, making it harder on himself, which I think is certainly noble. But on top of it, obviously this helps you, I guess attack things may be in a little bit different circle and certainly gives you a diverse set of experience that you can apply with your land clients, which advantages them as well.

I can certainly relate to everything you're going through and you're learning and obviously you've got a ton of experience doing this. I think we should end there. And I think. I want you to come back on, cuz I want to hear about your journey because I know [00:39:00] this is this is an investment for you, right?

It's investment for your family. This is something you, you've ingrained yourself in and I think that you're gonna find a lot of success in this and I think a part of that success, you're gonna have a lot of learning. Steps and I'm experiencing the same thing on my property. I wish I would've done some things differently four or five years ago, but I did take the time to sit and observe before I started reacting.

And I, I said that with Brian on our podcast that him and I had before this. I think that's that's all fun and it's really interesting to, to think about and think through. Anything you want to end on or anything you want to talk about, maybe something to do with your podcast?

Anything cool.

Jared Van Hees: Yeah. I just wanted, thank you for having me on. Always, been a fan of your show and what you've been doing online. Been following you for quite a while, ever since you got on the show. And yeah I'd love to come on and keep everybody up to date on what I call the Northern 70 here, Northern Michigan's.

So beautiful that I think I'm just, I'm too stubborn. I'm gonna have to make it happen. Like I, I'm just gonna figure it out. Sink or swim. It's going in. I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm already in. So [00:40:00] yeah, it's gonna happen. We'll see how it goes. They're not one 50 s up there. There's a few of 'em, but it's, guys, it's gonna be a good time.

As far as the podcast I appreciate that. We're on episode 213, I think I'm launching this week. Awesome. All free habitat information, similar to yours. We're just a bunch of habitat nerds that, that love talking to people. , people like regular Joe's up to, the Mark juries, bill Winkys, you know of the world.

Steve Barillas. It's really we just like talk in Habitat and becoming a better habitat manager. It's our slogan with the listener. So we're trying to grow and learn with the listener and help people out, including ourselves along the way. Oh, that's at habitat We're gonna be doing some pretty cool stuff this year.

Appreciate you letting me plug

Jon Teater: that, John. Oh, no, that's great. And I'm happy you could share, and I'm happy you're on this. Thanks for giving me a call. It's been great having you and Brian on and Jared, I'm excited to have you on again and who knows, maybe I'll pop over to your [00:41:00] podcast sometime soon and we can chat again.

It'd be fun. All right, man. Hey, have a great night. Thanks. Thanks, John. You too.

Jared Van Hees: Take care.

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