Different Equipment, Different Scenarios

Show Notes

On this episode of the Hunting Gear Podcast, Dan talks with Nate Thomas of the Missouri Woods & Water podcast about a variety of hunting products, and when to use them if different scenarios. The guys discuss mechanical and fixed blade broadheads and what head might perform better on whitetails vs. elk. The talk about how arrow weight and length will impact the performance o the head you decide to use. Other topics discussed include when to use a ground blind, ladder stands, hang-ons, and even hunting saddles. This is another educational and entertaining episode you will defiantly enjoy! Please share!

Show Transcript

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Mic check. One, two. Mic check. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another episode of The Hunting Gear Podcast. Your number one source for all things hunting, gear and equipment, conversations and discussions with random people throughout the North American [00:01:00] whitetail elk. A bow hunting. Hunting period.

Community. I'm sorry, that was the worst intro. I didn't write that down, and so I apologize if you got confused there. But welcome to the Hunting Gear Podcast. I'm your host, Dan Johnson, and today we have another really good conversation with another member of the Sportsman's Empire, Mr. Nate Thomas from the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast.

And I like having Nate on because although we ki we have different. We have hunting similarities. We also do a lot of things differently. So we're gonna talk today about broadheads. We're gonna talk today about the difference between I, I have a 30 inch draw. I think he said he has a 27 or 28 inch draw.

So he has to shoot a shorter arrow. I have I have the ability to shoot a longer arrow with a mechanical broadhead. He talks about why he chooses fixed blades. We talk about saddles, we talk about ground blinds. We talk about hang ons and what [00:02:00] scenarios to use those in, or what scenarios we use those in compared to, different times a year, different setups.

Is it a pinch point? Is it a rut spot? Is it easy to access? Is it a morning hunt? Is it an afternoon hunt? So we really get into all of these all of these really good details about, I guess it's really four or five products today. But it's a good conversation and I know you guys, if you guys are gear nuts I know you're gonna enjoy it.

Do me a favor, go to iTunes, leave a five star review on the Hunting Gear Podcast. Let everybody know that it's a it's a good quality podcast. It's unbiased. It a lot of the information comes straight from the manufacturer when I, when we do some of these deep dives into specific manufacturers, hunting, gear, hunting, product manufacturers really looking forward to that.

And then what do I want to do? What do I want to do? So leave a five star review. If you have any questions about products per se, or if you have some kind, any [00:03:00] questions or there's something you wanna talk about, I. Hit me up through Instagram. The Nine Finger Chronicles is the best way.

Send me a message. Say, Hey Dan, talk about this, or Get this company on the podcast, and I'll do my best to do that. So appreciate all you guys listening and making this podcast pretty popular. And then we do have one commercial today. And that is Code Blue. So Code Blue is a brand new podcast for, or a brand new partner of the Nine Finger Chronicles in the Hunting Gear podcast.

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I'd love to get a couple mach scrapes on each farm. They have a very simple kit that allows you to do that, and so I am I'm looking forward to running a lot of m scrapes if you're the scent type of guy, whether that is, you want scent [00:04:00] elimination products, or you're looking for the dough and es or you're looking for, There's buck lures to put in scrapes that kind of stuff.

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So go check out their website and I'm gonna be able to provide you with a discount code the ne on the next episode of the hunting Gear Podcast. I don't have it right now, but I'm gonna provide it to you, so stay tuned for that. Alright, let's cut to the chase and let's get into today's Hunting Gear Podcast episode where we talk about Broadheads Tree stands with my man Nate Thomas.

Three, two. One. All right, everybody. Welcome back to the Hunting [00:05:00] Gear podcast. I'm your host, Dan Johnson, and today we are joined by another brother from the Sportsman's Empire, Mr. Nate Thomas of the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast. What's up, man? Brothers, 

[00:05:12] Nate Thomas: don't shake hands. Brothers 

[00:05:14] Dan Johnson: gotta, huh? Love it. Love it.

Baseball, we gotta talk a little bit about baseball because I know your son's in baseball. My son just finished his last regular season game last night and now we have state this upcoming weekend and Chi many Christmas. Like it's just been busy and crazy and I didn't know that the level of competition at this age group was so cutthroat.


[00:05:44] Nate Thomas: it's I have learned that the era that you and I grew up in is no longer a thing is gone. It's gone. It's gone. I've got a 12 year old and competitive baseball and a 15 year old daughter in competitive softball. And I just [00:06:00] got, we just got home la late Sunday night from Nebraska, from softball.

Yeah. And the weekend before that, the 12 year old boy was down in Springfield, Missouri at state baseball. Yeah. And you're just like, dear Lord it's, you're always somewhere and yeah. You almost wonder if it's worth it. But then you watch 'em. And you watch, the, I don't know how old your son is doing it, but you watch the camaraderie.

They grow with these kids that don't go to their, like my daughter. The teams on her, the girls on her team, not a single one of them go to the same school. Few of 'em do, but not her. Yeah. She doesn't go to school with any of these girls, and some of these girls are her best friends, and it's, yeah.

That's really cool. I will say. But yeah when you get home late at night and they're tired and stuff, you're like, man I just know if it's worth it. But the problem today's world is they can't go play rec ball in their towns anymore if they are a decent ball player. Yeah. Because they're just, there's one team and some of those kids don't even play baseball 

[00:06:56] Dan Johnson: before and it's yep.

