In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Rocky Burrus (SA Farm Management Service) discuss how to build your hunting schedule now for the fall. Jon discusses a future habitat day on his property planned for next summer. Rocky explains why he enjoys cutting timber in the summer versus the winter. Rocky discusses his food plot layouts and how to reduce predators near or within your food plots.
Rocky explains how to evaluate trail cameras and hunting data on properties and the process he goes through to collect data and how to process this information for next year's hunting season. Rocky gives specific details on certain types of deer that he believes that you can capitalize on to have success this fall. Rocky explains the importance of annual deer patterns and how their routine movement can lead to a mature buck’s demise. Rocky explains a Tennessee giant buck that fell to an annual pattern that proves his point deer are sometimes more consistent than we realize.
Jon explains his thoughts on deer movement, his own property and why to evaluate changes on the landscape that will better facilitate more interest. Rocky explains a new project he will be working on and what he feels like will change his property next year. Rocky details an approach to working with your neighbors/farmers to benefit your property. Rocky provides a specific example of when to hunt a particular buck in his area. Jon and Rocky explain a measurement of success on a hunting property we tend to forget about when trying to develop a property.
Jon and Rocky discuss the regional differences and the importance of considering techniques that pertain to your area based on your deer herd, related hunting pressure and hunting capability.
Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!
[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 Whitetailed Deer, share their secrets to success.
And now the founder of Whitetail Landscapes, your host, John Teeter.
Jon Teater: Hi, I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Hopefully everybody's doing well. I have been outside with my kids today enjoying the hot weather and I'm on the road here soon. I've got multitude of clients here coming up. Busy. I do wanna say if anybody does want timber cutting or any support into the winter months next year, get ahold of me.
Josh and I are starting to [00:01:00] plan out our April timeframe for cutting. That's simply when we do a lot of our cutting in March and April. So if you want some timber management things of that nature, please get ahold of me. Also, I wanted to identify I'm working on my plans next summer for a Habitat day on my property.
We may have two sessions, 10 to 15 people a session more details that come on that. But if you're interested in participating in that, It's a lot less expensive than me coming to your property and gives you a chance to see what I'm working with. It's gonna be in Tulley, New York. That's where I live.
So Central New York. I'm assuming that we'll get probably a lot of interest in that. So reach out to me if you have an interest in that. You wanna come see the property. It's gonna be pretty detailed day. We probably will have a master's level class for people that want to take their properties to the next level.
So I'm just trying to get some interest inquiries in and so I know where people are at and we'll go from there. All right, enough of that. Let's get into details. So I got Rocky Burris back, I say for our management. It's been a bit for Rocky [00:02:00] and I I know he is been traveling quite a bit, working with clients.
We've got an agenda today. We've talked a little bit off offline, so we're gonna get into some, current work events that he's got going on. And then we'll we'll build on a topic that we want to explore a little bit further. Rocky, Hey, how are you doing?
Rocky Burrus: Doing good, man.
How are you
Jon Teater: doing? Good. I am just relaxing. I'm enjoying my night. I gotta get packed up here for my trip and I got all my chainsaws kind of rocking and rolling. Ready to go. I'm going to cut some timber, so I'm getting ready for that. I know you've been on the road a lot, working with clients, setting up properties, et cetera.
Kinda hear what's going on with you. And I wanna think a little bit further about new things you've been doing, concepts, ideas, layout, anything that's interesting that I think the listeners would wanna hear about.
Rocky Burrus: Yeah, so we are very busy with trying to get the finalized plots and habitat design stuff that I've actually, it's a lot of clients [00:03:00] that I've actually built plans for and that they're Getting me in there to try to build these plans.
I'm revisiting one client. I've had him, I've spent three days building bed areas and stuff, and he just really wanted to push and try to build almost everything that we had created. So that's what I've been doing. Actually, today was a day I just had to take for myself. Running that chainsaw.
And this heat is for eight hours straight and not really taking a lunch, just trying to stay at it. And traveling five hours to do it, it wears on you. So I took a day off and I'm gonna be back over there tomorrow to finish him up. Oh
Jon Teater: boy. I know exactly how you feel. I'll be in the boat, same boat here this week, 70, 80, I don't know.
Hot is done, but you, it's probably a little warmer with high humidity. Brutal time to cut. But hey, if they want it done, you gotta get it done for 'em. Getting into the strategy of cutting this time of year, does anything change for you from layouts things of that nature, what you do now [00:04:00] versus, what you do in the winter months because you're dealing with a lot of vegetation.
Getting some of the, those tree tops on the ground and kinda working around that, it creates a denser maze of things. At least it has a tendency to do that. Creating kind of this I don't wanna say, it's highly camouflaging areas or creating a lot of segregation when you get tops down what do you do this time of year a little bit different from maybe the winter months?
Rocky Burrus: I seem to be a little more successful at visualizing everything when it is green to myself. Cuz I go back and revisit some that maybe I've cut in the winter and I felt like I got it. The skyline cleared enough and got enough sunlight in there and, and compartmentalized it like I thought I would want.
And then, the, it just doesn't look exactly like I, I visualized when it greens up. And then when it is green, I can visually see what it's gonna kinda look like. I know a lot of it will die off and stuff, and, but I can [00:05:00] definitely pick out the canopy and see the openings that I'm creating. And there's no doubt the sunlight's gonna make it if you can see it when it's all green.
So I do kinda cutting it when it's green. It's got a lot more weight to the trees up top, so you can control. I do I enjoy the walling effect that I do a lot. And when you have all the leaves up top, you can kinda see where that top one third is really push pushing to, and it controls the trees and get 'em all to lean into each other and create walls very easily.
Which, I've had clients sit out there and watch and they're just amazed. They're like, I don't know how you made those trees. Do what? When you, I was like, wait just a minute, watch this. And you go out and you cut and then one tree pushes about 10 or 15 down and they're just shocked and it creates the wall.
