Early Season Bowhunting Strategy & Success

Show Notes

On this episode of the Nine Finger Chronicles, Dan chats with Josh Honeycutt to talk about his recent early season bowhunting success. Josh, an experienced hunter and outdoor writer who continues to find success every season, breaks down the strategy he used to locate and understand this bucks pattern. Thermals, wind directions, and how the terrain effected those variables, plays a huge role in how Josh got within shooting range of this big Kentucky buck.  Josh actually slept in the stand one night in order to keep from spooking the buck who was heading towards his truck. Another amazing story! Enjoy!

Show Transcript

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Mike check one, two, Mike check. Coming in hot on a Friday, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the nine finger chronicles podcast. I'm your host, Dan Johnson. And today we're going to be talking about some early season success [00:01:00] in Kentucky with my buddy Josh Honeycutt. Now, Josh is an avid bow hunter, a serious hunter altogether, and he's an outdoor writer.

So he's had the opportunity to talk to A lot of people throughout the years about what their strategy is and things like that. And so we talk a little bit about this early season timeframe, but really what this episode is about some success. And I can't remember the score. He gives it in the episode, but it's a stud early season buck.

He breaks down the entire story for us, like where this deer was living, what the deer density is. In that area, we talk about a major adjustment to the terrain, which was taking it out of CRP and putting it in crops and the impact he feels that will have both early season and late season.

And then, ultimately we get [00:02:00] into this particular buck that he has watched for several years and then given the opportunity to. And so it's a really good episode. I'm sure you guys are going to enjoy it before we get into the rest of the episode. However, we are going to do a little commercial break and I really appreciate you guys taking time to not skip through these and listen to these commercials because ultimately these commercials.

pay the bills and allow this content to be free. Thank you guys very much for tuning in as always. And before we get it, actually, before we get into this episode, I know a lot of us in October we, there's a lot of October openers in there. If you have already started hunting man, good luck, right?

But if you haven't good luck and I am sending good vibes out to each and every one of you, because I. Truly, truly want each and every one of you to find success this season, whatever that may be. Maybe it's just [00:03:00] getting a buck or filling the freezer or getting a big buck, having it mounted on your wall, whatever your goal is.

I hope you accomplish it this upcoming season, man. And then when you do accomplish that goal, you call me. Or hit me up through Instagram and you let me know, and we'll talk about it right here on the podcast. Huge shout out to all of you. Thank you very much for tuning in and continuing to make the Nine Finger Chronicles and the Sportsman's Empire what it is now, commercial time.

Code blue sense, right? I got five mock scrapes out there setting right now. Hopefully when I go to check the trail cameras that are over top of them, they start to get I'm starting to get some information about what deer are working them. If deer are working them, hopefully I did it right. And I really just want I really just want these to work because I, if they do.

I'm really hoping I can start to use them as a [00:04:00] year round strategy and so huge shout out to Code Blue Scents for partnering with me this season. If you are looking for any type of scent control products or synthetic deer urine or real deer urine go to codebluescents. com.

There is a discount code. NFC 2. 0 and that's going to get you 20 percent off. Please go take advantage of that. They have scent elimination products laundry detergent products. They have a deodorant, of course the synthetic and real deer urines as well. And the orbital rope a dope system that you can use for mock scrape.

So there's that. And then. Woodman's pal, right? So in order to clear out all these places where I hung trail cameras over mock scrapes, I used a Woodman's pal to hack away, chop down the vines, the grass, actually rough up the dirt. So the Woodman's pal is this awesome habitat tool. It's made in America.[00:05:00] 

It's built to take a beating, very durable, very sharp. So if you want more information on the Woodman's Pal, go check out woodmanspal. com. And last but not least, Huntworth. Huntworth is... Is gaining traction big time in this I guess you would call it the hunting community, the hunting industry.

I'm starting to notice more and more people gravitating towards Huntworth and I feel like the reason why is because they are very close. To from a quality standpoint compared to some of the elite brands that are out there, what elite brands I'm talking about. So the quality is matching some of those elite brands and then the affordability comes in anywhere between 40 to 50 percent cheaper.

Then some of these elite brands and so you can get really high quality clothing and hunting apparel and hunting gear when you decide [00:06:00] to choose hunt worth so What I always tell people is go visit Huntworth's website, huntworthgear. com. Check out all of the offerings that they have, early season, when it's hot mid season, when you need a couple extra layers, especially in the mornings and then the cold late season timeframe, they have.

They have garments for every situation in a variety of camo patterns. So go check that out huntworthgear. com. That's it. Let's get into today's episode where we talk with my man, Josh Honeycutt on his early season 

[00:06:34] Josh Honeycutt: success. Three, 

[00:06:38] Dan Johnson: two, one. Alright, ladies and gentlemen. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna start over.

I'm just gonna, I'm gonna force it through. Josh Honeycutt, man. How we doing? 

[00:06:50] Josh Honeycutt: Good. How are 

[00:06:51] Dan Johnson: you? I'm doing good, man. I'm doing good. Hey, first off, congratulations. Big deer in the dirt and it's not even October yet. [00:07:00] 

[00:07:00] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah, thank you. I don't kill big deer often, but when I do I tried to appreciate it because like I said it's about once every five plus years whenever I kill a deer like this one.


[00:07:10] Dan Johnson: That's awesome, man. I'll tell you what I'd take him. I take him any day of the week, any season of my life. That's a great buck and we're going to break this all down. But before we get into the meat and potatoes of this particular story what else do you have going on this year outside of this Kentucky hunt that we're going to talk about?

[00:07:31] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah. Yeah. As far as other hunts, I I hunt Kentucky and Ohio every year. I've got a place that up there, I hunt some, both some private land and some public land up there. There's a just, I've done some on and off hunting in Indiana throughout the years. And I've picked up a piece of private land up there that I'm going to hunt this season as well.

And then hunt some public land in Tennessee. So Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee are the rest of the year for me. 

[00:07:56] Dan Johnson: Okay. And as far as where the [00:08:00] excitement level, like we're talking now before you shot this buck, the excitement level leading up to this season. Knowing that you have, you sounds to me like you have quite a bit of opportunity to hunt.

You probably knew this guy was around what was your excitement level leading into this 

[00:08:16] Josh Honeycutt: season? Yeah. Yeah. This is a deer that's been on the property. So we've hunted this property. My family has for about, I think this is the ninth season since 2015. So right around nine seasons, I think eight or nine seasons, but anyway, he's been on the property for the past.

3 years. The deer was only, that's him right back there, but he's only four and a half years old this year. At two and a half, we didn't really pay a lot of attention to him last year. He was probably a mid 30s, 12 pointer. He had split G4s on each side and, it was like, oh, that's a deer that could really turn into something.

And so obviously this year when he showed back up, I was certainly ready to try to get after it. 

[00:08:55] Dan Johnson: Awesome. All right. Let's talk a little bit about this property that you hunt in [00:09:00] Kentucky. Give us the breakdown maybe of the farm specifically and then the neighborhood surrounding it.

