Rutcations with Lindsay Thomas Jr.

Show Notes

We have a really good one this week on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. Lindsay Thomas Jr. is the chief communications officer for the National Deer Association and joins John to talk about a recent article he wrote about "rutcations" and if they are actually effective. Lindsay, like many others including John, had never been able to take a true rutcation until his work situation changed in 2021. After two seasons of taking a full week off of work to do nothing but hunt during the rut, Lindsay made a few observations that any whitetail deer hunter should pay attention to. He observed that factors such as inconsistent winds and added human intrusion might hurt hunters more than most realize, even during the peak of breeding season.

On top of the rutcation observations, Lindsay and John discuss a few other things that greatly affect hunters in the sooner state. One bright spot in the conversation comes when Lindsay talks about a few statistics that he recently learned about Oklahomas deer herd. These statistics are quite encouraging after all the recent talk about laws and regulations and other worrisome topics. Most will be encouraged to learn that the state of whitetail deer hunting in Oklahoma is far better than most realize. 

There is a little bad news in this episode however. Be sure to stick around till the end, when John asks Lindsay about a recent research study done on wild hogs. Lindsay discusses the study and how to everyone's surprise, they have found that wild hog populations are growing at an even faster rate than previously thought. The age at which sows can begin breeding is staggering, and so is the survival rate of piglets!

Show Transcript

John Hudspeth: 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.

What is going on everybody? Welcome to the [00:01:00] Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. I'm your host, John Huts Smith, and it seems like it has been eternity since I have sat down at my home computer with my actual microphone and recorded a podcast. Man, just going back, I, so I took some time off. I went to Nebraska. My wife and I went to Gulf Shores.

And so I did some like pre-recording in order to do those trips. And then it just so happened that Dan and Josh, who, are the guys on the Sportsman's Empire who actually put out these episodes to y'all, they were gonna take some time off to do some Turkey hunting. And so I ended up recording two episodes with my mobile setup while I was on vacation.

And those are the last two episodes y'all have heard. So I apologize if the quality wasn't quite up to par. But I'm finally back. I'm sitting at home here in front of my computer with my actual real microphone ready to record a podcast for you guys. And so super jazzed. Man, it just, it like, I feel like I've done so much since [00:02:00] I talked to y'all last, and I'm not even gonna talk about that much of it this week.

Man, since I've been sitting in front of this computer I obviously went to Nebraska. I already told that story. I got food poison on my vacation. I don't think I've talked about that yet. I've hunted some Oklahoma public land for turkeys. That's gonna be a kind of short but interesting story.

And then this last weekend I was up with the Oklahoma Outdoor Outreach Foundation. Helping some disabled hunters do some Turkey hunting. And guys, let me tell you, that was an amazing experience that everyone listening to this needs to volunteer or take part in, in some way, shape, or form in the future.

And I'm gonna be talking about that on a later episode, but I think I decided because this coming weekend I'm gonna be headed to West Texas to do some Turkey hunting out there. My buddy's place that I'm gonna save all those stories that I just talked about for probably next week's episode. And just do one big, giant, kinda all encompassing Turkey season episode.[00:03:00]

And so I think that's my plan for next week. Plus I have had this this amazing interview in my back pocket for, gosh, almost two weeks now that I've just been wanting to get out to you guys. And so that's what we're gonna talk about this week. I was fortunate enough I reached out to Mr. Lindsey Thomas Jr.

With the National Deer Association because in part of their, they send out emails and stuff, they have articles and information of what's going on in the hunting world. And Lindsey had written an article that I found super interesting and it was on Rut Cas and Lindsey. The last two years his position with work had changed a little bit, and for the first time in his life, he was able to take a full on, week long revocation.

And that's something that I've never actually done. I work a full-time job. I have a family and usually I save my vacation time for, a western hunt. Or this year I'm hoping to go to Iowa. And so I'm saving my vacation for that. And so [00:04:00] I've never just had a dedicated week to just, stay on our property and hunt it.

And I've always dreamed of it. I hear people talking about it, but I've often wondered basically if it would be good or not to just put that much pressure on my property. And that is exactly what Lindsay wrote an article about, and that's what he's coming on to talk about. And so it was incredibly interesting.

So whether you're, no matter what side of the coin you're on, whether you take a revocation every year, whether you're like me and have always dreamed of taking a revocation, I think there's gonna be something here for you to take away and learn from. So again, I would encourage everybody to listen to this.

Take some notes and come up with your own opinion on what you think you should do. We also get a little bonus because actually I had already reached out to Lindsay about coming on the show and he had said yes, and they put out another article about some newer wild hog research that a lady in Georgia did.

And it was some very [00:05:00] eye-opening research. And most likely if you're listening to this, it's probably gonna be eye-opening in a bad way. That's how I saw it. They just basically, they did some studies on hog, wild hog reproduction, and I don't wanna ruin it here in the intro, but it is just mind blowing how efficient wild hogs are at reproducing.

So yeah, we covered two things and then, oh, I almost forgot. When Lindsay and I were talking before I hit record, he actually asked me if he could bring some stuff up and I allowed him to. And it was some really great, awesome information that he had learned at a deer conference about the state of Oklahoma and the state of our deer herd.

And, I've been doing a lot of these episodes recently on, all the legislation talk all the one buck verse two buck and non-resident hunters and, just all the stuff that we've been covering a ton lately. And I, what Lindsay brought up was super encouraging to me. And again, I don't wanna ruin it because, it's his thing and it's, it would be much better coming [00:06:00] from him.

But it was just very encouraging the state of, not only the Oklahoma deer herd, but the Oklahoma hunting culture really is what was the best part of about all this. Yeah, three big things on this episode. We start off with the kind of the state of the union for Oklahoma deer hunting.

