Next Level Bedding Areas, Hinge Cutting and Doe Factories

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) discusses giveaways under the podcast. Jon explains working with clients and what he has as recent takeaways. Jon discusses his recent visit with Jim Ward (Jim Ward’s Whitetail Academy) and how they had a chance to discuss next level bed building techniques to hold and house our deer.  

Jon discusses how to build bedding locations and how to reverse engineer the bedding design to ensure deer use them and are huntable. Jon explains new concepts such as food forests, and how to get deer more on your property with various techniques. Jon discusses various topics around improving the food in our forest. Jon explains the simplicity around regenerative agriculture. Jon explains why hinge cutting is one of the best and worst tools, but if time is not on your side this may be your best option.

Jon discusses his technique and purpose behind hinge cutting.   Jon explains the importance of nutritional ecology and considers that when deciding what technique to employ in a bedding area. Jon explains how to layout and what considerations or essentials to cutting out a bedding area and how sometimes close canopy is your best option. Jon discusses how to manipulate wind on the landscape to benefit the deer and or hunter. Jon explains what is lacking on most of our landscapes, how to observe and fix it for good.

Jon ends with what is a doe factory and explains how to dismiss and change the mindset that seems to dissuade land managers from adding food all season. Jon provides an immediate recommendation that will change your property to balance your deer hunting.

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer, share their secrets to success.

And now the founder of Whitetail Landscape. Your host, John Teeter.

Hi, I'm John Teeter White, the landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back. Everybody. Got some housekeeping things to talk about and I think this is important for everyone to recognize. I have on this podcast not taking any advertising, business at all. I wanted to focus on the content. I want these to be short, sweet, conductive where there's a plan.

We have a good conversation. We share. I'm solo today. I want to [00:01:00] go into some things that I've been thinking about recently. I wanna share some concepts and topics that are important to me. I also wanna introduce an important thing to me, and that's getting you all involved. I've got a ton of emails.

And I appreciate all the feedback. I want more reviews. I wanna stay motivated doing this. This takes time outta my day. And in doing so, I'm trying to give back. I have gotten a ton of reach out. People want jobs and careers and they want to get into this business. I give advice to everybody who generally contacts me.

I tell 'em what I think, why I'm honest with people, but I listen to people and I wanna understand their perspective. I learn a lot from people. This is a tough business. If you want to get into this business, good luck to you. And I'll talk a little bit more about that on other podcasts. But it's taken me 20 years to get this point, and I think the people want to jump into it and get going is good.

But recognize that you need to have the experience and I [00:02:00] am consistently learning. And we'll talk a little bit about that today. And I'd also say if you don't have the experience doing an implementation work, like for example, let's say you have a family farm and you're like, wow, I did all this stuff on my family farm.

That's one example. You need tens to twenties, to fifties to hundreds of those to be good enough to do this. When I started this out 20 years ago and I started cutting timber, I didn't have a clue. I had no idea what I was doing. I studied tree species. I recognized what lives and dies and what do dear prefer, how am I benefiting the ecology?

I studied trees and I studied plants, and I tried to understand things at a finer level. I didn't come up with a real system on how to do this till six years ago and understanding my strategy, and we'll talk a little bit more about that today. But this feedback that I'm getting from you all has been very helpful that the topics, the things that people want to talk about, [00:03:00] and I want you to participate more.

And I bought some extra whitetail landscapes, hats this year to be used as giveaways. Every couple months I'm gonna be giving away in a hat in order to get into that, and I'll talk about this on the next podcast. I need a review and I only prescribe to Apple if you, Spotify, or any of the other apps please provide those reviews, put them in there.

But if you're not using Apple, I'd ask you to email me your specific review. I'll start posting those on my website and then I'll basically put you in a lottery for a hat. And like I said, I'll give a hat away every couple months. I got cool new hats. I want to give back to the community. I'll pay to send 'em to your location and wear 'em with pride.

And I appreciate you being a listener on the podcast. Like I said, I want to give back. I'm doing this for, in my opinion, the right reasons. And I wanna share with people and again, I'm learning through this. I'm making great connections [00:04:00] with folks and obviously, a lot of people are using, this is a resource to make some changes to their property.

