Finding Next Year's Target Bucks NOW with David Miller

Show Notes

This week on Southern Ground Hunting, we're diving deeper into post season scouting/shed hunting with a fella that just flat out knows mature whitetail bucks. David Miller is a return guest, and for good reason. He's consistently finding target bucks that are well above average. We'd hate to be one of his targets, because he's got a pretty solid track record of killing any buck he goes after. 

Dave is candid about his approach, telling us all about his post season shed hunting and how it has put him at a huge advantage come fall. 

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hey, thanks for tuning into this week's episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast, where you're gonna hear a valuable hunting based conversation that's tailored for us southern folk. If you love what we do and would like to support Southern ground Hunting, you can visit Ground Hunting, or you can click on the link in the show notes below.

We'd love for you to join the Southern Ground Hunting community today. Again, that's Ground Hunting. You can also support us by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. It helps more than and we greatly appreciate it. And now let's get to the show.

Welcome back this week to another episode here at Southern Ground. We've got a really excited one that I think I'm pretty excited about, gonna learn a lot through this and just dive into it. We talked with y'all last week, just the guys pretty much going over what we do [00:01:00] post-season, what we see, what we've seen.

But tonight, we we brought in one of our probably favorite guests that we've had on over the course of the podcast, been on with us a couple times. It's Mr. Dave Miller. How are you? Man. Doing great. How are you guys doing? Ah, we doing just fine. Trying to bit bite off the bitter cold here in the south that we got a little cold front and trying to get ready for spring, but it, we're ready for it to get going.

We're ready for those 70 degree weather days to come back. Yeah. But old man winter's been hanging on this year. Yeah. Y'all, you've probably have your fair share. Listen we've been here in Florida. I'm here in Florida right now hunting turkeys and you expect it's gonna be, 70, 80 degrees when you're down here by the coast.

It's been cold, it's been chilly down here. It's like in the low forties, in the mornings, high thirties. It's been pretty crazy, especially considering like the ocean is right there. Yeah, that's, wow. It'll hit you. But we're gonna jump into deer. [00:02:00] Just go straight. I know it, it's, we've said it before, it's hard to really think deer right now, especially after a hard fought season.

And how you can start preparing right now for next year. Not many people wanna do it. But not many people kill the deer that you do or find the things in the wood that you do, woods that you do. So we're gonna jump in, everything from shed hunting to the post-season to even you.

I think we talked last week about how it just seems that these deer disappear. You don't know where they've gone, whether it's the transition of food sources. So yeah, I really wanna just jump in. I know you're up from the, in the mountains, but for the people who don't know, tell 'em, you know who you are and how you hunt and.

Yeah. My name's David Miller and my background is biology and I do a lot of habitat management for for myself and my properties where I hunt as well as for other friends and some clients that I do some some work for doing habitat management. I am out in the woods.

Out in the woods a lot . One of the things that you [00:03:00] had mentioned was the process of shed. And I was telling you that while I'm out shed hunting, not only am I looking for horns and antlers not only am I doing that, but I'm also putting the puzzle together for the following hunting season.

I'm looking for all kinds of things while I'm out there looking for sheds and what you had mentioned there a lot of times I do I begin focusing on food sources looking for the. Yeah that's late season food sources is . And in the mountains it, it is a little different. It's interesting the way the mountains lay the flats that go along the mountain faces.

You'll have a mountain face coming down into a flat, and the flats will get scrapped up really easy because they're easier for the animals to cover the deer and the bear, and the Turkey will scrap up the acorns, like on the flats, the areas where there's flats. And then in late season, What's left are the aen acorns on the mountainside, the real steep mountainsides.

And you'll go along a flat and be looking, not seeing anything, not much sign. And then, but [00:04:00] then you'll see some trails, then you'll look up on a hillside where there's a Aon point or a acorn flat or acorns on the hillside, and the hillside will be destroyed. And I have found sheds on the steep face.

I hate even looking there because it's a struggle, but honestly, you can walk flats and sometimes look up on the hill. , and you can that's a good way to find sheds, especially in the mountains. But honestly, if, if there's years when I don't find a strong acorn crop, I'm looking for the fields and the early successional growth like woody browse because fiber in a deer's diet, fiber in the late season when they ingest it, it creates a lot more.

Which takes in these cold bitter days, it takes stress off of the deer's body. So eating woody brows and little seed pods and, things like that. In these early successional growth, these thick areas, these thickets even briars and different things like that has a lot of fiber.

