Calling In-Season Audibles with Rendell Erik

Show Notes

On today's podcast Garrett speaks with guest Rendell Erik. He's been on the podcast now a few times to talk about scouting and hunt recaps. Based in Iowa, much of his focus is on finding and targeting the biggest and oldest bucks that he can find across a variety of public land pieces that he keeps tabs on. Today's episode is a little different. It's more about calling audibles, dealing with challenges, trying to make the best decisions on the fly as possible when plans A, B, and C blow up. Often Rendell Erik fills his tag earlier in the season before the rut kicks into full gear. This year, after sacrificing some of his season to scout and hunt with a good mutual friend of ours who had drawn a non-resident tag, he had to dig deep and hunt throughout the rut and even into the later gun seasons. He also saw more pressure this year than in years past, and had dry conditions and crop rotations that made early season patterns less repeatable than normal. This is an insightful episode because because it looks at how you can take a good mental approach and take the right actions when things aren't going your way.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] On today's podcast, I have guessed Randall Eric. He's been on the podcast now a few times to talk about scouting and hunt recaps based in Iowa. Much of his focus is on finding and targeting the biggest and oldest bucks that he can find across a variety of public pieces that he keeps tabs on. Today's episode's a little bit different, however, it's more about calling audibles, dealing with challenges, trying to make the best decisions on the fly as possible when plans A, B, and C.

Often Randall Eric fills his tag earlier in the season before the rut really kicks into full gear. This year, after sacrificing a little bit of his season to scout and hunt with a good mutual friend of ours who had drawn a non-resident tag, he had to really dig deep and hunt throughout the rut and even into the later gun seasons.

He also saw more pressure this year than in years past in his area and had some drought conditions and crop rotations that made the early season patterns that he was used to. A little bit less repeatable than normal. I think this is a good episode because it looks at [00:01:00] how you can take a good mental approach and take the right actions when things aren't going your way.

I also want to announce a new platform that I'll be creating content for called Hunt Better. This is an online platform which currently consists of livestream events and original series on those live streams. You can join in and ask the guest questions to be answered right there in real time. The lineup starting here in February is Andy May.

Then myself, Shane Simpson, Steve Shirk, Aaron War. Today's guest, Randall Eric and Jared Scheffler. The two current original series are called Breaking Down the Hunt, which shows polished and concise hunt recaps, showing the details, history, terrain, and animated maps, explaining how and why a hunt game together, and also a series called Conversations which are Longer Format Campfire Discussions between Knowledgeable Hunters and Woodsman.

On the site right now, there's a one-on-one conversation between two pretty well-known successful hunters from Michigan, John Eberhart and Annie. The mission overall is to help preserve hunting culture, especially some of the softer skills [00:02:00] usually described as woodsmanship. Help promote and protect the future of hunting.

It's a subscription based service and a portion of the revenue does go directly back into supporting conservation based organizations to go check it out. Go to Hunt. Before we get started, I have a quick message about the Spartan Ford app, which you can get a 20% discount on by using the code di.

The app allows you to do all of your standard mapping navigation in the field and waypoint management. You can currently choose from three different satellite views, topo, and in many areas, aerial imagery at multiple time points throughout history view, public and private lands. Color code your permission status on those private lands.

View all of your forecasted and historical weather info. Add journaling entries for your hunts that automatically tag the weather conditions and wind for that time period. And view a deer movement prediction powered by machine learning based on color deer studies across the country. I also have a walkthrough video posted of my YouTube channel that you can use to physically see the app in more detail.

And with that, let's dive back into the. . [00:03:00] All right. So going into the season this year, I know you had some pretty lofty expectations and some big plans and, and you had located a lot of really good deer last year and did a ton of post-season scouting, and you definitely got onto some big bucks throughout the course of the season.

Uh, but I know you ran into a bunch of new challenges that you haven't necessarily dealt with in the past as well. So I'm curious, out of the bigger bucks that you did, either from years past or going into the start of the season, how did all those

scenarios play out? I think the most, uh, issue I ran into this year that was brand new was actually pheasant hunters, the number of pheasant hunters skyrocketed, uh uh, and all the areas I hunt, and a lot of the big books I found were more like c R p Open country area.

So I knew that I would have some challenges if I didn't get on 'em, uh, early into the season. [00:04:00] Cause uh, pheasant season doesn't come in until like the first week of November, kind of like, uh, when the rut kicks off. And then a lot of those bucks didn't show up until, uh, like October 15th through 18th. Uh, they shifted in kinda late this year.

Some weird reason. They usually shift sooner than that for me in a lot of these places. But that late shift kind of threw me off cuz it didn't gimme a lot of time to, uh, close in on 'em and get a solid pattern down that I could move in on. So I kind of, I think I got in a hurry and I just kind of dove in on those bucks.

Just started throwing the kitchen sink at 'em. Right.

Do you have any thoughts on why they shifted a little bit later this year? Weather, crop rotation, anything else?

A lot of the places, uh, all those bucks I found last year were on corn, and this year everything was in the [00:05:00] beans and I had a hard time locating most of the bucks from last year.

Uh, the bucks that showed up this year are mostly new bucks. I didn't have any previous history with them and we. really bad drought, which I think really affected the season and even the rut, uh, way more than what people think it did. Interesting.

So with dude deer coming in that you're trying to basically figure out in real time, do you think that the, all the post-season scouting you did over this prior spring, do you think that helped you quite a bit once you started to see what was going on?

