Bluff Country Whitetails with River Brothers Gang

Show Notes

On this episode Byron discusses all things whitetails with the River Brothers Outfitter crew.  These guys are from the bluff country of Minnesota and have really dove into high level whitetail hunting in the past few years.  They have had some great evolutions in their hunting and some big deer have hit the dirt because of it.  

We discussed some family history on the farm.  Farm improvement projects that have added to their success. The bluffs of Minnesota offer their fair share of challenges as well.

Topics Discussed:

- land management 

-deer drives

- hunting as a team

-hunting heritage 

-water holes 

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

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] it is June Whitetail season is coming. I am getting more excited as the day goes. We just wrapped up, actually the weekend and crew got together, did a little bow shooting, little gear tinkering or looking at things, A little deer talk. Did record a podcast that night and I think that'll come out next.

But this podcast was recorded with the crew from River Brother Outfitters when I went up to Minnesota for the Xop p Turkey camp. And this is all whitetail talk oriented. Those guys had oh, some cool stuff figured out, especially on the ground that they were hunting there in the Bluffs. And I think, we were, I was like let's talk deer cuz I like talking deer way more than Turkey.

So we touched on some of their ins and outs of their seasons, what they like to do. I think there's a. The story too about a gun season drive. That was crazy. But yeah, I think this'll be a good podcast given that we are, oh, entering that June prep. July 4th is the full send. I'm gonna start [00:01:00] tinkering with some stuff.

I just got my compound set up and you blink, it'll be like August 15th and you're be like, shit, I still have so much to do. Maybe this week I can prep some cams cuz I, I do plan on getting those out here late June. I've seen some guys already doing that and have serious fomo. Enjoy the podcast team.

Harder and Buck. Oh, I'm gonna plug our Patreon cuz I appreciate those guys and again, I will be disclosing more of my personal endeavors information. I don't want Out To The Mess is on that platform on a semi-weekly ish basis. I'll try to show a little more over there. And I would also watch our YouTube channel.

We are doing a little more gear stuff, tinker videos. I just did a video with Logan the Bowman. That is out on YouTube about if you're thinking about going the trad route or maybe bouncing back and forth between stick, bow and compound. He had a lot of good like thoughts for somebody looking to do both.

All right guys. Enjoy the pod. All right. We are live, this is gonna be part two. I'll try to put 'em [00:02:00] out a separate week, but I'm still here in Minnesota, in podcast land, still at Turkey Camp. Brock's gonna shoot his first bird tomorrow, guaranteed. We are here with the River Brother Outfitters crew. And this is Bluff Country, correct?

Yes, sir. And you guys, despite us being at Turkey Camp, are deer hunters. Yeah. You guys have a pretty cool farm. Pretty cool setup, but it's been in the family. There's a pretty cool backstory. Why don't you walk me through that a little bit and then we'll get into some tactics, some changes in your guys' hunting behaviors over the years.

The quality of buck, some of those higher level talks that we'll get into. Absolutely, yeah. Walk me through the, a little bit of this farm, this special place. Yeah. So I'm gonna let Eric take just the generational shift and the story behind it and kick us off there. Yeah, absolutely. So this farm has been in our family since 1855.

Our ancestors settled it from Norway. My [00:03:00] family or our family actively farmed this land up until 19, what was it? 89 Grandpa passed away. Cattle farm equipment was sold fortunate enough that it stayed in the family. And then in 2001, my dad got the phone call that it was time to buy the farm. And we were fortunate enough, my brother and I, that dad was in a position to purchase the farm from grandma.

And we did that. And right around that time, Jorgen and I were at the age where we were able to be active participants in the farm. Maintaining the land, participating in hunting activities, things of that nature. Just truly blessed to be in this position and share with all you guys today.

So let me ask this. When a farm goes generation to generation does, hey, how does that conversation go? Because, so my family had ground and my Papa Bill bought it as an investment. He passed, it was around for three years. Like I, I was just starting to hunt it and the three family members said, Hey we're selling it.

[00:04:00] We don't want it. We're gonna take the cash. How does that conversation go as far as when you decide to pass a farm down? Did mom and dad say, yeah we can't live without a good chunk of ground or we see value in it for the future. We want our kids to have it. What was like the major factors?

Yeah. So every family is different, so I'll just speak to our family. My brother and I are the only biological grandchildren on that side of the family, so the other siblings on my dad's side stepped out of the equation and was like, Hey, if there's a way that my dad, Brian could purchase the land we would really like to foresee that happening and make sure it gets passed out on the next generation.

So very fortunate in that situation. Everybody's family situation is different. Yeah. And that's the way it worked for us. So it was just, that's the way it worked for us. And so this place, there's a lot of history from Oh, decor to photos on the wall to memories. I don't know, gimme a break it down for our listeners as far as [00:05:00] what this place is as far as meaning for you guys.

Yeah. The podcast is currently happening in my house. Jorgen lives in the Twin Cities. I live on the farm. And back in college, I, the light bulb went off on financial investing, right? And I realized all the toys and the four-wheelers and the snowmobiles I were buying were getting me absolutely nothing in that department.

And I came up to dad and I said, Hey dad, would you mind if I fix this old grainery up into becoming a hunting cabin? And he goes, yeah, that'd be awesome, but my checkbook's nowhere near it, so it's all on you. And I'm like, all right, sweet. So I'm gonna do this. And we come from a contractor family. So I had my uncle come by and a couple other friends and be like, Hey, I understand this building needs a lot of work, but from a foundation standpoint, are we solid?

And they're like, yep, green light, go for it. So we started by gutting everything. And for those that don't know, a grainery is what back in [00:06:00] the day, they would store seed in from year to year. Because back in the day you would grow, you would sell a portion of your crop and you would keep a portion of your crop to plant the next year.

And so this building goes straight up and then over, and then it would have four bays, so two on each side to store grain in with ventilation underneath. And then in the middle is where you would be able to back your planter in and then shovel in the grain that you needed. So I simply started by making a flat floor, gutting everything, putting insulation up, and it was just simply a watertight building insulation solid floor.