A lot of that stuff is it seems to be a little easier when it's green. I know I, it's a lot easier on us when it's not, [00:06:00] because it is not 95 to a hundred degrees like it is here with 90 degree or 90 heat index. It's just, it is hot and I'm drenched and I don't hardly sweat most of the time.
So it's a tough, it's tough on me this time of year, but say, like you said, we have to get to everybody. So we're steady pushing to get to everybody and as season moves closer, people start thinking more about deer and our phone keeps ringing more and more it seems
Jon Teater: yeah, that's interesting.
And I did see, I think a post from you on Facebook, or it might have been Instagram, where you had designed a layout in a food plot and you had some segregation within the food plot. I think you were building berms within a food plot and you were, I wanna say predator proofing them potentially.
And maybe I'm forgetting something correct. I'm not sure if I'm saying this totally correct. But was there anything like that, that you did in some of your layouts? I thought was pretty interesting and I hadn't heard folks [00:07:00] talk about doing, maybe predator proofing so animals can't get in there.
So it promotes interest from prey animals essentially.
Rocky Burrus: Yeah. That's the thing about when you have great habitat it doesn't just stick to deer. It seems to stick to everybody. So when it comes to predators, they enjoy the great habitat also, and it's a great way for them to hide and be prey.
They can really jump out of the thick that you've created. So I think on that one bill that you're referring to is when we built a food plot and, it's sometimes hard to get everybody on the same page. So I was talking to the guy running the mulcher with me and I was like, Hey, I just want only about 40 yards wide right here, so that we can pinch the deer down and kinda, the basic kidney shape type food pot, and.
When I went back, he did his, did this like really big square and it was 75 [00:08:00] yards to the other side. So I was like, okay, gotta do something. So what we did is create a point with trees that we had, we built walls around this thing and created gaps in the walls that for Deere to come in and out and that we weren't really allowing Deere to do what they wanted to do when they got within that area, which I, I always seem to refer to that as trapping them.
So once we built the trap we had to have, I don't really believe in setting up everything and then sitting in a stand and having a way a deer can slip by you. And your hunt not be successful when everything worked, except for you just didn't make that deer walk where you need him to walk.
We built this point and it was a great spot for Bobcat or something to just sit out in the food plot and ambush stuff, turkeys and all that. So I was trying to create a way that it was so dense and so thick, but there was almost no way an animal could even get in it. So that's what we were doing is just really just [00:09:00] creating that with all the debris and then had to, basically all the wood chips is what we did it with.
Cuz he had to mulch so many trees to make, create the food plot. We skimmed the top of the ground, tried to leave as much topsoil as possible, but at the same time, remove a bunch of those chips. And we use that to layer the lower side and all the way up to, three or four foot high of the berm.
Of that point, and we just really layered it with all those chips so that it was just a wall of chips and there wasn't really a way to hide and get in there.
Jon Teater: Yeah, it's interesting and I think it's, that's a bit of genius, right? You're using a resource, you're applying it in an area and, hopefully that kind of, pushes, the predator, not to utilize an area like that because of the density.
And like you said, the wood chips tend to create, this big bit of biomass that they tend, they potentially not wanna dig through or use as a denning site, et cetera. So something definitely the know [00:10:00] that I paid attention to when I saw that, and obviously. Creating kind of these inaccessible areas is pretty important, at least for trying to minimize, that type of accreditation.
Although I'll say this in those areas, they could have a tendency depending on the space that's created. Wood shucks in our area tend to be keen, keenly interested in stuff like that. It might take give you an opportunity to do a little woodchuck hunting, which you know, something to consider.
They have a tendency to den up in, in rocky areas. I have yeah, ground in these areas that are, just perfect for woodchuck, denning. Anyhow just interesting topics. Something I think was cool. So I, I'd following some of the stuff that you do. Alright. I want to get into the topic that we wanted to hit on here a little bit and This is something that, that you talked to me about today, and I think it's a good idea and it's a little different than we've talked about in the past.
But you're building right now your hunting schedule for this season. And we're not talking about your time off. We're not talking about, Rocky's taking vacation [00:11:00] from deer life. We're talking about when you're gonna hunt and what your opportune times to hunt are based upon information that you've collected over the years.
And so I wanna get into your strategy specifically. A lot of people might think this is a little early in the game to do that. And I will say one thing for me, I still got 150,000 pictures to go through. I've been pretty lazy lately and I haven't had a chance to go through all my last year's pictures.
I take a lot of data, so this is pertinent to me, per se, and how I'm looking at the data and applying, when you, when deer use areas, there's a lot that goes into when Deere are there and why. And I think you're started to come up with kinda your theory behind that and it, it applies to your hunting strategy, coming up.
So I want you to break down, some of the basics for folks and then maybe get into the next level stuff where you're gonna start making some decisions on Deere that you've expected, survived, or will survive and lead into the hunting season.[00:12:00]
Rocky Burrus: Basically I am doing exactly that.
I'm planning out my seat, my season or at least planning out areas and farms to pay attention to when the weather hits and see if target deer are in that area. I'll go back, like what I do with trail cameras is basically, I, they're for my buck intel. I have, I don't know how many years back from 1900 something, 1990s, of data of just of all bucks.
Cuz basically what I do is I, when I'm scanning the through the pictures, if it's late season and I got a food source, I'm trying to keep that a couple pictures of the food source and show how many deer are hitting it. Just like a bunch of those and some bucks. But if I'm. If I'm just scanning through the season and it's on scrapes and scrape trees and pinch points and different things [00:13:00] I'm just grabbing my butt pictures.
And when it comes to the younger bucks, I'm only grabbing, three or four pictures in a series of that deer. And then I'm going, when it's anything three and a half or older, I'm definitely keeping those, the ones that I feel like I can identify the following year keeping every single picture that they offer me.
And I'll go back this time of year as I'm getting excited about the hunt. I'll go back and I'll just, I have 'em separated by farms. I used to do by cameras and everything, but I've gotten to where I. I know the pictures, I know the areas. I may run close to 200 pictures, cameras, but at the same time, I kinda, when I see the photo, I know where it was taken.
