My 2023 Nebraska Hunt

Show Notes

We have actual hunting to talk about this week on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast! John headed to Nebraska to hunt their early September 1st opener and was hit with some tough challenges. Even though John was welcomed with hotter than average temperatures and drought type conditions, he still put his nose to the grindstone and had several good hunts, including a face to face encounter with a full velvet 10 point buck!

There were several good lessons learned on this trip. John quickly realized that just because soybeans are still green, that doesn't mean they're still attractive. He also knew that water would be important, but when it's that hot and that dry, water is everything. John also had his first experience saddle hunting, and talks about some of the advantages and disadvantages to hunting out of a saddle vs a traditional hang on stand.

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

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hey guys and gals, welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast, brought to you by Arrowhead Land Company. Here you'll be educated, entertained, and equipped to get more out of your outdoor experience. So hold on tight because here we go.

How's it going folks? Welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. I am your host, John Hudspeth, and a lot of weeks I get on here and I'm like, we got a great show for y'all this week, but this week I really mean it. And you wanna know why We have a great show for y'all this week because we get to talk about actual hunting.

That's right. I am a fresh home from my trip to Nebraska. Had a great hunt, learned a heck of a lot, and I got a lot of stories and a lot of things to talk about. Things that I learned, experiences that I had. All that good stuff. So that's what we're gonna be [00:01:00] talking about this week. But before we get there, I have a lot of other stuff I get to talk about.

First thing I wanna mention, because I know all of y'all are always a little bit excited and anxious for me when I talk about this, I have this buck that I refer to as the 2% buck. Those of you have been listening for a long time. Y'all know what I'm talking about. But as we're coming into hunting season, I know our listenership usually bumps up about this time of year.

So I'm gonna tell a quick little background. This is a buck that I have known about since he was a three year old. I passed him during rifle season as a three year old. The next year as a four year old, he completely disappeared. He came back the next year as a five-year old, and I have hunted him since he was a five-year-old, six year old, seven year old.

And this year he is a eight and a half year old buck. That just drives me nuts every year because he is incredibly smart. He's very nocturnal and and he doesn't live on us. He lives on the neighbors, but we're close enough to his home range that I always [00:02:00] get a bunch of pictures of him. I last year, for the first time since he was a three year old, I actually had an encounter with him.

I had him at 44 yards in December during archery season. Was un unable to get a shot. And so just the story has been on and on, and I've spent so much time, effort, money chasing this deer. And again, I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but the reason I call him a two per the 2% buck is because I give myself a 2% chance of killing him.

I bring this up because he has shown his face and he has shown it a lot. I think, I'm trying to remember what day it was. I think it was either sat, I wanna say it was Saturday. I got a picture, actually a daylight picture, a very rare daylight picture of this buck coming to one of my feeders.

And I got a few pictures of him that night. The next night I got a picture of him at that same feeder. Feeder. Wow. I don't know why I said that weird. The next night he was at a different, one of my feeders about a mile away. [00:03:00] The next night he was back at the original feeder that I had him on, and then I think it was last night, I don't know what night I'm on now.

But I got a picture of him somewhere in the middle between those two feeders and then on that second feeder. So he's around, he's moving around. Very active. He's beautiful. Last year he had shrunk down to a nine point this year he has bounced back a little bit. He's got that 10th point back.

But he, his frame has shrunk a little bit. Like he's not quite as wide as he used to be. I don't think he's quite as heavy as he is been. But he's still a really nice deer. Nice 10 point buck. Good twos, good threes. Really good fours. And so the search continues. The hunt continues, the chess game continues, whatever you wanna say.

I'm not ready to bump it up, bump him up to the 4% or 10% buck, anything like that. He's still very much the 2% buck because I've just played this game long enough that I know I know it's going to take a very special situation to kill him, but it is very encouraging [00:04:00] because I was starting to doubt myself so much that he really existed this year, because I got one picture on July 14th, but he was really far from the camera.

He was facing the camera, so I didn't get a good picture of his frame or anything like that. But I've just stared at so many hundreds of pictures in the past. I just knew it was him. So it's nice to actually have some 100% confirmation. He's already lost his velvet. And it's 100% him. So that's very exciting.

Along those same lines or speaking of velvet right now I'm sitting at about half and half, about half are hard horned, half are still in velvet. Oddly enough, my, my bigger mature bucks are split right down the middle. Two. I feel like a lot of times you get a lot of the younger bucks shedding first and then the older bucks hold.

But yeah, I got, I'm trying to think. I got three, three mature bucks that have shed and I got about two mature bucks that have yet to shed. So interesting little thing there. But yeah, that's cool. As I just mentioned, with the whole shifting thing and 2% coming in and velvet coming off, I [00:05:00] feel like deer starting to shift a little bit.

Not necessarily all the way to their fall pattern, but they're just shifting some I'm getting less pictures of buck. I'd gotten a bunch of pictures of over the summer. I've had some new buck show up, which is always fun. 2% being one. This other buck I recognize him, but I can't quite put my finger, which buck he is.

He looks old as the hills like, he looks old, but his rack is throwing me because I feel like a lot of times when bucks get old, they maybe lose some time length but get heavier. Or maybe they like throw some junk, like they have shorter times, but maybe they have some kickers or stickers or something like that.

This buck he's the 10 barely, he has like little bitty fours, but his G twos are probably like 10 to 12 inches long. But they're about as big around as my pinky, like super thin. If this deer makes it to the end of the season, like there's no way he's gonna have all of his points. He's gonna lose at least half of 'em as soon as any deer [00:06:00] challenges him just a little bit.

Or if he just bumps it on the ground or a tree or whatever. 'cause like I said, just super thin, but lots of length. I'd definitely shoot him if he walked out. I don't know if I'm necessarily gonna be targeting him but a really cool buck. So he showed up another pretty good eight point showed up.

I still got a lot of the deer that I had over the summer are still showing up, but they're, like I said, they're showing up less. So I'm interested to see if those deer shift into another part of our place, maybe they shift onto the neighbor and they're gone. So that's why I try to get, not to get too attached to deer in the summer because you just never really know what they're gonna do unless you have, prior history with them.

