Deer Season Special - Arron Bleise

Show Notes

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Woodsman Deer Season Special series! These bonus episodes will launch every Friday from October through December. Each week's show revolves around hunting stories and experiences with an array of deer hunting fanatics. This week's guest is Arron Bleise, the host of The Fall Podcast. We discuss Arron's podcasting journey to over 300 episodes, balancing family life with deer hunting, 2023 deer hunting plans, early season deer hunting success, hunting pressured states versus trips to "fantasyland states," and more. Good luck and stay safe in the deer woods!

Show Transcript

Mitchell Shirk: [00:00:00] You're listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast Deer Season Special. These bonus episodes revolve around deer hunting stories and experiences from a host of deer hunters. These whitetail hunting BS sessions will be launched every week during the 2023 hunting season, adding fuel to your fire in the deer woods.

Be entertained. And hopefully learn something along the way. The title sponsor of the Deer Season Special Series is Vantage Point Archery. Home to the toughest machined one piece broadheads made in the USA. VPA products are built to last, which is why they have a lifetime warranty. And if you're not completely satisfied, you can send it back, which I highly doubt will occur.

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The [00:01:00] Pennsylvania Woodsman is also brought to you by radox hunting home of the emcor cell camera stick and pick camera accessories and much more. Also brought to you by vitalized seed. One, two planning system designed with diversity and biology in mind, making it the best food plot available. And lastly, by Huntworth gear, quality hunting clothing at an affordable cost makers of heat boost technology.

This week's guest is Aaron Blysee, the host. of the Fall Podcast. We catch up on anything from podcasting, family balance, enjoyment of hunting, all the way into early season bow hunting in Michigan and other states across the country. Aaron really enjoys early season and he talks about some stories about bucks that he's killed early season, how he's gotten on them, how he plans to do so this fall.

And if you haven't taken notice if you follow him on Instagram, Aaron has already put down a great buck. October 1st, early part of the season. So it goes without saying that [00:02:00] this is the perfect episode to kick you guys off into our bow season here in Pennsylvania. I hope you guys enjoy this conversation with Aaron and good luck this week.

So joining me today on this week's show is none other than the fall podcast, Aaron Blysee. Aaron, thank you so much for

Arron Bleise: joining us. Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me on, man. I looking forward to this. I see you're on vacation and you said you were burning some brownie points maybe, but Hey. Sometimes you got to do what you got to do,

Mitchell Shirk: it's a double edged sword. Like I'm on, so I'm on vacation and yeah, we're supposed to be having fun and I'm trying to designate as much family time as I possibly can, because that's what we're here for. But at the same time, when because you've done podcasting longer than I have, and you're trying to build something, you're trying to keep your brand good.

So it's a hard balance to go through, especially when you're a father and everything else, it just it's a tough, it's a juggling

Arron Bleise: act. It is, man. It is. And honestly, with the podcast game, consistency [00:03:00] is key. So you never want to miss a week. So it's I've been on times where, we might be going on a family vacation.

We do it the same time every year. And I feel like it just comes up on me so fast and I'm like, Oh crap. Like I'm going to be gone for 10 days. That means I got to probably do two podcasts and get them done, edited, get them published and ready to go before I leave. Cause I don't want to have to worry about that stuff when I'm gone.

And I owe that to my family. You know what I mean? They, they're gracious and enough to know what my passion is. And. I wouldn't say allow me to do it, but like I need to do, I need to have a good balance, and I, when we're on vacation, it's family time and I don't want to have to worry about anything else.

So I get it.

Mitchell Shirk: Yeah. You need support. The worst thing that you can possibly have. And I, unfortunately I've been in these shoes where it gets to be hunting season and you're out, it's the time to go, but. You can't get your mind focused on what you're trying to do. And to me, I think it's, even though it's hunting, it's relaxing.

Like you got to have your mind sharpened in the game or else you're [00:04:00] not with it. And I've been there where my mind's on home. I feel guilty and it just doesn't make for a positive situation. In the field or when you get home. So trying to do the best you can. Family's what's most important to me.

And I think you can echo that, but man, you you just rolled over 300 episodes, man. Tell me about what that feels like, because it's snap of a finger and time flies

Arron Bleise: by. Yeah. A hundred, I felt like it took forever to get to not that it was ever a goal, but like when you finally.

You start publishing podcasts and it's man, I'm only at 25 and it's I feel like it's taken forever to get here, and then you get to 50 and then it's a hundred. It's okay, when I hit the a hundred mark, it was I'm like, okay, cool. Like we're good. Like you, I feel like that was almost a milestone that like a lot of podcasters try to hit.

Cause you, if you go back and look, there's a ton of podcasts, there's probably. A small percentage that actually gets to a hundred episodes, and so that was neat. [00:05:00] And then, I felt 100 to 200 was like flew by. And then same thing with 200 to 300. But I'll tell you, when you start like looking, when you're just out from the 300 mark, you start looking at okay, what are we gonna do for 300?

I feel like that's a pretty big deal. We should do something. And when you hit it, Like 300, there was a lot of people that reached out to me. Listeners stuff said, congratulations a lot more than, 100 or 200. And it was like, man, to me, now it's just a number. It's just like an episode.

It was neat, but now it's just like podcasting. I've been doing it. I'm in my sixth year now where it's just it's just part of life now. Like it's not, I won't lie. There were some times where it was just like, man, it's becoming work. Now it's just like part of my daily routine. Like people. A lot of people that work out, that's part of their daily routine.

Like podcasting is. It's just, I've accepted it. I love to do it still. It's just, just another Tuesday kind of thing, that's the way I look at it, but, 300 was pretty [00:06:00] cool. But I like it, but I almost like it almost dates us in a way. I don't like that. It's man, these guys have been around a long time, and I don't know if I really I still want to be like the cool new group in a way.

I feel like I'm getting dated a little bit. That's a hard

Mitchell Shirk: balance. And, it's funny as we're speaking today, we're, when we're recording this my 100th episode just dropped today. So that was a cool thing. Thank you. That was a cool thing to, to go. And I was in that same boat too.

It seems like there's you've been around longer, so I ask you this question, but it seems like more recently, in the past two years, I've seen more podcasts popping up than ever. And I am in that phase of I don't wanna get lost in the weeds, but at the end of the day, I'm just trying to do true to myself and keep stuff with within our region and, just keep it fresh and roll with it and see what happens.

It's no agenda and just. Pure hunting enjoyment and outdoor enjoyment revolving around, good values. I think it goes a long way when you're doing it what's real. I've been asking a lot of people this question[00:07:00] that, that's a content creator. I've gotten asked so many times, like, how do you come up?

With all the different episodes, don't you run out of stuff to talk about? And I was like there's people that have done this way more than I have. So like, where are you in those shoes? If people ask you, like what comes to your mind, like where your goals lie within podcasting and content, like whether it's new stuff or just new avenues, I don't know.

Like it's, that's a tough one to answer.

Arron Bleise: It's definitely shifted for me over the years. Like when I first started doing the podcast, I felt like I had to. I had to have the top tier guests. I had to be the guy that was the first in the game with X guests that would make a splash. Now, I'm to the point where it's just I just want to put content out.

Right now, one of my good friends and I, we are, we have a 3D archery league that we're in at our local sportsman's club. A lot of people probably don't give a crap to hear about it, but like after every round, him and I podcast over a [00:08:00] beer, in the parking lot, after we shoot the round, we've got a bet going he's a big Michigan state football fan.

I hate Michigan state. I love Michigan. He hates Michigan. So like the bet is whoever wins amongst the two of us. If I went, he's got to wear a Michigan Jersey this November in a set and he's got a, it started as a Santa Claus suit and then it's that's not that big of a deal.

Like you gotta wear Michigan Jersey and you gotta post a picture on social. But so but we're just keeping them, 20 minutes, like they drop either the day of, or the day after we shoot the round. So people can fall along with that, like it's shifted to where it's just I want to do things that I want to learn about and I want to know.

And and content I want to put out there. If people don't like it, eh, I'm good with it now. I used, like I said, I used to be like, man, I gotta stay cool with it. I gotta stay on top and everything, but I feel like I have a good listener base now to where like people just genuinely like our content and like us as people.

And they're just going to listen to it cause they like hearing about it. So that's how it's transitioned. Don't [00:09:00] get me wrong. Like I want to talk to. All the hunters out there, but selfishly, I, a couple of things that I try to keep in mind is I want to try to keep it relevant. So we're in August right now.

What are guys doing in August? So I take that approach, but I also take approach the approach of. Relevancy, but also the guys that I respect and that I can get on top of what they're doing. There's a lot of guys out there that I don't think are true to themselves. If you're a bait hunter and you do it the right way and it's legal, then own that cause there's nothing wrong with it.

Don't go on a podcast and talk about how you're a scrape hunter and that's all you do, but in the back of your mind, like you're a bait hunter too, it's fine, it's okay. There's other bait hunters out there. That want to learn from you. And there's tactics around hunting around bait, be true to yourself.

And, the crowd that you want to follow you will follow you. So that's the approach I take.

Mitchell Shirk: I really like that. So relevancy has been a big thing for me because like with my show and being [00:10:00] amongst all kinds of other shows, there's a lot of great shows like the fall podcast, like nine finger Chronicles and so many others that.

Have great guests on, big names and stuff. But I wanted my show to be relatable in my region. And I've been able to have some conversations with people that you've never heard of, and I've been able to have some conversations with people that aren't relative to Whitetails. Like some of my, the coolest episodes I've done are with state agencies and, specific species and biology or fun ones I really.

Selfishly enjoy our bear hunting in Pennsylvania, like stuff like that. So I try to keep it, try to keep it exactly what you just said relevant, but stuff that I'm interested in, I think people can relate to, but any who you know, moving forward, I'm curious, what do you got wrapped up going on this fall?

Arron Bleise: Man just thinking 2nd.

And August 28th, I'm leaving for Nebraska [00:11:00] and I, and I'm going to be in a tree like, like soon, like fast. And I'm like, Holy cow. This is coming really fast. There's only one other year that I've hunted this early. And it was in Montana. I think it was mine. No, Wyoming. I'm sorry. Wyoming and I'm filming.

I'm not hunting. So I'm filming for my job. I work for latitude outdoors and that'll be our first trip of the year. And It's going to be hot. It's going to be bugs are going to be everywhere. It's going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait a velvet hunt, but that's where we're kicking it off. I'm going to be kicking off filming and and Nebraska.

And then once we get back, September is just going to be gearing up for my October 1st opening here in Michigan. And then the first five days of October, I really hit pretty hard. I really try to hone in on a buck that I like to get after in those first five days. Seems like it doesn't happen very often for me, but I really, I can lay eyes on them.

I can still get a pattern on them. And then it takes a little bit of a little bit of a back burner in a way. I don't really, I try to stay,[00:12:00] if I see a deer that I can go after and to get a pattern on my, I'll jump in, but I don't really like. Go volume hunting for then middle of October.

That's when I'll really start, focusing on scrapes, my historical scrapes and everything like that. So Michigan will we'll take the brunt of the load in October. And then October 22nd, I believe it is. I'm filming again down in Indiana with our crew, the Latitude crew for four or five days.

I come back home. I'm going to hit those next day is hard coming into November. And then, man the. The coolest trip in the, for me anyway, and the trip that I've been looking forward to my whole life is going to happen this year. November 2nd, me and my 10 closest friends that I've grown up with are all going to camp together in Kansas.

We're doing a public land hunt for 12 days. All living in one Airbnb, just like taking it back to our [00:13:00] roots, to where we, you've hunted together the longest time, growing up, but then families happen and life happens and you might only be able to give a phone call here or there once or twice a week, maybe.

But this time, there's going to be no distractions. It's going to be us guys taking it back to deer camp in Kansas on public land. And man, I'm getting chills thinking about it, but that is going to be my November hunt and then coming back. And then I'm going to finish the year just in, in Michigan here.

So I'm. I'm geeked. I'm looking forward to it, man. But that's my plans for the fall. You

Mitchell Shirk: can't beat camp camaraderie in any shape and form. Like all the stuff we talk about, I love, that individual chase of Man Against Beast with a whitetail. I do it every year, but man, every year I look forward to one specific trip at camp.

And that's with a group of guys. We've done a dedicated annual hunt. And, that's the one I have the most fun in. I carry a rifle and, and that gun hunt that we do and I don't even have the expectation of me [00:14:00] killing anything. I could care less because it's just the group of guys and, somebody else kills it.

It's we killed something, not I killed something. And that's real special to me. You talked about early season and hitting the first five days hard. So I'm curious, is that because you. Just especially like to hunt early season. Is there something in particular that makes you drivers? Is it like it's the opener.

I'm anxious to go hunting, like dive a little bit more into your thought process behind hitting it hard to first week. Cause I know there's a lot of. Discrepancies among deer hunters and should you hunt hard the first week of season or not? I personally have found some of my best success for whitetails the first two weeks of October just because of the style I hunt, the properties I hunt.

But talk a little bit more on that.

Arron Bleise: Yeah here in Michigan I've got a couple permission pieces that are very wide open ag specific. I picked up a new one this year, permission piece. And it's very much I [00:15:00] love wide open flat land ag. Small woodlots, wooded fence rows. But those first five days, man, I really think that you can, from in my particular, instance, I can keep a pattern on a deer that I want to go after for the first three to five days.

And I don't hunt them in the morning. And now I do have some specific locations that I can do like a bed hunt in the morning. And that, that's almost. So many stars have to align for me to do to get in there. But if I can get those morning sits with those stars all aligned, the wind and the pressure that also, I got 11 other guys that hunt that same farm.

And if I can get all those stars aligned, I will jump in the morning and hunt a deer and a bat. I really will. But I try to gear up for those those evening hunts in the ag land where I know I, I've done so much. spring scouting, every year that I know where these deer bed. And I do so much glassing.

Glassing is my like [00:16:00] MO. I like to glass from a distance and that's what I've been doing literally every night. And I'm going to be doing it from here from August all the way through September and I've picked up a good pattern on deer, on bucks, good bucks that I want to get after and where they're bedding and their beds.

In my instance, where I see them, their beds will stay the same until, the pressure starts mounting and hunters start hitting the woods. So those first five days, I feel like where I'm at, there's not a lot of hunting pressure. And the deer will stay true to those patterns and year after year, one deer that I might be hunting, he, he either, I killed him or a neighbor killed him or somebody killed him.

Another buck will come into that. They will come in that area, whether it's a drainage or whether it's. A ditch or something leading into a field, a terrace, anything like that, they just use them habitual. Now seeing them as one thing, getting on them as another, that's the problem is I can see them five days in a row.

I know [00:17:00] going out that I'm going to see him. It's a chess match. Oh, shoot. He came out here tonight while I'm over here. And then I got to pivot and move. And then he comes out over here yada. So it's like playing that chess game. To answer your question a little further it is very much excited, like I can't wait to get in the tree, but it's very much also surgical, methodical, like I know I can get, try to get on this deer, I know I can see him, and I've got a five day window, and usually by October 5th, he's basically gonna either get nocturnal, or go dark, or he's just gonna kinda start doing his loops, and I'm very much a window hunter.

I've, Tried to, I've tried to get all these historical patterns on these areas, these different locations, whether it's a rut funnel, whether it's a historical scrape or a hub or anything like that. And I hunt those on historical data and, I don't wanna push in and try to hunt a stand three, four times in a year.

I'm gonna wait for that window and then I'm gonna push in, I'm gonna throw a sit or [00:18:00] two at it. Monitor it from a distance as well. I love the glass, like I said, and that's how my success in the last five years has went up like immensely since I've started thinking of hunting as like a window deal instead of a volume guy.

Now volume guys, they will kill. I've got buddies that are straight strictly kill every year because they hit, they have their butt in the seat constantly. Me with my lifestyle with my family. I can't do that. So I try to like Navigate my hunting with my family and these windows is what I really honed in on and it's really helped out a lot I can relate

Mitchell Shirk: to that because again, family and stuff you got a pinpoint your times is up but talking about windows so I have been somebody that has just struggled to Dedicate the time I want to In detailing my camera cards.

And this morning we're again, we're on vacation and my son woke up really [00:19:00] early, woke me up. It was like three o'clock in the morning and I couldn't sleep. I was like I'm going to get up, make some coffee. And I purposely brought a whole bunch of cards from last fall that I haven't had the time to.

To go through and dissect, so I started doing that. I was sitting at the computer for three, four hours this morning, and I'm just going through. I'm taking the data points that I want, and one of my like, I'm just going to call this a very narrow patch of woods that I can hunt between some kind of a suburban area and some ag land.

I started going through, and there was The past few years, there's been a window in late October, early November, and I truly believe from watching the behavior of some of the dough groups, I think that's when a dough comes in estrus in this wood patch. And each year I've seen different bucks and some of the same bucks.

And I put two and two together that. I have pictures of a buck since I believe he's two years old every single year in that time frame. And a bunch of them were daylight and last year it was daylight and I had already killed my buck. I think it was October the [00:20:00] 16th or 17th, so I wasn't hunting at that point and I wasn't paying attention real closely.

But as I went back through those cards and I started looking, I'm like, yeah, that is the same buck. I'm all, I'm fairly confident it is. And I'm like, yeah. 234. I'm like, Oh my gosh, he's going to be a nice buck this year. So I'm really trying to maximize my opportunity during that one week window. And I'm using both regular self, cell cameras and regular trail cameras for that.