Or do you think it was less important in the, the real time intel was kind of the prior. ,

I felt like this season I should have prioritized end season scouting a lot more. Cuz when I did the end season scouting, I was getting on bucks really fast. Especially like when Jared came down and we were putting in 10 miles a day in every day.

We were finding new bucks, uh, super quick. [00:06:00] Earlier in October, I was relying more on my post-season scouting and hunting those spots and bouncing around. and I was having a little bit of a hard time, uh, locating those bucks. But I think that crop rotation, uh, kind of affected that in the drought. A lot of the places that are usually wet were pretty dried up, so I think that shifted the deer around too.

But this coming year when everything rotates back into corn, you know, that post-season scouting I did, uh, is gonna help me out this year more than it did over the past season. And some of. Areas, those really giant bucks were in that I was chasing were newer areas that I didn't put the time into like I should have post-season scouting.

I kind of just flew through there and I wasn't really familiar with them, and that kind of hurt me when I was hunting those big bucks. I didn't know how the terrain laid out really well. I was really having to rely on like Spartan Forge aerial imagery. try to look at it without putting [00:07:00] my sin or too much pressure in there.

And then I'd have to dive in and just hunt it, you know, right away just to hang and hunt. And then by the time I made that adjustment, you know, it was like a one step behind that buck. Then those bucks knew like, oh, you know, he was here today and it kind of shifted him out of their bedding cuz I just went right into the bedding areas.

I did do some glassing and I. , uh, Glasson from afar going into some of these drainages and stuff they were going into, but I just felt like I was a step behind all season long chasing these bucks.

Hmm. Yeah. And the place that you're at, it's kind of like there's some rolling hills, like not super steep, but definitely some terrains, some little ditches.

And generally speaking, the, the higher ground is either like grass or ag, and then the drainage systems are more wooded. Is that. .

Yeah. This, uh, was a newer area. It's just straight, flat. It's more like you're hunting out [00:08:00] west. It's not, not really hilly, it's just wide open ag for miles. There's uh, it's these deep drainages that come in there that have limited trees in them, so you pretty much can only use a saddle.

I had to hunt really low, man. You had. to tort yourself to get into some of these trees. Um, there was a lot of C R p and then there was c r p out on the drainages in this open ag country. So the buck could just lay on the edge of that drainage too, and that c r p and see you coming a mile away. So you had to try to make a lot of moves at, you know, early in the morning in the dark to try to get in there.

And then I was, it's all ag, so you're blowing all the dough. then if you try to go in in the evening, I was trying to go in the drainages, like come up 'em, and then there was, there'd be deer beded in the bottom of like a 20 foot drainage , which is kind of crazy. Then I'd blow 'em out, [00:09:00] like, I don't know. It just kind of kicked my ass, honestly.

Yeah. Well it's a lot different than it sounds like, than the, uh, the buck code last year that was, A little bit earlier in the season. Right. And that was in like Marsh or like close to Marsh Creek bottom type stuff. So you had a lot of tall grass. There's just generally a lot more cover I think it sounded like in that particular setup.

Yeah, that was a straight marsh buck, way back deep. Uh, October 12th is when I got on him. .

Yeah. So definitely a little bit different like wind up to the season getting started. And then I'm curious, you know, you said that when Jared came, uh, that Jared Schaffer from Tethered came down and you guys hunted together cause he had finally drawn his Iowa tag and you guys started doing all that scouting.

What exactly were you guys doing to where, okay, now you're starting to find new. Was it mostly checking on the outskirts for big tracks and hanging cameras on scrapes? Were you guys diving into bedding areas? Were you doing a lot of glassing? What were you doing in season that was allowing you to pick [00:10:00] up a higher quantity of new deer?

We just had a lot of boots on the ground checking the outer edges of bedding areas that I already knew. A lot of 'em were places that I've hunted before and I knew about, but I just, I hadn't been there yet that season. When I post season Scout, I usually just try to scout all new areas to kind of add like an encyclopedia of spots that I can go try.

So some of these areas I haven't even been to in like two years, but I knew they were there, so I, we swung back through there, checked their outer edges for like rubs, scrapes like that. And then we just popped in on allotted bucks. We bumped some deer right out of their beds. Made some moves to get right back on him the next day, and he shot that one in the river bottom.

We seen that buck in the morning. That went right back in the next morning and he got that shot on it.

Yeah. Yeah. I remember that hunt. And that was, that was posted on the tethered YouTube channel. That buck, [00:11:00] when you saw him, he was like on the other side of a creek bottom originally. Right. So did he move?

Yeah. All the way across to where you saw the buck the day before.

Yeah, the morning we seen him. We were. It's, uh, river bottom. It comes off a hill country and there's a big travel way. They come up and down the sides of the river, or they actually use the river and they'll come up through there. And there's usually quite a bit of scrapes, a big scrape line that runs in, there's a bedding, but the bucks were on the other side of the river coming outta the ag, going back to this big bedding area on this little oxbow that was, uh, to our north.

Mm-hmm. . And then the next, the next morning. and then we made a plan. I told him, uh, some possible trees he could get in and then he went ac he went across the river and set up and that he snort weed, that buck right in out of that ag into that, uh, transition area between the ag and the bedding. Gotcha.[00:12:00]

Yeah, that was a super cool hunt. And some of the deer that you guys locate. Not necessarily the one that Jerry Kil, but there's some other ones that you located. It's not like you went after at least one of 'em a couple more times throughout the course of the rut. Right. And that Jared's hunt was, I would say, what late pre rut.

