Northwoods Deer Tracking

Show Notes

On this episode of The Nomadic Outdoorsman Dan talks with Dr. Will Bartlett, an all around outdoorsman from Maine about his passion for the outdoors and primitive huntings styles like deer tracking in the snow.

Dr. Will Bartlett is a Gonstead Chiropractor currently practicing in North Yarmouth, Maine, helping individuals and families achieve the freedom in their lives that they want and know they can have. He believes that we can live exceptionally healthier, longer, and more fulfilling lives by getting in touch with our primal selves. As an avid outdoorsman with a passion for hunting, fishing and adventures in wild places, he quickly learned how we use to live, what we use to eat and what we use to value in our lives. The experiences that he's had hunting have greatly impacted his practice, how he helps people get well and take control of their health and their life. He knows that if you can reconnect with the historical and primal tradition of hunting, develop a connection with nature not only will you improve your health but you will revolutionize your life.

Show Transcript

Dan Mathews: [00:00:00] All right guys. Welcome to today's show and joining me on the show. Today I have got a chiropractor, an all around outdoor enthusiast and just a great guest. I'm really excited about this. Dr. Will Bartlett is joining me on today's show. We're gonna be talking all about his outdoor adventures up in Maine, what that looks like, how he got into hunting, all the different opportunities it offers, because every time I talk to somebody from up.

They just, they can't stop telling me how amazing of a place it is, and it's a place that I definitely have to get out and check out. Now, before we jump into the episode, I've gotta let you know I just did my first hunt on my own property, and I say, Just, it was this morning, so several hours ago I went and made a sit for coyotes.

We had actually gone, a couple friends of mine and I went to a different chunk of land just down the street where I've hunted for years. And we had a coyote just going nuts right in front of us, but before we could actually see, and right now we're not [00:01:00] using thermals or anything like that, so it was too dark.

We never ended up seeing it. Came back to my place and I was getting ready to take my kids to school. We had this dudes and donuts day. It was really exciting and I was like, man, I can make maybe one more sit. We get back to my house and I start glassing and there's a giant white coyote. I'm talking like the lightest colored coyote I've ever seen.

Actually, I take that back. I saw a big white. Years ago on another property, tried to hunt it multiple times, actually got shot opportunities at it and never connected. I don't know what it was. We called it the ghost. It was just so elusive. Anyways, we ended up calling this coyote in. My buddy got a shot at it.

We had three other coyotes that were working way out in the distance and nothing. So I don't know what happened to it. I know he. , we couldn't find it, and it was a bummer, but at the same time, it [00:02:00] was amazing to get out on my own property with a gun with a call. It was a lot of fun. So more stories like that to come.

Hopefully found a big buck rub yesterday. Gonna put some trail cameras out, man, it's just so exciting actually owning your own chunk of land. I don't say all of that to take away from today's episode because today's episode is amazing in and of itself. But I just gotta keep you guys updated on what's going on in everyday life.

So without chatting more, let's jump into today's episode.

Like he was doing things that were just badass. That was one of the coolest moments of my life. I was really scared, but knowing that Dan had the gun, I did have the rifle, like we would be okay.

All right guys. Welcome to today's show and joining me on the show today I have got another guest. It's been a while since I've had a guest from Maine, but [00:03:00] Dr. Will Bartlett, he is from Maine, born and raised, has a ton of hunting and fishing experience up there. And even just talking for a few minutes before the show I think this is gonna be a good one cuz he seems like the type of guy who likes to branch out into every type of outdoor adventure.

So Will, thanks for hopping on. Thanks a lot, Dan. Why don't you share with the listeners a little bit about yourself, maybe what you do in the outdoor space. I know there's probably too much to cover all in this intro, but we'll dive more into some of it. What do you like to do out there in Maine?

Dr. Will Bartlett: In Maine, man, we like to, I like to just use all four seasons for what they're worth, one of the reasons why I'm moving back here and love Maine and always have is just the change of the seasons. And I'll probably say that winter is pro is my favorite season, and that makes a lot of people cringe.

But there's just All the other things that you can't do in the summertime. You can do in the wintertime. Yeah. So every season is a new hunting season, fishing season. [00:04:00] Reason to get outside. And I think they all are great in their own way, but I love being out there, out in the woods, in the wintertime, especially ma'am.

So using all the seasons and taking it for what it's worth.

Dan Mathews: Yeah. The wintertime. Yeah. I feel like we're from. We're from like a small subset of people who enjoy the cold. People think we're crazy for it, but yeah, there's something about it. Being out there and watching everything kind of restart, I feel you have the thick foliage, you all spring, all summer, a good chunk of the fall and there's a lot of activity, a lot of moving around.

But in the winter, you kind of experience. A totally different landscape as soon as the deep winter hits. And absolutely, for me, it's magical. You put me out there in 20 below if I've got the right clothing, the right gear I'm golden man. I'd rather be out there and have to layer up and have to figure that out than I tell my wife.

I'm like, I can only take so many clothes off before it's illegal. You [00:05:00] can always layer up even more. That's right, man. .

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah, that's right. There's no bad weather. There's just bad preparation and not

Dan Mathews: enough, not the right gear. Yeah, for real. That's, that couldn't be any more true. So growing up in Maine, when did you start exploring the outdoors or figuring out these different hunting and fishing opportunities?

Was that something that you just grew up with in your family?

Dr. Will Bartlett: Not really man. Not per se. I. An adult onset hunter. , I guess you would call it. Yeah. I didn't develop an interest into hunting until pretty recently. We can go more into that if you like, but as a growing up here as a kid, I fished, but I wasn't in a super gungho outdoor family.

I played sports and had a lot of fun. We would go on hikes and stuff from the summertime, so being outside was a regular occurrence, but really. Being hardcore fishing, hunting every different season was not not in the repertoires growing [00:06:00] up, but I did have some family members that were hunters, but my dad and my parents were not.