Terrain. Is it like a timber ag mix? Is it big woods? What's the story with this area? 

[00:09:12] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah, so historically this was a CRP farm. But it just came out of a 15 year contract and they didn't renew and a lot of properties aren't renewing this year because they're not able to pay them as much as they can get from, ag leases.

So a lot of farms are coming out of CRP. This is one of them. So this particular property historically had long stretches, not a lot of timber, I would say probably it's about 200 acres the property is. And it's probably got a total of maybe 30 acres, 40 acres of timber on it, but it's just got two big blocks, long blocks of timber on the east and west sides, and then the middle of it, and it's, the southern, and some other little pockets were CRP.

And this year, Everything that was CRP turned to ag. And basically [00:10:00] half the property is in corn, half the property is in beans, and they're going to rotate each year from now on. So a lot of these deer, the mature deer, they bedded pretty much all year long in the timber anyway. So it really didn't change where the deer were bedding at.

But I think it has cut down on the number of deer that's on the property simply because they lost a lot of that bedding cover there. That was they use CRP to bed in, all year long, not as much when it's hot because they just, that sun's beating down on them. But but so I did notice the deer density dropped a little bit, CRP vanished to disperse some of the deer.

But it didn't seem to hurt the mature bucks at all because the ma mature bucks were taken. 'cause the both of the timber blocks are on high ground , and then it slopes down toward the middle where the C R P is at. And so it really didn't diminish the number of mature bucks that we've seen so far.

It dropped some of the number of those in younger bucks, but the bucks, the mature bucks, were still taking that for Premier bedding. That they've always used. And the does and the smaller books had bedded at the lower [00:11:00] elevations and then down in the CRP. So it's not impacted and I don't think it will impact the property outside of the rut.

What I do think will change is how well the rut is because the, because come the, come the rut each year, that property just popped because it was just so much contiguous. Yeah. CRP that the bucks would just push those does down into that CRP out of the timber, get them away from the rest of the herd and they would just run like crazy in daylight in that CRP out in the open.

Cause it was, you got head high and chest high grass, the deer feel safe. Yeah. And now they don't have that. 

[00:11:37] Dan Johnson: So you're thinking that actually this change to ag is going to hurt 

[00:11:43] Josh Honeycutt: the property. Yes. No, I think it's going to help the property early and late season, and I think it's going to hurt it during the rut.


[00:11:51] Dan Johnson: All right. Yeah. It makes, 

[00:11:53] Josh Honeycutt: Makes a lot of sense. I'll come back. I can come back to you maybe after deer season. Absolutely. 

[00:11:58] Dan Johnson: Absolutely. Now [00:12:00] for this particular buck though did you know about him last year or any previous 

[00:12:05] Josh Honeycutt: years? Yeah, so he so so I had him on camera as a two and a half year old and last year's a three and a Half year old actually passed the deer and saw the deer probably five to ten times last year And he put on probably 30 or 35 inches from last year this year Yeah, and so if you've got a thousand if you've got a thousand acres don't shoot that deer four and a half He really honestly he had the genetic potential to be a 200 plus inch deer at maybe five and a half or six and a half, but I just can't walk a deer like that for one, because I'm just not, I'm not that type of hunter.

I can't pass up a high 160s, 170, 170 inch deer. I just can't do that. And two, even though I would love to have seen that deer in another year or two. The neighbors weren't going to let that happen. And I know everybody says that, but really, honestly, this deer would have died before the season was over.

Last year, it's [00:13:00] funny. We the people that I kind of lease with and, hunt with on the property, as well as some of the neighbors actually got together and they saw this last year we did and they're like, that deer could turn into something. And so everybody last year was like, oh, let's pass that year.

Let's make sure he makes it another year, which was good. I had at that point, I had or 3 times anyway. And so that's, I was, I was on board with that and everybody else was too. And fast forward to the late season last year, and I had to do something that really kicked me in the gut.

And, so I took a youth hunter on that property. He had never shot a deer before. And, I had to make him pass that deer. Yeah, and so I felt really bad about it. Oh man, that's a tough one. Yeah so basically before the hunt started, I showed him a picture of the deer and there was a bunch of bucks over there.

A bunch of does, a bunch of young bucks, several mature bucks too. And I was like, there's a lot of deer over here. This is the type of place when you go deer hunting, you see about 30 deer. And [00:14:00] if you see less than 20, it's been a bad day. And at best, in a full day of deer hunting, during the rut, we've seen upward of 60 unique deer.

Yeah. Some of those does might have been counted twice. But anyway. So we get there, before we actually get out of the vehicle, I tell him, I show him a picture, I was like, You can shoot any deer except for this one. And I've already promised several people that this deer won't get shot this year.

And of course I tell him, I was like, we probably won't see the deer. Because I went to a spot where I didn't expect to see the deer. I didn't want to put him right in the middle of that deer's core area. And so I didn't, we got well away from where that deer beds. Lo and behold, that was the first year we saw.

Yeah. And so it was re I know everybody listening to this right now. I was like, Oh my goodness. They got this guy's a, an absolute dog turd. And I felt like a dog turd, but I'd already promised several people, including myself, that this deer would live another year. And so I had to call him off the deer.

We had him. 25 yards and he was sitting there with a crossbow in late season and chip shot broadside and it is what it is Fortunately, I but I don't think that was all bad though. And let me [00:15:00] explain my you know My reason for that Anytime you take a deer hunter and they go out their very first trip The very first two or three hours that they've ever went deer hunting and they shoot up a, a nice deer like that.

I'm a firm believer that it runs 'em, I 

[00:15:15] Dan Johnson: agree 100%. I have stories on the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast that, back, that fact up there was, this guy told me, I think he was 16 years old, shot like a 180 8 and he said, After that, nothing interested, I had no interest in shooting, locating bucks anymore because I had already shot a giant deer.

And so for the next couple seasons after that, he was like where are all these big deer at? And basically what happened is he got lucky that first year. And he went he left hunting. And finally he came back as an adult. But dude, I agree 100 percent that whether that, whether, whether it's a listener of this episode or that kid himself was like, dude, Josh [00:16:00] Honeycutt, he's an a hole dude for, for pulling that kid off that it dude I think that was the right move.

[00:16:06] Josh Honeycutt: It ended up working out. So he ended up that was like I said, that was the first time we went like the first couple of hours that he'd ever been deer hunting. And and so we ended up having to go probably 5 times before he finally ended up getting a deer and we hunted. It was late season. We hunted some with a crossbow, some during the muzzleloader season.

This is Kentucky for those that I don't think I've already said that. But and he ended up getting a nice buck. He ended up getting a bigger deer. He ended up getting a more mature buck. So that was a three and a half year old deer last year. He ended up killing a deer that was probably four and a half, maybe five and a half.

And and it ended up being about the same score wise but it was a more mature deer. And so he actually ended up doe first. I think it was probably the 5th, 6th, 7th time that we went and of course it was late season. We've had, had some close calls, actually stalked some deer, with a crossbow.