And you're typically not a, a rut hunter.

No, I don't like hunting the rut at all. I, it's really hard to target, uh, Pacific Deer during the ru. , they're kind of at the mercy of whatever the do's doing or they leave the area to go find, do. It's, uh, a lot harder to pattern the deer. They're just kind of all random, which I, I knew that, but I was on those two bucks, you know, that were one 60 plus.

That one was like probably, I don't know, 1 70, 180, and I just got hard to head in and I got locked in on. on that one buck. So I tried hunting that [00:13:00] buck during the rut anyways, even though I knew better. So I wasted a lot of my rut hunting, you know, hunting those two bucks. And then the one buck you're talking about from the tethered video was that horse buck that was on that giant, uh, car, car hood scrape that we found.

Yep. So I went in there and there was a couple other shooter bucks in there that were almost as big as. and I did get a lot of pictures of him, uh, in the rut using that scrape. I did see that horse bucket one morning I was set up and that tree line on the cornfield and he was already locked down with a dough, but he was a couple hundred yards away.

I tried rattling him in and he came up over to Hill and was checking me out, but I couldn't get him to commit to coming any closer. Hmm.

So do you think that. If you had shifted, instead of trying to hunt specific deer, like either that one or that bigger one, I know year after, for quite a [00:14:00] while, if you would've shifted over into, let's say, instead of hunting deer hunting specific deer, if you had shifted to hunting specific spots that were, you know, pinch points between adding areas or, or what have you, typical rut type areas, do you think you would've upped your odds substantially of maybe having an opportunity at any given good.

Oh yeah, for sure. I definitely, that's what I normally do when I hunt rut hot. And I felt like that just gives you a way better chance cuz then you're just catching any kind of movement coming through like the premier spots. Cuz I had, uh, I had other good bucks moving through other areas that I would haunt that were more, uh, rut type areas adjacent to dough bedding.

I was picking 'em up on like my cell cams and. So I know if I would've been sitting in there, I would've had some chances at some other mature bucks. But they weren't, you know, they weren't anywhere near as big as, uh, other two bucks I was chasing after.

[00:15:00] Gotcha. Do you think next year you would go back to hunting the spots more, or do you think it's gonna be really hard to, to shake that, uh, that want and desire to go after some specific deer that you find?

Even if it is the rot?

Well, my plan's to be tagged out in October, then I don't have to worry about it. I can. If I can go to a different state, uh, I'm gonna try to draw Kansas, so it'll be interesting hunting Kansas and Iowa. I'll try to get it done early in both states, but if I do have to rut hunt, uh, I'm just gonna go to hunting spots.

I probably won't hunt a typical kind of, uh, rut spots a lot of guys do. I'll probably go more towards like, Mature buck be areas adjacent to dough bedding. Cuz I feel like that's where I was picking up a lot of my mature bucks during the rut was in those transition areas between the mature buck be and the dough bedding.

Mm-hmm. . So I like to narrow that down a little bit, but I'll, I'll just [00:16:00] do a bunch of sits instead of targeting like individual books, unless I'm on like a 200 like crazy book or.

Gotcha. Yeah. And after the rot kind of tapered down this year, you got the opportunity to try some of the gun hunting, a late muzzle loader, which I was interested in hearing how you did there because I had done those hunts, you know, one each, one shotgun hunt, one muzz loader hunt in the past.

And I, I thought they weren't as easy as people might think. Just because, you know, the gun season, the shotgun season, I couldn't predict where the public land or private land pressure was gonna be. I guessed where public land pressure should have come from based on how it usually is in the places I hunt.

And there wasn't a whole lot of public hunting pressure in the particular pieces of public that I chose, but there's a lot of private land pressure where guys would just walk across out their backyards into some random, you know, place along the public that was really hard to predict. And so that made.

[00:17:00] Figure out and, uh, yeah, be more predictive about the deer movement really hard. And the late muzzle loader was like, man, most of the deer were, were betting off of public, even if the public had the only standing crops around because the DNR left 'em there. Like they were clearly coming in there, but it was like your hands were tied, like you couldn't go find them because you could just follow the tracks right up to the property board and be like, well, they're not betting here, and they're just waiting until dark before they come down from bedding and get into that food.

And it sounded like. Had quite the challenging, you know, gun hunts too, just for some of those same reasons. Pressure related.

Yeah. Um, the one thing I did notice this year, different than most years, uh, the rut was not really strong at all. And I rely on that late rut that, uh, third week of November. Mm-hmm.

on like the end of archery. That's when I usually kill a lot of my giant. , it seemed like when the rut ended, it ended, [00:18:00] man. I mean, it was gone and then the deer just dispersed. Like there wasn't that trickle effect. I didn't get mature bucks long lining for the last dose. I mean, it was just a hard cutoff.

Hmm. And it's like everything came at like gone. Like testosterone levels dropped the dose, dropped the bucks that weren't interested in the dose anymore. and, and all my, uh, friends and stuff that live around Iowa, they all notice the same thing. The intensity of like the seeking phase, uh, when chasing was really bad this year.