That's just not something that I really learned in develop an interest until. Four or five years

Dan Mathews: ago. Okay. What was it that kind of sparked your interest in it, or what made you wanna start doing more of this stuff?

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah, it's, I was oddly enough going to chiropractic school in Southern California.

And it's it's strange, but living in the concrete waste, Of SoCal and the city. And I knew going out there, I was never gonna love it or want to be there for the rest of my life. I went out there to go to school and for my profession. But being out there Helped me fall in love and really appreciate what Maine always had to offer.

So it was being out there, away from nature, away from the outdoors in the woods and opportunities that I'm, that I have now living in Maine that really sparked that interest, believe

Dan Mathews: it or not. No, that [00:07:00] makes sense, man. I can feel that when I go to big cities, we're not from a big city.

They call it like a really big small town or a really small city. Yeah. Here in Springfield. And when I would travel different places, I mean going up to Kansas City, going up to New York City, it just felt different, like you felt disconnected from the natural world almost altogether. Yeah.

Yeah. And it's crazy being in new. . You see how many people crave that and desire it because you go to Central Park and it's just loaded all the time. Yeah. And people just have to have that connection with nature. Yeah. And I don't think a lot of people could put it to words why, but there's just something inside each of us that.

yearns for that. That longs for it. And yeah, I just couldn't do a big city. We just moved out to the country yesterday and I'm like in heaven. Every time I pull up I'm looking at the land and I'm like, what all can happen on this land? I see rabbits running around, just walking around, like [00:08:00] the kids, getting them outside.

There's gonna be so many benefits to it and we'll talk about a lot of that here in this episode. Yeah. What. What season are you in? I guess right now? It's dead of winter, so I would imagine most of the seasons are over, but probably fishing and trapping, maybe ice fishing.


Dr. Will Bartlett: So right now, just statewide Bobcat season is right up. Is coming right up. If it's not open already, we're okay. Just, we're just got into February. I know Bob I think the beginning of February, maybe the tail end of Jan, January. I'm not sure. Bobcat season when you can hunt 'em with dogs.

Which is really cool. Oh, sweet. So that's happening right now. Obviously hard water fishing. Ice fishing right now, which is probably the most widely Participated season at the moment. And then you can trap beavers. All of our other fur animals are over at the end of December, but then beavers stick around until, I think it's mid-April.

You can trap beavers. Okay. But you won't see [00:09:00] a lot of people trapping beavers right now just cuz the ice is so thick. Yeah. So you either see people trapping beavers typically like earlier season or come March and April when the ice is a lot thinner and it's a little bit easier to get out.

Dan Mathews: Yeah, I can only imagine.

You guys are so far. The ice there has to be just insanely thick. You say that, man, but we've had a real lackluster winter

Dr. Will Bartlett: so far. And real mild yeah, just mild, not a lot of snow winter so far, especially down south here. So ice fishing and in hard water fishing has been extremely iffy up until the last week, or.

Yeah, extremely man. We've had like March weather through January and just have not had that cold snap that gives you like, two, two inches of ice overnight. Yeah. Until this weekend we're gonna have a couple, we have a 15, 20 blow couple weekend coming up, and so everyone's Stoked about that at the moment to just harden up everything that has been iffy so far.

So we should be [00:10:00] good after for the rest of the season, but it's already, February,

Dan Mathews: man. Yeah. The, so it's awesome to see people who aren't from like an ice fishing community or d aren't even used to seeing ice frozen lakes or rivers. It's a weird thing. It is. It's super odd and I didn't think it was odd because I grew up doing it.

Like they'd pull semis out on the ice, unload right snowmobiles and have snow mobile races out on the lakes. . My wife, when she first found out about this, she was losing her mind. She's no, you're not gonna walk out on that. And I'm like, yeah, I'm definitely going to. And my mother-in-law was like, if you ever take my daughter out on the ice, I will kill you.

And I'm like, Hey, listen, we're not going out on a thin sheet of ice. And then I say that this year we went up for deer season in November. To Wisconsin, we pull into my mom's home hometown. There's no ice on the water. The next morning there was ice and there were ice [00:11:00] shacks out and people ice fishing.

And my wife is that was just open water yesterday. I'm like, yes. See, I wouldn't do that. I would make sure it's plenty thick. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, people even just out on chunks on the bank and they'll be fishing ice and there's open water on the far side. Wow. Wow. And I'm not that guy, but I definitely like to ice fish.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Will Bartlett: It's cool. I was out there la I was out there two nights ago with a buddy Cusk Fish. , which is basically freshwater cod. You catch 'em at night pretty much with dead bait on the bottom. It's a lot of fun. But to be out there at night in the wintertime, you can look pretty crazy.

Dan Mathews: Yeah, I, there's just something about that community of it, like I feel like the ice fishing community is closer knit than those guys ripping around on bass boats yelling at each other, like creeping up on each other's spots.

Yeah. Yeah. Some towns, they have whole festivals based off of ice. Oh

Dr. Will Bartlett: yeah. You're from Wisconsin, so you know the

Dan Mathews: Derby life. Oh yeah, absolutely. I wanna, [00:12:00] I want to go up and do the sturgeon spearing at some point. They do that every year. And that, talk about a community, it's . I don't know if you guys used to take your deer to check stations and like you'd go look in the bed of trucks at other people's stuff, you'd be like, oh, that's awesome, man.

That's a huge deer. They do that for sturgeon. They have hanging poles outside of restaurants. Everybody goes to these places and eats. They play polka music in your shacks, and they give updates on who's caught what on the radio. Like I love the community of hunting and that's what I try to tell people about, There's this culture now where it's man, get out.

Do it on your own in the middle of nowhere by yourself. That's fun for a little bit. But I love the community behind hunting, fishing, and outdoor stuff and then being able to get family involved also.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah. That's where a lot of the fun is. It's just all comradery, man. That's one of the big reasons why we all do it.