So that's been pretty cool. And then so that's kinda what's been going on. I do wanna throw one thing out, and I know we're still about three weeks or so from the opener, but I had this thought in my head today and I wanna share it with you guys. Basically so y'all withstand the temptation that I am also being tempted with.

So I was just going over the calendar for, here hunting here in Oklahoma, and now I'm done with my Nebraska trip and and [00:07:00] opening days on a Sunday this year. October 1st is on a Sunday. And my initial thought when I saw that was like, oh, like I could go out on Saturday maybe with like my video camera or something like that and try to film and I stalked myself before I got myself excited and I'm gonna throw out the same morning for you guys.

And I wrote a little quote here that I'm pretty proud of. Don't screw up Sunday by trying to improve your odds on Saturday. And what I mean that is most people are gonna be off work. They're gonna have the day, they're gonna be excited for deer season. And just like I was just tempted to do, you're probably gonna be tempted to go, maybe sit in your stand to your blind and try to film or take pictures, or maybe you're gonna go out there and, put an extra bag of corn on the ground or apples or whatever, attractant or, try to improve your odds some way there on Saturday.

And I'm just here to tell you the best way to improve your odds for Sunday is to stay completely out on Saturday. Don't let yourself get excited. Don't let yourself do something foolish. Don't go in [00:08:00] there, spread scent, muddy things up. Just don't do it. Just stay away one more day if you want it. If you feel like a bag of attractant or a bag of corn or whatever can improve your odds, just take it in there with you when you go to hunt on Sunday and only send it up once and not the day before.

By the time the deer gets into it and might maybe smell you, hopefully you have him killed. And you're just not gonna convince me that going in there and like taking a picture or filming that buck on Saturday is gonna help you kill him on Sunday. And like I said before, more than likely you're just gonna do more harm than good.

So do yourself a favor, plan ahead right now. Get all your work done, get your corn out, attracting out. Trim your stands, do whatever you need to do all that before that weekend. So that when you go in there, you're going in there to kill and I'll go one step further. If if you're using cell cameras or trail cameras or whatever and you don't have a buck showing up in daylight that you want to kill, just don't hunt.

I [00:09:00] know it's opening day. Just don't, or better, if you want to hunt, hunt, but hunt somewhere else. Don't go in there to your very best spot or wear a spot. You have pictures of a nice butt coming in the dark and screw it up. Go somewhere else. Go to public land. Try to kill a dough at a different spot, something like that.

Don't screw up your best spot on opening day. So there you go. That's my 2 cents, that's my soapbox. Just stay away, don't screw anything up. All right, that's it for all that stuff. We're gonna go ahead and get into the episode. So I'm gonna be talking about my Nebraska trip. I don't know if this is gonna be a 20 minute podcast or a two hour podcast.

'cause I didn't have a ton of action. I did have one pretty awesome hunt or I guess I had two or three kind of cool hunts. But but I did learn a lot. One of my buddies gave me a hard time. He asked me if I got anything, and of course I didn't. So yeah, I said no. I was like, no, I didn't, but I learned a lot.

And he's man, you sure learn a lot of the time, which is true. But but man I do feel like I really learned some valuable information and just, I, I was hunting such a [00:10:00] different environment than I hunt here at home, and that's part of the reason I enjoy it. It. One thing I will say that I really enjoyed was being so aggressive.

That's, if y'all listen to this show, I'm a very patient person when it comes to hunting. I've just kinda learned over the years that I personally kill more bucks with patience than being aggressive. But on this outstate hunt, or, I've started hunting a little more public the last few years.

Being aggressive can be fun, but obviously it comes with some downsides too. And I'm gonna talk about some of those downsides in this episode. So anyway, I won't mention any more about the episode till we get there. So we're gonna hear a quick word from our partners and then I'll be giving y'all the low down on my Nebraska trip right after this.

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[00:11:00] The mission of Bravado Wireless is to keep you connected no matter where you are. Visit bravado or check them out at one of their retail locations. Bravado Wireless, the power of connection. Let's get this thing rolling. So as I normally do on these hunt breakdowns, basically while I'm there hunting, I take a bunch of notes on my phone to help, refresh my memory and everything.

So I'm just gonna start at the beginning and we're gonna work our way through. So end up leaving on Thursday. Opening day was on Friday, and so I took my daughter with me because my wife was and still is outta town. And my mom came with me because my sister's actually pregnant. She's due I think in October pretty quick.

And it was great because my mom got to help, take care of my daughter. She got to be there with my sister and help her get ready for the baby coming and everything like that. I also I guess when I was there this spring for Turkey season, like my sister and her husband had just moved into their house like that week that I was there.

And [00:12:00] so they're still trying to finish up some home improvement projects. And so I was able to take all my tools and stuff and help my sister do some things around the house while I was there. So it just all worked out great. The timing of it. My mom coming yeah, just all worked out great.

So anyway, woke up pretty early on Thursday and took off. We ended up getting up there to Nebraska about six. And like I was, I'd warned my sister and my mom ahead of time. I was like, Hey, I'm gonna get there. I'm gonna unload, hug you guys, and then I'm gonna go scout. And so that's what happened.

We got there at six and I was in the truck glassing at 6 45. So literally ran in, ran out the door and going up there, I had for sure permission on three properties and kind of permission on a fourth. And so my sister's family, they own two properties there as a neighbor across from my sister's house where I Turkey hunted this spring.

And I had permission on their place for sure. And then there was this other property, if you remember, I guess it was [00:13:00] last year when I was there. I talked about trying to get to this back portion on the other side of this creek. And my sister's father-in-law was like, oh, we'll just go around on the neighbors and ended up doing that.

And I think I hunted there one evening last year. And so we reached out to them this year and they didn't say no, but they did say that there was somebody else who had permission to hunt there. And so they just said, if I did wanna hunt there, I kinda need to let 'em know and communicate just to make sure we weren't hunting on top of each other and everything.

So I didn't necessarily put that outta my mind, but I was like, you know what, between the other acreage that I have I should be fine. I shouldn't have to mess with that. And then just the way it's laid out up there it's a lot like Oklahoma. There's pretty much a road, every mile, lots of gravel roads, but it's all hills.