And it's 

[00:06:57] Nate Thomas: a weird world, but it's fun 

[00:06:59] Dan Johnson: overall. [00:07:00] Where are we going wrong in as parents by, so I look at this and I go, Hey, I was on one, we had one baseball league. They mixed all the kids up. All the kids played and. And then they had an all-star team. So the best kids from all the teams got together and then they did the traveling and stuff like that.

Okay, so now if you even wanna play in high school or even middle school or whenever the school teams start, you have got to be on club teams. There's no, none of this coach pitch stuff anymore. I. It's, no, it's full throttle baseball at this point, and I don't necessarily know if I like that, if I 

[00:07:43] Nate Thomas: like it that much.

I don't know either, because I feel bad for, like you said, if you wanna play in high school, I. You don't have to play club ball all the way to high school. Yeah. But you will be so far behind the rest of the kids by the time you get to high school. Yep. That's why you won't play because [00:08:00] they're that much more developed.

Yeah. And I feel bad for some of those kids because they're just like, they're just being like you and I were when we were back in school yep. That's how it was with us. We, you played on the same one team. Yep. And then there was an all-star team at the end that you went to maybe one or two tournaments right?

Afterwards. Yeah. In the same area you lived. Yep. And that's how it was. Yep. And then you moved on to football and then you moved on to wrestling and basketball or whatever. Yep. And now it's just 

[00:08:27] Dan Johnson: totally different. All these kids are having to specialize in a sport at a younger age. When studies show that, and I saw this the other day, studies show that.

Kids who participate in more sports, not just one sport, actually become better athletes in a single sport when they get older. Yeah, I don't know. Look at all the pros. 

[00:08:51] Nate Thomas: Yep. Look at all the pros out there. Almost all of 'em Are multi-sport 

[00:08:54] Dan Johnson: athletes. Multi-sport athletes. 

[00:08:55] Nate Thomas: Yep. Yep. That's the one thing we won't let our kids do is pick one.

Even like [00:09:00] my son loves football, my other son loves wrestling. That's great. But you're still gonna do the other ones that you like. Yeah, because we're not doing wrestling, 24 7, 365. Yeah. We're not gonna do softball 24 7 365. You're gonna do several sports that you enjoy now if you freaking hate everything else but this one sport, yeah.

That's a different story. But most kids aren't that way. Most kids, like when I was growing up, my favorite sport was the sport I 

[00:09:28] Dan Johnson: was playing at that moment. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. 

[00:09:31] Nate Thomas: And then I moved on to the next one and now that's my favorite sport. Yeah. So that's why I want them to keep trying different stuff, 

[00:09:36] Dan Johnson: but yeah, it gets harder.

Yeah, that's a fact. And the politics, man. Oh, Jesus, man. The politics. So yes, we are on a school club. In a school club where there are three, three kids at or three. Teams at my boys age group. Now we're breaking outta that and we're going independent with our own team [00:10:00] that he'll be on.

And I just, he's not gonna be associated with the school anymore, per se. All this, all the kids on the team are gonna be from most of the kids, I should say, one, two. Yeah, two of the kids are not gonna be from his school from his district, but everybody else will be. So we'll still be able to call ourselves by a law part of that school district, but we can't have the same team name as the school district.

I don't know, man. And then you got like moms chirping oh shit, the emails coming into the head coach and shit that he shared with me. I'm just like, what? Your kid isn't playing. You know why he's not playing cuz he's not good. Like 

[00:10:45] Nate Thomas: dude's. You wanna hear some funny stories? Just talk to me off air.

Yeah, I believe it. I've got some hilarious stories over. My daughter's damn near 16 years old, so Yeah. Like we've been living this life now in the softball world since, she was playing eight U or whatever. Yeah. And [00:11:00] yeah you've seen it all honestly. Once you've 

[00:11:02] Dan Johnson: get that far once you've lived that life.

Yeah, for sure. Let's talk about something I don't wanna say more fun because I love watching my boy. Play softball. I love watching my girl do her dance stuff and things like that, but a different kind of fun. How about that? A different kind of fun. And that's hunting gear and equipment, which is why I call this the Hunting Gear podcast.

But listen, I wanna talk about scenarios and what type of, I think what we'll do is we'll just get into it. It's gonna be hard for me to explain and I want to kick it off with mechanical versus fixed blade broadheads. And so I'll kick it off just so you get an idea of what I wanna talk about today, but, In the past, I have been a mechanical broadhead guy for whitetails from a tree stand even from a ground blind from a saddle.

I'm going to be shooting a mechanical broadhead. Most of my shots, my [00:12:00] longest shot ever on a whitetail has been 34 yards. I believe it was 34 or 35 yards, and that was in timber. He just happened to step into a gap and I shot him, but, Outside of that, everything has been inside inside 25 yards. Thus, I want something, I know that at 25 yards, unless I hit some kind of dense shoulder bone, that mechanical broadhead with my arrow set up 524 grains total arrow weight goes into that animal.

It's gonna do a lot of damage, and I am a, I'm a fan of fixed blade broadheads when hunting whitetails. Now, when I step outside of that and you guys go elk hunting every year, I like to then go, because it's a much bigger animal. There is a potential, there is a potential for maybe a longer shot.