And we put a loft in it. And that's how it started. As Do you work that project straight through or was this like weekends after work? Oh let's back up. Sounds like a shit ton of work and a lot of time. Yeah. We started Deer Camp as white tents that we rented from Winona and Camper.

Yep. And then we grew into Eric's hay barn or Grainery that was, Hey, this is the pimp [00:07:00] shack, and we got a wood burning heater in here, and we can actually sleep in here without mice running across our chest. That was the biggest thing behind it. And everyone thought that was the Cadillac shack.

Yeah. Jerkin brought up a great point. We, when we bought the lamb, we started with campers and we, how old were you at this point? Because that paints the picture. Oh oh one is when we bought the farms. I ain't that good at math, man. Yeah, you, yeah. You would've been nine. Yep. Yep. So you guys were coming up here as kids.

Yeah, we were deer. I remember sleeping in ca yeah. Campers. Yep. The first memory that Eric and I had here were, we were fighting over driving on the tractor, mowing down the crappy trees. That, that it's now a crop field. And then we grew into what is now Eric's house and mom and dad are over the hill.

And I mean it, it's grown quite amazingly. I mean if you think about it in the long term it went quickly, but [00:08:00] I mean it, back in the day we were sleeping in tents and mice running across her chest and telling stories of that. Yeah. So we started with the camper that would come back and forth with us from the cities cuz we didn't live on the farm.

And then we dad bought a different camper that stayed on the farm, got mice infested, went to crap. And then he went to the point of buying a job site trailer. That might have been bigger, but the insulation was worse. And so that was arguably a step backwards, but you could fit more people in it.

And so it all worked out. And then in college, I, started investing into the grainery and making that our hunting camp. And just to be able to be farther than eight feet apart from the person, across from you, everyone was over the moon excited. Yeah. And then after college I put an addition on the greenery or to turn into my house, and then another addition to make the garage where [00:09:00] we're having the podcast today.

Very So what kind of, back at that, when you guys were starting nine and whatever, however we're old, you were, what were your, like how did y'all hunt back then? What was your style, your tactics for the bluff country? Yeah. The biggest thing back and here, what was the acres that you guys had at that point on the.

That you could run on? Yeah, at the biggest, like when we first started, it was right around 700 acres that we were running on. But every, like when you got Eric and I, our first hunt was with grandpa and it was at grandpa's pond no matter what. Like you were there with grandpa in that stand. And the funniest part about that is everyone you know nowadays is like you gotta park miles away and you gotta walk in and grandpa says, get in the driver's seat.

Drive me right to the sand, then you can go park the truck and Jorgen. And I would park the truck at the age of 12 and then walk back to the stand like you dropped grandpa off at the base of the stand. [00:10:00] Then you'd walk and then you'd drive it all the way to the road and you'd walk back. And guess what?

Both of our first deer were shot outta that stand with Grandpa Mine. I, he woke me up from a nap. He hits me and he jargon, here comes your big fuck. And I'm like, And waking up and six pointer walking in. I'm like, holy smokes. Here we go. 12 year old jargon, he gets down in the pond and pounding him right there.

And I think your first one you killed a buck. And what three dos that, that morning with grandpa? My first hung with grandpa was even funnier than that. So I dropped grandpa off, went and drove to the other side of the farm, parked by the fence line and then walked back. Sunlight comes up over the hill, walks a do right down to the pond.

And grandpa's always saying was, shoot on you. Shoot first, then I shoot. Okay. And so we dropped this dough at five minutes after sunlight and I'm over the moon excited want to go touch the first ever animal? I [00:11:00] harvest it. And grandpa's like, no, we're not done hunting. And I'm like, are you hitting me?

And he goes, yeah. I'm like, all right, sounds good. Like I've never done this hunting thing. I'm 12 years old. Let's see what it's all about. And so then in 30 minutes go by and grandpa goes, Hey, you got those paper towels? I go, yeah, grandpa, but that's what I'm gonna be using to clean the deer with. He goes you're gonna have to find some water.

I need them. Walks to the bottom of the stand, walks 10 feet, takes a dump, crawls back up into the stand and not even a half hour later, out walks another one. We shoot grandpa's deer, walk down, clean 'em both. And it's like that's the way Jor and i's First hunt wins both with grandpa. And the funniest part is he always made us bring tomato soup.

That was our morning treat to warm you up Thermos. [00:12:00] Yeah. In the ther. That's sweet. And it's the best thing at warming you up. And I've yet to do it since oh, I was gonna ask, I was like, you know why he hasn't done it since? Cuz he leaves before he gets cold.

So that okay, so first hunt is always with grandpa. Yep. Yep. Things have come a long way. Then what Then, I mean as the years developed and Eric and I gained more whitetail knowledge, dad's crew always drove our land and so you get a group of guys together, you have some posters that, did anybody bow hunt back in the day?

No One bow hunted back in the day. Very, I think Casey was maybe the only one that bow hunted back in the day if that, but it was, everyone got together and slog the season. You had your two weekends and you drove the land and you killed, we, we killed some very respectable deer during that time.

But as we [00:13:00] learned throughout the process that once we got old enough and wise enough, as you would say, that we figured out that might have not been the best practice. But Eric probably has some better stories on the driving side of just really figuring that out as it went. So a drive too, to just keep it really simple and posters, break that down.

How did that look? And so you guys have posters or standards, some people say, yep. And then you guys would just have a line of guys Yep. Line up on the one end And drive. Drive toward walk through. Walk through the walk right through. Walk right through the woods and all that. But the biggest thing is you eat.

If you can see that guy, you gotta let the deer pass you before you can shoot him. You gotta know what's past Yeah. While you're shooting him. And so the, drive drives get a little scary if you don't know what you're doing. Yeah. To that point. Yeah. And you, do you guys do drives anymore?

