How Aaron Hepler Tackles Post-Season Scouting

Show Notes

Deer hunting success in the fall of 2023 starts NOW! Many of the best hunters out there have one thing in common: they scout more than they hunt. Now is the perfect time to get a jump start on your scouting for the year. The woods are as open as they will be, much of the sign from this past fall is still visible, and if you're fortunate enough to have snow, deer trails and beds will stick out like a sore thumb. This is also the lowest risk time to scout. No need to worry about spooking deer onto your neighbors property, running a buck out of his core area, or ruining your next hunt with pressure. The deer have all year to forget about your intrusion! With that said, many are tempted to move on to other outdoor pursuits this time of year, and that's great. But make sure to set aside some time for what is likely the BEST time of year to really break down the areas you hunt and learn how the deer use them. 

In this episode of the How to Hunt Deer Podcast, Josh talks with Aaron Hepler about his approach to post-season scouting. Aaron is a serious public land deer hunter from Pennsylvania. He consistently gets on above average deer for his area despite intense hunting pressure. One thing that makes him so successful is his commitment to scouting. As you'll hear in this episode, for Aaron, post-season scouting begins as soon as his buck tag is full. Tune in to hear how he fine tunes his understanding of the areas he's familiar with, how he locates and breaks down new areas, and how he begins to formulate a plan for the next hunting season. Enjoy!

Read Aaron's latest article of Post-Season Scouting

Show Transcript

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Welcome to the How Hunt Deer Podcast, which is brought to you by Tact Camp. This podcast aims to educate those who are interested in becoming deer. Brushing up on essential skills or maybe just adding a few new tactics to the toolkit. We cover a variety of topics that will help you be more confident and successful in the field while you're hunting deer.

Thank you so much for tuning in this week. Deer season is now [00:01:00] behind us and it's time to start thinking about the fall of 2023. I'm a big believer that deer hunting success in the fall of 2023 and future falls starts right now. Many of the best hunters out there that I have had the opportunity to speak with or interview on one of my shows have one thing in common, and that is that they scout more than they hunt.

Now is the perfect time to get a jumpstart on your scouting for the year ahead. The woods are as open as they're gonna be. Much of the sign from this past fall is still visible, and if you're fortunate enough to have a little bit of snow on the ground, deer trails and beds, they stick out like a sore thumb.

So it's a great time to get out in the woods. This is also the lowest risk time to scout in my mind. There's no need to worry about spooking deer. Onto your neighbor's property or running a buck out of his core area or ruining your next hunt with pressure, the deer have all year long to forget about your intrusion.

So now is the best time to dive in deep and really figure out what the [00:02:00] deer are doing. Now, in this episode, I have the chance to talk with Aaron Heppler again, and this time we're talking about his approach to postseason scouting. Aaron is a serious public land hunter from Pennsylvania, and he consistently gets on above average deer for his area, despite pretty intense hunting pressure.

One thing I think that makes him so successful is his commitment to scouting. As you're gonna hear in this episode for Aaron Postseason scouting basically begins as soon as his buck tag is filled. Yeah, you're gonna want to tune in and hear how he fine tunes his understanding of areas that he's familiar with already, how he locates and breaks down new areas, and how he begins to formulate a plan.

For the next hunting season. This is a fantastic episode. Love having Aaron on whenever I can. So yeah, you're gonna wanna stick around and hear what he has to say. A couple of things before we dive into the conversation. First of all, if you haven't already, please go subscribe or follow this podcast wherever it is that you get your podcast.

Also, leave us a review if you can leave us a written review that really helps folks find this show and helps us pop up [00:03:00] a little higher whenever folks are searching for deer hunting podcasts. If you would do that for me, I would be greatly appreciative. Also, if you're not already following us on Instagram, go do that.

That's the best way to get ahold of me. If you wanna reach out, tell me about guests or topics that you want to hear about or even just, drop me a line. Let me know how things are going in your neck of the woods as far as your post-season scouting or getting ready for next year, or maybe your success from this past year.

Whatever it is, that's the best way to reach out. It's also how I communicate most of the time, updates from me about, what I'm doing in the woods or new episodes that are launching. So be sure to go give us a follow there. And last but not least, we do want to give a big thanks to our partners.

First of all, TCAM, they're the title sponsor of this show. And man, right now is a great time to go buy some tica gear gearing up for next year, right? When you buy a new camera or you buy a new piece of gear that's gonna go on your bow or on your rifle, you wanna get used to it. You wanna have time to practice with it.

You don't want it to be a hindrance in that moment of truth when that buck is walking down the trail or for [00:04:00] what many of us are thinking about right now for when that gobbler is coming in. You don't wanna be messing around with your stuff. So tact to Cam. Go ahead and grab a 6.0 camera or their's solo extreme camera.

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One of my favorite things to do is come home and show my family. What I was able to see while I was out in the field. Now maybe that's because I filled a tag, but a lot of times it's not because I filled a tag, it's just I saw something cool and I videoed it and I wanna bring it home and show it to them.

Tact to cam lets you do that. So go check 'em Next up, hunt Worth. They're running a sale right now, winter clearance sale. Everything on their site is 20 to 50% off. Some of my favorite gear from this past season is 40% off right now. So yeah, I would highly recommend if you're looking to get into some new camo next year, [00:05:00] that is high quality, that is comfortable, that's gonna keep you warm, that's gonna get you blended in.

But that's not going to break the bank. Hunt worth is what you need to check out. Go to their website, hunt worth and take advantage of their winter clearance sale. And then lastly, OnX. Guys, I don't know man, I don't know what else to say. OnX is the best app out there. Hands down for outdoorsman, whether you hunt, hike, fish, camp, whatever it is.

OnX is fantastic. I use it everywhere I go. I fill it up with waypoints. You can take pictures, you can add notes to different way points. It's just fantastic. If you're not already using OnX, you can go get a free trial right now. Just find them on the app store of your choice, or you can go to their website to learn more.

OnX Now let's jump into the conversation talking post-season scouting with Aaron Hep. All right, back on the show. With me today is Mr. Aaron Heppler. Aaron, long time no talk.

Yeah. For the last hour

we've been talking . Yeah, we've been chatting for about an hour so far. Finally, hit the record button.

And then we talked [00:06:00] two days ago, recorded another podcast. We intended to talk to talk some post-season scouting, yeah. And get into strategy for that, how you wrap your head around it, where you begin, how you make your plan for the fall. , but then I asked you about your season. We started hearing stories and I'm like, dude, like this is where we're going with this one.

I want to hear the story of the bull and the story of the buck. And I realized, on this podcast it started out very much educational and it still is, right? Like it still educational. And then it moved from education about deer biology and where they live to hunting strategy. We talked a lot about hunting strategy, but we haven't done a lot of good hunting stories.

And so it just hit me as soon as you started telling the story about the Ellicott dude, this is what we need right now. It's February. Let's all take a deep breath, relax a little bit. Hunting is still fun. It's not a math problem all the time. We can sit back and enjoy it and yeah, share some stories.

But at the end of that, you led right into how [00:07:00] important your scouting is for your success, and you like teed it up perfectly. So at the end of that episode, I say, Hey, we've gotta get you back on the show. and talk about post-season scouting and how you put together your plan for the fall. Man let's kick it off there.

People know who you are at this point. Here we are in February. What are you doing this time of year or are you in recovery mode right now?

No, man. I'm ready to go. I've started started walking around already. I think the re like you said, I think the reason the whole reason people like to hunt is cuz there's a story.

You got a story to tell. Yep. And then, but you have to make the story just doesn't happen. So my story always starts as soon as the hunting season ends. Like I, I live close to where I hunt and I just like to be outside. Everybody you know, has the opinion. Oh it's too early to get out and walk around and oh, you can scare all the dearest sheds, this and that.

I like to find sheds too, but, I like to have a really good hunting fall. [00:08:00] Yeah. And the burnout is gone like that goes away. Everybody's different. So you need to take your


and go sit in a sauna or spend your new hart up and sit in a hot tub or something for a while. You go ahead and do that whatever it takes to get the burnout to, to fade.

Mine's gone in about two weeks and then I'm like ready to start stomping again. Yep. But my daughter likes to hike, my wife likes to hike. Even if I'm not bush whacking through the woods and looking for deer sign I'm walking an access road or something with my wife while my daughter's in school and getting that.

And it might not be like, Hey, that scouting's important, but hey man, if you find a way into where you're going, , that's a big deal. Yeah. And if you can map out all these ways where you can get somewhere quicker or use a different wind or use a way that people are using often to be like, Hey, this spot's already shot cuz [00:09:00] this many people are using it.

I can get in and then cut off where I want to go. That's helpful.


yeah I've done a little bit of that kind of thing, but then, tacked on a few either pulling some cameras out of the woods a little bit. I think I sent you some stuff on that the other day. Yep. Pulling some cameras out of the woods or maybe seeing if there's any early antler dropping some of those areas where I've seen bucks drop a little earlier.

I have a couple areas too where I like to get off the road and let my daughter go nuts trying to find sheds or even my wife likes to look for sheds too, so even getting her into areas that aren't like. ultra difficult, but fun and maybe not somewhere I'm going to spend a lot of serious time shed hunting.

Hey, that's a place where we're gonna pick one or two up every year and it's fun. And we did my wife and I got off the road and went into some tickets that we like to check out every year, cuz they're easy walk in and we found a shed a week or two ago already.

Nice, [00:10:00] nice. Yeah, man.

The last two years I've done something that, and I realize now as we're talking how much it paid off. So I shot my buck in 2021 on November 2nd. November 3rd. I literally started scouting. That was my first scouting trip. And part of it I was pulling some cameras and that kind of thing because rifle season was coming up in, in Wisconsin.

And I've learned better than to leave my cameras out during gun season. . And so I'm pulling some, but then I'm also scouting. And I didn't realize till right now the pieces that I put together this fall are in large part owed to what I learned on November 3rd last year. So the buck that I killed this fall was directly tied in November 8th.

This year I killed my buck November 9th. I'm in there scouting, putting the pieces together. Cause a little bit about how that buck was moving that I didn't quite understand. And then I pulled some more cameras that I hadn't yet gotten to because I like to hang cameras and then just not check them.

Yeah. And I used that intel for next year [00:11:00] and dude, when I pulled, I had two or three more cameras in there, I think three. And when I pulled those, I had this buck all over 'em. So I was like, oh yeah, if I'd had that if those had been cell cameras, I would've been really dialed into what this deer was doing beforehand.

But, anyway, kinda like the way it plays out. Yeah. So you're getting out there two weeks later starting to stomp around. Are you using this time of year to fine tune because. What I'm doing a lot is immediately I'm fine tuning an area, right? I saw deer do something, I killed a buck. Now I'm gonna get in there and figure out exactly what was going on.

Yeah. Are you fine tuning spots or are you looking for new spots for

next year? No, I always do that. It, I, so what you said is sometimes a, when you kill something or when you have an encounter, it is really important to go in there right after to see why. Yep. Okay. And I've done that. We went my buddy and I went in I told you the other day, the area that I killed my buck this past year was an area we hang a cell cam and have history of that.

But it's like [00:12:00] some of the things changed there recently and their movement is a little bit different, not a whole lot different. And also, like I had it on a scrap. That bush that the scrape is on is like it. That scrape didn't get hit quite as much as it did in previous years because that licking branch is really high now.

So we did go in there in rifle season and me and my buddy walked through the whole thing like, who cares? It's rifle season, whatever. We just checked this whole thing out and there were a lot of things that made sense and a lot of adjustments that I'm going to make for next year in there. And also like I know what I'm gonna, so that immediate even post hunt is important.

I'm gonna go back in there now and find even more detail than I found rifle. Like I'm really gonna pick it apart cuz I know that the changes that happen in there are going to be very good and I need to find the detail in those areas. Like I learned more about where the dough are betting and why the bucks are relating to it.

I learned about [00:13:00] where the bucks are betting and. Why they're traveling across it, where the dough bedding, the do bedding they're relating to, and how they're using that, scrape those scrapes to check that dough bedding area. It's like Compl makes complete sense. And I think that is important, just pe peeling those pieces apart.

And I just sent you pictures of a friend of mine a friend of mine just,

oh, that's a toad.

Holy cow. , he killed that deer. Not this past fall, but two years ago. It's nine and a half years old. It's 165 inches.

Geez. And super unique

rack. Yep. This deer is in a pretty heavily pressured area and I think a lot of people knew about him and maybe that's why but.

We, we were, you and I were talking about networking with people and learning people. No, I think one thing that you learn about hunters is when you're in an area and you get to know somebody, you [00:14:00] do build respect for them. And and after a while, although you probably all play a little bit of quiet cards, eventually you learn that the people you can trust and the people you do have respect for and you feel the respect back.

This guy, there's a big story about this guy, but he he brought his dear to a shop to have it scored. And I happen to know somebody that works at the shop and I showed him pictures of this deer and he's Hey, I think I recognize that deer. And then he knows this guy now cuz he recognized the deer.

And then I told you about a friend of mine that I'm really close with. He met some other people on the land that we hunt. and they share some stuff, like whatever. Now we're pretty all open. This other two groups of guys texted him a picture and said, I hope this buck's still alive this year.

And it was that buck. Oh. And he texted me, he was like, have you ever seen that buck? And I was like, yeah, that's dead. And I sent him a picture of it, . [00:15:00] Now I had not met the guy that shot the buck at this point yet, but I ended up, he's if you could, he, my, my good friend put me in touch with the people that had tons.

He, they had three years of pictures of this deer. Wow. And I like over


pic. They had tons of pictures of this deer in velvet, like all kind in rifle season during the day, all kinds of pictures. And they had his core area narrowed down to 150 yards, like circle and , the guy that shot it ended up, I don't remember the date that he shot it.

It was either one of the last couple days of October or first couple days of November. But he happened to, shed hunt the area a lot and he decided he's gonna hunt this area on the day that he hunted it. And he ended up walking past the guys that had all these pictures of it and waving high to him or whatever.

And he kills this deer. And [00:16:00] I ended up putting the guy that my buddy knows in touch with the guy that had the deer at the shop, who put them in touch with the guy. And he got, they gave him all the pictures. Oh. They had two or three sheds of the deer. So they showed him the sheds. And actually, the reason I'm talking about this immediate post hunt scouting too is because he went back to where he killed this buck three days later.

and he's I want to find one of the sheds. Now, he had not met, remember he had not met these other two guys yet. This was, they, he met them eight months after the fact, almost a year after the fact. He's I really wanna find one of the sheds. And he gets up on this hump and he's this really looks like a place of big buckwood bed.

And he looks down and there is the shed from the year before from this buck. Oh my goodness. It's 67 inches, I think. 66 and three quarters. It's a bit, it's huge. I went to his house and I saw the deer and held the antler and stuff. It's massive. And you can see [00:17:00] it was the side, it was the really unique side with the turn, turn down and the, and it's just huge.

Like you can't even fit your hand around the base of the rack. Oh my gosh. And that was its big year. The year that he shot it, it might've been on the down on a downhill slope a little bit. , which who cares? It's you can, that doesn't matter with a deer like that. But the thing is he learned about a lot about that buck after he killed it.

He learned how that deer was betting how that deer might have been using the area that he was hunting, the terrain, maybe how that deer was hiding and that is going to benefit him a lot in the long run. And he had some good encounters on that in that area this year, yeah. One 20 s he missed, I told you the other day that a friend, that one of the two guys that we know shot a really big one and he actually missed that deer this year too, man.

So it's really important if you have the couple hours to go see what that specific [00:18:00] deer was doing, cuz you can learn from that specific deer cuz a d another deer's gonna take that deer's place. Yeah, for sure. That deer made it to nine and a half years old. He sent the teeth in.

It's nine and a half. That deer should not be nine and a half years old. No. In a place like that should not be, but it was. So how did it get there? And that immediate postseason, that immediate post hunt part, will also tune you into what that deer is doing. And that's like a time where you're really not burned out.

Couple days after you kill a deer, you are on fire. Yep. Yep. Channel it like use use that because it's really important to, to having some good hunts later. The cool thing is I did get to meet that guy and I did get to meet those other two guys, and that's what I'm talking about is we built a lot of respect for one another.

We share trail camera pictures, we share intel. I live the closest to the area. I can tell them. . There's been this much [00:19:00] pressure this week. There's been this much pressure this week. Cause I'd take a drive and check parking lots if I'm not hunting or I, don't have time to whatever. If I've got an hour or half an hour, I'll see what's going on.

Cuz that's important to scouting. I, it's not necessarily scouting for people, but seeing what an area might be worth going into. Cuz if you have an area that's got 15 cars in an area that's got four cars, I guess, and guess I know where I'm going. Yeah. And you can of course do the overlooked thing and the next to the parking lot thing, which I don't really think as much of that gets overlooked as people think.

. Cuz you find lots of tree stands next to the parking area still . Yeah. I'm not


there's no overlooked areas, but I think people spend time looking for overlooked areas. But if you're looking for them somebody else's too, and they're probably not overlooked . I think that word gets thrown around a lot.

Yeah. It can be used

as a crutch. A lot of times of oh, I'm trying to hunt the overlooked area. It's yeah, maybe, or maybe you're just looking for a good excuse to be a little lazier, which is fine. And [00:20:00] if you wanna hunt right next to the parking lot more power to you do your thing, man.

Whatever you want to do in the woods, that's perfectly fine. Yeah. But you don't have to couch it in. I'm in an overlooked spot. It's I just didn't wanna walk for an hour. And that's okay.

100%. And you can still have good hunts ne next to the parking lot. It's definitely not like a thing that you can't do.

It's just I think if you're looking for an overlooked look spot, you're not gonna find it. Because the way that, an area is overlooked is that, that it's not been hunted. Yeah. And how do you know that Unless you see people going, I can't tell you how many, when I first started the public land thing oh, nobody's ever gonna come out here, or nobody's ever gonna find this spot.

And then you hunt there and people are walking under your tree stand, or you have eight dudes on your trail camera and you're like, I did not realize someone else was willing to do this. Guess what? There's a lot of people that really love to deer hunt. Yep. And there's a lot of people that are just as good and probably quite a few that [00:21:00] are better than you.

There's a lot of, I know there's a lot of people that hunt near me that are better than me and I can learn something from them, but I also want to respect that person. So if they're, if I have that opportunity, like I want to give them leeway. The couple guys that I know now, It's not that we don't hunt the same spots, but it's like, Hey, what's your plans here?

Put the elephants, if you're doing something like that, put the elephant in the room If you're gonna get pissed because somebody else is gonna sit there you need to make sure that you're keeping yourself in check and being like, Hey, is he gonna get pissed if I sit there? That's a lot of drama maybe, but you could, we want to think about some of those things because I do wanna build friendships and that, that's what it's all about, right?

It's great to shoot a buck, but I want all those guys to shoot a buck too. And that's something like today as, as far as my circle of friends, everybody


really well this year. Some people had the struggle bus thing, but then, three of us killed public land bucks.

The guy with that deer that I just sent you, he killed a really great [00:22:00] buck on a farm that he had permission on. Had a lot of great encounters. My buddy I talked to you about earlier killed a one 50 on his brand new farm. He just bought a nice farm not too long ago, but he shot a really great buck there.

And had some really great encounters on public too. So it is part of the networking thing. It's part of you, you just, like I said, the respect thing is very important.

Hey guys, just want to take a quick minute to let you know that the How to Hunt Deer Podcast is brought to you by Tcam makers of the best point of view cameras on the market.

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And one area tactic cam really shines is with their mounts and adapters that are made with the sportsmen in mind. If you've tried to film your hunting and fishing excursions in the past, you know how frustrating it can be to get an [00:23:00] action camera aimed just right or get it attached to your weapon or in a good spot for a second angle.

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for those guys. Maybe they're not our best buddy, but they hunt the same area. Yeah. And maybe we're not gonna be best friends all year long, but sharing intel, like I have very seldom shared intel with somebody that I knew I could trust who was on the same piece of public. That usually ends up working out for both of us.

And there are some things that you keep a little closer to the vest, right? For instance, this year I had an 11 [00:24:00] point that was in that one 60 range. And I knew where he was, but I didn't too. . And then I would catch him on other parts of this property and he was less consistent than this smaller deer that I ended up taking.

And, I had a buddy, I'm like, dude, I know where he's at 28% of the time. If you wanna go hunt this deer, if you don't have a beat on something else, go throw some sits at it because I'm not gonna waste my time. On this deer that's acting a little bit like a ghost. Like he'll pop in middle of the day.

randomly, and then he'll do it again six days later randomly. And it's I'm not gonna sit the same spot for six days in hope, in hopes that he'll be there. . But if you don't have another bucker after here, go chase it. . I got back to the parking lot this year, and a guy pulls in, a guy that I knew, he is actually a dog tracker.

He helped me two years ago with a buck that I shot there in Wisconsin. And he was like, oh, yep. It's weird to see that deer dead. I was like, oh, really? Tell me more. He starts sharing pictures with me, and he was like, but I'm surprised you shot him over here because I was getting pictures of him way over here.

And it was like, [00:25:00] I don't know, 800 yards as the crow flies. And he had spent the whole summer down on this other end of the property, and I was not getting him on trail cameras on the end of the property where I was hunting. Yeah. And then I found out from this guy, oh yeah the landowner here has a brother.

And that brother started hunting that area because he got pictures of that buck. He started hunting that area around mid-October. . . Guess when the buck that I shot showed up on my cameras for the first time. About October 20th. . So it was, I think that guy bumped that deer and pressured him out of that.

So he went to the next best area. And that's how I got on him. Cause I was chasing that 11 point. I was trying to figure him out. And actually I missed that 11 point by about an hour and a half one day. This year during the rut, a thunderstorm rolled in, lightning rolled in, and I was like, I gotta pull out, I can't do lightning haile, out here in a tree.

Yeah. And if I'd just stuck it out for the 45 minutes of Lightning Haile, he would've walked 25 yards from me. Which kind of a bummer, but, Hey, I'm alive. I was gonna say, or you could have


Yeah. Yeah. Who [00:26:00] knows. I could have been, I could have been sitting there dead in my tree as he walked underneath Me too.

There's that. But yeah, man I think that networking piece and, sharing the information that we can, finding a couple of guys that we can trust, can be a huge part, especially this time of year, right? I don't wanna share a ton on October 15th , right? Of what I think is going on.

, you catch me in February yeah. I'll share a little more. Let's talk about what we saw this year. Like now's time to pull out the notes. We can all go back to putting ourselves first, next season and keeping some things, just for us or whatever. But man, sharing post-season notes of I had this buck here, I killed this buck here.

That can be super helpful. Oh

yeah, totally. The, these, some of these guys that I'm talking about the same way they're probably some pictures that they didn't share with me or I didn't share with them. And but now we are, it's like, Hey, could you see this bucket all? I've had 'em here and here, and then it's like put some more pieces together.

Yeah. Yep. And that's really [00:27:00] helpful. Part of post-season scouting too is that network of guys, because these guys are just as hardcore as I am. Like, they got the nine to fives or whatever and they, but they just, they love it just as much as I do. Yeah. But it is easier to, like I said, it just goes back to the more you build that relationship with somebody, the more likely you guys are to have success.

Yep. And that's really hard. Cuz there's probably one, one in every crowd where you're like, you're just gonna go in there and mess it up and, maybe you can, maybe that personal change when you're friend, but it can be like a daunting thing to jump into a friendship with strangers.

But I think it is one, one cool and important thing about social media is like that is. Something that can happen and it's just Hey, I don't like social. Sometimes the social media thing irritates me, but at the same time Hey, it's not going anywhere. It might not be Facebook and Instagram in 20 years, but it's [00:28:00] gonna be something.

Yep. And if we're all using it right and learning to respect each other better, especially in the hunting community, then it's Hey, I'm, the way it's been working for me with those couple of people, I think that was really cool. This fall, like that was something a little bit different. And pretty cool and again, beneficial to the post-season thing.

Cause like I said, we've been sharing pictures and I'm like, Hey, we might be able to figure that deer out next year or how they're using, not, maybe not necessarily a specific deer, but if you're learning how those bucks are using the area. Yep. Like again I would like to, my main goal would be to try to shoot something Pope.

But again, I'm not gonna pass a one 10 up at this point in, in, in the hunt for me. I I like shooting deer. Yeah. 110 inch deer still makes me happy. It still makes me shaking my boots when he is coming and I'm gonna shoot him every time right now. Yep. And maybe that'll change after I've shot a whole bunch of them.

Or I have [00:29:00] something that I, there's always one buck of course, that I really want to shoot, but like the other ones make me just as happy as he does and they're not gonna, in that moment, in that excitement of the hunt. It's not different. Yeah. Like it wouldn't be different. I wouldn't be more excited to shoot him.

Yeah. But I think that, that is, a cool different aspect of the post-season scouting and we're gonna probably all get to shed hunt together or, pick this area apart. And I think that's something that's really cool.

Yeah. So I'm curious, maybe we call this that post hunt scouting almost for this piece.

Yeah. That post hunt scouting, sign is fresh as maybe season's not even over yet. What are some of the things that you're looking for as you're like, Hey, maybe I killed here in this spot. Maybe I just had a good encounter, but I really want to get this place dialed in. What are some of those things that you're starting to look for that are clues for you?

And I want to tee it up with this. The buck that I got this year there were two really important [00:30:00] features that really changed the, my thoughts on how the deer used this. Number one a windstorm had blown down a tree at a creek crossing at a, at another spot. And that. had a huge impact on how the deer were crossing this area.

It changed not only that creek crossing, but another crossing that they were using on another little ditch. And rather than crossing further down the ditch, they moved up about 75 yards and were crossing the ditch in another place because that was the easiest access to avoid the later creek crossing.

It was another good trail. So they just basically shifted trails totally by about 75 yards. So those two little things that I pieced together is boom, it made all the difference in the world. I killed the deer. I went back in there later. It was like, oh, this is exactly, why they had made this shift.

What are some of the things that you're looking for to, kind of fine tune or get a spot dialed in?

What you just said is really important and I'm gonna relate it. I actually interviewed Dan the other [00:31:00] day for an article that I'm writing or that I wrote. It should be up soon.

I asked him like, how are you making, if you're going into post-season scout, how are you making the adjustment before the season? Are you going in there in the summertime and seeing how they're moving? And he said something that I already use and that I find pertinent. Like I don't really go back in there.

If I'm going in there to hang a camera or something, I probably won't check that camera until I go to hunt the area. But I'm not looking for how the deer are moving there through there in the summer. It, I will go there if I need to find a fine tune detail like you're talking about. Yep. Hey, a tree went down and now they're not using this trail.

Why are they not using this trail? Because like you said, they shifted 70 yards, but a post hunt is probably going to tell you the biggest thing about hey, like these, like I said with the buck that I killed this year is hey, they're moving a little bit different. Why is that? I know why it is because there are a few new cuts.

This year they shifted 60 yards really from the [00:32:00] way they moved years prior. The dough bedding shifted just a little bit. The way the bucks were traveling the cover changed a little bit and the bucks were utilizing it to hide, going parallelly Miss Ridge. I know that because a hundred dare and I hunted there and I observed once, and then I scouted it after I killed the buck.

And I think, like you said, you learned about that tree being down in deer, using that crossing differently. And I found out with my buck because they were using the cover differently and they were going to a destination differently than they were before. And I knew that because like now I just checked out why they were doing that shortly after the hunt.

And Dan said in this article that I'm interview or I interviewed him for is don't go into the area unless you really need to find the eight ball. If you really need, like you have an idea, but you we're bow hunters can you, if you gun hunt, great, but if you gun [00:33:00] hunt, you have a better opportunity to be able to see maybe a distance and make a further shot.

But a bow hunter, you 10 yards is gonna make a difference. If you, if your range is 40 yards on a whitetail and they're 55 or 60, like that's it. That's the difference. And you could have maybe learned that right after the hunt. Unless something drastic changes like a tree falls in the summer or something and changes the way they move, like that's different.

But if you don't have a bead on how they're moving, then yeah, like Dan said, you need to get in there and find that eight ball and maybe do go hang a camera there in the summer. , maybe. And I'm talking about Dan Johnson. Not Dan in fault. , just to clarify, the emperor himself. Yeah, the emperor himself.

I think that is important just to get like a beat on things. And you just need to stay away. If you do go in there after the summer, you need to stay away. Like you can't, everybody wants to go check that camera. That camera isn't really gonna help you much until next year anyway. Yep. [00:34:00] Maybe you'll learn about a specific buck that you want to hunt.

But for an area that I'm actually going to spend time hunting, I probably won't check that camera until I go hunt. Maybe I'll pull the card if I'm literally passing the camera, like not going out of my way at all. To learn inventory, put cameras in a spot that makes sense to check it for inventory.

Yeah. Or better yet put a san, you could put a cell cam in a spot that you think you're gonna hunt, that's fine. But if you're using it for inventory, you're still working off of, there's all this talk about this livestream camera stuff and whatever. We are not gonna talk about that. But if you're using a cell cam, that stuff is already happened, maybe it'll help you tomorrow.

Or you get an idea of a hot streak or something. But put even putting a cell cam in an area you're gonna get inventory will tell you maybe if you're interested in shooting a specific type of deer or a specific deer [00:35:00] putting it on some kind of tucked in food source is a good idea because then you're gonna get that inventory.

when you need to go change batteries in your cell cam, you're not going to an area you're gonna hunt. But if it's close enough to the area you're gonna hunt, you're still probably gonna get the same bucks on that camera. Yep. And that's a good way to utilize cell cameras. And then if you're somebody who's really like on the fence about a cell cam, whether it's ethical or not I am not somebody who thinks the cell cam is ethical.

Cuz honestly, they've never really helped me directly kill a deer. They've helped me kill deer, but not Hey, bucks there now. Gotta get there. I've never had that. Yeah. And I, I don't know if I did, if I would use it. I haven't until this point, so I, I don't I, the closest I got to something like that was this year.

We had a buck on the evening before and I decided to, I was already deciding to hunt somewhere near that area before we got the picture. . And then that kind of made my decision oh, I'm gonna go in there tomorrow morning. [00:36:00] But the area I still hunted was still 300 yards away from that camera. Yeah. I was not hunting that camera per se, and I got it right.

He just was there like three hours before I got there. Oh, bummer. I checked the regular camera that I had in the spot that I wanted to hunt, and he was there two, like two or three hours before I got there. But besides the point, if you want inventory using a cell cam in an area that, like something like a big community scrape or some kind of tucked in food source is a good idea, and then it's not invasive and you can go maintain that camera as you need to.


So let's circle around then to, all right. We're truly in the post-season now, right? Like season is over, it's done. And maybe rather than fine tuning the areas that I already hunt, I wanna branch out. and find some new locations. Maybe it's because I didn't have the luck I wanted to this year in my spots.

Maybe it's because if you're like me and probably like a lot of you guys, you just want to add more places because the more places you can have, the higher your [00:37:00] odds or the more your odds go up. It's just, I've learned the value of that over the last couple years of I don't want one area that I can hunt, from any wind direction.

That's great to have that area. I want 12 areas that I can hunt like that and pick a spot, start tightening the noose. If I'm ha if I'm having good encounters, stick with it. If not bump onto somewhere else. So where do you go then when it comes time to, okay, I want to find some new

areas. Yeah, I do actually have a process for this cuz I, I always want to do, I always have like probably 15 places on the, and you never get to all of them, but So I'll say that I do like to shed hunt and the spot that I know the best is the place that's going to probably have the most antlers.

And if I go too early, maybe I will bump those deer out of there and mess it up. And maybe I don't need to learn. I know enough about it. Now I have a base of how the deer are moving through that. Now I probably can always, you always [00:38:00] can learn a few details about the place because there's some piece of vegetation that you didn't walk behind the last time that you're gonna learn something new about.

Oh, hey, what's this? So I want to go back to those areas that I know well because I need to find the new details. And things always change in the woods, so you need to find those new details. That's on my radar for the end of February, middle of March, beginning of April. Those places that I've already been, I make a list of the places that I want to go to.

And then I prioritize them. What am I gonna use that for? I talked to the other day about special regulations in pa. There's a place that we like to hunt that's some public, that's a nice piece of public and one of the special regulations, and I don't scout it that often. I have that on the top of my list to go to in the next two weeks I want to go there and I want to pick that area apart.

Not necessarily to shoot a buck, but I like, I want to go there and kill a couple doughs in [00:39:00] September before the regular season opens. I want to go and learn that area. And I don't really care about the sheds in that area cuz I know really not that much about it at all. That area is cool, but it doesn't hold like a special place to me yet.

So I'm gonna go and I'm going to find the different access points, like the different parking areas. I'm going to walk a couple of trails and I'm going to go to. A few specific waypoints and try to find out which ones are holding deer in that area. And then I'm gonna look around for stuff that looks like that, or and then also I'm going to mark, when I get to those places, I'm gonna mark something that I want to soak a camera in and be like, Hey, build some history over this place.

And then eventually you won't have to hang a camera there because, oh, this place is good at this time of year and this is where I can go to kill those early season doughs or pattern an early season buck or whatever you want to, whatever your goal is for that property. So I've already, my post-season [00:40:00] now, I've, I'm not too far in, but I've got 20, 20 or 25 miles under the belt in the last two and a half weeks.

And I've checked out three areas, three or four areas that I haven't been to before. And or. Spent some time small games hunting in and was like, Hey, this might God, check this out. And I found some pretty great stuff already and maybe I'll get back to shed hunter, maybe I won't, but I know where I'm gonna go hang some cameras in the summer.

And I learned something about how to access that and why maybe it would be difficult for somebody else to access it. Some, some water access or what kind of barriers are there? Am I going up real steep stuff or through real thick stuff, whatever that is. But I'm learning those new, I get to learn those new areas now because again, everybody likes to find some antlers.

I know the best places that I know right now and how to find the antlers there and when they drop and all that. [00:41:00] So I'm gonna go to those areas later because I can fine tune those details, go to all those areas where I think there's antlers in and learn a few new things about the property I already know.

But now I have the opportunity to really pick apart something new and just have a little bit of a different adventure, I guess you could say on those

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So when you're making this list and you're gonna prioritize it, what are some of the, I am, I'm assuming you're doing that through like ees scouting. Yep. What are some of the big features that are standing out to you? Do you [00:42:00] have in your mind, I know there are some guys who get like, Hey, I'm looking for this specific thing no matter where I'm at, or are you more just approaching the map, saying, okay, what's here?

What could be good? And then when you prioritize that list, what are the things that make those spots jump up to the top?

A brand new property I'm going to go to the way the features that everybody knows about everybody's read that mapping trophy white sales book, it's a great book. If you're a new hunter, you should read it because you will learn a lot of basics about reading a map and how dare you use terrain?

Just because a deer just because people hunt a lot in saddles on a ridge while Deere still use 'em, right? They're probably one of the most pressured spots on a map now. Because it's, everybody knows deer use saddles. A lot of 'em are getting night pressure or a lot of nighttime deer movement.

Now down here in the south,

they might [00:43:00] be getting night pressure too. So ,

very true. So maybe deer are using them at night, but like they still use them. So are they betting in them? Are they traveling through them? Now? I'm going to. I get there. I see what it looks like. Is there hunting pressure there? If it's not, maybe I found a saddle that's not hunted and maybe deer do use it during the day.

You're gonna learn that through history. You're not gonna know if anybody hunts it maybe you'll find some trash wrappers or whatever. But until you know somebody's not using it during the season, you don't really know. But I'm gonna backtrack that and go find those micro areas around that.

Is there some folded ditches that don't really show up? Like maybe they show up as little squiggly lines on your Es G and it's, a hundred yards off that saddle. Maybe there's a little steeper point, like a little steeper edge that you didn't notice because it's hard to make your eyes adjust to those contour lines when you're looking at the map.

And maybe that buck is cruising right along the top of that steep [00:44:00] part that's also maybe a little bit off of that main train. So I'm looking at those big waypoint features, those big ridge points, the saddles the benches, those kinds of things. And then I'm working my way back from that and like I want to know about that main area because Deere use those main areas.

People hunt those main areas and they hunt them because deer are there at some point in time. And the sign either shows you that maybe the cameras show you that maybe you've had an encounter on one of those. And those areas can still hold deer and they can't use, can still kill a big buck on a big feature, especially during the rut because maybe that buck is new to the area and doesn't know there's 18 tree stands on the end of a point.

Yeah. But if you go to the end of the point or a main feature, you're probably gonna find a lot of tree stands and people sign. So I'm not telling you to hunt that main feature, but coming off of that main feature, where are those micro features? You're a deer, you're a [00:45:00] bow hunter. You don't need to see 200 yards, you need to see 20.

And if you know that deer is going through that micro area in that 20 yard circle, that's where you want to be because you're gonna have your best opportunity to kill that deer. And maybe you don't see 50 deer that day cuz you can only see 20 or 30 yards. But , I've had a couple opportunities to kill some good bucks in an area I couldn't see 40 yards.

The buck that I talked about on the last, the first bow buck that I killed,


talked on the last podcast, I couldn't see more than 15 yards. Wow. That was my far shot. Was 15 yards. But I knew there was gonna be a deer going through there cuz it made sense why he would be there, using the water that he was using and cruising for doze.

And it was a, it was, the wind chill was cold that day, but it was 55 degrees a deer with a big coat's not gonna notice a wind chill when he is out looking for doze. So it made sense for him to wanna stop at water at some point. And it made sense why he was coming through there cuz there was no bedding close to there.

So those [00:46:00] micro areas and not caring about how much you can see it, it can pay off. Yeah.


when it comes to. Those spots, you're almost using it. I think about all the articles that I've read over the years in Deer and Deer Hunting magazine and that kind of thing. You're almost treating those big features like you would treat a food source.

If you go back and read those articles, they're like, Hey, find the food source. Yeah, it might be night activity, but back off of 'em a couple hundred yards, and boom, you're in the deer. You're doing that with these big obvious terrain features that are getting pressure. People are probably hunting them and you're getting in there and saying, okay, once I've confirmed deer movement here, then I'm gonna back off of these a couple hundred years or couple hundred yards, not years.

That'd be weird. And dial in those micro areas when you get to a spot. I've had this happen a lot, and I'm curious where you go with this. You pick a spot on a map, you walk in and it's just, looks like it's not happening. Like it, the sign isn't quite there. How do you adjust for that?

[00:47:00] Do you walk into a spot and say, okay, the sign's not here, I'm pulling out? Or are you gonna. Push for those secondary micro areas and check a few of those before you write it off.

I'm gonna check 'em. Okay. This was something else I talked about with Dan too, but I won't say, I won't say what, I don't wanna give away too much of that article that I wrote, but I'll have to go read.

Where will they find it? It's going to be on the Truth from the Stan's blog. Okay. I'll send you the link for it then. Sweet. When it gets posted. But I'll tell you what I do for that, cuz I do something a little bit similar, but I've already scouted an area that I know very well because I've spent my entire life hunting pheasants there and my whole life chasing deer around it and hiking by I live, it was a place my parents took me all the time.

I've never really picked it apart for deer at all, but when I'm a small gaming hunting man, I see like this sign and that [00:48:00] sign and this, oh yeah. It's probably good. It gets absolutely pounded. But I don't know how much of it's deer pressure. Like I know they, they're, they, I know there's a lot of other type of recreation and hunting that goes on there, so you don't know.

Like I said, you don't know until, so this whole place in general looks the same wherever you go on the 6,000 acres that, I think it's 6,000, maybe 3000, somewhere in, somewhere between three and 6,000. Wherever you go there, it all pretty much looks the same. And it's not like an urban area. You it's becoming more urbanized around it.

But the woods is not high quality. So pretty much everywhere you go it's there's plenty of deer here cuz people kill lots of deer during the rifle season here. There's a couple good bucks that come out of the area every year. But what is going to be different about this area?

[00:49:00] So I get into it and sometimes you're like, eh, this sucks. There's honey suckle everywhere. Like it's just not great woods. But then you find a trail in there and you're like, you, if you walk enough in an area like that, and remember I'm doing this now where I'm like, I don't really care what I'm fine.

I'm just out for a hike. I'm just out to, to clear my mind. I'm out to have a good time. And you run into something, then you're like, oh this looks good. And then you follow that and then you get to, oh, this looks better. . Oh, this is the hub of where all this is coming from. Oh, look at that access. I gotta use a boat.

, or, Hey, so then you're like that area. Now that was not great. You went out and had a good time and you followed a whole bunch of stuff to something to one of those micro spots that you're like, Bing, I'm gonna put a camera here. I'm going [00:50:00] to hunt this area once at least to get some observation.

I'm gonna plan some access into here. Stuff

like that. Yeah. So you're gonna put some work in before you just write a spot off. I've been guilty in the past of number one, devoting way too much time to a spot that wasn't great, . But then I've also been guilty of pulling the plug too soon, only to return to the spot later and be like, ah, okay.

I was 200 yards off the mark. I just missed it. Like I just didn't, I didn't give it enough of a go. When you're walking through this time of year, you're looking for a lot of that sign that's left over from the previous fall and not terribly interested in exactly what the deer are doing in February necessarily.

How are you gauging and putting a timeline together for when the deer are using an area, like when you walk in, you find sign, how do you distinguish whether that's late September, mid-October, first week of November? Or are you looking more for things that are relevant sort of season long?[00:51:00]

When you post season scout, it is, it's hard to decipher all the stuff cuz the deer have had a whole season now to make sign.

Yep. I tend to find that the areas that you're going to now, if the sign is fresh, that's probably the area the deer are going to use in September, October, early on. Cuz they're going back to Oak Flats and picking at the Red Oaks that are left over as they're not rotted. They're eating around here.

They eat a lot of if you've listened to Johnny Stewart at all that they eat a lot of ferns. . . Okay. Yeah. He loves his ferns. Oh, he does? I wanna make a t-shirt that just says ferns and have Johnny's face

on it. Have dug up, have dug up bulbs, firm bulbs or

whatever they do though. It's ridiculous.

I found so many sheds and stuff like that. And if you find an area that's like really torn up, it's probably a lot of doze, but hey that's not a bad thing if you know where the do are, but yeah. . So anything that's like fresh now, there's a pretty good chance that those are the areas that you can [00:52:00] go back to in the early part of the season.

Okay. And then you can also give a good idea to rubs. If you're finding rub lines, that's probably a lot of like pre-read activity. Yep. And it, you have to match it with train, right? If you have, the easiest example is like if you have I'll give two easy examples. Big woods, if you have a rub line that's running perpendicular to a ridge, it goes from one side to the other, or you have it running parallel, probably pre rut sign.

If you have rubs that are running along a field edge, probably pre rut sign, those scrapes that deer make under little bushes on field edges, probably pre rut sign. So you can say that like you may on those areas, you might have that mid-October burst where you get like the, 14, 15, 16th and then end of October and that end of October.

People talk about the end of October a lot, but that still plays into the first, four or five days of November. So you can look at sign like that.[00:53:00] Rubs that are clustered, and I know we talked about this on our very first podcast together, but those rubs that are clustered together if you can match those with a bed that makes sense for how that deer might be trying to protect itself, that's probably a buck bedding area.

Yeah. Now when is he betting there? Clint did a podcast with a biologist from Mississippi, I think, and I think that they found that bucks were actually using beds more consistently during the rut than people think. Yep. Especially in that first part of it. And they returned to that bed at that time.

So you might have a little bit of investigating to do on , whether or not that is going to be a place that they start using towards the end of October, early November, or is that a place where, hey, this buck is staying away from mosquitoes in September and and figuring out where that, that those worm season grasses are and the light food that, I always talk about vegetation and everybody's hungry for a salad in August when it's hot and nobody wants beef stew in August.

So that, [00:54:00] gotta match it to the food that they're around when they're betting. Like maybe they want alfalfa's a big early summer thing or beans our big early summer thing, that light stuff that they can really get into. So you match that tap bedding to that kind of stuff, and then that sign will tell you more when you have more information like that.

Yeah. So bridging the gap then to your fall hunting, right? Like you're. You're locating these areas, you're prioritizing your list. You're going in, you're finding the things that you're looking for. You're working with terrain features and sign, and you start to process it all. And that's, you can explain until you're blue in the face, what that looks like.

But the only thing that's gonna get you there is experience. Uhhuh, like that. The, on, gosh, I could ask you 35 questions about your next steps between then and when you put cameras on a spot and experience is the only thing, right? Like it's just, there's no easy answer there. But bridging the gap, you go back in and you're placing some of these cameras in the summer, making that plan for the fall.

What are the spots that are gonna get those [00:55:00] cameras so that you can continue to gain intelligence? And what are the spots that you're like, you know what, I think I got it. I'm gonna throw a sit or two at this and observe and maybe be on the money, but maybe not. , what's the difference between a spot that gets a camera for you and a spot that you're just like, ah, I'm just gonna go in there on October 7th and see what happens.

I, I tend to use so summer cameras we do hang cam like cell cams in the summer. We probably don't turn 'em on until September. You took me two weeks before the season or something. It helps to save battery and I'm not really interested in I usually go and check all my regular cameras. If I, unless it's in a really sensitive place, like if it's in the middle of a betting area, I'm not checking it until I'm gonna dive in to hunt that area because those, the area, the cameras that I've put around it are the ones that I can go and check and find out what deer might be living in there.

And then like you have that confirmation like, Hey, this deer is in this area, he's traveling this way. I bet you he'll be on that [00:56:00] camera when I go into hunt anyway. Write that one off, leave it alone. But I told you how I like to use cell cams is like get the inventory, know what's around.

We put a camera on a really summary type food source. And we get a lot of inventory on that camera and a lot of excitement out of that camera and a lot of great Velvet Fest pictures out of that camera. And then I can go and change those batteries and it doesn't matter that particular camera is, there is so many trails.

Crisscrossed the mayor, you don't even know which one is the main trail. It's not on any, I guess the train might be a little bit different. Like it rolls off a little bit where we have the camera directed gently. But it's in the middle of this food source and this is where as many trails as I can possibly get come together.

Gotcha. My grandfather used to say about shooting a deer that there's more room on 'em or around them than there is on 'em. And it's the same thing with a trail camera when you're like, okay, there's [00:57:00] literally 20 trails here. Which one do I put it on? We'll just put it where they all cross you're going to, okay.

Maybe the deer's coming from behind the camera, but you could put 15 cameras up there and still miss the deer that's on the trail behind that particular camera. Yep. So you're gonna have to have the experience of a hunt there to really learn, which, how they like to travel that. But you're going to get plenty of deer on that camera that you hung, so you'll get your inventory.

The other cameras that I'm hanging, I might, if I'm going in to check, it's probably because I think they're gonna run out of bat. If I hang a camera in March because it's an area that I wanted to get to and I have time to hang the camera early, and I'm gonna go spend more time over here hanging a bulk of cameras.

I I know that camera's gonna be, At in the middle of October when I wanted pictures on it to build history. So I'm gonna go back in there and check that camera, probably the end of August, cuz then that lets the deer cool down pretty much. Middle of August is usually a good time too. I'll go check [00:58:00] that.

Get some velvet, fun velvet pictures or whatever. Get excited for the season and change my batteries in that camera. Or if you're using lithiums, it really shouldn't have a problem with photos. But just to check on the camera in general, just because maybe spider made a web over the thing or you bird landed on it and changed the angle of the camera.

Something like that. So you do want to maintain those cameras, but as little as possible in my opinion. But I'm hanging cameras, I'm hanging SD card cameras, more SD card cameras in places. I'm actually going to hunt for a couple of reasons. One, the places I'm gonna hunt are so often too thick. And the cell service was already weak there, and it might not be the best place to hang a cell cam unless you know that, oh, at and t doesn't work good on this mountain, but Verizon does.

And you can get better reception that way. If that's the case, then, do what you want. But usually those places [00:59:00] where I'm hanging SD card cameras and I wanna hunt, I don't really have cell signal. So I'm hanging those cameras there and I'm checking them and building a history. If I get to check that camera, because it is one of those areas, that's something to get excited about. If you've got a buck that's using that pretty regularly. But if you're checking in pre-season, that's gonna be your early season spot. If you have a buck that's coming on there, maybe he'll move, maybe he won't.

Unfortunately. Where I tend to hunt a lot of bucks, hold in that area they shift a little bit, but I'll still, then I'll get them on that. this side of the cameras versus this side of the cameras or something like that. Yeah. So then you can have a plan for the whole season, right?

I know where I'm gonna hunt. Early last year I had these cameras here, and this is where I get to hunt mid-October. Didn't have a lot of early pictures, or there's all these different bucks, but I had this buck that I had over here. Ours are spread over maybe a mile, half a mile, somewhere between half and a mile.

I had this buck over here in mid-October, and he's over here now in July [01:00:00] and vice versa. So now you've built that history, now you've got that experience. Now you've hunted there a couple times. Now you've seen how the deer move. So as far as cameras go, they're a tool. And if you use 'em the right way, you'll learn a lot from 'em.

But if you're using them because they, you think they replace your scouting, they're not gonna help you. Yep,

that's right. They almost just add inflection. To your scouting, they just, they give it a little bit of flare a little bit of a little more ooph than Yeah. Than just your scouting.

Would it? It, and for me, two big things. One, where's the daylight movement because the sign counts, but it really counts when it's daylight. And two, having the inventory of knowing whether this area, it might be 50 acres, whether that 50 acre chunk is one that I should go spend some time in because of what's running around there.

Or maybe I should avoid it because it's all doze and I'm not hunting for doze right now. Yeah.

Oh, go ahead. I, to that point, like the, to the 50 acre thing like that [01:01:00] is really important because if you're hunting this fif, you don't want to, I don't like I don't like to sound like I know everything.

And I don't want to say this 50 acres is the one, or whatever. . But if you don't know what you don't know and you don't like, I don't wanna also be greedy and be like, I need an inventory. Cuz I know I wanna know what bucks I'm hunting. I don't need to know what bucks I'm hunting. Sure. Because like I don't mind being surprised.

Yep. But I also I just need to know that deer like the area. Yep. So if they like that's right. If you put your cameras in the 50 acre to get an inventory and you get 10 bucks, but then you have cameras in this other 50 that's next to that and you have 20 bucks, which one is gonna be your best percentage?

This area seems to have more deer. If I shift a little bit past that, is there gonna be more deer like, are they moving here because they feel more comfortable here? This area had 10 deer. That's not bad. This one had more, there's obviously something they feel good about there and [01:02:00] that is more of your inventory like, inventory is about numbers sometimes, right?

Not necessarily quality bucks because eventually quality bucks are probably gonna use the area, but the more deer there, the better your opportunity is at being successful. Exactly. And that's, and the camera can tell you that.

Yep. And I'm not holding out we talked about it last time.

I'm not holding out for a one 40. If one walks by, great. I'm not holding out for though. And like I mentioned earlier with that 11 point that I was chasing around, I want the higher odds, which means the higher concentration of bucks that I would like to shoot, right? . And so yeah, if there are 20 over here and 10 over there, I can tell you pretty quick which area I'm gonna spend the bulk of my time.

Last thing as we wrap up this conversation of post-season scouting, how One thing I like about the way you hunt Aaron is you're not a guy that says post-season scouting only then get out of the woods [01:03:00] and go hunt those places. You marked, but you're also not the guy that says, I don't even worry about post-season scouting anymore.

This is the new cool way of doing it, right? This is what I start to hear a lot about. Now, I don't even do post-season scouting anymore. I only do in-season scouting because I'm cool and I watch the hunting public. Which that's fine. They do both. But I've heard that growing notion, right?

, you do both. You're all over, both of them. You're scouting nonstop. You scout probably more than anybody else that I'm aware of. So what is one thing, like if you had to either pick out a thing that guys are missing from postseason scouting or one thing that could take their postseason scouting up a level, like one key takeaway,

what would that be?

There's, so there's two reasons that I think. That I can answer your questions with. I remember what I was gonna say earlier, and I have a friend that recently was involved in a shooting. He was trying to he was trying to help somebody and he saved her life and he got shot in the process and [01:04:00] he's live and he's well and he's thriving and he's recovering and he is a freaking awesome human being.

And he said to me the other day, we were texting cuz he just had to have, he I don't want to tell too many details about his recovery cuz that's private. But he had some things that he needed to, some procedures that he needed to go through this week. And he said that he's allowed to he's allowed to drive now.

He's allowed to hike. It's difficult cuz he is short of breath. He was shot in the lung. But he said, , you would not believe what one hour of time in the woods does for your psyche. . And I told you that he I'm 100% sure that the psych part of this is hard right now. Like he has three little kids that he just adores and he is, he's got a wonderful wife.

And that's hard Yeah. When you're like recovering from that and you're not at work. So you have a lot of time to think [01:05:00] and he said you won't believe what one hour in the woods does for your mental health. Yeah. And if hunting doesn't make your life better than what are you doing it for? Yeah.

That's good. So I think that I get to spend a lot of time with God in the woods. I pray a lot when I'm in the woods. I'm hiking around a lot in the woods and it makes me a better human being when I get home. . And when I share things like, we've been talking now for two hours and it, it's these things that matter, right?

Yeah. And it's not because I'm grinding and out or hunting or I think grinding and out is important and that kind of thing, but I walk around the woods because I just love to be in the woods. And it's just my happy place. And it also is impactful because I can help somebody else, and I can help somebody else who's going through something.

I think that's important. Because if it's not if it's not beneficial to somebody else or to your own health, [01:06:00] then what are you doing it for? Really? Yeah. That's good. So that's one reason. And I think that has been more, the more you, when you're in your twenties, you might not think that way, but the older you get, the more that matters to you.

And I think that also has ramped up my scouting a lot and gotten me to the next level. Level. And it's not even related to scouting. As far as what actually physically you can do when you're out scouting to make a difference is is the real big takeaway I think too for post-season scouting is knowing where the deer go when they need more out of something.

The most pressured time of the year. This year was the first week in November here, and I got a lot of decent daylight pictures during that first week in November, and I killed my buck on November 8th. I think it's important because as I started to get those pictures of deer, some of my other cameras were getting pictures of [01:07:00] people, and now I know where the deer are going when they don't feel good.

So now I have a plan for the whole season, and that's the important thing. We talked about the plan to, what do you look for? How do you tell when that sign was made? I talked about that early season type food. I talked about relating the sign now to how it might be used in that early part of November.

We talked about some pre rut stuff that might give you some intel. During the middle of October to the end of October, we talked about a buck's core bedding. and or maybe where they might be rut bedding. And now I talked about where they get, where people, when people are there, where do they go? Now you got a place to hunt every single day You go out, you have a place that you have an idea.

Deer going to use this. Now why should I hunt there? Now, is the wind right for it? Is the food right for it? Because you, especially if you're in the big woods, food changes all the time. Maybe there's white oak, acorns, or maybe there's not white oak acorns [01:08:00] or maybe this plant blew up this year and this one didn't.

Or it, and let's say it's farm country. Now there's corn, now there's beans, right? The crop rotations. That stuff is all important. And then you can make a plan for how you're gonna hunt that when you're gonna hunt that, how you're going to access it, how you're going to have a wind. So now you have a big comprehensive plan and then starting to under, like back out from the micro stuff now, and you can look at that big picture of how you're going to plan to hunt the whole season.

Yeah. Because I can say, I remember having this conversation with a buddy before the season is this is where we're gonna hunt the first, where we're gonna hunt in that early season. Special regs, we're gonna hunt here, this is where we're gonna hunt during the first two weeks of October. This is where we're gonna hunt the middle of October.

You got like this big idea and a lot of times that if you've scouted you, you're gonna get it right. Pretty often if you've done footwork to find the [01:09:00] areas that are places you're looking to hunt, yeah.

Then that, that's really good. So don't forget to, don't forget to put all the pieces back together, right?

Yeah. Like once you've drilled down on all these little pieces, don't forget to put 'em back together. I know for me, man, you get in that Oh, gosh, what is it called? Like analysis paralysis, right? You get all the pieces and you're just so overwhelmed and it's oh my goodness.

But don't forget to stop. Yep. Put it back together. Formulate a plan, and like you're saying, a plan for the whole year. Make it something that's gonna be helpful and useful for you. So Aaron, man, where can folks find not only your article that you're talking about we were talking about a moment ago, but the rest of the stuff that you're doing, and where can they find you on Instagram if they wanna connect?

It's for Instagram, it's Aaron underscore Heppler. Aaron Heppler on Facebook as well. You can find everything that I write on either The Truth From the Stand podcast the Truth From the Stand Podcast website the Exodus Outdoor Gears website. And I do [01:10:00] have some stuff with afflicted Broadheads that, that goes up there every now and then.

Most of my. Tactics and things like that you can find on Truth from the Stand or Exodus Outdoor gear. The article that I talked about will will at some point post on the truth from the stand and yeah, that's where you can find

me. Awesome man. Thanks for coming back on the show. Looking forward to having you on again soon.

Thanks for having me, man. That's all for this week's episode. As always. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you dig this show, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever it is that you get your podcast. If you could leave us a five star review, I would very much appreciate that. While you're at it, you can follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at How to Hunt, dear.

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