Mind Over Matter w/ Mark Belles

Show Notes

Hey everyone, welcome to episode 201 of the Antler Up Podcast!

On this week's episode I was joined by PA native Mark Belles.  Mark is an avid hunter who loves whitetail and getting out for bear during the season.  Mark had a very quick season this year as far as whitetails are concerned.  By quick, I mean tagging out on his buck on the statewide opener back in September.  Mark is a friend of Tom Runscavage, who is a great friend of mine.  It was great to have the opportunity to speak with Mark and hear certain perspectives on deer and bear hunting and how important mindset plays a role in what we do in the woods.

This episode was originally going to be an episode for the Antler Up Report, however I decided to make this just a regular episode.  We led things off by talking about mindset and how important it is when it comes to hunting.  Over the past few seasons Mark has been pretty successful and he shares what he believes what has led to this success.  One key aspect that Mark brings up is exploring and just being in the woods.  I couldn’t agree more with this and I know it sounds ridiculously simple, but it also means putting in quality time and not just shooting for miles and overall time.  Following this we dive into Mark’s buck success story and a few other topics to finish out this episode!  Stay safe in the woods this upcoming rifle season here in PA!  Enjoy this fun episode and see you next week! 

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

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Show Transcript


Welcome to the Antler Up podcast brought to you by Tethered, the world's best saddle hunting equipment, and we have a fun show for you all today.

What's up everybody. Welcome back to this week's episode of the Antler Up podcast. We're on episode 201. On this week's episode, I was joined by PA native. Mark Bells. Mark is an avid hunter who loves whitetail and getting out for bear during the season and Mark had a very quick season this year as far as whitetails are concerned.

By quick, I mean tagging out on his buck on the statewide opener back in September. Mark Is a good friend of Tom run scavenge. Who's a great friend of mine and I couldn't wait to have Mark on and it's a great [00:01:00] opportunity to speak with him and hear certain perspectives on deer and bear hunting and how important really the mindset is and the role it plays in what we do in the woods.

This episode was originally going to be an episode for the antler up report. However, I decided to make this just a regular episode and we led things off. By talking about mindset and how important it is when it comes to hunting over the past few seasons Mark has been pretty successful and he shares what he believes What has led to that success one key aspect that mark brings up is exploring and just being in the woods I couldn't agree more with this and I know it sounds ridiculously simple, but it also means putting in quality time and not just shooting for miles and overall time spent in the woods.

Following this, we dive into Mark's buck success story and a few other topics to finish out this episode. Really enjoyed and really appreciate Mark coming on sent me that cool clip. If those of you that follow me on Instagram that I posted a couple of weeks ago, Gain a little bit of traction certain [00:02:00] people were pissed upset about it But hey, man, it's the nature of the beast and I thought it was a pretty cool video But so if you're out there in the woods this week with the rifle PA stay safe.

Best of luck to you. Enjoy it antler up

Also before we get into this week's episode just want to say a couple things number one Thanks again for all the support number two If you like what you hear, share with your friends and family, go leave that five star review either on iTunes or on Spotify. Just dropped, partnered with Ed over from Our Grounds Coffee Company.

Just dropped a limited run bag of the Allegheny Ambush Antler Up Edition coffee. Just message me, shoot me either an email or a private message on Facebook Messenger or on Instagram. We'll get you taken care of as far as that goes. Really appreciate it though everybody. Thank you for that support.

Some really cool things coming up down the pipeline for us. And I'm excited to share that with you all. Again, if you [00:03:00] have a guest or someone that you would really like to have on, just hit me up, let me know. Again, congrats to everybody out there, knocking some deer down, having fun, making more memories with either friends or family yourself, whatever it be.

Just enjoy it. Thanks again, everybody. Antler up. Tether is a team of saddle hunting fanatics with a passionate addiction to wide tail hunting, designing and engineering products to be a more efficient and confident hunter. Tether produces the most mobile, stealthy, and safest elevated hunting gear on the planet.

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Welcome back to this week's episode. I'm joined on the other line by PA native. I got Mark bells, Mark. Appreciate coming on the show. Hey, thank you very much for having me dude. This is i'm excited for this one. So really good Acquaintance friend between the two of us. We have tom run scavenge and tom those of that have been listening to the show Know that should know tom because he's been on and have done a couple hunts with them and trips and all that type Of stuff and he's a killer and i'm I can't wait to have him on to talk about his colorado hunt It's like the heartbreak.

I'm spoiling it but it's like the heartbreak Colorado trip for him, but I'm excited. I'm excited for that. It's an acquaintance, but man, you're a bulldog. I'm a cougar. I guess you could say that you're a, what man you're a crusader, but now you work at now where you work, you're a bulldog.