We actually got, he got to experience a lot of different things in those 7 days and see the different nuances of deer hunting. From [00:17:00] encounters to tactical approaches and this, that, and the other. So it was actually a good thing that it took him, 5, 6, 7 days to finally fill that tag versus, the first 2 hours.

But eventually, we ended up, I think it was the last day that he ended up going, he shot a doe. And it was really early in the hunt. We had a nice cold front that pushed through and dropped the temperatures. And so the deer were moving early and he ended up shooting a doe. And then we still had two and a half hours, three hours of daylight.

And so I was like, we can sit here if you want to and try to get you. a buck, and he's yeah, let's try that. And killing a, a nice buck. Closer to sunset. So it worked out, but that was the, that was the summary of what happened with this deer in 2022.

[00:17:37] Dan Johnson: Okay. And so you got them as a two year old, you got them as a three year old on the property you, about this buck, right? Yeah. Where. Explain to us where he was living and what he was doing. And then if you felt like this new introduction of ag into the area was going to just make him go somewhere 

[00:17:59] Josh Honeycutt: else.[00:18:00] 

Yeah. So last year he, he, this deer is this deer's personality. So when you research, I'm a big follower of the Mississippi state university deer lab. I love their research. And I actually just did a blog post for real true. com on that. And it talks about the different personalities of deer.

And so the MSU has actually studied and created nickname, not nicknames, but labels, so to speak, for different personality types, as far as how much or little deer move. And so they give these deer. Different, put them in different categories, essentially. And, this deer was what you would call like a transient deer, he was very apt to move, he was very sporadic, he moved a lot, but he was never consistent. Some bucks I've hunted have had very small core areas, very consistent moved very little in daylight, but when they moved, there they were. This deer... Was not afraid to move in daylight, but he just was so inconsistent.

He would do this today and something different tomorrow Now he [00:19:00] this year that changed a little bit. So he was more reserved to move in daylight Actually, I put my cameras out early august right at the beginning of august. I think and from like mid august I ended up killing the deer. I'm gonna pull my calendar up here when I killed the deer last tuesday on september the second excuse me, September the 12th not Tuesday.

For that month period, I probably only had maybe four daylight afternoon appearances on trail camera. And I did some glassin from afar to try to find this deer too and figure him out. And I never did see him when I was glassin from afar, glassin beans. He didn't move a lot in daylight, but when he did move, it was always in somewhere different.

And historically he used the entire farm and some of the neighboring farms too. Everybody was seeing this deer. Everybody knew about it. And so he was using every bit of five, six, 700 acres probably. This year, so far, he really honed in on, and so I didn't have a full season with this deer, [00:20:00] so it was really not a good sample, but for this summer, and leading into September when I killed him, he pretty much was very loyal this year to his summertime, early season veterinarian.

He had a couple different ones that he was using, so I like, I would, on trail cameras, I would see him in the morning going back into this veterinary or that veterinary. Afternoons, he would either come out of this veterinary or that veterinary. But he was pretty much using two different bedding areas pretty reliably, but what he would do of an afternoon and night when he would leave those was so sporadic and really seemingly now after I started studying trail camera, data and daylight photos and wind directions, there's a pattern emerged, but just on the surface, it seemed really sporadic and almost without thought.

What this deer was doing because he could go in any direction for food. He had beans and corn, you know in every direction. Gotcha. 

[00:20:54] Dan Johnson: So It was almost Because what most deer do and [00:21:00] this is from my experience is They will go Let's just use soybeans for an example. When they're ripe, they're going from their bed to the soybeans back and forth every night.

Oh, acorn trees dropping. They're going to go there until the food source either runs out or dries up or changes or whatever it is. Then they go to a new food source. And so whatever is the freshest and whatever, things like that. And so it's Interesting to hear you say that because this buck goes against the grain of, what you would call the law of averages on how deer move and what food source he's hitting and things like that.

It's less of a straight line. 

[00:21:46] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah and he was hitting beans 99 percent of the time, but he had beans like he saw. So his bedding areas on top of the hill on the top of the hill is timbered. And then he's got soybeans to the northwest, west, [00:22:00] southwest, south, east, northeast, northwest. He could go in any direction he wants to get beans.

What I've, and there's corn off to the west and to the east too. But so there's beans in every direction. And so he was hitting beans most of the time, but he's Ah, I like those beans today. Oh, I like those beans today. But whenever I started studying trail cameras, And the daytime pictures and not so much the daytime pictures because I didn't have a bunch of those, but those photos that were at least close to daytime.

Right after sun, right after legal light ended in the afternoon or right before, legal light started of a morning, the trail camera showed me that he was hitting, going in different directions from his bedding areas, bedding and pretty, here or here most of the time, but he, depending on which way the wind was blowing would determine which beans he went and ate that day.

[00:22:46] Dan Johnson: Okay. Instead of finding one end spot, you found two ending spots where he was ending up. You found the same bed, but based off of the wind direction, you're able [00:23:00] to determine what part of the beans he's going to. Which, I look at that and I say, dude, that's awesome. Now you know exactly what he's doing.

You just have more information about how this deer moves. 

[00:23:15] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah, and a lot, a lot of times, like I said, it seemed like this deer was being really sporadic and really random, but he wasn't he still was in a sense but there was more of a pattern there than I realized. Once I got down and started digging through the weeds and the way that I personally like to do that is I like to look at the time stamps on the trail camera photos, the direction of travel and also go back and I use weather underground.

There's probably other services, but I use weather underground to check the historical. wind direction for that timestamp. And that tells me what the wind direction was now, not that might not have been blowing exactly like that. I'll get into that a little bit later. Might not be blowing exactly the way it's projecting it to on that, you know what the weather channels or the weather source says it was.

And, because topography really [00:24:00] packs that wind direction as you and everybody listening knows. But so it may not be, if it's, if it says it was a north, it might not have been exactly a north. It might have actually been blowing like out of the northeast or the northwest in that spot at that particular time.

Excuse me. But even if that's the case, you still, once you learn that property and know what the wind does in an area, when you see what that. Either looking at historical data or looking at future, forecasts. If you see that it's blowing north, you're like, oh it says it's blowing north today and that particular spot is going to be blowing northeast or northwest.

And so what I come to realize is that deer really liked to come in there on a westerly or southerly ish wind. He did not like to come in to the spot that I was hunting. And with a northerly like a North, basically from a North to Southeast, he didn't like to come in there. Okay. From a South up to around a Northwest, he would come in there.

And most of the [00:25:00] time it was a South to a West. Okay. 

[00:25:03] Dan Johnson: You just omitted a whole bunch of wind directions that are pointless to hunt at that point, right? If that buck is your target, then. You say to yourself there's no point in me going in there on these, on this northeast or eastern wind. I'm waiting for a south.

I'm waiting for a west or a northwest. And those are my attack days. 

