Invest in Your Whitetail Time

Show Notes

Hey everyone, welcome to episode 169 of the Antler Up Podcast!

On this week's episode I was joined by Thomas Mlsna from The Untamed Ambition!  This was such an awesome podcast to record with Thomas.  I first heard Thomas on the Exodus Outdoor Podcast and knew I wanted to pick his brain on whitetail. Throughout this episode you will hear the drive, knowledge and passion Thomas really puts into whitetails, coaching, consulting and his company the Untamed Ambition.  We cover specific hunting tactics and share some stories we all can relate and learn from!

Kicking the episode off Thomas explains a little bit about himself, but doesn’t waste any time getting right into whitetail strategies. Thomas breaks down the 4 key elements that are simple but extremely effective when it comes to hunting big whitetails. From getting pieces of the puzzle together, to executing a specific plan to hunt the buck you’re after and mistakes we as hunters can avoid come next season, Thomas covers it! 

Thomas also breaks down how to be more intentional with your camera setup, using your historical data in an effective way and really breakdown an area to be set up in the right location!  Again, I can’t wait to go back and listen to this episode because I learned so much while recording.  I hope you get a lot out of this one as well!  

Thanks again for all the support and best of luck out there and Antler Up!

Show Transcript

Jeremy Dinsmore: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Antler Podcast, brought to you by tethered the world's best saddle hunting equipment, and we have a fun show for you guys today. On this week's episode, I was joined by Thomas Melz from the Untamed Ambition. This was such an awesome podcast to record with Thomas. I first heard Thomas on the Exodus Outdoor podcast, and I knew immediately I wanted to pick his brain on Whitetail.

And throughout this episode, you'll hear the drive, the knowledge, the passion that he really puts into whitetails, his coaching, his consulting, and ultimately the company, the Untamed Ambition. We cover specific hunting tactics and share some really good stories we can all relate and learn from. To kick this episode [00:01:00] off, Thomas explains a little bit about himself, but really doesn't waste any time getting right into whitetail strategies.

He breaks down the four key elements that are simple but extremely effective when it comes to hunting. Big whitetails from getting pieces of the puzzle together to execute a specific plan to hunt the buck you're after. And also really the mistakes that we make as hunters that we could really avoid when it comes to next season.

He covers it. Also, we break down how to be a little bit more intentional

Thomas Mlsna: with your camera set

Jeremy Dinsmore: up using historical data in a more effective way to break down an area to set up in the right location. Again, I can't wait to really go back to listen to this episode because I learned a ton while recording, and I hope you'll get as much out of it as I did.

Thanks again, Thomas, for coming on. Thanks again, everybody for listening, for supporting, and if you like what you hear, please go leave a five star review either on iTunes or as well as Spotify. Thanks again everybody. Best of luck out [00:02:00] there. Aunt Loup

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Welcome back to this week's episode of the Antler of Podcast on the Other Line. Today I'm joined [00:05:00] by Thomas Millner from the Untamed Ambition. Thomas, welcome to the Showman. Great pleasure to have you on. We just BS for about 20 minutes and I, man, I'm already fired up and ready to rock and roll with this

Thomas Mlsna: episode.

Yeah, thanks for having me on. I'm excited as well. Yeah, I think our conversation got off to a good start and now I'm kinda, kinda got the blood flowing, thinking about past. Moments in time that, make your heart start pumping a little bit. But yeah, let's get into it. I

Jeremy Dinsmore: like it, dude. Before we jump down into it, I've, I listened to you mainly from the Exodus podcast with the guys from Jake and Chad and those guys.

And I really thoroughly enjoyed listening to you, and when I caught your latest episode this past season, that's when exactly I messaged you and I was like, Hey, when, if we could get this down. I know you're a busy guy with what you have going on, so why don't you do a quick introduction that elevator talk of who you are, what you have going on, because maybe later down in the podcast in this episode, we could talk about that because I'm [00:06:00] interested on a personal level, so maybe Sure.

You could go as long-winded as short-winded as you like right now. And then we will dive into the meat and potatoes of what we're going to talk about for whitetail.

Thomas Mlsna: Okay. Yeah. I'll stay short-winded on the intro because it's probably my biggest downfall as a consultant, as I'm not really a giant fan of talking about myself.

In a nutshell I am a, I'm a habitat consultant, a conservation habitat consultant by trade. And then I refer to myself as a whitetail hunting coach cuz there's so many variables involved with whitetail hunting and I've been successful from many different angles. So it's hard for me to show up on a property and just be like, do these things.

It's more so how do we improve a property? How do. Create a situation that has a lot of opportunities, right? That's the goal. We do that through improving the habitat, getting it back into a healthy native state, and then we coach on the hunting side of things, right? We're always [00:07:00] looking for, the perfect setups and it really just comes down to trying to figure out how to keep the pressure off the property at the end of the day.

That's all it comes down to. You can have certain stand locations that work better for some individuals. Some people prefer to hunt, bedding areas or close to 'em, target those beds. Some people prefer to only hunt food sources. Maybe they just don't like to get outta bed early in the morning, right?

There's a lot of variables involved there. So my goal is all is to go into those situations. Im improve the opportunity to begin with and then set them up for success and coach them down that path so they can choose their own adventure, but do so in a manner that shortens the learning curve.

Give 'em a good head start. I fully lay out properties, but again, I, the biggest thing I get all the time is I don't push hard for a true sanctuaries on a private property. We try really hard to stay out of a lot of areas, but we wanna monitor and know what's going on and.

[00:08:00] Most of where I am is Hill country. Or you get into the flat area where sometimes there's these parcel parcels of land that are essentially on an island, right? Surrounded by miles and miles of open ag. It's the same thing where those deer, they can get secluded in certain areas and then it just comes down to pressure and keeping 'em on that property without blowing 'em off.

And that's ultimately what we're trying to do is we're just trying to create that setup on that property. If we can manipulate deer movement through certain areas, we do that. There's just so many strategies and like I said, every situation's different. I guess my biggest thing is I just, I probably, if you haven't already found out in the last 30 seconds, I overexplain things.

It's just it's a habit when you're, but for someone, any sense,

Jeremy Dinsmore: dude for someone like myself, I need that, right? Like I, that's why you, when I listen to your podcast and I don't mean to, cut you off in this, but your, you explain to my learning ab like understanding, if that makes sense.

Joe Miles he does the same thing when I [00:09:00] listen to him on podcasts. Like with his, when he talks too, he breaks it down where I'm able to understand and under grasp what he's saying. So you two do a phenomenal job with that. And yeah, so keep going. I'm sorry to, to interrupt, but I

Thomas Mlsna: was just tuning your horn on that.

No I appreciate that. But no, that's the thing is I, so I, I have this philosophy that there's a lot of great hunters out there, right? That's not really, that's not a philosophy, that's a fact. There's a lot of really good hunters out there that they just can't explain why they're successful, right?

My philosophy with that is that they just have that instinct, right? We all have that instinct in a somewhere, and there's oftentimes things getting in the way of hunting that, we think we have to do things one way or another. You get set on that way. Maybe you learn that from someone you thought I was cool.

I don't know. I've never really been in that camp. I've always chose my own adventure, so to speak. And I think it just comes from being a kid that grows up in the woods and spends time out there. And also, I grew up on a farm and I [00:10:00] was always in those situations where it was like, okay, you had this thing to get done and there's no backup.

It wasn't like, oh, I can just not do this and eventually someone will come along and do it For me, it was like I have to do this, and oh, I don't have this tool with me, so I'm gonna make this happen. It's just trying to do things and figuring things out. That's really what the name of the game is.

And with hunting, like I said, it's it's just one of those things that you can do so many different ways and you can be successful at it so many different ways, and I've been successful at it so many different ways in so many different areas. I've hunted mostly throughout the Midwest, but I've hunted Whitetails in Georgia when it was 106 degrees, the heat index.

I've hunted Whitetails in Arizona in January. You've hunted Whitetails in Wyoming. It's all the same thing. It's just a matter of picking up the pieces or the, finding those pieces to the puzzle and finding the right ones first. Like when you put a puzzle together I'm a parent, right?

So I find myself explaining things to [00:11:00] kids all the time. My oldest son has just turned six and. When you pick up a puzzle and you start putting the pieces of the puzzle together, do you just look for random pieces and put it together? Or do you start for the ones that set up that foundation?

You start for those edge pieces. If you can find those pieces that are flat on one side, you know where they're going, there's only four options at that point, right? It's going on one of those sides, right? Once you build those edges around that puzzle, then it's pretty easy to start finding colors that match and shapes that coincide and start plugging 'em in.

And eventually you work your way down and you have this complete work of art in front of you, right? And that's deer hunting at the end of the day. So my, I always thought to myself, I'm like, how do I explain that to someone else? How do I explain how I look for those pieces of the puzzle when every situation's completely different, right?

I know everything about my situation, and we were talking earlier about your background hunting big woods, right? So I was almost on the inverse of that, where I was hunting an area that [00:12:00] had significantly more food than cover. So how do you target deer when there's 450 acres of alfalfa? They're gonna eat alfalfa tonight.

There's a cold front. Cool. You'll throw a, and at a map, throw a dart at a map, and that's where you hunt. You can do that, and then you can, complain about everyone else who hunts in the area and has success and say that they're just lucky, right? That's how you can do it. Or you can start paying attention to the details and trying to figure out what those consistent factors.

That build those edges around that puzzle. So you get that head start. And that's where I came up with those four key elements, right? The four key elements. Every single aspect of every single situation can be cataloged under one of those four key elements. Most of the time it's a combination of the two or of at least two of the four, sometimes all of the four, right?

So when you look at a situation and whatever it might be, and you just ask yourself, okay, what, how does this catalog if you don't, if it's not already [00:13:00] painfully obvious, right? Then you're like, how does that come into play? And then how can I relate that to some experience I've had or something that I know about the situation?

And then how can I take that and put it towards a theory, and the more of this information you get, the more homework you do, the better your theory is gonna be, and then you just seek out to prove or disprove that theory. It might be putting a trail camera out in an area and, okay, I'm gonna put this camera here.

One of my rules of trail cameras is always be intentional with your setup. So put your camera out there trying to collect specific information. Don't just put it out there to see if a deer is there. When is he there? Is he there in the morning? Is he there in the evening? What is there a lot of other deer in the area?

Are you getting a lot of doze on that camera along with this buck periodically? Are you only getting bucks on cameras? Like those, all those are all things that tell you. What the proximity of that camera is what is next to it? So I'm either going there, going, I think he's betting here, and this is the adjacent pinch [00:14:00] point.

Or I'm going, I'm starting with, okay, this is a pinch point that he's using. Where is he coming from? And sometimes you're working your way back 50 yards. Sometimes you're working your way back at an entire ridge line. It just depends on how you, how your property lays out. Also how much property you actually have.

That's the beauty of hunting out west, where you can see a lot more and there's, just another hill to climb, essentially. Another mountain to go over. If you want to keep going deeper in the Midwest or even where you are, I'm sure it's oh, there's a fence line or a property line and chases over.

So that's the thing. So with these four key elements, wind, pressure, food, and timing. So when we're setting up a property, we have control over the pressure. That's the biggest thing. And most of the time we have control over the food. We'd never have control over wind. We can only control what we do on that wind and we can anticipate, try and get ahead or plan for certain wind directions, but we don't have control over that.

So we have to obey the wind. That's why I would say wind [00:15:00] is king. Wind is king. At the end of the day, it's king. It dictates so much. It dictates where those bucks are gonna bed. It dictates where they're gonna move when they get up to bed most of the time. And it obviously dictates where you're gonna hunt and how you get to and from that location.

And then pressure is the next thing. And those two go hand in hand so frequently. Yeah. And pressure limits potential. So that's the biggest thing. Like as soon as you have too much pressure on that property, you're limiting your own potential. You can have the best property in the world, and if you put too much pressure on it, the potential is gonna decrease automatically.