And then we move into the revocation and then we followed up with the hog research. Lots of good stuff in this episode. I was super thankful for Lindsay for coming on and talking about all this stuff. He is a wealth of knowledge. I would highly encourage you guys to look up the National Deer Association, follow their stuff.

Look up Lindsay. He puts out tons of articles. On their website and other places. So yes, just a super good informative episode we have ahead of us. And so that is probably going to do it. Like I said, next week we're gonna get more into my craziness that's been the last couple weeks. And hopefully the craziness that is going to be this coming weekend with the Turkey hunt that I'm going to do.

Yeah, [00:07:00] once again, that's it. That's it for me. I hope you guys enjoyed this intro. I really think y'all are gonna enjoy this episode and I would love to hear any and all feedback you have after listening to this episode. So hit me up on Instagram. That's definitely the best way. You can also message me on Facebook, not quite as active on there.

And I don't think I've thrown up my email in quite a while, so okay. Outdoors podcast Don't forget the S on outdoors, and that will do it for, I think that's the third time I've said that now, all right, that's enough of me. Here's my interview with Lindsay Thomas Jr. After a quick word from our partners, write this second, when the nasty spring storms have me trapped inside, one of my favorite activities is to get online and browse the local land listings.

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They have agents all over Oklahoma and are quickly adding more states to their resume every day. So give Arrowhead Land Company a call and let them go to work for you. There is truly no place like the great outdoors in Oklahoma. When you're out in the wild, you want your wireless devices to work unlike other carriers.

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Bravado Wireless, the power of connection. Hey everybody, welcome to today's show, and today we have a very special guest. We have Mr. Lindsay Thomas. How you doing Lindsay? I'm doing great, John, how are you today? Oh, I'm [00:09:00] doing so good. And man, I've been looking forward to this one for a while, ever since I reached out to you.

And shockingly you reached back out to me and said you were willing to do it. And so I'm on cloud nine and ready to go. But before we get into all the exciting things we have coming up here just in case somebody's listening to this why don't you give us a little quick little introduction of who you are.

Lindsay Thomas: Yeah, thanks. I'm the Chief Communications Officer for the National Deer Association, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of wild deer wildlife habitat and hunting. I've been with the organization about 20 years. Previously we were known as the Quality Deer Management Association, and then in 2020 we merged with the Deer Alliance to form the National Deer Association.

Basically just putting what the two organizations did best under one roof. So I'm, for the organization, I run our communications with my communications team. We do the website email communications, social media, magazine video communications. All of that is comes [00:10:00] under my management.

So that's who I am and what I do. I live in Georgia and I'm a native Georgian. Happy that I have not had to leave my home state to To, pursue this career. And but it's been fun getting to know deer hunters and deer management all across the country outside of Georgia, in my role here with N D a.

John Hudspeth: Awesome. Yeah, and for all those listening, if there's a good chance, if you identify as a hunter, call yourself a hunter or an outdoorsman, that at some point you've probably either read, seen, watched something that Lindsay has done, or at, at very minimum the National Deer Association has done so yeah I love following you guys.

I love the work that y'all do. I'm really excited to talk about an article that you recently wrote that is why I reached out to you. But before we even get into that you asked if you could interject some information that you learned here recently and about the state of Oklahoma and our dear herd.

And so I'm all ears and I'd love to hear what you had to say.

Lindsay Thomas: Yeah, it just, when you reached out to me, I thought, okay, we gotta talk about this because I [00:11:00] go to the Southeast Air Study group meeting every year and it's a gathering of dear professionals and managers and researchers from around the country.

And at the most recent one, Dallas Barber, who's with the your Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Con Conservation got up and gave a kind of an update on how things were going in Oklahoma. He showed a pie chart that was really fascinating, going all the way back to 1989 in Oklahoma, in your buck harvest there in 1989, breaking it down by age class in 89, 60 6% of your buck harvest was yearling bucks, one and a half years old, 66%.

And then he compared that to the most recent year with all the data in, and that was 2021. Do you know what your yearling buck harvest rate was in 2021 in Oklahoma?

John Hudspeth: Not off the top of my head, but I'm guessing it's pretty low.

Lindsay Thomas: It was 11%. So whereas two thirds of all the bucks killed in Oklahoma in 1989 were yearlings [00:12:00] now it was in 2021, it was one outta 10.

And the amazing thing, looking at these pie charts that he showed is to see how that affected harvest of bucks three and a half and older. Where before only about 10% of your entire buck harvest was three and a half years or older. You're talking about now almost 75% of your buck harvest is three and a half or older.

So pretty amazing. And then even more, amazing in my mind is the fact that y'all don't have any, there's no statewide andler regulation in Oklahoma. There's no mandatory. Buck restriction. It's that's entirely the change in your buck harvest is in, has been entirely voluntary on the part of Oklahoma hunters and through efforts of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to educate hunters about the value of letting young bucks grow.

And, taking a dough tho those kind of campaigns. Pretty amazing what y'all have accomplished. And I know, some people will say yeah, but that means you're killing fewer bucks. Actually, no, y'all killed a lot more [00:13:00] bucks now than you ever have. And yet the percentage of older bucks is so much higher.

So literally in real numbers, you're killing more mature bucks in real numbers than you ever have today in Oklahoma. So that's a huge feed and congrats to you and every other hunter

John Hudspeth: in Oklahoma. Yeah that's fantastic news. And there's a lot of interesting legislation that's been going on in our state recently.

Lots of talk. And so I've been pretty involved in all that and heard lots of, concerns from listeners and beyond. And one of the main things I hear is people, people are always comparing states to Iowa, I, we wanna be Iowa and for good reason.

