Iowa Tag Soup

Show Notes

This week on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast, John breaks down his 8 day rutcation, including the Texas rifle opener and 6 full days in Iowa. There was no shortage of bucks in Iowa, in fact John had over 25 different bucks in bow range over the course of 6 days. Finding "the" buck however was definitely a challenge. John gave it everything he had but ended up coming home without filling a tag. That doesn't necessarily mean that his Iowa season is closed though...

John talks about some of the major differences between hunting the midwest and his traditional stomping grounds further south. He was shocked at how similar the breakdown of land was, with your usual ag fields, pockets of timber, and timber lined creeks. One thing that presented a major challenge though was the steeper more rugged terrain that made the wind extremely unpredictable. John was constantly moving and making micro adjustments to his set up, trying to put the wind in his advantage. He did see some really nice bucks, and is counting down the days till his return.

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Show Transcript


Hey guys and gals, welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors podcast brought to you by Arrowhead Land Company. Here you will be educated, entertained, and equipped to get more out of your outdoor experience. So hold on tight because here we go.

What's going on ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors podcast. I am your host John Hutspeth and welcome back. I guess I should be welcoming back myself. This is the first time I've sat down to record a podcast in two or three weeks because of my trip and pre recorded episodes and all that good stuff yeah I'm getting back in the saddle.

So things are a little bit rough this week just because I'm trying to knock the dust off. It's been a little while but anyway, thank you guys for being here and listening to me. Talking to this microphone every week [00:01:00] and and just ramble on and try to Educate and entertain you guys. I feel like I should have, all these huge updates and stuff but really All the updates I have for you guys are just what the episode is going to be and we'll be talking about my iowa trip Or really I should say my ruckation because I also, you know threw texas in there for a day.

So ruckation really but obviously the main focus being my Iowa trip where I hunted a full six days and spent more time in a tree stand than I ever have in my entire life. Yeah, lots and lots to say about that. Just about the whole thing, hunting a different place, hunting a state like Iowa spending that much time in a tree stand, hunting extremely mobile, which I I thought I had done in the past, but nothing like I did this last week.

And so yeah, that's obviously what we're going to be covering today. I did find it funny. I was actually looking at my notes from the trip, and I keep a, I call it my hunting stats note [00:02:00] on my phone, and every year I just keep track of some fun details, like how many sits I do, with what weapon, mature bucks hogs killed, this year I'm gonna try to keep up with like duck hunts and ducks killed, and all that good stuff just a thing where I can go back at the end of the season, and just remind myself, refresh myself of how much I did or didn't hunt, what I saw, just that type of thing.

And one thing that is really odd for me this year is I'm recording this on November 15th. So it's been roughly, 45, 46 days of hunting season. And if you take the Iowa trip out of there, my rutcation out of there this year I have only sat. Two times with my bow in Oklahoma. I sat one time in Texas with my buddy that evening.

I sat three times with my muzzle loader and that is it. That is it. So I've only had five Oklahoma sits. I did one Texas sit before this trip and then, I went out there for a day. Just really weird to say that I've only hunted [00:03:00] Oklahoma five times in 45 or 46 days. All that's, I did kill a buck on my first sit and the other buck that I'm hunting is a ghost.

He is out there. I am getting some pictures of the old 2 percent buck. But obviously as usual, not in daylight, not consistent or anything like that. And so I just, I really haven't been hunting. this year because I'm just trying to play it safe with this 2 percent buck and maybe that's a mistake. I don't know.

But anyway we'll get into more of that later. I just thought that was an interesting little deal. As far as today's podcast, I'm going to do this a little bit different than my normal breakdown. So normally while I'm gone I'm, I have a note on my phone and I'm keeping up with, what I did and what I saw every day and.

And the breakdown is I just go through those notes and talk about it. And I did that on this hunt as well. I have a big long note that I kept track of. But because I hunted so many days, I was afraid that would get a little monotonous if I was just going day to day and saying I [00:04:00] saw, same bucks this day and that day.

I'm really gonna just try to hit some high points and some kind of learning opportunities, and not necessarily like I made these huge monumental discoveries while I was gone hunting this other state, but just some stuff like the difference between hunting a true Midwestern state compared to Oklahoma.

The terrain, the wind I learned a lot about. and how deer use the wind and stuff like that. So some cool things like that. So anyway, like I said, just going to go through, hit some of the high points. I really, Oh, I don't know if I've mentioned this or not. Obviously by the title, you could probably tell I did not kill a buck.

But I will also say I am not sure that my Iowa hunting season is over just yet. I have not run this by my wife, but there is a chance I might be going back. So I'll get into that. Towards the end. But yeah, all that to say, yeah, just a lot to unpack here. So that's what we're going to be talking about this [00:05:00] week.

Thank you guys for tuning in and we will get into the episode right after this. So I feel like the first thing I need to talk about on my 2023 ruckcation is just how amazing my wife is because she did not Have to let me do what I did and she took care of our child for like I think I ended up being gone Nine days something like that.

I have to count and she did not complain a single time. She did not say hey hurry home I'm getting frustrated or whatever. She didn't bother me. I mean she's she called and stuff to check in and talk but there was like zero complaining the entire time, and to be honest, that made things way easier on me because I didn't feel any guilt or anything like that, and I've heard guys talk about it before, how when you're going on a longer trip like this, out of state or something, just how important it is to have things with it.

At home and I can definitely vouch for that and again Communication is key. My wife [00:06:00] knew for months ago that there was a very good chance that I was going to be gone Nine days. I was working up the honeydews, you know before season. I let her go on a couple, girls weekends She also like I said, she works at a church So she goes on a couple of week long trips with the church And so I had the kid I didn't complain or anything like that sometimes I feel like parenting is just passing the kid back and forth.