We don't, yeah. No. We just do one drive on a small [00:14:00] chunk of woods that I call un huntable because the tip of the hillside is as wise a deer bed. So if you come in on either side, the deer know you're there and it's what, maybe 10 acres? Yeah. If that's the only drive we do. Other than that it's all sitting and sitting over.

The, when it comes to the driving, I think the last year we did it was really the pivotal year for you, Eric and really your best story. Is what I might say. World War four. What? Let's talk about it, Eric. What happened on that year? I was all sorts about her when dad told you that you could go to that top of that hill and I couldn't go with you, but Yeah, you could barely, you made it to the top that you dropped your gun what, four times?

How old were you made? No, I was 16 cuz I had my truck. Okay. So Jorgen and I are the definition of street smarts, not book smarts. So we [00:15:00] struggled in school. So on this particular year I was in the dog house with my mother for my grades and hunting season. Always fell on midterms or whatever it was called in high school.

And so I was able to go deer hunting under the expectation that I was home by a decent hour on Sunday to study for, my upcoming tests and things of that nature. I hadn't shot a deer all year. Like Jorgen alluded to, it was, a drive year. And so dad sent me to the top of his bluff.

So how many deer were shot to that point? Like 25? Wait. On the same drive? No. Got a question. Okay. Same gun season. 25 days. Yeah. Off the piece. You guys ran helicopters? No, it, it all came down to the driving aspect of it. If, like up to that point everyone was meat hunters, right?

But we did have the regulation of Minnesota that you had to have four points on bunch. Yeah. But you [00:16:00] gotta have some numbers to be shooting 25 deer. Yeah. That, as we've progressed through the years, we've cut down our group smaller and smaller to, hey, if you come and work on the farm, you help out, or that kind of thing, then you have the right to hunt the farm.

But it's also going from the years of Minnesota having the four point restriction to now they don't, but we kept the farm the same and so you guys kept that, Hey, on our farm four points. Min what have you saw? Mega six. So we're talking 115 inch. We've actually had 'em and so we've had those at the point when Minnesota had the four point restriction and this was the most impressive six pointer I've ever seen.

I picked up a deadhead this year, one 15. I've shot like 110 inch six. Like you started. I feel like you should put an asterisk clauses like five and a half inch bigger bases. Six points are allowed. So what I mean at the same time it's like ever, you can age deer [00:17:00] however you want, but it's if you continue to let 'em grow, you have the correct button, you have the cracked food, you don't pressure 'em all that much.

You're gonna continue to grow big deer. And we've continued to prove that. We've continued to keep big deer on our property year over year. And the neighbors don't know about 'em because of the restriction we've put. But back to the story of World War I four and all that, it came down to there was the four point restriction and sure we put a lot of deer down, but there were a lot of good deer in there.

And it was also around management and all that. When you throw the term good deer for our listeners we're in Minnesota. What? What would you say? Good deer. You drive down the road, you catch a glimpse. Good deer. Yeah. I mean at that time it was probably 140 or over. Now you have to be mid one 50 s.

So just to, before we go down this drive story rabbit hole, just to get over the evolution of [00:18:00] the four point restriction to where we're at today. So to go off of what Jorgen, alluded to earlier is we don't exchange money for hunts. It's all your time. Okay? And so the way we do that today is if you exchange time for the hunt, you earn the privilege to, hunt our ground and things of that nature.

And the way that we do it today is that deer something that would make you proud to harvest and proud to mount on your wall. So if you are willing to pay a tax earner to put that deer on your wall and that deer gets you excited, that's something that, you have the privilege to hunt or to harvest.

And then now it's gotten to the point where everyone in our group has harvested. That deer got that deer hunting itch. And now we're going after them, extremely nice class whitetail, things of that nature. And it's just almost also self-respect to the animal.

It's hey, shoot something [00:19:00] bigger than your last, or like you said, someone's gonna make you happy. But it's also if you shoot a one 40 your next like goal should behave one 50. Are we in a good area of Minnesota? Good night? Yes. Yeah. No, I percent no perspective. Like you've seen some deer driving around the roads.

I've seen some turkeys. I look and I'm like, dude, this sets up well. But there's places in Ohio you can get a 10 or 15 inch swing on two and a half year old. Three, three and a half. You're like one area. Your three and a half year old might be one 20, but if you were two counties to the east, west, north, he might be one 40.

And he might be 1 55. I just, I had no perspective of where we sit in this scheme of the state. I would say, so I'm from Northern Minnesota originally, where the deer is small kinda one tens. What? You know the antlers are small, the antlers are small. Sorry. Bodies are massive unless you're run the small donkey.

Unless you're really going down here, there's, in my opinion, and we talked about this, there's a legitimate chance on, I would even venture to say any piece of ground. If you are going [00:20:00] back and putting in the work to find good deer habitat and good travel corridors, especially during the rut, pre rut, you can run in.

Relatively easily run into a one 50 inch steer. Yeah. High ops Yeah. Of doing that. Is this Facebook's one 50 or this is legit tape because Yeah. A lot of people throw out the term one 40. They're mid thirties steer. Yep. Yep. So I, last year I shot a 127 inch eight point study Yes. Study. I thought he was way bigger than that.

And we put the tape on him. I said 1 27, obviously it's, I was jacked about him, but it put in perspective exactly what you said Facebook first solid. Every and I'm not a stickler dude. Something's 20 inches wide. It's gonna die. It can be a hundred inch buck. Yep. Something's got big beams.

Something's got a little more mass. Like I get it. But no the inches you just described, I think that paints a really good picture. But I do want to hear about World War Four. All right. So World [00:21:00] War four. I was basically sent to the top of this bluff, 800 feet elevation, straight up and down for the sake of the story.

No. That's really good. Cause yeah, Ohio gaps are 300 to five, 600 foot floor to ceiling. So 800 foot elevation. I was sent up the face of this bluff and I was told to find a good spot to stand and make the deer go to the left. And I'm like, all right, sweet. This is my last drive of the season.