So Northeast PA. The wyoming valley west conference. I don't even know if that's still a thing anymore. Oh, yeah, that's my wyoming [00:07:00] valley conference. Yeah. Yeah yeah, I said wyoming valley west. It's a friggin school idiot. Yeah, we don't like them either. Yeah What were they the warriors or something?

They're the spartans. Yeah, something like that, man It's been so long. You can see i'm rusty. I'm like i'm too wrapped up. I get most guy now. Yeah, right but no dude, I really appreciate you coming on mix I'm excited to talk with you. Dude, before we get, rolling into talking about your buck already this year that you've killed was it opening day?

Yeah. I'd never shot a deer in September before. So yeah, it's definitely a first. I never shot on opening day, so it's just a lot of luck going there. Yeah. So we'll dive into that. But before we do, man, I guess other than, knowing now a little bit for where you grew up and everything, give us a little background of who you are, where you're coming from and all that jazz.

I'M from East End, Pennsylvania. I want to give a quick shout out to East End. But I hunt like the Bear Creek area, Blakeslee area, and I'm a teacher out in Berwick. All the time from my ways back and forth, I'm always looking for deer. Always looking for turkey out in fields and [00:08:00] stuff. I'm also a wrestling coach.

Oh, nice. Yup. A lot of the stuff that I incorporate with wrestling, I try and put into hunting too. So dude, that's the one aspect of, I, I think I've now that I've stepped away from coaching and I believe I did a little bit of a good job early on incorporating kind of my philosophy is trying to like the way I coached and the thought process and the grit and the resiliency, I do believe I brought that a little bit into my hunting journey, I guess you could say, but since I've stepped away from that, I've been able to, Really put that effort and that mindset, into my hunting, especially this past year.

And dude, it's been paying off already. For me, I've had two PA sits one at the time we're recording this will air a couple of weeks from now. So hopefully by then we'll, I'll have some good news to share by that, predicting the future, but so far it's been really awesome and just exciting and real.

Motivating and just more confidence [00:09:00] in my abilities, I guess you can say, and I'm not second guessing myself like I used to in years past. I'm excited to, to break that down. So I guess like what you just said about bringing your mentality and some of those traits in from coaching wrestling to what you're doing for hunting, what are those things that you're bringing into that?

The mindset is the biggest one, and that's one of the biggest things I wanted to talk about. And we actually, our wrestlers took a mindset class last year and then we took it again two years ago is when we started it and we had this guy, his name was mindset, Mike, and he was talking to the kids just because wrestling, sometimes like coming to it sucks when you're sitting in the cold, you're miserable.

Like wrestling practice is hard, it's long, it's terrible, but you put in all that work for those small little moments where everything pays off, everything that you prepared for, like just sets off and just the biggest thing with the mentality is just not being negative because whether you're negative or positive, like it's contagious.

So I have a couple of buddies that go out and Oh man, this sucks. It's cold out, but [00:10:00] that's when the deer are going to be moving, like, all right, finally, it's cold out, but yeah. You just got to be positive on those long sit. She's going to be like, all right, if I just stay here a little bit longer, that buck's coming or that bear's coming, whatever it's going to be, yep. And that's a, shout out to another PA resident Ryan Cornelius. I had him on the podcast a couple of years ago. I need to revisit with Ryan. He does some work with the guys from bow hunter die. And actually just, he shot a buck, you shot yours opening night. He shot his that Monday.

The second day of the season, basically, and his video was aired by bow hunter diet. And what's crazy, Mark, I'm sure this it's happened to me. I wouldn't say it happened to me on with a deer. It's happened to me like practice and making sure I could draw back in, in specific shooting lanes and everything like that.

But he was drawn back on a, his nine point buck that he shot. And as he was drawn back to deer was moving and I think he was trying to move the camera a little bit. Maybe reposition himself and as he was letting down, [00:11:00] boom, the arrow goes off. Like the bow went off, but dude, what was crazy, the buck, I don't know, did not hear it or just didn't not phase them for whatever reason.

Then the buck moseyed and I think gave himself a, gave Ryan a better shot opportunity and he's drilled it. Drew back calmed himself down, boom, and had a great shot. A disaster, at that point in time you could be really shaken up and be all shaky and have that rush dump. But if kudos to Ryan really awesome job on him to collect himself and what you just said, things at times could suck, but if you, at that time he was mentally strong and, fought through that, has anything like that you could think of happened to you before in the woods?