I don't know, this may be something weird about me, but I do, so I don't really have to keep up with the names of the cameras. I just, I go through and I mark on here, I'll scan through all the buck pictures and then when I get a daylight buck picture, I will document it on a [00:14:00] mat, on a calendar, like a little booklet.
And I have color codes. So basically like this year it's orange. A orange highlighter means he daylighted, and then a green highlighter means he daylighted with a do or he was following dose. And a lot of times those dough daylights, That's pretty important because if he's with your do and it's early, say early November, and our ruts closer to the end of November, that means he could possibly be following those dos for a long time before he finds one to come in.
So I try to document both of those separated out, and I'll just take on that date mark when he daylighted and when he and what camera location or wherever he was. In my case, I have multiple farms, so I'll write the farm and the camera location. If I can see it was rainy. I'll mark that it was raining.
I'll probably go back and [00:15:00] where my biggest deer are, the ones that I find this year. I'll go back and find where they daylighted and then I'll. Look up the weather and color code that, that day on what wind direction and what the weather was. And that'll, if I ever have that stuff match up. It makes all the sense in the world to go to that location because of that, because it makes sense that he could do it again.
And you wanna, normally you with these bigger deer every day, those maturity or they all have these different attitudes. If he's a roamer, I definitely pay attention to this because he may not be on the farm, but a week, and it may only happen twice a year. And if you miss that week because you were bouncing around or stand hopping, or maybe his home range is only a corner of your farm and he hit it that one week, you missed the boat.
And you go back and check the camera and he made it there for one or two of those days and you're like, man, if I'd only [00:16:00] been there, I'd have got him. I'm trying to eliminate all that. So
Jon Teater: I'm interested in this topic and this is something that I don't necessarily get to follow too much because of kind of my social hierarchies pretty Pretty diminished, right?
I have very few deer that make it to three years old and I'll throw probably some statistics out. I bet you in my area, and I'm just talking within 25 square miles, I bet you there's not more than 2% of the deer population that's over six and a half years old. It may be even less than that. And some of these factors play into the number of deer and of course the social hierarchy that's present.
And one thing I will say, I think it's very herd specific. And so these floater bucks, and I don't know what else you want to call 'em, that's what I call 'em, these bucks that show up randomly, they're dominant deer, they're mature, they're in that five and a half year old or older, age class more than likely.
And they have these sounds like you're identifying annual patterns. They have [00:17:00] some annual ritualistic routine. Some form of movement across the landscape that you're capturing because like you're suggesting weather is an indicator, probably the resident deer herd, depending on the breeding phase, et cetera.
It could be, maybe there's a resident buck that was in that area that has a tendency to also take these jaunts, right? And then he's outta that area and this dominant deer comes in, with his absence. So I'm kinda wondering have you started to look at some of that level of detail and figure out, okay, this buck is coming in, based on these parameters.
And I'm sure you probably have some examples because of the data that you have. What was the indication? You don't know for a fact. You'll probably never know the answer, but why was that deer even there? I wonder what are your thoughts behind maybe one of the bucks that you've chased here over time?
Cuz you've killed some monsters. I, alright
Rocky Burrus: so what got me turned on? This is. Three years ago, I killed a 14 point in Tennessee. That would probably go [00:18:00] close to 1 61 of those, like you're saying, that's like the top two, 3%. We just don't have those deer. So the year before I ran I've already harvested my target buck off this farm, but it's a really good farm with a lot of deer on it, and it's a heck of a funnel farm.
So I, I have a t to, and it's only about 15 minutes from my house. So I have a Tennessee, when I'm working and I get home and I still have daylight, I have a way I can drive out to that farm and get in a vantage spot and just watch in glass. And I would do this like every single day that I can.
They can't, there's no way they know I'm doing it. And it's during, it is. The last 30 minutes of daylight. So I always get to see, most likely you get to catch that older deer that was not wanting to walk out too much. So [00:19:00] I just got lucky and found this random new deer. I've never seen him, never had a picture of him, but he came through and it was like, I don't know, I forgot the date already cuz it's been a few years.
But my buddy I sent him pictures of him and he had a drop time and he was walking dead away from me in front of the truck. And to be honest, I just didn't wanna kill him that way for one thing. And another thing is I just, something told me, don't shoot him, let him walk. He's got a drop time, you've never even seen a drop time, but he's just not mature.
And he was probably three and I let him ride and never saw that deer again. Didn't even really. I went a couple more times to see if I could see him, so I could see if I messed up because everybody I know was like, I cannot believe you let it deer Like that walk, I had a drop down and everything. Yeah. And I was like I had a great year.
I would assume if I had a tough year, he might not would've made it, but so I was just [00:20:00] trying to put the cards together and figure out, okay, where is this deer coming from? Who is this deer? I haven't got his picture. I run cameras here. So fast forward to the following year I get pictures of this really big buck, but he doesn't show.
He's not. It's just like I slip in late with the cameras. I'm real bad about not. Getting my cameras out early as I want because I'm trying to leave places alone and I'm really busy yep. When I do slip the cameras in there, I'm sometimes I even miss velvet, so I'm just barely on the backside of velvet slipping cameras in.
And I did that year and I caught this book and he was, pushing one 60, but he had snapped his drop off clean with the his beam, and I didn't even notice it, so I'm thinking it's just, I got a one 60, I don't even know who this deer is and all that. So I hunt him a bunch. [00:21:00] And I never can find him and that he's not on camera ever again.
He disappears. Just he is always done. I start putting two and two together and I'm like, I wonder if that's the drop time deer. And he just doesn't have a drop this year. And he disappeared. He's probably gonna come back really similar time of year. So I called my buddy and he told me the day and I was like, dude, that's this week.
It just happened to work out. I was like, okay, I'm going. If I can only be 30 minutes, I'm going every day. So I went on the day, within 24 hours of, when I saw him again and killed him. And that afternoon, and it was just like a, it was a replay of the following year when I went and held him up, he had a broken drop time, so I knew exactly who he was and I thought he was older cuz I didn't know the deer.