And crop fields like there, there are some trees, some small patches of timber, but for the most part it's crop fields. So glassing is extremely effective. Pretty much everywhere I hunted there was somewhere where I could get up on a hill and glass all [00:14:00] these fields. And actually the main area I was focusing on, I could actually glass it from my sister's house because it's right across the street and they built their house up on this hill so I could get it, actually get on their back porch and see a good amount of the property.

And so anyway, I spent that whole Thursday evening driving around and honestly I didn't see much. I think I actually only saw one deer and it was the place across from the street. But part of the time I was driving around, I was just figuring out all the crops. And one thing that kinda, I wouldn't say disappointed me, but surprised me right off the bat was I'd mentioned before, I thought I was so smart because last year before I left, And I realized I could hunt on all these other places.

I went around and I made notes of all the crops and I put a year on there. So I was like, all right, this field in 2022 was corn. This field in 2022 was soybeans. And I did that because I just assumed when I went back this year that all those crops would rotate. So everything that was in corn would be beans.

Everything that wasn't beans would be corn. [00:15:00] And I quickly discovered as I was driving around that wasn't necessarily the case. A lot of the stuff that you know, my in-laws or my sister's in-laws had planted. That was the case. A lot of that stuff they had switched. But there were several fields.

The one that kinda shook me the most that the place across the street they had one spot that like, it was like a, if you took a sandwich and cut it diagonally, one would've been corn and one, one would've been beans. And last year they just, they were flipped of how I wanted them to be.

So I thought this year they'd be the opposite and it'd be perfect. But when I got there, not only was it not flipped, but it was all in corn. And so like the one side they had just redone in corn and then the other side, they had switched from beans to corn. And so when I first got there, I was like, oh no, this is gonna be a problem because everything you hear is beans.

Find the beans, find the green beans, the deer are gonna be in the beans. And so that's when I went up, what I went up there looking for. And so I, so right off the bat [00:16:00] that kind of threw a kink in my plan. Just not all the farm ground was what I thought it was going to be. And then the other thing that threw a little kink was, like I said, I had, it didn't get dark till eight 30, so I had over an hour to glass and I just wasn't finding any deer.

And like I said, like ride at last light, I found one deer across the street. And but that was it. And so Friday morning, opening day, I didn't feel like I had enough to go on and I thought that was gonna be the ca Oh, sorry, hit my microphone. I thought that was gonna be the case going into the trip anyway.

And so instead of hunting Friday morning, I just decided to get up and drive roads again. So I had my binoculars, had my spotting scope. Woke up super early, before sun up and everything drove around and I found a few more deer. I don't think I found any bucks, but across the street, pretty close to where I'd seen the deer.

The evening before I saw another deer and it was actually on this little point where there was like a break in the trees. But it was so far away. I couldn't tell what it was, but I just saw that it was a deer. And so [00:17:00] that stuck out to me. And then I drove around to the other property, and I think I saw three deer there, but they were all doze.

And even though it was still really early, like they were already on the edge of the field going into the timber to bed down. And then on the other neighbor I ended up I saw one dough that I don't know, I discounted it a little bit. They have this little patch of alfalfa that's actually where I hunted last year.

But like I said, I hunted it last year and I didn't see any deer there. And so I did see this one dough, but it just, I don't know, for some reason I just discounted it so yeah, so that was kinda the scouting. I did that for a couple hours and then, I had a couple cameras that I'd put out during Turkey season, so I was like super anxious to check those.

And so went around and I technically left three. One of 'em was at my, behind my sister's house, and that was the spot that I tried to hunt last year. But they have a not so good neighbor there. And and I just didn't see much on it. So that one actually ended up not being able to check. I still need to check it, actually.

Kind of forgot about that, but [00:18:00] for some reason the card like formatted weird. It did it when I went up there the spring too. And for some reason, just on my Mac, it wouldn't show me the pictures, but it didn't matter too much to me because some squirrel or something had gotten angry at this thing and the lens was all scratched up.

The little strip where the sensor is was all scratched up. It like chewed over, chewed up the little cover over the camera lens. And so I, I wasn't, I didn't think I was gonna get much intel from that one anyway, because I, yeah, I just, it was so scratched up. I didn't think I was gonna be able to see anything, but I still had a lot of hopes on the other two cameras and so went in, checked both those cameras and was very disappointed in what I saw, if I'm being honest, because again, they'd been there since the spring.

Both of 'em had quite a few deer pictures. Like I felt good about their location. It had a lot of dear movement, but the, each camera had one buck that I think might have been a two year old. Everything else was do fons or one year olds. [00:19:00] And there, there was a couple different bucks on each, but just nothing mature.

And so kinda right out of the gate, I felt a little deflated just because, and I, I know cameras don't capture everything, like I'm the first person to tell you that, but I thought if there was a decent buck, over the course of months, I would've gotten at least one picture of the decent buck.

And I just didn't have that. So I was a little bit disheartened. But, I did have the deer that I had seen. And across the street from my sister's house on that neighbor, I'd seen the deer there the evening before. I had seen the deer, deer there that morning. And there a lot of the beans were already yellowed.

But there was this one spot where the greens were still pretty dang green. And both the deer eye scene. We're right around that area. And so I went in there and I decided that's where I was gonna do my first hunt opening day. So it's Friday, left a little early, had to walk a really long way, and I went ahead and took I'd taken my lone wolf stand and I took a saddle and I went ahead and took the [00:20:00] stand with me because, one other challenge I had was, it was hotter than average for the couple days we were there, and every day we were supposed to be there.

It was a straight south wind. And I'd been checking the wind all summer and everything. And every time I talked about it on this podcast multiple times, every time I checked the wind, it was just always different. One day it'd be Southwest, and then that evening it'd be east, and then the next day it'd be like northeast and the next day it'd be west.

And so the wind was just always changing, which I thought was gonna be good for me because I, it gave me a lot of options of where I could hunt. But these four days with this heat front, it was just south south. And so anyway, so I decided to take my stand with me because I thought this would be a spot that I'd probably hunt multiple times.

And so I was gonna take the stand in there and just leave it, which is what I ended up doing. So yeah, I got in there early Friday, hung the stand. I went a little bit above and beyond what I'd do on a normal hanging hunt again, because I thought I'd be hanging this more. So I actually took a little bow hanger with me.

