Hunting is about the adventure and the path you take to reach your destination; having a big set of antlers is just a bonus! On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman, we sit down with DJ Hoshauer and discuss his eventful 2022 archery season. DJ is a family man that loves sports and loves hunting. He does everything in his power to set himself up for success each fall - not only from a scouting and physical preparation end, but also as a father, husband, and employee.
We begin discussing DJ's approach throughout a calendar year to the upcoming season addressing physical and mental health as a diehard bowhunter and family man. Next we chat about his more recent infatuation with hunting out west, including some high country Mule Deer hunting. This past season however, DJ was unable to draw any tags of his interest in the western states, allowing him to focus in depth on a monster buck he knew about in the PA big woods. We dive into the knowledge he had about the deer through trail cameras and on foot scouting, as well as collaboration with some friends that hunt the area. From here, it's an awesome whitetail hunting conversation filled with grind and determination to the end when he places an arrow in the boiler room at 20 yards. These are the stories that jack you up with excitement! Thanks for listening!
[00:00:00] Hey everybody. Thank you for tuning into this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast. I'm your host, Mitchell Shirk, and again, I really appreciate all your support here. We got going on. The the happenings of going right now, first of all, my wood stove is cranking like crazy. It's hot as all get out.
I just did a podcast with somebody we're gonna release in in a few weeks here and did the podcast and left the draft open on my stove. Way too hot. And of course didn't get up to to change that while I'm speaking. And it's now I don't know, 75, 80 degrees here in my basement.
It's extremely hot, but still burning wood. It's that time of year where it doesn't really. Make a decision if it wants to be springing or winter yet it's back and forth and it's annoying. I'd like one or the other and not [00:01:00] that in between sloppy mess we get, what, sometimes you just don't always get what you want, and that's just the way it is.
Yeah, other happenings, I've been back to practicing with my guitar and it's so stupid random. The only reason I bring it up is I'm just doing so much other stuff with work and I got asked to play a song for for an event that's coming up and I'm like, I don't play this thing that often and now I'm supposed to play a song from, for a group of people and it's just like adding one more thing and I gotta make sure I practice this thing enough so I feel comfortable to do this in front of people, on top of everything else, all while I really am.
Chopping at the bit to do some habitat work and some preparations for next year. I got some really cool plans in the mix here at my place. I decided I was going to invest in. Putting a conifer border up at a section of my little property here, because I determined that I [00:02:00] really need this screening here.
And even if it's gonna take a few years to establish, I want a good solid screen. And it's gonna be added in con in conjunction with the layers that are already there. I have some switch grass up. There's pockets of it that I still plant in or portions of that I'll still plant in an annual screening to get layered screening both in height and width.
I also just to try it a couple years ago I put some miss Campus grass in and I had the first year I planted two rows and I had mixed results in the stands. Some of the sections. Like crazy. Grew really well. Other sections are just on behind. It didn't come up at all. So then I ended up doing a replant in certain portions the second year.
So it's just staggered all over the place. So my screen is like this lopsided mess, and I just decided, you know what? The screen is so important that I'm gonna add a counter for screening. And I got some trees that are a little bit more [00:03:00] advanced. Some of 'em are three gallons, some of them are 10 gallon trees tree pots that I think are really gonna be a benefit to me in the long run.
So I wanna plant those trees here. I wanna restructure the design and the feel of how Deere enter my property and leave my property in relationship to food plots and how they'd move. I gotta restructure some trails. Some of it has just gotten. Completely annihilated with the falling ash trees.
There's dead trees and widow makers hanging all over the place. And for one, I need firewood. Even though I've got it burning like crazy in my basement, I still need more. I'll need more next year. So try to be a conservationist and use that firewood for good purpose. But getting it outta there, cleaning it up and restructuring the trails and the locations where I want.
There's a couple trees that I'd like to, some living standing trees I'd like to cut and. Direct deer movements accordingly into this small piece of property. And then enhance that movement with some, yeah. [00:04:00] Changing of mock scrapes. I have a water hole in a certain location that I think is an added attraction.
And then just changing the structure of that football. So I got all this stuff in my mind. I'm, oh, and by the way, I'm also gonna be planting some deciduous trees that hopefully in a few years are gonna be producing amassed one of those things that it's like an ice cream crop thing.