Dan Mathews: Oh yeah. What what have you noticed? So you were in orange. , [00:13:00] you realize the need for the outdoor space, and then you started branching out and experiencing these different type of fishing and hunting opportunities. What has that done for you? What major benefits have you seen from that? Or what would you maybe pitch it to somebody who might be, stuck in their one week a year?

They go out deer hunting, they're thinking about branching out and doing other things, but they haven't quite done it yet. What would you pitch to.


Dr. Will Bartlett: they were looking forward all year to their one week of hunting or fishing in their one trip or two trips a year I'd ask 'em why they're waiting to live their life that they wanna live, first of all, You'd be surprised. One of the things that I learned was how much of an opportunity you have right in your back door, unless you're really in the city.

But usually there's plenty of opportunities for you to have within an hour's [00:14:00] drive wherever you're living. You don't have to necessarily make a long journey. Yeah. Somewhere. So you can get outside and start doing things. Right now, every you. Every once a weekend, every weekend, . What I would say in a pitch though is it generates a sense of community, like you were talking about.

You get, you acquire a lot of friends in your sense, you're just community gross with people that you value spending time with and the those people value doing the things that you. . So that comradery aspect and the community aspect is just huge with especially in today's world. People are locked in their home or working from home or desk jobs.

They don't, they might talk to two or three people throughout a routine day. And we need that community in our lives. That interaction with other human being, for our health and everything. That would be one. And then the other would just be the lessons fulfillment that you learned from learning the [00:15:00] skillset of being outdoors men or woman, learning how to track animals, learning how to catch 'em, getting on their frequency and figuring out what makes them tick.

It is just one of the most fulfilling experiences and you really just. , you really learn to appreciate the beauty of nature that way. Yeah. And it just increases your life, your amount of life that you can live when you have that appreciation and that perspective. I think,

Dan Mathews: yeah, I think that being, just being outdoors and being connected to nature on a deeper level does something to us.

And Oh yeah. As human beings, we've always lived off the land. It's been a fairly recent concept. You live indoors, you never really see where your food comes from. You're not participating in the harvest of your food. And you do see a lot more people getting back to that trying to grow their own garden or make their own gardens farm fresh eggs.

You see a lot of people, the cage free range food that they want to consume.[00:16:00] When you can actually be an active participant in the food chain and not just like the end user of it, it's, it does something to you. I don't, I wish I knew the exact stat or the quote, but I saw a study that was done and it was about being barefoot outdoors, and actually having your feet make contact with the soil.

and it's some weird chemical thing that it does in your body and it changes it. And I might be butchering this a little bit. No you're not. But in hearing about those studies, I'm like, man, there's something to it. And I've got friends that they literally, if they don't have to have shoes on, they're probably walking around barefoot all the time.

Yeah. And I look at it and I'm like, man, I'm a. I'm a woo, like I take my shoes off and they're walking around and grapple and I'm like, dang, this hurts. But yeah, there's just something about being connected on a deeper level to nature and the fact that all sparked for you or you started realizing that coming from a city.

That's awesome and hopefully listeners of this, [00:17:00] take that away if nothing. Yeah.

Dr. Will Bartlett: It all happened for me at the perfect time. I was really coming into my own as and figuring out the type of clinician

Dan Mathews: And

Dr. Will Bartlett: Teacher really as a doctor, were teachers that I was gonna be for my future patients and figuring out the philosophy that I wanted to practice with.

And so it was that kind of stage in my career, early on in my career, and then perfect timing with that and where I was living and feeling like that disconnect, that deprivation. And then I was on Netflix one weekend and I a show called me Eater popped up, and this was when it was like the fourth or fourth season.

And so binge watched Steve Ella and me Eater, and then it just cascaded from there, yeah. And then just the passion and the desire and the interest and the understanding of. it all meant cuz he's really good at portraying what that, [00:18:00] what hunting really is from a raw perspective.

And it was just that perfect timing and melding together at that time period in my life. And then it just had a huge impact on me and how I practice and how I guide patients and to help so they can take control of their health. It's a big piece. .

Dan Mathews: Yeah. That's cool.

And meat eater, they have done such a phenomenal job. I'm glad of all the TV shows in the outdoor space that have taken off and have been elevated to a new level, it's been meat eater because they really do, they paint it in a great light. Yeah. They don't just highlight the kill shot. It's the whole journey and what it means not only for you, for your health, for conservation, for future generations. . And then right on top of that, they teach you how to make some pretty tasty meals. Yeah, they do to, to just, it really, every single step of the whole process of a season, whether it's hunting or fishing, starting out with being on top of it, getting your dates lined up for [00:19:00] applying for a tag.

If you're hunting a state that's a. To the preparation, getting all of your gear together, making sure it's in working order. Like there, I feel like there's mental and physical benefits from preparing for season to final consumption of the food and Oh, absolutely. And I think there's a lot of people really, everybody could benefit from learning those lessons along the way and just doing one season, do one season, and if it's just I got absolutely nothing from.

Call me a liar, send me some hate mail on Instagram. That's right. But I'm telling you, 99.9% of people are gonna take something great away from it.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah, exactly. You're the intangible lessons that you learn along the way, aside from if you do or don't get to harvest an animal is just they're priceless, ma'am.

And that's what it's all about. and, but you wouldn't know that unless he did it, oh yeah. You have to get out there, you have to experience it. But those lessons are

Dan Mathews: they're priceless. Yeah. [00:20:00] And even if it's not for a non hunter, if it's for somebody who maybe has just got stuck in the rut hunting the same thing over and over, like the nomadic outdoorsman, the whole reason I created this podcast.

Was to share my adventures, but also to open people's eyes up to the different opportunities that are out there, right? Because if you would've told 13 year old me, two seasons into deer hunting, never actually harvested a deer at that point. that one day I'd get super excited about frog gigging, like catching bull frogs in nasty water in cattle ponds.