I've made some noises and stuff. I never had to do that to me before. Thank God. Cause that sounds like, I would just be like, Oh, no, I probably actually even say, shout out to him for having an arrow where he could reach it. Just having everything ready in case that disaster does strike.

Yeah, dude. I'm with you though, for sure. Especially, like I said, when this airs now, the really dog days of the rut will be [00:12:00] airing and coming up and everything like that bears that, we're getting down to the end of archery bear season is going to be kicking in gun season. We'll be rolling that.

At this point in time, I remembered in last couple years, man, mentally, I'd be drained and I would fight and fight with. Seeing people having success and why am I not having success? I'm out there putting time and at this point I feel really good. A lot of shit, a lot of shit could change by that point in time.

But up until this point, man, coming from where I was, I think last year and what I brought into this spring podcast is, being a little bit more positive, trusting myself, trusting my abilities. And going through things, it's really helped me and I love hearing that other people like yourself what you're doing and doing that mindset things.

And, Ryan Glitzky was another one that is really big on, on trying to stay positive. And, when, as a coach, this. And I know at times it could be tough [00:13:00] thinking like, okay, maybe you lost a match that day. Maybe for me it was football and baseball coach and maybe we lost a game, but what did you learn?

And that was a big thing over the last couple seasons that I don't think I really, I said I did, but I don't think I did. Do you know what I'm saying? Like I didn't really, I did not absorb it. And then I think that's a critical thing is to absorb. Maybe what did not go well and how can you improve on it?

And what, yeah, what can you learn from what didn't go well? Okay, I came in and I spoke to Buck. I saw a nice Buck. I spooked him, but where did he go? Now I know where he feels comfortable. Like I'm learning stuff when I mess something up, yeah. A couple of years, you've been a little bit more consistent.

So maybe again let's, before we dive into your Buck story, cause maybe some of this information will lead into. Into that story what over the last couple of years with being more consistent, what do you think really contributed to that, to your overall success during this timeframe? I've actually been pretty lucky because like I said I'm a teacher, [00:14:00] but a couple of years ago I was teaching in the Wilkes Barre area and I don't know if you know what's going on there, but they went from three high schools and now they went to one and they had a big cut, a big furlough.

And I got furloughed. I got fired, like not any fault of me, but just cause I was younger on the ladder. I got knocked off and I was fired and people were like, Oh, that sucks. And I was like, well, I'm gone. I got six months where I could be on unemployment and I was like now I'm getting paid to be in the woods.

So I really spent some time. Like I used to just go into my stand, sit in my stand and then come back out to the truck, but now. The deer go over that way. I should go over that way and explore over there and see where they're actually going or see where they're coming from. So when I really got some more time to spend in the woods, like I actually did take advantage of it.

And I learned a lot about the area where I wanted to go. duDe, that's been, it's been critical in my success this last spring to this year thus far, but hearing those guys that are frigging killers, right? Like the dudes that are constantly year [00:15:00] after year, not necessarily, I don't want to say. For sure fill in tags because all years could change, right?

I Ryan glitzky is one that I think comes to mind because I highly respect Ryan I think he does a phenomenal job of allowing teaching others, right? And that's obviously you're a teacher I believe in that education piece. That's why I started this platform He does a really good job of explaining things helping people And being true and authentic with everything.

And up into last year to 2022. I don't know what his streak was, but I'm sure it was pretty good between Pennsylvania, Iowa and all the other places where he's been. And, last year was a struggle for him. And I shouldn't say struggle for him because I can't speak for Ryan, but I know he documented Oh man, it was tough, man.

I know going into this year, he learned a lot from last year. And by being in the woods, and that is the one thing that he really harped on and something that I took away from him is that aspect of getting in there [00:16:00] and learning the way things work, why the deer are moving in a specific spot in that terrain feature and how things just change right from piece to piece and literally learning that that specific spot.

And that's exactly what you were just saying. And that is yeah. What I think could really help anyone that's trying to get better because I think that's just a small piece. I think we all a good bit will might say I know I need to do that, but how many are actually doing that? Especially like you said, in the spring or the summertime, like you don't have much going on anyway.

I know, especially Well, after the first couple, like a week or so of turkey hunting, like my spot is busted, so I got to explore a little bit, and I'm exploring, but I'm really looking for the deer trails, and I'm looking to see if I could find scrapes, like even though they're not rutting, they're not ripping them up, but the scrapes are still there, so in the fall, if I go back and see that location, if that one's really ripped up, then I know they're back there, or if it's, if it's covered with leaves, then I could Kind of count that area.