Huh. So the run in general is just not good at all, which I think has to do a lot more to what the drought than what people think. I think that drought really put a lot of stress on the deer herd and then, uh, going into late season. , everything. All this deer drives with shotguns and stuff all over public, uh, blows a lot of the public land out.

[00:19:00] And then lo locating the food can be pretty tough cuz you, you're dealing with IHAs, you're dealing with, uh, Iowa d n r land and you're dealing with like county conservation and only certain ones tend to leave, uh, crops left over. . So you gotta do a lot of driving around trying to find out what's left standing.

I found a couple different places that had staining crops left, but like you said, uh, most of the deer were betting off public. They were betting on private still. After the gun season, the shotgun season ended. And then, uh, we had really janky weather too. Like I hunted a negative 35 degrees like about froze to death for three days.

And then it got really warm. Then I was out there and like almost a t-shirt hunting and it seemed like those, uh, severe cold weather days, you know, the bucks were really pushing out, moving, even though you think it would be too cold, you're like, oh, [00:20:00] buck's not gonna go out in that, you know, and feeding the wind and stuff.

But that was like some of the best days was those extreme harsh days If you would find a south facing. Ridge that dumped down into like a bottom, into any kind of cut corn or beans or something, or standing food, then the deer would move out to that. Um, ran into a lot of pressure. There was probably more people late season muzzle loader hunting this year than I've ever seen, and in my area had guys some other parts of the state pushing into my areas non.

So the deer were getting pushed around quite a bit. It seemed like every time I'd get on a big group of deer, you know, somebody would go blow it up and then I'd have to try to locate another one because they're super sensitive late season. So once you mess it up, they're pretty much gone.

Yeah, I remember you saying even down to some of those last final days, get in to find a good area where deer finally hitting some.

That [00:21:00] food and then you know, during prime time of gal come in and go get his stands that he left out all year .

Yeah, I know he couldn't wait like another couple days cuz I had 20 something deer come out in that field the day before and then right when I go in there he's coming out and he pulled his tree stands and this cameras and blew up all the bedding, blew the deer all around.

And I seen one, one deer cuz I went ahead and said it anyways cuz I was already committed at that.

they're kind of wild.

Yeah. Yeah. So it was like a, you know, constant battle of calling audibles whenever something gets blown up and then trying to figure something else out. Yeah. That late season stuff is, is tough. You listen to a lot of people who are good late season hunters and are very successful on Big Deer, and it seems like almost always the, you know, one of the common denominators I see is unpressured.

right? Yeah. Just it's like, [00:22:00] oh, it's like the easiest, you know, formula Ever just hunt, unpressured deer on standing crops, staining beans or whatever. It's like, just go find that and you'll find the deer. It's like, yeah, that's easier said than done. I know when I went down there late season, there was, there was no, yeah, I probably, you know, drove three, four hours around all the different public areas and not one private field that I drove by had standing crop.

The only standing crops around are on public and they're all in really easy to access places like right next to

the road. Yeah. I hunted some, uh, public land that you'd walk a couple hundred yards and you'd be on the standing crops hunting that butt. So is everybody and their mom , you know, guys piling in behind you.

I'd even, uh, I'd even pull in and spot check parking lots. I started not even. Worrying about where I'm gonna hunt. I just drive by parking lots, trying to find an empty one, you know, and then I'd hit [00:23:00] four or five places and then still have to keep going because I hunt a lot of those small, small areas. We don't have those big, giant timbered areas like a lot of states do.

We're hunting like, you know, small, couple hundred acre pieces, sometimes smaller than that. Mm-hmm. , um, you can get into some of those bigger pieces, but. , you know, you're gonna hike in a couple miles to try to get anywhere. Good. To get away from pressure in the short days and the extreme cold, it's just kind of tough because you gotta pack all your layers in.

You're carrying the giant suits, you know, to, so you don't die out there. Right. And so I prefer, I try to hunt like the smaller areas, uh, late season. But if I did roll in somewhere without a deer hunter, it'd be a pheasant hunter there. It seemed like every time if I went back to those c r p places. And yeah, it was just, I don't know, it's just a struggle this year it happened, so

yeah, like we were talking about the other day, I mean, if [00:24:00] that's your scenario, it's almost easier if you're gonna hunt late to go hunt some, you know, southern state with a different.

than it is on some of the places up here. Unless you got, you know, bigger, bigger timber where you can find on pressured deer, which still is a possibility on some of the bigger public pieces. You know, pressure a lot of times tapers down quite a bit. But yeah, those small, small public pieces and broken ag, totally different story.

Or you could, uh, or you just try to get free permission somewhere. Yeah, that's true. That's probably, if you're gonna hunt late season, I'd push. The free permission or I'd go to a way lesser zone. I'd get away from like zone four, five and six and go to some zone that doesn't really have that big a bucks and just get in there.

Cuz I feel like they're probably not gonna get pressured as much that time of year.

Yeah, well especially from some of the non-residents. I mean, there's certain zones that are known to be better zones and those are the ones that are [00:25:00] attractive to non-resident. and I think they look at how many points it takes to get an archery tag and they're like, ah, well I can get a muzzle loader tag with, you know, one point or, you know, something like that.