On elk, and I'm gonna probably [00:13:00] use the same arrow, but I'm gonna be using a fixed blade broadhead. And so the reason from that is if it is a longer shot, it is a bigger animal. That arrow's not gonna lose energy. When that blade opens and I'm gonna, when I hit it, it's gonna go in and the goal is to get, obviously, two holes that probably won't happen on an elk.

But that's the goal anyway. And that's how I, that's how I lay out my broadhead selection. What are, what do you do? 

[00:13:27] Nate Thomas: I think it, I think you already explained it, basically. Because. For me, I'm the exact opposite of you. I just got a new bow this year, so I had a lot of a bow tuning done and I know my, per my exact setup, you're running a 524 grain arrow, I think you said?

Yep. Mine come in at four 16. Okay. Be because I am 27 inch draw, so I'm shooting shorter arrows. My arrows are a 300 spine. You might be a two 50. I don't know, but So they're a little lighter per inch. And so I've got a [00:14:00] lighter arrow. So this year now last year I did for whitetail shoot a mechanical okay.

But I'm so damn o C D that I need to try to get it everything together. So I'm moving to a good cut on contact fixed blade this year because I'm going out, like you said, hunting elk and Wyoming. And I'll obviously be hunting whitetail. So I want the broadhead to cut the second it touches the animal and not lose as much energy as possible.

Because I'm already at four 16 and 253 feet per second, so I'm a slower arrow. That's lighter. You're shooting a heavier arrow. That's still probably faster than what I'm shooting. Because your draw link is most likely, I've seen you, you're taller than me. You're a bigger dude. It's probably at least 29, 30 inch draw.

Yep. I'm shooting 27. So there's a lot of like variances between the way your both set up is and mine. Yeah. So I'm all cut on [00:15:00] contact. Fixed blade all the way. Yeah. Moving forward, I think right now, yeah. 

[00:15:04] Dan Johnson: And especially when I did go out on my elk hunts, I was using a. A fixed blade then, and I stuck because I don't I don't wanna have to retune my arrows when I have to put a new broadhead on, right?

I'm gonna shoot the same head all year for all animals. And so the year that I ended up, that I, the years that I've gone on these elk hunts, I think it's been four of 'em I kept that same head in the in the whitetail woods. Now I. Something happened crazy in 2018 when I. One of my target bucks comes out of this draw and I'm hunting inside of the timber on this field edge, and he pretty much came up to just sent check the field.

The wind was blowing into him. And so I just, the, my wind just. Quartered. He turned into me before the, he caught the wind and I was taking off a rain jacket at the time. So my bow's [00:16:00] on the hook. I'm taking off my rain jacket. I set it down. He walks through one of my shooting lanes. I am able to grab my bow pretty quickly, get anchored in, and he was hard quartering away and I had to kneel down in my stand to take the shot.

Well, long story short, I hit him in the ham. Okay. But because of that fixed blade, I got a ton of penetration and I was shooting 508. It wasn't as heavy as the one I'm new shooting now. It was like 4 95 or 500 some somewhere, right around there. And it went all, it hit his ham, went through his ham, went through all of his guts, popped his diaphragm.

I think I nicked. I got liver and then I nicked a little bit of the lung underneath just a mu, a very little bit, which kept him bleeding the whole time. And then the arrow came out of his his opposite side shoulder blade, and there's no [00:17:00] way I'm getting that type of penetration with a mechanical broadhead, and I probably would've not recovered that whitetail. I don't I'm almost certain I would've not recovered that whitetail if I did not have a a fixed plate on there. It's hard to say here. Here's why I like mechanicals for one, one reason. And it's because especially in the whitetail wor world, they do an absolute ton of damage.

Ton of damage. Yeah. So that's kinda where 

[00:17:33] Nate Thomas: It's like you want. Everything you want damage and penetration. Yep. But, and you can get it with mechanicals if you hit the right spot. Yeah. Obviously if you hit straight lungs and don't hit anything outside of bone, you're probably gonna pass through and do some major damage.

Yeah. The way I'm looking at it, just with my setup and remember everybody's setup is different. Yep. I'm a shorter guy with a lighter arrow that's running [00:18:00] slower. So I just want to get as deep into the animal's cavity as I can. Yep. Because I'm already hurting myself. Yep. So that's the way I look at it.

Now you got other guys like yourself that have heavier arrows that are still probably running faster than mine. You can afford to put something on there that's gonna, pol a giant hole as soon as it starts, opening up. And still might make it further in than me. Yeah. But that's just my, and the fixed blade I'm picking, it's a pretty large blade set up as far as the surface.

It's not like I'm poking a little quarter inch hole in there. Yeah. But that's just kinda why I chose to go fixed blade is no, obviously because of elk. And then I just feel like I want to try to get as much penetration as I can. Now, if you hit him double lung and. It doesn't matter what the hell you're shooting, they're gonna die.

Yeah. But obviously shot selection is number one, but then after that, you want to try to [00:19:00] play the odds and in that case, I'm playing the odds. I want to get as deep as I can. Yeah. 

[00:19:04] Dan Johnson: Yeah. What heads are you using? 

[00:19:06] Nate Thomas: They're the most expensive heads I probably could find, but they're 

[00:19:09] Dan Johnson: iron wheel solids.

Okay. So they're heavy duty. Are they one 50 green? No, they're one hundreds. That's why I'm a little bit lighter. Okay. Okay. That makes sense. Yeah yeah, those are a pretty well built broadhead and I am a huge fan of wasp broadheads. Yeah. And I think a lot of it has to do with be because of, I, it's the first pack of Broadheads that I ever shot, and I very rarely lost any deer throughout the years with them.