I carried in my pole saw so I could do a little bit of trimming. I don't wanna trim too much.[00:21:00] I ended up sitting in my standup, I was probably, the bottom of my platform was probably only about eight feet. And I think I've talked about this before too, but just doing these hanging hunts and these out-of-state trips or public land, whatever, a lot of times I end up hanging a lot lower because I don't want to just do a whole bunch of trimming.

And if you get too high in the tree, you're just up there in the canopy and you just don't have a lot of shooting lanes. But I feel comfortable hanging lower because that stand's never been. Those deer aren't used to that stand. I've never been spotted there or, sent, checked or whatever there.

And so I feel comfortable hanging lower in that type of situation. So anyway, hung the stand, about eight feet, hunted it that evening, and pretty much got skunked at the very end of last light. I did see two doughs, like way far away, definitely out of range and everything. And so yeah, so again, I left that evening feeling pretty darn discouraged again because, I thought this was gonna be maybe my position one, once I got there.

And I just, after going over like my onyx maps and [00:22:00] everything with that South wind, like I just wasn't. Able to get into the spots that I really wanted to be. And so yeah, I finished opening day and I'm trying not to let on too much, but in, in my heart, like I'm pretty disappointed at this point and it's really setting in with me that even if I find some deer, like I, I just honestly was not convinced that there was a deer on all this acreage that I had to hunt.

We're talking like 800 acres. I was not convinced that there was a deer that I wanted to shoot. And I kept going back to the spring when I was there during Turkey season, I found like three deadhead on all this area while I was doing my scouting. And I had talked to my sister's father-in-law, he said last year was really dry.

This year they've been really dry. And so in my head, All this, I'm just not seeing these bucks and I'm just thinking, e h d has just destroyed this place and I spent all this time and effort, coming up here and stuff, and I just don't know if there's anything here for me to shoot.

So all that to say, I finished Saturday, or I'm [00:23:00] sorry I finished Friday, a little disheartened and I'm exhausted because, I woke up the day before, traveled all day. It, it didn't get dark till 8 30, 8 45. And so by the time I, hunted till dark, got down, got back to the house, ate dinner and got cleaned up.

I wasn't getting to bed till 10 30, 11, like at the earliest. And then, I was waking up at five 30 and so I just wasn't getting very much sleep. And so anyway, on Saturday I just decided I needed a reset. This is something I've found traveling, hunting, whether it's elk hunting, deer hunting, whatever.

If you're going multiple days, at some point in there, if you're really down. Just reset how, however you reset. And for me, that is sleep and that's sleeping in. And because I had, my mom and my sister there, I had somebody to take care of my daughter. And so Saturday morning I slept like nine and a half hours, which might be the most I have slept since my daughter was born over a year ago.

And so I just [00:24:00] slept in Saturday. I, helped my sister with her with her house stuff. We drove into town, went to the hardware store, got stuff we needed. We ended up having lunch in town and everything. And I just got a nice reset and, I wanted to be able to spend some time with my sister while I was there, not just use her as her bed and breakfast and everything.

And so yeah, had a good time with my family on Saturday. I got reset and then I made a big mental shift on Saturday and kinda what I was talking about at the beginning. Like I normally when I'm hunting my own stuff, I just don't hunt very aggressively because I've learned over the years, if I'm just patient and I wait for the right situation, a lot of times I can make that buck come to me or, get him where I want him, where I have everything perfect.

But that's just not the situation I was in. And so I'm looking at Onyx. I have zero faith in that stand that I had hung. Because, between glassing driving, hunting cameras, like I just wasn't seeing anything that I was [00:25:00] interested in. And so I pull up Onyx and I was like, man, I I had this spot marked ahead of time that I was just thinking this is the spot.

But I was shying away from it because a south wind was about the worst wind you could possibly hunt there. But I was thinking about it. I was like, man, I just gotta poop or get off the pot. That's where I need to be and that's where I'm gonna hunt. And I had brought my my ozonics with me and I didn't plan to hunt with it.

I had actually brought it to use on like my clothes and stuff. But when I got there and it was so stinking hot, I realized it'd be worthless to use it 'cause I'd get so sweaty and stuff coming in. But I came up with this idea. I had my saddle and I had scattered in the spring. Like I knew the tree I wanted to be in.

I knew where I wanted to be. And it was this corner where like timber c r p in this cornfield all kind of came together. And so I decided that's where I need to be. That's where I'm going. And so I came up with this little contraption by the way, the product of the trip. Those little rubber coated, like wire [00:26:00] ties.

I think I bought these at Walmart. I've seen 'em in academy, I'm sure a lot of sporting goods do. It is just like a piece of wire that's coated in rubber, so it's bendable and stuff. And so I instead of taking my big backpack, that was another learning point. That first time when I'd hung that stand, I took my big backpack that actually my buddy Randy bought me on my elk hunt when all my stuff got stolen.

And that thing frustrated the heck outta me. It was just too big. It didn't have pockets in the right spot and I hated it. 'cause I kept trying to find like my, my release, like all my small stuff, my wind puffer and all that. And I just couldn't find it in this giant bag. And so I just wanted, I wanted to throw it away.

I didn't. So anyway, so I decided I'm gonna take the saddle. I wore the saddle. That my buddy let me borrow. And then he has like a little backpack thing that holds the platform. And on the bottom of it, there's loops that you can put your sticks in. So I put my sticks in that, and then I just had my little like blind bag that I hunt with here, put everything I needed in there.

And then I [00:27:00] set my hos on top of the bag upside down so the fan was on top. Use that little wire tie to wire to cross the top of it to hold it in place. And I just turned my ZX on and just ran it while I walked in. And everywhere I was hunting, like it was a jungle to get in and out of. That was one thing I was not prepared for also.

'cause when I was walking around in the spring, during Turkey season, the crops had been out, the deer had been having to survive and all the woody brows, it had snowed. It had been cold and stuff. So everywhere I went it was just like a breeze. Like it was, like walking through a park.

That is not true now. Everything was super grown up. I'm fighting through head high brush, and they have sticky things that we do not have down here. I'm still itchy from all this random stuff I was having to go through. But anyway I literally I walked in as upwind as you could possibly walk in.