Gotta go home and study. And so I'm getting jacked pumped to go up. I'm in a prime spot. Dad put me on the deer, right? And so in the process of going up this bluff, I dropped my gun several times. Just alu. Yeah. You just a minute. You were alu. Yeah, a hundred percent. It's not to mention straight up and down.

Yeah. And so I get to the top of this bluff and I find this pine tree that is, Very sizable in size. Absolutely thrash [00:22:00] giant, thrashing marks from obviously a big deer. And I go and find this opening and I'm like this was like a good spot to stand. So keep in mind, in this situation, I have my 3 57 pistol and I have my mossberg bolt action, two in the clip, one in the chamber.

And I'm standing there and I am bored out of my mind, founded twig playing with a tree next to me. And I'm like, man, this looks like a good spot. You'd be really nice if some deer came in. Keep in mind my opening is in that 40 yard range, like tops, okay? And I'm playing with my tree named it Bob. At this point, I'm just like, Hey, Bob thinks a deer over here, thinking it's gonna be a good spot.

And next thing here's a dough. 40 yards from me. So I take a step, draw my moberg, clip the safety off dough turns broadside, shoot, it runs [00:23:00] away, and I'm like, Moberg's junk, because I dropped it so many times. So I throw the mossberg away and next thing you know, here comes another dough running out the other side.

So I take out the pistol boom, bum, that dough keeps running. Now I'm absolutely beyond furious because I just missed two great opportunities to harvest an animal and go home with something before I have to study. Reload the weapons and all of a sudden, it sounds like an 18 wheeler coming through these woods, right?

Biggest deer I have ever seen in my life to this point, keep in mind about 60 yards through some brush. Very evident. Four points on one side very big deer. So I take the mossberg, I go to where I think the vitals would be, pull the trigger. Deer stands here and looks at me. I'm like, Mossberg is for sure drunk.

Yeah. So now take the pistol back off. Boom boom.[00:24:00] How big is this? 3 57. Is this a six inch barrel or like a tube? Six inch. Okay. Okay. Yep. Had to make sure. So still up the three 50 sevens empty at this point, but there's more deer coming at me. Okay. A lot of deer and closer than 40 yards range.

So I go back to the Moser and they all just keep running at me. Okay. Now I am beyond upset and keep reloading both weapons getting prepared for the next wave of deer. And these ones come in a win. Like I'm talking 10 to 12 deer. All angles at this point. I really should have just taken my buck mark out and tried to stab one cuz they were that close.

Kept coming at me, kept shooting, not harvesting a single animal. And now I'm very beyond frustrated cuz I had multiple options to harvest an animal and I was not successful in any of 'em. And now [00:25:00] there's even more commotion coming through the woods. And now at this point, I don't know what to do.

Okay. I'm to the point where I'm about to tackle these deer when they come around and at me. Thankfully they were the drivers and now I had to admit that I just missed 20 deer in 45 minutes. And how many bullets roughly have you gone through at this point? I emptied my 3 57, which was 25 bullets to the box.

I went through four boxes of shotgun shells. Nope, not successful at all. Holy smokes bro. Yeah, cuz those slug box slugs are four to a box. All I gotta say is you must have hit that scope really dang hard on a tree stump or something on the way up. Oh, I think he was holding the wrong eye open.

So the drivers come forward and they go, how many dudes you get? And I'm like, I didn't get a single one. He goes, how about this one right here? [00:26:00] So the first year I shot at was the one I harvested. By the time the drivers found me, I had boxes of ammunition. My gear bag was spread all over. I still don't think I found everything that I took out of my gear bag that day in frustration.

But we got one. So I was able to go home with something man. And that's and it. And since that hill. Has been named World War iv. Yep. Because of the commotion. Yep. And in the meantime, I'd like to point it back to Georgie, who in the commotion of all that you were able to harvest. Yeah. Yeah. I was Same drive.

Yeah, same drive. I was so mad that Dad didn't let me go up there cuz I knew what was gonna happen and because every year it was so exciting up there and there was always only one guy that could go up there and dad was like, Nope, Eric's the only one going up there. So Little Brother Syndrome came in and I was just pissed at the bottom of the hill and I was right below Eric [00:27:00] on the turn of one of our four-wheel trails.

No, so you're hearing it all. Oh and this is before it, right? And this is before World War four happened. And I'm sitting there and I might have went to the bathroom right before all of this commotion happened and then all of a sudden I hear just a freight train coming through this ravine right at me.

And I'm like, what is that? Like the drive. I don't even think the drive had happened at that point, but what happened is this big buck came right down the ring and right to me, he's staring at me and I racked one off at him and then I go running around the four wheeler trail and he's standing right as he is about to cross.

And I just started unloading on him and I was so happy. And then right after it is when Eric unloaded his guns multiple times. But I couldn't be more ha I was just sitting at the bottom just staring at this thing and I was in my orange one piece. Zip up at the time. Yeah. Hunting an orange. Yeah.

Back in the day. Look, he onesie had a bad option. One thing to the woods. If you're going in your space, it's so easy. [00:28:00] Yeah. So you gotta go to the bathroom. I can. That's true, man. You've one zipper away from down your grundy. You're good. So what you guys have, hint that you've seen a huge uptick in caliber box, what you're able to harvest.

Do you think it's been tactic based, management based food plots timber improvement, combination of all? Yeah. I think it comes down to a combination of, all right, we stopped driving right as Eric and I think I was How old are you at this time? So I think I was probably a freshman or sophomore in high school.

You were just in the college when we said, Hey dad, give us five years, right? Let's stop driving. Give us five years, let's see what happened. And at that point, what happened is we started to retain more deer, right? Deer stopped getting pushed off our property. We started to create more food sources, more bedding, more water, and they started to stick around.