So I'm gonna talk about a recent visit I had and Jim Ward and I hooked up and we worked on a property together. We had about six hours of just one-on-one time. In fact, there was a client there for a portion of it. Josh was also with me. And we got to interact at a pretty intimate level. And the one thing I'll say about Jim is I've got a ton of respect for him.

He's not only a pioneer, he thinks differently and he's on a cutting edge. We talked about some next level stuff and some things we'll probably share in future podcasts. But our layout, philosophies and strategies are almost identical. It's amazing. We came from two different parts of the world and him and I are lock in step, how we cut, how we think through timber issues, how we manage timber.

I've heard a lot of people, and I think Jeff Stuss is one of 'em, [00:05:00] say negative things about Jim's cutting style and Jim didn't prompt me to say this. I will tell you without question. Jim's strategy and how he employs his cutting and his techniques. Now, I don't agree with everything he does, and probably vice versa.

Are beyond, absolutely beyond cutting edge and. He's getting paid a premium. And the same thing applies to us because of these strategies. Then they work. We had a client reach out recently, a client that I had worked with and cut and said, every area you cut Deere are using it. They're moving through there exactly what you said, you're, they're doing what you said they would do.

And it's not just looking at timber one dimension and making decisions. I'm looking at multiple facets. One thing I'll say is the deer bedding in the close canopy areas. I worked on a property that a consultant was on recently and cut a bunch of timber, and the style of cutting is not conducive to my particular area, and I don't [00:06:00] agree with this strategy because it didn't relate to a bigger plan.

It's thinking larger, shrinking down, looking at individual tree species, defining its purpose, creating the right amount of structure at the correct height. H cutting is huge in these strategies. If somebody says to you, I only use hinge cutting 10% of the time. They're wasting your time. Hinge cutting is an instantaneous benefit.

Without question, it depends on the trip tree species, the age of that species. Is your goal to make it live? Maybe it's just to create structure and at what height and what density and what interval. And so Jim and I had a chance to start to construct our layouts, the way I construct movement and flow, and how I build that strategy into the cutting.

You can't create this with a logger coming into your property and saying, all right, log my property, leave the tree tops. We're good to go. It's way more strategic than that. Logging. Gimme a part of the equation, but it's [00:07:00] certainly not the. Primary method to creating the right amount of structure and the right amount of volume to create that movement that's necessary to create that food source.

And the other thing to think about is having that variability. And Jim and I had a lot of chances to talk about, how he would cut certain areas that are a little more moist, reaching out and looking the soil content, determining kinda the quality of the soil. We talked a little bit on the podcast about soil health and we'll talk about he, how to build a food forest.

That's a new thing, a new concept. I'm gonna introduce some new concepts to you this year. One of those, we'll be talking about agro forestry this summer and trying to create more moisture in the landscape and doing that with trees and thinking more about how to have food plots in relation to, we'll say, silver pasture for those that have cattle or agri foresty for those that are trying to grow trees.

In concert with, food plots and having more woodland settings in certain areas to create more of that kind of right [00:08:00] microbiome that will be beneficial to cover food in kind of more of an open setting and creating some concealment in that equation. The thing I like most about Jim Ward is that he is as real gets.

He's also a mad man, and I say that in the most positive way. He acts with a very strong method. And his cutting philosophy and his timeliness and his conscientious of, his strategy to benefit the client was great. The other thing I'll say about this is he listens the entire conversation.

He wanted to hear feedback. He wanted to hear our strategy and we combined some great concepts to come. I think, in my opinion, with some of the ultimate strategies that you'll hear more about on future podcasts, we reverse engineer the betting areas. He looks into the exact same ways he picks about, picks out the key areas.

Deer gonna embed and he builds around that and. His strategy has evolved, [00:09:00] as has ours. We differ in some certain instances. We talk about spatial segregation, how to create walls of cover and separation within areas, how to create interspersion of canopy and non canopy areas, how to create the right amount of structure and volume, how to pick the location, deer gonna bed, how to create flow food, how to create diversity areas adjacent to those.