The wind was literally going from me to the tree that I was going to hunt. I walked right through the c r p where I thought the deer would be coming in and out [00:28:00] of, I went through it all. I just said, screw wind, screw access. This is where I need to be. And so I get there. I. I get my saddle hung and I'm right on the edge of this big steep creek bank.

I got c r p to my right. I got timber in front of me. I got a cornfield to my left. And then I have timber back to the left behind me. And so I'm just like, I feel like I'm on the X and I get set up, get my saddle going. I'm in this tiny little tree four inch tree. And I need to talk about saddle versus stand at some point, but a different discussion at this point.

So tiny little tree and the tree like leans out into the field real bad. So I'm really not even using my saddle like you're supposed to. I'm really just standing on this little platform. It's what, 10 by 10 inches or something like that. It. And so I actually loosened up more. Like I'm trying to force myself to lean back because my feet hurt from just standing on this little platform.

But anyway I haven't been in there like 10, 15 minutes. Like I'm just getting set up and comfortable. All of a sudden I hear something, I look down and there's a little buck running away. [00:29:00] Like he was right underneath me running away. He had a little branch stuck on his right side. I think it was a little eight point, but year and a half old buck, small buck.

And so I'm like, man, that that kind of makes me feel good. Like I wish I, he wouldn't have smelled me. But I'm obviously, there's some deer here and so I keep sitting and maybe 15 minutes later or something like that I didn't hear a deer blow or anything, but I hear deer bounding away from that same air behind me to the left.

And so again, I'm like, man it's good that there's deer here, but I almost felt like I like. You hear people all the time about being on the X, like you gotta be on the X because you're bow hunting, you're archery hunting, you gotta be in range, so you gotta be on the x I felt like I was a little too much on the X, like I was too much in the right spot, if that makes sense.

Because the deer just, they were right on top of me and it was so thick back to my left. Like there, that's where there were some other big trees that I couldn't see anything coming from that direction. And so I had two deer in the first, I don't know, 45 minutes or something, [00:30:00] get right up on me and then spook off.

And so that second deer, I don't know if it was a dough buck, I don't know. But but anyway, so that was the second deer hunted out till dark. And I'm actually getting ready to pack up and I do see another little buck come from the corn and head towards the c r p right in front of me, what I was thinking and hoping the deer would do.

So that did gimme some confidence. And so I'm feeling pretty good. I feel like I'm hunting the right spot. But again, there's just not the deer that I'm after there. But I did feel good enough in the spot that I felt like I needed to give it another try. And like the scouting, Thursday evening and Friday morning, I had seen more deer in the morning than I did in the evening.

And so I was like, you know what? I need to give this spot another chance. So I leave my sticks and platform in the tree just so I don't have to carry 'em in again. Hike out through the jungle, actually jumped another deer on my way out. Couldn't tell what it was. It was either another like young buck [00:31:00] or dough just judging by the body size.

Speaking of body size, random note, I will say I did get to experience like the bigger bodied Midwest deer, like the, even though I was seeing younger bucks, I could just tell like their bodies were huge. And I never got to see like a super mature buck. But I can imagine that they are quite a bit larger and heavier than, the deer we have down here.

So anyway, random side note. So get back to the truck, head back to the house, eat dinner. Go to bed, wake up super early, fight through the jungle again. Get into my stand. I did the whole ozonics thing again. You're running the ozonics over my scent trail. 'cause I still had a South wind get set up that morning before shooting light and right around shooting light.

I can't remember if it was right before or right after. Had a dough come right in front of me, kinda read the script again, just how I was thinking. Worked its way into this little thick patch of timber, headed towards the corn, but I don't know if it made it to the corn or if it beded in the timber or what.

So that was [00:32:00] encouraging. It's like, all right, still feeling good about this spot. So I think that morning shooting light was like 6 30, 6 45, something like that. And hang out for another hour and no, no more deer. And so another little bit goes by, so it's 7 45, something like this, that, and I'm not gonna say I felt like the morning was over, but I felt like if I was going to kill something in the morning, it was gonna be in those first couple minutes.

And so about an hour and 15 into shooting light. And I'm planning to hunt a little longer but nature is calling. So I'm sitting there and shout out to Dan Johnson. I know he's a big fan of the he calls it the sky dump, but with the saddle, that's a little, harder to do.

So I was like, all right, I'm gonna climb down. So climb down. And of course I leave my bow and everything up in the tree and I'm literally like unbuckling my pants. And I walked down just a little bit, unbuckling my pants, and outta the corner of my eye I see a deer. And so I get down and down in the [00:33:00] creek that I was hunting, There's a buck, and again, he's like another yearling.

It, it was a different buck than the one I'd seen the evening before though. 'cause this one was only a six point the other was a eight point, but so I guess I, I don't know. He was probably 50 yards. If I really wanted to, I might could have killed him because I had enough cover in the actual tree.

I think I could have got up there and got my bow and gotten closer. But I just I just wasn't gonna kill a year and a half year old. So he eventually walked outta sight. I did my business, climbed back up into my tree and hunted another, I don't know, hour and a half or something like that. And so I'm, like I said, I'm in kind of my position a, the one I'd been scouting and dreaming of and looking at Onyx all summer.

And it was a good spot. Like I was definitely in deer, saw a bunch of deer in this spot, but I kept going back to that whole, the cameras and the scouting. And I just, once again I just felt the deer that I was after. And again, I have much lower standards on this trip than I do at home, but I just feel like there's [00:34:00] not a deer in this area that I want to shoot.

I was probably like, I'm gonna say as the crow flies, probably 200 yards from where I'd had my camera. And on this property there's like basically two different patches of c R P. And so I had my camera set up on the other patch, leading into the, from the c R P to the crop field. I was now hunting this spot.

Going from this c r p into the corn field I went ahead and climbed down and I walked around a little bit. I was looking at trails and the edge of the cornfield and everything. And I just decided that I didn't think this was the spot either. And I'm running outta time.

This is already Sunday. I talked to my mom. My mom teaches a class on Tuesday evenings, and She had told me like if I really wanted to hunt Monday evening, like she could make it work as long as we like drove partway home Monday night and got a hotel and, finished on Tuesday. But my mom's getting up there in age and she's always had really bad vision and so she didn't feel very comfortable driving at night.

