In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) reaches his 100th episode and discusses his journey and hunting season. Jon discusses his recent buck harvest. Jon explains how to work through the process of hunting pressure and dealing with competition and making changes to your property. Jon details the best vegetation to attract deer during hunting season.
Jon provides an example of the best vegetation types that will create interest during hunting season, and how choices he would make to design his hunting property around the rut. Jon explains thicket and sub-thicket species and next level concepts that you can employ to get more deer on your property.
Jon explains layering, food sources, biological plant benefits and his tactics to kill mature deer. Jon provides specific trees, shrubs and vines that will create a better overall environment to attract and retain deer.
Jon provides a listener giveaway prize for his hundredth episode.
Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!
Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management, habitat improvement, and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer share their secrets to success.
And now, the founder of Whitetail Landscapes, your host, John Peter. Hi, I'm John Tito, White Tail Landscapes. This is Maximize Your Hunt. Welcome back everyone. Hunting season has been going on for many people. And I know that some seasons, at least gun seasons have just opened up. This is the later half or the end of November when this will come out.
And I'm really happy that I've had a pretty successful season. I'm going to get into that today, but I want to start off with thanking everybody. I'm gonna be solo today. [00:01:00] Please excuse my voice. I've had a cold, but I wanted to talk today about this podcast. This is my episode 100 and it's been a journey.
It's been a couple year journey for me doing this podcast. I wasn't sure if I was really going to do it. I really didn't see the benefit to my business. I wasn't really sure this is something that I wanted to do. It's extra work for me during the week. It takes time out of my day where I could be making money or doing something for clients, etc.
But this, the purpose behind the podcast was to give back. I had one of my clients reach out to me recently and just thank me for doing the podcast and said, I listened to Don Higgins and habitat podcasts and all these other ones that are out there because I like yours the most now he is a client.
So he's probably biased and hopefully he's not blowing smoke. He goes, but you're the nuts and bolts of podcasting when it comes to white tail deer. And that was huge coming from him. And I really appreciate that statement. That meant a lot to me. He's I, the rhetoric or, the political opinions, there's none of that a part of this.
And I [00:02:00] try to be personal in some capacity, but I'm also, to the point and I want to be focused. So I want to thank everybody for listening to this. I didn't think I'd get to 100. I'm here. You never know what the story is like going forward. I'm going to try to be more social media oriented going forward.
There's so much information I can contribute to the larger audience. Thank you very much. I do believe I'll increase my YouTube presence this year. I have not done that. I have people reach out wanting to help me do that, which is great. I just don't have time, right? I work with clients on a day to day basis.
I'm doing plans. I'm working in the field. I'm starting again here soon during hunting season, getting going with these clients to get them kicked off and more and more I'm doing turnkey properties and I have an opportunity to work with my partner and be in the field and, that's a great learning experience as well.
I also again, want to mention my masterclass this year for those that want to attend that class, please get ahold of me, that's going to be a game changer for you. And I'm going to continue to stress that. In fact, I'll go [00:03:00] through the curriculum at some point here before, the actual event.
So people can understand what we're going to talk about and why, and it will be a game changer. I'm not addressing, part of this is I want more people seeing what we're doing and trying to evolve people at a different level so they can see, on just a 46 acre property, the quality of honey I had this year is tremendous.
One of the people that listens to this podcast, one of my neighbors, and he's we haven't seen any bucks. And I'm very open. I share pictures with him. He's super nice guy. I've seen a multitude of bucks. In fact, I passed up a beautiful three and a half year old, just two days ago.
And in my area, nobody's passing up two and a half. So actually my neighbors are shooting year and a half again, reverted back. And, that really starts to put these age gap issues for me going forward to saying, okay, can I get these deer from three to four? What's the probability of, intercept as well as, what's the volume of deer.
And so I'm very conscious of my own footprint in the scheme of [00:04:00] things. This little microclimate you create in your world can be really your live and die scenario. Where if you design it well enough and you hunt it smart enough, it can really be your pull through. Where you have that staple location go to.
And you're successful. And I'm going to talk a little bit about my hunting story this season and what kind of worked out with me, but I just want to thank everybody again, when we started this Dan Johnson, who was just on this podcast had called me. He's you're on my podcast. I've been listening to you.
I think I had done 13 or 14 podcasts that year. And there had been multiple people, saying we want you in the podcast then he said, I think. You're going to replace the land and legacy guys. I'd like you to do that. And I felt nervous about doing it. I had listened to land and legacy and I love their content I think they're a great group team there.
They've grown And but i'm different I have a different perspective on things and I was a little nervous Putting myself out there and give me my opinion on You know what this is [00:05:00] going to look like. And I think what we've done is we balanced it around not just my business, but other people that do this.
So you get a kind of a broad perspective on, people's approach to things. And I really feel that is, you're getting, and this is the other piece of it. You're getting people that do this professionally and you're getting their take on, a scenario or a philosophy that they have.
And again, these are some of the best people in the industry. JiM Ward and I actually going to get together. He just, I just talked to him a couple of days ago. We're going to get together and I think we're also going to do a habitat day on a client property in April. I think I'll probably go ahead.
I'll probably cut on that client with him and we'll come up with a game plan. So more than that, and I'll Jim back on the podcast here. And Jake and the rest of the folks here, coming up and seeing how their hunting seasons are going. I did talk to Jake the other day and he gave me some intel on, his hunting season, he's had a great successful season, et cetera.
People are finding success out there and, we [00:06:00] want to know, what they did right and wrong. I'd like to hear failures before your successes, because when you fail, you learn, and again, this is what this nuts and bolts podcast is all about. So I wanted to share that with everybody.
I'm trying to be as, as clear as possible. I didn't think we'd get to a hundred, but we're here. So let's enjoy this today and talk. I want to talk one on one with you all and explain, my hunting season. All right. So this season was a little bit different than most. I had a target deer that I was going to go after, and I've talked about it here and there.