I'd be like, what are you talking about? That is one of my favorite times of the year is frog season, and it's the camaraderie. It's you're staying up late, you're walking around these nasty cattle ponds, gigging frogs, or catching 'em by hand or in ann net or whatever. And I find myself, every time I experience a new type of outdoor opportunity, I just get hooked.

[00:21:00] And my wife probably would like me to stop experiencing new ones because of , how much time it takes. And there's always multiple seasons going on, but like mushroom hunting and yeah, canoeing, kayaking, cliff jumping, you name it. There's just so many fun things in the outdoors that people are missing out.

and to have that open mind and say, Hey, try everything once you might find your new favorite hobby. . Yeah.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah. And all that takes energy, man. Just to get into one of those things at a time takes a lot of energy. It's a lot of exercise that's involved with those. Yep. There's a lot of things that are embedded within every season, every type of hunt, every, foraging, whatever you're trying to get into.

There's all these benefits that really to bring us back to our roots as a species and really help people tap into their primal d n a that is being lost in an exceedingly fast pace.

Dan Mathews: Yeah. The connection between [00:22:00] people in nature and people in specifically pulling their food from nature hunting, fishing, gathering, it's one of the longest standing things that we as a human species have ever done.

Yeah. I talk to people about that and people who are like, , why do you love it so much? Why are you so passionate about it? Why do people get hooked on this and spend so much money on it? And I'm like, aside from reproducing, this is like our longest standing thing that we've done our hobby career. I don't know how you wanna put it, but we have done this as a ra human race longer than we've done anything else.

That's right. That's right.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah. I think it's, I think it's There's something about putting a fishing pole in someone's hand, and there's something about it when that rod bends or when there's weight on the under end, other end of that pole that literally triggers.

Dan Mathews: Like a genetic

Dr. Will Bartlett: sequence in somebody.

It's embedded [00:23:00] in our D n a, that I don't think there's a human being on the face of the planet that wouldn't have an increased heart rate holding a pole that all of a sudden had a weight at the end of it. . There's just something about that. There's something about hunting, following animals, being outside of nature that is just so deep in us that it's a really fulfilling experience.

Dan Mathews: Yeah. And it's not very often, fishing's a great example cuz hunting, you don't necessarily make contact with the animal while it's alive. Your arrow leaves your string your bullet leaves your rifle, or the shot leaves your shotgun. With fishing, you actually get to encounter this animal while it's alive in its native habitat, and it all starts with that line, Z, the pole bending, and it's just oh my gosh, I am connected now to a live animal.

and there was something spiritual about it, I swear. If you could do, if they could just hook your body up to all of your nerve [00:24:00] endings and sensory receptors and the chemicals and they could just test all of that as you're out doing one of these activities, it would probably be pretty close to a hard narcotic, like something crazy.

Yeah. Like the amount of adrenal in that rush. Yeah, I

Dr. Will Bartlett: definitely would. Man, you've nailed it with that. It definitely

Dan Mathews: would. That's wild, in, in fishing.

Dr. Will Bartlett: But

Dan Mathews: then that's why I love deer

Dr. Will Bartlett: tracking too, man. I don't know. You've had other people from Maine on the podcast talk about following deer up north in the big woods and stuff.

And I think that style of hunting is, I. Not very fruitful. It's super hard. It's extremely physical. It's extremely low percentage as far as harvest percentage, but it is probably one of the most primal ways to hunt that that I know about, tracking and following an animal until you get close enough to see it.

That's just, that's fun, man. That's just so much.

Dan Mathews: That would be wild. I've, I've tracked animals before with zero success and it hasn't been like a [00:25:00] large scale track. Yeah. Like I'll follow 'em and be like, Hey, I'm gonna get over this ridge and see if I can see 'em. Oh no I can't. Oh yeah.

That has got to be one of the most wild ways to hunt. That's what you

Dr. Will Bartlett: come to Maine for, Dan. That's what you have to come

Dan Mathews: to Maine for, man. I'm gonna do it. Is it are non-resident. Can I get a non-resident over-the-counter license for deer? Yep. Dude, I'm doing it this winter. It's gonna happen.

Yep. Or this fall. The hardest part

Dr. Will Bartlett: About it is you're weather dependent. It's the probably one of the most weather dependent forms of hunting there is. Tracking, Unless you're a dry land tracker, which is, another beast in itself. And there's people out there that do that.


Dan Mathews: not me. I wish I had that skill. Yeah.

Dr. Will Bartlett: But it's so weather dependent man. But It happens. It's just it's cool. You get to see you get to see animals that would probably never be seen if you didn't have it. Big old, smart bucks get big and old and smart for a reason and you just have a chance to [00:26:00] catch up to critters.

That would probably never be seen by a human being and it's a really cool.

Dan Mathews: All right, guys. If you've been listening to the podcast, I'm sure you've heard me talk about the helicopter hog hunt that I did down in Texas. Now, I went down there with rogue Texan Outfitters and Landon and Brandon, the owners put us on the animals.

We killed 150 pigs in 19 coyotes, just from the air. On top of that. We went out thermal hunting at night and got up close and personal. Two more hogs. I didn't have to worry about bringing guns or ammunition because all of that was provided for. And it is to this day, the most action packed day of hunting I've ever had.

I stand by what I've said in the past, and that's that helicopter hog hunting is the funnest thing that you can do with pants on. In addition, they offer Sandhill crane hunts, and predator calling. So if you're looking for the most exciting hunt of your life and something that you're gonna want to come back and do year after year, go check out rogue and book your hunt today.[00:27:00]

Yeah the amount that I would imagine you'd learn about all sorts of hunting by tracking after a fresh snow is probably, yeah. You probably can't calculate it or, yeah. Really put it to words, how much you're gonna learn if you're observing. There's probably people who just put their head down and they follow the tracks, but if you're looking at the terrain features and changes that these animals are using to move from one spot to another.