So I was gonna have to do all that driving and I'm [00:35:00] so exhausted that I didn't really feel comfortable. And so I kinda realized Sunday evening might be my last evening. I could probably hunt Monday morning, but but I realized time is very much running out and I just felt like I was wasting my time hunting this same area that I had been in.

And so pulled everything down, went back to the truck, went back to the house and got on OnX and I was like, all right, I I'm just scratching everything off the list, like I gotta go somewhere else. And so I talked to my sister 'cause I was learning like I was processing this whole time.

And so I was like, where have I seen specifically bucks? Every buck I had seen had been right in that creek and I went back to, my last two hunts. Like I, in the evening time, I'd had bucks come out of the creek headed towards the corn. And then in the morning I had bucks coming outta the corn down into the creek.

And I also realized I wasn't seeing deer in the beans, [00:36:00] like even driving around, scouting, glassing, all that, I wasn't seeing deer in the beans, but I was seeing a lot of deer around corn. And so I got on OnX and I was like, all right, where's and, c r p had played a role in it too.

So I was like, I'm seeing deer around C R P corn and water. Where can I go that there is C r P Corn and water. So my mind immediately went to that other property that I'd hunted once last year. The guy that we had talked about. But he said there was some other people hunting there and I'm calling him a neighbor, but he's actually technically like two places down.

Not a direct neighbor. I think. I think the creek may actually connect in one tiny little piece. But anyway it's, it was probably two miles down the creek from where I'd been hunting. And so I just felt like it was a fresh area. It was, it had all the things I was looking for.

There was this one corner, a oxbow type place where it had a big chunk of c r p, it had corn and it was actually on the same creek, that same deep creek that I'm always talking about. 'cause that's the major water source in [00:37:00] that area. And so I asked my sister, I was like, Hey, can we get in touch with this guy?

Can we ask about the other hunters? Hunters and, all that stuff. And so she said she'd check into it and, let me know when she got ahold of him. And so I did a little bit more stuff around the house. I tried to take a nap, but I'm just a terrible nap taker, so I couldn't sleep. Played with the kids a little bit and I'm kinda looking at my clock and it's getting later in the day, we still haven't heard from this guy.

She reached out to her husband, tried to get him to call him. He couldn't get ahold of him. And his brother tried to do the same thing. Nobody can get ahold of him. And I'm looking at my clock, and by this point it's four o'clock. It's about time that I need to get making a decision.

So I'm like on, on, on X again. Like, all right I've hunted this spot I've, scouted this spot, like, where can I possibly go? And so I went ahead, like I took a shower. I'm getting ready to go, and I come upstairs to leave and my sister's Hey, he just got back to us. He said, the other hunters won't be hunting when it's [00:38:00] this hot.

You have free reign of the property. Alright, sweet. So drive over there. And I feel like every spot I go to, I'm just minimizing even more because I, the, my lock, my sorry, my walks just keep getting longer. And so I decided I'm not even gonna take the saddle this time 'cause I have to go so far.

And so I have this little, it's actually made for Turkey hunting that's it's not a pop-up blind. It's just like a little thing you can put in front of you. And so I grab that. I have a little bitty stool and I have my bag with just the bear essentials, my release flashlight, that type of thing.

And so I map it out to where I'm doing the same thing, like the wind's gonna be not great for my entry, but I can go way the heck around this cornfield, come up the creek and get in fairly, with pretty decent access. So that's what I decided to do. It turned out to be way longer than it looked on Onyx.

The grass was way taller than I expected. It was a beating, getting in [00:39:00] there. I never measured it. I should have. But anyway, it was a really long way and I finally, I. Get back to this corner, and it's everything I hoped for. I'd come in from the other direction when I was there last year. But I didn't actually hunt it.

So I was a little bit familiar with the area, but not not great. There's an old wooden deer, I don't know if you, I don't know if you call it a stand, it's like a wooden platform. And so that kind of gave me some confidence. I was like, Hey, somebody years ago thought this was a great spot. It's gotta be good.

And like I said I'm sitting with my back to the creek. I'm up on top of the bank, the creek's behind me. I got a lot of nice cover around me. It's just tall grass and weeds and stuff. C r p in front of me at this little oxbow to my left, and then huge cornfield out in front of me and going to the right.

And so again, feeling good. I get set up. I'm just chilling, relaxing, and I'm sitting on this little stool, like one of those little tripod stools and so I'm facing, it would've been I guess it would've been east and [00:40:00] I'm looking, or Yeah, facing east the corn's to my left, to the south.

So I'm sitting there and, it's pretty early in the day, honestly. And I'm just chilling, hanging out and I'm kinda looking out over the cornfield and all of a sudden I hear something to my right and I look over and I kid you not, there is a stinking 10 point buck, four yards away looking at me, and I'm just caught completely off guard.

I, I I can't move. I'm holding, completely still. He's looking at me. He's concerned. But it's almost like he couldn't believe what he was looking at. Like he couldn't believe that I was just there. And he's, I mean I got a great look. 10 point, not huge. I'm gonna say he was probably a three-year-old.

Definitely at this point in the trip though, a shooter buck, most mature Buckeye, I'd seen biggest, Buckeye had seen still at a hundred percent velvet. He had a little like kind of thin spot where it looked like it might start peeling on his G [00:41:00] two. Again, I'm getting a great look at this guy 'cause he is right there.

I can see his nostrils flaring because he is trying to smell me, figure out what the heck I am. And I'm just sitting there dead still. And we have the stair off for a decent amount of time. Probably 20 seconds, something like that. And all this stuff's running through my head. I like I'm, I know there's no way I can grab my bow, turn, draw, do all that motion while he's still standing there.

So I know that's not an option. And what I'm thinking in my head is maybe he will be alert, but not necessarily spooked. And when Deere get that way, they'll like stomp off and they'll look back and look away and look back and so that's what I'm hoping he'll do.

I'm hoping he'll do that head out in front of me and, maybe when he looks away I can grab my bow real quick and I can get a shot while all this is going on. Like I said, this is over the course of probably 20, 30 seconds or something like that, way off in the distance. But still audible, a dog [00:42:00] barks and that deer looks over the, looked that direction and that just put him on super high alert, like just the fact that he already knew something was up and then he hears something, out of the ordinary.