And there's a lot of different forms of pressure too. But then food comes into play, and that food is what really defines the movement, right? So it's gonna hold animals in an area to begin with. If the food's not there, the animals aren't there, they're gonna be in, in close proximity to it, then you just have to figure out, what is that distance right?

And how far are they willing to move? And then, obviously those food sources change, [00:16:00] so that's a big thing too. And then the last thing is timing it. That's the thing. It's like the, there's always a kicker there as soon as you figure things out, right? It's like the food, the relationship with food and timing.

It's some food sources are more attractive at certain times of the year than others. And, just timing in general. You could be talking the short term scale. Like, how are we gonna hunt this week? What day of the week should I hunt? I've been fortunate. Yeah, last few years especially cause I'm self-employed, but even before that I had a good job that I managed the department.

So it was always like, during hunting season, I had a whole crew of guys waiting to cover for me and it was like, okay, this is the day I'm going hunting. So I had that advantage, right? But that's a timing thing. It's a short term timing thing. If you can predict that, then obviously your chances of success go up.

And then even on a long term scale, an annual scale, the older a deer gets, the more predictable they are. They're unbelievably predictable at six years old. And I would much rather, size in age, call it trophy status [00:17:00] aside, I would much rather hunt a six year old deer than a three and a half year old deer.

They're so much easier to figure out. So those for key elements, that's, I just started breaking every situation down. Everything fell into those fork elements and now I've evolved to the point where that's just how I explain everything. Cuz it's I don't really wanna say quantifiable, but it's just a way to catalog or categorize things in a, a world where there's endless variables essentially.

So that's the thing. And I think that, again, it gives you some guidelines where when it comes back to doing that homework, It helps you narrow that focus and build that foundation, that frame around the puzzle and work and start something to work from. And that's often what most people just need, right?

Yep. Most people out there, if they actually just peel away from something that they think and look at things objectively, they start to figure it out pretty fast. I'd like to think most people are of average intelligence are greater, right? [00:18:00] That's the thing. So that's, you just have to peel away from that, right?

And just and look at it from a different perspective a lot of times. And, I'm grateful that there's people out there that are willing to pay to help shift that perspective and speed up that timeline. And that's the reality. It's hard to do it. It took me going to college for wildlife biology to pull my head outta my rear and start looking at things differently, right?

Because I was the same as many of us. We grew up in a family. We did things one way and sometimes it was successful, sometimes it wasn't. And that's just the way it was. That's like the most painful statement that anyone can ever say to me is, it's just too bad. That's the way it is. Or something along those lines, right?

Yeah. It's too bad. Things used to be this way. That's too bad. They're not anymore. Oh, it's too bad. That's the way it is. No, that's bullshit. Yeah. Like you can always improve every situation. It's just a matter of what you're willing to invest into that situation. That's yeah, that's it in a nutshell, yeah. If you have a specific situation, because again, we could talk, I could talk for four hours on just the wind direction if you want to go [00:19:00] down that rabbit hole. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But I don't think that in most situations it's gonna be beneficial to people to, to just hear me ramble off what I know from different experiences of hunting deer in the wind, it's a lot easier to put it to a specific situation.

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Yep. Before we do that even, and you just we're talking about like, when you work with people and they ask, the, for the help, whether it be for the property or to g be a better hunter, what are your most common co like, common themes that you're seeing from these individuals that whether it be from a property or a improving as a hunter [00:20:00] side of things?

Thomas Mlsna: I would say the most common mistakes I see are how people hunt stand locations on certain winds. Okay. I would say, 95% of the stands clients have on their properties are in good locations. They're either just hunting them at the wrong time or under the wrong conditions. And it, and that's, if you think about it, most people in, if they hunt long enough, can figure out what pinch points are.

At least the most obvious pinch points. So if you find, and that's where I started. When I scout a property, I can, I could probably pull up a map of your property right now and lay out a virtual plan in four or five hours. I'm not gonna just like I can look at and give you some general feedback, something about, yes. Yeah. Yep. And it would probably be sufficient. But to really dig into it and understand what's going on, there's a lot of variables. But when you get into the game where you [00:21:00] have the power or the budget to put a food plot anywhere that it allows to have a food plot, or an access road where wherever it allows to have an access road, now you're talking, endless variables.

But that's not realistic in most situations. It's cool when that can happen. At this point though, I'm, I work a lot harder to preserve and save or rebuild habitat than I do to promote bulldozing habitat. So there's something to be said there cuz that's gonna improve your odds in general as the habitat side of things and the two go hand in hand.

So having a pinch point, finding a pinch point, creating a pinch point. I mean that, that's what we focus on doing while we're building back good high quality native habitat or improving habitat. As simple as things as just like changing the stem count in certain areas of your woods, that creates a hard edge or a soft edge.

And that's gonna move deer. That are gonna move along those edges always. So you just build your own edges. It's really that simple, at the end of the day, it's just hard to understand how to [00:22:00] regenerate certain things and do it the right way and efficiently. And then also, making those decisions because it takes time for that stuff to develop.

So if you make the wrong decision, you hurt yourself, but you don't find out, it's like the American diet, like it, it's painful down the road. You just don't really realize it until later and then all of a sudden you forget what you did to begin with and then you don't learn from it, move on.

Yeah, but wind, the wind direction's a big thing, right? So in hill country I always strive to be hunting on the ridge as much as absolutely possible. And the biggest mistake I see is guys will have good stand setups and good pinch points, but they always hunt them with the wind blowing back towards the ridge or in our situation, a lot of times that'd be back like towards the fields if the ridge.

Our tillable land or that's where, it's farmed. But I'm, where I am geographically in western Wisconsin, just north of me is Buffalo County. And up there it's largely wooded ridge tops. And the bottom land is farmed. And then [00:23:00] you go south of here to Vernon County must, would be like the two highest grossing counties in, actually, I think in the country for Boing Crockett.

Yep. And Popo young deer. And it's exactly opposite where all the ridge tops are farmed and the bottoms are pastures, wooded, swampy areas. So the deer, it changes movement, but they all like to travel on the same topo lines. At the end of the day, for the most part, it's just changes how you access and when you hunt those locations.

But hunting the wind, when it's blowing down that hill, that leeward side of the hill, working with those, dropping thermals in the evening or with the rising thermals in the morning or during the day that's the name of the game. You're gonna have significantly more mature buck activity doing that.

So there's a, there's something to be said about hunting the safe wind, which you inevitably is never safe because you hit that point in the afternoon when the thermals drop and the wind dies down, then you get, that's when [00:24:00] you start getting those weird swirls and everyone's ah, the window's perfect, and then it changed.

That's predictable. That's something that's very predictable. And if you hunt out in the mountains at all, then you understand that real quick. Cause it's real dramatic out there, right? Yep. But that's the biggest thing. It's just that wind direction. Yeah. And understanding that. And then also, figure, once you figure that out and figure out the wind, what I was telling my clients is you wanna hunt that stand location based on when the buck's gonna be there, not when it's safe for you to hunt it.

And that's what it comes down to. Cause if you hunt it when it's safe, and then most of the time the buck's not gonna be there or he is not gonna travel there because it's not safe for him. Plain and simple.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah. Man you're saying a lot of things in my brain is just going because I'm thinking of my situation, my hunting location because exactly what you said.

It's ridge after ridge. And I've had most of my success in the mornings and what in the years pass, the last two years we've had a really good acorn. White oaks just [00:25:00] were dropping like nuts and

Thomas Mlsna: pun intended. Yeah,

Jeremy Dinsmore: exactly. And years prior to that, man it, when I would say to my dad dude,

Thomas Mlsna: where the food sources that

Jeremy Dinsmore: we're finding is, later on in the season and it's mainly just, briars and there's no natural.

On our property, like a natural food source of, or I don't mean natural, but like a food plot, like I said earlier, and across the street, across the roads, like where these deer would go and feed, they would come up, work their way up the mountain. And again, I would have really good success. My dad would have really good success because as the thermals are rising, they're heading up.

If I get in the right wind, like I would get in there super, super early and I'm basically cutting these deer off. And the last two years it's been a little bit like up and down a little bit. And in the evenings usually they're going down. And if in the last two years, Thomas, I, man, I've had more deer come up on me in the evening and [00:26:00] I'm like, what is going on here?

And it's, I don't, and I, like you were saying about like the food, like where is that? That's gonna dictate the movement a little bit. It's so hard. That's where I've been scratching my head a little bit because that aspect of things, the wind constantly changing and everything along those lines, it's been, I've been in on Deere more so the last two years, but it's also been a more frustrating side of things during the archery season because I'm close, but I.

Close enough, if that makes sense. Or it's the wrong deer. It's the young, a deer that maybe a couple years ago I would've s shot. But now knowing there's the other deer that are moving up there that I have a potentially get a chance at that I want to really have that encounter with. But yeah, I, man, I like this.

I'm liking

Thomas Mlsna: where going. O one thing you said there about those deer changing and changing the direction again, I don't like to throw out like just random advice would not, without knowing your situation. Before, before I even do a pre-consultation, I [00:27:00] actually run my clients through an annex homework exercise and have them map things out because I think that visualization aspect of your situation is so beneficial from an ed educational standpoint.

But what, back to those four kils, now we're talking wind and food, right? That wind is gonna dictate the bedding area and that buck, we know Bucks put their back to cover. There has to be adequate cover, backing cover, and they like the wind at their back. And if it's in hill country or anywhere possible, they love the thermal in their face, but they also need to be able to see. They don't have to be able to see, cuz you know, I've seen Bucks bed and Cattail, thickets, but usually it's on a slightly elevated area. Some spot where there's just maybe for even 10 yards it thins out for a bit. They get line up and see down that row, but they absolutely have to be able to get away.

So those are the big things. Backing cover. They have to be able to get [00:28:00] away, prefer to have a site advantage along with that scent advantage. And then they use that wind at their back all the time. So that's one big thing that we know about Bucks. The next thing that we know about Bucks and where they bed is what's related to the food aspect.

And what we know is that the dough are always gonna bed near the food source as close as they can be near the food source, generally inside the first row cover. And that's true again, that's true everywhere. That's how we find the bucks out west. We don't, we're looking to figure out where these deer are.

If you ever went out and hunted cous deer in the mountains in Arizona, it's hunting a whitetail that's ridiculously small and significantly more skittish. And they can hide real, real easily. But that's how we find the bucks is, first you're trying to figure out what they're feeding on and then you find the dough and you kinda work your way back from there and then you start to find those bucks.

So I always look for the dough, that dough sign to help me figure out where the food source is, especially in an area [00:29:00] with a lot of food, so I'm hunting an area with a ton of Alf. And I'll, when I'm stumped at that point in the year, I'll just buzz around the fields and start looking for those spots where you can see where all the alfalfas grazed down some of those back corners, and it's surprising cuz some situations you would think that they should be back there feeding. It's the occluded area, but they're not, what's the reason? Who knows? If you have a camera in the area, maybe there's been some dogs running around the area for some reason. Maybe the Amish neighbor was out fixing fence all week and just stirred things up or kept the deer out of there, whatever it might be.

There's a lot of variables involved. Anything can happen, right? That's an easy one. That's an easy one to figure out, right? So that's just one example of it. In your situation, paying attention to those acorns, that could be, it is there, a pocket somewhere where there was either a clear cut or some blowdown, some storm damage recent in the last year or so.


Jeremy Dinsmore: that's exactly what happened. Two, this was, [00:30:00] this past season was year two, so right before, I think it was September, we kick off that first weekend in October and it was around end of August or September because I had, it was a historical area and all of a sudden I was like, dad, what's going on back at home?

I had a cell camera there and I was like, all of a sudden this all I'm seeing is just crazy. Leaves and everything like that like branches and I knew it wasn't a bear. And he goes, oh man we had almost a tornado touchdown, like a random crazy tornado. I, I actually had an xop P tree stand hung up that I hunted on

Thomas Mlsna: out of a couple years ago.

And I just left it up there

Jeremy Dinsmore: just for my dad to easily get up in, or my brother,

It hunt once maybe during rifle while I get out of there during archery. And that tree actually blew over and a bunch of other trees have been, basically knocked over and everything like that. So that [00:31:00] was something the last two years that I think changed movement as well.

Yeah. Yeah.

Thomas Mlsna: And that, that's the thing is it can change as a food source or it can change as a bedding location. If that bedding location gives those deer a little better advantage in that cover, then they start to use that. And that's, again, that, that's where all those elements come into play.

And, pressure again, limits potential pressure is a huge determining factor, a big thing to think about there. And this is where kind of the pressure and the timing come into play is how those pressures change throughout the year. But I break it down and the way I see it, and again there's plenty more out there, but there's four main sources of pressure that these bucks face.

The first one is a biological. That's something we don't have any control over, that it's just throughout the year, they're fat and happy and lazy going throughout the summer, and then their hormones start to change, their testosterone levels increase in their body, and they just automatically start to get more irritable.

It's like a juiced up bodybuilder is a lot [00:32:00] less passive than, the couch potato. Yeah. So that's a biological pressure. They're automatically more sensitive and more irritable to their surroundings. Then around the same time, you have an environmental pressure that comes when everything that was green and all this cover, all the foliages on deer can hardly see very far.

Now all of a sudden everything's desiccating and turning brown drying up. Food sources are dwindling in areas that they were abundant once before. Cover sources are changing. So you have this environmental pressure aspect where that all of that stuff is increasing at the same time. And then on top of that, you have that herd social pressure.

And this is probably the biggest issue, especially where I am, where there's egg around. You have so many dough around that puts so much pressure on those bucks. They don't really wanna spend time with those dough until it's the rut. Yep. And herd social pressure, it's, it dramatically limits potential on every property.

That's a scientific fact that when the herd size gets that big, and it makes [00:33:00] perfect sense, right? So there's only so many resources out there if all these animals are competing for the resources. From a species survival standpoint, the do must get the best resources because all the bucks could die at the end of the season.

And as long as the doze carry the faw and give birth and buck, Fs are born, the species continues, right? Yes. So that's where you see bucks that'll travel a long distance post rut to find an area that has adequate nutrition for 'em. So that's a big factor. And again, that's that, that environmental aspect of the stress.

And then combined in the hurt, social pressure. And then the last thing is obviously human pressure. So that's a normal thing that we all are aware of, I should say. But it's the straw that breaks the camel's back, so to speak. So it doesn't take that much to bump deer off of a property or out of an area.

And at the end of the day, if you're trying to kill a deer, in simplest form, the name of the game is just trying to figure out how to kill that deer without him figuring [00:34:00] out that you're trying to kill him, right? Yep. Because then everything changes. We start getting into the details on the pressure side of things.

Again it's a very, all the stuff I think is so simple if you just look at it from that simplified lens, right? So when it comes to pressure the most common mistake that I see is that you cannot judge the activity of do and fons and young. And compare that to the activity of mature bucks when it comes to pressure, because the dough and fons and young bucks tolerate completely different levels of pressure than the mature bucks, right?

So if you go into a situation and you see something happen with a dough or a faw or a young buck, it's related to pressure. And then you go, oh, that Buck's gonna do that too. He's gonna do a lot of those things, right? If you get busted a hundred yards away by a dough, then you're probably gonna get busted 200 yards away by a buck, right?

Because the doughs, they push through a lot of that stuff. They travel and packs a lot of times, not really packs, obviously herds. But [00:35:00] they just push those limits a little bit more, right? So they're more tolerant to the pressure. Bucks won't do that. And you'll just spin yourself in circles if you do things thinking that the mature bucks are gonna do exactly what the do and Fons young bucks do.

And then from there, we go back to talking about improving properties. There's two things that reduce pressure on Deere. There's only two things that reduce pressure on Deere cover and consistency. And that's it. When you talk about how pressure affects travel, the higher the pressure is on the property, the more cover those bucks are gonna use to travel.

You talk about wind, And how that and the backing cover aspect come into play with the pressure aspect and where they bed, they're gonna wanna be backed into the most dense cover possible, obviously with their wind at their backs for sure. Travel with the wind at their face as much as possible. If it's in a high pressured situation, the inverse of cover is distance.

So [00:36:00] if you don't have enough cover, those deer are forced to create distance to feel the same level of security. And again, it's such a simple concept. The analogy that I use for that is if I draw my bow back and I point it at you, you'd be terrified. I'd be terrified.

Yep. I've got a five year old kid draws back as a little Nerf bow and points at means terrifying. Because you don't know when the things are gonna go off. Exactly. But if I go and I stand behind a chair or something behind a little bit of cover, I feel a lot safer. Or if I go across the room or across the yard, I feel even safer yet cause I, he's not gonna hit me from here or I can at least see it coming.

So it's such a simple thing. Deer operate the same way. But one of the things that I think is all too often overlooked in that is the fact that topography is the greatest form of cover there is plain and simple. So they're always gonna utilize the topography for bedding as much as they possibly can.

And then things just change when those daytime food sources run out in certain areas. They'll spend less time in those areas, but they absolutely will bet in areas with zero brows factor. [00:37:00] Zero browse as long as they can, if the pressure is high and they can get in and get out of there without getting killed, then they're gonna, they're gonna bed there.

That's all it comes down to. They prefer areas with brows and obviously a lot of times that browse factor comes with a high stem count, so then, it's even more added security. But then if you take that another layer and think about this again, back to the pressure scale, right? If you want to think of it that way, darkness is also a form of cover.

So if the pressure's too high in the area, that buck might be there, but he's just gonna move when he has another layer of cover, which should be after dark. So that's a big thing I see too. And I, it took me to have many firsthand experiences with this to, to believe otherwise, when you start thinking about a buck showing up on your property well after dark, he, you, it's safe to assume that he's betting farther away.

But it's not like those bucks are just sitting around waiting for an alarm clock to go off in the afternoon to get up and start walking towards food. So it's [00:38:00] not like they start the race at the same time. And the one that gets there first was better. The closest. That's not true. It's all, it all comes down to the pressure.

I, a couple years ago, I I had this buck that I had a really good feeling of where he was gonna be on just this random, seemingly random October afternoon. There was no major cold fronts or anything. I just hunted that area before. There's a pinch, a really good pinch between two potential bedding areas and there's supposed to be a midday wind shift.

So I was like, okay, I'm gonna get in that pinch point or close to it. This buck's gonna get up and move from one bedding area to the other because there's, that wind's gonna change. He's gonna try and get that wind back in his favor. And as they usually are, well at least 50% of the time, the weather man was wrong.

The wind shift happened at the wrong time of the day. When I got out there, the wind was almost completely dead, like it was dead calm. And I had to sneak along this dried up cornfield to get back in the spot. And it was so [00:39:00] noisy. I got about halfway in and I had to back out. I was afraid to get too much closer, cuz you know, my theory wasn't, this buck was betting within a hundred yards of this location.

And I ended up backing out and I went, I took the long way around this field to come in from the other side. So I went probably a quarter mile or so down and back around. And right as I came back to where now we're, I'm walking the edge of a cornfield and there's a alfalfa field below that, and then below the alfalfa field's, the wood line.

And I'm walking the edge of that cornfield and I come right to where that alfalfa field pinches down and meets the woods. And I was just gonna go, I was gonna walk inside the woods like 30 yards and that's where I was gonna set up. And it was just dumb luck. I happened to look over and I caught something.

With my eyes that drew my attention in, right? And I just took a double take and it, it was barely even moving. And I looked at it for a second and all of a sudden I was like, oh, that's a deer. And all of a sudden he picked [00:40:00] up his head. It was the buck. I was there after. It was just dumb luck. He was up, he was standing up, lick his balls.

And again, it was just lucky timing. He didn't see me, he didn't hear me, he didn't know what was going on. And the wind was dead calm. And as soon as I saw him pick his head up, I hit the deck. I'm, I have a backpack on. I've got my bow on a sling bandier across my chest. I'm carrying a pulse saw, I'm carrying a tree stand and climbing sticks.

Cuz I figured I, I had to get in this spot. I figured I'd have to whack one limb off the tree on the edge so that I could potentially shoot that gap along the field edge where they like to travel between the corn and the ridge line. Okay? And so I was prepared for all that. And so I slunk down, I unloaded all my gear.

I knocked an arrow. I, he was standing right next to this big black cherry and I could find that tree plain his day. And I brought my range finder down as low as I could. And I arranged it and it was like [00:41:00] 40 yards. And I was like, oh, this deer is, he's gonna die. I'm not even gonna make a track to the spot.

I'm gonna whack this deer. And I come up with my bow and he's gone. I'm like, guy, no way. There's no way. He saw. No way. He saw me and I'm pretty sure he didn't hear me. And I checked my wind, pull out my milk weed, checking my wind. It's like dead. Yeah, nothing. If anything it was coming back up. The thermals were rising up the hill.

So anyways, I was like what am I gonna do? It doesn't pay for me to try and slip in here and hang a stand because if he's still here he's gonna be vetted there. So I'm screwed and it doesn't pay for me to leave at this point, not knowing what's going on. Either way I had no choice but to just sit there cuz I, I drove 70 miles to hunt this deer and now I'm potentially 44 yards away from him in the first five minutes of my hunt.

I need to see how this plays out. So I just hunkered down there and I just waited. The biggest mistake that I made that night [00:42:00] was I didn't I had taken one half a step forward and I was just a afraid to move cuz it wasn't a ton of cover and I didn't grab my backpack with my camera in it and I had a muralist camera with a teleph photo lens on it and I never grabbed it.

But I wish I would have, it would've been a lot easier to tell the story. But anyways I sat there until dark essentially, right? I was gonna wait it out and see what was gonna happen. Cuz if I look to my right down the tree line, In this alfalfa field, there's four really fresh scrapes along this field edge.

And I'm like, okay. Hopefully, nice secluded alfalfa field. Hopefully he gets up before dark, works his way out towards these scrapes. Not saying he's gonna make that scrape, but it's telling me he's been there. There's been a lot of deer activity there in the wind when it, when the thermals start dropping, when the wind starts blowing the way the weatherman said it was going to, I'm already in a good position as long as he moves that way and not that way.

So I just waited out, and all of a sudden it's starting to get that time of the night, when the sun drops below the horizon a little bit, you can feel the thermals [00:43:00] starting to drop and I catch movement outta the corner of my eye coming across that field. My heart just like skips a beat, and you're just like boom. And I, I always, I ask my clients, my nephews, everyone that I'm around when I'm hunting, I always ask 'em the same question. So I'm gonna ask you this question. What's the first thing that you do when you see a deer? I grab my bow. No wrong answer.

You do nothing. Nothing. Because if you grab your bow, you get screwed because I've been screwed a lot of times doing that. And that's the, that's why I try and I train my kids this and train everyone the best thing you can do is nothing. Take a breath and think about what you're gonna do, and then are, is it an opportunity to grab your bow?

I could tell you a really crazy story about that, but Lemme finish this one first. So anyways, my heart skips. I take a breath and I slowly, my eyes move first, then my head moves a little bit, and here it's this Amish kid walking across the field. He sees me sitting there, he's got a bow in his hand.

He sees me sitting there with my bow and an arrow knocked. And when he sees me, he like [00:44:00] hits the deck, not fighting from me, but whoa, I'm gonna get in the game. Pulls out a camouflage t-shirt from his pocket, puts it on, puts on a face mask, knocks an arrow. And he's already he thinks that we're like, we've got a dog on point getting ready to flush or something, right?

And I'm just like, my first thought isn't, oh, this Amish could just screw up my hum. My first thought is he is right perfectly upwind of this buck. And I check my, I'm like trying to get his attention and he's locked on the woods where he saw my eyes go. Cuz I I thought for sure that Buck was just gonna get up and bolt out if he was there again.