And when they eat that it creates internal heat and helps [00:05:00] relieve the stress from the deer's body. Dave, it's interesting you brought up this food sources. And plots and things. So the first time we had you on, we talked a lot about these mountain food plots. , that was the topic that we were talking about.

Are you planting a lot of these with the intention of them lasting through the winter? Or is it, are they specifically kill plots? I wish I could say yes. That was my intention, but honestly I have learned, and in the beginning the answer to that was absolutely. I intended for that to. But unfortunately what I have learned is the, are the areas that I am planning are not large enough for to sustain.

I don't have enough carrying capacity enough space to be able to creek plots that are large enough to be able to carry out through the year. But I'll be honest, my turnip at radish dwarf Essex rape, and basically my late season plot. Are they are [00:06:00] absolutely to the ground right now.

They're bare dirt right now. And you and honestly, this year they were bear dirt in the end of February. I don't have enough room to be able in most places, in 90% of the places. So what I have found, what I'm trying to do now is rather than plant, I plant plots for attract. But I also am finding by clearing some areas or either hinge cutting or girdling trees tore so that sun, so the tree will die and sunlight will come through, and then the, allow sunlight through so the forest floor will explode with growth and thicken up.

I'm finding doing that is a better, realistic option for me. Create this early successional growth to give late se really late season and into spring food sources. Man, that is awesome. Yeah. Mean people don't think about that. It's kinda like what you're saying earlier, looking for [00:07:00] the aprons.

Everybody's heavy to a hard mass. Producing tree that's what they want. I'm dealing with a landowner who's a big time deer hunter, and he's wanted to do a timber harvest on his property. And he's Hey let's leave all my white oaks, leave all the hard mass producing trees and leave the good stem count.

And I'm like, first off, we need to expose this forest Florida to have a year-round food to, to hold these deers. Yeah. And it's, it may not be the prettiest thing from an aesthetic point, but that's necessary for a deer. But going back with kind of our, your season s winding down as a hunter, you're tired of hunting.

You get done, ruts over it's late season. The next steps you know of looking for. Where these deer living, to put the puzzle together for ne for next year. So I've been fortunate in Alabama, I don't hunt a ton of places that are mountainous but majority, majority of our landscape is mountainous unless you get, further south into the state.

[00:08:00] Sure. So for these guys in mountain country, say we're gonna start wanting to do, shed. Are you looking at like south facing slopes on the map to kind of key in these areas? Are you using trail camera data, to say, Hey, this buck's dropped, let's go look for his sheds kind of deal?

Yes. Yes and yes. basically, yeah. I use my trail cameras. I'm using I am keying in on the north facing slopes because a lot of times those deer are going to be betting up there where the, as soon as that sun cress over the mountain, the first place the sun hits, they're gonna try to be getting it to be getting warmed up.

You know what I mean? But yes, I ab I do both u using maps a lot to, to look to see where they may be staying and yeah, that for sure. And I'm, I always use my maps when I find the shed. You better be believing I'm dropping pins, I'm dropping pins on my OnX exactly where. That's going be what, but what program do you all have a specific program you use?

Or like a, as far as a mapping programs or I think we all [00:09:00] use a multitude of different apps. Yeah. I really stick to, between HuntStand, Spartan, Ford, John X, all of them, I. I lean more to HuntStand, just cause Yeah, I, that's what I started with. They all work.

It's what you're, it's what you're accustomed to. They all work , right? . Yeah. Yeah. They all have the things I, that's funny you said that about the dropping a pin. I found the shed, I think it was two weeks ago and I dropped a pin on it and Yeah. Went back looking for it. Never found his other side.

I had another deer that I thought had dropped, but he didn't, and he showed back up on trail cameras. So that just shows how that can correlate, when they're dropping, when you go out. Because I think it was within three days that he dropped that I went out there and found his, antler.

Yeah. What wasn't chewed up. And it, man, that's a good feeling when you find one that's not chewed up. It is. It sure is. That's awesome, Dave. When you talk about dropping those pins on the sheds that you do, How often would you say that initial find of his shed has led to you killing a buck The next year?

[00:10:00] Year to year that is different because of this reason. In years where there are heavy like acorn acorn crops and then good mass years. And then say the next year, there'll be another year that's similar to the one the year that you found the shed the year before. Th that will be a really good telltale sign of where, the area that Buck will be.

But I have also found a shed in an area during a good mass year, then the next year be a mass fail. And that deer is nowhere in the country. He's somewhere else food. I think a lot of people underestimate the the power of the food source for deer. And patterning. But like if there are several years in a row where things are similar, you have just a, you just have a a similar acorn crop.