And then they go to the same zone. So, and a lot of those guys are coming in with some level of, of, uh, you know, preexisting knowledge and, and, you know, a certain level of work ethic for, you know, even wanting to do an out-of-state trip like that with a pretty expensive tag investment. So they're probably gonna be maybe a little bit more intrusive than your local guys.

and I, I mean, and I could have, I could have tagged out, uh, everywhere I went, I just passed a lot of deer, passed a lot of, I passed deer. A lot of people would shoot just cuz I was chasing, you know, that upper echelon class buck, which I knew, you know what I mean? If you're gonna chase, uh, you know, one 60 plus, you better be okay with tagging out.

I passed some one 40 s and [00:26:00] some really good deer that most people would've been plenty happy with. But it just wasn't my goals this year that I set for myself. So I tried to, I tried to stay true to myself, what I set out to do, uh, win, lose, or draw. And so I just grinded as hard as I could. And now that season's over, I look back.

and, uh, I learned a ton. There's a lot of things I'm gonna adjust and I think I'm gonna do differently and some things I probably should have adjusted to during this season. A little bit more that now that I got time to like reminisce and just think about everything I did, choices I made. Yeah,

let, let's talk about that a little bit.

Let's start with things you learned about this year that you should have done this year. What are some of those things

way more in Season Scout? Don't hunt Pacific Bucks during the road break off of the hook . I shoulda have hunted more mornings. Early season I had a [00:27:00] lot, probably the most activity ever in the mornings early this year than any of the year I've hunted on cameras, so I should have put more time and effort in the morning.

I should, uh, just threw caution to the wind cuz I don't like hunting the mornings cuz it's open egg. You know, you blow out a lot of deer. I should have got a lot more, uh, just with my accessing. I should have got a lot more, uh, kind of throwing stuff out there, you know, just trying to, doing creative things.

I. , you know, taking the time to loop way around areas, even if I had to walk like two miles to get in there and try that out. Um, just hunting the bigger bucks too. You just learn, they're just a different animal. They act a lot different. A lot of the things they do are different than what the younger bucks do.

So chasing them around all season, it was really insightful on like certain [00:28:00] things I picked out that the bigger bucks would key in on that. The little ones. , like using the drainages security cover. They were hardly, they were never out in really, they opened really, they'd always hug something. Um, especially like the crp.

They used the crp, like a thermal wall. Even the corn, they'd move a lot more in the corn than what you would expect. They'd just stay out in there and run the couple edges to get around, like opening some. Never really come into the scrapes. They'd always stay way down, wind of the scrape, like 40, 50 yards, sometimes more than that.

And just sent check at them way out there. And then you wouldn't even be able to get close enough to 'em cuz there's, you know, little options for trees. Yeah. Um, I noticed that they didn't, when the rut kicked in, , um, they, they probably stayed until like, [00:29:00] at least the 12th before they broke off to go chase other dough.

So they were still in the core range, you know, so I say you can't chase, you shouldn't chase the Pacific buck door in the rut. But I still had that early, uh, you know, that window that first week I November, I could have got on him if I. Figured it out, but the dough were pulling 'em all over. You know, they weren't doing like a Pacific thing.

They were kind of just all over the place. Yeah. So, um,

the drainages were really interesting how they were using them. There was a lot of benches in the drainages that they were using that if I would've found them earlier, if I would've did the post-season scouting, I could have slid him through the. and, uh, haunted those drainage benches cuz they're either betting on 'em or they were running on 'em, you know, to go in and out.

There's like an alfalfa field [00:30:00] they were going through the drainage to get to, so they had the standing corner on both sides. So it was kind of like they were in a timber, even though they were out in the middle of that open ag, you

know. So when you say drainage in that scenario, you're talking about a non timbered drainage where it's maybe like a ditch within a cornfield.

just a big like 20 foot deep ditch that runs through, it's like a creek drainage that runs out to the main river and there, there's a couple trees in there. I mean, if you were gonna hunt an area, I could only get a couple feet off the ground and they'd be right on top of you. I filmed a couple bucks going by me on one of those drainage benches when I found them.

Pretty interesting setup. . And

how big are the actual benches? Usually just like wide enough for a deer to walk on or,

yeah. Wide enough for me. Or a deer, maybe a couple feet wide, if that. So it's

pretty obvious if you're walking in, you can see those benches and maybe see trails that are laid out on the grass.[00:31:00]

Oh, it looked like a wind tunnel trail. Yeah. And Hill Country feet down. You could, you could see it a mile away once you came over the edge. Hmm.

Yeah, that's interesting cuz those drainages like that, especially late in the, late in the evening and a lot of that scent probably pulls down in there and slowly just drifts down that whole drainage.

So if they're coming from further down the drainage and coming toward the head of it to get where they're going, then that makes the, the wind and thermal aspect probably pretty tough to set up on. I'd imagine.

Yeah. I tried to set up on winds that were blowing right down the drain. so it would just blow my scents straight down.

So, which is a little tricky cuz once the deer gets by you, you know it's gonna pick you off. So you just hope that, you know, I got close enough to where I thought he was beded at, which I seen, uh, a couple times glassing, I saw where he dropped off into the drainage. So I tried to slide in as close as I [00:32:00] could, which is, I mean, really risky.

I mean, I bumped a. A couple times I've blew some bucks out of there. I got too close, uh, trying to set up in the afternoon.

Yeah. So if you're going for an afternoon setup there, you know, thermals are still coming up depending on whatever the wind's doing. Are you coming, like, let's say the, let's say the drainage runs left to right and like the deepest part of the drainage is to the left and it gets shallower as you go further to.

are you accessing from either like the top or the bottom and basically just trying to head perpendicular to that drainage as close to where you think that deer's gonna be as possible and just pop

over the edge? Yeah, I tried that and I tried actually coming down the drainage itself, climbing over all the logs and stuff just to get in there close enough to get up into a tree to catch 'em coming out on that drainage bench or I.