I have been so close to this deer, but so far away and with a bow, it's always tough. I have a small property and the property set up where you can hunt, certain conditions frequently. And then other conditions, not so much. The biggest thing I want to get across is time and place.
It's knowing the deer's general interest in an area and trying to capitalize on when you think they're going to be there. It's that simple. And then building [00:07:00] features around that. So they utilize it more frequently. Now I'm not in an area where deer make it to an older age class. So if a deer makes it to four or five years old, that deer is going to have a pattern of movement that will be likely as inconsistent as it was the year before.
These people that have these very stable properties, where they may have very consistent hunting pressure, or limited hunter pressure, or larger properties, very consistent crops, etc. Again, those things all play into this cadence of movement. Cadence of movement. It's one of those things where people talk about annual patterns.
Now this year, this is interesting to me. There was a buck for the past two years. He's a four pointer. It's as big as he is. He's a five year old this year. He showed up consistently within a day annually. Okay. One time on my property. He did it last year and the year before. Very distinguishable deer, very easy to pick out.
He's a four pointer. Okay. That's it. That's all that deer is. Significant mass, [00:08:00] nice looking buck. I'd shoot him in a second if I had a chance, but he did something on a routine movement. That is the first deer I've had in, I think since owning this property that has created a consistent routine of movement on an annual basis.
And he was there for one day. So these excursions that some of these deer are taking, it may not be as normal as you think. And when it is normal, you have the opportunity to execute. Now he wasn't one of my target deer, so to speak. And I don't put a lot of reliance on that type of data, but some people have those annual patterns.
I do not experience that in my particular area. There's a social biology piece. We're going to talk about social biology this year. It's going to be probably a new concept for some of you. I think people like hold on to these great concepts. Okay, I learned about this interesting idea. Walls of cover has come up recently and I want to implement it.
I absolutely want that. It's going to work. When you're thinking about your deer needs and the habitat preferences, and we're going to talk about why I killed my deer this year. You're going to focus on a big picture [00:09:00] schema, not one we'll say technical approach, like one tactic, walls of cover is great.
I think Jim did an excellent job explaining that to you all. And I've done a video on my Facebook page. So people could see what that actually is. It's a tactic for a particular purpose. And we'll probably define that later on when we start to talking about techniques and approach. But again, it's not a one size fits all and walls of cover aren't necessarily needed in areas that are like Savannah setting, right?
You're going to be the predominance of the understory in those circumstances are going to be shrubbery. Whereas in a hardwood stand, you may use walls of cover as a tactic to create massive segregation. Or create barriers or blockades or boundaries. Those are tactics that we try to employ. So I had a fortunate opportunity today, a client of mine he's I think he's in his late sixties, early seventies, and he shot two giant bucks.
I know he [00:10:00] listens to this podcast and we communicate all the time. He's only about 20 minutes from me. And I went down and saw him today because I wanted to see his deer. and very happy for him. He's had, since we've been on there each year, he's killed a bigger, more dominant deer. It's been a couple of years.
I've been working with him. He's just a great individual and he's had success. And he's focusing on the little pieces of the plan to make sure everything's well connected. His success goes into his effort. And this is more about effort sometimes in combination with tactics. So the tactics of hunting are really important to your particular area.
It's hunting less and not more. That's probably one of the best tactics you can take and just being very consistent and conscientious of what deer like when. So I'll say this and I'll continue to say this. After October 26 in my area, if I've not killed the deer, I get really nervous. Their cadence of movement is [00:11:00] behaviorally so unpredictable.
Unless you set up your property, I would say more concisely where you've got a kind of this good mechanism of movement across it and it's very consistent, etc. As they flow in and flow out, it's going to be hard to kill those deer. If they're more vulnerable, but their movement is somewhat I want to say unpatternable but what I really mean is it's hard to put a finger on when and why and having a story to how they frequent an area.
And that's, it's, it becomes less weather contention. It becomes, more breeding oriented, right? Their purpose at that point in time is for not only self sustainment, but obviously reproduction. And so they're thinking more about their purpose in life. And that becomes a distraction just like any other person that, that is dating in the dating scene, their ability to focus on many other things is somewhat limited because naturally they want the outcome to be, they find a [00:12:00] mate.
So let's talk a little bit about my hunt specifically. So the. Illustration of this hunt is going to be really simple. It's in an area that has a shelter we cut. So there's going to be some overstory trees and some understory trees. And then there's a small field setting. And then there's a shrub land or we'll say young successional state type open area.
Now those areas set up awesome for the rut. And I have a, my property before I bought it was about 97, 98 percent forested land. So I've slowly converted portions of the property into, grassland, open land management, old field settings. I've got some young thickets in a few areas. I've got. I guess I would say I would've got some reclaimed or I guess rejuvenated forest land steadings.
I've got some advanced regeneration areas. I've got waterways or water distribution areas. So we've got a lot going on in this [00:13:00] property and a lot of undulation, a lot of topography changes throughout the property, which gives me the opportunity to put deer in different locations. A portion of my property that I cut and I cut it this year specifically to create More obstacles and more concealment and then a dense cover.
I also in that area cut a bunch of beech so to create this shrubbery component, speak, young small trees, but it creates that scenarios with enough branching, etc. to create good concealment. I did do some hinge cutting in a few areas and the areas that I let, grow up, they've created this kind of shrubland setting.
And. One of the most underrated vegetation types across the landscape from October 26th to I'll say November 25th predominance of those periods of time. So a great window of hunting is shrubland areas. We put a lot of clout into, hardwood stands, but shrublands win [00:14:00] bar none in those scenarios.
Why? Because they're easily isolated, the visual acuity of deer is limited, their concealment level is higher their ability to isolate does or does to isolate themselves for breeding purposes go up. So shrubland settings are paramount, period, to any other vegetation type. Other than wetland settings.
This area or this, excuse me, these type of vegetation types are not dominant or less dominant on the landscape. And if you could do a conversion on your property to more of these lower sub thicket or thicket type settings, your success during the rut is going to go through the roof. I cannot stress this enough.
If you have an old field setting, so I worked on a property a couple years ago. It was basically a farmland setting that they, let go for 30, 40 years. We've seen these all over the place. And it was just unimaginable. I walk into [00:15:00] those settings. I'm like, Oh my God, this is a headache because the volume of plants and usually they're invasive are at such a magnitude across the landscape.
It becomes really hard to make a decision on how to approach it. And so design philosophies and layout, that's a whole nother phase of this. But thinking about just the volume of cover is so great. And the density of that cover is so great that deer could be anywhere. But also, in a lot of those cases, deer can't even access some of those areas.
So you have to think about, that a part of the schema of layout and design. Dense understory layers, or dense layers, thickets, etc., they'll get you someplace, but they have to be set up a certain way. And we'll, I'll talk a little bit about how to do that today, because this is what, this is how I was successful.
I'll talk about my hunt really quick out. Mind you, my son had shot a deer a few days before that. He shot his first though, I'm on cloud nine, life is great. I've met my quota for the year. I feel and I was hunting for myself, but at the same point I was not. focused on [00:16:00] an outcome.
I didn't care this year if I killed anything. In fact, I am always planning for the future. I'm like one of those people that wants the money in the bank. I don't have a ton of money, but the money I do have, I want to save it for something in the future, right? Conservative that way. And so I will pass up deer hoping for a better future ahead.
I always want to feel like there's a better outcome ahead. And that's just a conservative mentality. And that seems to work for me. And in this setting, I had instant, I had a ton of detail on the information on this deer. I had trail camera pictures and I had a pretty good idea. And in fact, I actually went after him one time because my target deer was so difficult to, he'd be below me and above me.
And then he was on this Ridge and I was on that Ridge and I was in this area and I caught him a mile down the road. How'd he get over there? And it was just one of those things where it was hard to get it to come together. And I just. We all go through those seasons. This is the first deer where I've had this, back and forth battle where I was, one morning I had gone in after him and he was literally right below me, [00:17:00] 60 yards.
And it was too dark to shoot. This wasn't legal light. So I couldn't shoot. And I didn't even have an opportunity to shoot anyhow, but for that matter, it was this cat and mouse scenario. And that happens a lot to folks. and it happens very rarely to me. And so I was a little baffled. I'm like, Oh, this property is not set up.
I've got to change things and I've had a pretty good season with the movement. Now there've been days, again, I have 46 acres where I've had eight or nine bucks on the property in one day. I've had I think from what I can tell with my cameras, there's in some instances I'll have 18 to 20 deer on average.
I've, I'm in a low deer density area, right? We're 25 deer or less. In consideration, all the deer are stacking up on my property, which is a good and bad thing for that matter. I don't want to portray this as, I have this fantastic, area and I'm not in a fantastic area.
And in fact, if anybody wants to come up here and see how. poor the areas from a quality standpoint, you're invited any time to learn more [00:18:00] about my particular county and what I'm dealing with. But the point I'm trying to make is I'm starting to stack more deer. I'm getting deer very comfortable. I'm having multiple shooters on the property at one time.
It's just an incredible hunt. And I'm picking up deer. I picked up a bunch of extra deer this year and now they've been introduced to the property, which may create. So this buck last year, the year before I have no record of him. He's a four year old. He came on the property the year before I came into the talent of the season.
I'm like, man, I got these late pictures of these two really nice bucks and they both dropped early and they dropped in early December and I was super excited. For one of them one of them was a target the year before. He's actually a five year old this year. I'm still battling seeing if I could get him.
I had my target deer, and then this was the third deer in that kind of a scheme, at least from a size of antlers and, preference, right? I would prefer to shoot him the third of the group but that said he was [00:19:00] killable. So if he's killable, he's more on the list. And if he's more frequent on the property, he's more on the list.
And so I said earlier, I didn't really care if I killed. When push came to shove, I wanted to kill. I wanted to have a chance at this particular deer. So two days prior to me going after him, he had come in with a doe came right through a travel quarter that I created. Again, I'm on the edge of this shelter wood shrubland thicket, and this will be really important when we talk a little bit in a minute about how to design a shrubland setting.
I want to get into some examples for y'all so you can think about, Hey, if I need to have more shrublands on my property, what do I do? And it's a location specific example. But what I was trying to do was I was trying to create a little bit of a diversity in this particular area with a good basic trail system where it was very.
It was very sensible in this, in, in the location where they're going to travel across. And so this buck went through this area with this doe moved exactly the way I thought. I'm like, man, that's success right there. He went through the trails. [00:20:00] He, he utilized the area the same way. The doe used the thick cover the way I thought she would.
She was leading him. He's behind her kind of like a border Collie moving her into locations. Deeply grunting, tonally very extremely deep, putting her in the locations where he can keep an eye on her. And so he's corralling her into these locations to create, again, segregation from other deer. The same examples I was giving earlier about the importance of shrubland settings.
and walks into an area and does not give me a shot. He's 42 yards away. He's a little far for me. There's a little too much cover around his vials. I just won't take a poor shot on the deer. I've experienced losses in the past and I don't want to continue to do that. That deer got a pass two days later.
He came right through the same area approximately the same time an hour earlier. But again, that was simply it. He was used to moving through an area where he knew he could isolate. A doe or pick up a deer or two, right? He could jump a doe [00:21:00] in an area like that. And he knew that just that, that information alone would have been meaningful him in, 17 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours.
So my hope based on a few circumstances is he would travel through that corridor again. Again, it was one of the ideal settings laid out on my property for rut hunting. And it's such a basic layout, but there's a lot of diversity in their diversity to cover food, right? They have the ability to have good escape route and options and excellent concealment.
And that's huge for them at that point a year. And my pressure, I'm on the edge of that, right? So the exterior of that, my pressure was limited and it's still, it's hardening smart with the wind, making sure my route, my access, they're not going to cut my track. Very simple things you can do. on the property and in your layout to make those particular situations work out well.
So that morning the deer comes in, solo, he doesn't have a doe with him. So he's seeking at that point. Comes right past my stand at 8 yards and I [00:22:00] get an easy shot at him and he ran 25 yards and dropped. And again, that's a 4 year old deer. That's a one percenter. I did mention a few other deer that I'm after, and I'm only sharing you sharing that with you for just information purposes.
Again, I'm lucky because these properties are designed such a way where we're sucking in deer are preferring my property more than the other properties right around me are not getting the volume of bucks because they do not have the resources available to those particular deer. The other piece I want to mention is I hunted more times than I've ever hunted this year on my own property.
I hunted one stand eight times. and there were instances where I was able to get in and out of that same multiple times. My immigration and deer activity levels on those particular areas went up, not down. So my intrusion factor was so immaterial to the deer themselves. I was able to hunt those locations more frequently than not.
And I [00:23:00] think I said eight, but it might've been nine. I'd have to go back and check my sheets, but still it's nine times. I have not hunted my property more than four times a year and one particular spot. I hunted that many times. I, again, that just shows you when you can do a layout and design such where you're able to move through an area.
And this is a feeding area too. So they're in high alert, open ground like that, feeding areas. They're on high alert. They also have the visual acuity they can see across those areas as well. I break that down so their movement and flow is such that they don't feel as uncomfortable in those areas. And it's really important when you do food plot layout, I see a lot of these people, there's these big mapping people out there that are just putting tons of videos out and there's, they simplify things.
and don't be simple. Don't take this layout design thing as simple and try new things. There's going to be things that you learn that I'm not going to be able to teach you that may be way more advanced. From a standpoint of just your particular situation [00:24:00] that works well for you. I think in one of the podcasts, Eric Hanson was on here and we're talking about, I talked to him offline so we can fix his situation with layout.
And, he was worried about, I think, Perry Batt and I have talked about this as far as, these boomerang shape food plots and how you have to have multiple exit trails at certain locations and intervals. So the deer don't feel too trapped. And there's ways to create kind of bubble zones where it's going to give them an opportunity to turn their bodies physically and look in certain directions.
So they don't feel like they're limited. And your layout is directly attributable to how deer use areas and how frequently you're going to use areas and forage preferences for deer are huge because, having a little bit of vegetative cover, copious amount of different types of, seed types and varieties of plants and having, an abundant amount of animals, it all goes hand in hand, but you got to make sure that it makes sense in the areas that we're trying to pick.
Me killing this deer was a special moment for me because [00:25:00] I knew that plan. I cut that particular area to kill my number one deer, not my number three deer, but my number one deer. And I was really excited to have a chance at a deer in that area. Knowing full well that I cut it specifically to kill that deer.
A little different from years before where I cut an area to kill a specific deer and I killed that deer. Do I feel like I had the level of success that I wanted? Absolutely. 100, 000 percent the plan worked. Whether it was the deer I wanted to kill or another deer didn't matter to me. I have no internal competition with myself.
And that's the other thing. I'm finding in the landscape, this is a big competition. So my target buck was killed. He was killed two days ago. And I am so fortunate because the guy that killed him, I knew. And him and his buddies reached out and said, Hey, do you know this deer? Absolutely know this deer.
He's my target. I've known him since 21. Let me come over and give you some pictures. Let me tell you a story about him. I'll tell you everything I know. And his success is my [00:26:00] success. I'm brutally, absolutely a thousand percent happy for that individual. He had no experience with a deer, didn't even know it was there.
And, he maybe stumbled on the deer. And when he said he matched wits with a deer, he was walking and jumped the deer and got a chance with him with a gun. I don't think that takes away from anything though. And I'm just as proud to be aware and support him in any way. So he has continued success.
Biggest buck he's ever killed in his life. He'd been hunting his whole life and that was the biggest buck he killed. I am beyond excited and happy for him. And that's the sharing piece of it. This is really important. This isn't a competition. It may be at times, but giving kudos to those that may have not had that level of success, that may change some conversation he has in his day to day.
It may lighten his future a little more than it was at that point. Again, the biggest buck he had ever killed. So think about that [00:27:00] when you guys are working with others or sharing the opportunity. And sometimes sharing information can be very valuable. And I think in that instance, some of the things that I explained to him about that deer, and how that deer was moving, et cetera, were important to him and important to our relationship.
And again, that relationship, knowing that deer had passed, knowing that deer had been harvested, is huge for my planning. The next piece of this season is planning ahead. If you are not planning ahead in your season to figure out what deer you're going after next year or what deer you're going after later in the season, you are behind the eight ball.
Okay. This is where the rubber meets the road. You need to start looking at, the social hierarchy and hierarchy of your deer. You need to look at the number of deer in each cohort, right? We want to see how many deer are making it to the age class and what your percentage, I call it percentage of pass.
So what ones get to the next age class, the numbers piece of this, it's meaningful. And then start figuring out your number of deer per square [00:28:00] mile. Start looking at the age class does and bucks, right? And you can simplify what's mature or not mature, right? And that number may be, vary based on your particular demographic.
But start to have a better understanding of that. So next year you say, okay, I've pulled, three, three and a half year olds for this season. They've all lived. Let's see who actually makes it the next season. Let's see who sticks around. Some just disperse because they find better areas to be. So it's really important to make your property the best it can be.
So it's attracting those deer, through the summer months and obviously in the fall. So these are some things that I've reiterated on this podcast, but I want to be very conscious of the fact that, when you manipulate your property, You are going to either attract or deflect deer, and your goal is to attract deer more than likely.
And you have to be very aware of what the vegetation types are and their preferences per season. So I'm going to talk quickly about shrubland, and this is going to be my last piece of this. Shrubland, again, is the highest valued vegetation type during the hunting season. [00:29:00] So if the hunting season is October, November, December, for at least one month or greater, that vegetation type will be a higher preference than other vegetation types.
There's going to be studies that will come out in years to come that people will do, they'll do GPS studies, and they're going to reiterate this. This is assuming shrubland properties are, or portions of properties are in this abundance, right? There has to be some abundance of it to be measured.
But I can tell you, undoubtedly, tree species and shrubland areas and those type of plants, and we'll talk about some preferential ones that I would like you to consider if you're trying to create one of these on your property can be very valued, more valued than, planting an oak tree.
I see a lot of people are like, okay, I'm going to cut down this area is I'm going to put a bunch of oaks in here. That's great. That doesn't get me anywhere for 50 or 60 years. And I'm not saying don't think and plan ahead and developing a legacy property. I'm not saying don't do that. What I'm saying is, what is your, what is the best outcome in the circumstances where you can include or propagate the [00:30:00] best plants to increase utilization of deer?
And it's not going to be oaks. Oaks is not going to be on my list. I'm not going to not plant oaks. What I'm going to do in a property that has oaks is I'm going to create, some successional communities. I'm going to remove some tree species that I don't want. I'm going to propagate trees that are good producers, acorn producers.
And I'm going to cut the forest in a way where I'm going to propagate and create the most opportunity for oaks. And that is going to include cutting trees that all actually produce acorns. I'm going to reduce the amount of canopy, but I'm going to do it in a way where I can mechanically create the right amount of disturbance to create the greatest amount of regeneration.
And whether it's a shelter we'll cut with me including, a native or natural acorn, genotype of that particular area, I might do that. I may actually bring in acorns from other areas, right? I may want, a diverse species of oak crop in a particular area because the soil type promotes it, or provides for it.
It's being very [00:31:00] conscious, but again, we focus on the wrong things too frequently. And I'm going to get into kind of the shrubland. Understory, thicket, whatever term you want to use that will be advantage to you in the field. At a very high level, okay, if you're going to go in and cut a forestland setting, recognize that they're going to be resident trees and those residual trees, depending on how you manage it, if you cut it and kill it, like you spray it with an herbicide, it's likely not going to come back if you use the correct herbicide, etc.
We've talked about cocktails to use for different trees, etc. through the forest. For land piece of this. But in a woodland setting where you have less trees and you're removing some of those trees and creating opportunity for more sunlight to the ground, anticipate the vegetation that develops there is going to be based on the resident trees.
What you might want to start doing is thinking about addressing and including other species. Because you want this vegetative spread and growth [00:32:00] of different types of species. And one of the things I've seen is I've seen folks make balls of seed, and we're going to have a guy on here. I hope I've talked to him in the past.
He wants to go on the podcast, talks about how to regenerate your forest. an Advanced regeneration tactic and we want rapid vegetation growth, right? We don't want a lot of shade in town species at that particular time. So we want to create more openings So there's one thing called gap phase Regeneration we open up an area, right?
It could be temporarily and we get this region we can introduce fire a lot of times there's elevated herbivory in those areas meaning more deer etc come in those areas and browse And as we increase overstory disturbance, what we're going to find is we're going to create more opportunity for diversity.
There is a competitive piece of this, right? So these plants, as they grow, if you get a lot of fern, there's an overstory and understory, or we'll say below ground competition. And that [00:33:00] overstory piece of it is the actual plant. Is it a plant you want? Is it a plant you don't want? So if it's a plant you don't want, you kill it.
You could replace it, you could allow it to replace itself. It depends on its age demographic, et cetera, how long it'll take to replace that particular plant. Some plants have more of an allopathy scenario. We've talked about this previously. Bush honeysuckle is one of those good examples. And so you'll see groupings of bush honeysuckle on the landscape that create this basically barren ground, right?
That's a plant that we don't like. There's another piece of it is litter accumulation. So I've just talked to that client today. I was talking about earlier that shut those two nice boxes season three year old and a four year old. And we were talking about he's doing this reclaiming. He had a ducks a limit to come in.
They failed at putting in a pond. And this is years ago. And that's not a ducks. A limit is a great, that is an absolutely awesome organization by the way. But anyhow, they're. They didn't make a good decision on where [00:34:00] to put this pond, so he's talking about reclaiming this area, and I said you should start introducing leaf litter.
He's what are you talking about? I'm like one of the strategies I have on my property is I take these, I've got this fencing, and I go in and I shred up a bunch of leaves, and I add a bunch of material to it, and it degrades, it decomposes. if You want to get certain species of plants, you're going to have to build up the organic material, and one way to do it is actually you can use leaf litter.
In a field setting, it degrades at a faster rate, it depends on the moisture and sun levels, but it's an opportunity to create this organic material at the surface level that will create better interest with plants that need more mineral content. And hopefully the outcome, and this is many things you can do, is you can take blackberry and throw it in those areas.
You can take a whole bunch of seed source and throw those areas and they'll do a lot better than just standing on that degraded, lack of top soil kind of location. This is just one example. Okay. So you're influenced the regeneration by the type of plant species that you introduce [00:35:00] and you're creating this differentiation because of.
Adding leaf litter. Now the areas that you want to clear off, like for example, let's say we're going to do an opening in our forest land area. We're going to clear off all the tree species. Alright, we're going to cut them all to the ground, actually we're going to kill them. We're going to kill every single tree in that area.
If you do not burn or remove the vegetation, the other vegetation, meaning the non tree species, and you do not create an open ground setting, meaning raw mineral soil. That's available. You're going to limit the amount of diversity. Now, you can increase the amount of diversity by not killing the tree species, but the leaf litter alone, allowing the leaf litter to stay, is going to limit you.
In any area, minus areas of highly erodible ground, depending on your soil type, I would remove all the leaf litter. This increases the vegetative opportunity to spread and grow. [00:36:00] Increases growing opportunities. Limits shade tolerance. Okay. Increases species that like sun. And shrubs like sun. So that's an example.
Going in and planting species that don't work, I see this all the time. They plant a tree species that doesn't align so it's a wet ground area and they put in white pine. Huge mistake. Don't put in a tree species that does not mate well with the soil type. Simple example but people overlook that all the time.
So we want to increase the volume of recruitment. Now, one other thing to consider, and this is a Shelterwood strategy. Shelterwood is, and we've talked about this on the podcast before, is an environment where you're trying to promote something, and you're keeping some of the overstory trees to create a seed source.
Look at the seed production value of the trees and the seeds produced the year or prior years before that. Those seed sources are viable for a long time in the soil. In some cases, it's hundreds of years. Certain species, that's not [00:37:00] the case. But in most cases, it's two, three, four years. iF you think about there's been a high volume of we'll say hard maple, for example.
Hard, hard maple seed reproduction. A lot of seeds fell, and they're existent in those areas. There's a good chance if you cut that area, you're going to get an opportunity for some of those seedlings to develop. And so is that a tree species you want or don't want? And so those are the questions you have to ask yourself, when you're coming up with this plan.
Alright, I think enough of that, but this gap phase succession and increasing the amount of species and developing a plan. Another thing you can do in those areas to eliminate herbivory from deer, etc. is to increase not only the volume of food... Largely on a macro scale, but to isolate, to add slash walls, to put in fencing, right?
And even in small pockets, that'll give you an opportunity to see what your regeneration potential [00:38:00] is. And by the way, when you do these pockets, it typically creates like almost a wall of cover. So to Jim Ward's point, and my podcast that Jim and Ward and I did together was creating walls of concealment can be done with structure in a way where it creates this barrier or To conglomerate enough in an area that it creates a gap.
And so these shrubland settings, we're going to talk about historically how shrublands are created, man. I'm 40 minutes in. I haven't gotten to my content I want to get into, but shrubland areas are again, that historically are a little different than we're talking about. So let's think of a, let's think of a prairie open ground setting, okay.
Or grassland area or Savannah area. And predominance of those are going to be in the Midwest settings. Not so much in, in my area, but in, in some of those settings. And the benefit to having these overstory trees, complementary to the understory plants, shrubbery [00:39:00] specifically or thickets, is that they work in some congruency.
One feeds the other. Some are consumers and some are producers. In the open ground setting where you're trying to convert, a reclaimed field. Like I said earlier, you don't have a lot of organic material. A lot of those in a lot of those instances, good opportunity to introduce animals into that scenario.
And we're going to have a regeneration podcast about how to regenerate farmland. And that's going to be a really good podcast for y'all that think about introducing animals to your landscape. And what does that mean for your deer? Because there's a way to balance that. I don't always prefer animals in my food plots, but when you're starting to develop soil, animals can be a big piece of that over several years and actually increase, speed up the process to developing soil.
So when we start these shrubland thickets, I'm just gonna, we're just gonna say an open area to be simple. Whatever that open area was created through cutting a forest stand or, maybe you went in and let's see chain dragged a bunch of [00:40:00] areas and You took out all the vegetation or clear cut an area and you're trying to create, a thicket forming structure, thicket forming structures.
Historically, when they were developed to create the most, we'll talk about biological function in a bit is they would form groupings. So large grouping of, let's say a plum thicket. And so that plum thicket would have herbaceous material on the edge. So young, yeah. plants, a lot of green material.
And so if there was a fire that would consume those particular plants, it would only eat up the herbaceous layer up to the edge of the plum thicket. And so the interior of the plum thicket would be saved. Some of these plants are rhizomial, so they'll actually start to shoot out. More vertical shoots and then you grow back your large thicket.
In your hunting scenario, what you want to create is a bunch of diversity. You want a grass piece of it. You want a shrub piece of this. You want a short, overstory [00:41:00] tree. You want a thermal component to this. There's a lot of different diversity in your layout. tHere was a video I watched a few years ago, I think it was on a management advantage and they were trying to do a field conversion.
I forget the guy his name offhand super nice guy and really fun to listen to. And he had this plan and I'm sitting back and he's he planted all these trees and planted them in rows. I'm like, I bet you in three years from now, he's going to regret some of the things he did, but he's fantastic guy.
But looking at his layout, I just said, boy, I wish. I wish I could get insulted for him because I would have fixed the situation a lot quicker than him waiting three years to figure this out. And he's making some changes now and I love that management advantage. I think those guys are really cool and I like watching their videos but what I wanted to criticize them on is they're thinking very simplistically.
They're thinking about expediency. You're taking a big area like a 15 acre area and doing a conversion. That's a big area to take on. On average, when you're doing these conversions, you're [00:42:00] talking three to 500 an acre to do an adequate conversion based on this diversity. So I want at least 10 to 20 percent of the property in Grassland.
I want 30 to 40 and I guess shorter shrub species that would be more dedicated to the cover component and having a pollinator aspect of that. So we'll just say 50 percent just a rough numbers of combination of pollinator. Cover aspect of it and then we said shrubland 10 to 20 percent.
So we're about 70 percent. Then I want a thermal component, at least 10 to 15 percent in that. And that could be, a pine thicket, it could be white spruce, tree species like that. It could be an eastern red cedar, etc. And then the last piece of it is, the really important pieces, is having a fruit layer or a seed layer.
And it's creating this 100 percent and playing with those challenges of numbers based on the type of soil that you have, the species that you like in a particular area, and then the shape and [00:43:00] size. How are you going to access an area? How are you going to draw a deer in this particular area? Or how are we going to get the movements, the cadence of movements like I talked about earlier, where it actually functions right?
Because you don't want to create this layout where, the deer don't spend a whole lot of time in there. They just cruise through there. You want to spend a more developmental time, figuring out how do I create the most opportunity to use this, the species of plants where they get the right amount of food, right amount of cover.
And then we have diversity of animals in those areas as well, right? Cause you can create these open areas where you do get, pheasants non native animal in our area, people like pheasant hunting, or you could get grouse in a particular area. And it's creating the right volume of cover in some of these areas where these animals are going to be.
you get the ultimate benefit because you can go hunt those areas, right? You can provide food to your family, et cetera. So there's a return on your investment of time and effort. And it's realizing that the edges of the thickets are the most important and having diversity and edge is critical. It creates a lot of [00:44:00] opportunity for different herbaceous material become available to your deer, right?
So we want a lot of four content for deer. That also provides a cover component where you're gonna have more buffer species like rabbits, etc. on the edge of these areas. But again, it's that diversity and cover that's really huge. The other piece of this is alright, so I can burn an area, I can't burn an area.
So burning an area, you have to think about, how do you segment or create gaps right between these, you almost fragment your thickets, which I'm not suggesting you do, but you can manage some of the growth with fire. Alternatively to that, you can manage it with herbicide, or you could use a flow more, or you can use.
a mulcher, right? And there's a lot of different things you can do to keep some of the understory, excuse me, herbaceous layer at bay in concert with some of the woody material. And so it's a balance of kind of all that. And again, back to one concept we talked about earlier, [00:45:00] edible, non edible plants.
So figuring what plants do your prefer and what they don't when we're building the thicket, we always want to start with the non edible plants first. Because that creates your framework, that's your foundation. And then you add edible plants, you protect, you use, your existing vegetation to be a resource.
It's almost a good example is if you had a plum thicket, and internally you wanted to put, some type of what we'll say some type of dogwood in the center. That's that's utilized by deer, silky dogwood, etc. And you want to put it in the center of that. You can use that exterior thicket.
To be almost your fence to promote, an internal plant. So it's actually creating donuts as an example. That's one way to come up with your design and layout. That creates a somewhat variable edge in some capacity depending on how you create your donut. But, it's not, you don't want anything linear in a linear sense.
And that example, when I talk about management advantage, was a lot of it was linear. And it was for purposes of planning, but that came back to [00:46:00] bite them, and they had to make changes to it. Again, take this with a grain of salt, because your particular area and the species that you prefer are going to be a little bit different than what I prefer on my property.
We want to try to plant native plants, and if we're going to do an area that was once agriculture, for example, we want to make sure that the plants that were left there, or the plants that are, coming into a fallow area, are ones that we want. We also want to introduce, a component of this that, again, is biologically diverse, so we want a lot of different plants.
And then if you're going to work, in a woodland setting, and you're tri Take away some of the overstory. We wanna make sure that we mitigate the issue of a lot of root sprouts, et cetera. Again, because ni, we want a, a thicket or a sub thicket formation and having some of these overstory trees that repopulate red maple would be one of those and are not eaten, which red maple would be a high preference food in my area, but in some areas it's [00:47:00] not.
It may not be conducive to creating this trouble and setting. Alright, so I'll get to the punch. My favorite plants are a crab apple, a rough leaf dogwood, and a hawthorn. Those are my three favorite plants in those scenarios. This would be a subthicket with some herbaceous layer and groupings of those particular species.
Next, we're going to add in a wild plum. We're going to add in a thicket cherry. Or choke cherry, which you've heard me talk about that before in this podcast. And I would like to add in, and I didn't have them all written down. So I'm going to go back to my notes here. I'm going to add in probably, let's see.
Probably some viburnums. Airwood viburnum herbaceous plant, deer love it. It's those type of thicket biological crops that do really well. A lot of those are producing a seed, and those seeds will propagate throughout that particular [00:48:00] area. For example, like silky grey dogwood, rough leaf dogwood, they're all producing a seed.
I was just in an area where there's a ton of winterberry. Winterberry is a great bird species plant. Great for deer, great thick at forming particular plant that's going to produce a seed that's going to propagate a particular area. That's a wet area. But just as an example, some of these species are going to be diverse enough that they're going to create opportunity to repopulate on your landscape.
And that's 100%, what you want. Now, those that have hazelnut areas hazelnut very common in your area. Great Knot Producer, Allegheny Chickapin, another good producer. So you're trying to think about, what are other plant species that I can add that deer are going to prefer. And so these type of species provide a food source for deer.
And we want to make sure that we're thinking about those food sources on the landscape. Now, the element of adding a grass component to this is really critical. I find like having a grass component could be such where If you need an area for a deer to lay [00:49:00] down and you only have, one or 2 percent of that area dedicated to grassland, it's limited.
It's going to concentrate the deer too much. So we want a grassland component of that's adjacent and not fragmented from, a thicket forming shrub. So hopefully that gives you all a basic understanding of. You know what we like and what we can add into it. Now, adding in like native raspberries and blackberries and plants like that, that are briars and thicket forming that become a food source in November.
That's really important. It's balancing all these different plants on the landscape to say, what did your want, when do they want it? And capturing other, interests from pollinators like, bees and wasps, et cetera, that can propagate these plants and provide more opportunity for them to exist, across the landscape.