[00:25:25] Josh Honeycutt: Initial and 99 percent of the time and for 99 percent of the properties, that's going to work. But what I realized for this particular spot, and it doesn't make sense because it didn't seem like it's the type of topography that, so I've hunted this property a long time, but I had not hunted that particular exact spot.

And how wind can be different for, 10 yards this way or 20 yards that way. But I had never hunted that exact spot until this season, hunted close. tree stand locations 50 yards away, 40 yards away, 30 yards away, but that particular spot and I can't explain it, but the wind always blows in one of two directions right there.

It's so [00:26:00] weird. Because I didn't think the topography was going to impact it that much, but it does. And so what I realized is most of the time, even if it's forecast in northeast or south, most of the time in that particular spot, that wind is coming back south or southeast. It basically it either blows southeast or northwest it's, and it's not a channel.

You would expect something like that in like a valley with two hills on the side. Yeah. So if it's like it's, so if it's like it's running north and south, if it's a northwest wind, the wind's blowing down the gut north or if it's out of the south somewhere it's going. This isn't like that, this is up toward a hilltop, but for some reason, and maybe it was just the way the thermals were working, cause I didn't have a lot of strong winds on the days that I was hunting.

So maybe it was more thermal action. I still don't know how that explains it and I can't explain it but anyway, I hunted that particular spot three times, and even when the wind said that it was just slightly different or greatly different, that wind was always coming out of the south, southeast. And that [00:27:00] benefited, and sometimes it would turn and go southwest.

But anyway, that deer liked to come in on a south wind, so that worked for me, even though sometimes it wasn't doing what it says it was supposed to doing but yeah, so I digressed a little bit there So what we were talking about though works for 99 percent of sits, you know When you're like whenever I've hunted past bucks and I've looked at the wind directions, most areas that you're hunting most stand locations are going to operate that way.

This was just a weird anomaly. And so I bring it up just to point out that there may be hunters out there who don't realize most of them probably do, but don't take what the weather channel is saying for the wind direction at stand location at face value. Absolutely. 

[00:27:42] Dan Johnson: That's a great point. That is a great point.

I've learned that lesson so many times, like it took me a while. You get up into a tree. It's like, why isn't it north? The, it says it's north, but it's west. Or, they're obviously not taking into consideration any type [00:28:00] of thermal disruption or any type of vegetation or terrain, and things like that.

So that's an absolute great point. 

[00:28:08] Josh Honeycutt: And to the and furthermore, those data, weather data, that's coming from a weather station that might be 20 or 30 miles away. Exactly. And it might be reading west on that weather station, but where you're at, it might be like on the edge of the jet stream or on the edge of a front and it's doing something completely different.

[00:28:25] Dan Johnson: Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So you started putting the pieces of the puzzle together as far as how this deer was coming out of his bed and going to eat. How many trail cameras did you have in the area? And was that the key indicator in how he was moving? 

[00:28:48] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah, yes and no. He really, so I had probably on the property, I have more trail cameras than this, but in that particular area where I was.

actively targeting and felt like I had a chance. [00:29:00] And honestly, I felt like this was the only spot that I had an opportunity to kill this deer because he was the timber I was talking about on the east and west side stays on. It's on the property line. So some of that timber is on us. Some of it's on the neighbors on each side.

And so the hilltop is where numerous properties come together and everybody's got a piece of the pie, so to speak. Now, on the east side where I was hunting, we have the bulk of the timber. But he could have went there. a few 100 yards to the north and been on a different neighbor. 50 60 depending on where he was bedding at the time, you know which bed he was using on the hilltop.

You can win 100 150 yards from his bed to the northeast and been on another property. 125 150 yards to the east and been on another southeast been on another like he was right there where a bunch of properties meet and so he was, the way the property lays out is the timbers on each side and then the ags down in the middle.

And so he was coming toward the middle of the property when he came to our beans. Like I said, some days it seemed like he was, I don't know this for sure, but it seemed like he was going to the neighbor's beans because [00:30:00] I wouldn't either, A, wouldn't see him, or B, wouldn't get any kind of trail camera.

Movement from the deer. So it seemed like on those other wins, he was going to the neighbors. Whereas whenever I had the wins that I felt like he was comfortable coming down toward and I think those overarching wind directions applied that we were talking about earlier, those consistent south and westerly winds that he liked were consistent for the general area.

But once you got to that particular stand location, yeah, The winds just got a little funky. So I think those overarching wind directions that he liked to come toward our beans on still was relevant despite the funky winds that were going on in that particular location. I ended up shooting but anyway, I had to answer your question.

I think I had probably five. Trail cameras in that particular area, and he was not hitting any of them, but one Okay, and those trail cameras were all within probably a 75 yard radius of each other All right So that goes to show just how easy in my opinion [00:31:00] a deer can be missing trail cameras and you never even know that deer Is there especially you know, if he's if the one of those truck cameras isn't on that travel route, so I had Like I said, probably five cameras in a 75 to 80 yard radius.

And I think, like I said, I think he only hit one of those five. 

[00:31:21] Dan Johnson: Okay. All right. So you had a good idea. Now, when was Kentucky's opener? 

[00:31:28] Josh Honeycutt: September 2nd. So that Kentucky opens the first full weekend of September. So that would have been September 2nd. 

[00:31:34] Dan Johnson: How many times did you hunt this buck before you killed him?

[00:31:41] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah, so opening morning. I took my little cousin deer hunting. He's killed a couple of deer, but he ended up He never killed one with a bow So I took him hunting that morning and he shot his first velvet buck with a bow So that was opening morning and then I went opening afternoon to hunt this particular deer I did not see him, but I saw the two bucks that he [00:32:00] bachelored with all summer.

They came in came through and full disclosure. I was hunting a corn pile, kentucky. I can do that Yep, and so that may make a lot of listeners mad, you can do it in kentucky And honestly if you're not doing it Everybody around me hunt puts corn out and so if I don't put corn out too, I don't see deer period, you know So so just if that makes people mad, I apologize.

Actually, I don't apologize. I don't apologize. I can do it Yeah, I don't apologize. I'm so I'm sorry that they're mad tough shit The way it was set up was The corn pile was like a staging area. So this big, huge, it's a big long timber block. They bed on top, but they can come and there's a big long, probably six, seven hundred yards of timber.

And they just, there's trails all up and down it. But it kind of pinches, comes out of the big bedding area and pinches before it goes down into another temple log and right there in that pinch was where I was at. And so I had been feeding corn there. Honestly, I didn't expect to actually kill the deer there.

Most of the time I [00:33:00] don't hunt over corn piles. I just put them out just to hold deer in the area. Because most of the time I've not had very much success killing a mature deer over a corn pile anyway. Yeah. Because mature bucks, at least where I'm at a lot of times, they won't hit a corn pile in daylight.

But it ended up being that was the particular trail that he'd been using and to get into the soil beans. So it was like a staging area for most of the deer to stage up before they went on out into the beans. This particular deer, like I said, actually only hit that particular spot probably.

I don't know, like three, maybe four times in daylight in a month period from mid August, mid September. I think only had three afternoon daylight pictures there, four. Only one daylight appearance in the afternoon from September 2nd to September 12th. So in that 10 day period, he hit it on the 6th.