And so I would able to recover my deer and I was pretty happy with it. But, With that said the, if I'm gonna, I have to have this in full disclosure because WASP definitely, they pay me. I've been, I've had a absolute great relationship with these guys. Their heads are made in America, which is another thing that I really like.

Iron [00:20:00] will too, right? Yeah. Yep. Okay. So there's two, yeah, two brands made to America. That's awesome. So I know that the durability's gonna be there, the material's gonna be there, the craftsmanship is gonna be there, and that, that makes it confident for me. But the only thing I. And a lot of other broadheads are like this too.

In the Jack Hammers that I use. When I'm inside 30, it's not an issue. But when you're outside of that, you're starting to stretch out to 40, maybe a little bit longer. The, when the blades open from the top down. And they're on that hinge. Yeah. Not a like rage has their slip cams where it start.

They start up and they slide down. They don't open up like the wass do. I've never seen any type of studies about energy loss on Broadheads. They always talk about penetration, but they don't. I think it, obviously, energy loss is what leads to a lack of penetration. So the wasp [00:21:00] jackhammers that I use, they do a ton of damage, but I'm almost, I'm pretty sure that there's a good amount of energy loss going into it.

I shot my deer in 2020 into the chest. He was right at me and I put it right in him and it made it all, but, all but five or all but five inches into him. But then if I was shooting that same animal with a fixed blade, I'm sure it just would've went all the way through him, right? Yeah, right out.

His ham or something, or his guts or something. And there's some 

[00:21:29] Nate Thomas: pretty cool I don't know if you've heard of Sever Broadheads, but they're a mechanical Broadhead. Yep. I don't know where they're made. I know they're out Northwest America somewhere, but I shot those. I've never shot an animal with 'em.

Yep. So I can't tell you anything with that, but Andy did. And what's cool about their broadhead is it's deployment, so it deploys from the front and then it's got some sort of a like a pulley system, not a pulley, a pivot system. So as the blades are going through the animal, if they hit a bone, [00:22:00] it pivots so that Oh, yeah.

Yep. It doesn't it doesn't lose all that energy that it's wasting going through the bone. It basically falls off. Yeah. And then as soon as the bone gives away, it, it pops back up. That's pretty cool. I don't know. You know what that would do differently than a brand that stays open and doesn't, matter.

But yeah. I bought those because there's a guy, he's actually in Iowa. Where you are. Lus Archery adventures. Okay. I dunno if you've heard of John Lust. 

[00:22:30] Dan Johnson: Yeah. The name sounds familiar. He 

[00:22:32] Nate Thomas: tests Broadheads. That's what he does. Yeah. He's got a YouTube channel. That's all he does is test broadheads. And that sever several years ago, it tested pretty well.

And so I bought a few of 'em. They're not that expensive. But I've, like I said, I've never shot him on an animal. Truth be told, I've never shot a deer with a, a mechanical broadhead yet. Okay. It's always been fixed blade. Yeah. I've been hunting with mechanicals, but I've never shot one, so I can't really speak on mechanicals.

Those severs are the first mechanicals [00:23:00] I ever bought, and that was two years 

[00:23:01] Dan Johnson: ago. Yeah. That's crazy. I'll say this, man. I shot a dough. One year with, it was a 20 yard chip shot, maybe even a little closer. She came out, I drew back, she was slight quartering away. And I hit her. I went through her front side lung, went through her backside lung, and then I hit her the shoulder joint up front.

And I knocked her flat down. And the arrow pinned her to the ground. And and then she had, she was struggling to get up, and then she ran, and then she fell over 20 yards later. And I don't I don't, th I don't think I would've got a pass through with a mechanical, but that was with a boss a boss four blade from wasp.

So that was pretty impressive. And I don't know Now here's the question, and I, and it's pretty easy. I think I know the answer for you. It's gonna be, if you had to choose between any of 'em, it would be a fixed blade, [00:24:00] right? Yeah. You're choosing a fixed blade. Yeah. I also think that if you had to tell me I can only use one broadhead for all creatures, then I would also choose a fix blade.

But because I have the ability to choose and I. I'm gonna go hunt whitetails, I'm gonna go hunt mule deer relatively close. Then I am gonna, I am gonna sh I would probably pick a fixed blade. But, I'm glad I have the options. 

[00:24:28] Nate Thomas: There's so many like fixed blade.

Yeah, I would pick those. But then at the same time, if you're a detail-oriented person, at least, yep. There's more setup to a fixed blade. I'm very anal about my blades and the arrow it's on. Yeah. So once I find an arrow that a Broadhead likes to sit on when I tune them, I number that arrow and I number that Broadhead and they're together for the rest of the season.

Yeah. That is, there's a lot more work in the fix blade with the freaking those severs, or even like the wasp jackhammer like you were talking about. You can screw that freaking thing on any one of your [00:25:00] arrows and go hunt. It's easier and there's something to be said for that because, It's nice.

Yeah, I agree. But if I had to pick, I'd still go on the fixed 

[00:25:10] Dan Johnson: side. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. All right. Now do you do much hunting out of like box blinds or ground blinds? Zero. I hate 'em. I'm just gonna get that outta the way quick because, I've spent my whole life in a tree. All my hunting has been done from a saddle or a tree stand.