And I'm not sure I would've let him walk cuz he is so big. But I wished he, I was thinking he was five cuz I had cameras in my corn just like on the ground and it made him look [00:22:00] massive, but yeah, anyway, it just, but it was still, it's still my top two deer and the on the wall. It's still a great deer, but that's what turned me on to the whole, we, I called him, I was like, dude, I got him.
He's oh my goodness, on the day you saw him last year. I was like, yes. I'm telling you there's something to that because we have done it before and it was like two days after within, two to three day schedule, you see the same buck in the same field and you're just like what is, what's going on?
So as I've continued the last two or three years, I've just tracked deer. I see it. I'm seeing it as a pattern. There's no question there's a pattern, but it has to be that personality. If he's a homebody deer, the weather is what I pay attention to the most. And that's why these weather pattern deals will help me on deer that are not traveling and basically living there and take and basically running the farm.
But the ones that come and go, [00:23:00] this stuff that I'm putting in the ma on my document, basically planning out my season, that stuff right there is what's gonna help me catch up to those deer. So
Jon Teater: two things that I'm wondering about, you're scheduling piece of it, you detailed and for the deer that you're looking at specifically, they're using, utilizing these farms at different times for different reasons.
And one, one aspect of my property, for example, is my property has become great fawning grounds. And when I think about the layout of the property, I think about it seasonally, I think about some of the areas that I've cut more intense, some that I've left, intermediate cover, and then some that are enclosed canopy.
And when they're using each one of these areas and these doughs when they're doing the kind of the fawning, they have a core range of my property. They take a little excursion as the fawn gets a little bit older. Today I was sitting here and my kids are home with me and we're watching just behind my house, a do and two fawns.
And I've got a ton of food right around the house. Like I've created like this, I have [00:24:00] about four and a half acres here and I've created this little food plot system and it's pretty, it creates a lot of attraction for deer. It's got the right amount of cover on just my little four and a half acres here.
And it's just interesting when they use it and why. And I find that there's patterns of movement on my property because of, this. I guess I want to just say the variation in diversity and cover. In your example, You're finding Deere using certain areas, probably at certain times.
Maybe you're finding that a certain particular buck is, focusing in, on a particular property a certain time, and you brought up the, idea of weather. What are the, when you're thinking about weather, thinking through weather as a factor in kind of building the schedule. I find in, at least in my instance, where I've if a deer does something twice God help him.
The third time he does that because he will not live. And I've I've got patterns of three. So I typically don't make a move on, on the second continual movement of that deer [00:25:00] behavioral movement that I've classified as, actionable. I kill him on the, usually the third movement.
It's usually kinda that cycle of that. I'm paying attention to that through that September period and that for, particularly for early season. At least in my cadence of movement, when I'm looking at the landscape and I'm trying to come up with my schedule, it's one particular deer. He's u using an area at a certain time, at an interval.
I'm looking at some of the factors, like whether you're talking about, I wanna know how you look at stuff, like when you're starting to drill into the data a little bit more.
Rocky Burrus: So I'm basically, when I try to, I really feel like weather's huge. Especially for movement. Our deer are not the same as the deer in the Midwest.
Not the same as your deer, right? So we're in the south we have what I call sissy deer. They just basically, when you have a 20 degree drop in temperature or you have some kind of extreme front come through, our deer completely shut down. They will not move. They just go to bed and they'll [00:26:00] skip meals.
They do it all. And they don't do much of a feed up ahead of it cuz they're not used to these fronts, so when we do have a freak front like that, and then we have those Eastern wins that follow and like we've talked on other podcasts, of yours, that, those Eastern wins I really pay attention to, because.
Normally that's a drawback. Wind behind the front. Deer are not comfortable in that wind, so that keeps 'em on their feet longer. Even if they did bed in the eastern winds, these are most likely areas that they've not beded a whole lot in, and they just, things make 'em uncomfortable. They get up more, and they shift and do whatever.
And just, and a mature deer, he lives by being comfortable. So in my opinion, if you can't provide him the cover and the comfort, it's hard to hold him. So anyway, I just, I just feel like that all those little things, when I see 20 degree drop in temperature [00:27:00] or more, I, my eyes brighten up and my phone starts ringing.
My buddies like, did you see weather? And I was like, yeah. He got, they're all like you got east after it. You better look up. I'm like, yeah, he's dying. This, in the next couple days he's in trouble. So a lot of the my setups are for those winds, my setups I'll stay out and I just let those fronts do it.
But these, I focus the most in that with the weather and all that on those deer that are there a lot. And I get 'em all night and I get 'em a lot of night. And I get 'em every once in a while in the daylight. And it's usually low light, one end or the other. And I just know that deer's living in my zone.
So when those fronts hit and the east hits and all that he's pretty much, he's mine if I want him. So I usually go in there and I almost always seen. But when you hunt the bucks that aren't there, the roams and stuff like this is when planning out your hunt [00:28:00] can help you stay on point. So you see that front hit and all that and he was there on your farm last year.
At that time. You may have another deer that you think you might get, but you, he's gonna be there all season. You better go after the one that is only gonna be there for that week. So that's where I change tactics and stuff. And even if it's all on the same farm, you may notice that too, but he only uses the south end or the north end, or there'll be deer that home ranges don't take over your whole property and just barely touch into you and you, if he ever becomes a desirable deer, this planting out your season can really
Jon Teater: help you stay on.
Yeah, and that's really interesting cuz you're breaking down the personalities, or at least how the deer move through the landscape and it's so individualistic, so you know, some deer that are less mobile, those deer are a little bit easier to diagnose. The other thing is, I'm wondering, early season, the factor of food, right?
You're putting in this. I [00:29:00] wanna just, I don't wanna say pristine food plots, but you put a lot of effort into food plots in your particular properties that you own and lease and hunt. And I think that plays a factor in kind of their movement patterns and their cadence movement and keeping deer localized on your property.
Sometimes it's the personalities of push deer out. There's been studies about, what I guess people perceived as territorial behavior and, that's been dis dissuaded in some capacity. One thing's interesting and I, I don't know why I'm talking about this is random, but, come Fawn drop, and I think a lot of people probably notice this is, the car incidents go up significantly, right?