It's not necessarily a need, but it's things I wanna tinker with. It's things I wanna try and, the idea of having green food source, mass food source, all on a small location and that high attraction in my neighborhood, I think that would be something that'd be a benefit long term. So I'm I'm excited to do that stuff, but, I don't know when I'm gonna do it.
So I'm still trying to figure that out. I'm working through some stuff, but I think I got some opportunity in March. At least I'm, that's what I'm hoping for and that's what I'm banking on. So hopefully you guys are able to do the exact same thing and get some stuff that fuels you, fuels you, gets you going.
Cuz I'm, if you're anything like me, you think about doing that hunting stuff all the time and shifting gears this week, we're [00:05:00] talking with somebody that's no different, thinks about hunting in some capacity all the time, and is a, is a. Really good Hunter. Might I add? It is somebody that has a lot of great stories.
I was thankful I got to connect with him. And that is DJ hash hour. He has he has a lot of great stories. I connected with him cuz I wanted to pick his brain on hunting out west and some Muellers. He has, he's had some great mule deer hunting experiences and he has a really cool trophy room. I was fortunate enough to go over it and check that out, but we dive into something that is near and dear to me.
We've talked about in a couple other episodes here recently because it's, it is a hot topic, it's hot right now in the, the press media, social media type stuff. But it's. Popular and relevant for me personally. And that's just hunting in big woods and successful stories in Mountain Bucks.
And DJ killed an absolute fantastic mountain buck, old, mature buck this year. It was a [00:06:00] fantastic eight pointer. I got to hold the rack and holding that thing was just mind boggling. The mass that it had and the time length, and it's just an incredible, huge. Beast of a mountain buck. And the story in listening to him, how he approached that, how he approaches going into the big woods, managing with pressure, just being somewhere in isolation and enjoying that.
But not only that, but the emphasis on finding sign and hunting sign and not as, using trail cameras as a tool, but not relying on them and just being a true woodsman. This show's called the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast and it's for those that are trying to be a better woodsman.
And I've got my avenues that I think I'm fairly fairly sounding as a woodsman. There's other areas that I need some improvement on and that's what this podcast is hopefully catering to in some degree. And DJ is somebody who's a fantastic woodsman from the side of Pennsylvania and hunting mountains.
And, he's no slouch at and anything he goes to cuz he's [00:07:00] driven, determined, and he puts a lot of hard work into it and sets goals and works to achieve them. And he's just a, this is a fun episode. It's a great story for me. It left me on the edge of my seat. As we're going through, we go down a couple rabbit hole discussions and what we think about deer hunting and, the history of Pennsylvania and archery hunting and or just deer behavior in general.
But we get and lead into the approach and ultimately the kill of this fantastic whitetail in Pennsylvania. You'll, if you'll see the pictures on the the posts for this website, it's an impressive buck. But last thing before we get to this episode, keep in mind guys, we are in the midst of planning season approaching planting season.
If you are a food plotter person and we've got some episodes, out now and coming. To try to help you gear that and make some preparations. But I wanted to share with you guys if you're new to this podcast or you haven't listened to too much, or you haven't heard me say this before[00:08:00] I, I'm a, I'm an agronomist by trade.
I work with a lot of farmers and I tell everybody that if you have questions in getting started with food plots, please reach out to me. I will gladly help you if you feel I can help you with any of your startup things. Connect with us on Instagram and Facebook. It's at Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast.
You can also email me at PA. Woodsman podcast gmail.com. Pa woodsman podcast is pa not Pennsylvania, PA woodsman firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send questions on any of those things. I try to do my best and respond to everybody and help you. And it's been a joy getting to connect with you guys and help you see your success unfold the past few years since since we're doing this podcast.
And I wanna continue to be a resource if that's something I can be. We've got a lot of people coming up on the show here. Not to give any spoiler alerts, but people that are in the same capacity to have a ton of knowledge will be glad to [00:09:00] help you. I leave that with you, but let's get back and go to this episode with dj.