And the biggest thing was we weren't pressuring them. [00:29:00] And so with that became bigger caliber deer. What would you say as far as a Oh, you guys as hunter's, biggest improvement. That if you could grab yourself at, I'll call it 18, 19, and be like, dude, stop doing this and start doing X. Enter an exit entry and exit.

If you can't be detected on the way in or the way out, and if they feel comfortable, they aren't gonna know. And the biggest thing is what comes from that is the pressure, right? They're always gonna feel comfortable no matter where they are on the property, which in turn is gonna let them stay on your property longer.

Would you say a majority, like when do you kill a majority of your bucks? Do you feel like when is oh man I'm getting to my Yeah, the big, because some guys are early seasons, some guys are late season guys. Yeah. When you had the food, some guys are the dude I'm a rut hunter. Yeah.

It's tough because [00:30:00] there's been multiple years where we've killed them on opening weekend. But it came down opening week and above of opening me in above. Which starts when? In Minnesota? Second week been September 3rd, third weekend, or second or third? Depends on second or third. So let's blanket 15th or the 21st right in there in September.

If you have the intel from your cameras and you can pattern them, it's a matter of if they switch their fall pattern or not. If you have the distance, no. Stop or not. Yep. If you have the consistent warm weather leading up to it. In 2016, I was sitting in the sand at 2:00 PM and it was 80 degrees. So if you guys have green beans, is it if you do some homework as far as glassing cameras, blah, blah.

Absolutely. Dude, that's a, it's a very deadly tactic and if you can get them within the transition periods, it's game over. Now let me ask this bluff country, if you guys get a windstorm September 20th, does that [00:31:00] screw you? Where it dumps all the oaks. I would say back in the day, yes, Uhhuh not now with all our food sources.

And going back to your original question about 18, 19 years old, what can you did different? Yeah. Cause you didn't answer. Yeah. So Jordan was 110% entrance and exit is everything. But if you were to add one more layer to that conversation, I would say watering holes. Most people overlook most people go straight to food sources, bedding, all these things, but they do not understand how much water these deer need and.

They just automatically assume I have to build a three acre pond that's gonna cost a hundred thousand dollars. Okay, so I'm gonna ask you to elaborate. What is your the are you guys building a little you could go to Fleet Farm and get one of those big cattle troughs 120 and you could use a shovel and put it into, [00:32:00] right?

Like you have a little ravine and you drop and you know that the rain water's gonna drain into there and you're gonna be perfectly fine. There was, dad showed up the one day to his main spot and he had this plastic pond. Dad, what are you gonna do with this? How many self-made water holes have you guys installed on this piece to this point?

Yeah. Success. Six or seven. Okay. And just to elaborate on it all is, it all started with, it all started with this Earth pond. And Earth pond is still in business today. Okay, so Earth Pond is a kitty pool on steroids for deer. So what they, their claim to fame is it's more of more of a natural landscape. And it's got a hard bottom so deer can't poke through it. Okay. So that's what kind of started this whole revolution of wow, waterholes really make this difference. And then from that standpoint, we just spun it off of, okay, let's not buy an earth pond in this situation because of the way the ravine flows.

[00:33:00] Let's just dam this up and make a pond the same size as a kitty pool and do the same thing. So you're damning up a creek. Orrick ravine. No ravine. Just a ravine like on a hill side. You have two ravines that are coming together and you have a Just a runoff. A runoff of a, yep. But then the biggest thing with that is like someone goes in there and builds a pond.

You need to have a drainage out of it. O overflow. If you don't have the overflow, you will not have a pond in two years. Because the dam will get blown out. Yeah. Wear itself up. Interesting. Yeah. And so keep in mind, I'm a dominant publicly and big woods guy. Like I, I don't, I have some C minus food plots of win winter ride.

Like I am not Mr. Habitat okay. But let's say you're a 40 acre guy. On a budget hunting, I cannot stress the importance of investing in a kitty pond, an earth pool, renting a skids, steerer for the weekend, and buying a hundred dollars PVC pipe from [00:34:00] Menards. Okay. So to Jorge's point with the overflow, okay, so let's say you go and you rent and a skid steer and build a four foot dam to make a six foot pond, right?

If you don't put in the PVC pipe over time, That overflow, when you do get those tsunami rains, it's gonna take your dam out. Interesting. So install that a hundred dollars PVC pipe, let that water go somewhere, keeping your dam intact. Interesting. And so basically the point of this whole comment is it doesn't have to be a three acre pond.

Yeah. It can be a 4, 5, 6 foot pond. And I always hear food plots or timber stain improvement water holes. There's only been one podcast that Jake Hofer did from Exodus. Yeah. In the last year that I've heard, like the guy literally was speaking much to this, where he's dude, if you own property, you won't have a good water source or a water hole.

Like you're overlooking a very [00:35:00] key aspect of killing deer on your plate. Yeah. It comes out think of you as a human. What do you need? You need water, food, bad. And if you will die with no water in three days, you can survive like 20 without food. Yep. So think about it at Put yourself as a whitetail.

If you don't have water, where are you gonna go? You're gonna go find the creek, you're gonna go find the pond. If you're trying to retain mature whitetails and you don't have a little baby pond, even if you go to Walmart and buy a little kitty pool that you shovel in and it just fills with rainwater, you got no luck.

What, okay, let me ask this. Cuz I have a 18 acre property with a creek that runs through. I'm like, I can get water there all the time. And there's a little pools in that creek. But it's not, I don't have any dams. I don't have any, am I missing something? You could potentially, because of the point of, so dad and Eric always were like we have too many food plots.

We have too many water hoses. We have the river going through it. Okay. Ease of access. [00:36:00] Can they walk from bed to food, to water with ease of access? Are you getting in there without them seeing you? And they can still access all of that because they've got a crook that runs through our whole property. But how many times do you see them going to it rather than the ponds that we've created for them?

How many deer do you think in the last 10 years you guys have killed on these more man-made ish In the last 10 years? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Every year you kill one over water. Yeah. Mostly somebody in the group does. I'm mature whitetail. So one 40 class plus buck, one 50. Okay. This guy via water.