So he had the same kind of philosophies and strategies. I'm very big on food plot development. I have rule sets around those that we employ with the clients to make sure the movement's appropriate. We're manipulating a hundred percent of the landscape. The other thing that Jim and I have recognized is the clients listen and sometimes they don't.

And we all have differences of opinions. Knowledge can kill us. It can give us false positives. It can also give us theories that aren't necessarily connected to science. And the other thing that Jim, I guess identify to me is when we think we know something, we actually don't. It's having [00:10:00] that outlook of positivity, but also recognizing that we're of fault and failure.

And then it's, as we learn more about soil and plants and how plants communicate, how plants release compounds, volatile compounds, how they attract parasitic insects, there's a lot more to plant life. Then we know how plants absorb nutrients, how they promote those nutrients, the animals that we're trying to hunt, how to propagate those, how to create more of those across the landscape.

How to employ better strategies as it relates to creating these food forests. The one thing that really has been a big issue with me with clients is, And this is because of the marketing activities. I'm all for food plots. Let's not get it wrong. I spend a quite a bit of time on food plots. It's the fun stuff.

I get to ride my tractor, but it, a lot of times on these client properties, you can do a lot of work off your tractor in the forest stands, but they're usually one to [00:11:00] 5% of the property, and we're spending 90% of our time focusing on one to 5% of the property. Now, in this grand scheme of things, you may have more biomass per acre.

But the volume of food across the landscape will create that diversity. The other thing you start to notice when you're observing landscape is you're looking at what deer prefer at certain times. Jim was asking me a, about a bunch of tree species and shrubs and what deer prefer or not, and Right.

I'm picking and choosing. I'm explaining. I'm gonna tell 'em, your age. Composition volume, all the, the importance. And he said did deer consume ironwood in your particular areas? They said, not normally, but in a moisture rich area adjacent to a dry area at certain intervals of times of the year, you may experience, sapling being consumed and it could be consumed during the growing season.

Which you would presume that wouldn't be necessarily aligned with that type of plant.[00:12:00] However, Ironwood was browsed. There's over 700 species of plants that deer browse. Their morphology, their genetic variation, the mineral content in that plant, that's going to dictate dear interest.

So observe those things and figure out on the landscape how to create more of those. When you find something that's of value like that we'll talk more about how to do that and how to change the mineral composition across your landscape. These are really key things. This is beyond. All these concepts re regenerative ag, and all I hear about is food plots and building soil.

Guys, that's not complicated. That's been going on since the 1930s and forties. In fact, the Indians were doing the same concepts hundreds of years ago. And it's unfortunate that we have not employed that through generations. It's nice that we can be efficient. I built my own roller crimper, right?

I have my own tools I'm using, Not cutting edge, [00:13:00] but spectral type tools to evaluate plant health. SAP analysis. I'm looking, I'm using EC meters, right? Salting the earth. And there's a lot of things that we can do to change the landscape and I'm thinking big picture on these properties.

The other thing I'm think is really important is thinking about when you're cutting timber, and I talked a little bit about this earlier. Thinking about the benefits hinge cutting to me without question, it takes so long to build shrubby cover on a property and a lot of times it's non-native. So we're removing a lot of that non-native cover, replacing it with hinge cuts, but recognizing hinge cuts don't offset the nutritional opportunities that you could get out of bury.

But the time it takes to employ and to hope shrubs are gonna develop in an area. May be too long for a lot of people and depending on the slope aspect, the type of species in area, they may never occur. So you may have to plant [00:14:00] in those particular areas and you're talking 5, 7, 10 years.

The society of instantaneous, needs and wants, doesn't allow for that. So hinge cutting and the strategy of hinge cutting is paramount. Now there's been consultants that have downgraded that philosophy, but I can tell you with 100% certainty, I don't recommend 10% of the time that people hinge cut hinge cutting is species specific time of year specific, but is absolute without question.