And so now he's nervous and he's looking at me and he is looking in the direction of the dog. He's looking at me, looking in the direction of the dog. He's like bobbing his head around and stuff and I'm like panicking at this point. I was like, oh crap. What do I do? What do I do? Please calm down, please come down.

And then that dog barks again, and he hightails it outta my life. He head straight to the corn full speed ahead. I can hear him crashing through the cornstalks and everything, and he's gone. And I'm just an utter amazement still. Just like I don't think I've ever been that close. To a wild animal of any kind, much less a white-tailed deer, four yards.

There's, there was a little forked tree behind him that I could range and everything. It was at five yards. He was between me and that tree. The, just like the detail that I could see on him was awesome. I'm trying to, I'm trying not to make eye contact, but I'm trying [00:43:00] to look at him and, I can't not look.

And I kinda lowered my hat brim to cover my eyes a little bit. So I'm like staring at his nose and I see his muscles twitching and everything. And just being that close on the ground spot, I'd never been I I was kicking myself again. I was like, I'm, I like, I'm too much on the X. I'm, I almost felt like I was too good at this, at finding these stinking deer.

It was a little bit frustrating. And so anyway, after he ran off awesome encounter, I was like, man, he's coming outta the creek. I was like, all right like everything's running together at once. I was like, these deer are bedding in the creek during the day, and then they're going to the corn at night.

And so I'm like, all right, I'm convinced of this now because I had a deer come outta the creek the evening before. I had a deer go into the creek that morning. I had another deer come outta the creek this evening, and I was like, all right, maybe this is like a good crossing. Maybe these bucks are bastard up a little bit still.

And so I was like, I need to move. So even though I'd just [00:44:00] gotten all set up, I picked all my stuff up and I moved about 50 yards or so to the east. I had actually passed this spot where this tree wasn't down. It wasn't dead, but just a limb had grown, like basically just parallel to the ground and stuck out real far.

And I had almost stopped there because it looked like a good spot. Had a lot of cover. I. But I was trying to get to the, this corner of the cornfield because I just, it's human nature. You wanna be able to see a lot. And so if I was like, oh, if I go a little further, I can see this direction and I can see down that edge of the cornfield.

So I went a little further. Hindsight's 2020. But if I would've set up in this spot at the beginning, that buck probably would've walked out right in front of me, like 20 yards and I would've killed him. But anyway, hindsight's 2020. So anyway, I'm I rip all my stuff down, I move down there, I run down there, get set up.

And I'm hoping there's another buck behind him, but of course there's not. And so hunted out the rest of the evening, [00:45:00] never saw another deer, but again, like that sick, made the trip really awesome encounter. So it gets dark. And now I'm like, crap. Not only do I have to walk all the way back outta here to tonight in the dark, I probably have to walk all the way back here in the morning because this is just this is just by far the only semi-mature decent buck that I've seen.

Pack everything up. Walk all the way back. I don't know what time I got back to the truck. It was well after nine o'clock. I, it was like 9 15, 9 30. Get back to the house, heat up some leftovers. Go to bed. Next morning my alarm goes off and I do not want to wake up. This is Monday morning. It's the last morning.

But I was just beat like after hiking all the way in, all the way out. It's the last day I'm just dead. So I did snooze a couple times, but eventually I was like I have to get up. Like I have to try. So wake up and I did [00:46:00] decide instead of doing the huge massive loop all the way around the cornfield, I was gonna cheat.

And just go in the other direction. And so that's what I did. Still a pretty long hike. Excuse me, not near as bad, but still pretty long. I get back to that same corner, but I'm hunting the other side of the, so the night before I was on the south side. This time I would've been on the west side, but I was thinking we actually did have a little bit of a shift that warm front was moving out and there was another little kind of oxbow thing on that side. And so I was like, maybe I spooked him outta that spot. So he is scared to use it. Maybe he will shift over here and move this or use this spot instead.

Hunted out the morning. I did end up seeing a tiny little dough. I had a couple buddies reach out to me and be like, why the heck didn't you shoot that? But. I just it was so tiny, like I could barely see it over the grass. That was one thing. And then in the back of my mind, this is a shift to the future date.

I hinted at this on my Instagram. I realized while I was [00:47:00] there that I am not very far from where I'll be hunting in Iowa this November. I wanna say it's only maybe four hours away. And so in the back of my mind, my tag is still valid. It'll still be archery season, it'll still be before Nebraska's gun season.

And so there is a chance if I were to go to Iowa and get lucky and kill a buck, in the first two, three days, something like that. I've already told you like I'm blocking out nine or 10 days for that Iowa hunt. So if I get lucky and shoot a buck early in that Iowa trip, I might just run back over to Nebraska.

And so that's why I was holding out a little bit. I decided not to just use it on a dough or a year and a half old buck because there is a chance I could get back up there this year. And the archery season goes till December 31st. And worst case, maybe Christmas, something like that.

I get back up there. I don't know if I will. I definitely can't guarantee it. I feel like at this point Oklahoma and Iowa definitely [00:48:00] take precedence over Nebraska and, I get to hunt Texas too, so I have tons of other deer tags, but if I were to get another itch or everything were to line out right, I could actually make it back to Nebraska.

And so that's why I wasn't quite as had the itchy trigger finger just to fill the tag on the last day. Yeah. I'm trying to think of what else I didn't talk about. It was a great trip. I will say so. Oh. Yes. One other huge learning point. So after I hunted Monday morning, I still had to go around and pull that stand and pull, move.

I moved some of my cameras around. But when I went back to that stand that I'd hung the very first day that I ended up not hunting again, I climbed up in it to unscrew the bow hanger and everything. And I just so happened to look at over those beans and I realized like that one green patch that I was focusing on, it was all completely yellow, brown, dead, whatever you wanna call it.

They always let beans turn before they harvest them. And that had happened to pretty much that entire green patch. And so I think [00:49:00] basically, I think I was dead wrong on beans. I think it was too late, too dry, too hot, whatever. But the, I think the deer just already turned off, even though they still looked kinda green.

I think they had turned enough that the deer just weren't interested in them again. And that's why I was finding all those deer in the corn. And so that was a huge learning thing. I don't think I took water seriously enough. Like that stand where I was at, it was probably only 150 to 200 yards off that big giant creek that I ended up hunting so much.