And then, toward the end of season, the acorns are getting scrapped up by the game, and then they'll go back. I found this if a deer is in an area, Where in the summertime, if they're using a plate field or kind of a [00:11:00] field area with a lot of forage and a lot of vegetation, green vegetation, I've found that later in the year, once the acorns drop, you know how it is you'll get 'em early season around the fields and they'll disappear into the acorns and you'll think they're gone.

And then late season, I've found they will definitely come. To those green areas, cuz there's usually a lot of early successional growth there and a lot of brows. So they, a lot of times they will come back. But there are some variables I've found in the past few years. It's depending on, what, where the food is and if that food shifts from year to year.

To that thought I assumed you were gonna say something similar because very few people, like on a regular basis, kill the deer. Find the sheds too, yes, it's not I'm not gonna say that it's, it doesn't happen cuz it absolutely does. But most guys who are like you who are going out and doing this kind of thing eventually, yeah, it's gonna work out where you do kill that buck.

But I guess my question to, to follow up, the first question was, [00:12:00] are you basically just going out and using, because so I guess preface by saying, obviously there are some people who go and shed hunt because it's just fun to shed. And it's like an actual like pursuit. And there's some people, like I believe yourself are like, you're going out to shed hunt for a purpose.

Yeah, it's cool to have that antler, but you're trying to put it together. And that's like this 2 0 2 groups of people. Are you using just, this is your main tactic. Just try to figure out where bucks in general are hanging out when they're dropped. Like where, Food sources are like, is that the puzzle piece that you're putting together right here?

Oh no. Definitely not. No. The Shed is a bonus . Yeah. To me, what I'm doing, and you can look at my, you could look at my map and it is blitz with pins of what I'm about to say. Did you just say, I can look at your. Glance from a distance. I'm just kidding. . [00:13:00] No, I'm just kidding. No, but for real, while I'm out there and I'm looking for these sheds in these same areas where I'm thinking the deer are gonna be, using.

I am pinning every bit, every scrape line. I'm pin like noticing how aggressive the licking branch is. I do that a lot. How high up, the licking branch is and how twisted? I love finding those beach trees that are, they're, the limbs are super tough and the deer can't really break 'em and tear 'em down, but they, when a big buck gets his antlers in those beach trees, it'll twist them.

And when I find that I really, I usually double pin a, a scrape there to know that's a real aggressive one. And then I'm pinning scrape lines. I'm pinning big rubs. That's, and usually you can tell if a rub is done like in the really early season or if it's done mid-season or done even like into the second rut.

And usually I'll make a note on that pin, [00:14:00] like a late season, mid-season, or early season. Because that's really key too, when that rub was established. You know what I mean? , . So I'm putting all this together and there was a really interesting tactic. A friend of mine old timer told me years ago, and I've started carrying zip some Ziploc baggies in my in my pack while I'm shed hunting.

And a lot of times these big mature bucks, they will. They will lay scat either in or right near the or really close to a big scrape that they have. I will take that and take leaves and scoop it into that bag and freeze it until the next year and take those. Usually that's a mature buck from what I've heard.

If it's a mature looking scrape that, I think I'll freeze that. And then the next. Take that back out in another area and put that in another buck scrape that I'm hunting. But I only do that if it's, I really feel like that buck I'm targeting is the one, and I don't go through that extreme measures for every deer , [00:15:00] but if I'm having trouble, that is a tactic that it really works.

Really works. Wow. I like it. Now do you have a special freezer just for. You don't keep your Eggos beside the deer scat, do you? ? My wife is sitting in here about 15 feet from me in the living room, so I'm gonna say, I have a exclusive area for that. You know what I mean? That's a good range.

I do actually have a game freezer that I'm allowed, I got free rain on. Yeah. Yeah. I can't get near the, I can't get near her. Her freezers. Yeah. . God you made a good point. How you mark everything. I think a lot of people discount, not to say technology unnecessarily.

I know. We have a lot of new things that old timers used to not have. They still killed big bucks back in the day, but Sure. I think what, a map you read the definition of a map and what it means, but a map with pins. It almost, [00:16:00] not necessarily, leads you to the treasure or anything like that, but it tells its own story.

If you lay enough pins with the signs, then look at zoom, map the big picture, zoom map. Look at the big picture, man, it is painting you a map. It real, it really is. . And a lot of people think, oh, you must hunt a lot to be able to I only hunt. This is something I try to emphasize to people that it probably, I ho I think that has helped more people and including myself than any of other advice I ever give.