Yep. I'm sure there's a lot of consistency in things that you're. that, hey, these bucks, they like to come up and they like to bed on these knobs where their back is to the wind they're facing downhill so that they can see everything in front of them. They can smell what's coming behind them.

They're, they're using the train in a really intelligent way and so to like, to track and take note. I'd be documenting everything. I'd have a journal where I'm just like, this Buck did this buck did this. Yeah, this one to cover here.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah. It's funny you say that. I'm a novice deer.

I'm a [00:28:00] novice hunter. Probably I'm a novice. General, but real novice deer whitetail tracker. But in the two seasons that I've been able to get on a, get out there in the deer woods and track for probably a total of, I'd say eight to 10 days on snow, so far, like true tracking days, man, the amount of knowledge you one day on snow will probably teach you an entire season of dry, bare ground.

Bang as far as knowledge and you think that you're, like you said, you think you're okay. There's, you look at the topography and they're gonna, there's a good chance he's gonna bet at the top of this knob with some old soft wood with his back, turned to the wind or up against the boulder, like you said, being able to look down, look at his backtrack.

And then my first day on snow this past season, and I think it was the second week in November, I got on a a pretty nice track and it just went straight. a mountain didn't stop or anything. And so I thought that I was a ways behind. It was like nine o'clock, 10 o'clock in the [00:29:00] morning. So it's like deer's moving and his stride was really long, so it's like I got a lot of ground to make up.

Yeah. Showed no signs of feeding. They usually zigzag in and out and start to feed, and then after they feed, they kind of bed down. Like some of those signs that you were talking about that I've just learned. From talking to people and being out in the woods, this deer went straight up a hardwood bowl going up a mountain and you could see 150 yards through the hardwoods and did not deviate off course an inch, and then boom, I got to his bed.

Dang. And. Running tracks out of his bed. So like this, deer didn't do anything to show that he was gonna bed down or feed or do absolutely anything, but just keep going over the ridge in three miles. That's why I was going along so fast. And yeah, I pop up on his bed and I was like, you gotta be kidding me, man.


Dan Mathews: no. Yeah, that's, and he never got caught to say the least. Are, [00:30:00] so when you're, what do you call that type of hunting? Is there like a specific term for it?

Dr. Will Bartlett: Deer

Dan Mathews: tracking. Okay. Big woods hunting. So when you're deer tracking, are you doing it with a bow or With a rifle? Rifle. Okay. I was gonna say, I can only imagine , the challenge of making, like being successful with a rifle is insane, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be to get within Bow range.


Dr. Will Bartlett: don't know of anybody. Currently that tracks during rifle season. Okay. Like in November with a bell, our statewide bell season is October, and you can hunt in certain areas as early as se mid-September with a bell. But once November comes around and there's ch cold weather and there's chances of those like 2, 3, 4, 5 inch snowstorms, pretty much everybody especially up north in the big woods and the mountains and stuff, [00:31:00] it's.

It's gun season okay.

Dan Mathews: What, yeah. Do you know have you researched at all the success rates of that type of hunting? It's gotta be, it's gotta be fairly low. First you have to find the track. That's the first part of it. And then, To have it be a fresh enough track to actually put the time into Right.

And then to be able to cover the ground while it's vetted or while it's feeding and not Yep. Not really suspicious of anything going on. Yeah. In the northeast,

Dr. Will Bartlett: you probably know better than I do, Dan the Northeast is, I believe, statistically speaking, the hardest place to hunt Whitetails in the country.

The northeast nor New England, Northeast being like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and then upstate New York. You know that Aack, you'd classify as that too. And then the far, the more remote you get, the farther north and into the mountains you get in those various states, the harder it even gets from there.

So I don't know the statistics [00:32:00] particularly, but I'm pretty sure New England as a region. 10% in that range, like harvest rate, success rate. And so I think if you go up to Northwestern Maine where the deer population is, one deer per square mile, in some places, you know it's even lower. But then soon as you get that tracking snow, Dan, then you're your chances shoot up over.

When you can get good snow. Yeah. And if it's quiet snow, like without a crust on it, or if it's enough snow to cover the crunchiness of the leaves that fell that fall. Then your chances go up pretty high for that day,

Dan Mathews: Man. Oh, I'm like, I'm just like pumped. I want to get out and do this so bad.

Yeah. Yeah. It sounds incredible. And I have very limited ex experience with like fresh snow tracking for anything. I tried to do a mountain lion hunt in Utah also very Oh, cool. So dependent. It's not impossible to dry ground them with dogs, [00:33:00] but the guy that I went with, my buddy dusted, he said, Hey, if we get a fresh snow, say it starts snowing at sunset the day before and we can get out the next morning, the odds of us finding a good track are probably 95%.

And if we find a good track, the dogs are gonna treat that cat. And I'm like, oh, amazing. I'm out there for the full week, not a snowflake. Falls the entire time I'm out there. And I'm like, dang it. And we got on some old tracks, we got on some really cool tracks actually, where we can watch the GPS from the dogs, where they're going.

You know how they scatter out? They all come back together, they follow a track for a while, then they branch out, try to find it again. And so that was really cool, but very snow dependent like you. I can't imagine that feeling when you're hiking and all of a sudden you go boom, fresh track, like it's time to go.

Yeah, and it's definitely one of the most unique ways I've ever heard of whitetail hunting. I didn't know about it until [00:34:00] maybe two years ago. I didn't even know that it was a thing.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Oh man, Dan, oh, you gotta come do it. You gotta come up.

Dan Mathews: I'm all about, I'm telling you, I'm making it happen this year.

I'm gonna come up there and I'm gonna do, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to track down a deer and obviously trying to figure out the weather. It might be one of those things where instead of doing a family trip out of it, I might just have to fly up as soon as I see a snowstorms coming because otherwise, Taking the whole family up there and then sitting around while there's no snow, that might not be as fun.

But when you're doing lion hunting out in Utah,

Dr. Will Bartlett: were you riding there's no snows, but would you be riding around in like a snowmobile or ATV looking for tracks

Dan Mathews: and stuff? So we were riding, he's got like his Toyota Tacoma all tricked out with a dog box in the back. And then, yeah, basically we were just rolling down the roads, like these pretty intense four by four trail.

and just head out the window looking at the ground. Yeah. Trying to find any sign of a. and it, [00:35:00] it made it even worse that it was freezing out and so the ground was frozen. So even where there was dirt, you couldn't see fresh tracks. Yeah. But that's all we were doing is just cruising, looking for tracks.

Is that what you guys do when you first try to cut a track is right around on side-by-sides or four-wheelers or snowmobiles? Pretty mu yeah.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Driving around in trucks and just regular vehicles because the logging roads up here. Passable, with your normal road truck. There's people out in ATVs for sure.

But the woods up here in Maine, in northern New England is like that industrial kind of forest, where it's it's big woods and it's continuous forest, but it has, Dirt roads meandering everywhere and dirt roads that are new that are like main veins and then dirt roads that are like 40 years old and really grown in.

So depending on, when they cut or when they logged that particular area. So we have those to kind of branch out and to just be able to get places fast, to get different to different areas of the woods that way. Yeah. And then you you get out [00:36:00] there early at dark and you just drive around slowly looking for a track that crosses the road.

And then if it gets so late in the morning that. You don't see one in the vehicle on the roads then typically people will get on foot and go to an area where they'll know there's good sign or be, or areas where they've seen pockets of deer and stuff and just get in the woods and wait to cross one then.

Okay. So yeah, but you gotta be ready to put on like 10 miles. Man.

Dan Mathews: I'm all about it. I am all about it. I'll put in the work. That's the one thing I like to, I like the challenge. I like the physical c. And I was gonna mention this earlier, is like that has to be one of the most rewarding types of hunt once it's successful.

Yeah. Yeah. Because people are like, oh man, I like when I just go out there and shoot something. And I'm like, okay, but. answer this, would you feel more accomplished if you went out there and worked for it and it took you five, six days and you actually successfully harvested a deer, right? Or does it sound better [00:37:00] to go to a pond and or to go to, somebody's stocked private pond and just drop your line in and you catch a fish every single time?

What's more rewarding? Yeah, that might be more action, but at the end of the day, you don't feel like you did anything when you go and catch all these farm. When you have to walk down a whitetail, there, there can't be a whole lot of more accomplishing feelings than that. I Oh man, dude, I'm telling you, I'm so pumped for this.

Like I, it's a primal way to hunt

Dr. Will Bartlett: Dan. Yeah. Gotta be one of the most primal ways to

Dan Mathews: hunt, yeah. In, have you noticed that, like primal progression in your own hunting journey? Or are you still Hey, I'm figuring it out. And then maybe eventually I'll, I don't even know if it's pro progressing to a more primal way.

Like I see people, they start with a rifle, they then go to a bow. Yeah. And it's like we just wanna make it more and more difficult and more and more back to our roots. Because it

Dr. Will Bartlett: gets, [00:38:00] for people who are experienced, it gets less about the kill and more about the hunt for. and so we, yeah, I see that all the time.

And I'm getting into our trees this year. Hopefully this fall we're gonna be getting bows or this spring getting bows so we can do that cuz that'll be just extend our season that much more. But with the tracking not so much. There's a lure to, in a, there's just something about main rifle season man in November.

Yeah. That. There's just something about it to me that it has a I can I can see if I did a western hunt with an elk a rifle hunt, and got a couple of them, did a couple trips out there, and was able, lucky enough to get two or three and okay, I've been there, done that.

Let's focus on an early season. Archery, elk, yeah. And really bump it up a notch, but, I don't see myself doing that after a few successful tracking jobs. I feel like the tracking with a [00:39:00] rifle in November will be something that I'll always do.

Dan Mathews: Something about it. Probably it's probably that culture up there too.

Like it is the same way I could go back to my hunting property in Wisconsin that I've got access to and I could go up there and archery hunt and probably have more success rattling in bucks. Trying to pattern them even during the rut, just having those encounters, they would, yeah, they would probably increase, but there's something about the culture behind.

Nine day gun season, like gun deer season in Wisconsin is a religious holiday. That's right. And it's hard to branch away from that. I always say that's one of the se that's one of the hunts that I won't miss throughout the year, no matter what other opportunities come up. Like I will be at the Wisconsin deer season.

Yeah. . And so that's it. It's cool to hear like nationwide, there's different hunts like that. Some of them have nothing to do with deer, although deer hunting makes up the majority of hunting in the United States. But to [00:40:00] see the different cultures and how they really gather around these specific hunts is pretty cool.

Yeah, it is. Yep. It's

Dr. Will Bartlett: definitely in our culture up here in Maine and especially Northern Maine. I, I wouldn't know it, I don't know that aspect of it, cuz again I'm an adult onset hunter. But it's a de that type style of hunting is pretty deeply. Embedded in, in, in communities in, in Maine.

And it's a very generational thing. And tracking a deer in Maine is like that ultimate trophy, I'd say even more so almost than a moose man. Just cuz the moose is a lot of luck with the lottery. It's yeah the deer is something you can do every season with your hunting license, like you're given a butt buck tag.

With your state, with your hunting license. So it's like that's probably the biggest trophy we have in Maine. But that's just my opinion. Yeah.

Dan Mathews: So yeah. But imagine doing that for a moose. Imagine tracking a moose.

Dr. Will Bartlett: That would be epic.[00:41:00] That would be epic. That'd

Dan Mathews: be insane. Cuz now you don't, not only are you tracking something, obviously AM moose is a much bigger target.