But, a big argument that I always hear is Oklahoma needs to become a one buck state. We'd have more trophy, we'd have older bucks and all this stuff and I just, Always, I don't necessarily agree with that because like you just said, I think we have great age structure here.

I think we have great trophy potential. And a lot of people like to, you, forget that Iowa is not a one buck state. I always love to point that out. Landowners can get I, I believe up [00:14:00] to three tags if, if you have enough land and everything. So yeah it's encouraging to hear all that good news with all the stuff that's been going on.

So yeah. A absolutely win for Oklahoma. Yeah,

Lindsay Thomas: you've got it great there and the fact that you've achieved that through voluntary practices is really good. Y'all are in good shape. You almost don't need to mandate it or force it any further. To have, what, like I said, almost 75% of your buck harvest now is three and a half or over.

That's incredible. So y'all are in great shape.

John Hudspeth: Good. Good to hear it. Glad you interjected that. Awesome. Lindsay like I said let's get into the main reason I reached out to you. I was going through my emails and saw an email from the National Deer Association and clicked on it and one article in particular stuck out to me.

And I'll get into why in just a second, but it was an article you wrote about revocations and for those listening, that's just a funny term we have for basically taking a, a long vacation, taking time off work to just dedicate to hunting. A lot of, for a lot of people it's a whole week, five to seven [00:15:00] days, somewhere in there.

And one of the reasons it stuck out to me is because just with. The way I hunt and my lifestyle and my job I've never really been able to take a vacation. A lot of times if I do take vacation time for hunting it's, a western hunt and out-of-state hunt, and I've saved all my vaca vacation time for that.

The last couple years I've gotten to where I'll take like a Friday off and do like a Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning type thing. And I've been fairly successful with that kind of just sticking with the weekend warrior type mentality. But again, I think everybody, al always would love to hunt more and love a whole week to just dedicate to whitetail hunting.

And so I clicked on your article and read through it and and it was just very interesting of you saying that, I don't want to give it away too much, but just you weren't sure that the whole revocation plan was a good one. And so I'll quit talking now and turn it over to you, but yeah, I'd love to just hear your rundown your story, a synopsis of the article and and your thoughts on the whole revocation.

Lindsay Thomas: Yeah. So I'm, I appreciate you being interested in the article and glad you liked it. It's been a [00:16:00] fascinating learning experience for me, and that's why I wanted to write it. Like You, until recently I never really could Take conveniently, take a long vacation during the RU and go hunt.

For one thing, I live four hours from my family's land in southeast Georgia. And that's where I do most of my deer hunting. For another thing, I've got three kids and only recently where they all three, had a driver's license and old enough to where I could go off and, leave my wife at home for a week and not be leaving her with too much of a burden in terms of raising young kids by, by herself.

Plus at work we are now fully remote. We all work from home it may, it possible for me to take a week, go stay at the my family's farm for a full week, do some work during the middle of the day but also, hunt morning and afternoon for 5, 6, 7 days or more. I was, when it finally worked out, I'd always wanted to do that.

So I thought it was great. And so I did that for the past two seasons. Both times it was [00:17:00] a total failure. And I just got to thinking about why isn't this working? You'd think, hey, if I can spend seven days just hunkered down doing nothing but focused on killing a buck during the rut, why didn't it work?

And I came back to the science that we cover and that I write a lot about that looks at hunting pressure and deer movements and bug behaviors and how this all works. And realize that, the fact is the odds are stacked against you when it comes to hunting for that long. And that intensively on a property of the size that I hunt, and probably others that are even, larger.

And that's, so that's what the article was about, was, basically accepting the fact that revocations may be designed to fail and that for someone, like you and like me before I tried this, who were limited to weekends, That actually may be the ideal way is a hit and run.

You, you hunt for a day or two and then you leave the woods and you let things cool down and from a pressure standpoint it gives you an advantage [00:18:00] when you return. So that's what the article's about was pulling in all the science I looked at that really justified what I was seeing.

That a revocation, if you don't take a lot of things into consideration can actually be more challenging than just, of being a weekend warrior and getting to hunt a day or two and having to go back home. Now I'll add that I haven't given up on it, and I said that in the article that I was gonna give it one more shot.

But that's what the article looked at, was the reasons why I thought my revocations had failed and what I plan to do to try one more time. Gotta make it work.

John Hudspeth: I wanna talk about some of those some of those failure failures. You already mentioned pressure being a big one, obviously and you even had some numbers from a study in your article talking about, how dear react to hunter pressure and how much time it takes them to calm down afterwards.

And, I think I've been guilty of thinking if it's rut and, deer really moving, they don't care as much about the wind. And if I just sit in this one tree, if I just sit in this pinch for [00:19:00] five days in a row, then eventually, I'm gonna kill a big buck. It sounds like that's definitely not the case of what you were finding after spending all this time on your farm.


Lindsay Thomas: it's not. And the science backs that up too. It's not that after sitting there in one place for five days, you have zero chance of seeing a deer. Some people still do kill deer under those C circumstances and, hunt their same favorite stand every weekend all year long and sometimes still kill deer.

It's not that you have zero chance, but there's no doubt that the longer you hunt in an area without, a break, the longer you sit in the same stand or the hunt the same area repeatedly, the more you're driving down your odds of seeing deer. Because again, the science makes it clear. They react quickly to our pressure.

And this is coming from studies where, like the one I mentioned where, they're tracking g p s collared bucks on public and private land watching their movements, comparing that to hunting pressure and hunter [00:20:00] activities and. Determining, like the study I mentioned, the one that was Kevin was Curchin when he was at Auburn University, tracked 32 deer bucks andos on public and private land, and found that, after a Saturday, which is typically when we all pile the most of us pile into the woods to hunt on Saturdays.