A lot of times I did uh, pop over that edge. I tried to stay [00:33:00] back. Um, but right when you pop over that edge, man, they're on you quick. I don't know how they fi see you that quick , but man, right when you pop over and look there. Got you man. It's crazy. Huh?

So then well of course it doesn't help. I'm six foot eight either, so they probably see me quicker than he'd see you. . .

Yeah, that's probably. What other things did you learn, I guess, this year that were either mature buck tendencies that you thought were noteworthy or just things that they did this year that you weren't anticipating?

Uh, just how far they were coming to that, uh, that area I was hunting. I, they were embedded pretty far away, more further than what I thought. And then the scrape. They were hanging way further back from the scrapes than what I thought they would like. I know they go down one of the scrapes and they [00:34:00] don't really come into 'em much.

They sent check 'em first and they swing in, but the distance that they were scent checking was way further than what I thought it would be and that type of terrain. So I don't know if. this, the wind or the air or something's different where it, uh, travels further in that terrain type. I wasn't, that kind of threw me for a loop because I was pulling back to set up to catch 'em coming into the scrape, but then they'd be back, you know, waving further than that.

So you'd almost have to set up like, you know, 20, 30 yards downwind of the scrape and then maybe you'd have a shot totally opposite when

they get downwind to. . Yeah. It'd almost be like 60 yards away, huh? 60, 70 yards I think now on that one particular area.

And is there any sign at all when they would do those downwind loops of the scrapes?

Like is it, would you be able to scout and say, post-season and find a big scrape and then go take a, you know, 60 [00:35:00] yard loop down wind of it and be able to tell like, oh, here's why I should set up to take advantage of this, of this, uh, particular bucks, you know, sent and checking that. Or is it just kind of trial and error and maybe you see one


Yeah, you'd have to see it in person cuz there's not gonna be a trail or anything. Like it wasn't defined like that. They would just swing out. There's, Hmm. Two bigger bucks would always just loop way out.

Yeah. Yeah. I feel like I, the moment I try and do that and set up like, you know, 70 yards down one of the scrape, then I'll be able to see a big one.

Like sitting right on the scrape .

Yeah. I. It's possible, it's probably what's gonna happen to me next year when I get in there . And then it's like, man, when you're throwing the kitchen sink, you start getting a little frustrated too. And you're like, uh, second guessing yourself, you know, a little bit. Maybe you're set up and then you start going through that rabbit hole in your mind, you know, where you second [00:36:00] guess, uh, certain setup.

There was one setup that I should have did, and I probably would've got that bigger buck, but I second guessed myself and didn't do it, and he rolled right in there to that scrape from broad daylight and I was like, oh, , he got me like that one time. He rolled into that scrape. I decided not to do what I was gonna do.

It cost me big time.

Well, wasn't the reason you decided not to do that because of like a really dicey wind on that scrape?

Yeah, I had the dicey wind and my setup was insane. Like I had doze walking right underneath my feet cuz there was this one crazy tree. I had to get in and I just felt like I wasn't, I was not covered up enough.

I already left all my sin in there. Um, the way I had to access that place was not a good access at all. I should have accessed a totally [00:37:00] different way than what I did, but I didn't know the area that good cuz I didn't do enough scouting post-season in there. So it was just kind of a cluster from the GetGo, but I don't know, my gut was like, oh, I should come right back in here the next day and just leave my set and.

and then I blew some doze out of there too, cuz it wasn't a really sensitive area, you know, trying to get out in the afternoon. I blew a lot of deer out and I don't know, I think that just mentally was like, oh, I just ruined this spot, you know? Then I decided to sit another spot further away and then that buck looped in downwind, which it's possible you could have picked me off, you know, but I felt.

I don't know the wind speed and thermals, I might've got away with it, but you never really know. I, he could've picked me off. He came through that standing corn and then Jay hooked into that scrape. So I'm pretty sure he hit my scent trail, you know, where I accessed in a, not a [00:38:00] great way. He probably hit it feeding at night or something, and it probably tipped him off and then he looped around down.

Yeah, and cut in there. It still messes with your mind like, oh man, if I would've been in that set, you know what? What could have happened? Right. I mean, I never really know, but it's still, it still weighs on you a little bit, right?

Yeah. I definitely have a number of those throughout the course of the season for sure.

Now, what things did you learn from this year that you're gonna be able to apply to next year? Either scouting now? Thinking ahead to, to various setups. I mean, you could probably imagine that the crop rotation might be different. So maybe this year's totally different than last year, but what are your thoughts?

I'm gonna push further away from home, um, scout more new areas. Definitely try to add to the inventory so I can try to get away from the pressure better pick up many bucks as I [00:39:00] possibly can. . I like to have like 10 to 15, but I think I'm gonna try for even more than that this year. Uh, just cuz the pressure's ramping up.

Um, I need to be locked in early season on certain areas. If I'm hunting any kind of c R p, I need to be in there in October hunting it, no matter what I need to before pheasant season opens, it's just gonna blow 'em out. So I might as well blow it out instead of them, you know, it gives me a chance to get.