I don't even know if he's there at this point, right? And so I'm checking the wind and it's quartering for me. And if I do some basic math or trigonometry, it's definitely blowing straight from him, straight to where that buck potentially is. And he's probably about 50 yards away from that deer. And then I get to look in and the property line is basically right where he is.

And he was trespassing, but he was gonna cross in and hunt the neighbor's property that where the corner post says about [00:45:00] 40 or 50 yards from me. And I could see the tree stand right there. And I was like, man, you were gonna, this guy was gonna get in this tree stand the last 15 minutes of daylight.

He doesn't, he has no idea that buck is there betting 30 yards behind him, and he thinks he's gonna get up and moved to that field. And then I think I was that guy many times in my life, right? I've done that. Oh, it makes sense. That's a good spot to go. There's a little pinch point there, there's a food source here.

I'm gonna catch these deer moving, not knowing where they actually were. But anyway, I eventually get this kid's attention and wave him off. I'm just like, you gotta get outta here. Get outta here. And he eventually acknowledges what I'm trying to say and he gets up and he leaves.

And he actually ended up waiting for me by my truck and apologized. So that was good. But I wait and sure enough, right at dark, all of a sudden that buck appears in the exact same spot. Wow. And he never took his eyes off that location where that kid was out in the field. He never took his eyes off.

He moved probably five yards before it got so dark I couldn't see even through my bi nose. And he never took his eyes off [00:46:00] that spot. Now, if I would've had a camera on those scrapes on that field edge, and that buck showed up there at nine o'clock at night, a couple hours after dark, which I'm sure he didn't hit those fields until it was Jet Black.

I would've automatically assumed that he was betting a long ways away. But knowing that being there and witnessing that, and knowing that he was vetted right there, and he only moved, potentially would've moved that far. It's okay, so how many situations in my life can I look back on?

And think about like how I played the win the wrong way or had bad timing or a bad stand set up and then just automatically started blaming late pictures on of bucks or nocturnal pictures of bucks on them betting off the property or whatever it might be, right? So that's where it's like you start really breaking down those situations and paying attention to those things and never just assuming one thing or another, right?

Because there's so many variables at play there. Take the guesswork

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And use code au 12 to save 12% off your custom set Man. So that's the, I guess the, obviously we talked about timing there, but then that last key element being the timing, and I, going back to what you were saying earlier, normally it's two of those key elements have to come together or, because it's the wind obviously, and then timing, you get in there, when you talk about timing, one of the words that I brought up earlier is that patience, right? And I think now where we're sitting in April, we tell [00:48:00] ourselves something and then once the season rolls around, we get out a couple times, maybe things are not going the way they are, we could tend to press a little bit, right?

We do that full court press and things don't go the way that we were hoping. I guess maybe talk a little bit about the whole timing as aspect of things that could help us even practice now, right? Yeah. To really key on things because again, I've even said it the last two years, one of the things I want to look, practice and get better at is walking slower in the woods when it comes to finding that current sign without putting that pressure on, right?

Like without saying, just walking all over the creation, being like, I have to find this sign. Where is this sign? That's, the importance of going out now and just seeing where past the past season sign ha has been laid, but, dive into, I guess the more of the timing along with certain of the other key elements that, that you really key in

Thomas Mlsna: on.

Yeah. Timing's [00:49:00] everything, right? Yeah. That's it. Yeah. It's throughout the season in general, things change so much and they can change so fast. So I always, I collect intel the same way that I hunt. I try to keep as much pressure off, so I hunt from the outside in. And I do the same when I'm collecting intel.

So I only run a few cell cameras because most of the areas on our property don't really have great cell service. I can get 'em in a few random, sporadic spots. And I can tell you a hundred percent honesty that I've only ever had one situation. I've had a couple situations, that I was put into an opportunity because of those cell camera pictures, but it wasn't like a specific stand location or anything.

I'm just waiting for the most recent information all the time to make those moves. And when it comes down to the certain time of the year, you just ha kinda have to dictate how aggressive you can be or how aggressive you wanna be, knowing that at any point in time, the more aggressive you.

The [00:50:00] more you're stretching that balloon or squeezing that balloon, right? And it could pop, you're putting that pressure on there and it could pop or it could bounce back. So like early in the season I'm not afraid to get aggressive at all early in the season. And the main thing there, and throughout the whole season, you wanna operate the same way again from the outside in, but it all comes down to that risk versus reward.

If you, I tell my clients this all the time, again, this is the coaching side. It's if you have the intel that supports your theory on a certain area and then you have that intel that, that supports you making a move, then you should go for it and trust your instincts. Just go for it.

Because if you wait around forever, some of these deer, you're never gonna have an opportunity on 'em. Yeah. I think a lot of people have that problem. Like I, I've got clients with really phenomenal properties and they kill a lot of good deer. They've rarely killed great deer, good deer, not great deer.

There's a lot of really good deer. There's only a few really great deer. And a lot of times they'll miss those opportunities because they're making aggressive moves at the wrong [00:51:00] time. And that's what it really comes down to. Like early in the season, it's a lot harder to find a mature buck than it is to kill a mature buck.

If you can find that buck and not tip him off, he will stay in that area and follow a very similar routine and they're a lot easier to kill early in the season. Yeah. So if you get that intel, you need to make an aggressive move. Not wait, because I don't really start hunting until mid-October.

That's my thing. No I always get kicked out of it. I know guys that have fantastic properties and they've got some theory where they don't like to kill mature bucks until they've went through the rut. They try and let 'em breed. We gotta let them spread their genetics. That was, he was a teenager at one point in time.

And then he went through college, like we know how much activity happens during those eras in life now. He's a, an old man, he's not running around as much as he was Right. So no point waiting there. You find him early in the season, go after 'em, and then the same goes late in the season. I'm always on a timeline because by the time our rifle season hits around [00:52:00] here, I'm sure you've heard the cliche of the Orange Army, right?

Yeah. Yeah. We have that here

Jeremy Dinsmore: in pa. If it's brown, it's down, exactly. Yeah.

Thomas Mlsna: And I forget, I think all but one of our neighbors on our farm are Amish. And I don't wanna say that in a negative light because they've gotten a lot better over the years and that came from working with them and communicating with them.

So I always say that community communication creates common goals and I push my clients hard to develop relationships with their neighbors. You don't, it doesn't always start out great and it's just one of those things. You start out somewhere and build off of whatever you can.

And in time it improves. But the biggest thing there is just that mutual understanding of what our standards are or what we're trying to accomplish. Because I've seen it so many times where in an area like that, one group of people kills Excalibur of deer, and their excuse all the time is just if I don't, they're gonna do it anyway.

Once they know that they're actually trying to achieve a higher standard than, that rising tide, right? Yeah. So that's a big thing. [00:53:00] But I forget where I was actually going with that. I

Jeremy Dinsmore: think of what the patients side of things, oh

Thomas Mlsna: yeah. The timing and the patience, right?

So understanding the timing of the year and how aggressive to be, but just that risk versus reward, right? Again, it's if you get too aggressive and that's where the patience really comes in, most of the time you, if you're not finding the information that you need, then you just need to change spots or, make an aggressive move to go a little bit deeper, at least cross something off your list.

I usually always have a plan B I like to have a plan C or a D, right? That's not always possible. Cause I'm always trying to kill a mature deer, and that's not an easy task where I hunt. Just how it's all, it's just the way the land lays out, like our farms. It's a big farm, right?

It's 1200 acres total. Or actually I think it's even more than that, but it's not, it's only 300 and some acres of huntable land and then the, that 300 acres is broken up into all sorts of different chunks. So it's not like a contiguous 350 acres, it's like a 40 here. You know that, that [00:54:00] story I was just telling you about, the buck that was batted, that was on like a, it's actually on a sliver of an easement, probably like a three acre easement that connects 150 acre field to a small sliver of woods that's surrounded by highway.

The whole time I was watching that deer, there was Jake brakes running down the highway directly below him. At one point a guy stopped his truck and was talking to some other guy on the road, and I could hear everything that they were saying. So it's not like it's an easy spot, and that's the thing with it is it's just that pressure aspect and how that moves those deer.

So like you think he figures stuff out and then something changes and it blows 'em out there. That's why you need to just make those moves when you get that information and not sit at 'em. If you understand your situation, if you have a bigger property with a bigger sanctuary and that buck is spending a lot of time in that sanctuary, then again it's like you should have that patience.

Right? One of the, another one of those analogies that I use all the time is of those four key elements, [00:55:00] and I think I talked about this earlier, like when you set up a property, we have control over the pressure and we have control over the. Right when you don't have control over the pressure and you don't have control over the food, like in your situation, if you're sharing a property like that with other people surrounded by pressure and there's really no high quality food source then, or in my situation where there's all this food and all this pressure, then it's like trying to duck hunt out the chimney of the cabin. You're staring down this very narrow window of opportunity. If you pull the trigger too soon, you screw up your whole hunt. If you pull it too late, you miss that opportunity.

And it's just a, it's a timing thing. It's a hundred percent timing. And, but you have to figure out those other key elements and how those dictate the timing, right? So you put all those pieces of the puzzle together and then you pull the trigger at the right time. Now if you have control over the pressure and you have control over the food, it expands that window dramatically.

And now you have a little bit clearer vision. You can see things as they change and as they develop. And then you have a [00:56:00] lot more patience in that regard.

Man, dude. Is it October yet? I wish.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Oh my gosh. Why don't we do this? Why don't we try to maybe think back to yourself a client, really, I guess break down and use the way I guess like intel that a hunter or yourself use from either your cameras historical data where you're able to really.

Being that like you knew you were, maybe someone was in, that was in that right. General area and in, because that's the biggest thing that when I have, when I talk to people or even for myself, man I know I'm in the right area, but choosing the right spot. And maybe talk a little bit about that or a situation that you think could really be beneficial for someone.

Thomas Mlsna: Yeah. Again, any situation it can fluctuate so much. Yep. I think it [00:57:00] in again, those four key elements, but it just comes down to figuring out like what some sort of constant is in that equation. And I think it changes frequently, but again, if you have control over the food, then maybe that's your constant that's driving movement and then you key off of that and start putting the other pieces of the puzzle together and that's your foundation.

For me, I always found that the wind was the most constant in my situation, which, again, that's why I've made it difficult to hunt that area because I never had control over food and never had control over pressure. I shared this hunting property with 17 other hunters that all think I'm crazy or lucky with how I do things because of my success.

And that's it. Those were oftentimes those people that would say, that's too bad. That's the way it is. Things used to be better, it's too bad, but I always keyed in on the wind. And pressure actually, pressure is a very valuable tool for moving deer. If you [00:58:00] look for those, that information that, that area of information and how that relates to the deer movement.

So you'll see in the plant, I break these 4K elements down, but then I have all these charts in the back of the planner, and it's nothing proprietary by any means. I used to have these in a notebook. I tried to do the Excel spreadsheet for a while, but we talked earlier about how I don't really, the text aspect versus the writing aspect is so different.

So I went back to using the pen and paper, and then I built this planner for myself and ran it for a couple years and I was like, huh, maybe I just print it and and share it. And then I actually started implementing it or trying to incorporate it with my plans. And I changed it a little bit.

It's a workbook aspect. The pressure in there and everything has a tool associated with it, how you can track stuff. And most of it comes down to either, firsthand experiences or trail camera information. You're gonna get the most information from your trail cameras because they're out there all the time.

So we started looking at any aspect, but the pressure thing is big. The pressure [00:59:00] notes, the situation that I've been in where I, always, again, playlist theories on where those bucks are, bed based on the wind, but then where are they moving and where do you get. That breadcrumb, right?

Where's that breadcrumb to take you down that path to find the next breadcrumb And pressure is a big thing. So I figured out this buck one year based on the pressure. And you have to, think outside the box too. These things don't fall in your lap. We picking up those details, we're looking at those details.