So I hunted the deer on Saturday, September the 2nd. Didn't see him, but I saw the two bucks that he was bachelored with. I [00:34:00] think he ended up coming out of velvet that day, so he was off somewhere rubbing his velvet off. That's why he wasn't with that bachelor group, and I didn't hunt again for several days.

He ended up being in there in daylight on September the 6th. I wasn't hunting, and then I went in on September the 8th. And he didn't even come anywhere. He didn't even come into the corn pile. I ended up seeing the deer, but he was down in the beans. So he had come out of the timber, went out into the soybeans, and was down in the soybeans.

And unfortunately, on the 8th he actually went straight toward where I was parked, which I was parked about 7 800 yards away. But I was looking, after the hunt ended, He was right down going heading straight toward where I parked. I looked to the north I looked to the south, because the beans go all the way up to the north and south property lines There were deer everywhere out in the beans So I was either gonna spook that deer or spook another deer Trying to get out of there and that's the thing with this particular Property and how things have changed with the CRP versus attempt the AG So with the CRP entry and exit [00:35:00] was dynamite because the deer never saw you coming and going with the AG Things are different, especially when those crops come out.

They haven't come out yet. But, you can't get through standing beans without deer seeing you. Yeah. And I knew that I was going to spook that deer trying to get back to the truck because I was parked over on the southwest corner because the southwest corner is the only access that we have and that's another point.

You really need. For access sake, you need at least two directions of access to really hunt a property. And we've been forced for the past nine years to use one little southwestern corner access because we don't have option, any other options. And we've made it work, but we've had to do some, take some measures to, to accommodate for the poor access.

Like after an afternoon hunt, have somebody come in and pick you up, instead of walking through the deer or stuff like that. But this particular deer was going right down through. My, my exit access, my exit route, the only exit route that I had. And if I didn't spook that deer directly, I was going to spook other deer.

And we all know that when other deer start acting funky, the big deer you're [00:36:00] after, he's going to start acting funky. Yeah. And so I actually, I slept in a tree stand that night to keep from spooking the deer. 

[00:36:08] Dan Johnson: Wait a second. You spent the entire night in a tree stand. So you didn't spook the deer so you could be there for the morning hunt.

[00:36:18] Josh Honeycutt: Both that and just my, my, my primary was goal was to not spook that deer because he was down in the beans and I've done a lot of things to keep deer from spooking. To keep them from knowing it was me. So like before I get out of the stand, if there's a lot of neighborhood dogs, I'll bark like a dog, or I'll howl like a coyote, or I'll do, throw a stick through the woods and get deer to run off.

So there's things you can do, but the problem was in this particular scenario was I was going to push him toward My truck if I did anything like that anyway, because he was already going in that direction He wasn't going to come back up the hill toward me if that makes sense because the only other option 

[00:36:51] Dan Johnson: Because access is limited to getting in and out of this property.

Okay, man, that's commitment, man I don't know if I could do [00:37:00] that. I don't know if I would sleep in the tree stand We're were you planning? to sleep in the 

[00:37:05] Josh Honeycutt: treestand? Absolutely not. But the reason that the deer had moved so early that night. And so there was so many deer.

So even though it's poor access, usually what I can do is swing way up to the north, way down to the south and get around skirt around the edge. But there was just so many deer, like dozens of deer out in these soybean fields from the north end of the south end. And if I spooked them, they were going to run right toward him.

If I didn't spook him directly. And it honestly, it got to the point where it got so dark, I couldn't see him anymore. And but he was heading toward my truck at that point. Anyway, there's a pond between but so there here's me. Here's him. Here's a pond. Here's my truck and he was going for that pond and the way the property is laid out.

I had to go around that pond to get to my truck because my truck was just part just on the not, a couple hundred yards past that. And so I was going to speak that deer period. I was going to spook him and if I didn't spook him, I was going to speak something else and that deer is probably going to [00:38:00] spook him and this deer.

Thank you. He was already so sporadic that I was afraid that I was going to push him onto the neighbors or change him, you know He didn't really have a pattern so I wasn't really worried about changing his pattern But I was worried about just messing him up because there was a lot of people knew about this deer a lot of People I'm sure were already hunting him because he was spending some time on the neighbors I assume because there would be times where I wouldn't get any sightings or pictures of him for two or three days straight.

And I think he was just because I didn't have any trail cameras in his bedding area. And so I think, when he would go back to bed on top, in one of the two bedding areas that were up there. Using those and if he had, like an east or a north wind for two or three days in a row, he went to the neighbors and so I know that they had to have known about him.

Everybody got really quiet this year about this year too. So like last year it was like yeah, let's pass the deer, let's pass the deer, and so far this year has been crickets. So that's another reason I knew is I don't think anybody's going to pass him this year. But yeah, so I ended up sleeping in the [00:39:00] stand that night just to prevent that.

Since I was sleeping in the stand, I was going to go ahead and hunt the next morning. I did, but that wasn't the number one goal. The primary goal was just to keep from spooking him that night. And I think it worked. I don't think I spooked him. That is nuts, dude. And let me say this too. I do not advise anybody to do that because it is not safe to sleep in a tree 

[00:39:22] Dan Johnson: stand.

No, it's not safe. I thought you were just going to be like giving anyone advice. I just thought maybe you would be like, okay, at least I'm going to get down on the ground and lay flat on the ground and sleep. 

[00:39:37] Josh Honeycutt: I couldn't so I ended up that so I was going to try to do that and I had literally had deer around me all night long like within 50 yards so it was a clearish night so I could see down into the beans there was a persimmon tree that was about 30 yards from me too and deer were just coming up and it was loaded like hundreds of pounds of persimmons on this tree and it was like every 10 to 20 to [00:40:00] 30 minutes I mean they were just dropping constantly and you know you'd hear a few drop and boom there'd be another deer under that persimmon tree Boom.

Another deer under the persimmon tree. Another deer. And of course it was right on the edge of the beans and so they were just coming all night long, going to the beans, going to the persimmons, beans. So I could, and I could at that point, I couldn't tell what deer it was. Yeah. And so I was afraid it was him because it's the, the power of persimmons this time of year, they love those things.

So I was I do not advise anybody to sleep in a tree stand. It's not smart especially a hang on stand, which I was in and of course I had my safety harness on, and what I ended up doing, of course, I didn't sleep, even though I say sleeping this thing, I didn't sleep. I basically pulled an all nighters what I did because one it's, I closed my eyes and dozed a couple of times, but I was awake all night long.

But just in case I dozed off or fell into a hard sleep. I had, of course, I had my safety harness on, but I also Had a strap that ran around the the trunk of the tree and my torso that way if I lay in and tightened it up, so like I didn't leave any room [00:41:00] for it to hang me like a noose falling out or anything like that.

I tightened it, cinched it all the way down. To where I would basically couldn't move so like I had like I had my safety harness on and then I had another belt safety belt that I wrapped around the trunk of the tree and then strapped it across my chest that way. I literally could not go in any direction just in case I fell asleep.