Maybe I'll go somewhere else. There's somewhere else now. So yeah, dude So so you really think getting [00:17:00] out there getting a chance to know the terrain putting time in there? That's really what's led to that success That, and a big one that I would say is you got to prune your spot, whether you're going to move your stand or even if it's just touching it up from year to year, you got to go.

And it sucks. I know that's the worst. And I, when I go with my dad and we have those big pole pruners, like I hate even getting a mountain. I see him taking them out of the garage and put them in the truck and I'm just like, Oh, seriously, that makes a difference. Yeah, making sure now here's a question to ask you, because I know just like you, when I go home and hunt Northeast PA, I'm hunting private, it's still big woods.

It's still mountain, all that stuff. And nothing's really main maintenance maintained basically when it comes to food plots and anything like that. When you cut or do a little bit of pruning, like you just said, do you, have you ever noticed deer get a little bit finicky in an area in a spot like that?

mAybe like at first, but I always try and do it. Like I don't do it much during the season, unless I see like a problem where I got to go [00:18:00] and that limb's got to go. That one's got to go. But what I've been finding out is when I prune a spot or if I put a lane in the deer, use it. Yeah. They're just as lazy as me going through and they're not going to take a hard path.

If I cut a path in, or if I trim something up, they're going to go on there and use it also. Yeah, dude. I'll remember when I was. 12, 13. I was still young middle school type and the guy, the older guy that hunted with my dad, I know on his side, he basically made shooting lanes galore. Yeah, I had a buddy like that and he's since passed away, but his still are still standing like the ones that he blazed.

They're still there. Yeah, dude. I wonder what it would be like if you could recall what his encounters were, because I know when this individual did it. At our club and everything, it was like a ghost town and my dad ever since then has been very minute when it comes to opening up either a shooting lane or something along those lines.

Like he's as natural, which I agree with. That's their living space and everything like that. But I've also seen, like [00:19:00] you said, if you trim a little bit though, they're going to also be just as lazy as you are. Yeah, I'm like a middleman there. I like to trim my way in so I could sneak in there.

Like I'm not trying to make it easy pass so everybody can find where I'm at, when I do go in there, I'm trying to be silent and I'm mostly just trying I had a really nice buck one time and my arrow just deflected off a limb I didn't even see. And I was like, all right, I'm trimming all my spots.

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You have two arrows to choose from, one being the MMT Arrow, which is a 2 4 6 diameter shaft, and the new NIS, which is a 2 0 4 diameter shaft arrow. Use code au to save 15% off your tailored arrow. [00:20:00] order@exodusoutdoorgear.com. So I want to go back to that. So remind me something with that, also remind me of Chris Weist, another good friend of mine has been on the podcast a couple of times already.

Straight dog is just a straight killer. He he talked about this past summer when he was scouting, when he was going out and he figured putting more pieces of the puzzle together and he actually stocked on this buck. Obviously it's just, it's summer. So you just wanted to see which way he was going and using that.

And he was trying to see, okay, what direction would I take where I could get to this stand quietly, undetected with the wind, with the thermals and I, dude, that's like a whole other level, right? Like we go, like that's the one aspect that I talked about on one other podcast where, you know, how much.

detail. Like I remember when I would be like, Oh my gosh, when you hear people say they do X amount of miles and for scouting and everything like that. And it [00:21:00] got me thinking like how much of those, I don't know, 80 miles that someone might maybe put on during a two months or whatever it be. Like how much of those miles were you really dissecting something, right?

Are you marking everything? Are you really stopping when you see a spot and gaining that knowledge of What you think actually the deer will be doing. And that's what Chris was doing at that point in time. And he said, man, I, he learned a lot and it was just fascinating to hear that, what he was doing to get better for this upcoming year, this year, right now, because if he goes into that spot, he knows exactly where he's going.

He knows exactly what the wind and thermals are going to be doing. He knows where he might be able to sneak down and crawl or wherever he needs to go. And he did that prior to the season. Yeah, I've done that before and a couple of my spots, especially my rifle spots later in the season are in the rhododendron and I don't know if you have much experience with going through the rhododendron, but If you go in there, you never want to go back in there again.

And I've gone in with a GPS and I've taken the deer trails and [00:22:00] stuff. And you do learn a lot. No wonder there's like a big watering hole in here. Like they're obviously bedding up in here, but then when you get in there, like, all right, yeah, I learned enough. I'm never going back in there again, ever again.

Let's talk about This year's buck, what led to, was there any history, with this deer, was there a specific game plan that led into it? I guess break down that story with this buck. This one on this property, I had one tree stand this summer that needed some work.

All right. And I took down a tree stand and then we put up a climber. So we had another place to go. You have to climb up the sticks on the other one. You got to walk over the old one and then sit in the new one. But the new one is really comfortable. So I, as a bone collector stand, I was like excited to hunt that one.