But I was walking to a stand location. I was after this buck probably a 150 inch, 10 pointer really nice deer. Mature deer would've been at the time. It would've been my biggest buck for sure. It might maybe even bigger. One 50 wide, beautiful 10 pointer. I was gonna go try and set up on him down in this creek bottom okay.

And playing the theory that he was betting on one side of this valley or the other. And I knew he traveled that creek bottom late in the evening. And it was a good setup. I don't [01:00:00] generally like to hunt low period, but if I'm gonna hunt low, I try to hunt as low as I can. And in the evenings, one of those thermals are dropping and they drop right down on the creek bottom and it's a much safer setup.

So I was working my way into this creek bottom and it got probably four or 500 yards from the line fence. I wanted to get in there. Probably about a hundred yards away from the property boundaries is where there's a good creek crossing that I knew the deer used and I wanted to set up there. And I got about, yeah, about halfway there.

And I, I notice. A small buck was running through the woods and he wasn't, he didn't seem like he was running from me in the wind. It, my window was pushing right down on the creek bottom, paralleling him and he just, it didn't act like it didn't seem like I bumped him.

So I just held up for a little bit and waited and I started scanning with my binos and all of a sudden I see this Amish kid walking down the fence line. And pretty soon he pulls up and he's scanning with his binos. And I can't tell if he's looking at me or if he's just looking at the deer, whatever, right?

[01:01:00] But I was like, okay, this kid's out walking around. Is he fixing fence and scouting at the same time? Is he scouting? I don't know. But he's out walking around. So I hunted that evening. I didn't really see a whole lot. And the next morning I think I hunted up on top of that ridge, but the wind was different.

And I slipped in and on my way out I pulled this trail, camera card and this pinch point, which this pinch point in particular was created by a gap in the fence. There's a fence line that goes across the top and there's a big gap in that fence. And anyways, I pulled that card, went home, checked.

A lot of times I come home, whatever evening I come home and have dinner with the family, put the kids to bed and I'm chomping the bed to go check those cards. And I go check the card and I start scrolling through it. And I realized that day before the buck was on that camera, Minutes before I came out there, right on top of the hill from where I was.

So I then, I was like, at first I was like, how did I miss that deer? Did I bump that deer? And then all of a sudden I started looking at the time and playing it back and I'm like, okay, [01:02:00] that Amish could walk through that area right before that buck came out there. And I looked at the wind. I'm like, okay, that makes sense.

If she was vetted here, he would've had the wind at his back basically looking at that fence line. And when he got up to leave, he would've gotten up and ran right straight into the wind. So that's one guarantee when a pressure deer almost always runs into the wind, if not immediately, they might hook around and then get that wind back in their favor.

So that, that's one thing. No. So I put together a really complicated plan. It made perfect sense in my head. I shouldn't even say complicated. It was intricate, but it was a good plan. I was gonna I got ahold of a buddy of mine and it was like three or four days later the wind was gonna be out of that same direction.

And it was a Saturday morning and we were, I was gonna go set up in this pinch point. I was gonna wait until like mid-morning, go set up in this pinch point and then basically just have him go walk that fence line. Yeah. And the [01:03:00] problem was that I got a text from my cousin the night before he was down hunting, and he ended up making a bad shot on a buck, which had happens.

But we spent three hours the next morning looking for that buck. So it got out to the woods later than I. Anyway, walked into the woods. From the field edge to this pinch point was probably about 150 to 200 yards. Got about halfway between point A and point B, and I heard something running. So I dropped my climbing tree stand.

I had a climber at the time. Now I run a hang on and sticks. Tried the saddle game. Didn't really like it a whole lot, still playing with it. But anyway had a climber at the time. Dropped that, knocked an arrow, got ready. Here comes this dough up over the hill, runs by me at 30 yards. Stops, looks back just panting, mouth wide open, tongue hanging out.

Right behind her little basket rack. Eight right behind him. Little spike or fork or something. And they turn, they run right up into this bedding area where I thought that buck was beded. And I'm like, okay, it's on, [01:04:00] right? I gotta get going. So I get over, I get to the tree, I get set up with the climber, I start climbing up.

The last time I had hunted, I think it was raining and. I threw my pants in the dryer when I got home so they wouldn't be all musty. And my polar rope was in the pocket, so it was all like, spun up and 50 knots tied in. Yep. I didn't really think of it. I just pulled it outta my pocket, clipped it to my stand, clipped it to the bow, started going up the tree in the climber.

And the o of course, the only tree that worked in that spot was a shag bark hickory on top of it. So I'm like trying to thread this needle. Yeah. With a table on the climber going around the shag bark. And I get up off the ground about 10 feet and my pull ropes tight. My bow's like up off the ground halfway.

I'm just like, this is nightmare. Like everything I could possibly go wrong today is going wrong. And all of a sudden I, I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. My buddy's sitting out in the truck waiting for me to text him and say, go for it. And I feel that buzz and I'm just like frustrated, like trying to figure out this pole rope situation without making too much of a racket.[01:05:00]

And all of a sudden I look through the woods and I just see this huge frame coming right towards me, right towards this fence gap. And I pull my bow up real quick, knock and arrow and get ready. Here he comes in. It's this big mature eight pointer, but he's got an entire main being broken off and he's working his right towards that fence gap.

And here's an interesting thing. He stops. About 20 yards behind the trail camera and the trail camera's facing me. It's on the backside of the tree to him. He stops, he goes up the fence row about 30 yards, jumps the fence, loops back around to that main trail, and cuts down, drops into that creek bottom.

Completely avoided that camera and that pinch point for whatever reason. Wow. So anyway I get up the tree the rest of the way. I get set up and I look at my phone. My buddy's it's a text from him when I felt my phone buzzed about, five, 10 minutes prior. And he's the big one's coming right towards you.

He just ran across the field and I'm just like, yeah, he saw that eight pointer, right? Yeah. I texted him back and I'm like, yeah, whatever. Just walk I'm ready. Just walk that woods out. Anyway, so he gets [01:06:00] up there, comes in the tree and he is just you're never gonna believe it. And I'm like, let me guess a dough.

And two little bucks ran out of there and a big buck was behind him. He's like, how'd you know? I'm like, oh man. Literally like 15 minutes late. That dole in those bucks went through that bedding area, picked up that big buck. They all ran across the field 30 yards from where my truck was parked, where this dude's sitting, picking his nose or whatever, waiting for me to send him a text to get out.

He would've, his bow ready. He probably could have shot him here and got a shot. I ended up seeing that buck and that dough and those two young bucks, they ended up coming up the ridge line by me like four hours later and ding around out in the woods like, 50, 200 yards away all afternoon.

But, you can't pull a buck off of but down at that point. But I, I put together those pieces of the puzzle, the wind and the pressure aspect, and played that theory that he was betting there on that wind and he was moving, that direction. And I'm very confident that if we would've been out there a little bit sooner and bumped that deer, he would've flown right through there exactly the way he [01:07:00] did.

Yeah. A week later or a week prior. So that's one of those situations, again, it, but it comes down to just like finding what that constant is in your situation or something that you, maybe something that you understand better in any situation. And then, and building off of that, but, a big thing that I do now, and I, it wasn't by design back then, it was just how things evolved with data collection is I always try to have cameras on the exit routes of either properties or, valleys if, even if I'm out west or something, and not around a camera, but I'm gonna set up over a saddle or an escape route.

And get above that pressure before opening day and see what's moving up through there once that basin gets all the activity. And that's how you can learn so much on your property about how your own hunting habits affect your property just by correlating your activity or any human activity on that property with the direction those deer wanna move, using that wind.

And the escape routes when they use. It's, it, yeah. I just put together a plan, a [01:08:00] property plan today, or finalized it, presented it to the client gorgeous property in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. Really challenging access. I, there's a lot of things that we can do to improve that for the most part, but we are always gonna be limited to some degree.

And one of the biggest things I told him was like, again, back on the coaching side, like it makes sense to never go in these areas. That being said, this area of your property is a completely different travel corridor from the rest of your property. So we can do all these things to create all this really good movement in huntable areas on your property.

And some of the movement coming from this ridgetop travel corridor is gonna pull down your property. But it'd be ignorant to think that you're gonna hold all these bucks on your property all the time when everybody in Buffalo County's planning food plots and doing TSI and building bedding areas.

So then it comes down to that pressure game and your location pressure's a very relative thing. So even if you're not putting any pressure on, or, hunting very minimally, if the property next to you has zero activity and better cover, then it's automatically a lower pressure area.

[01:09:00] But that ridge shop travel corridor that he had, I just told him, I was like, if you can get in here and hunt it under the right conditions, it's gonna be phenomenal. Yeah. But you need to monitor your exit route. And be honest with yourself, right? Like when you go in and hunt a spot, if you don't see any deer, then you just start looking around at these exit routes of your property and finding out if you bump those deer and then just don't hunt there again.

Or don't hunt there under that set of conditions and just alter that and play around with it. But be willing to risk that from time to time because you're missing opportunities when you don't hunt those areas. No, that's not the same on every

Jeremy Dinsmore: property, obviously. The one thing that I wrote down that you said was having that intentional camera set up, I guess generalize or what does that mean to you?

Like we could be scouting, you find that scrape and Oh, that's a great scrape. I'm gonna toss a camera up to you. What's on it? It just looks like this scrape has been hammered. It's a community scrape. What does that really, in of that piece of the [01:10:00] puzzle, what does that really tell you that you want to get out

Thomas Mlsna: of it?

That's exactly it. Yeah. That, what is that thing that you're trying to find out? You should ask questions and look for those answers, right? That's like the same thing I'm trying to condition, like even my clients or, even my kids, it's like going out and like listening to a program or something like, this is great.

You're soaking up information, watching YouTube videos or you're learning stuff. It's good. But if you just fall into this trap of. Pulling in things without trying to apply them to your situation, then it changes how you, your perception for any situation. So don't go out and just throw a camera out for any reason.

Just figure out what those questions are. Are you trying to figure out when that buck is moving through there? Now why is he moving through there in general? You can start putting those pieces of the puzzle together, but just trying to answer questions in general and prove those theories or disprove those theories is what it really comes down to.

But trail cameras,[01:11:00] they're a game changer obviously. It's, they're one of the most valuable tools in figuring out that movement. Is it absolutely necessary? No, absolutely not. And in fact, I actually enjoy hunting out west and you take that aspect out of the game because it, it changes your standards, changes the timeline in general, right?

And it's a lot more pure way to hunt, I think. That being said I mean I've worked for a trail camera company for 10 years and I've probably ran more trail cameras than pretty much anyone out there. I've, I, right now I have, probably something like 30 million trail camera photos and videos.

I've got like a 12 terabyte hard drive full of 'em, and it's just I just, my in biology and then I end up. Job where I have unlimited trail camera resources and I have this just like ripe curiosity to try and figure out all of these things with these deer. And I've just got addicted to trying to [01:12:00] collect that information all the time and process that information and you are always gonna be the best thing to process that information.

Again, it's like you, we talked about the app thing earlier and that's where again, it's great. It's like a, it's a really great sales pitch. Here's some electronic thing that you can set parameters and import data and it's gonna predict the best location for you to hunt. I could put together a, an app.

I actually built a fair amount of this. I've worked with a guy that basically utilized these tools and this planner and had a way to process things a bit, an algorithm so to speak that would be far more effective. But it was almost, it took the fun out of it. Yeah. And that's where it's like writing that stuff down and and there's always these variables involved there.

But Christ, with the way AI is now you could do it. And why though? What's the point, right? That chess match that you get by processing the information with your own brain and reliving those experiences and trying to relate those to future [01:13:00] potential experiences. That's where the fun comes and pray.

And just, again, digging through those details and stuff. But the trail cameras are, they're such a valuable tool and I, so I have five, I call 'em considerations, they're more so rules for trail camera success. But these are things that I've developed through, 10 plus years of prototyping Yeah.

And building cameras and testing cameras and more importantly serving and helping customers. I've worked with tens of thousands of trail camera customers over the years. Everyone from researchers that, if they didn't have the appropriate setup, they could lose their entire research budget.

We had a group of researchers that had to fly, they were taking helicopter rides up into the mountains to set these trail cameras out for, I think they were doing like bighorn sheep studies. And, it's like tens of thousands of dollars, right? They go back and change the card on that camera.

So if things aren't absolutely perfect, that's a big deal. I've just developed a lot of these things over time, but how they apply to the [01:14:00] hunter situation, I think it's just important for people to understand 'em. And they're not anything crazy, but I think people use cameras so casually sometimes.

Yeah. That it actually, and that's fine if that's what you want to do, but it's just a valuable opportunity that you're missing, yeah. The big thing, my, my number one rule with trail cameras is that trail cameras only tell you where you should have been, not where you should be.

And cell cameras just tell you where you should have been a lot sooner than non cellular cameras. So that's the thing is if you rely on that information to tell you where you should go, you're always gonna be a half a step behind. Instead use those cameras to prove or disprove those theories.

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I'm thinking like, growing up, right? Like we were just saying, growing up, I ha my dad, we would walk around, walk a property or the past couple years going around public here in central pa, it used to be like, oh, this is a nice good trail, it's crazy beaten down. Let's see what's on it. Like I, I've luckily I've grown without even listening to podcasts and other people to graduate to that next thing of having that intentional purpose.

And I would say Thomas, last year was my first

Thomas Mlsna: year

Jeremy Dinsmore: where I had a game plan or I would scout and I'm like, okay. I'm not necessarily ready to throw up a camera in here. I want to see maybe something else to that will solidify why I want to put a camera here. And because of doing that, I felt again, I, like I told you earlier, there were [01:16:00] more deer,

Thomas Mlsna: more mature

Jeremy Dinsmore: deer on camera that I've ever had before as a hunter.

And that is the one key aspect of the trail camera game, quote unquote, of being

Thomas Mlsna: more intentional with

Jeremy Dinsmore: where I'm putting it. That has made a difference for me, of being able to know of how could I hunt that area, maybe have an intent rather than, oh, I'm just gonna go in there today, looks good.

Like how you were saying earlier, going with your gut instinct. But that's the other side that I think where I had an intention to it, but I still maybe did not have a chillis as to why. Does that make sense?

Thomas Mlsna: Yeah. Yeah. But I, that's the thing is you don't have to have it narrowed down a hundred percent.

As long as you're working towards that. Cuz that breadcrumb analogy, right? Yeah. It's like you're always just trying to gain that information. One of the, one of the things that I frequently do [01:17:00] is I try to run cameras in tandem a lot of times. Okay. Where, like you've got that camera in that spot that it just seems like a good spot.

Okay. That's part of the bread pieces is the puzzle, like one of those breadcrumbs. But getting a one picture of a deer in any given area only tells you that deer was in that area at that time. Time. Okay. And that's another trail camera rule, actually. It's the second, a second trail camera rule.

It only tells you what happens directly in front of that camera. Yeah. So that's a big thing, is like you have to understand that one picture alone. Even like on a food plot or a scrape, like it's easy to assume the direction that Deere's coming from based on how we approach that camera, but I've seen it many times where they make a loop around the camera, one direction out in front, behind whatever, not specifically the camera, but they might circle around that scrape or whatever that target area is, right?

Yeah. So there's that. But having those cameras in tandem now, if you can get. Two [01:18:00] pictures of that buck over a certain duration of time, at least then you have a sense of direction of where he was coming from, where he was going. And then you then that, that information on both of those cameras is significantly more valuable at that point.

And then you can start to hone in, again, the timing elements, the food elements. Obviously if you have it really close to a food source, then you're trying to, you should be trying to figure out when he's using that food source or if he's using that food source. And if you have an understanding of where the bedding areas are and you have it closer to that bedding area, it's the same thing.

It's like then you're trying to figure that out. One biggest, one of the biggest things with bedding areas is if you have the theory that bucks bedding in an area. So that, essentially when I'm trying to kill bucks on our property, I've, most of the time, early in the season, I'm trying to get closer to where their beds are because I have to cross the destination food plots at night.

Which is a problem. So if I blow 'em off those, they're not food plots, I should say fields the alfalfa fields and bigger ag fields [01:19:00] and whatnot, cuz that's where they're hitting most of the time early in the season. But. They're hitting those food plots too, but I try to save those food plots to keep the pressure off those as long as I possibly can.

But I try to get closer to the bedding area so that the deer are moving sooner, and then I can hopefully slip out a different direction or something. But if I'm targeting a bedding area, so Okay. I find that bedding area, or my theory is this is the bedding area. Then the next thing I'm trying to do is find the closest adjacent pinch point to that, that I can safely get to without blowing deer out of that potential bedding area.

From there, I'm either hunting it, I'm either out there hunting it right, or I'm putting a camera up over it. And if that's my theory is that bucks bedding in that bedding area, and under these wind directions, he's gonna move this way. Then he should come through his pinch point. So if I can prove that theory with the camera, then I should be able to prove it from the stand.

That's the next thing. But that comes down to also understanding the wind and that's really where those pinch points [01:20:00] come in. Important. The most important aspect of a pinch point isn't so much that it's moving a deer through a shot window or shot opportunity. It's that it's moving a deer around where your scent is going.

And you're concentrating them in an area where your scents blowing away from. But with the cameras, yeah. Being intentional with spots like that, if you're getting a lot of doze on those cameras, it's absolutely not a buck betting area. He's betting downstream of their The biggest deer I've ever killed.

I had that camera soaking most of the summer and I checked it the day that I killed him. But there was only like, I think there was like 85 motion events on that camera over the course of two months. And there was only like one sequence of photos where there was dos coming through there and all the rest were bucks.

Bucks like the same three or four bucks. And there was this one little buck that was with that big one frequently. But back to what I was saying, you [01:21:00] only the camera really tells you what's going on 20 feet in front of the camera. When that buck came in that night, that little buck was with him and he walked past the camera and I got a picture of him.

The big buck never triggered the camera. He was out at range cuz he's up the hill from it. So if I would've just operated under the assumption that buck wasn't there, right? It's just the young buck there then, yep. Again, so you just don't know. In the research world, we refer to that as a sampling rate, right?

You shouldn't use your cameras to try and tell you everything that's going on in your property. You should use them to sample certain elements of what's going on your property and then, you under safe, reasonable assumptions, you can extrapolate what's going on and predict, at a different scale.

So that's those are a couple big things. And then the other thing, another one of my trail camera rules, and we already talked about the being intentional with your setups. The fourth trail camera rule is understanding the pressure element of cameras. So that's a whole nother thing.

And I know the [01:22:00] Exodus guys talk frequently about that, raising your cameras up, even going, away from straps and using para paraic record and stuff like that. And I can't stress that enough either. But every situation's a little bit different. I frequently will set my cameras lower, like knee height on food sources.

And I, I think it just comes down to giving those animals space, if they're coming down a tight corridor on a trail or even a scrape situation or a water hole or whatever it might be, where they're, you're trying to get them to shove their head in front of that camera and that camera's low, you're gonna, you're gonna put pressure on 'em for sure.

Yeah. But if it's on like a food plot or something where they can see that camera and they can judge whether they want to get closer to it or not then it's a little bit different situation. But anytime you're in the woods, anytime you're over scrapes, stuff like that, keep 'em off the main trail, get 'em as high as you can.

Reach 'em, jam a stick behind them, angle 'em down. The only negative to that is the fact that it shortens your target range. Cuz you're, but you shouldn't [01:23:00] need that range anyways cuz you're targeting a very specific area a trail fence gap, scrape water hole and so on. And that's a big thing.

And then also just understanding, from a quality stand. Pictures, anything between that target area and the camera that reflects light is gonna affect those nighttime pictures. So if you have that branch hanging down in front of it, that's gonna expose and the camera's gonna adjust, then everything behind it's gonna most likely be very dark or black.

So that's a big thing. And then the last rule, last trail camera rule, encompasses everything we've just talked about is just the fact that you should put high value on that information and catalog it and store it. Because that historical information is worth as much or more than anything, right?

Because those bucks are so predictable and things play out is so similarly year to year, not every year. But what you'll see is you get into a buck and you, he develops these routines that you can key in on. And then five years later, completely different deer, you start to see the same pattern.

You're like, [01:24:00] okay, that Buck did this. I'm gonna try this. Sure enough he's doing the same type of thing. And it all comes down to those four key elements, right? And how those changed throughout the year. So

Jeremy Dinsmore: I like it cause you basically use that intel, right? I just feel like Exactly. So many, and I've been a victim of that years ago.

And I could even say even to now use that intel, use it with a purpose. Have a purpose have a meaning behind what you're

Thomas Mlsna: doing. Yeah. Yep. Absolutely. And that's, it's just one of those. Things where it just simplifies it. Yeah. If you're looking through those things, you find those things and how, and then we start to come across this all information.

Does it fit under one of those categories? Because if it doesn't, it's probably just nonsense. Yeah. You're, and I'm guilty of it too, like you start overthinking situations. Yeah. But how does that play into this situation? How does that actually relate? It really doesn't. Okay. Then I shouldn't worry about that.

Just focus on these things, these important, these key critical elements. But the,

Jeremy Dinsmore: what's something, a hunter experience, newer [01:25:00] getting over the hump, what should we avoid next fall? What's something that we should not try to fall victim of?

Thomas Mlsna: That's a good question. The instinct thing is huge.

Yeah. Trust in your instinct, but also understanding that you're likely to make mistakes. It's, life in general is pretty simple and I don't claim to have it mastered by any means. But if we're all honest with ourselves and we keep trying things, but learning from our mistakes and, being honest and reflecting, some self-reflection be like, okay, I screwed that up.

And I see that frequently and again, I was in the same boat. You have a million excuses why things don't work out. But look for the actual facts in those situations. And trust your instincts. It's like there's a, it's a, it's actually like a scientific process or a mechanism in your brain.

This neurological center in your brain, the reticulating, [01:26:00] reticulate activating system, I believe it's called. And that's basically it creates the playlist of what your eyes see, what you hear, like the information that you soak up. Cuz if we picked up all the information all the time, we'd be going crazy.

Right? There's so much stimulus out in the environment. So that reticulating activating system it's like the situation where you go out car shopping or something and you've never, ever in your life noticed a certain model or a certain color of car until all of a sudden you like go and look at one at the dealership, or one online that you like, and then all of a sudden you notice it everywhere.

You just notice it everywhere. And that's what that is. It's like you're creating that playlist. You can train your brain to focus on certain aspects. And that's again, why it's so important to write stuff down. Because all of a sudden you start to key in on these things that actually make sense and are applicable to your situation.

And then when those things come up, next time you notice 'em right away. And you're already ahead and you're noticing these things and then you pick up on stuff and now you have a step ahead. [01:27:00] So your instincts start to kick in. You can develop those instincts. And one of the things in my planner.

Again, you don't have to have the planner for this, but the reason I have this area of my planner is on the daily planner, like those weekly spreads where you can like use as a daily scheduler. And then I've got a workbook version which just has a monthly spread, but every single day there's an area there to jot down the forecast, the wind direction, the wind speed, the high and the low temp.

And then, is it sunny, partly cloudy or precipitation? Jotting that down helps immensely. And when I try and get my clients to do, I just tell 'em like, for me it's usually Sunday morning, Sunday mornings my day where I don't really have anything going on Saturday. I feel like I'm always trying to cram one last project in while having all my kids and stuff at home.

And it's fine. Like I'm trying to get things done and Sunday's kind of that relaxed day. So I'm having my cup of coffee, pull up weather [01:28:00] app and jot that stuff down. It's not always accurate through the week cause things change. But you start to kinda get this routine of looking at the weather and how is that gonna dictate the week?

Now you write that down, it kinda locks that, those patterns in your brain. If you did your homework and you filled out some of those charts in the back, that pattern tracker tool in there, that helps you figure out how the wind dictates the movement. All of a sudden you start to see these wind changes develop in the week and maybe it's the middle of the season, maybe it's outside of season, doesn't matter.

And if all of a sudden your cell cameras start blowing up that day, then you put two and two together. Or you see that wind shift that you need and now because you've been doing your homework, you're like, oh, that's actually the wind that, that, that puts that buck in that area. That's the day I need to hunt.

And that three days ahead and I start watching that weather a little bit more throughout the week. Okay, I'm gonna make my move here. You go out there and you kill that deer. But that doesn't happen just by like randomly pulling up your phone on Thursday afternoon [01:29:00] or Friday afternoon and be like, oh, the wind is doing this.

What stand should I hunt? And I get that. Some situations, most situations are probably like that. So I understand you it's an advantage to have that flexibility in your schedule, you can plan those things otherwise too on a, on an annual scale. Those deer are so predictable.

And we're talking about that timing element. They, I always had this theory that mature bucks knew when certain doughs were gonna come into heat. Because you see this year after year, the same buck would show up in the same area. Right around the same timeframe. And then I think it was, Ms.

U came out with a study a few years ago that showed that the specific day that a dough comes into asterisks is related to a specific gene. It's dictated by a specific gene, and that gene's passed on to their female offsprings. And it makes perfect sense because from an evolutionary standpoint, It in from an evolutionary standpoint and an environmental standpoint, if that dough [01:30:00] gets bred at the wrong time and her fawns born at the wrong time, the chance of survival reduces dramatically.

So ex for an example, further north like Northern Wisconsin probably even up in Maine, getting up into Canada, we would think that the rut would be sooner because it, the winters happen sooner. But it's actually the opposite because if that FAW is born, if that dough gets bred too early in the fall and that F's born too early in the spring and you get a late snowfall, that reduces the survival rate of that fawn.

So through evolution, it's, it just altered that geographically. So you see the same thing, like actually down in Georgia, the rut down there is weird. There's like pockets of different ruts because a lot of the deer in Georgia are actually transplants from Wisconsin. Years ago, DNR worked out some deal.

I don't know if they traded something rough grouse or who knows, whatever they did. Yeah. But so you see that all the time. So knowing that, you can, whether it's a buck even after a couple years or a completely different book, If you know that your [01:31:00] area, your, a certain area of your property is a hotspot, a hot pinch point during a certain time of the rut, then you need to be planning to take your vacation the next year around that time, cuz it's gonna be a hotspot.

That might change, a little bit here, a little bit there based on how those dough change bedding based on the food source changes and stuff like that. But generally speaking, it's gonna be pretty dang accurate. So you need to key in on that and you can predict that in years, like long ahead. Yeah, I mean I've had four different situations in the last 10 years where I predicted to a two day window when the mature buck was gonna be in a certain area and it's still scary when you go out there and it actually happens.

Cause in the back of your mind you're just like, nah, like no things can be this perfect. Like literally the exact day that I picked on one buck, it just happened to work out perfectly that the wind was out of the east on October 4th. Like how often do you get those east winds? On the front of those cold fronts a lot of times, but it's just it just worked out and it was a Friday afternoon.

I was like, oh, this [01:32:00] is absolutely perfect. Got out there first hunt of the season, had my target buck handed up. Coming in, like downwind to me, circling downwind, and caught just a little bit of my scent from the thermals and got out of there. But he had gotten bumped by an attv like 10 minutes before that.

So it changed how he moved through that valley. He was coming up out of the escape route instead of coming outta the ridge. So he got blown off the ridge, dropped down and came back up. Anyway, I didn't kill that deer but I got to stare into his eyes for five majestic moments, and it was awesome.

He ended up getting killed like a mile away. He never came back to the property after that. Wow. So that was the deer. I had a lot of history with it. That one kind of hurt a little bit, but I ended up killing a really nice deer later that year that was probably actually bigger score wise, but wasn't as old.

Yeah. But yeah, that's just how it, that's just how it happens. They're very predictable. Yeah. And that comes from doing that homework though, and like jotting those notes down and training your brain to look for certain information[01:33:00] and then again, like just being honest with yourself.

And also it's that, in fact, that exact buck the year before I screwed up on him by not trusting my instincts. Oh, I know that if I hunt this spot at this time, I can kill this deer. And then I was just got, it's I don't know if you wanna call it selfish, but I was just like, man, if I wait it was like a Tuesday Wednesday window.

If I wait, if I can push this Thursday, then I can hunt Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And I don't have to take off two days in the middle of the week and then come home and then try and take off two days of the weekend. It's I'm gonna do that. I'll push it. So my gut told me Tuesday, Wednesday, and I was like, ah, I'm gonna do Thursday, Friday.

That deer was in that pinch point during the daylight, Monday, Tuesday, twice. Twice the day. Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday I hunted and he came through an hour before I got out there and he left, or he came back through again an hour after I left. I hunted all day. In that pinch point, I hunted all day in that pinch point, three days in a row.

And the last day I was so [01:34:00] like worn out. Like you sit out there in those November winds all day and just frustrated, like kicking myself. And I went out and I like checked every camera I could and that there's no sign to that buck. I was like, yep, he's locked down somewhere, probably a mile away. Yeah.

And it was just dumb luck. I I just took my truck and I drove out in this back field where I had a camera right on the field edge on a community scrape. And I'm like, I'm just gonna go check this. Just shot in the dark, see what's going on in the, this back corner here. And I parked my truck.

And I open up the door and out of my peripheral I could see movement from the head side of the headlights. And I get back in the truck and I look and I can see a deer and I put it in reverse and I turn the wheel and the headlights shine, and that buck is beded there 35 yards away from me. And the dough is standing up and the movement I caught was like another small buck coming in to check that dough.

But the buck's just, he's bettered there, chewing his cut in the middle of the hayfield. It was ridiculous. I got some [01:35:00] pretty cool video of him. And then I got out of there and I came back in the next day and he still had that dough bait up in that field and it snowed overnight. I tried to get in there with a buddy in a decoy to make something happen.

A big, bigger, big enough buck came in that it pushed that dough out of there and the chase was on. I, long story short, I tracked that deer on hoof all day and ended up tracking him back into this bedding area. I set up on him on the ground, waited at dark. He came out by himself and I just couldn't get it done.

Like he took off across his field at a weird angle. I tried to cut him off and I just couldn't get it done. Yeah. But it's so many close encounters the whole time. And I'm just like, man, so close. And then fast forward to the next year and I have that close encounter with him again, and then he gets shot.

But that's hunting, right? Yeah. At the end of the day, it's hunting. That's what's so fun about it. Yeah, it's so fun. It's so exhausting but fun at the same time. And you. That you can go through multiple seasons and not fill a tag, and then you fill [01:36:00] that tag and you're just that much more grateful.

Yeah. Because you understand like how much time goes into it. And that's another thing I tell my clients. In fact, it's usually the first conversation I have with them when I get on property. And I say the same thing all the time. I say, there's only one way to be consistently successful killing mature whitetails.

There's only one way, and it's an investment of time. So you can pay me to invest my time. Either speeding up the learning curve, helping you design this property, ruling out some of the mistakes paying me or some of the land managers I work with to improve your property. That helps.

Or you can invest your own time into it, or you can go pay an outfitter who's invested his own time to develop a property and do the scouting to put you on a deer. But one way or another you're, there's a time investment that goes into those deer, you're putting a lot of time into a property to, to build up that property, even, manipulating the habitat to increase those opportunities, better movement through certain areas.

That's still a huge [01:37:00] time investment. It's a ridiculous time investment to do stuff like that. And then you end up spending less time hunting. Yeah. It's, again it's a time investment, so there's no way around that at the end of the day. So having a good plan is gonna be the best way to save yourself time.

Any aspect of your life, if you have a plan. And you learn from those mistakes and keep moving forward you're always gonna get better. Yep. At some point you would hope you get better at some point. But yeah, I think it comes back to just being honest with yourself and learning from those mistakes.

And I and you never stop making mistakes. I make mistakes all the time. Yep. And again, that's the fun part. I used to hunt really hard for the opportunity to have one chance at a mature buck a season. And that, that was my mindset for most of my life. And I usually did, like looking back at how many opportunities, the amount of bucks of a lifetime that I have on the wall right now, for every one of those, there's 15 or 20 really nice deer Yep.

That I either [01:38:00] made a mistake on or passed up an opportunity on because I was hoping that they would, go to the next level. And they got killed. I've only last year, or excuse me, two years ago now was the first time and the only time so far in my entire hunting career on this property that I've had the opportunity to hunt a buck that I passed up in a previous season.

So usually I'm after a buck or I pass a buck, and then that buck gets killed by another hunter. Or never shows back up again. Or I'm after a buck, like he's on my radar for a few years and I never have an opportunity. I never cross paths until the day that I kill him or screw up on him. Yeah. And then it's gone.

Like you only get that one chance. But the last few years, probably the last five years now, I've had more mature buck encounters than I've ever had. It went from having, hoping, working for that one encounter to having seven, eight, yeah. 10, multiple encounters a season, in crazy different situations.

And it just [01:39:00] comes from understanding those and making those moves. And like last year, I, the buck that I was after was this big mature eight pointer and he happened to live in the valley where our hunting cabin was. And all of my family decided they wanted to hunt a lot more, or last season, which was great.

It was great to have him around a lot more, but it just screwed up my plan cuz I didn't anticipate all the activity in that valley. But I kept hunting it anyways to try and learn how those deer moved around. The pressure. Pressure. And it was actually mind blowing to me to see how much activity there was.

At one point I was set up in the spot where I could see the back end of the farm, okay. A very busy dairy farm. I could see it, I could hear everything that was going on up there when people are walking down the driveway and talking and the wind was blowing towards me. I could hear everything they were saying on the other side of me.

If I look over my shoulder, I'm looking down right on the top of our hunting cabin, like 60 yards away from it. And at one. I could hear these kids talking and I could hear someone talking at the farm and I'm watching [01:40:00] someone, there's dogs running around, there's tractors driving around. These people are talking, the wind's blowing this way.

And I could hear these kids talking up the valley. And I watched this buck this four year old, eight pointer, pretty nice buck come across the valley, stand down on the cover, wait for a little bit, pops out, crosses an open spot, stands in cover, waits for a little bit. And then I see these kids come over the crown of this hill and all of a sudden the buck pops up on top.

He had like completely skirted him. The kids walk right below me on the road to the cabin. At the same time the buck goes around above me. And at one point I've got this on like cell phone video cuz I was just getting in the tree stand when all this commotion was going on, right? So I just had it all on cell phone.

But at one point that buck, if he would've taken one more step and looked down that hill, those kids were directly below him at 35 yards and the wind was at his back. So he couldn't hear as well and he, if he couldn't see 'em cuz of the topography. And it was just crazy. I'm like, this is insane.

Like being a witness to that situation. But then it makes you think like, [01:41:00] how many of those situations are there? Yep. Those deer adapt to that. And that's where, that pressure side of things. I said cover and consistency are the two things that reduce pressure on deer. Consistency is an enormous factor.

And reducing pressure. Yeah. If something's consistent enough, a source of pressure is consistent enough and there's enough attraction and the property has everything those deer need, they adapt to it. It's like seeing giant bucks that live in town. They just adapt to the pressure and they learn when it something's consistent, they can feel it out.

That risk versus reward and then they get comfortable with it. And that's how you look at all the situations. And if there's consistent pressure, then it's still a source of pressure, but you can get way with a lot more of it. So there's, yeah, there's so much to it, but, having that plan based on the homework that you've done or that theory that you've done developed by the homework that you've done.

And those 4K elements just make it so easy. If you, you start to understand that you get that planner and just start do you have a buck that you are Oh, yeah. Pursuing [01:42:00] next year? Yeah. That you have history with.

Jeremy Dinsmore: I will send you some photos and we could chat

Thomas Mlsna: a little bit about it

Jeremy Dinsmore: for sure.

Because he's been a thorn in my ass for the last two years.

Thomas Mlsna: So those are the fun

Jeremy Dinsmore: ones. Yeah. Yeah. And dude, I've been having a blast going after it because I've, yeah. It's just like you said, it's just I'm hoping he, he survived again until, I know, up until La this past January, end of January.

We, I had a pic picture of him still, so yeah, we will, we'll see. Hopefully he continued to make it through and it's very hard to find sheds on that property because again, the, there's really, the food's not up there, and man I have found maybe one shed up there my whole entire life.

Yeah. It's

Thomas Mlsna: just, it's not where the deer

Jeremy Dinsmore: are during that late season. Thomas even, to be honest with you, I'll maybe put out a camera, let it soak all summer. I'll get a couple dough on it, and I will not get a buck on camera up [01:43:00] there until end of. Middle September, end of September, it's when that shift really g gets into gear and then it's boom, it lights up.

Yeah. Which is great. That's what you want. And I don't, I'm not the one that's watching them all summer and then, where did they go? It's, man, I can't wait till they finally come to that area. That's that's what I go

Thomas Mlsna: through. Get Yeah. Get ahead of that.

If you can, there's something to be said about that shift itself. Yeah. Those bucks move into those areas and they, it, everything's new to 'em at that point, so they aren't as skittish. Yeah. But at the same time as you put too much pressure on at that point in time, then they're like, Nope, I'm out of here.

I'm not gonna hang out. So that's a critical moment for sure. But no, it's, you start going through that information and break down those situations. Look at those pinch points. Do you run OnX or do you run a different mapping software?

Jeremy Dinsmore: I run mainly Spartan Forge, but I've used all a bunch, okay. I've used a ton of different ones. I really like I've been using Spartan Forge for the last year and a half whenever since it's come out and some of the, where I hunt here, [01:44:00] it's some of the best mapping. You could see, yeah, you can date it and all that type of stuff. I have the fall foliage and everything like that.

Thomas Mlsna: So one of the things that I do, I talked a little bit about. The importance of visualization. So when I do, when I'm mapping out properties and even my own properties, and something I'd suggest anyone to do is just draw lines on your map where those ravines are, or any form of obstruction that you're aware of.

Not, we're not talking just like a small here, there, anything that's gonna create some form of resistance for those deer. And then you can draw lines where those deer are actually traveling those known trails, and you'll see how they're flowing through certain areas. Pretty quickly.

If you don't already have that vision in your head. And I think most guys do, but sometimes it is as simple as that. Explaining that I just did a property for a buddy of mine, he's done a lot of great things for me over the years and he bought a neighboring property, so we put a really good plan together for it, but we walked the property a couple [01:45:00] times.

The first time was a half cock afternoon or just yeah, I wanna get your opinion real quick cuz I, I've got a logger that went, come in here. And then I basically was like we should pump the brakes on that. There's some work to be done here before we do that. And then we walked it again and I explained all these things to him and, he's hunted a long time.

He is been a very successful hunter, but not to that level of detail. And he, you could tell like he's agreeing with stuff, but he really didn't seem excited about it. Okay. And and I'm like, I'll just let me go back and put some things. They're here and then we'll talk about this again, let you soak it up.

Cuz here's a lot of information, it's like trying to drink through a fire hose. Yeah. Especially, you get me going, talking about something like I'll explain the whole thing and you're like, okay, now you have all the information that you can process about wind. How do, how can I ever absorb anything about food?

But so I went back and I mapped everything out and I use like a color code just for consistency and it all kinda actually coincides with those four key elements. When I lay out my plans, I break 'em down under these, this color code and you see this how these things work together then.[01:46:00]

But once I did that, he was like, oh yes, that makes perfect sense. But now I can see it and I'm like, exactly. So anyone listening to this, if you wanna try and visualize it, what I do is I, and I'm not familiar with Spartan Forge. What you can break down with OnX. Yep.

Yep. So you can do color. Yep. So what I do is I do purple solid lines. And this isn't for any real reason other than I use the other essential or the key colors. I use purple solid lines to draw a line where. Ravine or if we're gonna create pinch points, I'll draw those and then we'll like, fell trees and make a mess in a certain area or something.

Purple solid lines are those resistance areas. And then I use yellow lines to map out deer trails or deer activity in, in the areas and how that flows. And then for bedding areas I use blue. And that kind of coincides with the wind aspect. So I will outline bedding areas or tag those in blue food sources.

I outline those in green, [01:47:00] obviously that makes sense, right? So if I'm mapping out food plots or ag fields, I'll have those all in, in green or some shade of green. And then sources of pressure, I do those in red. Okay. So stand locations are red. Access and exit routes are red, stuff like that.

Houses in the area, places where people park their cars, where I want the client to park his truck. I put those all in red. So you kinda see like that red is that pressure element and how that moves to your property. The blue is that low. We want it to be that low pressure element, right? Where that wind is more of a cooler color in general.

Keep the pressure outta those areas and that green is the attraction for the food. So what I would advise anyone to do is just take some time. It can be when you're sitting out on a tree stand, you're bored or you're taking a poop in the morning and better than scrolling through Facebook, right?

Yep. Start mapping out those areas on your property. And you don't have to use those colors obviously, but if you use those, they make a little more. And then you start to visualize those things and you can change 'em and alter 'em, and then you [01:48:00] start to get a better feel. And it's such a simple process, right?

It's a simple question to ask yourself or a series of questions. So when I tell my clients all the time, it's this is how I operate. So I'll lay out a property, and first we want to identify the pinch points, right? The best pinch points and again, most of those guys already have stands in or very near to those areas.

So once you've identified the pinch points, then you ask yourself if it's an afternoon hunt, okay, the wind is gonna dictate where those bucks bed, the food is gonna dictate where those dough bed. So you just ask yourself, where are those deer bedding? Right now under these situa, under these conditions based on the food, based on the wind, based on the pressure, based on the timing.

Really the four K's coming to play at some level for these really essential questions, right? So where are those deer bedding? That's first and foremost. The second is [01:49:00] where are they feeding? Where do I anticipate them to be feeding when they get up to move? So understand that when you're hunting in the afternoon you're going in to set up on a stationary animal, right?

So you have that advantage. Where are they gonna be feeding? And then can I get past that bedding area to get to that pinch point without disturbing? And can I get past the feeding area to get out of that pinch point without disturbing it? If you know the answers to those questions and you answer yes to the last two that I can get past those areas in and out, then there's rarely ever a problem hunting that sand location.

It's a very low pressure stand location under that set of conditions. If you answer no to those questions, then you wanna look at the risk versus reward, right? If I know I can get past them to get in and set up on them when they're in their betting location, but I can't get past them on the way out, then I better make damn sure that I'm picking the perfect time to go hunt it.

Cuz if I [01:50:00] blow those deer off that food source, they're not coming back during daylight the next day. It's certainly not with any advanced warning. And then the other question, the last question would be the timing element. When do I anticipate those deer to be there? Is it gonna be early season, is it gonna be late season?

Is it gonna be morning or is it gonna be afternoon? And if you're going in there in the afternoon and you think of that logically and you go, oh actually. Suspecting it'll gonna be here in the morning, then you shouldn't be hunting there in the afternoon. Yeah. Cause you're just putting pressure on, right?

Yeah. And then the same goes the other way around. If you're going in for a morning hunt, where are those deer feeding? Where are they gonna be? Can I get past that feeding area to get into this spot without disturbing it? Can I get past that bedding area to get out of that spot without disturbing it?

Because you can't assume that they're only ever gonna take one path of travel from point A to point B. You're just trying to predict that. And if they get to where you thought they were gonna be, cuz your plan was mostly correct, but they take a different route, then you still have to be able to get out of there to live to see another day.

Expand that window opportunity. So if you ask those questions, it really simplifies it. So when it comes to, just looking at current stand locations you have [01:51:00] and picking a stand location to hunt or trying to find a new stand location, ask yourself those questions. And if you answer no, but maybe you can make it happen that's just a higher pressured stand versus, you can get in, get out clean, then it's a low ed stand.


Jeremy Dinsmore: this was amazing. I've, this is one for

Thomas Mlsna: this is one for the books, man. Hopefully it's helpful. Like I said I feel like I have this conversation frequently. I never gets old talking about these situations, but it's just, again, I, it just simplified, just try to simplify those things.

Don't overthink it. And try to just apply those things to your situation. And prove or disprove those theories. That's why it's just such a simple right thing to me anyways, it's like that does it, it takes a time investment. That's the side effect. It takes a little bit of a time investment, but that's the thing is this is something that you can be doing right now.

Yeah, exactly. Right now, chat hunting is great, but sheds aren't gonna tell you where to kill that deer next year. It's just a, another hunk of bone that you can get your hands on, [01:52:00] which is rewarding, right? That's great, but that's not gonna help you kill that deer. So if you have free time right now, and it's something you can do at 10 o'clock at night, or you can do at six o'clock in the morning when you're drinking your coffee, go through those pictures, go through your old trail cam pictures, start with that pattern tracker. That's where I would start.

And you can go back and you can either fill that out by location or by a specific animal. If you have an animal that you've targeted and just jot down the time, date, and location and then go back and look at the wind or the weather history on that location of what the wind was doing. The morning wind is gonna place him in that bedding area, and if the morning wind is consistent with the evening wind, then you know he is going in and out of.

Potentially. Or get enough and moving through it. But if that wind flips and then all of a sudden you see that, that's where you'll see those midday, random movements. Yeah. It's usually when that wind changes and then you'll start to learn stuff. And it's pretty simple to start putting those pieces of the puzzle together.

Once you get that [01:53:00] foundation right. You build that outline, that square, and then things fall into place. Yeah. This is

Jeremy Dinsmore: where hopefully one you're, this is a great podcast for those that are listening to go back, rewind, listen to what Thomas is saying, but, go to that, the Untamed Ambition and pick up yourself.

The Whitetail Ambition, annual Success Planner. I already did even prior to having Thomas come on the podcast. I'm looking forward to getting that and doing exactly what he said. And I wrote this down. I'm going to name this episode, invest Your Whitetail Time, because, I feel like that is something obviously been ha I've been, we've been doing this podcast for three years, but I've invested my time.

However, my time was also for my family. My, my job is teaching. I was coaching at the time this past year. I've invested a lot more time into Whitetail Woods and doing what really my passion is and my joy and my love, and. [01:54:00] It's things are starting to, take it, go a little bit better, basically.

Put luck and more in my side of the corner. So it, I'm excited man. I'm excited to take what I've just learned. This is what, I don't know, I don't know if you could see, there we go. Yeah. That's,

Thomas Mlsna: it's, I wrote a principle that's a painful man. And I'm excited you're seen handwriting.

Oh man. Thank you. Mine's like chicken scratch. I can read it. I might may as well be a doctor. Yeah. I'm

Jeremy Dinsmore: thrilled to, to have this opportunity for you to talk to myself, to the people that are gonna listen to this episode. Dude, I, this was awesome. I don't even know really. So I really appreciate your time and everything like that.

So obviously I already plugged your website, but where can people follow along? Listen, check you out, message you,

Thomas Mlsna: all that stuff. Yep. Website's probably the easiest place to find all the information that you need. Otherwise you can find me on Instagram. You can shoot me a message on there to the Untamed Ambition.

I think it's the underscore untamed underscore [01:55:00] ambition or Okay. Whatever the fanciness is there. But yeah, you should be able to find me on there. Otherwise yeah, just you can shoot me an email too if you prefer email, Awesome. Dude, yeah, any, if anyone has any questions, feel free to hit me up.

If you don't get a response from me right away, just understand that my days are busy, but I always respond at some point in time accident, yep, exactly. I feel like I, I'm ignoring you by any means. No, you. That's

Jeremy Dinsmore: awesome dude. Thank you so much Thomas and everybody. Please go check out what he has going on because it is great stuff.

Man I appreciate it, dude. Everybody enjoy this one and we'll see you next time. Antler up.