It creates. The opportune structure as long as it's cut correctly. I've had consultants come on properties that I've gone back to, and they've cut them very different than I would cut 'em. It's their own strategy and style. I see a lot of hinge cuts in various directions without purpose cutting off areas.

We want areas to be available to the deer. We want to have the areas where they're bedding being very specific. We're reverse engineering those areas. We're building the structure on it. We're using hinge cut as a means to control movement in all those areas. [00:15:00] I don't expect hinge cuts to live, in fact, unless I really want them to live.

I want the structure and I want that structure to a certain elevation, height and density, the size. It can be used as a means to segregate deer. To create kind of those zones where, the next plant life will end up developing. A lot of times to get deer interest in those areas will power trees or cut them off a certain height and that new growth, depending on the species, may be highly attractive.

It's pretty natural. Food sources and areas where deer wanna be, available Native forge in bedding areas is this kind of nutritional ecology that I think a lot of people don't necessarily understand. It takes a long time looking at plants to understand what deer want when. And a lot of it relates to water content.

Like I said earlier, the morphology, the degen genetic variation, thinking about, the grass preferences, which are minimal versus the four preferences, which are maximal, forb quality peaks out midsummer, and the maximum calcium, phosphorus, [00:16:00] those type of nutrients that are very important for health to the deer.

It's considering that in the equation, employing food plots with embedding huge concept. That's a concept from Jim. That's a concept that Jake Iry utilizes. I utilize. Planted food and bedding areas. A lot of clients won't recommend that they've not hunted deer in the capacity we have. They do not have the experience, I would say, per se, to recommend these things.

And it's having the right food based on the soil type. It's also thinking very preferentially to what deer want, but also to the soil preferences. So it's combining those two and having a big strategy. And I'm not trying to show throw shit on any consultants by any means. I was just impressed with Jim because, It's the first individual that I've met that actually met us.

And and when I say met us, it was a meeting of the minds. We looked at things extremely similar. His tact and his strategy was almost identical to ours. And I can't believe that, over 18 years of him developing his [00:17:00] strategy, And me starting about the same time, not professionally, but building kind of this pedigree of learning.

And we met in the same place. I had a lot of things to add. I, we have different techniques in how we do our layout, our physical layout. But generally speaking, a lot of the concepts are similar. I cut slightly different trick picking tree species different because of my eco region. I'm very familiar with certain tree species and their benefit.

And having that diversity within those areas. So if you have a logger come onto your property and I don't want to bash any loggers but you, if you have a forest or logger, come in and make recommendations. And I can only do this when I come to the client, when I do the rough layout for the client.

Some of this level of detail we don't get into cuz we just build the basic principles. But when we get to, level 200, 300, 400, these phases, we're gonna provide specific recommendations by tree type. And when you go in an area you can recommend. A certain tree species because of its benefit to, from an [00:18:00] economic standpoint or a habitat standpoint.

And then, break down that as a beneficial seed source, looking at its quality form, et cetera. And then employing, this ultimate strategy. It's not something you're gonna learn in a day, you're gonna learn in years. And then it's recognizing, how to copy and paste that across the landscape and picking those key areas.

Like I could look across the landscape, I can tell you where the deer are gonna bed based on tree species. But more specifically, I'm gonna look at the specific areas, the terrain what physically is in areas, if there's boulders, right? I'm dealing with a lot of areas that are very rocky.

That's obviously gonna ne negate interest. So it's thinking at these levels and thinking about the space created with the cutting, having the right spatial distribution of trees and connecting the dots. And again, some of these concepts are basic, but they're fundamental. And when we're trying to create movement we talked about this and multiple podcasts is creating these layers and the cake.

[00:19:00] And trying to find within those layers, intervals of very well-managed cover well-managed food, a combination thereof, and using that con to construct movement, that's really critical. So I think these are the basics with Jim. The other thing we talked about is cutting and how wind moves through the landscape.

One thing I want to recognize is everyone has different philosophies on this. I try to cut. In an area to benefit the deer from a wind standpoint. To create channels and movement. So when you're manipulating the biotic features, the trees, the shrubs you're doing for many purposes. One is to create sunlight opportunities to create that solar radiation benefit.