I think you're really gonna enjoy it. I know. I enjoyed bringing it to you. So here,
We're sitting here at DJ hash hours fantastic basement. I'm looking around at a wall full of memories. Some great bucks. And, dj, first of all, thanks for coming on and chatting with us and having me over at your wonderful house. Yeah, man, I appreciate it.
Anytime we can talk hunting I'm all in. Especially when it's February and the only thing you can do now is dream about the upcoming season. Dream about it. We, I was talking with some buddies. I was at the show. I was just at this Harrisburg show with I was talking with, and I asked him, I was like, Hey, have you been out scouting?
Oh, don't, no, it's show season. I've been doing this, and I'm like, Yeah, I've had other stuff too, and it's, that's where my mind is. But, life is pulling strings at other places. But no, we talking about hunting that first time you and I connected, you and I connected through a mutual friend and I reached out to you about hunting out west.
Cuz that's something I'd like to do a, in a little bit greater capacity at some [00:10:00] point in my life. But I think the first day we were talking, we were like on the phone for an hour and a half just yaking about out west. I was like, yeah, this is the kind of guy that I enjoy talking hunting with. Yeah. I appreciate it, man.
It's . I take my hunting seriously. But definitely that's all I think about. Right now it's, I'm thinking about spring turkeys. Yeah. I have a good buddy that's big in the spring, turkeys. And I told 'em today, I said, man, I said, I got all these calls and yet wanna buy another one.
It's but it's Western application season and last year, I was telling you, when we were on the phone, it was the first time in 10 years I didn't draw a tag. I was over for five or six states. Wow. And I kept trying to pick one up and just never had the luck. And this year right now, I can draw.
a couple. , at least one or two. So that's what I'm looking forward to doing. Good deal. Yeah. The o the Western hunting and that whole game of the tag playing and stuff like that, for me, it's extremely overwhelming. Now, I told you before, and I've echoed it so much on this episode, my phase of life, I've got strings pulling a couple different, angles from career and, the age of my family and stuff.
But y that's one of those things that's, it's on my [00:11:00] mind and I wanna start a process of going through it. And you dove into that, like what, 10 years ago or something like that? Yeah. 2012 had a buddy just on a whim said, Hey I'm looking at doing some high country mule deer hunting. And of course he's shown me pictures and I'm like that sounds cool, but I always wanted to hunt elk.
And I was like, yeah, it's an over-the-counter elk unit. And. I just thought, you know what? Opportunity doesn't always come. I always wanted to hunt the west. I always wanted to hunt elk. And I just thought, I better jump at this. And we ended up buying landowner tags and back then they were more reasonable than they are now.
Okay. And that's how we got our tag. He had a connection. And anyway, we went out there and ended up shooting. I ended up shooting my first elk. He got a mule deer. I missed a mule deer, but it hooked me. . And actually what hooked me more than anything was the high country mule deer. Okay.
And that, that since this day, like when we went out there, we had a three or four year plan. I thought, man, three or four years, probably a learning in area. I knew how to hunt and kill whitetails and hunt in the east. And it's just different in the west. And it's not that. And if a western guy came east, it's different for him.
Yeah. So you gotta learn your [00:12:00] quarry, you gotta learn that it's a completely set of rules, different set of rules and . I was joking around. I always tell 'em like, man, if we had any idea what we were doing in those first couple years, we could've killed a few smashers. That the first ones are first years are always the best ones.
Cause that's where you make your most mistakes and have the best ones that could've got away. Yep. And we always were, we still were successful. And then it took me my fourth year that this buck over here was the big clean four by four. I killed him, which is a dandy of a deer. I mean his twos with those forks, I mean you, I'm, am I exaggerating to say that on that right side's?
Like a 15 inch, 16 inch two? He's if you go from the base it's like 2021. Is it really? Oh my gosh. On the back, on the outside. So you see that weak one. The year before he was better. I hunted that deer. Three years. Okay. I found him in 20, I tug out in 2013. . I found him, my buddy, I put him on my buddy on him the last day.
He didn't get him 2014. I found him. Another guy blew him out on me. And then that buck I showed you upstairs. , I thought I said, was the first, like decent, respectable looking one. I got him in a perfect stalking spot and I [00:13:00] thought Jesus Buck just got blown out yesterday. , is he gonna come back?