But I think that was far enough that deer just weren't gonna get there in the daylight, because like I said, pretty much every buck I saw was either coming in or coming out or headed into that creek. I think the deer were literally bedded down in the creek beds. I don't think they were in the corn. I don't think they were in the c r p.

I think they were literally down in the creek beds. And then when it was cooling off in the evenings, or in the mornings when they were headed back to bed. They [00:50:00] were coming up and down to those creeks. And so that was a huge thing. Unfortunately, as I feel like it goes, as it was time to leave, that's when I really got everything figured out.

So if I feel like if I had another day or two I could have maybe killed something. But again, that is great knowledge going into next year, because last year I only got to hunt two days. So I didn't have really have time to figure. I did, I do remember thinking last year, I hunted this kind of green field my first evening.

And I think I saw two doughs or something like that. But I think those beans were just a little more yellow than I thought. So it got me last year too. And then this year, like I said, just with the drought and everything I just, I think you have to be literally on top of water if you want to have a chance this early and when it's this hot and dry.

And then also I. I think deer like that. Corn more than most people think. Yes. When the beans are growing and they're tender and have those nice green leaves I, they probably love the soybeans, but that [00:51:00] corn offers a lot. I don't know what, I dunno if they're eating the leaves, the corn itself, it's right before harvest.

And there's nice yellow kernels all over the place. But yes, water. Don't be afraid to hunt the corn and don't be afraid to get off the soybeans, which is, seems so weird. Like everybody preaches soybean, soybeans. But that's just not what I found. And so that was a big takeaway. I do wanna talk about saddle versus tree stand real quick, because this was my first time ever hunting out of a saddle.

And I guess my take on it is, You need both. The saddle was great. Like it's very convenient. It was lighter to carry in and out and everything. But once you got there the stand is just so much nicer, if I'm being honest. I get so much more comfortable. I feel like I have more control.

I I do get the whole shot angle thing with the saddle you know how you can swing side to side and get around the tree and everything, but along with that you may have more shot angles, but I [00:52:00] wouldn't say you have better shots because you know when you're, when your arm is up over that tether and you're leaned out to the right and your weight is off and your body's twisted and everything, like sure, you may have a shot.

But it's just it's not gonna be a good shot. So that was a takeaway. I honestly, I think the ultimate the episode I did with Chris Hammond two weeks ago, he talked about his buddy who had a super small lone wolf custom gear tree stand, the 0.5 that still had a little seat on it, but he used that as a saddle platform.

I do think that would be the ultimate, because you have that seat to where, if you get in super early and you know you're not gonna have any action for a little bit, you have that seat. You can sit down, you can still shoot out of it if you want to. You could have the versatility of the saddle.

So yeah, for me, I think after this hunt, it's still situational. They're both tools. They both have their spot. I don't think you should necessarily be one or the other. I feel like a [00:53:00] lot of people are like, oh, like I hate saddles, so I'm only using a stand. Or saddles are dumb, or, or saddles are so great that, why would you ever use a stand?

I just think there's a situation for both. I do think I am going to end up getting a saddle because again, like I said, I do see the benefit of it. I think if you're a public land guy, yes, saddle's definitely the way to go. If you're hunting private land and you're just like, you can still be mobile with a stand, like people have been doing that for a long time, you can still be mobile on, on public land with the stand.

Like I said, just super situational. I will say the tree that I was in, it would've been really hard to hunt with a stand that evening just 'cause it was so small. But like I said, the kind, when I actually got up in the tree, I almost wish I had a stand because the way it curved, I almost couldn't use the saddle how it was intended.

So anyway little bit of rambling now, but I just don't think there's a right or wrong answer. I think both of 'em are great and I see myself using both of them in the [00:54:00] future. You have the right to the best wireless service. Bravado Wireless provides the best mobile, wireless, high-speed internet, latest devices and customer service at prices.

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Bravado, wireless, the power of connection. So that's just about gonna do it for this week, but I do have one other big takeaway that I wanted to cover before I closed here. Hunting the way that I was hunting on this trip this more aggressive style, the not playing everything so close to the chest, the really getting out there and going for the gold.

One thing that I thought about while I was driving home that I got very excited about because I feel like I did have. Success on this [00:55:00] trip. Like I, I was learning on the fly, I was making adjustments, I was finding deer, I was putting myself in position here In about two months, I'm going to get to take all this stuff that I just learned and I'm gonna plop myself in southern Iowa with the same cards in my hand and I'm gonna get to play poker with the big boys.

And yeah, like that is just so exciting to me. So y'all are definitely gonna have to stay tuned because I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge that is gonna help me on that hunt. I'm gonna have more time. There's obviously gonna be better deer suitable habitat, all that good stuff. So I'm just saying right now, stay tuned because I sure as heck am yeah, like I said, that's pretty much gonna do it.

I enjoyed hanging out with my family. I got to road trip with my mom, which I really enjoyed hanging out with my sister. I got to watch my baby girl play with her cousin. My sister's son is only three months older than my daughter and she's got [00:56:00] another one that's due here in just another month or two.

So that was really fun and it was just a great trip. I know I made fun of myself in the beginning, but I really do love going on these hunts. 'cause even when I'm unsuccessful, I feel like I just learn so much knowledge and things that can help me in every other day. Hunts, hunting on my own place or public around here, or whatever it might be.

I, I really do just enjoy getting out there and having these experiences. Yeah, that's gonna do it for me this week. Oh, I got one other quick thing, just a random thing I'm gonna throw out there. I have been bit hard by the waterfowl bug. I got bit, last year I did more duck hunting stuff than I had in, in the previous couple years.

Killed a couple geese, which was awesome. And and I, yeah, I've caught my, so I ordered some new waiters. I've caught myself looking at decoys. I randomly picked up an A-frame blind that was on clearance, 50% off. 'cause it was like missing a pole, but, I'll figure that out. So yeah, so I, I think y'all might hear a [00:57:00] little bit more waterfowl content this coming year.

I'm very excited about that. Anyway, all right. That was the last thought. I'm getting outta here. We're just over an hour timed out pretty well. And so that's gonna do it. Alright, see you guys next week. Right back here on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast.