Deer Season Special: Johnny Stewart

Show Notes

On this week's Deer Season Special Bonus episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman, Mitch is joined by fan favorite, Johnny Stewart.  This conversation occurred leading into deer season 2023, and the boys recap Johnny's 2022 WV buck, then dive into the hot topic of hunting pressure.  This rabbit hole discussion leads to a few stories of interpreting hunting pressure around clear cuts, and even a few hunts for bucks close to the road.  As always, there is something to learn from John when he is thinking about whitetails!

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

Show Transcript


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 Pennsylvania [00:01:00] 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 Vitalize Seed, a one two planting 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 episode were joined by none other than the man himself, Johnny Stewart. Johnny and I have a conversation at the end of summer, beginning of fall, leading up and hyping into deer season. We discuss the kill of the buck that he had last year early season, and then we dive into hunting pressure and interpreting the woods based on hunting pressure.

It's an all around great deer hunting conversation, and as many of you know if you've listened to an episode with John, John just lets the ball roll and speaks whatever's on his mind, and there's always something to pull from Johnny. So enjoy this episode. Thanks for tuning in.[00:02:00]

Joining me on this week's show, Mr. Jon Stewart, none other than the man himself. How you doing, man?

I'm good, Mitchell. I'm doing, pretty good. It's summertime where we're, I could tell the daylight is shortening, we're swinging into that, just put enough years around the sun there. And you could, you can

see it, sense it, feel it coming just like that big old buck, it's coming. I

went on vacation back in, in end of July, beginning of August. And when I was when I was there, it dipped down and it was getting into the high fifties, low sixties at night. But it was that first time throughout the summer where like the light switch flipped and it was like, man this feels good.

This almost feels archery season.

Yeah, it's, and it's, it'll close in on us fast, what the A was beginning October, we got, we're all through August, six weeks maybe, and that's going to burn up real, real fast,

it never takes, like I said, I feel like it's so [00:03:00] cliche to say it, but it's so true.

I feel like every year. Leading up to hunting season, get shorter and shorter or feel shorter. And I don't know if it's because I just keep packing more and more things into my daily life, but it just seems like it gets here so much quicker every year and I don't, there's a part of me that's enjoys that.

And there's a part of me that really doesn't. Cause as quick as it comes, it's as quick as it goes. Yeah,

I feel the same way. I feel like it is. The time is like, man, I want it to slow down a little. I don't know, maybe just getting older. I'm like, because it's going to come here again. And then, like you said, it's going to be gone so fast that it's going to fly by, but you're right.

And I guess, like you said, I got, I do put more on my plate and, but I do think, time is, you start, since that time is limited on earth, and you're just like, the older you get, it's like going faster. And you try to, you, I think I reminisce. Yeah. Past experiences and it's just get the intent in tune with hunting and [00:04:00] yeah, it comes and goes, man.

Do you do you think it got worse since since you got you have your own business and you're busy excavating and there's a lot more on your shoulders with that. Does it seem like that made it worse?

I think so. It definitely does. Cause I, I got more to plan for employees and bid on fine work and make sure I, my ducks in a row so I can go hunting like years ago, I worked for a guy and it was just, hey, I was younger and I said, when October.

And I'm gone. I didn't have things to worry about, like a business owner does so yeah it's a lot tougher, there's times when I got through October and didn't hunt much and like November rut was coming and I wanted to cry because I'm like, I just didn't get out, being a business owner.

But now I definitely. Make time, when I have a good crew of guys that know that, hey, this is what I do and, we talk about that beforehand. And a lot of guys are a lot of my guys are just, [00:05:00] some of them are required to where it's yeah, I love doing something in the summer working.

And when you go hunting, it's they're like, not you're hurting for money Oh, we have to work. So yeah, so that, that helps me is find my next, what helps me, to do what I can do take off.

So I saw last year, you did get out a little bit more earlier in the hunting season than you normally do, but you always talk about like when hunt mode switch flips and that's, does that change every year?

Like, when's it looking like hunt mode's going to flip on for you this year?

So yeah, I was out last year. We were in North Dakota early. I missed a big deer and it that was end of August, early September and my mind was messed up because I'm not used to like, and I come back and there was still work to be done until I was in West Virginia and Ohio, but it was weird.

Yeah, I was in hunt mode and I'm like, No, I got to come back and work for two, three weeks. It was, it really messed me up. But I stayed in a [00:06:00] good hunt mode last year. Did a lot of hunting this year. I think I'm, I still got some work to do as far as cameras and I've been working on my target panic this year.

That's one thing I haven't really worked on and I've had it for. Man, 20, 30 years and I just brushed it under a rug, didn't have time or didn't maybe want to deal with it, and being that I am wanting to be serious about it. That's it's 1 of my weak links. So I'm going to work through that through.

August year into September to feel like be more, more ready when that shot time comes, I feel like that's one of my weak links is, and I would shoot less because of my target panic. The more I shot, I'd shoot 10 arrows before the season and I'd go hunt and I was confident in killing deer.

I, but I think when you're getting out 30, 40 into 50 yards, I wasn't, that there was a weak spot for me to where and I got a new bow this year. I went with prime and man, my whole bow was 13 years old, so I'm [00:07:00] like, I thought I had something on my ass thing.

Are you enjoying your new bow?

Oh yeah, I am. I'm still not, I'm still in around a 20 yard mark. Just working on executing my shot, following through, squeezing and stuff like that. Compared to my old bow. Like I said, my, my other bow was 13 years old, and I thought it was a good, I was like, man, this is a pretty good bow.

And then I got a new one. I'm like, man, that thing sucked, . You know what I mean? It's amazing. It's a lot happened. A lot happened in 13 years and I wasn't aware of, bow

was too busy in work mode, but no you were able to connect on a pretty nice buck there in the beginning of the season in West Virginia.

Am I correct?

Yeah. That was maybe October 2nd. mAn, it was East wind, which was rare for our situations our predominant winds are southwest, west based winds, northwest, whatever. And, yeah, he was coming from the east had him on camera and he was the biggest deer in the [00:08:00] area and working up his ridge.

Working west for a piece of private ag and it was a 40 minute walk back in there. And, without that east wind, I think it was a 3 or 4 day east wind and I said, I have to go hunt because that's the only way he was bedding down on private and it was a cut and I had him come up out of that private and work on an east, east west ridge.

Towards that that ag maybe, browse until to get in and I had the does come and then he was like the last one and there was another good deer there. And I just felt them 3 or 4 days with that East wind. And no, not much pressure that time that early back in there that far. I felt I was gonna probably kill him.

And I remember getting in a tree and my buddy Nathan Killian from North Carolina, we were talking, texting back and forth. He was actually going to North Dakota and I just come back. So we were talking [00:09:00] about hunting and I said, Hey I took a, it was weird. I took a picture. I was right on the edge of the.

And I sent it to him like, I said, this buck comes a little draw coming up out of it was like a east west ridge and then the hill went down the north side gradual. But there was just off to my right from facing north was a little bit of a draw with some thick stuff up in there just to thermals are just gravitate toward that.

You know what I mean? But I took a picture and I told Nathan, I'm like. It's deer comes right up through here. I'm shotting and it wasn't a half hour later. I sent him a picture of the deer. He's wow, you don't mess around. I said it don't always happen like that. But the deer come right.

He stood in that thick stuff in that little draw, kept in thermal drifting down in that low spot. Barely visible, but they can sense that, but my wind was good. Yeah, and he come right up 20 yards and I [00:10:00] shot him and he was an old deer. He wasn't nothing for horn, but his teeth were worn out pretty good for that area of West Virginia.

It was a good deer. Yeah, and I had, like I said, I missed a big deer in North Dakota a couple of weeks earlier. I'm like, oh, man, it's all downhill. I'm going to just start stacking them up and I never pulled my bow back. The rest of the year on a deer all the way into December into January, even hunted a little bit.

That's right. That's just crazy how often it is. I'm like, this deer is golden here. I'm going to stack them up like firewood. And then it didn't happen at all. This

came as a quick as, as quick as it left. The so the east wind, I was curious as you were talking about that, you got an east wind, but he still kept doing similar to what you were seeing on camera.

Yeah, I feel like there was no pressure there that he wasn't really bothered by that east wind, maybe catching a little thermals. I forget which were my, I was good. I don't know if I was, maybe that ditch was, I think maybe the ditch was maybe only 15, to [00:11:00] where my wind and something, it was just, I was up high enough, I think.

I can still feel a little bit of a breeze that it wasn't like it was dropping and because he was right, right there. But yeah, a lot of, you'll find deer, these big deer will walk with a window their back if they're safe, and I talk about how the deer, the longer they go without getting spooked and harassed, they're going to take more, they're going to let their guard down, and it also comes into play, not just, based a lot of my hunting on pressure, but then now off times, not, how the yeah.

How the pressure is affecting, but when is the pressure affecting them? I did a lot of late season with having my excavation business. I'm trying to get into early season this year. Like I said you. I was up putting some, finding some cuts, trying to find some bucks early season to where the pressure's down, easy access, a lot of cover, a lot of food, and try to catch one living in, in those areas early.

For three days of Pennsylvania, I'm hoping to capitalize on one. It's going to get tougher from there. And as we get [00:12:00] more guys coming in. And the deer might start they're not really maybe in tune to that when the hunters are there that early, they might be, mature deer are all really in tune to any predator, but you can catch them, I think them first couple of days or so catch one.

So I'm just right now searching for. That deer, I don't have anything in mind. I have more rat areas mid October into November. I got areas, but I'm spanning out looking for these October more so cuts that haven't that people may be overlooked. You're not even seeing them on Spartan Forge or any map that not everything is.

Maps aren't always right on to, you get into 2, 3 years goes fast. And these maps sometimes don't have these cuts. So I'm trying to find things that aren't really designated on maps because what you do everybody else is onto them. So it takes some time, a little more boot work to.

Do you think it's a lot harder to find a cut that isn't [00:13:00] tampered with anymore at this point? Because in my passing, it's hard to not find one that doesn't have some level of human influx. There's definitely some cuts that I've found in the areas that I hunt that wouldn't have as much human activity as you think.

However, it's not void

of it. Yeah, it's, the cuts are risky. Like I, I get into rut I don't even mess with a lot of them because it are in there and the deer, they associate that with danger. If they already been in a, you get a 6, 7 year old animal that associated cuts with danger and scent.

They're going to go down wind and smell check. And there's only coming there at nighttime. But I found 1 that you were talking about me scouting the other day. That was a steep hill. Maybe I don't know, not a huge cut 2030. 30. Acres and road winds up through, but it has had enough cover in there.

Maybe some beach beach brush and or birch brush that I feel like with the browse, [00:14:00] I could just lay down and get up as a vehicle comes by as, but then again, it's I don't know that bucks are using. I did see some good buck tracks on a sandy road, but they might have been just walking the road and feeding.

They might not. I need to find out if they're actually living. In that cut during the daytime, that's the biggest thing. You don't so I circled that cut in different trails and leading to different. He places a drainage. Hemlocks lower elevation. It's an open piece of wood connecting that with another open area type area.

So it's going to see what I'm still learning. I don't have anything in place for the 1st week. I'm still trying to find that out of waste bought that bucks are. Feeding and, early on.

Some of those places that you were scouting now, you put some videos up where some of those places, [00:15:00] stuff that you had done a little bit of on the boots stuff in wintertime, because I know you were doing a bunch of late season hunting and putting some boots on the ground and chasing some stuff to debt.

Are you hunting new areas to that? Or was that kind of prompted by what you were doing in late season at all?

No, this is a new area, but I remember two years ago in the winter, I drove up through. And it was pretty much fresh cut and I just wasn't an area that I was hunting, and I, this summer, I said, man, that thing should be prime, there's a lot of, there's a lot of human traffic, like I think uh, in through hunting season roads and I bet there's hunters, but I said, man, this could be, it could be money like these first three, four days.

I feel like before they, yeah. He didn't tune with hunters. I feel like this. I don't know that I'm still Learning with my cameras, I said I have a feeling there's a lot more does and yearlings there just from The amount of trails [00:16:00] and in the deer kid, I'm saying it's a lot of smaller stuff, but I did see on 1 of the roads saying, I seen a couple of big black tracks.

Maybe 2 of them were hanging out coming through, but I'm not. Certain if they are actually living there, so I'm hoping them camera will tell me that you don't but yeah, I'm always like, I'm always. Scouting because it's always evolving, changing, they do herbicide sprays, and then they come in and clear cut, or they might select cut, shelter wood cut, there's just a lot of stuff going on, hunters move into to where I can find, different areas, or have different areas in mind, and just keep going back to them, and checking them yearly, I feel like, There's a lot of areas. I dropped cameras just to see how this year is, the hunting president or fair deer isn't there, but it's always putting boots on the ground time in the woods and driving around and [00:17:00] keeping an open mind to where the deer are, but also trying to find that enough concentration of food, which is a cut, you can get these open Timber, the open forest that has a fair amount of browse and it's just like the sea, it's

miles and miles across, like, where are you gonna, where are you gonna, you can't even, you don't even know, you're just out in the middle of the ocean, it's to catch one, it's tough, maybe around a drainage or, then I feel like them areas might be better when people pressure them to areas like that.

I'm thinking early on, I'm going to transition to a little more concentration of cuts and food. There's not much, I actually did see some beach when I was up there the other day. That's funny you

bring that up. I've been looking for that. I had people tell me they were seeing some beach. A lot of the places that I was scouting had beach that were just frosted out and hammered with that late frost we got in May.


I seen 2 trees. I didn't really focus. They were younger trees, [00:18:00] but they did have beach on it. So I do. And that's another thing. It popped up in my brain when I next time I go up. I got a patch that has a few beats. They're starting to die. But if it's hot, that. Bears and deer will be in there like crazy.

So that's another thing when I've seen at beach, but food is the main thing and cover in the early season. There's a lot of cover, so it's mainly food. If you can try to get some type of concentration of food, then you'll, I think you can get them bucks hanging out. They are feeding pretty heavy that time, early October.

That's the time, everything's ripe and ready to for them to feed on. Yeah that's the plan right now, but I don't have nothing. I don't have this is where I'm going first day. I'm hoping that cut pans out. Then I haven't, we're going to check another cut that has been about three years old, but we're going to check that.

It's a long hike. So we're just, I might not even have, it might come first day archery and I might still be looking. I don't know. You know what I'm saying? I don't

[00:19:00] have that place. Are you looking for a specific, like at your point in your hunting career, where you're at and stuff like. What are you looking for that tickles your fancy?

I guess is it a, is a certain caliber a deer? I know you're looking for a mature buck, but is it, not all mature bucks are created equal either. Are you looking at a game of inches thing too? Or what's your what's fueling your fire a little bit?

I think for a lot of years I was in game of inches.

I was looking for the biggest buck out there, the largest rack that my buddy said. Just to the mature deer and I'm like, I know I want the biggest rack gear out there and because I was finding those deer in the last few years. I am torn between that and shooting a mature deer because I do hunt 5, 6 states.

And it's I needed to shoot 130 plus deer and go to the next state, but I have a hard time we get out there and it's yeah, but that 150 he's alive. He's [00:20:00] over in that area. Then I started looking for him because I want to like, I get torn on stuff like that. It's a whole subject that would be good conversation is because you're when you're onto 1 animal, whether it is the size of the record, just maybe it's characteristic of him, the record age, or you get laser focused and you can really go all in and man, 1 creature.

And be laser focused and you start having 2 or 3 bucks that are maybe 130 or something like that are all comparable and you don't, it doesn't really like you say, really pickle your fancy. I get goofed up because I'm like I'll go and then I just look at, like, where's my odds, my best odds, and it's weird you don't always know.

Everything about them when you got three or four animals, you're know a little bit about every one of them, but when you get that [00:21:00] one, which has been a while since I've had that one, I got a big eight this year. And then he's probably been 150 and fake for three years now. And, come right.

I think I might just solely hunt him because I feel like there's a lot of hunters in the area. And I think I found where he's hanging out. I feel like his area shrinks. To a certain degree, and all in the last three it was 20. Yeah, in the last, this will be the third year, um, that I know about him, and I run cameras, and then I start learning where he isn't.

You know what I mean? And it just starts getting to a smaller area that I feel like he hangs out in and I feel like I said earlier, it could be the vast area, but when you get pressure guys hunting area, it'll really shrink where he's going to want to be safe. And I recently been just talking about safe areas, like me and Bo did a podcast, I think it was [00:22:00] for exodus there had a total archery challenge and,

asked Bo and Bo had a whole list of what he goes through and started talking about, different spots and scrapes and all ton of great information. And I was like, wow, man. My head was spinning, man, Bo really got an outline of bit. Scrape ain't working, I'm gonna go to here and then this Crete and that, and I'm like, and it's great.

But there, there's it's like a wormhole you can really get. Overwhelmed as a new hunter or someone and like I asked myself when he's Set all this info, which was wonderful. I said, man, I need to learn more. You know what I mean? But I was like, it's a wormhole that you can go down learning about scrapes.

I've seen so many It's all situational. I've seen so many there's not to me. No black and white to wear This is a primary scrape or the secondaries of breeding scrape. This is this to mature deer Oh hit this mature deer that [00:23:00] don't hit scrapes. There's mature deer don't associate with other deer scrapes You know, they're you know And as far as people are, you get so focused on.

Stuff like this, but, your situation could be totally different, there might be no pressure and, and there, there could be deer scrapes of daylight and stuff like that, but I always, my hunting is pressure based, hunting pressure to where I, I said, where in learning more as I get older and this big eight where I just, cause there's no rhyme or reason he don't hit certain, it's just He's like a satellite.

He knows about the other deer in the area. This is what I can tell you in a lot of mature like this that, he does know what the population, the herd is, where the other deer are living and he checks on them from his safe areas. And his vantage points and whatever is [00:24:00] nocturnal air, being going out at night, but then you ask myself, where is he during the daytime?

And a big best thing I can come up with is he's in a safe area, like this deer is a ton of pressure. He found a safe area. You throw everything out the window, rubs, scrapes, that's just telling you this deer exists. You can get into rub hunting, scrape hunting, and then, but that's a whole like, as I said, that's a whole, it's different situations, different animals, deer act differently, so there's not one way, say, this is how you hunt a rub line, or this is how you hunt scrapes, or follow, like, Where's this animal when you get into hunting pressure and his deer surviving?

Where is he safe? Where are the safe areas? So I go into it. I know Tim said, what are you looking for this year? I'm looking for a safe area that a buck is safe. That's it. I tried to I said, how can I when he asked, I said what am I looking for joining? It was. [00:25:00] Safe area for this deer to survive, and it's mainly daylight during hunting season, even into early November.

I know a lot of these mature deer are still nocturnal till the 10th, 12th of November. I've seen it, they don't come out or they don't leave their safe areas, their beds, you might call them, or in these bigger areas, vast pieces of forest. It's not isolated beds because there's a lot of randomness to where they bed, and it's.

An area that you got to find that is easy, and it seems like it's all easy, they get lazy, not lazy, but it's just, it's way, it's easy for them because this is easy. I thought I'm close to the rest of the deer population. I'm in a safe area. it Probably start to walk at that.

Half hour before dark and he knows that 1st 100 yards of safe and he's there before light, he probably has the thermals, right? Or he can at least hear that 1st, 100, 200 yards, whatever directing plans on going for that nightly run. But [00:26:00] and I feel like you can get any areas and just.

Once you do so much scouting, throw a lot out the window as far as rubs and scrapes and just hunting around where you think he's at. And I'm talking vast pieces of land, that I can narrow it down to 30 acres, that he likes this area, not like a. One acre patch, and just just get on the fringes of that, know that there's some, there's cover, there's a little, you're going to get up and walk around, defecate, eat during the day, even though, and just milling around there, but I. I'm just talking about forest bucks with growls and bigger, or like you get like a mass acorn crop that's just ridges, it's the same deal, but where are these mature deer safe for the most part,

and that, like I said, that's a moving target because like you said, with pressure, it's a moving target, but I've found situations where. Do you feel safe even in and around [00:27:00] pressure? They just have a vantage point where they can keep tabs on things. I like, I know the buck one of the bucks we killed last year, uh, where we killed him was, man, that was within, we killed him within 150 yards of the road, and he just had one specific spot that he was.

Betting on a knob, but it was at the edge of a cut and he had the wind advantage and he could had a visual advantage of some roads and where he bet it. He was very close to an access road that, people walked up and down all season long. I saw trucks parked at that one spot multiple times, and I know that there's Permanent tree stands on the backside of this cut that people were walking this access road to and that buck died You know right along that all that pressure so that I bring that up to say everything you brought up john.

I agree with But at the same time, we can also overthink this whole thing so much. And like we get ourselves into into just going in circles. And at the end of the day, they're [00:28:00] wild, free ranging animals. And there's gotta be a little bit of a little bit, a bit of odds, stacked in your favor just to, to, if you do everything right, deer still got to cooperate.

Yeah. They're not, sometimes we think they're immortal. Yeah, they're not like you said. They still have like us. You've still got a job to work every day and there's people that die in car crashes every day, so they're going to go eat and feed and breed and like you said with the deer close to the road.

I'm just a situation. I'm thinking of the parking lot and this flat area and everybody goes back this gated road and the wind blows. It's the east west road and the people park on the south side and walk south. But the wind carries on the southwest, pretty south, southwest, goes across the road. And I stopped and I looked across the road and there's a monster rub.

Right when the leaves started falling in October, I said, This sucker's across the road. All the signs [00:29:00] back, they're going back in the cuts and that. And I said, he's probably, chances are, I can see that rub, maybe another 40, 50 yards. He might be just laying right there, like you said, you can overthink a lot.

I want to hunt scrapes and rubs and food and this and that and let's, go down and all that. And just forget the simple thing is that they just got in, like you said, a vantage point, whether it's hearing, seeing, and knowing what's going on there, just laying right over there. You know what I mean?

And it's do you have any bucks that like, like you've had experience, whether you killed them or had experience hunting with that exact scenario that you just brought up?

Yeah, definitely. I, this one deer, he was hunting, there was these two roads that met and he lived right up on the corner and it was vast forest up behind them.

Nobody come from there and he would just lay. I seen him several times lay there and the one time he was with a doe, he was probably 50 yards off the road, lay in the [00:30:00] inside corner of them roads and I said, I'm going to get above him and I remember I was just going to sit up there. I said, there was acorns up above him.

It was pretty. It's a pretty wild story. A big seven point big wide rack broken horn like Monstrous body deer, and pretty badass deer to have, and I got above him, I actually took my shoes off, I was in my sock, and I was creeping down, and I know they were on a bench maybe 50 yards below me, I couldn't see them, and the wind was coming up the mountain, but as soon as them thermals switched, and I started to feel them drop.

That doe, he got up first, he was with her, and she started to come up, she was going to feed on them acorns up, and boy, he, I could hear him right behind her, I seen her at 30, he come up. And it was dead calm, and he had ran, he got a whiff of me, I thought it was a pig running down through the, he was [00:31:00] snorting, and it was, it scared me, it was cracking through the forest, you know what I mean, but that deer lived right, right where that road intersected, it was like a T, and I know a lot of these deer, or I find a lot of these deer, once you, some place that you park, you're already out of the game when you park your vehicle, like they're already, you slam your door, your park, the game's already up, so I do find myself keep being aware of that, over the years that they're laying there listening and watching their close to the roads and they want to know where everybody parked and stuff like that.

So I do find myself. Parking way up the road and coming back, and trying to find these deer that are living close to these parking spots and stuff like

that. And I think a deer like that too, like they're very personality oriented, like not all deer act the same way. And that thing, the thing that comes to my mind as you're bringing this up, there was a buck that I hunted with one of my hunting buddies for a number of [00:32:00] years.

And he was fortunate enough to kill him, but we started noticing a trend. The older he got on these cameras, like he would, he was betting in this nastiest block of briars and brambles, but it was literally 50 yards off of a road that we drove on constantly. That, that deer had to have heard all sorts of equipment and tractors and trucks and ATVs.

All year long driving past him. And the reason I know that is because I cross reference dates. And when I look at camera pictures, man, that deer would be the first deer out on camera in the afternoons, cause he was bedding so close and he just got so used to it. And so comfortable. And I know that's a little bit different than a, than a.

Then a private land piece, but that's all to say they just have different tendencies sometimes. And I just find that's, what's unique. And I think that's why we get so fascinated with single deer and following a single deer, because you can just get attached to certain characteristics, whether it's the antlers or the way they behave and trying to figure out how to kill them.

Yeah. And like that [00:33:00] spot I was talking about with them cuts that this year, that I actually, there's a lot of roads through oil well roads that zigzag. There's probably not an area. 150 yards wide that you're not going to run into another road. And I'm just this is going to be, maybe my 6 cents.