So I killed that buck. , the next year I found this buck again, and that's all I dreamed about for a year was, is he alive? And if he is, that's what I'm hunting. And the year before, those back times were the same. And he had flyer, he had cheaters coming off both back. You could see where there's a little bump on the outside.
He didn't grow 'em that year, but he tried to. . But he was a, the year before would've been touch over 200. He was 1 98 when I shot him there. Yeah. And like when I stepped in your house and was looking at your first one, you're like, yeah, this is a respectable buck. And I was looking at that deer, I was like, that is everything I have in my mind.
Like just shooting a good buck like that. But that is a pretty re representative of a younger deer, but a good buck. Yeah. It was like a one 50 tight buck, maybe a little bit better. But in my mind that's. Fantastic. And I'm down here looking at the rest of m geez, and Petes, this guy's got some big mule deer.
This is pretty dang cool. . Yeah. Anyway, that I love hunting the high country and I think I'll probably be back there this [00:14:00] year ho, hopefully. Good. Do you have any specific so you said you could probably draw a couple tags. So like when you were looking at all, all the potential options, you'd have five, six tags or whatever do you have something that you, or a place you favor going to more just out of enjoyment or is there something you're looking to drive to do, to get better in, in a sense of a location or learn a place better?
So Colorado, I, that's the king of mule deer for all states. Okay. You can shoot a big one in any state. You saw my Nevada buck up there. Yeah. There's more of 'em and they're, you can, they say, throw a dart at the map. It's true. That doesn't mean you're gonna find one. It doesn't mean you're gonna see one.
But the last couple years it hasn't haunted the same, in some of these high country units, hiking and recreation has become so big that it's getting a lot of extra people and hikers are getting off trails now. And they're, they have just as much to be there as I do. But when you've watched a buck for the last time out I was 2020.
So the last time I was out there, no, I'm sorry, 2021. Okay. And I tried a brand new unit and I found yeah, I'm guessing, [00:15:00] actually, I'll show you pictures of it then. I was guessing right around one 90 really nice mule deer. And then there was a giant three by three with him, like baseball bats coming off his head mass.
Old, old deer, didn't have genetics, but just again, I could show you a picture of him later. Yeah. And a hunter blew that. That one 90 buck out, and I was hunt right on the boundary of two units and he won in the other unit. I'm like, man, that buck, and that was day four or so. And I was like that hurt.
So the guy had no idea that I was watching this other buck who was in the other unit while I saw him coming into my unit. And I saw him bed on the backside of this cliff and I thought, boy, this could really play out good. So I hiked over there and on the way over, I'm looking back and I see someone following me and I'm like, what?
Where'd this person come from and what are they doing? And I realized it's a hiker. And so the new thing is they just, I don't wanna say new now, but new for the last five, six years. They just wanna hike. Peaks, no trails. Just every peak around they're gonna hike and do as many as they can in a day. Really?
So I'm [00:16:00] like, I'm watching him, like I'm gonna have to talk to him and just chance that he's not anti hunter or is gonna be, a jerk to me. And I talked to him, he's oh yeah, my buddy's coming too. He's I'll stay away. And I was like, alls you gotta do is just stay on the right side of the ridge.
I'm like, you don't have to go down the mountain. Just stay outta sight in the right. Yep, we'll do that. So I saw him go talk to his buddy and I wanted to get in on my stalk. I found the buck beded below this cliff wind in my face. It was a dream stalk. . And I'm working my way in and next thing you know him and six bucks blow outta there.
And I look over and those hikers came over the ridge and just blew 'em out there on purpose. . And I was just after spending at that point, that was after the one 90 buck. That wasn't the same day. I think I said it was the same day. It was like a day or two later. . It was a week up there and.
To get a buck in the right place, a killable spot, and for him to get blown out of there by some hikers that just didn't care what I was doing. Just it hurt. Oh. And I have a buddy that lives in Colorado who's a big hunter and some of the other units that I was hunting, that's how I [00:17:00] ran into him.
We met on the mountain and he was having the same issues. So we always joke now that we're gonna start hunting areas that are ugly so people aren't hiking and going on vacation on 'em. And, but talk about another variable that you wouldn't a, wouldn't think about. You talk about all the aspects and variables that you get, you try to control and look at, whether you're hunting whitetails out here, you're hunting out west, that's typically not one you hear about a lot.