The other part of it, which might not be as rewarding, but maybe more exhilarating, is that they're not scared of you. Or at least, yeah. The moose that I've encountered, they, they couldn't care less. They're like, dude, I'm way bigger than you. I'm not worried about you at all. , But on the flip side, come rut, it's like they get aggressive man, and they will, they'll charge anything.

I've heard stories of train conductors, they'll blow the whistle at a moose on the tracks during the rut and it puts its head down and runs No way, man, in front the train. Yeah. Wow. They're like, they're just not scared of anything. Yeah. I've seen 'em attack vehicles. I've seen them push over trees.

Attack dogs. Yeah. Like they just don't. Most places, they don't have natural predators anymore. They've done so many moose reintroductions, but not big predator introductions that they just have nothing to be afraid of. Going after an [00:42:00] animal like that is

Dr. Will Bartlett: so fun, man. To go on a moose hunt and know that you're hunting that caliber of a, of an animal is just, that's what it's all about.

Dan Mathews: That's super cool. Oh, yeah.

Dr. Will Bartlett: In Maine, unfortunately the moose season is not super high chance of snow. Oh. If any, so it's before deer season. It's before whitetail season. It's in September and October, and there's, I think there's like a special cow moose hunt. Now that's like the first week in November.

But it would be, that would be another epicon to do on snow

Dan Mathews: for sure. Now remind me, I, I should know the answer to this, putting in for moose preference points, but with a moose, if you do get a moose tag, is it specific to a season? Like it has to be archery, muzzle loader, or rifle? Or can you get does your moose tag cover the whole spectrum?

Can you go out with any. . So there's two Moose Seasons

Dr. Will Bartlett: in May. Now there's two weeks. Each season is a week. And when you sign up to, for the [00:43:00] lottery to get drawn, you. Put your preference in zones. We call 'em wildlife Management Districts or zones here in Maine. Okay. I believe there's 27, 28 of 'em.

I could, don't hold me to that, but there's a couple of dozen different zones. And so you put your preference in I want a hunt zone for whatever reason, because you have a camp there or cabin or whatever. And then my next, my second pick would be, . And so you get, when you get, if you get chosen based on that preference of zones.

And then you get chosen for the first week or the second week. And typically the, from what I know the second week is like more peak rut activity.

Dan Mathews: Oh, okay. Cool. Yeah, they're wild animals, man. I feel like it'd be so cool. I think if I could do any. Yeah,

Dr. Will Bartlett: you say that, you say your moose hunt's, the bucket list hunt for you, man.

I've heard you say that a few times. It

Dan Mathews: I just I think it would be cool to hunt moose in different areas. We've got the Cyrus Moose out [00:44:00] in Colorado. Yeah. Then you've got like the Alaskan moose or the Yukon moose or Yeah. Whatever the subspecies is up in Alaska, in the Yukon of Canada.

And then out in Maine, what is it? Is it a main moose? Canadian moose I believe. Oh, Canada Moose is a Canadian. Okay. Believe so. I actually don't really

Dr. Will Bartlett: know much about the different subspecies of moose.

Dan Mathews: Yeah. Yeah. I think it'd just be cool to have one of each and the meat from those is unbelievable, man.

There's nothing better than wild moose meat.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah. It's high quality stuff.

Dan Mathews: Yeah. So what's next for you? What do you hope to branch out and do this year? I know you mentioned getting a bow and starting the archery thing. . Just be warned, you're gonna be completely hooked from the get . It's that's what I'm, that archery takes hold of you in a different way.

I don't know what it is about it, but there's something that you just have to be so fine tuned and you really have to get in a rhythm of shooting and practicing and knowing where your [00:45:00] anchor points are and going through that mental checklist before you release the arrow. Whereas like rifle, in a day or two, you could basically teach somebody to shoot a rifle.

Long range. Yep. And be fairly accurate. Yep. With archery, you have to, it's muscle memory and you really have to get in that rhythm. So just be ready man. Be ready to be hooked. And I wouldn't be surprised if a couple years from now you're talking about tracking deer with a bow. , Dan. It's already hard enough man.

I dunno if I would track deer with a bow. You're like, this is pretty, I'm gonna get a few under my belt. . Yeah. You don't need to make it any harder. And then we got muzzle loader. We have a week

Dr. Will Bartlett: or two of muzzle loader too, depending on where you are in the state. And that's an added, that's an, sh shooting with a 50 cow.

Musket is an added this is an added diff level of gif difficulty as it is. So going for a bow, I'd have to get really good.

Dan Mathews: Yeah. It's wild. People do crazy stuff like that. There's people out there shooting bears with blow guns now. And [00:46:00] yeah the level of difficulty, there's something intriguing about it and I, like I said, I think the challenge is just more rewarding once you actually Oh, it's, and is the

Dr. Will Bartlett: physical challenge too, like you were saying, like you gotta be.

You can't be outta shape. If you want to track a whitetail in New England or Maine, you can't you got, you ha You can't be afraid of being out in the woods and being alone and maybe getting lost or having to spend a night out there. You gotta have your stuff together. And you have to be in shape and you have to be willing to put in that physical effort and have the capacity to do it.

And I think that's, for me, that's why I got hooked to it and yeah, why it's so special. But it's not for everybody and that's okay. But if you can do it and if you have interest at all, it's like you said, I'll get hooked on the archery. You'd get hooked on that too.

Dan Mathews: See, the adventure is so intriguing to me.

Like you just said, you can't be afraid to get, you might get lost. You might have to stay the night out there. I'm [00:47:00] like, dude, what? Think about just the memories and the stories that you would have walking away from a, see, that's type two fun,

Dr. Will Bartlett: Dan. It is. Yeah. A lot of people would think that's, that's type

Dan Mathews: two fun.

It's the greatest form of That's fun. Yeah, that's right. That's

Dr. Will Bartlett: the type of fun that you'd tell your grandkids about and all your friends for the next generation, that's type two fun. .