And any advice that've been given to me is, and I've heard other people say this, I only hunt when it's time to hunt. Basically what I'm saying is I only hunt if I feel like I'm going to go out and sit in that tree and kill that deer if I don't feel like really have a good chance at it. I. I would rather use my time scouting.

I scout a whole lot more than I hunt. Yeah that's huge because I've been in the boat and I think, any hunter, you, it's [00:17:00] fomo, afraid of missing out. Yeah. Yeah. Cause you know, some people would say, oh, you never know. More time in the stand is better. During the rut that, that's during the rut.

Yep. I can definitely get on board with that. But man, pre rut and early season and even late season, it's better to you make your sets count. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Now I know we, we've talked about with the sheds and finding the shed, if it leads to a buck, the magical thing I enjoy finding them, and finding 'em because, I may never, you may never lay hands on this deer, but you have a piece of them, some history, but in these areas, and go into kind of the post-season scout, I.

I see it as a great time to go into areas. You've stayed out of all year. Do you have like certain days, post-season where you go into these areas and just really see if the deer was living in there? I have a couple pieces. I have one track that we it's a least [00:18:00] track that I have that three or four other guys, we hunt 40 acres of it and it's 600 acres.

Never, we never touch the other parts. Complete sanctuary. And that is absolutely key, man. The areas where I even on like public land and I have areas where, anybody else they're free to go where they will, but they're areas I'm like, Hey, this is brutal. There are rock cliffs,

. There are steep face. And I, the chances are nobody is gonna go in there. And I think that Buck is betting in there. So I'm gonna stay out and make that create like a sanctuary in my own mind. I'm not gonna risk going in there, I'm gonna hunt the fringes of this area. You know what I mean?

To allow that buck to feel safe in that region. Man. Yeah. So with the rock faces you were talking about I have some places. Have bluff gaps and it, and when people say bluff [00:19:00] gaps, I think, some folks think, Hey, this deer could walk through a truck size, window or whatever.

I found gaps where a human could barely fit through it. You know that they're running up. And those season, that's a great time to get out and just walk these areas to find this stuff. And I don't know, do y'all have rattlesnakes bad up? Where you're from? Rattlesnakes? Yeah. Oh yeah.

Oh yeah. Okay. So yeah, so I'm, they're getting worse. They're getting worse too, for some reason. ? Yeah. So I'm not wanting to get out, out in the summer and scout these rock faces. Yeah, the winter's a great time. It's a great thought. I've never even had that thought about post-season scouting.

You're able to get into some of these, maybe if it's a, still in that cooler weather, you can get into some of these areas. Otherwise you wouldn't, he wouldn't wanna walk through in the summertime, especially when I call some of the jungles. Yeah, the jungles man that get real thick and really timbered areas.

Man, the wintertime [00:20:00] it's a thousand times easier to be able to get into some of those areas than in the summer when it all the foliage foliages on and the briars are out in full force. Yeah. Oh yeah. It's a lot easier to slip through there in the winter. Oh, yeah. And you can see the good thing about it when all the, in the wintertime you can see everything.

You can see how everything lays out. And another thing in the late season, it really paints a more accurate picture than scouting in early season. And while I say that, you may be hunting the area thinking, oh, I'm hunting a complete thicket. You can't see 10 foot in front of your face.

But then when the P falls, you can see for 300 yards , that deer's not gonna be staying anywhere around there. You know what I'm saying? Absolutely. That's a great time to put that picture together too to gauge if you're hunting a thick area or not. So you're talking about the, just using this property as an example, you're you hunt 40 acres of a 600 acre piece.

Yeah. And you say that it's complete sanctuary. When you say complete, do you mean like even in [00:21:00] scouting and all that kind of stuff? Like you don't, you won't even go scout in there or do you mean complete sanctuary, deer and deer season, but we still get in there and scout it.

The only time complete, the only time we go in there is to shed hunt or to recover a deer. Wow. That's, to me, that's just commitment. It's hard. Which, granted, you're talking about a private piece and everybody's on the same page on public land. That's exactly right. It's so hard not to get on public land.

It's hard not to get that like somebody, if somebody goes in there, I want it to be. You know what I mean? Like I know what you mean. That's a hard argument to have with yourself. Luke's got his hand raised and Luke has not ha, has not spoken all evening yeah, I've just been listen. Yeah, it's been good combo.