And same thing applies, during the kind of early breeding phase and throughout the rut. There's periods where deer disperse or they take, take Johnson movements, et cetera, cuz there's this movement on territory and, deer that were comfortable at least finding fawning ground may get dispersed by another deer that may be more dominant in a particular area.
So [00:30:00] it facilitates this territorial scenario where maybe some of your, subordinate bucks, may not feel as comfortable when a buck kind of starts to get into his dominance and take over an area. And so there's another piece of this that I think plays into the factor of what Deere stay and what deer leave, beyond just the food element of it.
And I think it's creating as much diversity in the landscape. To keep deer in, in specific locations as frequently as possible. And I'll just give a little bit of a construct to my property. Rocky is like I have in the center of my property a food plot, right? It's not intended to be hunted.
Yeah. It's intended to suck deer, right? I 46 and a half acres approximately. Now there's a lot of undulation. If you laid it flat, it's probably about 75 acres. So it almost doubles its size because it's just so hilly. Now, in that food plot system, it's connected like a chain link to a moderate food source and then a heavy cut area.
And so the deer staging out each one of these bedding areas [00:31:00] and they're segregated. There's my property's almost br broken into three or four chunks, and their lines of movement are really consistent, but they're going from one area to the next area and having these kind of compartment holding.
I'll just say holding tanks for the deer has been really one of my success factors. And what I'll realize is, a buck will move from area A to area B to area C, and I'm cap capturing each one of those cameras. His movement is really consistent. The problem is I've been trying really hard to keep these big bucks separated and it's really hard to do that on small ground.
When you have these hilly ground, these deer can see long distances, like from hillside to hillside. My deer have an easy time looking across the hillside cuz the elevation is so unique. There's a couple hundred feet in elevation change from peak to peak and I've had a hard time trying to segment deer.
I've come up with some concepts to manage that, but. Holding a lot of mature bucks or holding, several mature bucks on my property has been one of my achilles heel issues. And, I'm struggling at times to make [00:32:00] sure that the property lays out correctly.
But, to that point and just wondering, how they move on a property. It's gonna be unique to your scenario. And I think you gotta really rationalize why they're using a particular area and is it the food source, maybe you're changing food source, you're having some variability, around you.
It could be a factor of hunting, pressure, social dynamics. There's a whole host of things that kind of go into this equation. It's hard to really find. Have a finite answer to why Deere's using an area and why they're not, and the randomness of things. And some of it just is, Deere have this curiosity a about them and they like to explore.
You've got, you've just got differences all across the board. And I think that's the fun in all this is trying to figure out the whys of things. And I don't think we anybody has the answer, but I know, hill country is a little bit different than flatland, areas that are more heavily dominated by agriculture and vice versa.
Forests settings. I see cyclic [00:33:00] movements and I try to put some. I part, I try to put some parameters around those where I'm trying to build, the properties in a certain way so they become more ru dominated properties depending on where I co-locate food and the size of areas I cut.
All those type of things. I'm going on a tangent, but I, there's a lot of things that go into the, the layout of these properties and, I don't think there's a one size fit fits all for everybody. But understanding the movement patterns, I think is quite complicated across the landscape.
So paying attention to the camera datas. Obviously probably the best thing you can do on your property. I don't know what that rant was all about, but yeah, I just thinking about my own property and diagnosing how to hunt some of these deer and, I got a plan this year for a pretty nice buck and, I've got a decent shot of killing 'em and more to come on that story as I start to put together the plan.
Alright. Yeah. Anything else from you? Anything else that you're thinking about, building, your schedule into the season, key dates, anything that's, important I think that you're looking forward to this year in your area?
Rocky Burrus: Normally [00:34:00] I think I've said this so many times, I don't know if I've said it on your stuff or said it to clients so many times, when you're watching the d and I, in our area we're strongly ag. So we have a lot of ag country around us. Now my property is probably only one third ag and two thirds timber. So I'm creating bedding and stuff close to small plots cuz I, I don't have that much timber. So I've created small areas with food and trying to stack those right on top of it.
And I know that my bucks are in the timber and stuff a lot. And I've got a, I've got a whole new. System come February, I'm bringing in loggers and we're gonna redesign my whole 1,000 acres. That's gonna be pretty massive and a, and an awesome project. But as of now, my food sources and stuff are competing against agriculture.
So I'm necessarily, I'm [00:35:00] not trying to pull deer off the ag right now, so I'm putting a little pressure on my food sources by driving in 'em and checking them and trying to make it where if there is bucks around, they're just not real, real comfortable. Cuz I want them to have the farmer's food because that food right there is high and nutrients and nutrition and they're trying to grow the best and they're spending the money.
So what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to create a scenario where my girls. Are happy and they stay and I know them and if as many places I can do this, the better. And then once you see your do and you see the girls that live in your bedding areas the most. Cuz I, that's what I bet, I'm speaking for you, but on your property where it's so diverse and all that, it's probably full of do and Fs and all that because it's got everything, it's got a little bit of everything.
And that's what those family groups they really desire. Where [00:36:00] the bucks, that you can have one little thicket in the middle of the timber somewhere and that's where he wants to be. Or on the edge of a big creek. There's just this real vining, kudzu looking spot. That's where he wants to be away from all that and racket.
So I feel you gotta have that, you gotta have him pulled away, but not so far away that you don't ever see him in the daylight, but I just really pay attention to my do. And if I can figure out, okay, I've got dos that get chased and that stuff I write on here, cuz it's all highlighting green when they're getting followed with bucks, either they smell right or the bucks are trying to tell 'em, and so I'm highlighting that green on my dates that I get pictures and my November will be completely covered. Like I went through one camera and I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9 dates in November marked. And then when I went through the cameras in December, I have one day. And when I went [00:37:00] in October, I had one day.
So that's how much more that camera location is active. Like it almost makes no sense to hunt it in October or December because there's one day. Out of that whole month that I got a daylight picture of a buck That would be somewhat mature. Yeah. Yeah. And then you had nine, 10 days in November spread out throughout the whole month.