But the other is to create movement and flow of weather and wind being a part of the weather. And it's creating those opportunities to create flow, wind or otherwise. And one of the areas that we were looking in, I was explaining this to Jim and the client, was we had these two nodules or hubs and we had [00:20:00] a depression in the center, maybe 35, 40 foot elevation maybe 10 to 50 green slope that's meaningful.

I looked at the type of soil I reached on and grabbed the type of soil. I looked at the train and slope adjacent to those areas and any water sources. The flow and movement of that water source that'll all dictate temperature and these densities of air and how air layers itself within those particular areas.

And when you start stacking, we'll say different layers of air, you're gonna notice an e editing effect. So a lot of times we think it's thermals. Those areas that are very consistent are not affected by thermals unless you cut a significant amount of trees. So removing vegetation in those areas create a lot of disturbance.

And sometimes that will benefit or deter your hunting. It's thinking actually through cutting an area. And changing the b abiotic features as well. We can change terrain to make wind and movement of thermal, et cetera, through those areas differently. So it's employing all [00:21:00] these different tactics and thinking pretty intricately, like this is in a one two-dimensional thing.

This is a five a axis kind of strategy. And it's thinking about, the we'll just say the basic features, the terrain and layout and manipulating the vegetation. Cutting to benefit the deer creating flow and channels and placing the deer in the areas they wanna be. Creating the right amount of cover, connecting the dots, thinking about the soil features and facets, and then recognizing, how that matures and the maintenance of that.

And what I loved about Jim is Jim was picking out, little things. I'm big on foliar sprays now, and I told him how I'm getting away from any even natural amendments. I'm going to foliar sprays. My food plot strategy has evolved over the past couple years and, it's different than I think a lot of people are doing.

Again, I go back to this focus on food plots and this regenerative ag strategy. Folks, if you're just planting cover crops, it's really easy to [00:22:00] build biomass. You could just do, I've talked about like what food plots and seed type that I'm using, but if you just do that over and over again, understanding the maturity cycles.

Looking at the sequencing of plants and building biomass, you can take rock hard ground and make it soft. You can take rocky ground and build organic material. You can take clay soils and make them more porous. Porous, excuse me. You can make sandy soils and make them, more contracted.

You can fix all these things. It takes some time and effort to get there, but building soil in the landscape is huge, but thinking about that across your entire landscape, The last thing is I wanna talk about nutrient rich, dense foods, minerals. Thinking more about kind of these levels of calcium, sodium, phosphorus, the most deficient.

Nutrients outta the landscape are typically phosphorus, at least in larger quantities, phosphorus and sodium, without question, particularly the northeast on terrestrial sites. [00:23:00] Those are what are going to lack on the landscape. It's thinking about how to put, some meat behind the bones in those areas.

Phosphorus is huge for deer health and nutrition, metabolism, energy, you name it. Sodium. Same thing with metabolism. Processing foods is important absorption of nutrients. All those things go into picking, each one of these nutrients and understanding the benefit on the landscape.

Remember, adequate habitat leads to increasing the size of our deer, the size of the populations. The one thing I noticed on, across a lot of the properties that I'm working with in certain parts of New York State, cuz I'm based in New York state, but other areas is, the trigger control, the deer populations are beyond what's reasonable and, that's why you lack diversity in the landscape.

And if you're in that 50 to 60 to 70 deer per square mile, You've likely way exceeded your caring capacity unless you know you have these [00:24:00] large agricultural areas. Oh, one thing I wanna talk about is this is a topic that's very controversial and I guess I, I'm okay talking about this.

Is this whole, oh, they call it do factory. Oh my goodness. The concept of DO factory is absurd to me. In fact, it's a population management issue. If you don't recognize that you're one, the number of deer are outta sync. Two, that those prefer certain types of food and intervals that seasonally you can manage as bucks.

And they have different preferences. Other diets are different. A deer of magnitude of size. They're typically going to eat larger quantity of foods and lower quality, and those are completely the opposite. They're eating high quality. And thinking about your food plots in the summer months of building kind of the nutritional benefit.