Just cuz it's when many of us can go. Even those of us that, can't get off work during the week, that's when we go Saturdays. So after that peak of pressure on Saturdays, deer movement dropped significantly by Sunday. So they were rapidly within 24 hours, adjusting movements based on that surge of pressure.

And he saw that deer decreased their overall movement rate by 18% right after those Saturday peaks and hunting pressure that their the probability of them moving During daylight hours decreased by 25% and that what he called net displacement that decreased [00:21:00] by 31%. And what that basically means is just simply a deer, moving around and exploring.

In other words, if that decreases, it means a deer is holding closer to small areas and exploring less. So no doubt, immediately after peaks and hunting pressure, deer are responding to that and they do it quickly. And what he saw was that even though hunting pressure dropped on Mondays, he did not see normal deer movement return among the deer he was tracking until Thursdays.

So it takes a couple of days. And, there was another study done another Auburn University study done by Clint McCoy when he was a student at Auburn. Done over in North Carolina. And he was on a large area also tracking a significant number of bucks. But he was also traffic tracking deer hunter activities specific to stands.

He had even drawn out on maps areas around each stand he was studying, in which a deer, if a deer appeared in that area, that meant he was susceptible to harvest from [00:22:00] that stand. And he looked at, how buck movements related to that. And almost immediately after stands were hunted bucks were less likely to enter those zones where they were at risk of being shot from those stands.

And it took three, four days, even five for buck activity around those stands to return to normal levels after a stand had been hunted one time. That was what I looked at in trying to understand why it seemed to me. As each day of my revocation went on, it seemed harder and harder for me to see deer and stay on activity.

And that's what I attribute it to is simply, the more time you spend in the woods, the more deer are picking up on cues and clues that you're there. And adjusting to stay away from you because, let's face it, they're prey. Animals we're predators. They didn't last for millions of years.

Here being dumb and being ignorant of predators, they pay attention to those cues and use that to avoid us. So that's what's going on here.

John Hudspeth: Do [00:23:00] you think there's any relation to. Maybe being like a bow hunter versus a rifle hunter, that talking about the pressure, like whether you're trying to set up on, a trail, a bedding area, food plot, bait site, whatever, being 20 yards from that place that deer wants to be, as opposed to maybe backing off to say a hundred yards.

Do you think there's a big enough kind of distance there that it makes would the rifle hunter have an advantage because he is not getting quite as close to those areas? Or do you think just the general human presence is still enough to mess with it?

Lindsay Thomas: It's not like a aura you're putting out there that they can detect it.

They've gotta have some physical evidence and of course mostly that's gonna be sent. But also sounds, and, movements and vehicles and things like that, those are the cues that clue them in. But especially your scent, whether that is sent, that drifts into, on the wind. To an area where deer are using or whether it's, where you walked.

And they picked that up by crossing your [00:24:00] trail where you walked. Your access routes going in and out of stands become a factor. Even deer that after dark you're back in camp and fixing supper, but they're all moving around and happen to cross your access route and pick up on some scent there.

Even there, they're picking up clues that you're in the area that can affect this. So it's, you are right that, yeah, for a rifle hunter, it may be easier to hunt an area without actually, penetrating and getting in there and really getting into deep into the woods with the deer like you have to when you're bow hunting.

But in the end, you can still be. Careful and stealthy. When you're bow hunting, if you really are careful about the wind, if you're really careful about your scent and your access route, it all depends on the setting and the landscape and the situation that you've got. And that's one of the things I said in the article.

There's no formula here that can tell you, number of days, a number of acres, a number of hunters and what level of pressure is too much because it's going to [00:25:00] vary. It's gonna vary based on the property, deer density, the landscape, the habitat type, the forested cover. A lot of things that, that determine that.

And if you are in the right situation yeah, a bow hunter can get in there and hunt a small property and not spook deer nearly as bad as others, just to all depend on how you manage the evidence that you lead behind.

John Hudspeth: Yeah, that's great info. And one other thing that you talked about that, that I really related to was just the wind and how the wind messed with you and how you had all these different setups.

You thought you were gonna be prepared for anything, but every now and again, there's still that odd wind that just messes with you. And that relates to me a lot cuz for some reason in Oklahoma, 98% of the time you're either gonna have a south southeast wind or you're gonna have a North wind, at least my part of Oklahoma.

So that's what I set up for. But, every once in a while, maybe as that front's coming in or the front's moving out, you'll have that one evening where it's a west wind or maybe an east wind or something and it just throws a big loop into [00:26:00] my rope as far as my plan goes.

So that was one interesting thing that you talked about was just how, maybe having the same wind multiple days in a row might mess with you or that, off wind might mess with, how you have things set up. Yeah, that was, yeah.

Lindsay Thomas: And that, the thing that I the thing that messed me up, particularly this past year was, and this was a key point about the wind to me, I followed what kind of the wisdom that I think we generally all follow, which is try to have different stands so that if the wind is bad on a particular stand, you can go to another one.

And so I did that and I had, as I said in the article, something like 15 or 20 different options I could have chosen for deer stands of different types, ladder stands, ground blinds, lock ons that I could have chosen from during that week of my rotation. But the mistake I made was that most of them were based on the predominant winds that we usually have at this property, which is usually outta the west to the north, sometimes sometimes the southwest and.

The problem [00:27:00] was that whole week, it was out of the northeast to east. And what happened was, even though I had so many deer stand options, I could choose because they were built around predominant winds. When it came out of a bad direction for almost the entire week, I had very few stands left that worked.

I didn't have but two or three, I could choose that worked in that wind. And so that was where I was really, in trouble. And that was what I said in the article was, next time what I've got to do is not just. Ensure that I've got a lot of stand options based on predominant win.

But to game it out and ask myself, okay, next time if the wind comes out of the east or if it comes out of the southeast or the south of southwest, any compass point you have to model it and say, let's assume it comes out of this direction. Where am I going and what are my options?

And instead of just, setting up a bunch of different stand options for your predominant wins, you've [00:28:00] really got to think about the what ifs and if it comes out of this direction, what are my options and that's what I'm gonna do this next time. And so that if it does come out of an odd direction again, then I've still got a number of different options I can hunt.

Because the other thing I'm trying to do is not hunt the same stand. Repeatedly. That's the other thing you're trying to do to avoid, queuing the deer in that you're there and that you're predictable. Because once you're predictable, you know you've lost. I need to have multiple stand options in multiple wind directions.

And that's one of the mistakes I made.

John Hudspeth: Yeah. Let me ask you this, cuz I, I know there's a lot of people listening to this and they're right along there with you and maybe they're in the same boat where they have this one week and they're putting, all their eggs in this basket.

That's the only time they can get away from work and family and all this and it's rut time. They, it's the best time of the year to be in the woods and all that. But did it ever occur to you one, morning, evening, whatever, to be like, Hey, the conditions just [00:29:00] aren't there. Even though I can hunt, I'm just gonna choose not to.

Lindsay Thomas: Yeah, I did. I did take a break. There was one afternoon that middle of the week where I just said, I, I just need to stay home. And that was a point I made in the article that, there's nothing wrong if you're gonna do a revocation that I actually can help just stay out.

Catch up on your rest, you're probably tired. 3, 4, 5 days in a row of getting up early and hunting late and it, it wears you out. Take an afternoon, take a morning off and rest. Give the d deer a break. There's nothing that can do but help you when you return to the woods.


John Hudspeth: Yeah. So you mentioned you're gonna try the revocation again. Is that more for kind of, research? Is that for your own curiosity? Do you think it's still a good strategy? What's kinda your thought into trying it again?

Lindsay Thomas: Yeah, I'm I just don't wanna give up yet. It's enjoyable.

And the truth is, the rut does not last long. We look forward to it every year, you know [00:30:00] so much. And in the truth is, the peak of it in most places is only gonna be, a week to two weeks or so that it's really happening. And your mature bucks are really more visible than they are any other time of year.

It goes through these cycles where you start, you can watch it on your trail cameras, and you start seeing, some younger bucks and even o maybe your two and a half year olds beginning to move more, but it's still not there yet. And then you hit that peak when all of a sudden, for a week and a half, two weeks, that's the time when those three and a half year old and older bucks.

Are going to start moving more and moving in daylight especially. It's a, it's really a narrow window. So I guess that's why I don't really want to give up yet is, you just don't get many days of the year that those opportunities are common. And so if I can make this work, I'd like to.


John Hudspeth: Okay. That makes sense. As far as your timing as your, of your revocation, cause I know [00:31:00] there's a lot of people that I feel like the science is getting out there slowly but surely, but I still, every year, you get on Facebook or whatever form, and you know what's happening early this year, what's happened early this year.

But if somebody's looking at their work schedule and like, all right, I have to pick these five days to take a vacation. What should people be looking at in order to pick that week out for the vacation?

Lindsay Thomas: So John, the science is pretty clear on this. In any location, that rut is going to be really consistent.

Now in terms of the timing, it's gonna happen right around the same, your peak of breeding, your peak of those coming into Esthers is gonna be right around the same time every year. Same 3, 4, 5 day peak. It really does not fluctuate very much. Now, hunters believe whether it's, warm weather or whatever, that if they're not seeing deer move, that means the ruts not happening.

But the truth is it's happening. Deers the dough or doughs are still getting bred. The bugs are, they're coming [00:32:00] into Esthers regardless of what the weather does. And so it's, the rut is happening whether you think it is or not, whether you observed it or not. And people will say I, I just didn't see much this year.

But you know what that has that has to do with where you choose chose to hunt, it has to do with your hunting pressure. It has to do with a lot of factors that you know, are in your control. You could have been causing yourself to not see many deer. It doesn't necessarily mean the, deer weren't breeding, but the fact is, year and year out, when we look at the science, look at the data, the do are getting bred around the same time.

So I would say that look at your evidence like trail cameras, those times of day those days when you're seeing adult and mature bucks moving during daylight times when you've seen that in the past, yourself with your own eyes, remember those days and pay attention to that cuz they're pretty much going to be consistent in the same spot.

Year to year. Obviously the timing of the rut varies regionally and state to state and but where you [00:33:00] hunt that locale where you hunt, just like for me where I hunt on my family's land is pretty much gonna be the same time every single year. You can bank on that because, the timing of the rut has to do with putting fawns on the ground at the right time, the next spring for them to receive high quality nutrition from their mother and her milk, and then the forage that they're gonna be weaned on.

It doesn't have anything to do with the weather during November that has nothing to do with deer survival. Deer aren't gonna change the time they breed based on what the temperature was. In October, November when they're supposed to be breeding, it's all about putting phones on the ground at the right time, and that's why those are gonna come into Esthers at the same time in a certain location, pretty much every year you're gonna have some that come in early.

You're gonna have some that come in late, but that peak of breeding when the most dough are es in Esthers and those mature bucks are most likely to show up in daylight. That's gonna be the same pretty [00:34:00] much year in,

John Hudspeth: year out. Preach it. I love it. I've talked about it, but maybe, maybe people will take it from you instead of, if they don't listen to me.

So I just had to let you, I had to let you say it. And one thing I think that people or why people might think that, early, late, whatever, is I. I think people would be amazed at how short of a distance you have to go to get those kind of different dose structures and, that kind of come into Esthers at different times.