Dan Mathews: See, I think there's even I wanna start a type three fund, which I feel like is the most accomplishing and rewarding, which is basically type two fun, stretched out over a long period of time, completely unsuccessfully, and then all of a sudden it happens

So like when you put in the work for an extended period of time. That is type three fun. And that's what I'm all, not that I want to be unsuccessful for years and years. But it just adds to it, like you feel , you feel like you've really done something. If, yeah, if the odds of shooting a deer that method were 98%, it wouldn't be as intriguing or as as big of a deal.

But the fact that [00:48:00] it's, potentially 10% or less in, in the No. Yeah. That's why it's such a good feeling when you can make it. Sure is the answer to your

Dr. Will Bartlett: question. What's next? Just ice fishing for the rest of the winter. And man, we're we, I get super psyched about turkeys. Yeah, I know.

I've heard you on the podcast say that you don't quite you're not, you don't quite understand the Turkey fanatics, man. But I got hooked real fast on the gobblers. Like I have a lot of fun with those. They're super frustrating. Come the end of when the end of May comes around, it's okay, I'm glad it's over, cuz almost.

They're just so frustrating in a lot of aspects. But man, I look forward to it. It's a lot of fun for me.

Dan Mathews: So Nice. Yeah, Turkey season's coming up. It's pretty crazy that we're already at that point in the year. And dude, you'll have to come down man. If you love chasing turkeys, I've got plenty of them.

I've heard they are everywhere down here. , you'll, maybe we'll do it side by side. I can't ever imagine being that excited [00:49:00] about Turkey. I'm already a hundred percent sold on tracking deer. Yeah. So if that tells you anything Yeah. I wanna make it happen.

Dr. Will Bartlett: Yeah. Yeah, we'll do that.

We'll make it

Dan Mathews: happen, for sure. Man, I appreciate you hopping on and chatting with me. I want to give you an opportunity before we hop off, where can people find you? Where can they follow along? Because it sounds like. in a few years, you've really dove into why you're into hunting and what it means to you.

And then yeah, obviously branching out to new adventures. I feel like that'd be a fun journey to follow along with. Yeah, man. So I'm on I'm on Instagram mainly as

Dr. Will Bartlett: Dr. Will Bartlett and I believe the same thing Dr. Will Bartlett on Facebook too. And then my practice website is new Frontiers Cairo, c h i r

And I'm located right here in southern Maine in a small town called North Yarmouth, Maine. That's where the office is and. Yeah, looking forward to a lot more seasonal adventures. Man. Ice [00:50:00] fishing is right, in the smack dab middle of it, so pretty fired up for that. Fired up for some cold weather, so look out for some, hopefully some big fish caught this year.

Dan Mathews: Man, I'll be living vicariously through your social media pages because here we get cold. No ice, no good ice fishing. The ice that we do get covers the trees and power lines and vehicles. And then it like, just makes it to where you can't really do anything outside. Yeah. I definitely, when I start seeing people posting ice fishing stuff, I'm like, dude, I wish I was out there.

It's just oh man. And so unique. .

Dr. Will Bartlett: You think ice fishing

Dan Mathews: is fun and you've never done it? No. Oh, I've done it a ton. I just can't. Here in Missouri we don't have any ice fishing opportunities cuz the ice never gets thick enough. But I always see like friends and family from Wisconsin posting ice fishing.

Or I'll talk to my brother-in-law and he's oh dude, me and your sister just went out. We caught a ton of fish yesterday. And I'm just like, I wish I was up there doing it right. Oh man, there's

Dr. Will Bartlett: plenty of vacation opportunities for you and the [00:51:00] family to come up here, man and rent a shack for a few days and have a nice cabin five star stay, but get on the, get out on some good ice.

That sounds awesome. You'll have to do that,

Dan Mathews: man. We'll have to do that. Yeah. Maine I got a feeling we're gonna love Maine. We haven't been up here. I think you yet, but I've heard a lot of people talk about it. In fact, a guy that we used to live on his property, that's his favorite place to, to travel to is.

And I'm like, really? Okay, cool, cool. And then, the few people that I've talked to on the podcast, it's no, we're never leaving. There's no reason to. There's nothing better out there. This is the best . I don't know about that,

Dr. Will Bartlett: but I'm definitely not leaving .

Dan Mathews: Yeah. There you go, . There you have it.

Dude, thanks again man. I appreciate you hopping on and good luck. I'm gonna we'll keep in touch about how archery goes and how your season's going. All right, man. Thanks a lot, Dan. Thanks. And that is gonna wrap it up for today's show, man. What an awesome episode. I am on a different level of excitement for getting up [00:52:00] to Maine and chasing down deer on foot.

I mean it, I say chasing down like trailing deer, tracking deer, however you wanna put it. I'm really excited. Now I'm gonna have to break the news with my wife somehow that we're going to Maine and especially in the winter. That might not go over so well, but that's a conversation we're gonna have to have because I have got to try a hunt like this.

Maybe I send her and the kids to Florida or something like that while I head north. I think that would go over a lot better. But what a unique way to do things. I know we talked about a lot more in this episode than just that, but I am, I'm gonna be thinking about that style of hunting for a long.

And every time it comes up, I get excited about it again and again. And so hopefully if you guys have done that, hopefully you've found success with it. I know the probability of actually catch catching a deer or catching up to a deer, I should say, not actually catching one is pretty low.

But I think that it could be the hunt of lifetime when it actually comes together. And that's part of [00:53:00] it, when you struggle. It takes a long time and there's a lot of ups and downs and just years without actually getting a shot opportunity. When it does happen, it becomes so much sweeter. So hopefully you guys are having fun.

Maybe you're out shed hunting. Maybe you're out doing some late season waterfowl or gearing up for the snow goose. Whatever it is. I hope you're finding success. I hope you're going out there and trying new things and until next time, always choose adventure and God bless.