So with the 40 acres that you're talking about or however big that is, like that smaller piece in a bigger parcel, are you specifically waiting until basically rut where it is [00:22:00] just chance and them walking through? Because what if they're like early season? What if a, let's say a target buck that you know is in the area, you may be knowing where his core area.

Let's say he's honed in on that specific area elsewhere. From that 40 acres or however much you're hunting, is it scattered 40 acres throughout the 600 or is it like a area together that's 40 acres? Does that make sense? It's a great question. So here's the way it is. It's a it's pretty much a 600 acre.

Pretty much, and it's all like a one mountain. So basically there is a ridge road that runs along the mountain and that ridge road get, takes a that We use that for access out, access back. The only access, we don't take four-wheelers down off of points. We don't do anything like that. We're just going out using that one ridge road as access [00:23:00] and then each of us guys, We have one guy will walk 200 yards off of this one point off this off into a bench area or this other guy he may walk off into like a hot, we're very meticulous about how we access based off of the prevailing winds and things like that.

Yeah, for sure. So basically that 40 acres include. Like the road area that's being disturbed that we're traveling out and then basically we're just going out, like I said, a hundred to 200 yards off these points off of the ridge. And that is all because I've out, I've outlined it before to see how much area that we're really disturbing and it's right around 40 acres.

But that 40 acres is a, is basically a road going out and then us just diving off some little points. So basically wait, waiting rather than trying to go out and blitz it and find that deer in the early season and do all this, we're putting cameras out and this [00:24:00] on that. And we're waiting for the deer to come into the area and nice.

That way when it's time to go hunt we know, we use cell cameras in those areas. Yeah. So that way when it's time to hunt, we know it's time to hunt. Until then we stay out. I'm gonna, I'm not lying that track I'm telling you about I killed a deer. Oh gosh. It's been 11 years ago and I have not carried a bow on it.

But no, my other buddies, they've killed, like in the past six or seven years. They, I think they've killed like three bucks off of it. But I just ha there hasn't been anything on there that that's in the range that I like to pursue. So I've, yeah, I've just held onto it and I just keep that place as an.

And I j I know that someday the time will come when I have something in there and my chances to go in there and hunt it and kill it will be pretty good. Yeah. I like it. Yeah, that, that makes sense. Like what Parker was saying, [00:25:00] especially on private, you being able to Yeah, because I think most people, if they want which 600, 600 acres is a big parcel which, but travels.

In West Virginia where I'm six, like a 600 acre track with four guy, or Yeah, four guys. Honestly, you probably have about 150 acres of huntable land because of the mountain and terrain. . Yeah. So the, that parcel yeah, whether you're being, which I guess it like the bigger the parcel and depends on if the deer's got everything it needs, obviously, but that doesn't really matter.

If they're chasing dough, they're gonna go wherever they want to go. That makes sense. Having those areas, you're gonna have to have untouched areas is what you're saying. in order for those bucks to want to stay and want to come back or being able to grow. And [00:26:00] you're saying you're, y'all are basically just like what you said, you're being precise on.

If you find a target buck, you may have one way in, one way out, but you're, yes. You're figuring out how and where you need to be in order to kill that buck walking where it's going to. That make it makes sense. Yeah. Yes, I like it. Yeah, man, that's, they can get deep and they can get deep, real quick. A lot of homework goes into setting these places up.

It seems with Matt commitment, you know that's, yeah. The commitment. Commitment, no. Down commitment. Like what Dave said talking about it was 11 years ago, but you're still on that property, right? You're still, you're. On that lease. Like that's a, that's commitment.

It's hard to justify that, but, yeah. Or knowing to do it. Even the public stuff, I know a lot of people are just confined to some public stuff. I, my, my strategy is the same [00:27:00] have rather than having a one, having one area of public, and I know guys that do this, and they will go in and put all their effort in one.

And they'll, the year after year, they're on that one track and they'll have different areas. I personally would rather have one spot on that one track after looking it all over, pick me out a spot or two and then go and have three more different areas on different WMAs. What I'm saying is I would like to have options.

Options, options are how you kill 'em, consist. You gotta have the options cuz what may you, you just never know about what may happen. There may be a flood of people in one region one year, and then the next year might not be as many people. Or the deer may be in one area one year and there's just so many variables that play into it.

But what I'm saying is my mentality is I try to find, if I'm going into public, I'm looking for the most rugged [00:28:00] areas where people will not want to. And those are the areas I want to be . You know what I'm saying? Yeah. That was something I had written down to talk about is the physical challenge of hunting in the mountains.