This is going to keep guys out too many roads, but I'm like, the cover, like I said, the beak brush and the early October it's still a jungle, very few select trees that you can get in. I'm like, browse foods there. I'm like, this might, this could be. Thank you. Spot to kill, and just my sixth sense is learning to, I'm getting in around these roads, but I'm being smart about it and knowing that what they know and what they're looking for when a guy, I'm not parking anywhere near there, I'm going to park.

I didn't plan it, but if I catch 1 of them deer on, I'm going to park long ways away and hike in and. Probably before light or maybe [00:34:00] I feel like sometimes it's maybe around when the birds start chirping, a little more sound cover, you can maybe get in there, maybe after light and just catch one, get up, moving around and just that down when a vehicle comes by, just living with these vehicles and people being around and just them being in tune to that.

Yeah, I think just like you said it's something that I'm feeling in on and just being really aware of, and actually using more than you start starting to use that more to my advantage with the idea that, like you said, are going to be laying in that thick shit by these vehicles.

And I think for the most part, it's going to keep guys out because there's too many roads, but deal with it. You know what I mean? They are right,

completely different topic of discussion, but I wanted to ask you, I know you, you did a bunch of late season hunting last year, and you've done a lot of late season hunting in the past.

The past few years, you still been doing a lot of that. Cause one of the [00:35:00] things that I would love to get better at is. Late season hunting because there are years where I don't kill a buck, or maybe there's years that I want to shoot or hunt somewhere else. Maybe I have a buck tag filled in PA, but I want to go and I want to try, one of our neighboring states.

I keep saying I want to shoot a buck with my flintlock and PA. That's a big bucket list thing for me to do. And it's, that's a tough time year. And I know you've. Done a bunch of that in the past. Are you still doing a lot of that?

Yeah, last year I was in pa down ohio, but man this and it's all weather related to me.

Food and weather. And it's last year, right after Christmas, we had a, it was a rainstorm that finished up with snow. And I like, and I went up and hunted with my flintlock and it was, I think the rain and snow came through Christmas. And it was, that's when I wanted to be hunting some crazy, windy, rainy deer freaked out running, the trees cracking and stuff and it was on the backside of that [00:36:00] right before it maybe, but it was the backside of the storm and we had an inch or two of snow on top of frozen leaves and ice and dead calm for 2 3 days and I just couldn't I actually, the big 8 I was talking about actually went into where I think he was and I've seen where three deer were feeding.

I could see their horns. In the snow where they were pawing up burns and even though it was crunchy, I had no choice. I followed the biggest deer and they, he split off the other two and he went up across the beaver pond and he went up the other side and, um, I bumped him. He was feeding again when I bumped him, and I gave him a half hour and he went across the flat.

And I was walking across the flat. I walked right up on him feeding, but I think it was at eight. He didn't have horns on his head, probably 50 yards. I pulled up on the muzzleloader and I just kept staring. I'm like, cause I actually followed him after he just sent something. I don't know if he caught my wind, but I was, I had five minutes to stare at him.

[00:37:00] No horns. Big belly chest, dark ox, and then when I had, when he ran, I just kept following him and he went over a mile and it put me into the night. It was like one in the afternoon and I fall and go dark. And I got on the next morning just to learn about this animal. He just ended up going right back to where he started.

He did a huge circle, and then it was pretty wild where he ran. I relate to the safe areas, or I even talk about scenes where two things meet, maybe a piece of private, a piece of public. All your people were going in hunting like this, and they're just like, that spot, I'm not going to there.

Because it's too close to the private or public or vice versa, and it just, they fill a cushion where they can filter through, but this buck run right along a highway, two lane highway, for probably 500 yards, and there was no parking spots along there, along the highway, and to the north, there was [00:38:00] like logging roads or oil roads and whatever that came in, same And people a lot of hunting pressure, but they didn't go.

They didn't walk over toward that highway. It might be 2, 300 yards from it. I'm like, no, the roads over there. Anyway, no, I'm going to he run right along that road about 100 to 120 yards away from that highway. On his rub lines. Not like every 50 feet, but every 80 yards, I'm like, he knows this.

He ran this. There's no, that was his theme that he felt comfortable and you couldn't barely see vehicles on that highway. You know what I mean? This is. I'm not going to run a camera there this year. This is where he runs. You know what I mean? This is the comfortable, safe place for him to be traveling if he has to go a certain distance.

You know what I mean? That nobody, just crazy following these animals and see them. You know how they, and I said, this is probably that big eight. Cause he run,

I [00:39:00] love late season scouting. Sorry to cut you off. I love late season scouting, but that's a story like that where you're hunting the deer in late season.

You've got the same conditions as that. To me, I gained more out of that than I do when I'm, backpack on and just hiking new areas and not really in hunt mode. Cause like I scout mode and hunt mode for me are a little bit. I don't know how it is for you, but like when you're still in, in what I would say hunt mode in late season and stuff like, and following a deer with that route, it's to me, I learned more in a situation like that than anything.

Yeah, definitely tracking a deer in the winter. Even if you bump them like that one, for instance, I said, he don't have horns, but I'm following his deer. Cause I want to learn. I think this is, I think I know this animal. I want to see where he goes, where he runs, and light bulbs went off. I'm like, oh, this is how he survives.

Did a big circle back to that safe area. aNd I think that safe area that I [00:40:00] originally bumped him with a couple other deer, I think that might be where he hangs out, a bull area, some drainages, beaver pond there. An area that I feel like during the rut, that's where he's safe in the rifle, maybe even, but yeah, there was conditions were bad last year.

Muzzleloader was crunchy. And then another deer that I had dropped the camera on a point of this mountain. I Just we, we put a drive on, I dropped that camera and I haven't hunted that spot in years because there was hunting pressure. And that's another thing like pressure comes and goes, like I, how he said, putting cameras out for

as the force changes, clear cuts or is it maturing or wherever it might be also pressure comes and goes and I move out of places and I don't and then I give them a year or two and I go back and it's because the guy move out because there's cameras or stands and, give up on it.

But it's weird. Guys will move in and then they'll move out. So I out on this point, I said, man, I haven't been here and we put a gun drive on and I could just sense there. There's a [00:41:00] lot of gear in there. I said, no one's really right for wanting back here and I was right on a pointless amount and I dropped the camera rifle season and I wanted to go camera, get that camera and muzzle loader.

It was still crunchy like that. I pulled the camera and when I pulled it, I was walking out on this point, a broad point. And I caught a big buck track to come up out. There was fresh. Yeah. There were some blowdowns and big buck. I know it was the buck. Anyways I didn't know what deer was, but I later pecked my camera.

And he was on it, but it was a 10 good 140 class, 10 big, maybe putting 50. And he was late in that blowdown and he bumped him. He ran out and he did a circle back to where he originated. But he was at same and it was crunch, like he made it through and it was crunchy and yeah, if the weather was right, I probably either, that one didn't have horns, I got lucky on that one that didn't have horns, but I do find one little note.

When the deer are [00:42:00] bedding in a winter and you bump them, chances are they want to bed. That's what they're wanting to do that instant. I've

always wanted to have it with two people where I put somebody in a spot and I bump the deer. Because I've done that where I've followed the tracks and took me right back to the

same spot.

Yeah, he goes, they'll do a huge circle or whatever. Yeah, that's a good idea. And then the deer that I find feeding, their stomach says to feed and they'll bump them and they'll run. You give them 20 minutes to feed. And his first 15 minutes is looking back, making sure you're there and then you go to feeding again.

And that's a good point when you are tracking these deers. If he's feeding and you bump him, give him some time, chances are he's going to start feeding. Then you can get in on him like that crunchy snow. And that one, on that point that was bedded, I bumped him, he run out. Worked out the point, down a point and it's crunched, it's getting dark.

I'm like, He's bedded here somewhere. There's a bed. You've heard me coming a mile away. But the conditions gotta be good for that. You gotta have a little bit of something on your side to cover [00:43:00] your... There's a lot of times I'm sneaking, in them bigger woods, getting on a track and following them.

The conditions ain't right.

I've struggled to hunt in good conditions in the places that I hunt. It's not that there hasn't been good conditions, snow wise, I'm talking lately. In the state, there has, but a lot of the places I hunt, I either A, missed them, or B, we just didn't have them in the first place.

It's been a few years since I've had that good quality snow that you can do try to track, or just still hunt. And still hunt and just have a better hunting experience, just for visual acuity.

Yeah, that snow, that fresh snow, I think, Not last year, the year before rifle season first day, we had a good snow and I cracked and got one, but, man, it's take advantage. I'll look at whatever state I got tags and I'm watching the weather. If I get a fresh, no, even if I'm bow hunting, I'd like to get there before this. It's like during the storm. They really, if it's a windy, crazy storm, I find just so much activity. I feel like if they're correct or an area, these deer trees crack and wind blown [00:44:00] that they'll just move like crazy, and then after the storm, yeah.

They start moving, a day or so, but man, it just helps you so much, especially if you haven't hunted an area right there to tracks. It's all there in black and white. What's left in your area and there's a good buck track, and I'll just go up roads and see if 1 crossing a road and stuff like that, even bow.

I've shot him. With a bow. One instance, I was down Ohio's of January and it was a snowstorm. This is years back and I drove all the way down there right after a snowstorm. I said, both season, I didn't have no cameras or nothing, but I hiked mountains and look for a buck track, and, um, I went to one spot and I, it was 400 foot climb.

It's pretty rugged down there. I said, I know there's buck up on that mountain. I like, I fought with myself. My sixth sense told me go up there. You're going to shoot 1 and then my other side was like, I don't want to walk up there. I'm like, it was actually almost into February. It [00:45:00] was late January and I was like, the whole I said, all right, I'll go.

It was like, someone was telling me, you got to go. You got to go. I'm like, walk all the way up that mountain get on the ridge, walk out the ridge and it was almost to the. Point where the ridden dropped down. It was facing south and I seen deer. They were one two o'clock. They were moving and they come right around the point.

We're just dropped down and the three of them didn't have horns. Only one that had horns, and I just I nailed him. It was like 40 yards. There was a beast right in front of a big oak tree and all I remember seeing, I didn't have a range finder, all I remember seeing is my arrow here, boing, bounce off the tree, and it was like 44 yards or something, and I walked down there, and then I just seen a trail of blood going down the mountain, you know what I mean, but yeah, even with a bow, you can have opportunities at them things, hunt on the ground a little more and sneak around, you know what I mean, you're not afraid to put some miles on,

that's just it.

I [00:46:00] think it's just the yeah. The drive, making sure you get the drive, like 21, 2020 is when I killed my real big one here in PA and 2021, I can't lie. Like I had a lack of drive and I don't know why it was, I was still like on the high of killing, a giant and I just saw this stuff going on for whatever reason, like I just.

Mentally, I wasn't there and then, I regained it partway through the season. It was too little, too late with the lack of preparation and everything else. And I didn't kill one in 21. And now it seems like it's back to normal, but yeah, you got to have the willingness to go the extra mile when you're hunting big woods like that.

Cause it's a different animal. It's just a different animal, but it's so fun. It's so captivating.

And it could wear like last year I got wore out. Cause I thought, like I said, yeah, I shot one and. Early October and missed that big one in September. And I kept pushing myself, man, I, this can't [00:47:00] be it, and I started losing, I lost a drive last year to where we did, I did my muzzleloader hunt, but it was like, Yeah, if you don't, if you're not driven, and I know a lot of times with my excavation business, I was working a lot up through October.

So a little bit of rotten, then I'm still in, I'm not working on December and January. I'm still ready to go. More like last year. I did do a lot of hunting and man, I was wore down. Come January, February, I didn't even want to think about, and it took me months now. I'm like, I can't wait, but man, there's something to learn there.

You know what I mean? Like when you're hunting mature deer and you got to do every. You don't, like you said, they're not immortal, but you're gonna have better chances if you do a lot meticulous about your access and maybe whatever it is where you're setting up and a lot of effort mentally and physically to where, you start sometimes I go to areas an hour before light and I have an hour drive and it's an hour walk, so I'm getting up at [00:48:00] 2 33 in the morning, you know what I mean?

And. That takes a toll on you doing that two, three days. You're you can get really burned out, but then it rots only, maybe six, eight, 10 days that you're going to have your best hunting. You know what I mean? And like last year I pushed myself and it was like, didn't do any good, had some close calls and then and just kept pushing myself.

And like you said, my drive was like, man, I was wore out. It's a balancing act. I think you got to. Where are you going to be at your best? You know what I'm saying?

I know exactly what you're saying. And that's a moving target too, because I think life gets for me, life gets in the way as it does with everybody.

And it's trying to figure out where my time spent, we were talking about, I just thought of this when you were talking about. Getting the right conditions to go tracking. I was thinking about, as you were talking about that last year, it would have been during the second week of our, or no, I lie, it would have been after our gun season closed was the the second week of gun [00:49:00] season in New Jersey.

And they also had bear season open and I'm on a kick right now. I want to shoot another bear for some reason. And we had perfect snow conditions over there. And I was so close to just. Pulling the trigger and wanting to go because I thought maybe that's my best opportunity to get on a bear track and take it and see where it takes me.

And one of the issues I had was I burned out a lot of my vacation and I burned out a lot of my for lack of a better term, my brownie points with my wife and taking more time off and going away. And they're like, that's a bouncing act. So it is, but you know what, whatever keeps it fun. But man, this has been this has been a fun one.

I always enjoy. Enjoy this and appreciate you coming on the show again. Make sure make sure to follow you. You do most of your stuff on Instagram, following you through the season. You try to post a little bit

here and there. Yeah, definitely. I'm a trying to, because most people message me, I have you put some good info out there, but I try to help people out and I get focused on getting out of my vehicle, [00:50:00] going scouting when we're on limited time let me stop and make a video, for people tell me like what's going through your brain, what are you seeing?

What are you looking for? And yeah, I try to get stuff out to be able to, help them out. I've been doing some consulting for people. If you want to shoot me a message on Instagram or my email is stewart14967 at gmail. But yeah, just trying to. Help people the best I can. I just know it took me a lot of years to gain this knowledge.

And, if I could help someone with some shorter terms to be successful, that's good. Maybe you have some more that's out there,

there's something about doing it with people and helping people do. Cause experiencing, somebody else shoot one and you were a part of it is, it's almost just as good.

Yeah. And then I've been helping a fair amount of guys and it's just, anytime you're talking hunting is great and you get. Hearing some other hunting stories and it's helped me learn, and then sharing pins and them telling me where they see deer. I said, great, go to this spot. Let me know [00:51:00] what I'm anxious, man. And it's, so it's helping me learn from

them, you know what I

mean? Yeah, exactly. So I'm educating myself and they'll be like, some guys, I would go here and he said, that's where I hunted last year. It was a good spot. It makes me feel good. So I'm like, okay. And it helps me for the next guy, like pat myself on the back, kind of thing.

Like I do it like a test, and it, okay. So feel pretty confident and stuff like that. So yeah.

That's about it. Good deal. Thanks again for coming on the show. Appreciate you coming on again.

Yeah, no problem. Thanks, Mitchell.