But anyway, I love my daughter, I love spending time with her, so it wasn't like a big thing, and my wife is the same way. That made the trip way more enjoyable, just knowing that things at home were good. Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. Man, I don't remember the date, but it was like the Friday, November 3rd, something like that.

I don't remember the exact day, had all my stuff packed. Had the truck packed, went to work, and then I just left straight from work. Didn't even come back home. Had that was the first big takeaway was just how much less stuff I took with me on this trip compared to like my elk hunt last year.

And I don't know if [00:07:00] you just need I think a big part of it was just I'm so much more confident in my whitetail setup than my, elk hunting stuff that I do once every two or three years. And I feel like on that elk hunt, you're just preparing for the worst, but you also need to prepare for the best.

And so you're just bringing every, on my trip, I took. Everything but the kitchen sink and of course my truck got stolen and I lost it all but You know this trip like I had one tub with all my camo clothes You know trying to keep it kind of scent free. I had two other tubs which is random stuff like boots hand warmers, Calls, you know that type of stuff and then I had like my suitcase My bow and you know a few odd and end things in the truck like, tree stand my tree saddle, but like just I shocked myself with how little stuff that I brought anyway, I thought that was one interesting point.

Headed out to Texas, met up with my buddies, there was four of us out there, and we had a great time, obviously, always do.[00:08:00] Went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, got out there to the ranch, we had to put together a few things for Randy, like some chairs he had bought a bench for the ranger, because it's just a one row ranger so we put together a bench to go in the back, so you have another row of seats.

of Course, as usual, ended up not getting to bed until about midnight. Woke up at 4. 45, 5 a. m., whatever it was, made a quick breakfast and headed out and I've talked about it before, but this is the way that, this place and most of those big ranches in West Texas and a lot in Western Oklahoma too, but you essentially have like your ranch road that cuts through the property.

And then just ever so often you have a blind and a feeder and this is brush country. Mesquites everywhere. If you don't clear the mesquites with a dozer, you can't see. That's just the long and short of it. You're hunting feeders because that's about the only opportunity you have to see something.

So yeah, so basically you drive down the road. Every time you come to a blind, somebody hops out and you just keep going. The last person parks, hunts, and then you just... Do it in reverse at the end of the hunt. So I actually got dropped [00:09:00] off first and the guy who was going to the end, he had actually already killed a buck out there during archery season.

And so he was hunting pigs looking for some doughs or something. And that's part of the reason he went the furthest. And then my buddy Kelly was next, and then I was first, Randy actually went to a different property. He has a big deer over there that he was after. And that place he takes a little bit more seriously.

He doesn't just let us go run willy nilly out there. But anyway, so there was a good 11 point that they had been seeing at the spot that I was hunting. And but most of his, I think he has six setups out there. All of them have a. But I think four out of the six, the raccoons had pushed the cell cam down to where it was just like staring at the ground.

And so at most of the spots we hadn't gotten any intel on the last week. So it was somewhat shooting at the hip. But anyway, had a great morning hunt. I ended up seeing seven or eight deer. My buddy Kelly shot a really nice buck that he honestly, he was a much nicer than we thought.

We thought he was about 130 inch deer looking at the [00:10:00] pictures. And when he actually got him killed, man, he was wide. I think he ended up being 20, 22 or 23 inches wide. Nine point his longest time was only like nine inches or something, but. He had some mass, some width, a decent, length throughout.

Anyway, just ended up being a lot nicer buck than most of us thought it was going to be. Most of the day we spent taking care of his deer, getting it out and cleaned up and everything. Watched some college football, went back for the evening hunt, and more of the same.

I was itching because I had already, I'd talked to Randy and been talking about my route and wanting to prioritize Iowa. And so he even told me, he's man, you need to leave Friday night. You don't need to wait until Saturday. I'm sorry. You need to leave Saturday night, not wait till Sunday.

Because I really wanted to get to Iowa before it got dark so I could look around. I'd never stepped foot on the property, anything like that. And then one of the other guys that was there, Casey he had to work Sunday also, so he was gonna have to leave Saturday night. So anyway, Sunday evening [00:11:00] I was being probably pickier than I should have because I was about to leave.

And, if I would've shot something, it definitely would've slowed me down. And so I actually saw. A pretty decent eight point that under normal circumstances, I might would have shot, but just trying to get on the road. He just, he wasn't quite worth the hassle. So yeah, that was pretty much the Texas hunt.

Kelly got a buck, Randy ended up not seeing the one he was after. I didn't see the 11 point and that was pretty much it for Texas. So we went, got back to the house I packed everything up, threw it in the truck, and just took off. Funnily enough, I made it to Oklahoma City that night, and so after being gone I don't know, not quite 36 hours, 30 hours, something like that, I ended up staying at a hotel in Oklahoma City.

So yeah, anyway, I actually carry everything that was in the back of my pickup and plus my bow. I put on a little luggage carrier and carried it into my room because I wasn't going to have another, elk hunt fiasco. So took it into the room, slept a little bit woke up [00:12:00] at, I don't know, like seven, I think I got to the hotel like midnight, 1230 or something like that.

And I was in a hurry. But I knew I was gonna be up super early the next morning, so I wanted to sleep a little bit. And so I ended up getting six hours of sleep that night, something like that. And but yeah, pretty much just woke up and took off for Iowa. And I was, texting the guy I was hunting with.

And I'll go ahead and say his first name, Darren. I'm gonna, just out of respect for him, I'm not gonna talk about, his land and stuff too much. Yeah, I don't really care if y'all know where I went because it takes a lot of points to get there But I do want to be respectful of him But so anyway, so talking to Darren and he was wanting to take his son hunting because they've been farming hard It was Sunday now.

He doesn't work on Sunday And so he was yeah text texted me a pin of a stand that he thought would be good I, he sent me his address, so I knew which farm, but I, I'd already been looking at it on Onyx and everything, and just talking to him a little bit more, and he, [00:13:00] I already knew that he was gonna let me have basically free reign of the land he has at his house, and then one other farm that he owned outright, a lot, and he has access to a lot more land than that, but a lot of it is like family land that he owns with his, dad and brothers and stuff like that, And, basically, they have people that hunt, they hunt and everything.

But he was nice enough to basically give me all the stuff that he personally owned, to myself, essentially. So yeah, I was as excited as could be. Man, driving through northern Oklahoma, and then into Kansas, and then into Missouri. And the closer I get, the more I'm just drooling. It's just, it looks so deary.

It's November. I'm passing so many other people with ATV, like people you just obviously know are going hunting also. And so get into Missouri and then eventually cross into Iowa and I'm just drooling. And it's I think I ended up getting there about [00:14:00] 3. 30, which was perfect.

I would have loved to have been there a little earlier, but I think the sleep was worth it. And so get there, and I don't even get to see him he's already hunting with his son. But I knew where to go. So I go and I pull out into the pasture and he had warned me that he, had several stands that I was welcome to hunt, but, he didn't know what kind of condition they were in.

He hadn't checked the straps or anything like that. Again, he's been extremely busy, farming and they have cattle and he, yeah he has his hands in a lot of different baskets. And so I had brought several extra straps with me. And so my main goal for that first evening was to locate the stand he had sent me and change the straps and have it ready to go the next day.

I get out of the truck, put my boots on, spray down real good. The wind is good, so I don't have to worry about boogering anything too bad. And I just didn't want to go in that first morning. Having to shine a headlamp everywhere and try to find it and be making noise with the straps.

So I just thought it'd be better to go ahead and get it done. Basically the way this [00:15:00] place sets up, I feel like I need to talk about the kind of layout and topography first. And this is just Southern Iowa. I'm not just talking about his farm. Very similar to Central and Eastern Oklahoma. As far as you have pockets of timber, you have ag land, There was more just like cattle pasture than I expected.

I think when most people, including myself, think of the, Iowa and Illinois and all that stuff, you just picture farm ground everywhere, but there was actually a decent amount of cattle production, cattle pasture, hay pasture. But you do obviously have a lot of corn and soybean fields.

And that was, 95 percent of it was corn and soybean. Every once in a while you'd see a little alfalfa, but for the most part it was corn and soybean. And again, just like in Oklahoma, like I said, you have, pockets of timber, you got pasture, you have, lots of trees along the creeks, you got brushy fence lines.

Extremely similar in that regard. The only difference is, imagine... Like a [00:16:00] sheet laying out on a bed and every so often you go and you pull that sheet up and it makes that, that ripple that, you pull up like a ridge and stuff and then you go over about a foot to 18 inches and you pull it up again and just imagine you did that over an entire bed.

That is Southern Iowa. I was not expecting the terrain to be quite so steep and rugged. And again, it's not mountainous by any means, but it's big hills, like big hills. The main ridge that I was hunting, I could look on Onyx right now, but I'm going to say it was probably 80 feet of elevation change.

And the way a lot of them are is like on one side. It's a lot more gradual and then you go down to that creek and then the other side is super steep like both the properties I was hunting were that way And just so happened, it's obviously different in other places But just so happened that the two properties I was hunting the steep side was on the west Which was good and bad and [00:17:00] we'll get into more about the wind here in a little bit so anyway like I said if you're just talking about kind of the makeup of the land and extremely similar to Oklahoma, just much more rugged and steep.

so Yeah, so going back to the first evening, I, go, I walk through the cattle pasture, I get to the creek, and this guy has, he has like my dream set up, honestly, because he also, has cattle on his place there at his house, there's no farm ground, it's just cattle pasture, but he, uses the cattle in such a way to benefit his deer hunting.

And so like down along the Creek where that big timbered ridges, he fences that off from the cattle. So the cattle can never go in there. He has that, just save for the deer, but not only that, so he's got a big Creek, and just like here, there's a decent amount of sand. So the creeks are winding and you have all these oxbows and stuff.

And I loved it because his fence that. was between the [00:18:00] pasture and the creek was not straight. And if my dad sees a crooked fence, it just gives them a migraine. Like it's gotta be straight. But he uses the creek and that fence. To pinch deer down and so you know where that oxbow comes up to the east towards his cattle pasture Do a little jut in the fence and you'll create like a 20 to 30 yard gap So if deer walking down on that side it pinches them down in the bow range And then the fence goes back and it goes straight a little way, you know If the next oxbow he'll do it again and just it was designed by a cattle ranching deer hunter Like you could just tell so anyway, so I get down to the Get down to the creek and I got to climb the fence every time that was unfortunate And it's thick brush down there It's honestly, it's just as thick as the brush we have here.

There just weren't as many thorns That was good. You had some thorns But you didn't have near as many green briars and whatever those just vines with big thorns on them. Like I said, you had some they do have a [00:19:00] lot of the little sticky seeds, not like stickers where it's real pointy, but the stuff that sticks to your clothes, that was pretty annoying.

buT anyway, so I'm like, hands above my head, working my way through this brush looking around, and I have a pen that he had sent me so I'm just working my way through. I finally see the stand. And I was thinking, God that I had brought all these extra straps because all the stands, or all the straps on these stands were in pretty bad condition.

And so most of the stands, I ended up using at least three. I would put two new ones on the stand and at least one new one on the ladder going up. One thing that I noticed right off were the stands were really high. And I came to find out why, I figured it out later, but my first thought was like, holy cow, that thing is up there.

And so I climb up, change the straps up and everything. And I didn't want to do any more. I wanted to do more scouting, but I was going to give it at least one hunt. Cause again, it's getting later. I knew the deer could be moving. [00:20:00] And so I just want to get them changed, locate the stand and get out of there.

So I do that. I changed the straps. I put a pull, pull up rope on it and everything. And I had a camera with me, and my cameras ended up not working out. I took two Tacticams, cell cameras, and I was thinking oh even if the, even if I don't have service, they still normally work as a regular cam.

Apparently both the cameras I had brought got damaged in the tub that I had them in. I didn't take good enough care of them. And I guess I messed up the antenna port from the YouTubing and, reading online. I think I messed up the antenna port. When you flip that camera on, because the antenna port was messed up, it would never register.

And not only did it not have service, it, basically, the camera wouldn't come on to even take pictures because that port was messed up. And I had brought two cameras with me, but those cameras ended up not working at all, but I didn't know that at the time. So I brought one camera with me, and so I walked up the creek just a little [00:21:00] bit, like maybe 40 yards or something.

Found a good trail and I'm setting up the camera and I'm, waiting on it, excuse me, I'm waiting on it to come on and try to find service and I look across the creek and I can see a buck pushing Two or three does over there. So now I'm like, I'm really excited So camera, I get the red light or whatever.

I'm like, okay, no service. Not a big deal or at least I thought it wasn't a big deal and Back out go to the truck and go to the motel and just get settled in quick story about the motel Midwestern people are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet and I know I'm a southerner and I'm saying that but like I kid You not I walk into the motel lobby and this sweet old lady is just so happy to see me and she's You know, she's giving me the layout of the town.

She's telling me all the restaurants what time they're open till she's like You know if you're wanting a burger go to this place if you're wanting something a little different go to this place I sign in and everything. She gets all [00:22:00] my information. She's Oh, like the keys in the room. We leave the doors unlocked.

Just go in there and you'll grab the key off the desk when you leave. I wish I thought it was pretty awesome. I felt very safe. So yeah, anyway, just quick little story about the motel. So go to bed. Wake up day one, I get into that stand, and as the sun is coming up I just can't help but smile.

It was literally like something on television. And they film a lot of television shows within just a couple miles of this place I was hunting. The Lenzies from the Lenzie Way. Are close by the Kiske's are not too far away. Like I was in the heart of good deer area.

And I'll talk about that a little bit more in a second, but so that first time it was slow, but I guess I should expect that again. I had done zero scouting. Never stepped foot on the property was basically just having to take the landowner's word that this was a decent spot.

I did see a buck, but the buck I saw was actually across the Creek where I'd seen the deer, the evening before, and so I hunted till about 10, like [00:23:00] I wanted to give it a good shot. But I purposely climbed down a little bit early, and I'm saying early in quotes because 10 isn't necessarily early.

But I was, I knew I wasn't going to do like an all day sit that first day because I did want to do some scouting. And even though I knew I was going to, spread some scent and stuff like that, I just thought because I had so many days, And I ran this by a few other people and they all agreed with me.

Because I had so many days I thought it was more valuable to get a little boots on the ground and learn the area instead of just trying to stay completely out and guess. And climbed down and basically I just walked down the creek on one side. I found a couple scrapes found a lot of good trails.

And then crossed the creek and came back on the other side and I quickly realized that I needed to be on the other side of the creek, on the west side where the ridge was. There was just, undoubtedly more deer sign over there, more trails, more heavily used trails. One thing on the trails that I [00:24:00] learned is, the trails there were much more trustworthy, um, because they don't have as many.

Big critters as we do a lot of these places especially on the farm ground They don't have cows that are there, you know making trails everywhere They don't have two and three hundred pound hogs using these trails everywhere Like usually if you found a trail it was a deer trail not to say that, Coyotes and other stuff wasn't using it, but they don't have many other Heavy things that are wearing these trails down And so if you found like a heavily used trail like it was worth setting up on And I know that kind of sounds like an oxymoron here, but I feel like here You know different places I've hunted and even on public land like I've sat on what I would Thought we would have thought is like a heavy trail and not seen a deer all day If you had a heavy trail there you were gonna see a deer That and I have a [00:25:00] story from the second day that really makes that evident Shoot, I'll go ahead and say it.

So on the second day, he had another farm that I had permission on And on the second day we had an east wind, and I was just saying that I'd learned I needed to be on that west side which means I really needed a west wind, which is one of their more dominant winds. But on the second day we had an east wind, so I went to the other property that evening And I was walking in.

I got completely blind. He didn't tell me where anything was. He just said, hey, here's this property, go for it. So I picked a spot that I thought looked good for an east wind. And I'm trying to figure out how close to the creek and there were some beans and stuff. And I found there was three, pretty good trails.

And so I went past the first trail and set up to where I could shoot to the other two. And I figured, something went behind me on the other trail. I could get a shot. Once I got up in my stand, I was kinda looking at the trails again, and I realized that the trail that I had walked over in the past, where my wind was kinda blowing [00:26:00] to, was way more worn down than the other two.

And, gosh, 90%, I saw a lot of deer that evening. I saw 10 or 12 deer that evening. And I, 90 percent of them at least came down that more worn down trail, including a very mature buck. He was an older, eight point heavy not a big, like high scoring deer, but very mature. So anyway, all that to say, the trails were a lot more reliable there.

I didn't, I honestly didn't find many good scrapes. I didn't find any, what I would say were fresh rubs, I found some old rubs. There were tons of little bitty scrapes, like dinner plate size. And I watched several does and even young bucks make some little scrapes, but as far as like a scrape that you're like, Oh, I might want to hunt over this.

I'm gonna say I found three. The whole time I was there, on two different properties and walking around quite a bit. So [00:27:00] I expected to see more deer sign in general. But, there's definitely again, going back I quickly learned that the trails are what you needed to look for, and it paid off pretty good for me.

Man, what else do I want to talk about here? I guess I should just go into the deer themselves. I had, like I saw deer every day. I had deer in bow range every day, pretty much every sit. So that, that very first sit I was talking about, I only saw the one deer across the creek. I did my first little bit of scouting, and basically from that point on, like that second, or I'm sorry, that first evening.

Until I left like I could have shot at least a deer every day Most days on average I would say I had three to five different bucks within bow range Count I would say I don't know about countless but several does I think I had, I kept track for a while, but eventually I just lost track. I would say I had [00:28:00] 25 to 30 different bucks in bow range.

Like I'm talking 30 and under several at like 10 to 14 yards. I rattled in three or four different deer under 20 yards. They were just like, I wasn't finding the mature deer. And I quickly, I wouldn't say quickly about midweek. I figured out that my blessing was also my curse. Like I had access to this amazing Southern Iowa, private land, two different farms, but because of that.

I also felt like I didn't necessarily have the freedom to just shoot whatever I wanted. And this guy is super nice and he told me, treat it like your own he, he pointed out one deer, he asked me not to kill one deer that was I think a three year old. But other than that, he, he, I don't think he would have cared.

But that's the second evening, right before dark, I rattled and I had this buck come [00:29:00] charging in. He came to eight yards, maybe. And I kid you not, he was probably a 130 inch, 2 year old, 11 point. If I was on public land I would have been very tempted. But just, I kept, reversing the roles.

And I was like, man, if this guy came down to my place in Oklahoma, and shot my stud, 11 point, 2 year old, Like I'm a nice guy. I wouldn't fight him or anything, but it would make me upset like that's not the deer you want them to shoot. And so I just put that same mentality On for me.

And so like I made a decision for myself that I was not going to shoot one of his, stud up and comers. I was only going to shoot a mature deer, which kind of stinks. But at the same time that's why you go to Iowa also. And, if day four would have come around, and I would have killed a decent three year old or something sure, I would have filled a tag.

But I honestly I don't think I would have been happy with that deer, knowing that, you I could have [00:30:00] gotten something better and that there were much better around and I saw some of those too We'll talk about that in a second So yeah, so day two and three I was getting lots of action I was learning a lot lots of different bucks and bow range But it was very warm for up there Like most of those evenings I was going in a t shirt and I'd be sweating, you know By the time I got my stand set up and everything Usually I'd have to put like a sweatshirt, maybe my coat on by the time the sun went down, but for up there, it was oddly warm and I think that kind of led to a lot of what I was not seeing, and it was really confirmed, especially towards the end of the week, I got to, again, I had the landowner, I met his brother, I met one or two of his friends, I was talking to guys at the motel and the gas stations and stuff, and Everybody was saying the same thing like it just was not a very intense Rut and I think a lot of that had to do with the weather.

You know [00:31:00] towards the end of the week We had a little cold front. I had a little bit of action But overall like I think the coldest morning I had was maybe 29 degrees Which sounds cold but like up there in iowa where they hit negative 30, 29 degrees. It's just not like cold. And yeah I wasn't the only one struggling, I guess to say, and I know that kind of sounds like an excuse, but yeah, it, it sounded like nobody was really having any luck.

What else do I want to know? I do want to talk about the good deer that I saw. So it would have been on. So my fourth day of hunting the landowner sent me a picture from one of his cell cams at 3 AM that this 10 point that he was really hoping I could shoot had been in the area.

And so I went back to the first farm and went in the morning and there was another one of his. Tree stands. It was pre, preset, but I had to change the straps out on sorry, I'm going to pause and back up just a little bit. I want to talk about, before I talk about the good deer, I want to talk about being mobile and doing all the setup and stuff.

I [00:32:00] pretty much. Set up and took down at least one set up a day You know I think there were Why two days where like I set up a stand in the morning left it and came back and hunted in the evening But then after that hunt tore it down and even you know I'm talking about like he had a couple pre preset stands that I hunted I think I hunted two or three of his stands, but I mentioned the straps already And so even when I hunted one of those, it wasn't like I could just walk in there and get in it, I had to put my harness and lineman's belt on and change the straps out and work on the ladder.

A lot of them were growing into the tree and they'd tilted. And so I was having to. Straighten them up adjust the platforms, pull them up. And and so even when I was, quote, in a pre hung set, I was still having to make adjustments and I did not realize how. How cozy and comfortable I had it hunting my own private land because that's one of my big Things that i'm pretty anal about is like [00:33:00] having everything completely set up ready to go You know a month before the season starts so that when it comes time to hunt I don't have to mess with that I don't have to risk spooking a deer like I park my truck.

I walk in I climb up and I'm ready to hunt. I don't have to mess with anything. And like I said before, pretty much every single hunt, I was having to mess with something either, hang a stand, hang my saddle, take a stand down, change the straps, adjust something. And so in that honestly, it. It took more of a toll on me than I realized and what brought that up is, this morning that I'm talking about this morning hunt I had gone in the evening before I can't remember if I hunted that stand or I just hunted really close to it or maybe it was at lunch or something.

I think that's what, I think I was on my way to the evening hunt. And I went ahead and stopped by this stand to change the straps out. When I changed the straps, I put one of the hooks too high and didn't realize it. [00:34:00] And that morning, in the dark, when it's super early, deer about to start moving I went to fold the seat down and the seat wouldn't go all the way down because I'd put that hook too high.

So even that morning when I thought just mentally in my head, I was like, Sweet, all I have to do is go in there climbing and hunt. It ended up not working out that way and it wasn't that bad, like I was able to, hang, I had my lines of rope, put it on real quick, undid the strap, the stain didn't move, still had the other strap on it, lowered it down, but for some reason just mentally, it was so defeating that I had to do something when I didn't expect to have to do it and then obviously doing full hanging hunts, It's I got pretty good at it by the end of the week, but I just got so, I got so sick of hanging that stand.

It honestly, it wasn't hanging the stand. It was taking it down and having to pack it up and, strap my sticks to the stand and everything to put it on my back. And I'd wear my stand on my back and I'd wear my backpack on my stomach because it wouldn't fit over the [00:35:00] stand and anyway, so yeah, just a beating.

Alright, back to the big buck. So Thursday, we had this cold front come through. It was one of the coldest mornings. I got in the stand, I had to change the strap out, and a lot of mornings the deer wouldn't start moving till about 8. And so I'm sitting there, had some bucks and does come by, like some young bucks.

And, I, man, I, sorry, I can't tell this story without talking about the wind either. The wind up there was crazy. And apparently it was even a little bit more crazy than usual. But it wasn't that unusual. Every day the wind was different. And you just never knew what it was going to be.

I've talked about it on here. At our place, we either have a south, southeast wind, or a north wind. On a normal day, it's south or southeast. If we get a cold front, it comes from the north. That's pretty much it. If the front's moving in and out, you might have a little east wind for a bit, or a little west wind for a bit.

But I pretty much set everything up for either a north or a south wind. This, up there, you just never knew. [00:36:00] We literally had... Eight different wind directions in the eight days I hunted. It was west one day, it was east, it was northwest. And like in the same day, it'd be like northwest in the morning, and then southeast in the evening, and then the next day it'd be west.

You just had no idea. And then all the giant ridges... Just made it even worse. And there was one day, it was like the third day or something, we had a west wind, and so I went over there to hunt, and I kid you not I'm facing west, nose to the wind type of thing, and I don't know how many times I was sitting there, but the wind is hitting me literally in the back of the head right now.

It's swirl, I'd have deer that there, there should be no way that these deer should smell me they'd be, like, upwind and to an angle. And all of a sudden you see them put their nose in the air and look straight at me. And I had brought my Ozonics actually I forgot my strap for my Ozonics.

And so I was actually, I got to where I was carrying in my camera tripod and [00:37:00] strapping the tripod to the tree and using that to hang my Ozonics on, cause I the Ozonics has the same thread. as a video camera does. It got that ridiculous. I had nose jammer. I'd never used nose jammer before. I'm a big proponent of it now.

I think it worked really well. For those who don't know what that is it's basically, it's like an aerosol can, but instead of being a cover scent, It's like a supercharged scent and it smells like vanilla and the thinking behind it is basically that vanilla scent is so strong that they don't smell human and again I think it works I'd spray in an hour or two later, it'd wear off.

And so anyway, back to the story for the third time. So sitting there, eight o'clock deer start moving. I had two does and two or one buck worked by me already. And again they'd kinda, they'd put their nose in the air a little bit, maybe kinda look my direction, but they'd work through it.

And then so I had two does and one buck kinda to [00:38:00] my right, and I'm facing the ridge, and then I'm still looking to the left, cause pretty much all the deer had been coming from my left the south, and I see movement, and I'm looking, I was like, alright, it's a small buck, and then I see something else move behind it.

So I'll put my binoculars and realize very quickly that it's this 10 point that he had sent me pictures of. And this is probably, I'm going to say 160 inch, 10 point, wide, heavy, tall. And one thing about these deer, like their body size, it wasn't quite as big as I imagined. They were definitely bigger deer a big buck where I'm at.

It's like 250 pounds. It's nothing for these deer there to get over 300 pounds. And you have to adjust your scale. But anyway, so this deer, he's coming in and and he's just coming straight for me. And I got my bow in hand, binoculars are up, I've already ranged all these different paths and stuff around me.

And I kid you [00:39:00] not, this joker turns, and he doesn't follow the trail in front of me, he literally turns to come straight at me, and he gets behind the only tree in this whole bottom that still had it's leaves on, and all of a sudden he stops and starts, and basically just looks straight up at me, and he's at about 40 yards, I can see his face in his rack, can't see his body because it's behind the tree, And I'm just dead still and I really thought I was gonna get a shot at him because even though he was on alert I thought he was gonna take a few more steps to like double check because again like he's technically not downwind of me, the wind is just swirling and so I really thought he was gonna come a little further to try to get a better scent and I was gonna be able to shoot him but he didn't of course so he literally walked backwards two or three steps I think he knew he could get behind that tree but he didn't spook, like he, he knew something was up, but he didn't spook, and he basically just did a big bubble around [00:40:00] me.

So he went up the ridge, worked up in front of me, and then came back down to where those does and young bucks were. And so I'm watching him there, still got my bow, I'm thinking maybe he might chase one of them by me. But he honestly wasn't that interested in them, like he didn't go up and nose them, try to scent check them really.

He just walked down there, looked at them for a second, and then took off and walked up the other ridge. So I'm watching him walk away, and I tried to grunt at him a time or two, didn't pay any attention to it, keeps walking off. And I'm like, man, I can't just let this deer go. I gotta try something.

And I should have tried to snort wheeze. I didn't think about it at the time. While these deer are still 30 yards away, reach into my bag, grab the rattle bag, and do a little rattling sequence. And did it, 20, 30 seconds. The other deer didn't spook. They just kinda stood there Oh I guess somebody's fighting over there.

So put it back in my bag, not seeing anything, was just about to give up hope, and all of a sudden I see this guy literally running down the hill in [00:41:00] my direction. So my heart gets all excited again, I grab my bow, I pick up my phone, which is probably not a smart idea, but I grab my phone, zoom in a little bit, trying to get it, You know picture some video of him.

I got a bad grainy far off video And he starts walking like he's gonna walk in front of me So put my phone in my pocket and there was this one shooting lane that I had ranged multiple times At 38 yards and there was like a log and the log funneled him in the trail in front of it And so I was mentally in my head, I'm staying calm, I'm like, alright, I need to try to stop him here, so he stops in this gap, and he's walking straight towards it, and then for seemingly no reason whatsoever, he's veered to his right, and started going up the ridge again, and he passed through one opening I ranged the tree that he walked in front of at 51 so he was probably 48, something like that.

But I would have had to stop him and I'm just not going to take a [00:42:00] 50 yard shot at a, fully alert whitetail. I'm just not comfortable doing that. And for a second time, I watched him walk out of my life. I tried to throw a grunt or two at him, but just like before, he just completely ignored it and went away.

So yeah, but that was awesome. Saw a couple more deer. None of the other deer spooked or anything. And so now I'm thinking, again, I was in, one of the landowner's stands. I was like, alright, he obviously knows that this stand is here. We got the picture of him the night before. I saw him twice this morning.

He's in this area. I just got to make a move. So that was the morning hunt. Go back to my truck, have lunch and everything. Bring in an my lone wolf stand. Another thing on the mobile real quick. So I had my saddle and my stand. I found myself taking my stand in nine times out of ten.

I think I did two hunts out of my saddle. Just so much more comfortable, not that much more weight, not that much more trouble to put up. And when I was doing these four hour long sits. Just so much more comfortable than the saddle. If I was doing [00:43:00] quicker hunts, not so close together, I definitely see the appeal of the saddle and I will continue to use the saddle, but man, for these long rut hunts, I, me personally, you just can't beat a tree stand.

So anyway, so I have my sticks and my lone wolf stand, and I just moved probably. 50 yards to the south. The direction where all the deer had been coming from. Because I realized they were following the base of the ridge, and then once they got to this certain point, then they'd funnel out into this bottom.

And they were eating acorns and, leaves and brows and stuff. But for some reason they would always stay up against the ridge until they got to this point. And so I basically moved, South enough to where I could shoot that trail, you know before they broke out so set the stand up and everything that evening it warmed up like we had a nice cold morning, but it still warmed up that afternoon and so I think I saw I ended up seeing five or six deer, but it was probably I don't want to say I got in it like 2.

[00:44:00] 30 that day got set up. I think I saw a doe at 3. 15. So I'm just sitting there. It's pretty slow and I catch movement to my left and I look over and I just see a bigger body, like a bigger body than what I'd been seeing on most of these deer. So pull out my binoculars and I see the body, can't see the rack.

Starts walking and it's pretty thick. So I'm looking for an opening and finally this deer walks through an opening And I realize it's an even bigger buck than the one that I had seen that morning. He was I'm pretty sure he was a six by five But his g2 on the five side was a split to make him basically a six by six and i'm gonna say I didn't get a real good look at him But I know he was bigger than the first deer I'm gonna say he was probably 170 inch deer somewhere in there pushing that and this deer, I never really figured out what happened with this deer because once again, he was even, he was further away and less quote unquote downwind than the big [00:45:00] buck that morning, but he went up the ridge about halfway and he was looking down in that bottom and I couldn't quite figure out if he was looking at me or if he was just trying to see if there was any deer down there that he needed to go check out.

Cause again, he was probably 80 yards away, looking in my direction, but I was literally down in the bottom and he ended up not coming down. He ended up just working up the ridge. I tried to call him no response whatsoever. And in the moment I thought for sure he had smelled me just the way he acted and where he went and I hadn't really seen any deer do that.

Like all the deer I'd been seeing. It just came right down there at the bottom of the ridge, but I ended up and hunted, I went back the next morning and hunted that same stand, the one that I had hung, and that next morning I saw a lot of deer do exactly what he had done they basically I was just far enough down the ridge that I could see them doing that, I think in the other stand I just couldn't see them so I saw a bunch [00:46:00] of deer that morning, a lot of them were on that trail, 80 so yards away and but it again, like I honestly couldn't tell you if he smelt me or if that was just the trail he wanted to be on and I wasn't on it.

So those were the two big deer that I saw. Friday I ended up going, what'd I do Friday? I think I, I hunted that property just in various other spots on Friday and then Saturday, my last day, I went back to the other property just because I felt like I'd been wearing that one out and I was basically just hunting along this creek, and so even though the property was like 120 acres, I was really only hunting about, gosh, 30 acres of that.

And so I was trying to bounce around. I was bouncing back and forth between the two properties. The other property was about 200 acres. And I would say it was more like 60 acres of it was, huntable. The rest was a cut cornfield that had already been harvested and everything. But man, like I said, lots of deer, lots of [00:47:00] opportunity.

One, one thing I felt before I run out of time and forget one of the craziest experiences that I had all week was when I went to dinner with the landowner and his brother. And again, they have access to a lot of property, but just hearing them talk about the deer that they and their neighbors and people they knew had killed in the area.

I think Oklahoma is a great state. I think there's a lot of great states out there. I think you can find big deer anywhere you go. There's been 200 inch deer killed all over the country now. But, the consistency... And the size that these guys were talking about were, they were on another level.

We were looking at maps and stuff and he's yeah, I killed my two 16 here. I killed my one 90 here. He like, there was a guy paying for his food at the counter. He's Oh, that's so and so he used to work for Midwest Whitetail. He killed a two 36 here. There was a two [00:48:00] 50 hit on the road, just outside of town here and I feel like a lot of times the goal around here, or when you do hear of a 200, 200 inch deer killed around here, it's a 204, a 206, they're just talking like 220, 230, like I said, even a couple, like 250s um, and it just everywhere. And that, that was one thing I learned when I went to the Iowa Deer Classic.

On average, most people are not killing year in and year out much better deer than, a lot of people in Oklahoma kill. They're killing a lot of 140s, 150s, 160s. But, almost all of them also do have a 212 that they killed, a couple years ago, or, maybe their buddy hit a 230 with their truck or something like that, and it, it really was cool, and he took me to his, trophy room in his house, and got to see all his big deer, the craziest thing to me was just the mass He had there was one spot where he had five bucks all lined up, and they weren't even his five biggest, if [00:49:00] anything, they were five of the smaller ones.