Yeah. I know that's, people don't really think about that, but you gotta be in a little bit of shape to walk around these mountains to scout to, to put in the time better believe it. It's dedicat. And not a lot of people are cut from that cloth, to go in and put in the Pedent scout and then be able to read the reward.

A lot of people want to just, kill the big buck and, Hey, look what I did. But nobody puts in the truth. You guys are picking up. Exactly what, when people ask me, how do you kill, how do you kill the deer? You kill, I always tell 'em two, two main things. I always say options, but the most important thing, hard work.

Hard work, and a lot of people aren't, aren't willing to put the, it's, it can be grueling. You it, I get, this year was really hard on me. It was just a lot of the deer that [00:29:00] I had seen my different people had taken one deer, one deer was poached.

I was I had six bucks over one 60 kill. That I had on my radar, , that was 1 60, 60 plus killed before I had honestly a chance to go. I would, it's so crazy. I had, I was making up my list and it was mo the most deer at, or over one 60 I'd ever had. And I'm sitting here and I'm looking at these deer, putting them, categorizing.

Okay, I'm gonna hunt this one first. I would go in to hunt this. And either it would even either be killed one or two days after I was after it, or it was already dead. I had one deer, a buddy of mine didn't even know he was hunting it on another track, on the backside. He was hunting it. And I went in on a Saturday.

I'd been, I'd found it like on a Tuesday, went and set up midweek on it. Either Thursday or Friday. Went in and set in on a Saturday evening. Saw a [00:30:00] post Sunday morning of him with the deer. I said, dude, when did you kill that deer? I said, I just got set up . I was congratulating him. He's a good friend of mine.

And he said, man, I killed it Saturday morning. So I was hunting a ghost . The deer was dead, and I was sitting in my stand hoping it would come by . That happened six, six times this year. Six times, yeah. Do you wanna know more about saddle hunting? You can go to tethered for all your saddle hunting needs.

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That's tethered [00:31:00] Check 'em out. That's crazy. Really. Hey, I've got two questions. I've asked people that kill bucks on a reg, you're one of those people. How out of hunters one to a hundred be everybody, what percentage of hunters are actually scouting post-season and getting ready for deer season year round?

You think it's gonna be small, but I was gonna see what you. . I know a lot of people that get out and they'll shed hunt and stuff, but people that actually get out and purposefully scout and they're putting pins and they're trying to put the picture together in late season post-season, in the late season.

Oh man. I'm thinking 1510. 10, 10 to 15%. It's just, Which I guess, that makes sense cuz the percentage of the guys that are killing big bucks every year, SLO too. The other question that [00:32:00] I had was percentage wise on hunting and scouting. How much are you scouting, which I know you already mentioned that you're scouting way more than what you're actually hunting, but it's specifically to set you up for a successful hunt.

But what would you say that percentage is in the past five? I'm just, this is just I'm just trying to think back in the past five years of the five bucks I harvested, the past five years, I probably hunted. I know one year I hunted three days. I know one year I hunted. It took me a little longer.

I hunted about 10 days.

But usually somewhere between u usually somewhere or no, no more than 15 to 20 days. But that, that, that's a lot. That's a tremendous amount for me. Tremendous. So you get to kill big bucks and have a happy wife. [00:33:00] I was literally just thinking, dear Lord, that is a, that's crazy miracle.

No, but no, but here. No, it's not. Trust me, , because I am. You can ask her. I am burning boot leather and wearing myself out. Oh. Yeah. That's true. Yeah. I am scouting. Think in the woods. All those other days. Yeah. Yeah. Scouting. That's true. But killing myself. Yeah. Yeah I'm check I run about 60 around 60 trail cameras and I'm, and sometimes a lot of those cell cameras or trail cameras do not have cell service so I, there's three cell cameras or regular cameras that won't get service in one.

Some of my favorite areas, there's three cameras that takes me six and a half hours if I'm going full steam ahead. Wow, gosh. To get into those areas and check three cameras takes me six and a half hours. God. Last week we got talking about trail cameras. I'm a big advocate of 'em. I [00:34:00] think Luke using 'em pretty good bit.

Parker's just now getting into it. But I've got a thing where I like to leave them for a whole year in a area. And I guess if I had a spot that was six hours, I'd leave it a whole year just to get in. Trust me. And now you do the same thing million percent. I do. I do. Yep. And I have, some cameras that are better and, on public, I have some cameras that are just old cheapos, you know what I'm saying?