So at any point in November, if I was just taking this one location and plotting it out I would be all about November hunting that stand only. I'd have it set up for that and I'd hunt the best fronts in those days, and then, and your odds would just be, go through the roof. But I could have another stand somewhere else.
That's gonna be all October and all, so as I weigh out, as I plot out my season, It's gonna tell me where I need to hunt. And a lot of people are just, oh, we got a South William. I [00:38:00] need to go hunt that stand that's best for the south, and a lot of time they're thinking about their wind, they're not thinking about the deer and how he would use that wind.
And I almost never think about my wind. I think about the deer and say if it's a south wind, they're gonna sent check this food plot down downwind of that Beding area. So they're gonna be on this side of the food plot or the Beding area. And then if I go up north, then they're gonna be on the opposite side.
And that's how I set up to hunt. And then I make my wind if, he's gonna think his wind's perfect and my wind's gonna be marginal or good. And that's how I end up catching up to him. And then you gotta stay completely undetected. You just can't. That's how I've really transformed the farms and the.
And the success is just basically removing the pressure, removing me, removing my predictability, all that screening any way they could possibly figure me out or see me or do anything. Getting in and outta the stand. I'm planting [00:39:00] screens, doing hinge screening walls, whatever I can do to improve every single year.
So all those things, we get hired to help people do, cuz it's a lot of work and it's, some of it's dangerous, chainsawing six foot high and stuff for screen. But it makes sense to hire somebody that does it every day. Yeah. In my opinion. Yeah. So that's what we get.
That's how we get our calls. But it's just definitely a it's. It's that time of year. I'm getting excited. We have a August hunt coming up our, at the end of August we get to hunt velvet and I've been successful the last three years, so I'm hoping to keep that going.
Jon Teater: You just created pressure on yourself, but Yeah, no I like everything you say and I also, I'm interested to hear, your change on your property specifically what you plan on doing and why.
I think probably a topic for us next go around is, building a property around the rut and you've Explained to some degree, what your layout consists of. I like your concept of, pushing some of the bucks or,[00:40:00] more mature bucks off your property a little bit to consume, what's available elsewhere.
It's an interesting concept because of the ag scenario. That's something I don't think people have thought through. So I find it all interesting and I think we have our own unique stories, right? Each property has, its kind of, it's in Boston, this unique, I wanna say strategy.
Like my strategy's evolved. I put another three quarter acre food plot in this year with a dozer and I'm trying to focus movement in these kind of key zones. And you're right, my property doesn't have a lot of buck interest. It's very random throughout the summer months. They have a tendency to focus on a couple other areas that I'm quite familiar with.
And to your point, the observational piece of it, if you can get. In an area, especially when you're in like that mixed ag country where you got good observation points, that's gonna give you really the best data that you can grasp of, who's lived, who's died, they use these areas for whatever reason.
You can look at the deers, his [00:41:00] social relationships with his kind of these fraternal groups that he chills out with. And then separately from that you can just see its overall status and health. And if you're building like you talked about, the trap or you're building these properties that are very inclusive, they've got a lot of like food resources, stem densities, balance correctly, where it's not too thick in some areas.
And like you said earlier, like having this dense thicket within kind of an open woodlot always builds interest for mature box. And then you're just creating these ideal scenarios for Deere to kinda lay up and then that diversity across the landscape. And those food resources that pull them into these seasonal opportunities where, I think Elinger and I have talked a little bit on this is, putting food right within the bedding areas and using that as your honing tactic to allow those, do groups to feel more secure.
And that's a great strategy for the rut. And that's what I was talking about earlier where, I've have just such a small property. I'm not blessed with a large amount of land. And then I've gotta be [00:42:00] very keen outta necessity of what I'm doing. And, the neighbors are always like, oh, there's the sanctuary up there.
And I'm like, I'm hunting the sanctuary. It's not a sanctuary, I just, like you said, you're getting in and out of there and you're trying to be as clean as you can. I just wish that somebody would develop a, a drone that wouldn't, that could pull me or pick me up in the air that wasn't making any noise and drop me into that stand.
That wouldn't be ideal. And, I hunt in it out, out of it like a bubble, that if somebody can invent that, gimme a call cuz I'd mark the hell out of it. I don't know. That's just some of my thoughts here.
Rocky Burrus: Yeah. It's absolutely key that the hunters are thinking your place is a sanctuary.
You just want the deer to also Yeah, exactly. So that's the key. I really feel like. If you could really get away with almost doing nothing and just having a the perfect access and probably kill some of the best deer in the area because they don't think you're there, and all the food and all these [00:43:00] different things that we do, I think it helps a ton as far as keeping your dough herds happy, keeping them popping out earlier and earlier as they, when you're in the park or the deer laying in the fields right there where you can see 'em.
It's the same scenario is you want to create this park scenario where the deer feel as safe as they are in a national reserve. They just walk out, lay in your food plots, just enjoy what you've provided for 'em. But they do not have any fear that you're hunting them. And when you create that, it's just pretty magical to.
And quite simple to nail down these, the older deer in the area, it seems like because they just. Once they see the relax of everything it's pretty simple for 'em to want to keep checking in on it,
Jon Teater: yeah, I agree. And I like that measure of successes multiple deer maybe laying out in these betting areas.
And that's the one thing, I'll just take a [00:44:00] key out of that kind of suggestion there is where you've got these, we'll just say this conglomerate of bedding area is kinda linked together. Let's just say in the center you do have a food source, and this is how a section of my property is designed.
It's small food source, about a 10th of an acre, and the neighbor below can see some of the deer, bouncing back and forth, but it's outside of his line of sight. He can kinda see him come to the edge of the bed here and then they go up back to the food source, but they're, I got camera pictures them laying in that food source like, so that, that is a measure of success, right?
If the deer that absolutely. That that, you know that comfortable in those areas. I think you can consider that a win on the landscape and whether you harvest
Rocky Burrus: it it's not considered. Yeah, it's not considered an open area to 'em, it's part of their bedroom.