But yeah, so I don't advise any of that to be honest. That was really stupid. So it's funny. I texted my wife. I was like, yeah. I was like, am I crazy? Dot. And she was like we already confirmed that, but what are you asking? 

[00:41:37] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Hey, are you telling me I'm not, you're not going to be home tonight, things like that.

That's funny. So I'm interested in what did you see at daylight the next 

[00:41:46] Josh Honeycutt: morning? Yeah, deer came back in and again, that really doesn't work all that well. So I knew I was going to spook some deer probably just because I mean deer can smell you in the dark too. And in the dark they're going to be 360 on you some.

So I [00:42:00] did have a couple of deer spook I think, I don't know, I don't know if they smelled me, but there was one time where I clanked my foot, I didn't know any deer were around, and there was a deer right under me. This was like 3 a. m. in the morning 4 a. m. in the morning at this point.

And there was, like, a deer apparently 10 yards from me, and it saw me move and blew. But even though it blew, it didn't run off, it just stayed there. And then I had a bunch of... and actually saw some decent action. That really doesn't work though. Like from a tactical standpoint, if you're going to spend the night in the woods to for a morning hunt.

Because again, that wasn't my goal. That was secondary to the situation. The primary goal was to not spook that deer. And I would have rather spooked that deer closer to daylight than. Or in the dark, then right after the afternoon sit. Cause I feel like that would have had less impact.

So I was willing to spook that deer maybe at 3am, 4am when he came back through there and smelled me. Versus seeing me walk out at dusk. If that makes sense, right? 

[00:42:56] Dan Johnson: Okay. And so he but you didn't see [00:43:00] him that next morning. 

[00:43:01] Josh Honeycutt: No. Okay. Which I didn't expect to. Yeah. Cause he hadn't been in there. He'd been in there a few mornings, over the past month, but not a lot.

So I wasn't really hope I didn't have high hopes for seeing him there. He'd been in there a few times, but not consistently. Gotcha. Okay. 

[00:43:14] Dan Johnson: All right. So you played it safe. You played it really safe. You stay to the tree stand 

[00:43:20] Josh Honeycutt: really not safe by. Not safe 

[00:43:22] Dan Johnson: from an actual safety point of view, but you played it safe as to not booger that deer up.

Now, did you, okay. So you make it out of there. Did you when was the next time you actually 

[00:43:36] Josh Honeycutt: went hunting? Yeah, so that was the 8th, so I hunted him September 2nd, afternoon, opening day, the afternoon of the 8th, on the Friday. I didn't actually go back and hunt the deer again until the next Tuesday on the 12th.

Because this deer was so sporadic and not on a pattern and not consistent I was like corn piles this time of year can be deadly on mature deer on a big [00:44:00] temperature drop early season when you get up and it applies to other stuff too. So if you've got like a. A cornfield where and we can get on, get in on bait topic debates.

In my opinion, I don't think there's much difference over spreading out a corn pile over a quarter acre area versus or even smaller versus going in and mowing a couple of laps on a cornfield that you planted. There's not a whole lot of difference there, but I know a lot of states that can't bait, you can grow corn and then bush hog it.

So there's not a lot of difference there just application. But but anyway, I digress, so I hunted him on that Tuesday, and I was like we had a big temperature drop, so it dropped probably seven, eight degrees, in highs, the difference from the day before that day, had a little bit of cloud cover, and a little, sprinkling rain, I was like, huh, that might get him, on a carb diet today, instead of being on those, the greens where he's been hitting pretty heavy, so I actually did hunt over a corn pile that day just because I thought there's an off chance he might actually want some carbs because, my experience, when the temperatures have dropped, they tend to go toward carb based [00:45:00] food sources like corn acorns, different things like that.

And then, whenever it's warming up and temperatures rising, they're hitting green food sources like soybeans or brassicas or whatever. And that's where I hunted and he ended up coming in about an hour before daylight or excuse me an hour before dark shot him at 6 30. And it, lost light around 7 30 ish I don't know the exact times but he basically come in about an hour before Legal light ended about 30 minutes before sunset and which was honestly was the earliest Daylight action I'd seen probably from that deer even comparing to preseason Velvet Encounters with him on camera in different locations.

He just did not like to move in daylight. Okay. All right 

[00:45:44] Dan Johnson: And so the was the next time that you saw him the day you shot him 

[00:45:51] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah, so that was the 12th. That was the day I ended up killing him. Okay 

[00:45:54] Dan Johnson: Why don't you so you put the you said hey corn pile Temperature [00:46:00] drop, the, that's the equation for success today walk us through what happened, the wind direction, the time frame, where he came from, to where he was going and when you actually let the arrow fly.

[00:46:13] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah, so that afternoon I got in a little early because I expected some early movement because we had a temperature drop, we had, it actually, the clouds started to disperse as I got settled into the stand, and so it ended up being sunny that afternoon but it had been cloudy all day. And then, so I used a slightly different access route, so I hadn't knowingly spooked any deer on the previous two hunts that I went in of an afternoon, but I hadn't seen I did see him on the second hunt, but, so I didn't think that I was spooking any deer, but just in case I had spooks, maybe some deer that maybe in turn spooked him I thought there was a possibility that I had spooks, maybe some does or smaller bucks at lower elevation I'm sure he was up at higher elevation, but.

I used a slightly different entry route that day got settled into the stand. I actually had hung two or [00:47:00] four or five tree stands in that general area, within a 200 yard stretch, just to hunt it on different winds. And I actually went to a different stand to begin with, because that was the stand that would work with the forecasted wind.

And I got there and it was blowing exactly the opposite, or almost exactly the opposite of what was forecasted. And so I actually circled back around and went up to that corn pile because the one I went to initially was further south. So like the deer would come out of the bedding area, hit the corn pile, then come on down and then go out into the beans.

But the wind wouldn't work. Like the wind was literally blowing straight at the deer. And I think it was forecast in like a northwest wind that day, if I'm remembering correctly. I have to go back and look to be sure, but I think it was forecast in like a northwest, I believe. But anyway but it was blowing south, southeast, in that particular spot.

So I circled back up and went to the other stand that I ended up hunting. And it was still blowing south, southeast, where I was at, [00:48:00] but... The way that it worked, I was hunting a just off wind. It was cause it was it wasn't really Southeast. It was more like a South Southwest once I got settled in.

And and then sometimes it would switch and come out of the Southeast. But anyway, ultimately what got that deer up was a temperature drop. B, he wanted some carbs and C he had a just off, he had the wind in his favor technically to come into that spot. So he was able to have that wind cause he was bedding up on top.

They tend to come down off the hill, hit this fence row, and then come circle back around. So it's really hard to illustrate that on a podcast. But anyway, he was basically able to come down out of the bedding area with the wind in his nose. And then whenever he took the trail that he took to come to me, it wasn't directly in his nose, but it was quartering into him to where he thought danger would be.