, I, I do not own a lockbox. I usually hang my cameras, 10 to 15 foot off the ground and pitch 'em. , I angle 'em down and that keeps the bear away from him and takes away the a lot of the theft, the majority of the theft is, was relieved whenever I started doing that.

Yeah. Now are you still have some cell cameras going right now, even after season? No. I can, I used to cancel 'em at the end of the year. Then I'll fire a few back for Turkey season, but yeah. The reason I asked, I, so I've been looking at my stuff lately on my [00:35:00] cameras to see how these deer are reacting.

Cause it seems whether it'd be us not looking for deer when the season ends, they're the last thing we think about. Or if the deer are really, disappearing, going somewhere else. Just getting outta there. But what I've seen from my cameras is, yeah, they do disappear, but there's, it seems like there's certain days that peak peak, that deer movement.

Here in Alabama, it dropped this morning, it was like 25, something like that, got real cold and my cameras just started blowing up. I don't have feed out. I have some mineral sites out and on. Some main Yeah. Travel trails. Yeah. But the, that movement picked up, and so that's indicated to me, that the weather changed, had him up on their feet looking for food.

But do you see throughout the season, so at the end of the season, We quit deer hunting. Are these deer automatically moving to a different food source, like when green up starts happening, or how quick do you think they move from one food source to another? Oh yeah. They are dialed in yeah, I think it's it's like [00:36:00] the yearling deer will hang with the, the older, more mature deer and the old mature deer haven't figured.

You know what I'm saying? , they'll know where to transition. And I've even seen places where there's, good food sources some year, and then there's not, like with acorn crops, some places where they traditionally will live in those acorns, but then I've seen years where there's mass fell.

The deer I've seen on camera will come back and they'll check those areas, and then they'll say, okay, there's no food. They'll leave for a while, they'll come back, check a little bit, and then they'll do that a few times, then they won't. I've definitely seen that they get keyed in on the food and they'll depend on that.

Yeah. Wow. Okay. Yeah that's just something that intrigues me around the south, we've got tons and tons of timber cuts and thickets oh yeah. It can be really hard to get in there unless you're just got a briar proof bombproof suit to get in there to hunt after 'em. But You guys seen, have you guys seen speaking on what you're talking about there on those thicket, those [00:37:00] thickets areas, were those, they're called ecotone edges, like where the thicket meets like an open timber or a thicket meets a field.

Those lines where at, where the hard or a pine thicket or a, a pine grove meets a thicket transitions. Yeah. Those lines, those ecotone edge. Have, do you guys key in on those and Ely trucks run those and lay scrape lines and they really run those pretty hard. Yeah. Absolutely. Sure. We had a guest Dave, his name's Matt Powell and I talk about him a lot. Uhhuh . He always, he kills big deer every single year in multiple states. Yeah. And the first time we ever had 'em on, he talked about it was titled X Marks the Spot. And he's talking about how he finds those areas.

He can almost make an X with the different habitat types coming together. Those because what those steer do, they're working those edges like that. And the more edges you have come together in one spot, it just like draws 'em, it draws 'em in, funnels [00:38:00] 'em in, yes. . Yes. I yep.

I definitely key in on those e the edge habitat for sure. Yeah. So talking about these thickets Dave, And open hardwoods. Like there, there's multiple things about the areas that you hunt that are difficult. And one of one of them, the obvious one is terrain. The other one is probably everything that I've seen from that area.

It looked incredibly thick. When you actually set up a spot to be a kill spot like whether it's over one of your kill plots that you plant one of your mountain plots or whatever. Are you typically finding that what you do is set up in those more open woods? Oh, very rare.

And watch the edge, watch the thick edge. Are you getting in the thicket with these deer? Yeah. I like to get, a lot of times, there will be if a, if there's a thicket and then the deer coming out of the thicket to come into a hardwood like a acorn grove to, to feed it in the evening at nighttime a lot of times I'll, I will step back into the [00:39:00] thicket.

Just just a few yards 20, 30 yards, because usually what will happen if a buck is betting in that thicker, he will use that as a staging. He will, he'll get up out of his bed and he'll come like to the edge of that thicket, sorta or where he can see into the open. And he, I have seen deer do this time and time again.

They'll come into that last 20, 30 yards of the thicket and they will stop and stay there until it's dark. Yeah. I've seen that, man. So that's where I'm setting up. So I'm pulling this back into this post-season scouting, because last week one of the things that I mentioned it's during Turkey season, a lot of times is when I do most of my postseason scouting.