Yeah. And when you can hunt the bedroom, you got the best chances. That's 80% of their life they're spending in that bedroom and probably 95% of their daylight life. And when you can hunt those bedrooms, you have just. Completely changed the game. And [00:45:00] when a food source becomes part of the bedroom, that's where it's at.
So I really feel like, five yards in off these food sources, if that's not considered bedding, you're missing the point. Yeah. That's just kinda where I'm kept pushing my, all my best properties are either pinch points, funnels that basically it's like a power line effect where deer cannot get from one wood block to another without crossing your opening.
Or food is so tight to bedding that it, that on an 80 degree day you still have a chance. Yeah. Yeah. And when you have that scenario, you're really not just out there getting lucky, you have built success. You just have to spend the hours in the stand and you're getting to these stands and hunting them undetected, That's where it's at.
Understanding thermals and all that. See I've moved away. I've turned into an old man. I've gotten into box stands and sent proofing them and sitting in an office chair and eating my moon pie and watching deer. So I,[00:46:00] but I like to film, so I like to have camera gear and all that, and I'm moving around and it's just a lot more fun for me to stay in a box stand.
So I try to design a lot of stuff through with boxes, but you could have a two man ladder in that same spot as long as your winds were perfect,
Jon Teater: yeah. Yeah. No I agree. And I'm starting to, I was mowing my yard today, and I was thinking about this specifically. I'm like, have I gotten soft?
And I don't know, people probably don't know this about me and I don't know if it's relevant or not, but, I grew up in the suburbs and I hunted industrial parks growing up as a kid. Fortunately my parents had a farm down in a very I guess unpopulated area. So I got to hunt, big mixed ag.
And then I hunted big state forest land. So I got this diversity of experience and I remember hunting behind, a local drug store. And but as a kid, it was free reign for me. And I was tracking deer through industrial parks as a kid, building stands outta pallets that I find and.
What I learned through all this is like [00:47:00] every you can make anything happen in any area. It's just that kind of in, ingenious kind of mindset and, it's having really nothing. And I don't wanna say coming from nothing, but I didn't come from, modest means, right?
But I was ingenious in what I was thinking through. And I just think outta necessity, like some of your plans have probably come out of, okay, I've got this material to work with. What am I gonna do with it? Like the mulch as an example, and I think it's just, yeah, thinking about what does and doesn't work.
Like one of the things I just, I've, I don't
Rocky Burrus: know why. Yeah. And I overlook I overlook that. I overlook that me even doing that, and you, it's something that caught your attention. So that's crazy. Yeah. Totally.
Jon Teater: Yeah. Because if you're in the weeds and you're saying, okay, what am I doing and how am I making this better across the landscape for my ultimate goal of, and you're talking about, you were talking about prey and then the turkeys, maybe not utilizing an area as much because you've done this kidney shape movement, which we know is not ideal for turkeys.
We know that. So how are you [00:48:00] dissuading predators from using air? I was like, that's genius. And. The other piece is of not making deal Deerfield too compartmentalized. I think in some of the layouts that I'm seeing, I'm watching people cut timber completely wrong. These are big name consultants or more well known than I am, and I'm watching their cut cutting on properties that I've been to.
I go, what the heck are they doing? And it's having that aware, and I'm not trying to call anybody out. I don't wanna make this podcast like that, but I just don't see. Really a lot of deep thought put in each one of these things. And I'm treating every client's property as my own, and I don't want, I want them to have the success like you're talking about.
And when you don't have a high deer population or a great age structure, whatever the case you're dealing with, that's where the rubber meets the road, because I'm not, I can't just recommend to somebody, a basic you cut. You put a bed in there, in, in an area here.
I wanna get down to the specific species of plant that are in that area, the benefit to the animal life and how to promote that, [00:49:00] or in some cases, remove it across the landscape if it doesn't benefit the deer. So in, in my area, you gotta go to that level. And when I was hunting that industrial park back in the day, I learned what deer and deer did and didn't eat just based on observation.
I may not known the plant, but I was hunting these really dense thickets, probably around like toxic ponds. And if you saw some of the areas I hunted, you'd be like you can guys, anybody wants a Google, Liverpool in New York. That's where I grew up in. And you look at these areas, there's no hunting in those areas.
There was, yeah. And if you saw it, you wouldn't believe, the low quality of hunting that I experienced. And so you gotta be resourceful. And that's the point that I think I got out of this podcast today.
Rocky Burrus: A lot of the big, I feel like a lot of these big names are getting away with this stuff because they're hunting the Midwest and I'm not trying to dis the best Midwest, but that animal is not the same animal we're hunting.
No. At all.
Jon Teater: No, it's not.
Rocky Burrus: I hunt I do hunts in Nebraska and we go out there every single year in October and I'll see 15, 20 [00:50:00] bucks and probably three quarter of them will be in. The bigger bucks that we see here, and you can come back here and you, it's almost like a ghost town again.
Yeah. So it's not, it is not the same. You can do these inch cuts wrong and you can do all this stuff and get away with it and look good on TV and have all these success stories. But that's because naturally those deer, their attitudes their reaction of pressure. You could stop and look at 'em with binoculars and see how big they are out of the truck and you stop, you hit the brake lights at mom anywhere around here.
And our deer bolting same with the turkeys, you can't slow down if you let off the gas. When turkeys are in the field, they raise their neck and run in the woods. It's just, it's one of those things that is known. I. When you live here, you don't see many guys from the Midwest running out here to hunt.
And same with you, because they've got it, they know they've got it and they got it a little bit bigger and a little bit better, and a [00:51:00] little bit easier in my opinion. But that's me coming from the south. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm just saying it's easier Yeah. To me and that's true. It is to me.
I know all the stuff. I know I'll run out there and I find success within a week. Yeah. And I come here and it takes me the season. Yeah.
Jon Teater: Yeah. And that's why the people that own land in some of these states, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, some of those states, West Virginia, big deer populations in Virginia and Maryland.