And I had never hunted this particular tree before, and so the deer weren't used to anybody being there. But, if [00:49:00] I had been in some other stands that I've hunted over the past eight to nine years, he'd have smelled them. And deer had spooked us there, or busted us in those before. And so the deer know.

They're smart. They know where tree stand locations are at. Yep. And, and so because I had a slightly different tree stand location, it allowed him to think that the wind was in his favor and technically was for those spots, but I was just off enough that scent was coasting.

My scent cone was just down off of him enough that he couldn't get it. So he ended up coming in, like I said, he was probably the 25th or so deer, 20 to 25th deer. I'd seen a lot of other, yearling bucks, two and a half year old bucks, three year old bucks, and a lot of dos and fawns.

Yeah. So he had the, but he'd come in. It 

[00:49:40] Dan Johnson: was, he had the wind in his favor though. The corn pile was blowing right to him. 

[00:49:45] Josh Honeycutt: Oh yeah. So whenever he come in there, like he was smell he was, he is yeah, there's no danger around that corn pile. And that's the thing, a lot of people think baiting deer is easy.

But I've done it a lot throughout my 25 years of deer hunting and it is not, you can [00:50:00] very easily screw up when you're trying to bait deer, especially with mature bucks. Like I said a minute ago, I've not had a lot of a lot of mature deer, it depends on their personality, will avoid mature, will avoid corn piles in daylight.

Some of them won't, some of them will just gobble it up, but Even with the deer that are apt to or tend to hit those in daylight, you can mess them up quickly because it's a fine line. Whenever they hit those corn piles in daylight, they're going to do it with the wind in their favor. The mature deer are.

Those and fawns and smaller bucks, they're carefree, but the mature bucks, they're only going to hit those corn piles if they think the wind is good for them, and that's been my experience, and so it is a very line that you have to thread in order to be successful hunting over them. 

[00:50:48] Dan Johnson: It's a tool really, when you when you think about it, it's a tool you use almost just like a tree stand and how you set that up and how you think about it and the wind directions and access routes and things like that.

All [00:51:00] right. So you saw a whole bunch of deer before he showed up. Was he coming straight to it and were you going to get a shot when you first saw him or did you have to coax him in with a grunt or 

[00:51:10] Josh Honeycutt: anything? No, I didn't do anything to, I prefer not to call. I don't, I have never had success calling early season.

I know some people have, but I am very reserved when it comes to calling deer. I am even sometimes reserved, more reserved than I should be. call them during the rut. I don't like to blind call. I've never had, I've never, to my knowledge, I've never blind called a deer in. I know it works a lot for a lot of people, but for some reason, and maybe I'm just the weird anomaly that it just doesn't work for, but I've never really had much success blind calling because I have too many deer when I do blind call circle downwind of me.

So I usually only call during the pre rut and the rut. And I know, like I said, I know a lot of people have had success calling early season and even late season, even rattling early season or late season, but I just prefer for me personally not to. So I didn't do anything like that on this particular hunt, but he, I did see him.

So he [00:52:00] stayed up in the cedars, probably stood for 10 or 15 minutes before I could have seen him. And I don't know that for sure because I couldn't see him, but there were other deer in the area and they just kept looking up there. And they kept looking up there and they kept looking up there and I was like, now there's something up there because they usually don't pay that close of attention to other inferior bucks or does and fawns, but they get really what I've noticed, especially around food sources, whether it's a small food plot or it's a corn pile or whatever it is, or inside field corner on a, on an ag field, if the deer can find in a spot they get really edgy and really aware.

Almost like they're paying, reverence to the mac daddy or the big daddy that's nearby. And it's like they'll look at the other deer. And so I had deer pouring through all day, does and small bucks. And, they would look up when another deer was coming, but they really wouldn't pay much attention to it.

It was like, Oh yeah, that's another deer. And then another deer comes, Oh yeah, that's another deer. And then whenever I think he started coming down out of the bedding area and he probably had to go about 150 to [00:53:00] 200 yards depending on exactly what I don't know exactly where he was bedding at because there's a bunch of beds up there that they'll use.

But and I didn't go up in there to figure it out because I don't invade the bedding areas this time of year. But at least not in that situation. That's another discussion for another day. But anyway, so like he probably stood probably 10 to 15 minutes at least. From where the other deer that were around me out in the beans, in the timber.

There was a lot of deer feeding on early secessional browse. I had a lot of pokeberry. Deer love pokeberry. It's high protein. They were feeding on that. There was deer overfeeding on the persimmons. There were deer feeding down the corn pile. And all those deer just turned it once and looked.

And it was really cool. And they just locked on to where I assume this buck was standing. And they kept that, they stayed that, and they intermittent feed and look, but they knew he was up there. And eventually he made it down far enough where I could see him. And from the point that I, he got to where I could see him.

He stood like another four to five minutes, and then he finally slowly walked down in into that [00:54:00] general area that I was focused on. And he was really, he was on pins, and that's another thing. Whenever you're hunting anywhere close to a corn pile, these deer are on pins and needles, especially the mature ones.


[00:54:13] Dan Johnson: Alright, so he stays there four or five minutes. He starts to meander down. How much time did you have before light ran out? 

[00:54:22] Josh Honeycutt: Like I said, they were moving early. When I saw him, it was first suspected that he was up there. He was probably around 6. 15ish, 6. 10. And like I said, I don't remember exactly when legal light hit, but it was somewhere around 7.

30ish, maybe a little before. So I had about an hour. Okay. So I had enough time that I thought he was going to make it within bow range. Gotcha. 

[00:54:44] Dan Johnson: And so at that point, you see him? And he makes his way, how far was the shot? About 24 yards. 24 yards. All right. And good good shot?

Did you have 

[00:54:58] Josh Honeycutt: to stop him? [00:55:00] No he came on into the corn pile, and I self filmed this entire hunt, and it'll actually be available for viewing on HuntStand's platforms later this year. So everybody will be able to see exactly how it played out. If they're interested, they may not wanna see a corn pile hunt.

I've had several people tell me already that corn pile kills don't count. And I was like, that's fine. But but so yeah, he was mostly broadside. He was quartering to me just slightly, but his legs were far and everybody's oh, you took a quarter and two shot. No, it wasn't like hardcore to, he was like, probably.

92 93 percent broadside. Just slightly quarter into and he had his legs forward as well, opening up the vitals. So I could actually had a clear shot straight to the heart. In the lungs. And I took the shot. I ended up hitting a little lower than I wanted to Where that, that, the white hair and the brown hair, the fur meets on the belly line.

I hinted him about probably two and a half, three inches above that, that, that line. Of course, everybody knows, if you hit him about, if you get anywhere close to that line, it gets a little iffy because you're hitting him low. So I would have [00:56:00] preferred to have hit him about two or three inches, four inches higher than I did.

But I wasn't real high up. I was only probably 17 feet up. He was out, like I said, 24 yards. So it wasn't like it was a super steep angle. And so I ended up, the arrow when it was a self film, so I was able to go back and look. The arrow went in just fine, but for some reason it deflected down and back.