I try not to be in those narrow patches. Two intrusive pulling cards just because where I get a lot of those pictures, I would probably bump something. So I've been using cell cameras in those situations and I was going to relay that back to you. So you're talking about hunting patches, open ag land and stuff in your glassing.

So first of all do you see. Pressure's big. You already brought that up, first five days. It's the lowest point pressure, but what about like crop rotation in that situation? Do you see, I'm assuming it's a mix of corn and soybeans. So standing corn, I would think would be a good security cover, but I'm sure that rotates.

So how does [00:21:00] that affect it? And then also, do you use mostly cell cameras in those situations just to fine tune that, that very methodical choice of stand location, or are you able to get in fence rows and stuff where you can get in and out and pull a card and you don't have to worry about that?

Arron Bleise: So to answer your first question as far as crop rotation in my general area where I'm at and what I hunt. I have better years, what I mean by better years, I kill bucks on bean years. I know that sounds really weird, because in a high pressured state, a lot of guys are like you need security cover with corn, not displaying that at all.

Yes, very much, I agree with that. But, I've killed three year olds, with bucks, like Pope and Young Deer. On beans more times than I've killed them on corn. So crop rotation I would say the only thing that I really That I like hang my hat [00:22:00] on hat at is like we're coming into a year That a lot of the a lot of the crop around a location I hunt is wheat.

And they took the straw off, and now they haven't put a cover crop in it yet. So I don't know how that's really going to play yet, because I haven't had this particular field. It has not been that, so I don't really know how that's really going to shake out. But crop rotation, I... I do keep a finger on the pulse of it and I really try to figure it out every year, but really, I'm more of an adaptive hunter.

Like I don't look at it like, oh man, this is beans this year, not gonna be very good or it's corn. I really don't know. I really don't look that far into it because I'm more of an adaptive hunter. I'm more of whatever the cards are dealt when season comes, I adapt to that and it usually works out for me.

But with that being said. Picking out locations with camera based stuff, I use a variety of cell cameras and SD card cameras. I'm [00:23:00] like, I love us. I love both. I love cell cameras because you get that instant gratification. Like I get it. I do use like, I have a couple of woodlots, one that's one acre.

I've got another woodlot that's about five acres and I got another woodlot that's about eight acres and I got another one that's six acres. I like putting cell cams in those. What I'll do is I'll build a scrape. If there's not already a scrape there, I will build a scrape. I'll put a cell cam on that.

And that's how I get that historical data in that, and I tried to patch that together for years to come now, I like the cell cams more in the small areas, because I like to know if I'm bumping deer out of there or not, because there is. There's areas I get in there and that might be their bedroom.

If I'm going in there and I know there's deer in there already, I'm not going to go in there. You can call it cheating. You can call it whatever you want, but I'm not all about bumping deer to the neighbors. Like I, I don't know. That's just where I'm at with it. So you can't afford to, you really can't not when I'm trying [00:24:00] to.

To get after the top 10 percent of the bucks that I have to hunt. And that's usually a three or four year old. That's like right around the 130 inch mark, you bump that deer once, you probably won't see them again. So that's how I navigate the camera locations, but really, I don't really hunt cameras.

I talked to this, to my good buddy, David, that co hosts the podcast with me, like we both run a lot of cameras, but I don't ever find myself. Like getting that on a camera, then going in there and I've never killed a deer where I got a picture of him or a deer in there, went in there and killed not saying it won't happen.

Cause if I do get that, that I would definitely, try it. But. Yeah, I would say I use I think I have 50 50 right down the middle, I've got X amount of S D cards and cell cam. I'm not gonna lie to you. I am cheap. So cell cams are getting to the point where I think I have seven of them right now and it's 60, 70 bucks a month.

And I'm like, what am I doing? And that's not even, [00:25:00] that's not even, counting the batteries that you have to put in a year. Oh, well over a hundred bucks a month, a camera. And I'm like, Boy, oh boy, like I'm cheap as they come and my wife gets the bill and she's what? What is all this like charge for like these cell plants and i'm like, yeah, those are my drug phones, you know We'll call it being

Mitchell Shirk: resourceful we won't call being cheap, but I mean I can relate to that i'm on the fence right now of do I expand that cell camera amount that I have Just because there's a couple properties that are farther away that I would like more recent information for making that decision again for being methodical.

But the other thing too is I got a couple areas that are new to me that I'm actually not really focusing on white tails. I'm actually focusing on trying to kill a bear with my bow. And I've learned to with. Following bear is the minute that the food source changes, there's a good chance that they moved off and it's not like a white tail where it might be within a one to three mile radius.

It could be within a home range at 20 [00:26:00] square miles for a male. Trying to use that and I'm on that fence of, where does the line at with that? And that's probably different for everybody. Going back to the crop rotation seats, you said you're very adaptive. I don't hunt a lot of ag land or large ag land.

And I was wondering, do you see, so those woodlots you hunt, does the crop rotation not necessarily affect where bedding is the bedding going to stay pretty consistent given that the pressure's remaining low, is that going to stay pretty consistent with the cover available and the crop rotation doesn't necessarily affect that then?

Arron Bleise: Yeah it really, in the ag that I hunt, it really doesn't. I'm not saying that and when you have standing corn ears that the deer are not going to bed more in there, I really, I couldn't tell you that, but there's a lot of drainages and fields and secluded fields, those bedding areas don't change.

Like they are there for a reason. They get a thermal pull. They get there. [00:27:00] They don't get much pressure unless it's a farmer checking a field. They're doing something with the field. That's where I see. These drainages and terraces and stuff like that's where I see the bucks betting a lot in the summer, a lot in the summer into early October.

And then because their bodies are going to change a little bit, they're getting up, they're starting to do their rotations and three day to four day windows, they're doing their, checking what areas are hot, where the does are at. So it pushes them out now. In the fall, their bedding to me is very much stays the same as well, just because where I'm hunting, there's not a ton of different places to bed.

So when they can find the good areas, the good thick areas, the ones that they know that they can be safe in and they might get bumped out of an area and they know it worked, they're going to keep coming back to that spot normally. But yeah, i, the corn ears, yeah, they're probably holding a little more deer than it [00:28:00] would be if it's, some other crap, but I really don't see...

The bedding changing drastically, due to the crop rotation.

Mitchell Shirk: And that would make sense to me. And the only reason I say that is because while I don't hunt a lot of ag land I'm a row crop agronomist. I work with a lot of farmers in Eastern Pennsylvania and. That time of year, August, September, I still walk crop fields and cornfields, and I'm mostly looking for any kind of pests, diseases, things like that, just to keep growers aware of what kind of yield potentials out there, what they should expect when combines go through the field.

And when you walk fields and some of those places that have good deer densities, you'll notice that the first, 12 to 18 rows, man, you've got a lot of deer pressure and I'll see stuff knocked down. You'll find pockets of bedding, especially when you get into those hard corners where maybe some of the corn got ran down or, the ground's a little bit rougher there and we don't get that canopy.

So then you get like a grassy weedy patch there and it just creates another structure of habitat. But when you get into those [00:29:00] large. blocks of fields. You get out in the middle of it, man, it's void of deer of deer use. They're cutting those corners, cutting those edges. So I can believe that it might expand bedding a little bit, but I've never looked at a corn field that was, let's just say 20, 30 acres and thought, Oh man, it's probably polluted, in a grid style pattern across that.

So yeah that's interesting from that perspective.

Arron Bleise: And the other take too is I have it and it's anything thick and whether it's a thick edge, whether it's a cedar swamp, whether it's corn, to me, deer want to be two bounds and out, they want to be two bounds away from being able to go wherever they need to go.

That, I find a lot of bedding, like you said, in the cornfields, I only find if I find a bed or a deer bedding, more than 15 rows deep is very It's an anomaly. I find deer on the edges. Okay. And even like in the timber, we have some cedar swamps on another farm that we have and the deer don't really push in deep in [00:30:00] the cedar swamp because they want to be two bounds and out in my opinion.

That's what I call it is like they want to be bound out, one, two into the open timber or into a little more open area where they can navigate and they can get, they don't really want to be Diving everywhere where it's going to be hard for them to get out of there. I think when you get a deer, they actually feel claustrophobic.

I think they need to know that they have a little open area that once they hit it, they can go whatever direction they want and they can get away from danger. That has been my, one of the most consistent things that I've seen, whether it's a clear cut. It's new grow or standing corn and, or, cedar swamp or anything like that, they're usually not that deep in there.

It's usually on the edges.

Mitchell Shirk: Yeah, I can echo that too. We were just talking about that this morning with some of the guys that I hunt with a couple of the places that we hunt in big monotonous wooded timber around chop offs and PA. We don't go into the middle of a chop off and find tons of sign.

The only [00:31:00] time you do is if there's a logging road right through the heart of it, and then you'll get off of those edges. There's one area in particular that I'm trying to fine tune and figure out how I want to hunt it with the bow. But there's this perfect knob. That's it.

Goes into a north facing like north to northwest facing and a cut starts right there. And it's perfect because when the afternoon sun hits that side hill and the thermal starts to change, they've got right at the edge of bedding and stuff right at the edge of the thick cover and the open timber.

Plus you got that terrain and the winds like it's exactly what you just described there, like two bounds and they can be in the thick cover or two bounds and they can be out and and wrap around this Ridge to escape whatever they need. We've seen that a lot, but Hey man, some of them, some of the Bucky got behind there.

Some of those are some of those are some Michigan deer. Am I not mistaken?

Arron Bleise: Actually those ones are not Michigan deer, right there.

Mitchell Shirk: Okay, I actually thought that the one I remember you talking about, I thought it was a Michigan deer, but I'm mistaken.[00:32:00]

Arron Bleise: That is Missouri deer, that is a Kansas deer, that is Ohio, and that's Iowa right there.

I do have more along, it's hard for me to move my computer, I've got, I got more over this way. And then I actually have four more at the taxidermist that I not have back yet, and I got a couple over here as well. I do have one Michigan deer right here just off camera. He's probably a two year old.

I shot him October 1st in 2016. He gross scored at 120 inches. And that was a deer that fed the food pattern that I caught him on Destination Food just off of his bed. And he actually tailwinded into me, into an area where I was able to get a shot on him. And that was one of the deer that I was like...

Really started noticing bucks tail winding into into like destination food sources, wondering why they were doing that. So I did a whole bunch of like diving into guys that are a lot better hunters than me in the, I respect and try to figure out one of the general [00:33:00] consensus on that was that deer was very comfortable in that state.

And it was October 1st. We didn't have a lot of pressure. I caught him the first night went in for that deer and, I knew he was in that area just from glass, and I have footage of that deer in the velvet that summer, and I knew that, that deer was a product of glassing and just getting a really good fine tune of what the area is holding and where he might be bedding and where the food was, and I set up, and he come out of nowhere, and a funny story on him, my neighbor, him and I were texting back and forth, my neighbor was hunting probably 250 yards from me on his property, And he walked right underneath him right then that night.

And he's Hey, he's that buck was just underneath me. I couldn't get a shot at him. And I'm like, what direction was he going? And he's Oh, he's, I think he's heading East and I'm straight West of him. I know him and I knew where each other were hunting. And next thing I know, it was like a half hour later.

I look over, I hear a twig snap and he's coming right underneath me. And what that deer did is he did took a big loop behind, [00:34:00] around him and behind him, and then came right underneath me and I was right off destination food. I stuck him at 18 yards. That was pretty neat. That is

Mitchell Shirk: pretty slick. Again, Michigan, when I think about.

People always talk about the high pressure states and for whatever reason, I know, Pennsylvania is, got a ton of deer hunters. Michigan's always the next state that comes in my mind. And whatever age class that deer was, I was wondering too, when you were talking about that, when have you noticed so you talk about deer kind of Jay hooking or making a semi circle to check that.

Have you noticed that there's a certain point In an age class of deer where you notice that more because I don't see that in year and a half old and there's times that I've hunted that. I don't know if I necessarily see it in a two year old. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you don't. Do you see any kind of trend with that?

Because you're always going to be hunting for the better age class deer anyway. So you're going to be planning for that. I'm just curious observationally how that how [00:35:00] you

Arron Bleise: So the only thing I can go off is is trail cam data that I have, that I've gathered the last couple of years, and I've actually got a camera, a cell cam on a buck bed right now at my family farm that is a, it's it's right off a point, it's a bed that I found this spring, it's overlooking our deer camp and it's overlooking our cabin where, it's only 250 yards from the cabin.

I've been really trying to figure out how a buck is Jay hooking into this bed, like how big the Jay hook is or how far they're how they're using the train to get up there. And honestly, what I can tell you is I've had all different age classes, whether it be a year and a half, two and a half, three and a half.

I don't think I've probably had a four and a half in there yet, but every one of them is doing the same thing they're doing there. There is no different anomalies and. And what they're using is they're using a spine that comes up to the bed. The biggest thing that changes is the wind. So they're only [00:36:00] going to bet on this.

That's the only consistent variable here is they only bet on this thing. And whether it's a Southwest or a straight West wind, that's the only way there'll be a deer in this bed. And so the wind is very specific, but even year and a half olds that are spikes, and, or, 18 months old or however, whatever you want to call it, they'll come up this Ridge and they'll come right into the bed and they're J hooking down below.

I don't know where their J hook, how far their J hook is, but from where the Ridge starts, the spine starts to come up to the bed. It's about 80 yards. And I don't know if it's like an 80 yard day hook where they get at the head of that ditch or that spine, and walk the whole spine up to the bed, or if they're coming in at 15 yards or 20 yards, still trying to figure that out.

J hooking is so difficult. It is, it could be 300 yards that they're J hooking into it. I don't think anybody really could tell you. But the hardened facts that I have [00:37:00] is what I've observed on camera data over buck beds is that. Every age class from 1 to 3 that I've seen will do the same thing and it's all wind specific.

Mitchell Shirk: As you're speaking about this, I'm thinking about the buck I killed last year. I shot him, I think it was the second or third week of October on a food plot. Now opening night, I was in another location that was probably about 400 yards over on actually another food plot. And I chose it specifically for the wind direction.

I could get in, I could get out wind was in my favor. And opening night, I actually saw this buck. He came in 40 yards, but it was right towards the end of legal shooting light, it was really rainy. 40 yards is a comfortable shot for me, but under those situations and under the first night, plus I didn't really know the deer at first, he came in.

I was like, man, that looks like a mature buck. And then after that hunt, I went through pictures of Oh yeah, I should have shot that deer. But anyway. Thinking about that, the wind was like an east [00:38:00] southeast, and where he came into that section was on basically the northwest end. So he came in, and I was just on an, on a, just off wind, a cross wind.

So he could come into that field and feel safe, but he never picked my wind up, and I actually got out of that. That stand without him ever knowing I left when it got dark and then fast forward two weeks later on another location. It was an opposite when it was a west wind and I think what happens sometimes too, so it was a crosswind how he entered the field.

He entered the top end of the field and the wind would be coming, straight in my face. And he could check, that west end when he comes into the field. But I feel like... Over time, sometimes I'll let the guard up and they'll slip, even though it's a cross when he comes in, it wasn't necessarily like it was just off for me, it was almost due in my face, but I felt like the way he entered that field, he probably felt confident enough because he'd done it so many times, and I think that was the first time anybody sat in that location and I was able to kill him, but just unique observations, and it's [00:39:00] probably one of those things that when I'm not hunting close to food, It is, if it's big, monotonous timber, I think it's really hard to determine how close is too close when it comes to that location they want to go.

I think about it in big woods goodness gracious, you could throw a dart sometimes, I feel and you, maybe you're in the game, maybe you're

Arron Bleise: too far. Yep, exactly. Yeah, and that big timber, it's, man it's so crazy to, and it's so hard to figure out. Where that J hook is, that's where a lot of guys won't hunt beds in the morning.

It is, it happens less than a percent of a percent. Like it, it doesn't, it, it doesn't work way more times than it works, but if it works once. Out of a thousand. It's like musky fishing. It's a fish of a thousand cash, right? That's what they call it. Something like that.

Bed hunting should be that same way.

Mitchell Shirk: That makes sense too. I haven't done a lot of bed hunting just because a lot of the hunting that I've done from a bow hunting perspective has been private land. And I [00:40:00] just feel like you were talking earlier about, I can't afford to bump deer. So if I hunt too close to bed and bump deer in a situation, I'm confined to that border.

And man, that really. Kills me if I mess that up. So I'm more cautious and strike when the iron's hot. If I can find someone that's going to let his guard up on a food source that I can get in and get out. But I get when people talk about being aggressive and hunting bedding, when it comes to not being confined to a border and you have competition with other hunters, it makes so much sense and that's one avenue of deer hunting that there's part of me that feels like it's not my style.

I don't necessarily need to learn it, but at the same time, I look at it and say, if I could figure out. A little bit more of how to hunt deer like that. I just think it would help me understand terrain, wind, and some of those features better just to make me a better deer hunter, even if I'm not going to use that tactic on some of the private land pieces of land that I hunt, it still might give me better perspective of why a deer is using that area or bedding in that specific area on [00:41:00] that property.

Arron Bleise: Yep, yep, for sure. Yeah. That that makes total sense. And that's what I do too. And, especially on a piece of, even if it's private the private my family farm, like I said, I've got like 10 or 11 other guys that hunt 220 acres it's very hard to figure out like a deer's pattern.

Like I get a lot of people ask me, it's do you see a lot of the bucks doing the same things every year, using the same beds, using the same rut funnels, using the same patterns, and it's man, I'm not going to lie to you, I don't because it changes so much, in Michigan, the age class is so if we get a four year old around here, it's very it's an anomaly, we're hunting two and three year olds is what we're doing.

And the turnover is there's a lot of times we don't see the same deer year after year. So those deer have either been pushed out of an area or they've been killed. And then, to get the pressure, the pressure changes every year too. So I think the deer movement shifts with that pressure.

So it's trying to find those little pockets. I feel like going [00:42:00] into my family farm every year, I got to figure out, it's a clean slate. Forget about what happened last year in a way, you got to figure this out again this year. It's like that adaptive model I told you about things are changing so much as far as just the pressure, the kill off.

Whatever it might be, the change in timber, the change in terrain, possibly, like it's just so different. It's like clean slate every year and you got to figure it out on the fly.

Mitchell Shirk: When you can keep certain variables constant, I feel like you can see year to year trends and certain variables.

The big one is pressure. If the pressure drastically changes over time, I feel, people, somebody saying do you see this same use of a bed, the same use of a rut funnel, the same use of a feeding area, I think pressure is going to have one of the biggest impacts on how that gets used.

Now, that said, when pressure can stay constant and favorably low in my favor I notice trends like you talked about patterns and seasonal winds, like the buck I killed in 2020, it was a narrow window. He did the same thing the year [00:43:00] I killed him that he did the year before. And that was what I used to take that information.

Kevin, so it's like new guys that are starting out. That's such a hard question answer it. Yes, but there's so many caveats and it's. There's no hard and fast rule.

Arron Bleise: Yep. So I'm

Mitchell Shirk: curious hunting Michigan, pressured state, you hunted a lot, but you talked about, showed me some of them bucks in all those different states that you killed behind your wall there.

Is Michigan still home and I don't want to miss Michigan bow hunting? Or do you get to some point, sometimes to the point where you've seen those other locations and go, Man, I could probably I could probably nix hunting Michigan for a year and it wouldn't bug me.

Arron Bleise: No, Michigan is still home is very much.

I get fired up every year to hunt Michigan to chase a three year old, like I get fired up, man. And it's because a little bit of it has to do with convenience because it's right here. Like I can hunt a lot of my farms within 20 minutes of me. [00:44:00] And I can do it for. Like I said earlier in the podcast, I'm cheap I can do, it's their permission farms or I do have, a family lease that I pay for, but but it's where I cut my teeth, like my family farm, I've been hunting my whole life, like my dad's hunted since the late seventies, like that is there's so much memory there.

And it comes with its own challenges. Like I said, there's 200, 200, 220 acres and like 11 guys hunt it. So it's the last deer, that deer I just told you the story on, I killed on October 1st. He's the last deer I killed up there. , I was two on 16 but I haven't hunted up there as much in the last couple years 'cause I've always been traveling or something like that.

But it's a goal of mine to now start consistently killing bucks in that big wood setting. It's all big timber around a lot of pressure. So there's still challenges here. I hope I never get to the point of we're killing a three year old hundred and 20 inch deer is old.

I do not want to get to that, but because still those deer get me fired up. The deer. I, my first buck I killed last year was like 111 inch, probably a two year old. I haven't got [00:45:00] his age back yet, but and man I jumped outta my, my, my tree, after I shot that deer. And it's I just, the fire still burns deep in there.

But also I know that going to an Iowa or going to a Kansas this year, like I'm putting a lot of eggs in that basket because for me it's two different forms of hunting when I travel to hunt. I know my family's taken care of. I know that they know I'm, I'm not a phone call away from having to do something they'll figure it out.

But when I'm home, it's every time I go to the tree, it's I need to be home. I need to help get my daughter to bed. I need help with dinner. There's always that thought. So like hunting out of state for me is very much a little more relaxed. Like we're here to do a job. Let's have a lot of fun doing it.

And let's see what we can come out of the woods with kind of thing. I can

Mitchell Shirk: relate to that. So Michigan, you talked about family farm, cutting your teeth on some properties that you had with family and then some other pieces throughout your hunting journey, hunting Michigan. Was there any specific [00:46:00] deer or hunting experiences that really clicked with you that either just made the blood boil more for hunting Michigan, or maybe just made you feel a little bit more confident in your whitetail

Arron Bleise: hunting game?

Man, confidence or memory. Boy, I got a lot of memories. One that like really burns deep is I was eight years old. I still remember this. I can take you to the tree we were sitting in. My dad took me bow hunting put a stand up next to him. And first time I've ever been like hunting with him, I didn't have a bow.

I was just there observing, we were sitting in a pine tree and, I remember he took me for an evening hunt and we saw a fox. It was the first fox I've ever seen. Run right underneath the tree. A couple of does came by, a little buck grunting. And I'm like, holy crap. This is I was hooked right then, but he's let's go hunt in the morning.

So we're going to go back, very much back then it was like a bait hunter. You hunt one tree stand and that's just your spot. So he's let's go back in the [00:47:00] morning. And he taught me how to use the Grunner at home that night and everything like that, and it was a night and hail, I think it was a night and hail Grunner.

It was a black tube. He might still have it actually. And we get up in the tree, colder than crap, okay? And I remember the ground, just like a white frost on it. It almost looked like there was a blanket of snow on the ground. It was so frosty. And it was dead calm. Dead calm. And I'm sitting up there, he strapped me in, cause there was no safety harnesses back then.

He took the seatbelt out of his truck the middle, it was a bench seat. He took the middle seat seatbelt out of his truck, and then he just wrapped it around the tree and wrapped me to it, and just sent me right down to the tree. And my legs were dangling right next to his, like his shoulder.

And he goes, he told me, he's every time I tap you in the foot, I want you to grunt okay. So he tapped me and I grunt and tapped me again. I grunt. And it wasn't, I swear it wasn't too much longer after that. All you hear is, and you can tell it's coming [00:48:00] first time I've ever heard a deer walking.

Okay. And it was so amplified. And I could see him grab his bow and it was like over the shoulder. It was like right in front of him, but to my left. And I'm looking and I remember him pointing like in the direction and all of a sudden the deer stops and then you hear and he stops and at that point I could pick out where he was and you could just see his feet come up like the bottoms of his feet come up to this pine tree he's on the other side of the pine tree and all of a sudden you just see the branch going up and down and he's like doing like a scrape and and he walks out and it's a nice nine point probably like a 110 inches, probably real tall, like heavy comes out rare.

And I watched that here and ran, I don't know, 25 yards, 30 yards and fell over and watched him die. And Oh my gosh, man. That was the moment was like, [00:49:00] this is what I want to do for absolutely ever. That is the moment. So that was a solidifier of that was the coolest thing I've ever seen.

A deer that gave me confidence. Man, I'm trying to think that deer that I told you the story about in 16, that deer gave me a lot of confidence just in the fact of learning bedding areas, setting up on a certain area where I thought he was going to be and where he wanted to be and killing him.

That was really neat. No, 2008. The deer is in the other room. Biggest deer I ever killed at the time, 105 inches. I thought I killed Mitch Rompola's buck in 2008. I get the first trail camera I ever got. It was a film camera. So you had to go and put the, take the film to the one hour film and put a camera out and put it on bait and got it on August.

I got a picture of a deer that I was [00:50:00] like, Oh my gosh, just boom. We're going to hunt that deer. Yeah, so let's go fast forward to October, like just not not really getting the results I wanted to get, and I was still a stationary hunter at the time, like set, set your stands before season and you'll hunt, but we had a few more stands and we were baiting hunting food plots.

And but you'd set probably five or six stands and that's what you hunted. It was like the mobile hunting game really wasn't like, there was mobile hunting, but it wasn't in the media like it is now. Like you didn't hear much about it unless you were on like a forum or had a DVD or something.

So that really wasn't in my realm. And it was October 17th, a buddy and I was like, I just had this thing or I was like, man, I'm just not seeing the deer I want to see. And I was like, I want to move this stand. And I said, I want to move it down by our Cedar swamp. And it was where I didn't know this at the time, but it was where it was, there's a hard edges for the Cedar swamp met an Oak Ridge.[00:51:00]

Okay. And I didn't know, like putting it right there was like where you'd want it for an edge, for a hard edge stand or something like that, or just off bedding, it just felt good, just looked like a good area to put a stand honestly. And hung it on the 17th. And I said, I'll come back tomorrow night and I'm going to hunt it tomorrow night.

I'm going to let it cool down. My brother in law came with me to film me. I put a, I was much into filming at that time. And he came back to film me. We got an early, I remember, October, it hasn't been daylight savings time yet, it was like a four hour sit. I wanted to get in early. He ended up falling asleep and I'm looking at this Cedar swamp, but I'm in the Oaks and, it was probably an hour before dark, and all of a sudden in the cedar swamp, I could hear a twig snap, and I told my brother in law, I'm like, there's something in there, and next thing you know, here you could see the feet walking underneath the cedar boughs, and he comes up, and you could see his head in the cedar swamp.

And he's just raking this tree and I just see tines and I'm [00:52:00] like, Oh my gosh. And at this moment, this is the biggest deer I've ever had in front of me. And I, I grabbed my bow and I'm like, he's right there, when he gets on him with the camera, the deer walks out, comes to eight yards.

I stop him, go to full draw and I shoot him. He runs off like 20 yards and I'm like, Oh my gosh. Lit the world on fire. Holy crap, big buck down. Let's go. Get all on film. Get down. Check him. Ends up being the deer. I killed him two months to the day that I got a picture of him. Didn't know it was that deer, but I got a picture of that deer on August 18th.

Killed him October night, er, 18th. And and I only killed him like a hundred yards from where that camera was. But I didn't really put those two things together, that's what is on. What he ended up doing, knowing what I know now is, and knowing that farm, like he would, we, I think we got in pretty close to his bed, honestly, just by happenstance, [00:53:00] and where we killed him was a good transition where he goes up to the food, and, now knowing what I know now, and looking back and asking why that worked I know why it worked.

We got in tight to his bed, and we got to a point where he was hitting acorns, and acorns just happened to be dropping, and that's where he was quote unquote staging before he would go out to the destination food, and it just, all those things. And I look at that now and it's okay, I see how that timber lays and how the train lays and I implement that wherever I go now.

And it's worked the same kind of thing has worked a couple other times from that. So that was very much one that I was like, man, I got the confidence and that was really cool. And the more instances you have like that, the better off you are. And the more you'll grow as a hunter.

Mitchell Shirk: Absolutely. Some of the best learning experiences I've had is for things like that.

I want to try this. I want to, I'm just out of curiosity. I want to see, see what I see over here in, in my travels and scouting and stuff. And man, sometimes that's your best hunt. It's [00:54:00] amazing how that can happen and what you take from that. It's those are aha moments. Unfortunately, fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it.

I've had a lot of those aha moments where they got away, but that's part of

Arron Bleise: hunting. I've had a lot too. Don't get me wrong.

Mitchell Shirk: It's that drive though, that keeps us coming back for it. Man, this has been great. I really appreciate you coming on, taking the time. And and chatting with us. Hey, before we go, anything you want to leave us with and make sure please please plug, plug plug the fall podcast and everything else.

Arron Bleise: Yeah, I appreciate Mitch having me on. And man, I had a lot of fun today and. Thank you for asking. I do have my own podcast called the fall podcast. You can get it wherever you download your podcast. Check the fall podcast out on Facebook, on Instagram. And we drop new episodes every Tuesday morning.

On Apple or Spotify or anywhere you get your podcast, but Apple and Spotify are usually the big ones It's called the fall podcast and search that and you can find it man. I appreciate it again. Thank you [00:55:00]

Mitchell Shirk: It has been a lot of fun. Hey, take care. Good luck this season and best of luck on that Kansas hunt, man That sounds like a lot of fun

Arron Bleise: I appreciate it.

Good luck to yourself