And I, I just got lucky and got to learn this firsthand because we had one property that I'd been hunting for, seven, eight years. And we ended up selling that property and buying a different property that was just about 30 miles away. But yeah the timing of the rut, the peak Esthers was about two weeks earlier, just going 30 miles.

And we've been on that property now for five or six years and it's held true. And when this person's buddy was like, ah, I saw a big 10 point, chasing or whatever and this guy said, I'm not seeing anything. It, it could very well just be that the do just come in a at a little bit different time, [00:35:00] but they're still gonna come in at the same time every year, like you said.


Lindsay Thomas: It's very consistent and you can bank on

John Hudspeth: it. Yep. Yeah. And yeah, like you said, pay attention to those trail cameras cuz you know, you can get a lot of information from oh gosh, what's the term? Data year after year. Historic data. Yeah. There's

Lindsay Thomas: all kind of indicators. Not only what and observe, pay attention to when you know, you're hearing, your neighbors y'all, you hear, people tell you, you see it on Facebook or they get a text, killed a big buck.

Pay attention to those dates when they happen. Certainly some are gonna be outliers early and late, but there's going to be that week every year when the big bucks drop. Or when, ve deer vehicle collisions start peaking when you're seeing a whole bunch of deer in the ditch. That means, the science is shown there that the peak of deer vehicle collisions concur occurs at the same time as the peak in deer breeding.

Which makes sense. So there's lots of little, cues that we can look at. And if you make note of that and record it, you're gonna start seeing a [00:36:00] pattern every year that shows you, for us on our family's land in southeast Georgia, the coastal Georgia Rud is early. Our peak is right around Halloween.

So that last week of October to the first week of November is, really the best time. We've killed adult bucks and mature bucks before that and after that too. It's not to say that you don't see them and, particularly one of the patterns I really like post rut is, bucks have been pressured all year.

If, and they, the ruts over. They're hungry now. They start to feed again. They really spent time chasing dough over the last few weeks and they didn't eat much. But now the testosterone has dropped and they're interested in food again. If you've got a food plot or a food source that has not been pressured a lot through the middle of the season post rut, that is a great place to encounter a mature buck.

It's not that you can't kill 'em, it's just that if you're going to do a revocation and ask for a big time off work and, invest in this, you want it to be the time that [00:37:00] those bucks are most likely to show themselves and be on the move moving the most based on the studies we've seen. And that's gonna be that, week to two weeks when the most do are in Estress.

John Hudspeth: Awesome. Awesome. Lindsay, the, I'm eating it up. You have another article that I wanna make sure we have time to touch on, but before we move on, any other last minute revocation, tips, tricks things you've learned before we move on?

Lindsay Thomas: Just, I covered some of the basics. We all know making sure you're absolutely sent free or as sent free as you can be.

I don't believe we can be a hundred percent sent free. You just can't do that. There's no such thing. But you can certainly minimize, washing your boots, not walking, around the gas station with the boots you're gonna hunt in only entering the woods in clothes.

You've, that are clean. You just washed them. And when you come home, you're not wearing those around camp and going hunting again. Minimizing your scent, minimizing your noise, it's things, one of the things I pointed out, when you're sitting there in camp and you're there all week, there's gonna be temptations to go out in the middle of the day and go move a trail [00:38:00] camera or hang a new stand or, do some scouting or whatever.

And I just said, looking at the science, you've really gotta resist that if you wanna make a rut case work, that's just adding more evidence. Of your presence. Noises, senses, sights sounds, and things in the woods. Even if you're, riding a four-wheeler to go check a camera and you're not actually hunting, it doesn't matter.

That's activity that's out of the normal. And those are the cues that deer use to keep themselves from dying. That was the other thing I said was I'm gonna make sure I don't give into those temptations to go back during the middle of the day and, do some work out there where I'm supposed to be hunting.

John Hudspeth: Awesome. Awesome. I love it. So for those of you like myself who haven't been able to take that nice long week off, maybe don't fret, maybe it's not quite as big a deal as you think. Maybe those long weekends are the way to go.

Lindsay Thomas: No, that's exactly right, John based, that's what I said. Based on the science, what I said in this article, the truth is the science tells us that the best way to hunt deer is to go out there and hit 'em for a day maybe too, and then [00:39:00] go home, leave the woods, and give 'em a week to cool down.

John Hudspeth: Awesome. Awesome. Do you mind if we move on to this next topic? No, let's do it. All right. Yeah. When, so this actually, I think this article came out between the time I had talked to you about coming on the show and everything and I couldn't resist the urge. Y'all recently put out a article about wild pigs and basically just how good they are at multiplying.

And I'd love to just turn you loose on it. Oklahoma is obviously a crazy hog state. I'm in southeastern Oklahoma, right on the Red River, so we're right in the thick of it. I actually just had some guys, some fellow podcasters down about two weeks ago to do some hog hunting and it was almost sickening, hunting multiple days in a row and how many pigs we saw and so anyway, yeah.

I just wanna turn you loose on this new research that came out.

Lindsay Thomas: Yeah, this just came across my inbox, a few weeks ago when the study got published here recently. It was a University of Georgia study done on the Savannah Riverside in South Carolina, which is a huge department of energy facility.

Lots of woods and lots of [00:40:00] game, and they got a feral hog problem. And the University of Georgia has been studying those pigs for a number of years, looking at different things. And this new study was done by Sarah Chen. She earned her PhD with this study, so she's now a doctor. And it did a lot of things that had never been done before with pigs.

They were trapping sows, collaring them, even doing ultrasounds on 'em to see if they were pregnant, releasing them, tracking them, and then going in when they thought they had given birth. And even capturing and tagging some of the piglets to study piglet survival and follow them. So it, they did some things that just had not, never really been done with feral hogs before.