So once it it got to the opposite offside rib cage, it neared those ribs and turned down and exited back. Don't know why why it did that, but it did. And but it didn't really deflect until it got through the vitals, if that makes sense. Yeah. And so I ended up clipping the bottom of his heart whenever I feel dressed him, I looked at the heart.

Of course everybody knows the shape of the heart's like a ice cream cone, it's fat up top and skinny down at the bottom. And so I ended up cutting the very bottom of the heart and the ultimately where the bottom of the heart and the lungs and all those arteries meet is where, and he, I ended up giving the deer.

Quite a while because it was really cool. I wasn't worried about meat [00:57:00] spoilage or anything like that. If it was, if I was worried about the meat spoiling, I would have went earlier and that wasn't a factor because it was cooled off a lot. So I gave the deer probably about five, five and a half, six hours just to be sure because I was worried about that deflection.

I thought that maybe it had gotten back up into the maybe one lung. What I was worried about was one lung and I was only about a half inch away from missing the bottom of the heart. So it would have been like a. Potentially could have been easily a one long and a liver situation. And if that's the case, he would have needed four or five hours.

Didn't end up being that ended up being heart and lung and artery because it was far enough forward and just high enough that it was. So he went 70 yards and fell over dead. I couldn't see him. I lost him whenever I shot and he ran off about 50 yards and I could see his rack. And then it just disappeared.

And so I didn't know if he bedded down, fell over, took off again. But long story short, when we found him he had went, he had done a hard 90 and ran another 15 20 yards and fell over. 

[00:57:59] Dan Johnson: Did, [00:58:00] could you see blood when you maybe put your binos up to... At the 

[00:58:05] Josh Honeycutt: impact site. Yeah, I couldn't see it from the stand, but I got down and went and retrieved my arrow after about probably 45 minutes.

I got down. I usually try to stay in the stand 30 to 45 minutes before retrieving my arrow. And so I did that. And went and got my arrow pretty close, still before dark but right before dark, got down about 45 minutes later, looked at the arrow, looked like so there's another thing that worried me too, was the arrow, so there was some blood on it, looked like it was lung ish blood, some lung blood, but not a lot, it wasn't like a straight lung.

It didn't look like it was straight hard, didn't look like it was straight liver and I knew it was a low hit to begin with, and there was some fat on it, and so I was like, man, usually that means a low hit, or a brisket or a low hit, because they've got a lot of fat on their belly and a lot of fat on their brisket, and so I was like, man, and so I decided, that's another reason I decided to give him more time, because there wasn't a lot of blood on it, but it was a a not a real pink lung blood and not a rich red heart [00:59:00] shot blood.

Or a really dark red liver hit, but it was just a medium red so to speak. And there wasn't a lot of it. It was across the entire arrow from broadhead to to knock, but it just wasn't really concentrated. And yeah. I was worried about it being a low and back hit, so I gave him some time, but there was good blood long story short, I don't know, long story short, I've been telling a long story, but he ended up being A really good blood trail.

Probably one of the best blood trails I've ever seen. And it just absolutely spraying. I could have been blind and deaf and followed it just by holding my hands out and feeling blood on the leaves and the plants walking through the woods. And yeah, it was probably a top two or top three massive blood trail for any deer that I've personally shot.

Yeah, man, 

[00:59:45] Dan Johnson: that's awesome. Let's see here. You, yeah. 

[00:59:47] Josh Honeycutt: You But I didn't know that. Sorry to interrupt, but I didn't know that if I'd have known that I would have drug trailed him immediately, but I didn't know that because he bled decent at the point of impact and decent. I only went about five [01:00:00] steps and I saw, droplets of blood.

And so he didn't really open up until he got about 15 yards down the trail, which is typical, but I thought he might have bedded down at 50 yards. And so I just got out. 

[01:00:09] Dan Johnson: Yeah, makes sense. And so you went back five hours later, found him real easy. Okay. And and so less than five minutes, less than five minutes.

So where does this buck rank as far as age class and size on some of the other deer that you've shot throughout the years? 

[01:00:27] Josh Honeycutt: Yeah he's not, like I said, he's a four and a half year old here in Kentucky, where I hunt, I try to shoot four and a half year old deer and older. Where I'm hunting at public land in Tennessee, I'm looking for a two and a half year old deer, excuse me, two and a half year old deer older.

Up in Ohio, we try to shoot them. three and a half, four and a half and older. So it depends on where I'm at, but as far as the deer I've actually killed throughout the years here in Kentucky age wise, he's definitely not the oldest deer that I've shot. I've shot some deer that were up there around that five and a half, six and a half year old mark.

The oldest known age of a deer that I've shot in Kentucky was six and a half. There might've been one that was a little older than that, but I can't say that [01:01:00] for sure. And so I'm not going to say it is. But typically when I shoot a deer here in Kentucky, he's a four and a half for a five and a half year old deer.

That's what I'm going for. And score wise, he's my biggest year. What'd 

[01:01:09] Dan Johnson: you, what'd you 

[01:01:10] Josh Honeycutt: get him at? Yeah. So he ended up taking it one 67 and I don't think I've huddled him up here since we started recording. So I'll bring him to the. to the front here so people can maybe see him, but yeah, he ended up scoring and I was conservative, but he ended up scoring right at 167 and six eights is what he scored.

Now he, he has the points in the mask because he had over 40 inches of mass and he's got basically, he's a 12 by 12 with another little point here in a split braille, but he, if he'd had a bigger frame because he was 16 and a half inches wide. And pretty short beams, but if he'd have been bigger framed, he really would have been on up there because he has the time length and the number of points and the mass to do it, but he just didn't quite have the frame, so to speak, to be higher, but he's my biggest deer and I'm tickled with him.

He, [01:02:00] like I said, he ended up being. 167 and six eights might be closer to 170 just you know being conservative there. Yeah, that's where he's at I think 

[01:02:08] Dan Johnson: I tell you what, that's one heck of a way to kick off the season Congratulations on a mighty fine deer and I hope the rest of your hunts go just like this man.

So Congratulations again, and thanks for hopping 

[01:02:21] Josh Honeycutt: on today. Yeah. Thank you for your time It's always an honor to be a guest and I appreciate you having me on

[01:02:30] Dan Johnson: And there you have it. Another episode in the book. Huge shout out to Josh. Huge shout out to Tethered, Wasp, Vortex, Code Blue, Woodman's Pal, Huntworth, and Ozonix. Please go out and support the companies that support this podcast. Last but not least huge shout out to, I think I said huge shout out to Josh.

Last but not least, huge shout out to each and every one of you sending good vibes your way. Hopefully you guys all connect on whatever. Deer that you're dreaming about or that you have running around on your property [01:03:00] or you know I'll even throw a little dash of luck in there too to hope a giant walks by your stand and you get an opportunity this year so Good vibes in good vibes out.

Happy friday And if you're gonna be in a tree, you gotta wear your damn safety harness