Some of these areas kinda east coast, it's different. And I have this fractured mindset where, I had, I guess I wanna say I had a little bit of a, Concern with folks always coming out here to the east and consulting and, I've just, I know what I know, right?
And I'm trying to take my clients to the next level. And this isn't there's no arrogance in any of this stuff. I'm continuing to learn like everybody else. I have my strategies and philosophies and I'm successful, right? And so are you and I don't think if you haven't [00:52:00] experienced, that suburbian hunting or the, poor degraded deer herd or whatever the case, and you don't, you're not having a fine tune your game.
To go out west and then to come back here. It's eye-opening because the difference is so significant. I just was out in Ohio, right? The differences are so drastic. I can drive around Ohio on a client's property, and I'm looking around and there's 150 deer for 150 inch deer walking around in fields.
That deer in our area would, it would never ever see the light of day. He would've been dead two ways to Sunday before he even stepped out into that field. And,
Rocky Burrus: that's, and. Yeah, in your area it's probably got four times the hunters and, yeah. It's just a drastic change.
It's what makes the animal so much easier is he feels like there's not as many hunters. Not as much pressure. Not as, in my opinion. I know somebody's not gonna like me saying it's easy in the Midwest, but No, it's, yeah, at the same time, I know it's hunting, [00:53:00] but at the same time, those two animals side by side are just completely different.
Jon Teater: And we had Perry Baton from jury was on here and we were talking, he's yeah, we just put the, the box blinds out in the field. And I said, boy every property I go to guys are putting box blinds out in the field because they see these TV shows. And I'm like, I got that box blind tucked where you can just see a pee hole, it's enough to get an error out of it.
Yeah. And very rarely am I sticking a box blind out in the field. It just, again, level of pressure is so much different. And that's, again, like you said, that's not degrading. It's the reality. And we just don't have easy cake out here. So I just, I want people to be aware of that. Yeah. And that doesn't make me special.
But it gives me just a different take on things. And certainly I'm concentrating on. What I can control. And I'm really trying to amplify every inch of these properties because I know that all matters in the scheme of things. And that's why I'm focused down to the plant level rather than this broad brush stoke.
This isn't Wisconsin, you all, but I [00:54:00] know parts of Wisconsin are very difficult. So I don't wanna, I don't wanna subcategorize and say, those what is what does somebody say, those big buck states and the guy, same guy who's talking about those big buck states is in a big buck state comparatively.
And he should come out on hunt, Rhode Island and Connecticut and Vermont, and I'm going to New Hampshire here. He should come see some of those areas and recognize the differences. And as you travel more east, in a lot of cases, the population declines significantly and there's a lot of predators in our areas as well.
Black bears obviously are very prevalent in some of our areas. So I dunno, just things to consider.
Rocky Burrus: Yep. That's why I really believe you should hire somebody in within your zone. I went to eight different states, but they were all pretty much southern states, somewhere close. Yeah. Within six or eight hours driving I do hunt, all the way basically in the west and that Nebraska, four hours from Denver, Colorado.
I see it all. We had the TV show for [00:55:00] eight years. We hunted it all. When you're trying to get footage, you're hunting the Midwest, you're hunting Kansas and all those places. So I've seen success and been on those places, but at the same time, It just is. You have to think like the animals when you're living in the south, you just can't, they're just so much more high strung and things bother 'em so much more.
We do set boxes kinda out in the open, but we don't we do feel like if you're gonna put a six by six anything, it could be purple. It w doesn't matter. The deer know it's there. Yeah. So you have to basically make it part of the environment, and I'm not gonna say this random ran old deer comes busting through there during the ruts.
Not gonna stop in the middle of that plot and stare straight at it. And maybe not even like it, but the social deer, the ones that live there, the ones that you know, all the ones that are. Consider your place home. They know that box and they, unless you change something, like [00:56:00] open a window or something like that, they don't even pay attention to you after a while.
So it's just different in different areas, obviously. Yeah,
Jon Teater: no and let's try to end with that cuz I I think we have we have an opinion on that and I, I don't want anybody to get defen offended about this. This has just been, my experience, Rocky's experience, and that's not degrading anybody whatsoever.
It's just recognizing there are differences and your strategy needs to adapt to those differences. And you may need to be more cautious in certain instances. And I'll add with. One little point of it is we all have differences of opinion on how to approach these things. This uniqueness makes this podcast I think probably the, one of the best podcasts there, there are out there at this point because each one of these managers that does that, does this professionally.
They have their unique individual perspective. There are similarities between Rocky, Jim Ward, Todd Shippy, everybody that's been on here, Perry, Jake Inger, and guys that consistently provided this podcast. And I think that those [00:57:00] differences are supposed to give you perspective and that perspective should make you change or at least have an idea of things that you can do differently.
And that's why we're doing this because we think that, that diversity and experience is gonna give you better success in the field. Alright, man. It's good catching up with you. I'm interested hearing about your project coming up. When are you starting the cutting of that timber?
Rocky Burrus: It'll be in February. Okay. I was, I just held 'em off for this season and then I wanted to get it as early as I could so I could get as much growing season after the cut. Yeah. And
Jon Teater: I'm gonna put pressure on you cuz I'm gonna walk through what you're doing on your property and I think we should all kind walk through, the lessons learned that you have throughout that experience of what did or didn't work.
And, sometimes logging, I know you're gonna oversee the project, logging kinda lends itself to changes that you don't always anticipate. So it's a good lesson to be learned throughout your process.
Rocky Burrus: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. We'll definitely be documenting it as much as of it as possible and basically creating the same thing [00:58:00] you are as a walkthrough property and place where people can go visit and see how we did it.
Just like people wanna see what they you did on your place, they can come see your walkthrough
Jon Teater: yeah, exactly. Yep. Yep. Great. All right man. Thanks for taking time outta your evening and stay safe out there cutting. And I'll talk to you soon.
Rocky Burrus: All right, brother. Good luck. See you. See bye. Maximize your hunt is a production of whitetail landscapes.
For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetail landscapes.com.