Yeah. And so just to go back to your comment with the 18 acres. So keep in mind in our situation, we have arick run through the bottom 800 feet of elevation bucks, run the ridges during rut. So those ridge water sources are very key, because they're not gonna, go off of a dull and rut.

To [00:37:00] go all the way down the bluff to get the water. They're gonna follow that dough to wherever the dough's going. And that do gonna stay right on that, on her path. And if you make it easy for her, they're gonna stay right with her. And she's not gonna go to the bottom. And I'm not even into attempt to name the statistic, but it is a unbelievable amount of water that bucks required during rut.

Let me ask this. Is there a you mentioned the rut. Is there a time of year you're like, dude, water holes are I don't know, our last 10 years we've hit a little more bucks early season on 'em when it's hot? Or is it a rut, more tactic? Mid-October, they're not so good. Is there any themes you guys see as time of year with water hole?

What about in the winter mean it's cool as shit? I think the main thing, so like the main river that runs through here, there's a current to it. So it'll get ice on, but it will never freeze. So that's one main thing. And then other thing, it's like, there's one time, j and I, one of the first times I sat down here, In that same little tub that Eric mentioned that his dad got, and he was sitting there and it was a yearling doll and then, [00:38:00] or yearling deer.

And the deer was smart enough to break the ice open to get to the water. And then I can let Dr and Aaron take and describe more about the river, but I think, whether if it's hot, it's just like you, it's like even if you figure out word it, so my question was, is related to dude, yeah.

We've killed three or four bucks, out of our 10 early season. But it doesn't matter. Time of year is, it's a, it's sure. It's good year rent. Yeah. It's good year. Absolutely. There's no Yeah. Stand out. Yeah. We need water all the time. But you're gonna, you're gonna center them in more on a watering hole versus a creek.

On where they're crossing. The creek. They're gonna cross, they're gonna get a drink. If you have a watering hole in their main area, you're always gonna center 'em in on that. Are you now to the point where you're putting water holes. We put play in a little bit more strategic locations Hey, we know that's a good dough.

Be area. We know that's a good dough. Be area. Yeah. Connect the dots. We're getting to the point where it's like we've created the woods. And to put it to this [00:39:00] standpoint, you put the play into the playbook, right? And so you put the water hole, you put the bedding area, you put the food, and you know where they're traveling to and from, and you always know when.

And so to put a watering hole in a certain area, you're putting that play in the playbook. And you know when they're gonna come, or at least an idea. Interesting. The water hole. Yeah. I think it's more powerful than a food plot. A hundred percent. Yeah. Fair enough. Not even a close second.

Are scrapes a big deal here in Bluff Country? Yes. No. Yeah. Scrapes are a really big deal. I think the biggest deal in bluff Country and Blake, and jargon, correct me if I'm wrong, is understanding wind flow with the bluffs in factor. So the top third of a bluff, so if you think of the bottom of the bluff, the middle, and then the top, right?

So in that top third with the way that wind flows, [00:40:00] that the deer are basically like protected because they can sense the wind coming over so they know what's over the top of the bluff and then what's below the bluff. And so understanding the way the wind flows through the bluff and then position your stands accordingly.

Yeah and so I have found, cuz I hunt some bluff stuff and just some true like big hills I tend to sub 10 mile an hour days. I feel like once I get above 10 miles an hour, I get a lot more bounce. If you will, where maybe more unpredictability. Do you guys have a, a mile per hour that you guys like?

Or, I think depending on the wind direction too. Say let's say it's for instance Opener LA or Opener last year. Yeah. Do you guys get a lot of soft winds? We had strong south winds and we were discombobulated on where to go and we had deer showing up, but it was still a lot of nighttime pictures.

But then with that south wind, it's okay, you can go obviously like wherever, but it's and then you can get mobile with it too. But then it's like [00:41:00] that south wind. For us personally on this farm, there's one to two good spots. But then depends on the type of the year too, whether it's light season or early season but yeah, that, like that south wind, it was just tough for us.

But then, in the bluff country, if you can tuck away from the wind, you're gonna see deer. Okay. Because they're like, especially on the high wind days, right? Like I've had multiple encounters. One of the biggest deer that we've ever ran on the farm. I went on the off one side and now I was smarted him.

Because he didn't have the wind to his advantage and he was following a doll that day. Do you guys do a lot of wind map scouting? Like I feel like in, that's something I've, I don't know. Now I'm a lot more conscious of hey, this hillside, three outta four days, it blows north. Yep. Yeah.

Regardless of whatever the wind the MAP app says. Yeah. But rewind three or four years ago, I was just like, oh, here's a good spot to hunt. There's a good scrape in the middle of this and this terrain feature, but as far as wind mapping, that's something that, that now I'm starting to do a lot more of.[00:42:00]

Yep. Yeah. I mean it, as we've progressed throughout it, you start to pay attention to those little things, and within the last three years we've really started to pay attention to it because on certain wins, You want to be on certain size of those bluffs along with your enter and exit from those stands.

And that's the biggest thing for us. Yeah, and then obviously like with that and then say it's say where're, like I'm from where it's like Northwestern, Minnesota, like there's not much terrain, all that stuff. If you have a north one, it's north, then you come down here and that's all. That's all in under reality.

Then you come down here and it's not, you may have a northwest wind, but there are some stand and some pinch points and ravines that the wind could swirl and benefit you. But then there's also ones where you get in the stand. There's been plenty of times where Jor and I have gotten an, even anybody in our boat, you and Devin probably, where you get in there and you use some whatever, something to indicate the wind, and you just don't feel competent about the wind switching.

And there's immediate times where I'm like, Jor, I don't feel [00:43:00] competent. Where should I like, obviously, like I know where to go. It's, but where should I go where you think could also benefit me? So it's You don't want to blow out your number one spot if you don't feel confident with that swirling wind.