Just recently out of a saddle. But most of the time it's been from a hang on tree stand or when I was real young, a ladder stand. I get into a blind and I just feel claustrophobic in a way, I feel like I. I don't know. I feel like I should I need to see more. Or, yeah. And so obviously box blinds and ground blinds have their value probably for kids, probably for people who have destination food sources or food plots or things like that.[00:26:00] 

But for me, man, I can't I would rather sit on the ground and just be still than, yeah. Than be in a ground blind. Yeah. 

[00:26:10] Nate Thomas: You hit the nail on the head. I don't need to say much more, dude. Yeah. I will never myself probably be in a box blind if I'm hunting or blind of any sort. Yeah. Now, like last year, my son Chase killed his first deer out of a blind.

But that's because I had a little boy with me. Yeah. And actually Andy was with us too. So there's three of us. Those definitely have their place. Yeah. And I've got one, I've got one sitting in my shop right now that still needs to be put together. A tower and a blind. Yeah, but you dude, when they say it's a blind, it's not just a blind for the animals.

It's a blind for the hunter. I hate it. Yeah. I feel I can't smell the woods anymore. Yeah. I can't feel the wind on my, the back of my neck. I can't. I feel like I'm just watching a TV of the woods. Yeah. In front of me. And dude, I can't tell him [00:27:00] how, I cannot tell you how many times last year or the year before that I, had an area I wanted to go to and I just went and sat on the ground.

Yeah. I would much rather be on the ground out with nature than being a blind. That's just me. I've never liked him. Probably never will. Yeah. But as the kids hunt I have used them just because they serve a purpose for that for that area. But basically you won't catch me in one if I'm by myself.

[00:27:26] Dan Johnson: Okay. So then I think I heard you once, maybe I'm wrong, maybe it's somebody else. You, do you have ladder stands? You use? Ladder stands? Oh yeah. For the boys, for sure. For the boys, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Again, perfect for kids. Maybe older hunters. Even if you're like a rifle hunter, you can get into one fairly easy down, a clear cut or a road or something like that.

Do you, you personally have any ladder stands, let's say, in good rut spots or in some of your best spots? 

[00:27:57] Nate Thomas: Yeah, I do. I don't think you can see him, but that deer right there. No, [00:28:00] it's that one. He was killed out of a ladder stand. Okay. What I'll do with them, I actually put five together last two weekends ago.

Okay. I did this whole story about, it was an entire day of putting double ladder stands, but the only ladder stands I own are doubles. And what I'll do is if it's in a property that I know I'm gonna be at for a while I will pick areas that I like. I'll find a good tree that a double ladder stand can go in, and I will hang that tree and I will prepare that area Okay.

For that stand. Okay. Doesn't mean I won't hunt out of another tree near that stand by myself, but it's so that, so when the boys first started going with me, I had a lot of. Daddy, I wanna go with you tonight. And I had to go, Hey bud, where I'm going? You can't be with me. Because I'm going back here to this, hang on.

Or I've got my stuff on my back. I'm sorry. I really got tired of telling my sons no. So I started setting up these [00:29:00] doubles in areas I like to be too, so that if they wanted to go, I could take 'em. Yeah. And we could get in a double together and, Once again, I said, I hate blinds. I still hate 'em, even if the boys are with me, if I can help it.

Yeah. So I'd rather be in a double tree stand than a a blind. Yeah. So I'll hang 'em in those areas that I like. And I'm not scared to put 'em in areas that. I would be during the rut or, pushing in. I don't think bothering areas during the summertime really affect the deer that much.

If you're in there for a couple hours and you're out of there. I honestly make as much noise as I can when I'm setting 'em up so that the deer are well aware that I'm in there working. Yeah. Drive the side by side back there, make sure they know you're there. Then I don't think it really affects them.

And so my plan is for those five double stands to go. Throughout a few of my properties, just so the boys can go with me as much as possible this next year. So yeah, I have no problem hunting out of a double. And then sometimes if I get some information, for [00:30:00] instance, the deer behind me that I killed two seasons ago now I felt like he was gonna come from a certain way and I happened to have this tree stand right on a path because of the way I set it up.

And I'm like, man, I just. I don't see how he's not gonna sent check and he's not gonna use this path. I don't know why he wouldn't use it. And he did exactly what I thought he would do. He came straight down the path with his nose to the ground and walked within 20 yards of me and got shot, gotcha. They served their purpose and I'll probably always use double ladder stands some somehow for Yeah. At least the next 10 

[00:30:34] Dan Johnson: years. Yeah. Yeah, that makes, that's a great point. I, and eventually at some point I'm gonna get my kids in the tree with me too, and I'm gonna I'm gonna have to have something like that.

The issue is like ground blind versus. Double ladder stand, like especially if it's a young kid. I definitely think ground blinds have their place, cuz really if you are hunting out of a ground blind with a kid, then [00:31:00] I feel through managed expectations that I would understand that, it's not necessarily gonna go down tonight.

You know what I mean? I'm, if I'm out there hunting, I'm the hunter and I bring in my kid with me I'm probably just doing it to be convenient for them, probably, I don't know. I'm not going after the big buck y you know what I mean? Like I would from a strategy standpoint.

I don't know. 

[00:31:22] Nate Thomas: And as time goes on, like I've learned a lot since I started taking my sons, like the first, my son Caden, first time I ever took him hunting with me. I went out and set up two hang on stands perpendicular to each other in a tree. Yeah. And what I did was I was like what I'll do is I'll have him in front of me and then I'll have him get into the stand on the south side.