But also the nutrient cycling. We talked earlier about organic material, thinking about [00:25:00] biomass, volume of, food for deer, but also concerning, the benefits to your soil and thinking through that all the way and picking plants that are maybe more herbaceous or legumes or whatever the case may be.

To improve the soil or to improve interest. So it's thinking about the foods that you're replacing. Not having food plots all season long and creating interest across your property. It's just gonna minimize the amount of deer that have interest in your property. If you're not wanting deer on your property for whatever reason, and it doesn't become a destination for them.

All season, I'm stealing deer all season. I want these bachelor groups of buck to see, the areas that I've created, the volume of food on my landscape. The diversity of food sources. These buffet type food plots, these buffet type food force that I'm creating. If they're not having that, they're not gonna be pulled in as they go hard horned as they shift their seasonal ranges.

You can shift. Deer, seasonal rages by building habitat, period, not a question. And [00:26:00] that's how I'm able to kill more mature deer on a small acreage that, that I per personally own. But going back to do factors real quick, that's a indicator of population issues more than likely. And it's having the right foods in place, in the right locations.

If you have poor food sources across. Your landscape and you're the only one providing adequate food sources, you're absolutely gonna attract deer. Will it be more preferential to doze versus bucks? It may be based on the type of food that you're selecting. So change your food sources. Play with things that are a little more likeness or have more cellulose or may not be necessarily attractive to deer that may push them away from those areas and allow them to integrate themselves into other.

Properties and, they go to your areas at a higher interval, but not at the frequency they may be when you are the only five star hotel in town. So that would be my strategy for do factories and I just something that I [00:27:00] wanted to suggest to everybody. All right. That's it. That's all I want to talk about.

I want to thank everybody for listening, following along with a podcast and I like doing these solo ones. I didn't have really agenda today. I just want to speak. Talk about things, talk about my experience with Jim. A lot of respect for him, a lot of respect for the cutting strategy.

It's nice to be able to look in the mirror and say to myself that, we're doing something, we're making differences on the landscape. And I think at this point, him and I are hand in hand kind of making a change. I think we're changing the philosophy. We're building, these great clients and giving the, this high level experience that I think other people.

Aren't able to do because they don't necessarily understand the same strategies that we're employing. We're being really strategic with our cunning and coming up with really good quality plans for folks. So I would suggest, reach out to both of us and try to get in our schedule and try to be.

Kind of a part of this change in movement. I want people getting to that [00:28:00] next level, that 400 level, where they're building these high quality properties that are way more predictable, hunting's much easier, and they're open-minded. They're listening to the changes, but having some ground base fundamental understanding, whether it's in science.

Really observatory experience that has a lot of pedigree to it. You've seen it over and over again. Also, that feedback, again, five star review and comment. I want more of that stuff. Like I said earlier, if you're gonna do that, I appreciate starting today. Once this comes out, I want people to start giving that feedback back to me.

And again, if it's not an Apple, it's one of those other platforms, please email me those, I will review those. I will. Thank you. I appreciate this. This podcast is all about giving back. That's the same thing with the hats and anything else that I can do for people.

I wanna do. I am very busy with my business. This is more business than I thought I would have a couple years ago. I am not taking any [00:29:00] interns or any other people for employment. I know people reach out to me all the time. It takes a long time to get this place, guys. I've been doing this for 20 years and I started a long time ago and I'm learning.

I'm continue to learn. That's what I like about. This business. And I appreciate people sharing their experiences because it makes me become more proficient in my job and it makes me be able to have better recommendations for my clients. And I know Jim feels the same way. Jake Ellinger, Todd Shippy, everybody's on this Perry rocky, every mark, everybody who's participating in this podcast, I think that they're listening to this.

They're learning. They're sharing and this is just a community of like-minded individuals trying to help the next generation of land managers. Thanks for following. This is John Teeter, whitetail Landscapes. See ya. Maximize your hunt is a production of whitetail landscapes. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you [00:30:00] maximize your hunt, check out whitetail