I've worked on a lot of different soil types in a lot of different areas. your particular area, you may be very focused on different species and I'm talking about, but the concept is really the same. If you have more service, Barry, that's a great kind of like [00:50:00] low shade Bush tree that does really well in a dog with thicket and it creates this kind of gap where underneath it, the deer could bed and some areas like in my area, we don't have a lot of service very, but we have a lot of young ash in certain areas because a lot of ash should die off.
The regeneration is such where there's a lot of trees in that. Five to 10 year range. And if it's in a thicket area, it creates this kind of umbrella effect. And you're like to bet underneath those areas. It's creating a lot of this diversity, on the landscape. There's certain species that, I don't put a lot of time into, but again, it's even considering some vines, adding, grapevine in the equation.
Again, grapevine can be a positive negative. It can over overshadow one of your, subspecies that you're trying to promote. And you want these, again, like a redbud, right? It could climb over a redbud species, and it could cover it, and the plant can't photosynthesize, and then it dies, etc.
So it just degrades, or it limits the ability for that plant to be beneficial on the landscape. At the same point, I've seen where those, if it's a strong tree and it lasts for a period of [00:51:00] time, and buckthorn is probably the best example, because I see this quite frequently, where, the wild grape will kill it, it'll stay there, and it'll stay on top of that.
Dead tree for years. And it'll create this really nice effect where the deer can bed underneath there. They have the cover that they need. And it also is a resource for them food wise, et cetera. Making sure that you manage the amount of vine on your property is really important.
Virginia creeper, wood vine, American ground nut. There's just a whole bunch of species that consider when you're thinking about, what's on your landscape. What does it do? Does it benefit me? Does it benefit my deer? Does it benefit the buffer species, the grouse, the rabbits, etc. I'm thinking about how to lay this out in a way where you get the most amount of diversity, you get the most amount of gaps, somewhat fragmenting, but creating space, like in the grassland setting, and the most amount of cover.
And considering when the deer are going to use it, and then how are you going to hunt it. And so the last piece of it, I'm going to put in my equation here of how to hunt it. It's [00:52:00] creating enough movement. You do not have to put food plots in these areas. It's confining their movements. Now you can put fencing within these shrubland areas to minimize their travel in certain locations.
You can make some thicket forming shrubbery where it's so dense that they have to go around it and create gaps in it. Mowing trails in this is where when somebody says, get rid of your mower, get rid of your brush hog, this is where a brush hog is really meaningful. A brush shot is going to give you an opportunity to connect the dots.
They have travel corridors. And without those travel corridors, they're not going to be able to use these thickets as frequently. So now you're increasing accessibility, you're increasing food, you're increasing space, you're increasing movement, and defining a way where you know, a lot of times you try to move deer to the edge, like a carousel, and you hunt them on the edge.
You may need to be able to move them to a specific location, and in that location, You direct them in one direction or the other. Again, you're perpendicular to that and it makes the hunting a lot easier. [00:53:00] You can also introduce food plots. I've worked on properties where we've put food plots within the shrubland settings.
We've put them on the exterior. We've connected interior to exterior. It just depends on your volume of food and your landscape. How much food... And how much level of interest do we want for these deer to connect from this section to that section? Do I need to increase the food volume? Do I have enough diversity of food for deer?
And then, thirdly is, will this food plot provide a pathway? And we always use food plots for the purpose of behind our pathways, moving from one area to the next. And don't think that I don't add willows. native warm season grasses, a whole host of different plants into these equations to make that really the ultimate setup and layout.
If you gave me a raw field and you gave me an opportunity to develop in seven years, undoubtedly my design would evolve over each one of those periods of time. So every year I would find a new avenue of movement, I would change, I would [00:54:00] add plants, but again, you're talking a three to five hundred dollars an acre.
To get to the place, where it's functional and that's a lot of money when you're talking, 10 acre field, five, 7, 000, it's a lot of money. So you're investing in these particular areas, a little different from a clear cut. We're just letting it regenerate, but you gotta manage.
There's a maintenance and management piece of this. So you need equipment, right? You need smarts and you need a plan. All right, so this is episode 100. I'm almost 60 minutes into this. I had really no agenda other than tell you about my deer kill. Talk about my son, talk about my appreciation for you.
Listen to this podcast by far. This is the best, in my opinion, habitat podcast period. I feel like the volume of content we're providing everybody is tremendous. This will never be paid for. I want everyone to share this and listen to this. And, experience the gains. I've [00:55:00] had a lot of clients listen to this and say, on top of the consulting work, this has been my ability to stay connected with you and learn from you.
And I would say those that aren't my clients, you have an opportunity to learn from this and grow from this. If we're talking about tree seedling recruitment, or leaf litter today, or regimes or herbivory or gap phase regeneration or advanced regeneration techniques, whatever we're talking about, the objective is to learn a little bit more about what you can do in your environment to benefit your deer and benefit your deer hunting.
And so that's my goal from this podcast, which we'll continue to do that. I appreciate you listening to me. So my last bit at the end of this is first person to email me. That's not a client. First person to email me and, send me some kudos for the podcast. I'm going to talk about you and sending that on the next podcasts I do coming up.
I'm going to send you a hat. I appreciate everybody listening to this. Thank [00:56:00] you. This has been my opportunity to give back and build clients and followers. And I like that I can do this. I like this podcast. I like that I actually made the decision to do this over years. I'm super thankful that I've been given this opportunity and I hope that I've taken advantage of it and provided you, some information to help you succeed in life as well as succeed, in this world of deer and deer management.
I know that there's a lot more to learn now, continue to learn and continue to share. All right. Thanks for following me. John Teter, Whitetail Landscapes, Maximize Your Hunt. Maximize Your Hunt is a production of Whitetail Landscapes. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out WhitetailLandscapes.