Because we used to open up in March, so you got lots of leaf off, Turkey hunting to do and you can scout do that same type of postseason scouting. Oh yeah. But I talked about getting into these like clear cuts is what we have. We have a lot of clear cut property. Yeah. And that's the quote unquote thickets.

[00:40:00] Usually I'm holding the edges of Absolutely. And this seems to be a really good time to get in the woods, but what I'm finding is that there are guys who do what I do and hunt those edges where all those edges come together. Yeah. And we're pretty consistent, right? Like we can kill decent buck, here and there, whatever.

But what I'm finding is the more I talk to people like. And the more I just watch and pay attention to the deer is that they're all coming out of these thickets when I'm hunting them. That's how I'm hunting them coming out. So it seems to be like the best strategy is to be in that thicket and instead of the edges, because your opportunity just goes up so much more.

You're giving yourself daylight, but you're also playing the game that you really got. That's where you steady your. , that's where you need to really study your map because, and you can look and guess where he's betting without getting in there and bumping him out. I'm not as [00:41:00] brave as a few, some of these guys I've seen some guys, they will carry their stands in on their back that will go into where they think that Buck's betting intentionally.

Try to see him go, they'll slip in like Indian style, sneak in. Try to bump him out. Then when they do, where they bump him, they'll set their standup. Yeah. Come back in two hours before daylight the next morning, set up and kill him coming into his bed the next morning. I don't play that game.

I'm like I'm doing what you're talking about. I'm, find the edge and then go in toward where you think say here's another good way to. Is set up cameras on flats coming out of that, coming out of that thicket, set up cameras on the edge and then on different places throughout the edge, find out where the target buck that you're hunting is coming out.

Then go into that thicket really slowly, 50 yards in. I've that the, and I've done that with using saddles a lot. That's a great way to saddle. [00:42:00] Shoot, man, that's, tie it all in. That's where I'm getting I obviously wanna still continue to be closer to the, close to the edges, right?

Yes. I wanna be closer than I am in the heart of the thicket, but man, I'm seeing so many of these deer come out of these thick areas, either like right after you hear about that all the time. So getting in there, like actually getting there, whether you have to hunt on the ground or find a sketchy.

What, Hey, and let me tell you something. If you, and if you're going to do that, go in into the thicket something l leave 45 minutes early and take that 45 minutes going crazy. Slow into that. What? Every step, take three steps like a squirrel, like you're mimicking a squirrel. Take three steps, and then stop for two or three minutes.

Then take three or four steps, or I've taken a Turkey call, and like lightly per like pur and scratched, as I'm going in sounding like a Turkey [00:43:00] feeding. I've done that many times in places. If you told somebody that wasn't the hunter of that they would think you were crazy.

Oh, I'm acting like a squirrel. Oh, I'm acting like a Turkey in the woods. They would just look at you like, you're insane. Tell me the big buck is not setting out in his bed, listening to everything coming. Yeah. If he can't see, he using his ears. He knows a pattern person walking from 500 yards. You know what I mean?

Yeah, absolutely. They know it. But Dave, we we really appreciate you taking time outta your night to to talk with us. We've enjoyed the conversation with postseason shed hunting everything in between. And it's hard to talk sometimes about deer right now cuz. We're thinking about turkeys here in the deep south, getting ready.

Oh yeah, me too. I'm already getting ready up here. . But it, boy, just, it just shows how dedicated of a deer hunter you are and how you get after 'em and why you have success. It's pre pretty clear. But if you would tell everybody on the podcast where they could find [00:44:00] you as far as social media and your biology backgrounds.

Yeah. You can look up Dave is outdoors on Instagram or just David Miller on on Facebook. And I have a thing called Appalachian Range Outdoors. It's just a hunting community thing we do here in our area. You can look up Appalachian Range Outdoors. And you can find me there.

But but yeah, if you ever ha anyone ever has questions, they can reach out and I'm glad to help out any way I can. That's awesome. That's awesome. Dave thanks again and you have a good rest of your week and thank y'all for listening. Thanks Dave. Hey you guys. You guys too. Thank you guys.

Hey, and good luck down there in Florida. Keep smashing 'em. I appreciate it. We're gonna try awesome man. And good talking to you guys. Hey guys, thanks for listening to this week's episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. You can keep up with southern ground hunting by following us on Facebook or Instagram or subscribing to the YouTube channel, and you can be sure to check us to pick up some of our merch, read some blog articles and all that [00:45:00] good stuff.

I truly hope you enjoyed this week's episode, and we'll see you here again next week. Remember that God gave you dominion over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the earth. So go out and exercise that dominion. We will talk to you next.