So then we most times back out. Then there's also times where we'll sit after dinner time. We'll sit there and talk about, even if it's his Jor and I at the farm late season, we'll still take an hour to decide on what, sorry, Deb's making a face at me. You guys are the only guys that hunt late season now.

All right. Sorry. Come on man. The guys, he did put that out there. The guys that hunt late, that stay up past 10 30 at night. Are you guys a one buck state or multiple? So as it sits right now, we can kill one buck per weapon. In the farm is one buck per It varies by, okay, so you shoot October 1st November, you're done.

You're done. Okay, then you can come back. Like I, there's been times where I personally have shot a buck in October and then I'm like hey, I want to come down still hunt. B I want to according get film like [00:44:00] when River Brothers just starting going and C, it's like we always try to thin the dough hurt as well.

And then you can shoot, I mean you can buy X amount of dough tags. Yeah. And that, but that varies by zone. Okay. Yep. Okay. That's pretty cool. Self-management. Yeah. Aspect. But that's probably, you guys hinted hey we've really turned this place around from 15 years ago. Yeah.

Any, anything else you think has really just man, I think we're doing this right. So I guess I'll just speak to the food plots cuz that's Yeah. You're Mr. Food plot. Yeah. I hunt for the land management side of things. Like when I'm sitting in the stand over a food plot, I'm thinking about next year's food plot.

I'm not thinking about the hunt like the rest of the people around this table 14 blast. Yeah. And I'm playing tune blast while I'm doing it, but that's just another story. Hey, what level are you though, Eric? Come on, tell everybody. 1,256. One thing that we do differently that I think we do very much [00:45:00] right, is we will plant corn and beans at the exact same time in the same field, and then we'll strategically plant the corn to shield the deer and make 'em feel protected.

So it does two things. It gives you shelter to what Jorgen alluded to earlier about entrance and exits of the stand. But then it also protects that food plot for late season. Okay? For example, everyone, like the number one peop thing that people say about soybeans is overgrazing. It doesn't make it till late season, okay?

So we'll have, for example, in a two acre food plot, we'll have a half an acre of it, straight soybeans, and then we'll have, an acre and a half of it. Or excuse me, an acre. Yeah. Acre and a half of it in corn plus soybeans. So then the deer are gonna come out, eat the soybeans, and then in the late season when they truly need the food and the nutrients, they're gonna go into that corn.

They're not only gonna have corn, but they're also gonna have soybeans within that [00:46:00] corn. Okay. What about the whole concept of the screen plus? Cause that's been new last like what, two years? Yeah. Yeah. So the other thing we're doing, and that is solely a machine aspect of it, is if you can't get a tractor and a corn planter into a certain situation, we're using a plot screen.

So every manufacturer or every food plot company out there has their version of it. Yeah. And then we're using a plot screen to make sure that you can get in and out of a stand. What is it? Are you guys Egyptian wheat guys or there's a few other. So plot screen is Egyptian weed plus sorghum. Okay.

And then pick your manufacturer. Okay. And then they're gonna have their own mix of what that, mix is. Okay. Last year the one at over at the greeny, that one shot up quick. That one's probably pushing, that one's probably pushing eight feet. Yeah. And then we had that big windstorm that blew it all.

Yeah. That had looked like depressing [00:47:00] cattails that just got their heart ripped out or something. Yeah. It didn't help that the neighbor's cattle got into it too, so Yeah, that knocked it over too. Gotcha. But Jorgen, Blake, Devon, do you guys have anything to add on that question? The, yeah, the biggest thing around that, to your point was the screen plow and the corn.

If you can create a shelter that you can put in there to walk in and out of a buffer and a, or a buffer. That's gonna be the biggest key point. And that's what we've learned over the years, right? Field of dreams, grainery, all of those plots that we couldn't figure out for the longest time, that's what it came down to, was creating the buffer on the outside edge.

And once we did that, all of the deer that came into that plot on the inside were just comfortable and they hung out and we continued to see big mature deer in those. There's been some tr, obviously like when we were on cell cameras, there's sometimes we get a picture of one deer in it.

Then there's sometimes you get a picture and you look in the backer and oh [00:48:00] dude, there's freaking nine doughs and two little bucks coming out. And then the next picture, boom, there's fricking 12 deer in the field. And there was at whether, if it was at 7 30, 7 at night or two 30 in the afternoon during the wreck.

Yeah. I would say one of my favorite things I've learned in the last few years is the ability to pattern deer early season. Yeah. Because like obviously we put a ton of time into the cameras and checking. SD cards throughout the summer and leading up to opening weekend of bow season. If we have those, mature, whitetails, dialed, the likelihood of going in and killing that deer is so high.

Early season. Yeah. What do you guys do? Glass admissions, like sometimes a couple weeks out. Like it's tough with all of us being gone all the time. Like we all, like Eric obviously lives here for a while. Definitely lived here, but most of you guys are from the cities and I'm obviously front from, some people come from elsewhere, but it's like most times if we can we'll [00:49:00] park up.

Sure. Like just conversation speak. If I was a guy living in a Kentucky, maybe a state that opens around the 15th, like I could see where you're like, maybe I burn a day of PTO on a Wednesday, September 7th to go glass a, a field or whatever. Even though I'm not hunting, there's no chance of me, season's not open, but knowing seven days later, season kicks off.

I did see a bachelor group in field. A Yeah. The toughest part down here is you're in block country, right? You aren't gonna roll up to a field and see those deer. You want to see if you want to see the mature bucks that we're chasing. They're in the little food B plots or they're in the back fields, or they're in the places where it's if you're gonna go in, there's, you're gonna be hanging out.

So it's, and so it's not worth the intrusion. It's tough to do that. And to Devin's point, I think you can kill him there. And Cecilia's buck was that last year? That year? That was last. Last year. Last year. So we kicked our opener a week out cuz we had different things going on.