And then I'll sit on the one facing west. Yep. And he'll be right next to me. It'll be great. I didn't think of the fact that he was fucking terrified climbing that 

[00:31:52] Dan Johnson: tree at in the dark. No, 

[00:31:55] Nate Thomas: It was an evening sit. Oh, okay. So we were going in, you're talking about tree sticks instead of a ladder.

You're, you've[00:32:00] it's, I, for a kid I can see where it would be much more scary than climbing a ladder. Where you can just go up just like a ladder. And I remember that night vividly I don't remember a lot about my life, but that I remember because I'm sitting there and I'm like, am I gonna make him finish this climb?

Yeah. Or are we gonna not hunt tonight? And I was a dick and I was like, no you're almost there. Get your ass up the tree and you can do it. And when he got up there, after he got set down, then he had the time of his life. And then we had to climb down in the dark and he was scared again.

But So I just, I will set up a double setup again, because now he's been hunting with me for several years. And he's not scared of it anymore, but I just wanna try to make it easy on him. Because at the same time, they're still 10 years old, 10, 11 years old, and they're still kids and they're not us.

Yeah. So I don't want to like star 'em and, have some shit happen or something like that. That's where the ladder stand is 

[00:32:53] Dan Johnson: just really nice. Yeah. Perfect. And so I heard you mention that you are gonna be messing [00:33:00] around with a saddle this year. Why 

[00:33:03] Nate Thomas: I got a new property Okay. To me, and I just got it like two and a half weeks ago. Okay. So scouting is not really much of an option this year. You obviously you can go walking through the woods. Yeah. But seeing their travel corridors are a lot harder in the middle of the summer Yep.

Than they are in the wintertime. And I don't really wanna go blowing through there that often right now. Yep. As much as I can help it. And so I got a new property, so I have done a little bit, I put some mineral out where I could, and I've got some cameras out, obviously. Okay. And as I'm in there doing that stuff, I'm just really paying attention.

And this is funny to say, but the two other farms that I hunt, those farms suck for trees. Okay. They've got one of them is just nothing but hedge trees and like getting a double ladder stand into some of those has been the big, it's like you're just spending half your time with a chainsaw.

So this place though, I've noticed has a lot of straight. Trees with not a lot of [00:34:00] understory. Some understory obviously, but straight trees. And I'm just like, I could be in that one. I could be in that one. Yeah. I could be in that one. And I just thought, dude, I'm, I don't know this property.

It's probably gonna take me this year to learn this property as I'm hunting. And that just brought me back to one thing saddle. Yeah. My running gun set up that I had before with a a tree stand. It's fine, but it's heavy as shit. And I don't like carrying it in. What were you using it?

It's an ex, I love, I like the stand, but it's an X O P vanish. Yep. And then I've got the tree stand transport system on it. Yep. And then at the time I was, I'm using hawk helium sticks. Yeah. With daisy chains instead of the buckles. But every time I would go in and hunt with it, and I haven't done that in a couple years now I would feel like I was packing an elk in.

Yeah. Like it was heavy. What I would do is I would have the tree stand on my back, and I would fold the seat down, and then I would place my backpack on that seat, and I would strap everything together. Now, I probably had [00:35:00] more stuff in my backpack than I needed to have, but it just, it wasn't fun for me.

I wasn't enjoying going in like that. Ju it was just too heavy. Yeah. So I'm just like, if I'm gonna be doing this run and gun stuff at this new property where I need to see new stuff and new spots, and, I might see a buck 80 yards away one night and I need to make a move two nights later.

It's just, it's a saddle. They, there's so many companies now that make good stuff. And you've heard enough good things about 'em that I, it was a pretty easy decision to make. Yeah, 

[00:35:36] Dan Johnson: I got one. Yeah, I got a new one too this year. It's called the Lockdown from Tethered. And the thing that I really like about it is it's got two pockets, not nec, they're not pockets, but there's little packages, little containers that you can unzip that you and put stuff in. And so I'm the kind of guy who likes to, whenever I do a run and gun, everything is in my pockets [00:36:00] or in my my hoodie. And so I'll be able to easily pull out a bow rope or pull out a a screwing step or something like that.

So I have the other saddle as well. The man, the xl or whatever. I, shit, I forget the name of it right now. But anyway, so that one worked great, but I felt like I was still having to dig into, I was digging in my pockets and trying to get my backpack off and things like that.

This one, everything's gonna be right on my hip, and so it's gonna be easy to set up. And then by the time I'm up the tree, the only thing I have to do is hang my backpack up. Pull my bow up, hang it, and I'm set. I'm good. I'm good to go. So yeah, 

[00:36:43] Nate Thomas: I'm pretty excited. Like I said I, all I have is the saddle and the platform right now.

I still gotta get my sticks and whatever else I need. But, so I haven't tried it yet right. And played with it. So I'm, obviously, I've gotta practice because it's different than a tree stand, but [00:37:00] dude, The platform, I got the larger platform. I, all my stuff's, it's a trophy line set up.

And so I got the mission platform I think it's called, and it's bigger, but it's bigger than the small one. But it's like nothing, dude. You can just sit there and Yeah. Hold it in your, the palm of your hand almost. So yeah, I'm exci I'm just excited about that. And then you're gonna be wearing the.

Saddle Yep. Into the woods. Yep. So I haven't decided what sticks I'm gonna go with yet. Obviously trophy line has a setup that I might go with, but I've heard a lot of good shit about those tethered one sticks. Yeah. Yeah. Just so how light they are. Yeah. 

[00:37:37] Dan Johnson: And they're pretty good stuff like that, so Yeah.

Yeah. They're pretty light hang ons. Like I still feel like tree stands definitely have their place. And the reason I I'm still mobile but I feel like I'm gonna have across all of my properties, I'm gonna have four total, that's like 600, some acres [00:38:00] of only four preset tree stands.

The rest is gonna be bouncing around on a a saddle and o obviously all of my out-of-state hunts will be from a saddle, but I feel like hang ons definitely have their place, especially in a morning hunt. I don't care who you are. Setting up going mobile in the pitch, black dark sucks a little bit, right?

You can't see your, obviously you got your headlamp on. You wanna be as quiet and less intrusive as possible, but, There, even if you got a saddle, even if you think you're a pro at setting up, there's still a little bit of intrusion versus walking to a preset tree stand and climbing straight up and snapping in.

[00:38:50] Nate Thomas: No doubt. And let that set that property I'm telling you about. I'm probably gonna set up a few of them. Yeah. Cuz I've got a few and I've picked what I think is a good spot. Yep. I [00:39:00] love, hang on still. And from a running gun standpoint, You, you used to and still probably will at some point.

That's all you did. Was run a gun with a hang on. The issue I had was my setup probably just wasn't the best. Like my X o p just a little heavier than a lone wolf. Little heavier than maybe a few others. The hawks, the hawk sticks that I had a little heavier than the rest.

Yeah. The way I took it in probably. Put way too much shit in my backpack. Yeah. Compared to what I needed to have in there, it could have been easier. But, there's definitely a place for that. But the way I looked at it for this next year is if I'm gonna run and gun one way or the other.

I'm gonna go as light as I can because then I'll do it. Yeah. If it's heavy and I don't want to do it, I'm not going to. So I'm gonna go as light as I can and that's obviously gonna be a saddle. Yeah. So 

[00:39:56] Dan Johnson: the thing that I need to figure out is I'm [00:40:00] the guy who goes to my tree, stand in just a I, I take off layers and add layers throughout the, an entire hunt.

By the time I get to a tree, I'm usually soaking wet. With sweat. Yeah. Unless I just wear a base layer and pull the, what I call the freeze method where I'm just so cold. But by the time I climb up the tree, I start to warm up and then I start throwing layers on. And if I time it I can do it.

But most of the time I'm wet, I'm sweaty. And then, you know that the bait layer there, the issue that I'm like with a saddle is just like the layering part of it. That the what I gotta try to figure out is how I'm going to layer my clothes in a saddle. I hadn't thought of that yet.


[00:40:49] Nate Thomas: Yeah, that'll be weird cuz I'm the same way. I get hot, easy. So 

[00:40:51] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Most of my saddle hunts have been in, just throw a jacket on. I was able to stand up on the platform put my jacket on and then I was [00:41:00] good. But we're not talking about bib, anything about bib overalls. We're not taught, and I think the way most of the bib overalls, they snap unsnapped down a little bit.

So I might be able to tuck the front part of the saddle up into it, buckle up and then button it up close with just the ropes hanging out of the the overalls. 

[00:41:25] Nate Thomas: Yeah. Cuz isn't that, obviously people just heard, I just got one so I haven't hunted outta one yet, but, yep. One of the things that people, complain about, quote unquote, is, like their jackets riding up on 'em Yep.

And exposing their back or whatever. So like a lot of people talk about hunting out of bibs because Yep. It's it's nice. Then you don't have that problem. I've never been a bib wear. I've got a few and I might wear 'em, but that's a good point. I never really thought of that, cuz my thought was I was gonna put the saddle on out the truck and then go in.

Yep. But, or do you wait until you get to the base of [00:42:00] the tree and then make sure you put on what you need to put on for that hunt? Yeah. Before that. I guess I'll have to figure that out as I'm 

[00:42:08] Dan Johnson: hunting. Yeah, for sure. That's just one more thing you gotta think about when, you know, trying new equipment.

The more I've watched saddle hunting, I used to think that there was a lot of movement in saddle hunting. Right where if you're in a tree stand, you're just sitting there. You can turn your head and look. Maybe you can stand up and turn around. But I feel if I set my saddle up right, and I messed around with this a lot it's almost more of a natural movement to swing.

It's not, I don't know. I feel like it's more like a tree branch would move than it would be standing up straight, turning around in a stand. I haven't gotten busted in a saddle yet. I haven't killed a deer out of a saddle either, but I haven't gotten busted yet either. And I had some pretty close encounters with a dough that, some, like a dough group this year.

And so I [00:43:00] was, I don't know. I'm looking forward to expanding my knowledge base of saddle hunting. That's 

[00:43:05] Nate Thomas: a perfect way to put it. Yeah, I'm looking forward to here's what I'm looking forward to. I'm looking forward to cussing at the freaking thing and saying, this is stupid. Because that, that I guarantee you, the first time I go to use it, that's what I'm gonna do.

That's funny. And then I'll be like, I'll probably call Mike and be like, nah, screw this. I'm not hunting outta this anymore, blah, blah, blah. And then by the third time, I'm gonna just be like, this is the best thing ever. Yeah. Anything I ever do. That's how it goes. Yep. 