Now we knew before this, that. Wild pigs are extremely productive and very difficult to keep up with if you're trying to control 'em. I've heard it said before that you've gotta kill, if you're trying to control feral pigs, you've gotta kill half to three quarters of more of the population each year.

And most of [00:41:00] that's gotta be females if you want to control 'em. And it is true, they just are extremely productive. But what Sarah found was, dialing in on some of the details of what we suspect have suspected for so long, which is a female wild pig, not only can begin breeding at an extremely young age, something like three to five to six months, even as young as maybe a three to four month old sow hand breed.

And then, six months later they're producing more piglets and they can begin breeding again. It's just the factors here are pretty incredible. When you, particularly when you compare 'em to something like. A whitetail. Pigs can breed any time of year, all year long. And deer of course, can't do that.

They just do it once a year. If a, this was one thing I didn't know, but if a wild pig, let's say she gives birth to a litter and a coyote gets those, or some other predator gets that litter, within a couple [00:42:00] of weeks, she will breed again and go back into asterisks and breed again to compensate for having lost that litter.

Of course, a dough can't do that. Coyote gets her phones. It's gonna be next year before she breathes again, or the following fall. Then we're talking about what litter size, you're talking about up to 12 piglets in a litter. The average is something like, six to eight per litter, but as many as 12.

So just this rapid fire reproduction by young start animals that start young, crank out a lot of piglets, turn around and do it again just as quickly as they can. Even the embryos develop faster than a whitetail. A whitetail gestation is about 200 days. Feral pigs do it in 115 days.

So the turnaround is just so fast. A sal can produce, basically two litters every year and a half and just keep cranking them out. That's the kind of, that's what we're up against when it comes to trying to control pigs and it, and explains why, we cannot control them with hunting.

Shooting a few [00:43:00] pigs outta your deer stand and fall is not controlling feral pigs. It just isn't. They're too productive for that to make a difference. There's too many left that just continue breathing, you've got to do trapping. That's the really the only method that has shown to be effective.

And you've got to do what they call whole sounder removal, which, a sounder is the name for these family groups of several sos and they're offspring, maybe a few young bores that hang out together. You've gotta get that whole group using the trap and before you arm the trap and drop it on 'em or set it, make sure every single pig in that group is comfortable going in there.

Then you set it and you get the entire sounder. That can make a difference if you do that two or three times. So yeah, this study was definitely an eye-opener and just confirmed, you know what we've known that pigs are far too reproductive for us to control them by shooting a few with guns and [00:44:00] bows.

John Hudspeth: Yeah. And yeah, just the staggering numbers you were talking about, the, how young they can breed, how quickly they can breed. I think it mentioned one Sal that had three litters in a year and a half. And one thing you mentioned when you're talking was let's say a coyote comes by and takes out the litter, that was another thing in the article is that doesn't really happen either.

They, they haven't found coyotes or really any predator for these animals other than us. And yeah, so like I, I mentioned before we started recording, for somebody who has to deal with wild pigs, all the time my family has a ranch producing cattle ranch.

And so we have to deal with them both in hunting and, financially with the ranch and everything. It was a little bit of a depressing article. There were some good stuff at the end as far as, the removal and tips on, which hogs to take out. Cause, myself included, and I think most people, if they see a group of pigs come in, they're looking for the biggest boar with the biggest teeth, and that's the one they're wanting to shoot.

But according to this article, you need to be looking for the biggest sow because most likely she's gonna be one of the top [00:45:00] producers. So there were some good tips, but like I said, it was also a little gut wrenching. Just, I, we knew the problem was bad, but I think this really orchestrated how bad it is.

Lindsay Thomas: Yeah. And the other eyeopener for me that Sarah told me about I didn't really realize before is if you look at the original European boar, which is the wild animal that all these domestic pigs came from, that's, that's where people first took that animal and domesticated it, and then began breeding it to produce different, varieties and strains of pigs that we know now, as that the farm animal That European bore, the original animal does not reproduce like this.

It is more like a whitetail in terms of its capability of producing offspring. We are the ones who made this animal this crazy, breeding wild pig. We gave it those powers through our selective breeding, looking, selecting these animals so that we could [00:46:00] produce a farm pig that produced a lot of offspring, produced that, that would breed more than once a year that would go back into Esthers if they lost its litter, et cetera.

We gave them these powers and now they have escaped hybridized sometimes reyor with European bores that have also been put out there, and it's just a huge mess. And we made it. I never realized that this is really our fault. There's no wild animal in nature that produces like this, it, this is a human produced problem.

John Hudspeth: Yeah, little monsters and we're continuing to feed it. Not only, it's just still having, a market for pigs and pork and everything, but, Oklahoma's a bake state and so there are who knows how many deer feeders out there running every fall, just feeding these suckers, constantly and helping them just get healthier and stronger and being able to re reproduce even more and faster.

Yes. Yeah, it exactly, it's a bad, it's a bad problem.

Lindsay Thomas: Georgia's ab bathing state too, and that was, when we legalized it, that was one of the reasons conservation groups urged the legislature not to do it was[00:47:00] that, you're feeding a lot of non-target animals, not just hogs, but nest predators like raccoons and possums and but yeah.

That, that corn that's on the ground out there during deer season, a lot of that in southern states where there are hog problems, a lot of that corn ends up inside a hog.

John Hudspeth: Yeah. Like I said, I had a few guys down a few weeks ago and one guy was from Ohio, one from Michigan and one from Missouri.

And they were coming down extremely excited about, hunting the hogs and everything. I was more than happy to let 'em come down and shoot 'em, but it was really cool talking with those guys and comparing and cause we were talking about, deer hunting and stuff and the different ways we do it and strategies and everything.