And our op, [00:50:00] our bow opener is a big deal. But the thing that did for us is we patterned a couple deer and I put Cecilia in on what we call his devil's tower, one of our top plots. And I knew the two bucks that were gonna go up there. And she killed one of 'em. Exactly when we knew they were gonna come in.

And the reason for it was that watering hole and the food source and the bettering so close. And she like, then the way Jorgen had it down, there's just some spots like I think every obviously it's like everyone has like their own like critiques of the farm, but it's like when it comes to that Devil's Tower spot, it's like Jorgen knows that the, that area and that bedroom of the woods like the back of his hand.

And he told C where he was gonna come out in a timeframe. And I think he was within one trail of the deer that, of the trailer that came out and he was within two minutes of when the buck came out. Sure. But it all came down to the bedding that we created the food and the water source. And going back to your original question about something that, absolutely [00:51:00] this is what we do that makes a difference.

Going back to, I read Lee and Tiffany's book and he talked about, Lee specifically talked about. What made his Iowa farm a difference was when he'd moved to the farm and he was there all the time. And I think that was an also a big difference maker too, is when I moved to the farm, I was here all the time.

We were driving through the woods all the time with the Rangers and the ATVs and all that stuff. And I think that's a big difference maker is you have to pick either nothing or everything. Yeah. Like you're either always in the woods with your ATVs or you're never in the woods with your ATVs.

Yeah, because they get used to 'em. Yeah, my small farm, it's a tiptoe game. Yep. Set the mouse trap, hunted a few, four days a year. Three days a year. Yep. But then when you live there full-time and you're in the woods every day, it's no big deal. Yeah. And then we alluded to the cell cameras and stuff like that, and just [00:52:00] something to note is we live in the land of no cell phone service.

We've had the best luck with the mul health cam. Yeah, that's made a big difference too. Those new Deltas. I got a, I got an Instagram notification by it and I sent it to Jor and I was like, dude, Tom they clearly don't know my stance on self. I was avoiding that. And you want me and only because we're trying to keep this podcast in a timely manner to an extent, and it's went over.

We, we gotta go chase birds in the morning. We gotta go chase birds in the morning, so I'm fine to go down this route. No. Because I think I did preface somebody with saying, and I don't remember who it was, but I was like, cell cams is an interesting topic. Yeah. And we can go. A lot of it's, I think I might save that one.

I can, I'll make on this podcast, dude it's a hundred percent. People know how I stand. Yeah. I'll make this short and sweet. Yeah. I'll make this short and sweet. Eric used to love trail cameras. Eric loves driving [00:53:00] the Ranger to get trail cameras, but when it comes to checking the cards and all that stuff, that is a jorgen and most myself and also Devin priority.

But now with all of us being gone, those cell cameras and us being four hours away, three hours away, six hours away, us making short. Me personally I love 'em because it's hey, I can, if I were to shoot down on the farm one day after work, I'd come in here at two in the morning and wake up at five in the morning and go hunt.

I can know off of my gut feeling if the wind is right, I can go in there and see something without having to blow out a different area. So I'll just keep that short and sweet like I use them. But yeah. Alright. We're gonna go outside of this land of the sale. Yeah. No. Stay away. But I think this was a lot of good talk on your guys evolution as hunters.

Yeah. The farm evolution Bluff country. Some tactics. The waterhole thing, fuck that was Eyeopening. I'm thinking about what I gotta go buy and I had if he rent, pay a guy to run a dozer on my piece. Next. Next. Cool. [00:54:00] Here. This is, and going back to that, cuz this is a piece and I, I don't remember who it was.

I think it was Jeff Sturgiss who said it and he's Bluff Country guy. Yeah. As I was just going this. Yep. And he said, and he might not, might have been anyways, he said, somebody said, what do you like to do when you wake up? Get a drink of water. Get a drink of water. And so same kind of perspective of like you said, location, put it where it's easily accessible bedrooms and also put it where they're like your access to it.

They're not gonna be able to be standing there and see you coming in from 200 yards away, a hundred yards away. Put it somewhere where you can get into 40. Yeah. Glasses is water halls. The next mo great. I think it's surveil where we're like, it's, it wasn't talked about so much but when people figured out it could be a very good tactic in certain elements.

And very overlooked at some points, right? I don't know the podcast[00:55:00] my buddy Jake Hofer did on, I don't even know the guy's name, but he talked a lot about Waterholes and I was just like, man I think if you're a small landowner, it's is something that, that most guys probably don't look well.

And from an two plots, tsi, those are all dominant topics. And from an investment standpoint let's be all honest, like we all hunt for fun. It's our hobby, there's only a very small portion of it that gets paid to do this for a living. Money doesn't grow on trees. You only have so much money.

If you're gonna invest in one thing, invest in a well-placed water hole, how much would be a small level kitty pond. If you're gonna assuming let's say a guy's also got a lot of guys don't have dozers. Yeah. But they can grab a shovel. Yeah. Most have shovels that are sitting in the garage.

If you are gonna go the extreme cheap route, go to Walmart and buy kitty pond. Yeah. If you want to take it one step further, go buy the earth pond. Okay. How much is the earth pond compared to the kitty ponds? Hundred bucks. Yeah, but we bought our earth pond like a lot. $300, [00:56:00] but it last 20 years, guys, it's not gonna break either.

Those little kitty ponds. Kitty ponds are gonna break. Like last you, you googled the cattle trough too. That's the other thing I was gonna at fleet Farm. Farm Fleet. Fleet, yeah. Facebook Marketplace. You can get 'em ready. Couple hundred bucks. A hundred bucks, right? Yeah. Yeah. By two. Do an ice plunge.

Cold punch, right? Yeah. We Very cool guys. Hey, this has been a good conversation. I think there's been some cool takeaways from a little bit of backstory. But a, there's been some cool topics discussed as far as the bluff country. Anything else you guys wanna leave us with? No. Thanks for having us on.

Yeah. Appreciate it. Hit us with the website, river baby. That's right. Check 'em out guys. Appreciate it.