[00:43:31] Dan Johnson: So you'll bitch about the saddle not being right, but then you'll go back to the tree stand, then you'll bitch about it being too heavy.

Yep. So yeah, I'm the same. So I'm looking 

[00:43:41] Nate Thomas: forward to being super agitated for the first couple weeks of my hunting season. Yeah. Out of a saddle. And it's not the saddle's fault, and it's not gonna be anybody's fault, but my own because stuff always comes up that you don't think about. Like we just talked about the clothing thing. Something's gonna [00:44:00] come up that I'm like, oh man, I, this, I really wish there was something I had right here for my bag to pull up. Yeah. Or why the hell am I going back down the tree? I need to have this, and I'll be aggravated that entire hunt.

Yep. Because I didn't think of that before. Yep. And then eventually I'll work all my kinks out and then I'll be happier in hell. But I know it's coming. It always does. Yeah. So For sure. 

[00:44:22] Dan Johnson: Yeah, for sure. Let's see here. Do you ever wear rubber boots? Never. Never. Neither do I was going to, I feel like rubber boots maybe have their place on a warmer weather, really wet scenario.

I know a lot of guys in the south, pretty much, if they're hunting swamps, you've gotta, you have to have rubber boots. But for me there's always some kind of high ground to walk on. I unless it's like, unless I had to cross a creek that I couldn't jump over or do a quick splash into I'm not wearing rubber boots.

[00:45:00] But I think that's it, man. That's all I really those two things were really what I wanted to cover today in those types of scenarios. Oh. Saddle verse. Hang on. Really? I, we were talking about scenarios. Ground blinds, great for food, plot hunting, great for rifle hunting, long, longer distances, maybe kids, that kind of stuff.

Hang ons. Sure. Hang ons. There's a lot of overlap in my opinion between hang ons and hang ons and saddles, especially when I feel like. And maybe I'm wrong on this, but I feel like with my saddle I had to trim a little bit more compared to getting a tree stand in. And the reason I say that is because when you're on, you're facing the tree.

So then you have to, you gotta shoot, you're shooting, you're sometimes you're shooting towards the tree. And I felt like I had, like when I was doing my running guns with saddle hunting, I had to trim a little bit more around my body level than I did [00:46:00] with and maybe it's because with a saddle you get, you have more shot opportunity on the back side of the tree than you do.

Yeah. I think with a stand. So maybe that's what I was trying to get at. I 

[00:46:11] Nate Thomas: think, and also hang ons are like super versatile. If you think about it, you can. There's hang ons that are little as hell that you can run and gum with. There's big ass hang ons. You can like, so honestly, hang ons almost can be like a ladder stand Yep.

In some instances where you can do what I was talking about where you have two and one tree and you take a kid in it. Yeah. You can have a small hang-on where you're running and gun and you can have larger hang ons that you preset. Yeah. Which is basically a ladder stand, but it's not. Yeah. Yeah.

And I will always have hang ons. I, I. I will have a lot of preset setups because I like to do that. Yeah. So they're super versatile. I definitely will always use those. Just because I'm using a saddle this year does not mean I won't be in a hang, hang outta hang ons maybe as much.

And honestly, we didn't even talk about this, [00:47:00] but. There is one type of hunting that has intrigued me more and more. And I've done more and more of it. And that's hunting off the ground. Yeah, you're right. You're right. So because all the stuff we just talked about, that can all go away when you're off the ground.

Yeah. And you're now, obviously there's negatives to hunting off the ground and I definitely understand those negatives every time I'm ever on the ground. I think to myself, boy, it'd be nice to be 10 feet up in the air right now. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. But man, I'm telling you, it's just so free.

Yeah. It's just such a free feeling that there's another option for people. If you don't have the money to go buy a saddle, you don't have the money to buy a few hang ons and hang them or some ladder stands. Just go sit at the base of a tree and stay still. Yeah. Play the wind the same way. Yep. You need to worry about your wind a little more.

On the ground for sure, because now you're right there. But. Dude, there's, I know a buddy of one of our partners, he's a Habitat guy. He is a straight up killer and he does not hunt out of anything but [00:48:00] his own two feet. Yeah. 

[00:48:02] Dan Johnson: Yeah. So my dumb ass, there's lots of people up. Yeah. My dumb ass is messing up, messing that up.

Somehow. I'm too big to be stealthy. Like I wasn't. That is true. You were a large man. I was not born to be quiet. So like I'm not a cheetah, I'm a rhinoceros. So 

[00:48:21] Nate Thomas: you are a large individual. That's where I have a, an advantage, Eric, cuz I can get into areas that you, you have to just basically stand out there like a Sasquatch.

[00:48:30] Dan Johnson: You're a timber ninja. Yeah, and I'm a d like, I'm just like a truck. Going through the field, so yeah. Yeah. Hey man, I really appreciate you doing this last minute. Thank you very much for hopping on. If you guys haven't checked out the Missouri Woods and Water podcast, it's great. If you live in Missouri, it's also great cuz they cover a lot of nationwide issues as well.

Go check out Nate and the rest of the Missouri Woods and water crew. Other than that Nate man, thank you and good luck with the rest of your summer. Thanks buddy. 


[00:48:59] Nate Thomas: your [00:49:00] Bowa folks.