And one thing that kind of. Surprise them was that, I would never dream of planting like a corn food plot because, as soon as I put that corn in the ground, the hogs are just gonna come eat it before it has time to sprout. And I'm just gonna be wasting my money.

And that, that had just never even occurred to them. And so just, yeah, even just the way it affects hunting, obviously a hog's gonna push a deer off of a deer [00:48:00] feeder and just about anything off of a deer feeder. And then they're gonna start coming at night and you don't wanna wake up at 2:00 AM and go shoot 'em and you don't wanna scare, be shooting stuff around your bait sites anyway.

And, yeah just the headache, it's it's grim, the whole what do you do is a question that I'm still waiting to hear a good answer to.

Lindsay Thomas: You're a perfect example just like me cuz we have hogs where we hunt of, people who have experienced this, people who have not often say, that's cool.

I'd like to have this bonus animal out there in the woods that I could hunt and, smoke some barbecue and enjoy that, but the people like you and I can tell them, no, if you don't have this animal be happy, you do not want it out there. The damage that they cause, the amount of competition that they have against whitetails when it comes to food sources.

Not just acorns and persimmons and fruit and things like that. But, the new diet studies on hogs are showing that for most of the year, their diet is very much like a whitetails. They eat a lot of plants, they're rooting up small plants and [00:49:00] Forbes, these are the same things that deer eat also. So the level of competition between pigs and deer is huge, and that affects the nutrition and productivity of your deer herd.

It affects your ability to hunt deer. Cause, if you're for example, trying to find a good oak tree to hunt under and hunt some deer. But the hogs are there first. I've seen that happen. So it's yeah it's an animal that if you don't have it, you do

John Hudspeth: not want it. Absolutely.

Absolutely. We definitely agree on that one. Lindsay, I don't wanna take up too much of your time, but we've covered a little bit of everything from how awesome Oklahoma deer hunting is to r patients, to pigs. Is there anything else before I let you go? I definitely wanna give you a chance to shout out your organization and your social media and all that good stuff, but anything we missed.


Lindsay Thomas: I can't think so. I appreciate you having me on. I enjoyed talking about it. I enjoy, thank you for mentioning the revocation article. I'll be writing more after my third try here and letting folks know how it goes, whether it works out or whether I'm going back to, just [00:50:00] being a hit and run weekend hunter.

We'll see. But but yeah, thank you for the opportunity to come on and speak to your listeners and share the National Deer Association with them. Your listeners that are deer hunters, if they don't know who we are, I encourage 'em to find out. We're a nonprofit. We do war mission work for Whitetails and for deer hunters.

The easiest way for them to learn more about us is sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter. It comes out every week, and it's free in your email inbox. And you can just go to our website at dear and sign up today free. It comes out every Thursday morning, so another one will be going out tomorrow.

We're speaking on a Wednesday night. So New Edition comes out every Thursday morning. Sign up free you'll learn some of our dear content and hunting material, but also get to see our mission work, what we do as an organization, and hopefully consider supporting us as a nonprofit.

John Hudspeth: Absolutely. Absolutely. Guys. I can tell you firsthand, it, it's worth the follow. And Lindsey, man, I just can't thank you enough once again for coming on. [00:51:00] And and thank you for the association and everything that they do for us. Thank you, John. It's

Lindsay Thomas: been fun talking to you. I enjoyed it and and I'm honored to be on the show.

John Hudspeth: All right folks. There it is. Thank you Lindsay, for coming on. That was awesome. We covered a lot in that hour, so I hope you guys were paying attention and again, a huge shout out to Lindsay. One thing that I definitely wanted to go back and touch on was the stuff he mentioned at the beginning, just with the state of our deer herd and where the numbers are at because w we co we did, I did several episodes on all the current legislation with air bows and crossbows, and we've talked a lot about, non-resident hunters and one buck verse two buck and all this stuff.

And I just feel like it's important to take a step back and realize that what we have in place right now. Is working. Like he mentioned, the hunter success the age structure, the percent of, the total number of bucks taken. Everything he just mentioned [00:52:00] is a positive.

And I feel like we've been very focused on the negative on this podcast lately. And I apologize for that. But, it's just, there's a lot of stuff going on. I wanna make sure everybody is up to date on it and aware of it. But I do think it's important to step back and look at our success, look at where we're at right now, and all the great things.

And again I am very open about it. I love. The two buck limit. Selfishly it works for me. I'm in a situation where I can typically take advantage of it. Again, I think it's a great tool to use to get out management bucks that aren't gonna be good in the future. Maybe that's me being selfish.

But again, just looking at the numbers, like he mentioned, it seems like what we have in place is working and I don't see a need. To change it. So just interjecting that. I know several people out there probably disagree with me, and I understand both sides of the arguments.

But like I said, it's hard to argue with the results that we're seeing right now. So if you have any questions or concerns or [00:53:00] comments or thoughts about this episode please reach out to me. Instagram is definitely the best way Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. I'm also on Facebook. I'm just not very active and I haven't thrown out my email in quite a while.

So it is the Letters Okay. Outdoors And don't forget the s on Outdoors. Ok Outdoors podcast So if you need another way to get ahold of me, there you have it. There's my email. Guys, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. Supporting this podcast. I apologize. The last two weeks, those episodes were probably a little rough audio wise.

I was recording them in our Airbnb with my travel microphones just not quite as nice, but I'm back home. No travel plans anytime soon. So we're gonna have some good quality content coming up. Like I said, most likely next week we'll do a summation of my Turkey season, even though Turkey season won't quite be over.

And then who knows where we're gonna go after that. [00:54:00] Lots of cool stuff, exciting stuff coming up. Thank you guys for supporting this podcast, and until next week. I will see you guys right back here on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast.

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