And I think there was only one deer out of those five that I could wrap my fingers around the bases and touch. In fact, when, before I even saw those deer, like, when I was having dinner with him and his brother that was one thing I talked about, was like, yeah, I feel like one of the big differences is the mass, and they asked me, they were just as curious about where I hunted as I was where they we had a 45 minute talk about hogs but anyway, they were asking me what a good deer was, and I was like, I've been fortunate, and I've killed, some last couple years I've killed some 150s and stuff but I was like, man, we don't have mass, and I was like, I've never killed a deer They had bases over five inches and they both laughed out loud, couldn't help themselves, spit their drink out type laugh.

And and they like, again, like that was almost unthinkable. To them that I had never killed a deer with over five inch bases so yeah, I mean it was really cool. They weren't rude. They were the nicest guys in the world [00:50:00] It was just different, like I told them I was like man if you kill a really big deer Down where we're at, a lot of times, it's because of just length, obviously, people have killed bigger mass deer but again, on average, just because you got like a 14 inch G2 and 12 inch threes or something like that it's not because you have Nine inch mass measurements, you know at the base.

So man, what else? Super nice folks Super cool layout. My biggest challenge definitely on this trip was the weather It was warm and it took me several days to figure out the wind, just how it works in those big hills, how it came off the ridges, thermals. It was a big challenge and I knew that going in, but it was a much bigger challenge than I had anticipated.

I think I teased during my intro that my Iowa season might not be over. So [00:51:00] the second property that I was hunting he has a big bean field and he just leaves it for the deer. He doesn't harvest them. And I had already, when he cut towards the end of the week and I was losing some hope I'd been thinking like, what if I could come back late season?

But I felt a little weird bringing it up. I wasn't sure how he felt about it. But before I left and we were saying our goodbye, he was like, man, he's don't be afraid to come back. And he mentioned that he's man, I have this bean field. He's if we get a big, heavy snow, I'll give you a call and you can come back and try again.

So there is some hope I'm not giving completely up on Iowa. There is some, a chance I could go back. One other thing that I just thought of that I really wanted to cover was the mental. battle of this week and I was in good spirits like I like I felt every time I went out that I had a chance to kill something Maybe not the last day.

I I lost a lot of hope by the last day but [00:52:00] even day four day five I was still like man Like, it could happen. It's November, it's the rut I'm in Iowa it could happen at any moment but for me, one of the biggest mental challenges was just being so tired. I have never hunted that many days in a row for anything.

Even when I go on a week long elk hunt, a lot of times that ends up only being like four to four and a half days of actual hunting because you have so much travel on there. I hunted one day in Texas. And then I drove and then I hunted six days in a row and I was in a tree stand. At least seven to eight hours a day, every day.

I was waking up at, 4. 45 AM, because the time change had happened. It'd get dark about 5. 30. After it got dark, I'd have to get dinner. I'd have to, do the whole regimen, because I was trying to be scent free. So I was running my ozonics scent bag. Obviously I was having to shower.

Get my gear packed up for the next day, figure out where I was [00:53:00] going, check the wind, make sure I had everything in my bag. anD, wake up early and do it all over again the next day. It, it was really mentally challenging and very exhausting. I think my Instagram stuff went way down by the end of the week.

And it was honestly just because I was tired. I didn't know what else to say. It's alright, here I am again. Sitting in a tree again, waiting. It was a big mental battle and I already mentioned, I drove home on Sunday, got home pretty late and they just had to jump right back into life.

And man, all that to say, I encourage you. To do a trip like this. Start getting your points. I know it's daunting, but I was there, six, seven years ago, whenever I started this thing. I was like, man, that's so far away, that's so much work. I don't even know where I'd go if I did draw the tag.

All I can say is you might as well start now. The points are honestly not that expensive. It's 50 for a point in Iowa right now. And you don't have to save [00:54:00] up for five or six years to go where I went. You can go to other parts of Iowa with two to three points. If you go further west or north.

foR me, really, a big part of why I ended up hunting was where I hunted was because I just had other trips getting in the way. I had three points where I could get a decent zone, but gosh, I don't remember what hunt I went on three years ago. And then last year, I had four points, but I had already planned to go on my elk hunt.

And I couldn't do two big trips in the same year, so I was like I'll just get another point. So then I wound up with five, and by the time you get five, you can just about hunt anywhere you want to in the state. So yeah. Encouragement for you. I don't care how old you are. I don't care if you're young, old, whatever.

You just gotta start now. Same with any state. I'm up to five or six points in a couple of the western states for elk and mule deer. And it's just because I made the decision to just start. So make yourself a spreadsheet. Keep track of your different states and your points and everything.

And you just gotta get out there and do it, so [00:55:00] yeah, that's probably it for this week. I feel like maybe in another episode I wanna go more into the mental side. I kinda saved that for last and I'm out of time now. But man, like I said, do this hunt. It was awesome. I do not regret it whatsoever. I am actually not heartbroken that I didn't get anything because I went in there.

With a standard and I stuck to that standard again like I could have killed 30 different bucks But I just knew that those bucks weren't gonna make me happy and they were not going to accomplish my goal And I wasn't just gonna kill something just to fill a tag so so I can hang my head high I 100 percent know that I gave it my all I did not climb down early a single time, I did not oversleep a single time, I spent so much time in a dang tree, it is just ridiculous feel good about the week if you have any questions, reach out to me, my throat is starting to hurt cause I'm out of practice doing these podcasts, so I'm gonna [00:56:00] let y'all go.

Thank you guys so much for tuning in. There is still so much content upcoming. We are just getting into duck season and varmint season. There's still gosh, two months basically of deer season. So a lot of stuff upcoming. Thank you guys for tuning in. I love you guys. And until next week, I will see y'all right back here on the Oklahoma Outdoors podcast.