Yeah. Before all the present guys do. So that's one thing I'm gonna change. Um,

if I roll into somewhere, do the, uh, put the time in post-season, you know, just don't run through it cuz there's a couple of those spots I found later towards summer and, you know, it was greening up soon, so I just kind of blew through 'em really quick and I didn't slow down enough to pick 'em apart, as good as I probably should.

So really concentrating on, um, just like [00:40:00] taking the time to learn the terrain, which I think that's where post-season scouting shines. It's just learning like where the deer kind of bed, all the terrain access. And then I think I'm gonna really ramp up my in-season scouting, you know, go out in the mornings every day and just put boots on the.

Until about midday and then go set up, I'll probably hunt it in the mornings a little bit more than I did. Yeah. You know, the last couple of beers too.

Yeah. Yeah. That all, that all makes sense. It's, it's kind of like one of those trade offs where it's like the more, more ground you cover and the more deer you try and find, it makes it harder to. put the amount of detailed scouting you need to really learn the spots, but then you put a lot of detailed scouting in to try and learn specific spots and then you don't cover as much ground.

And you know, if, if you lose two or three of the deer that you're after in there, then you're kind of back at square one. It's always tough striking that balance.

Yeah. It's uh, give or take, [00:41:00] um, I think as you get better at scouting and you get experience and stuff though, like I need. . There's some things I'm more like, what's over to hill kind of guy, , and I don't know if I need to be that guy anymore.

I just need to know what's gonna work for me. You know, my system where I find the big bucks. You know, I don't need to look under every cranny nook. I just need to go into, you know, what I feel is gonna be the best possible areas. And sometimes there's like some overlying areas, you know, you want to check out.

I don't know. It's like I don't, sometimes I waste my time scouting. You know, you get off over here looking around at something that just never pans out, you know, I just need to dive in. Yeah. Pick apart the way I do. Maybe spend some more time. Eess scouting on Spartan Forge and stuff. Trying to, uh, look at it before I ever even go there.

More in depth, especially with like the shaded relief now and some other, [00:42:00] They got that I can really dial it in at the house and then dive out there and look around. I did notice this year there was more big bucks by the roads man. Like it was insane. Like everywhere I was going, everything was pretty close to the parking lots or they were living by roads.

You could just dive off the side of the road even though, uh, some of those giant bucks I were on, I wasn't having to go. super far to get to 'em. It seemed like everybody was hunting super deep and it was pushing all the deer out to the edges. So I think I want to spend more time, uh, scouting the edges too, a little bit, just flying through there and looking for like the premium, mature buck bed spots that I would think they'd be at.

Close to roads and things. .

Yeah, that all makes sense. We've talked before. I'm planning on trying to capitalize on some of the similar type of observations. The, the deer I ended up killing this [00:43:00] year in Wisconsin was about the same size as a deer that I had passed a little bit earlier. That was literally like 80 yards from the road,

Oh, the other, the other big thing I want to concentrate on is man, just being healthy, man, I got sick a bunch. , like, uh, I didn't make it to Nebraska in September because I got covid. And when I went to Missouri after having Covid for two weeks, that really hurt me bad. Like, you know, your, your body's exhausted.

So when I was out trying to scout in Missouri, um, it was tough on me. And then trying to hang and hunt in the afternoons in the heat, it's like a hundred something degrees every day almost. But I got on some good bucks, uh, in Missouri. I was chasing around. I just never got on 'em. I passed some, I passed some legal bucks I could have shot, but they weren't as big as a couple of the other bucks that I found.

And then Iowa opened. I got sick like, I don't know, two or three times and I was just kinda like, I don't know, kind of outta shape a little bit. [00:44:00] So I feel like being in better shape. I really RevB that up. I've been going to the gym every day, lifting weights and running and stuff, and taking out vitamins.

Trying to have a be eating a lot cleaner, you know, eating raw protein and foods. I feel like, I mean, you don't have to be, you know, some big muscle bound guy to deer hunt or anything. But being in pretty good shape for mobile hunting I think is, uh, pretty important. Cause I'm, you know, you're walking miles scouting and you're hanging and hunting every single day.

You're climbing trees, you're setting sticks, platforms, you know, it's a lot of stuff we go through. So I feel like just the type of hunting that we do, I feel like it's really overlooked. The more, the more I push myself to go further and harder, it feels like, you know, you gotta start in the off season, get that dialed in a little bit better for me.

Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, it comes into play when you're making the decision to go the extra mile or not. If you're in shape, it's that much [00:45:00] easier to be like, yep, I'm gonna go do that. And you're climbing some weird wonky tree. It's just that much easier to have better body control and it being a little bit safer.

Climb someone's climbing some of those weird trees. Making the drag make the drag out a lot easier. Has a lot of good reasons to, to be in relatively good fitness.

Yeah, and it's just things you learn over time, like as you start hunting more and more and more days. , you know, you don't tag out as early as you want.

you're stuck in the woods hunting. Yeah. pretty hard. Grinding and out, you know, you're like, oh God, I need to lose some weight. But I don't know. It can all sound like excuses too, but I mean, if you don't get it done, you don't get it done. But I mean, it's just stuff I take away that I need to work on. Yeah.

Yep. Same here. I always got a list at the end of the season of all the stuff I should do better next year. I keep trying to refine that list every year

and then, uh, I think drowning out the noise too, man. Social media dude, [00:46:00] when you're looking at a hundred pitchers a day of guys killing bucks, , and you're struggling , it can be tough, man.

And then, uh, and when you're trying to talk to a ton of people and help a ton of people out while you're hunting and you're looking at maps for 'em and answering questions, it can. It can take time away from you a little bit. You might not be as polished as you need to be, you know, as sharpened on your own hunting cuz you're helping, you know, a lot of hunt.

You know, a lot of newer guys that want to get into mobile hunting or they just started saddle hunting or they're just getting into bed hunting. You know, I try to help out as many people as I can. So, yeah, I mean that kind of slows you down cuz I'm not used to that yet. So, adjusting to. I need to get a good grip on that.

Um, and just like pushing out all the noise, man, you got a lot of doubt and people that are asking you every day, Hey, where's your big [00:47:00] buck man? Where's your big buck? I'm waiting for you to kill Big buck . You know, every my buddies are texting me and I'm like, oh my God, , you know, and spreading the pressure on you

Yeah, that's, uh, it, it, it does, it does get a little bit easier. Um, but I will say that just from my point of view, um, when you are helping people out, like you just, you know, you're not gonna be as effective as if you're just like total, you know, hermit mode and just totally focused on only your stuff. But at the same point in time, it's, you know, a lot of that stuff's rewarding, especially they, some guy you helped out, shows you a picture of, you know, deer killed, even if it's like the first one or whatever makes you feel pretty good.

Oh yeah. That's awesome man. When guys get their first big buck or they get on their own, their first B buck bed and they get it done, or they even find a buck bed, I get a lot of more enjoyment outta other people than I do myself, honestly. Like I'd rather a new guy that I'm helping out smoke a giant than [00:48:00] me.

It's just the way I am. Mm-hmm. . . Oh, another thing I ran into was gear man. I was trying like prototype gear and all these different sticks. I was switching it out of like trying out a lot of different gear when I'm hunting, man. And that was like switching in and outta setups. It kind of slows you down cuz you gotta learn like the ins and outs of all the different setups you're running.

And so that was different too cuz I normally just go into the season with one setup and that's what I'm. But this year I was trying out all kinds of different things just to see like what I liked, what I didn't like, what I thought you could tweak on this or that. And that was pretty interesting doing that and then trying to hunt at the same time, cuz sometimes it took me a lot longer to set up or it was harder to get in certain trees cuz I switched out to some, some other type of stick I wanted to mess around with.

So that made it kind of weird too. Trying out too many, too many setup. .

Yeah. [00:49:00] Yeah. It's definitely hard to do that stuff in the season. You, you end up having a number of hunts where it's like, you know, the minute that you're in the tree, like this is not, like, this is gonna change the instant that I get home

And it kind of takes your focus away from the hunt

But yeah, I don't know, but I feel like nothing's lost. You don't truly fail. You only fail when you quit. Like, I kept grinding, I kept getting, getting after it. I tried stuff I probably would never try. Like some of the setups I hunted were just crazy, insane. Like I didn't even think it was gonna work. And I hunt some crazy stuff already.

Hey man, I'm just throwing the stuff out there, seeing what sticks, how the deer react to it. And just being on that class of bucks, uh, is pretty blessed, you know? Cause a lot of guys, man, they go a lifetime and they never get to hunt. You know, that quality of deer or that big of bucks, you know, they'd give anything.

be up here in Iowa, hunting where I'm at, chasing around these [00:50:00] boers and stuff, so, mm-hmm. , I don't know, the end of the day, you know, it's still a blessing that I got to be out in Mother Nature and chase those deer, and I learned a ton. So I think it'll set me up in the long run. You know, I just want to get better every day at being a better hunter, and that's my main goal, is just to get better myself as much as I can.

Yeah. And speaking of becoming a better, you will be producing content amongst, you know, a bunch of other guys for the new Hunt better platform. Uh, I think you're scheduled in March, I wanna say, for one of the live streams. And then you'll probably have a couple hunt breakdowns that'll be on that platform

as well.

Yeah, March 16th, I'm gonna be on the live stream to take everybody's questions. And then, uh, I'm gonna be filming, uh, hunt breakdowns on a lot of my bucks so they can get an in depth analysis. how I went into these areas and access and located and what I keyed in on the [00:51:00] setup on these giant bucks that I get on.

Yeah, absolutely. I, I'm pretty excited about that platform. I think, uh, it'll be a good way for a lot of guys who don't traditionally put out a lot of social media content or YouTube videos, but are very successful in, you know, multitude of different ways to be able to get out and share their 2 cents and their experiences and their histor.

Yeah, it'll

definitely help with the, just the production of it. The high quality of the filming, everything's top notch. You know, some of the top guys in the industry, uh, coming together to share knowledge and combined skills to help put it out there where guys can better understand what's going on on these.

Uper tier guys that are out in the woods getting it done consistently and they can get dialed in and, uh, go out in their backyard and try to get it done in the way that a lot of these guys do [00:52:00] too.

Yeah, absolutely. And then if people are interested in otherwise just following you on social media, Instagram or Facebook, or both?


do both.

And that's Rendell underscore Eric for Instagram.

That's correct and they can just look up Ren Eric for Facebook.

That'll do it for this week's episode. As always, make sure to follow the Sportsman's Empire on Instagram and Facebook. Leave a five star review on iTunes and if you're looking for additional content for myself, subscribe to DIY Sportsman on YouTube and hit the bell icon to be notified of new videos.

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