And now last year and this year on this property, there's these big fields and usually. They're just grass fields. Like they, the farmer makes hay or something like that, but he's been planting corn and sorghum in there. It looks like a dream. Like it it looks awesome. We have a couple tree stands on the edges of the field.

And I, as [00:23:00] soon as I saw that he was playing corn, I was like, I'm hunting there, like I'm definitely hunting there. And me and my dad, we made another tree stand and that's like a big problem me and my dad have he's a contractor and we have all of these like leftover wood and stuff. And every time he's you want to make a sand like, damn.

All right. Yeah, I guess we will. So we have like too many stands for us to hunt up there. But so I have this new spot and then my dad he claimed sitting by the corn. So I was like, all right I'm just going to go back to old reliable. And we, I have this pine tree stand down there.

And It's not near the corn. So I was damn, I want to sit by the corn, but whatever, I'll just go down here tonight. And the pine tree sand is perfect because I've never been busted in it. I've had, I had a bear that kind of, she thought she knew I was there, but she never saw me, but I've never had a deer see me in there.

And I guess it's, I don't know why or what it is, if it's all the limbs or how it is. And it was such a pain putting that tree sand up in the pine tree, but now looking back on it, it was so worth it. So I was like, whatever, I'm just going to go sit in the pine tree. So I go and I'm sitting in the pine tree and as I'm sitting there and I don't [00:24:00] know one of the things I like to do is just sit and listen when I first get in there because you tell if stuff's going away or if the birds are going crazy, if the squirrels are barking, you could tell what's around.

But as I'm sitting there, all I heard were acorns dropping like all over me. And I was like, Oh, all right, this might be a pretty good spot. So it wasn't even, I probably wasn't even the stand for probably about 20 minutes and two dough came walking up from the bottom of the hill. And they always come from the bottom up to the top because the corn's up top and all the covers up top and stuff.

So I'm like in that transition area. And when she was coming up, she stood and was. Picking up the acorns. I could see her picking up the acorns with her front teeth and then putting them in the back of her mouth and popping them. And I was like, this is gonna be a good spot for tonight because she's just sitting here feasting, I'm sure all the other deer know that. Yup. They're the, that's the fee tree. So I was, I was ready and I got in there super early on the first day. Usually I just do an afternoon hunt, but I got in there at like probably 11 o'clock. I was just up and ready to go.

[00:25:00] And I was like, you know what, I'm just going to go sit for the rest of the day. Whatever. I have nothing else to do. So I'm sitting there and it got, it was starting to get long. And then finally the doe started coming up there. There's one coming up the hill, two coming up the hill. And I was like, all right, here we go.

We're starting to move. And then I started to get my phone out because I wanted to record the doe coming up. I was going to send a picture to my dad or something. And as soon as I pull my phone out of my pocket, I hear, and I look over to my left and I see, I could see the like horns coming, but I saw, I'm telling you, he was probably like, like 200 yards off.

And he was running. The top of the ridge and if usually when they're running the top of the ridge, they just continue to run the top of the ridge and they cross about like 40 yards in front of me. So I was like, all right, I got to get the range finder out. Cause I got to know 40, 45 is a big difference.

I got to know where he's at. So I started getting the range finder and I've had this little, I call him like, he's a nice little buck. He's like a seven pointer. I've had him on camera almost every day. And I had it in my head. Don't shoot that one on the first day because [00:26:00] I'm, I used to be, I've been getting a little bit better.

I used to be like, if you got three on one side, don't come near me 'cause you're going down. Yeah, especially archery season. Like I lo I love shooting him with the bow rather than the gun. But don't come near me 'cause you're in the danger zone. But I think that's the buck that's coming down.

So I'm getting the rangefinder and I'm getting ready to start shooting him and I pick up the rangefinder and I. He's getting close. He's getting 80 yards away. Now he's 70 yards. He's coming as soon as he hit like 50 yards. He just turned at me. He's coming right at me. And that's when I got him in the range finder and I'm looking and I'm looking on one side.

I'm like, 12345 I was like, that's not the seven pointer. That's, this is something, that's not him. I'm like, oh, I better get ready. So I'm starting to get ready. Now I'm like, forget the range finder. Like he's close enough. He's coming right at me. And he just stood, he was like 18 yards away from me, but facing looking not at me, but right in my direction.

Like I had no shot at him or anything like that. And then he did the same thing that Doe was doing. He just started picking up the acorns. I could hear him popping them and [00:27:00] I could see him like, like chewing on them and everything. I'm like, all right, like, don't look at him. Thanks. Cause I don't know about you.

Like I'm a pretty good shooter when it comes in and I could just shoot real quick, then I'm good. But when I'm standing there looking, then I start shaking and everything. I'm like, all right, don't look at him. He's where you need to be. And then I'm looking at him and he's looking at the does. And every time he's looking at the does come up the Hill, he's looking like he's going to bolt and I'm thinking, Oh my God, what do I do?

What do I do? What do I do? And then I'm thinking, should I text my dad? I was gonna get my phone and I was like, no. Yeah, like just you're, he's there. Just don't move. And you got him like all you gotta do is wait for him to step and, I dunno, it seemed like 20 minutes, it was probably like five or six minutes he's saying there're eating them.

And he finally just took a step to go look at those dose to see where they were coming up the hill and like right behind the shoulder I can't even believe it. From the picture that Tom sent me, I, that's what I wanted to congratulate you on was one, obviously a great 10 point, but two, the shot looked freaking dynamite.

Yeah, definitely. And I can't believe it because I was trying to tell myself just [00:28:00] calm down, just relax, like I was just shooting the, like that morning I was shooting before I went up. I was like, you could hit there. That's no problem at all. If there's a 40 yard shot, I'd be a little nervous, but he was like 18 yards.

It's no problem. And then when I shot him, just everything felt right. And the Lumenok was stuck in the ground and everything. And he just moseyed away. He took a little tiny hop maybe. And I'm thinking, I missed like I missed. So then I grabbed my phone out and I don't know if Tom sent you the video.

No, not yet. I'll have to send you that one. But he started taking a couple shots or a couple steps and he's walking and I'm thinking, all right, start recording. So I could take a note. Maybe I'll call my dad real quick and say it's because I missed. Yeah. And then I just saw blood coming from his mouth and he just dropped like 18 yards away from me.

So Dude, that is wild. And he just walked 18 yards and dropped right there. And I was like, are you kidding me? Dude, that's awesome. Did you have any history? Have you ever, did you get them on camera at all over the summer or anything?[00:29:00] No, this one, not at all. Now there's my buddy hunts two farms over at my buddy, Jose's house.

He hunts over there and I think he had them on camera. But he's not the best at sharing. So like I saw, he shows you on the phone, but he won't send you the pictures. You know what I mean? He's one of those type of guys, but I think he was over at the farm over, but on our side of the farm, we, I did not have him one time on camera at all.

Wow. That's freaking nuts, man. Yeah. Stud of a deer, pretty big body too, to him already. Yeah, definitely. I was surprised how big it was because I think he was young. He had a longer snout on him. I don't think he was like a crazy old buck, but he was pretty nice, especially for that area.

Yeah, man, that is wild. Now, let me ask you this. What kind of bow sight are you running? Just because like you said, you're, a single pin, multi pin. What's your go to? I have the multis. Okay. Yeah, that's the one aspect. I think, we've talked about it and it's not anything new, but I think it is really critical.

We talked to preseason, make sure you're training, right? You're practicing your shots. Like, where [00:30:00] do you feel comfortable? I'm a big bull. I love shooting my bow. Like that is one thing where yeah probably when we get done recording, I just need to go rip two, three shots because my last dude, my last two shots killed two deer.

So it's okay, i'm fine, just keep working the process man and keep practicing and that is the one aspect where I'm a big proponent of, for me personally, I love the vertical single double pin. And I I've learned to practice where's my gap, right? If where I don't, where I do not need to move that dial.

So even if it is a weird 27 where do I need to aim? On that, if I don't have time to adjust my dial to put that top pin on 27, then it's critical. And I'm sure you've probably practiced the same thing. Like you said, a 40 to a 45, that's a big difference, right? Where are you putting that bottom pin?

Especially if he's looking or if he's not looking, it makes a big difference. And one of the things I like doing, which. It's not practical for all my stands, but some of the ones, especially on this farm, because my dad just got one of those mules, so [00:31:00] it's a lot easier to get to them. I like taking the target out and actually going in the tree and shooting from the actual stand, which I can't do all the time.

Usually I live in the city. I just shoot in the yard and I'm lucky to get sometimes like 30 yards as far as I could stretch it. But I, just for confidence, it makes a big difference, like shooting in actual tree or I also like to run it through my head. Like, All right. When the buck comes, I'm going to stand up.

I'm going to turn this way and, just walk yourself through everything. So when it happens, you almost don't even think it just happens, yeah. My biggest thing with these two last deer that I've shot, it's been pick a spot and just. Again I don't know, like words really can't explain it.

Like you just gotta be confident. And that's the one aspect I really do believe Mark, where I've been lacklustering in the last couple of years is that confidence. And now I am confident, right? I've worked on the demons of target panic and all that shit and all, the bad stuff. So now. It's go out and have fun and let it fly.

And that's the key thing, but also doing what you just [00:32:00] said, practicing that is, I'm obviously you still hunt from the tree stand and it doesn't matter what you do, tree stand, saddle, ground, blind, whatever your hunting situation is, please practice it because, and practice those bad, like the shots that you don't want to take.

Like for me. For the saddle, obviously the weak side shot, turning and again, you for whatever platform you're using, a foot off the ground is all you need to do practice and, get that muscle memory to do all that jazz and practice. Like for me again, if I need to drop, go around the tree.

Like practice that scenario just because man did the deer nine out of 10 times will not do what you really want them to do. Yeah at all. No, they never do what you want except This is the one hunt where he did exactly what I wanted him to do and I didn't even expect it But most times you're exactly right So now what's on the docket for you now that you tagged out opening day on a friggin slug, Hammer of a [00:33:00] of a buck what's on the docket for you for the rest of the year?

I'm a little spoiled now because like you said, you're hunting on Saturday and it did look really nice Saturday evening. I tried to go out, it was pouring in the morning. Even if I wasn't tagged out, I wouldn't, I probably wouldn't have gone out in the morning, but I'm still going to be out in the woods with my dad.

I'm like, my goal now is to get my dad a buck and he, like me and him switch stands and he hunts mine and I hunt his. So I'm still going to be out there like doe hunting, but I'm probably not going to shoot a doe. But when I'm out there now I'm starting to get geared up for bear. The number one sign that you're looking for when it comes to.

Locating bear and maybe setting up on, on for a bear hunt. Basically. Beach nuts. That's an, I always find bear where there's beach nuts almost all the time, like acorns too, but beach nuts. I always go over to the spots where I find a bunch of beach nuts. That's good to know because what about scouting or anything along those lines, as far as, already planning for next year?

Yeah, this is when I was hunting the farm and I like hunting the mountain bucks. I like getting up in the rhododendron and [00:34:00] these next couple weeks here are probably my like three or four favorite weekends to be in the woods. And now we have a weird Friday the 13th coming up like a day like that.

I always like being in the woods. I don't know. I just feel like something's going to happen on those days, but I always try and be in the woods that weekend, wherever's closest to Halloween. I feel like that's the weekend to be in the woods. How come? What have you noticed the last couple of years with that?

Last couple of years, and there's, I've only seen it maybe four times, like this weekend, and like we were just talking about the rhododendron me and you cannot walk through that without making a ruckus, like we can't walk a straight line, like it's impossible to get through. But the past couple of years right around this weekend, and I always try and find the does, especially for when the rut's coming up, but I'm hunting the rhododendron, and those bucks come through there like a train.

Yeah. Like, when they're chasing a doe, it's unbelievable, and I see it every year, and I feel like that's like the coolest thing to see. because it like and me and my dad on this Ridge. He's probably a [00:35:00] couple hundred yards, maybe three or 400 yards away and a buckle run by me and then continue on and run all the way past him.

So like they're they just it's just wild. It's just cool to see are you looking to improve your hunts will look no further than using trophy tracks a hunters journal enables hunters to maintain a record of hunting information. In real time or post hunt, including the date, time, location, and weather conditions by using trophy tracks and integrating trail camp pitchers.

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com. Yeah. I said last year that Halloween esque weekend, I think it was like the 29th for me last year, whatever that timeframe was, man, that was my best day. That is a day in the woods that I will never forget. It's like one of that. You just nonstop action happening. [00:36:00] Yeah, definitely. I always try my best to like not.

Count a successful hunt as like killing something. So even just being in the woods and seeing that stuff, like even if I see a slammer, that's bigger than the one I already shot, like that's still a good day in the woods. Oh, hell yeah. And I want to ask you this too, about that timeframe. Do you think because of also being Northeast PA, all that jazz, do you think that area, it really.

Cause my buddy, like Jim DiAgostino he also loves that weekend because he's had a ton of success, especially killing during that weekend. And certain times around here to the last couple of years, if I hunted here in central PA, it hasn't, I don't, it's almost like two different fields in the woods, if that makes sense.

Yeah, definitely. I think it's always a little different, but for us up in Northeast PA, I definitely feel like Halloween, whichever, like maybe the weekend before and definitely the weekend after that's when everything's popping up here, I think. Yeah. All right, dude, let's, before we wrap things up and everything, obviously we talked a little bit about bear.

We talked about your [00:37:00] successful hunt on opening night and everything, what you plan on doing for the rest of the year. Now, you've hunted PA gun season now for a very long time, what are some lessons learned and things, or what's your go, what's your take on the PA gun season? What's your, when you know you have a buck taxed on your hand, what's your strategy with it?

I Don't know the past couple of years I've been using the rifle season is just like cleanup season like that buck that I missed or didn't get a crack at he's still there and now he's going down because now I could shoot him out to 200 yards or whatever like now I have a real crack in him but at the same time so does the pumpkin army so does the 500 other people that are coming into my spot because there's it's empty there during especially if it's a little cold during archery season nobody's up there but as soon as it's rifle season it's like being at Walmart at 7 30 on a Friday night, it's just crazy.

Yeah. Yeah. That's the one piece. Now, are you moving around a lot? Are you not necessarily doing drives, but are you on your feet or are you hanging out up in the stand? You give it a [00:38:00] time and then begin to walk around. Just what's your philosophy with that for rifle season now?

Yeah. Rifle season. I'm in the tree from four 15 at night. I try and stay up there as long as I possibly can, which I don't know if that's the best strategy, But I don't know. I just don't like getting down for lunch. Usually people get down for lunch and then they kick stuff into me or whatever.

I just do my best to stay in the tree no matter what, which for rifle season, I really don't need much in my pack. I only need a couple of things, maybe a hand warmer, maybe my phone charger. But then after that, it's just a couple of things to keep me entertained during that midday lull where. Stuff's not really going on, but I'm not getting down.

Yeah, that's the one, oh, growing up, man, that was it. My dad's I'm dropping you off here. I'm not picking you up and you're not leaving until it's dark, right? And don't move because somebody else is over the hill too, so don't get shot either. Yeah, exactly. So that was like, that was the one aspect. And man, I, I don't know what I.

The last two [00:39:00] years when I was back at home, Northeast PA during hunting during the gun season, I would sit the morning and I would sit to a certain time and maybe something were to happen. Like my dad last year he took a shot at it buck. And I was like, I went down to help him out a little bit, like that type of stuff.

So obviously I'm on my feet and then I would mosey around a little bit, try to. Move because up there, there's, it's not what it used to be when I was a kid, right? There were a lot more hunters up there. People would move, be moving around a lot more. And I would sit in that homemade stand and I would see 30 plus deer a day.

And it was glorious. Now it's not so much like that. And I just, at that point in time, the deer. I don't know if they're just, they've been pressured a little bit, obviously from like myself, my dad and just other people up around there, maybe a little bit, but it's not like crazy that I don't necessarily think they're moving around as much I don't think the numbers of people are bumping them.

So it's almost like my strategy to last two years has been move [00:40:00] around, try to still hunt the best I can, but I'm not good at it. I'll be completely honest. Like I'm still looking at sign. I'm looking at the ground. I need to improve upon that. So I think if I do have to hunt during that timeframe, again, for a buck, I might do the old waiting game a little bit more and try to find, do a little bit of pre scouting and try to find that best opportunity that will put me into again, if I have to hunt with the gun this year, I'll be up in a tree sitting a little bit longer and hopefully put myself in a good spot.

Yeah, definitely. I tried the stocking thing in rifle season two and it's hard. They know you're coming. You're a lot. I think I'm quiet going through, but they know I'm coming through, oh man, dude, I appreciate you coming on, telling some stories, talking some strategies and everything else, and really appreciate you taking the time and chatting tonight.

I ain't no problem. I hope to talk to you sooner than later because I think I'm going to dust one with the muzzleloader this weekend I think. Heck yeah, man. Dude, where can people maybe follow along or after listening to the podcast and see what you're about? Yeah, I don't [00:41:00] know. I don't really do much on social media.

I'm quiet on there, good for you. Trying to keep it low key. That's awesome, man. Good for you. We got the Burwood wrestling team when we win districts this year. I don't know. There you go. I like it, man. I appreciate you dude. I hope Thank you very much. A shout out to nurse Tom for helping me get on here too.

Yeah, absolutely. Dude. Nurse Tom. I love it, man. Yeah. I always slip up with that. I try and call him Tom, but when we was in college, there was a couple of times around and he was the only one that was the nurse. So nurse Tom always stuck with me. Oh man. I appreciate it, dude. All right, man. Thanks again, everybody for tuning in.

We'll see you next week. Antler Up. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Antler Up podcast. We hope you enjoyed it. Please go check us out on our Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and GoWild and at antlerupoutdoors. com. If you enjoyed this episode, go leave a review and subscribe for next week's episode.

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