No. It's we were like, let's, because the sage brush country holds bucks too. It's just, there's just something awesome about going up to 12, 13,000 feet and hunting those high out pound basins. . And it's a tough hunt. But it, to me, it got into my blood, and that now I'm like, eh, I was thinking about going, I actually have some spots that I think would be pretty good, and I got a little bit of inside information that they hold some good bucks, but I'm like, the high country's calling me.
So I think that's probably, I'll just deal with it, it is what it is. There's the aspect of hunting new places and hunting hunting specific deer, specific caliber deer. [00:18:00] And then there's the other side of the adventure and what, where it's calling you to be.
And that's how I am too when I compare hunting in Southern Pennsylvania for whitetails versus hunting in northern Pennsylvania. Just the terrain in the places. But we we quickly got off on on our hunting tangents what we're gonna, we're gonna do. But I did a very poor job of introducing you and talking about, your upbringing through hunting and stuff.
And I'd love to give you the opportunity to do that. Yeah, no problem. Grew up hunting, Pennsylvania, and even though I love the West, that's still, I still love hunting. Pennsylvania. That's where you cut your teeth. Yeah, I cut my teeth. We had a cabin up in the northern part of Pennsylvania.
Love going up there with the family. Still love going up there with the family. I was able to get my own cabin just a half a mile from where my family's camps been. So we still hunt together and hang out together. . But, I hunt down here in Southeast just like you, but I love hunting up there. But yeah, I've just always loved the outdoors, love the woods, I'm there as much as I can. And I think over time I [00:19:00] love being out there so much and love chasing whitetails that there was a progression, like the, when you first start hunting, it's man, I want to get a deer, and. I wanna get a buck. And maybe your first year was bucked. Then it's oh, I wanna get a nice racked buck. And then it was, boy, I wanna get the biggest buck. And then it was, man, how many years in a row can I get a buck? And I think now I'm at the point that for a while, about the last two decades, I like to try to find one buck.
I wanna hunt and kill him. And it, it seems to be the progression. And it also seems that within some people there's a, there's a plateauing with that. Like you go through that progression it gives you the drive and you keep going to that next thing and you get to a certain point within Your hunting career and some people plateau and kind of coast off.
And the one, one thing I've really noticed, like talking with you and talking about whether that's just, targeting whitetails out here or targeting specific deer out west mule deer hunting and stuff like that. Like your level of intensity and the way you approach it. I love that because to me, intensity drives drives motivation.
A lot of people, like I, I talk with with some friends of mine there and they say to me like, I'm motivated by how. [00:20:00] You talk about the enthusiasm having that, and I get that from you too. Talk a little bit about the transition. I'd like to go back out west for just a second cuz I'm just infatuated with your mule deer and talking about this because you said that took hold of you and like your drive and how you were approaching doing it on your own and glassing the changes you had from hunting east to hunting big, high country west.
But the level of drive and stuff just is impressive to me. Ah, thanks. I appreciate it. Like I said, I take everything seriously and it doesn't matter if it's work or, trying to be a dad or a friend or, do it the best you can do it, . And it's the same with hunting.
I, I. . For me, I just like to set goals. If I set goals, that's where I'm working towards, and we have dreams, and I think dreams are possible, they gotta be realistic. But, for me, if I find a big buck, the dream's very realistic.
But out west, yeah, oh, I, the thing I was telling you earlier, me and my buddy that first went out there together in 2012, we thought it would take about four years to [00:21:00] figure it out and kill a really good buck. And I'm the fourth and it was 1213, so I killed that one in 15. I hunted him three years.
Okay. I found him haunted him legit. And then 14 and then 15. I killed him. I think it was the fourth day of the season. So you were on that deer for three years before you Yeah, I found him. I killed my buck in 2013. I kept scouting. Yeah. And that's the thing out there. I kept scouting even after I had my, ripped my tags.
The prior years. You were talking about scouting too, when you were going out with your family on vacation? Yeah, so yeah, we took the f I took the family out on vacation twice and I'd get up at three o'clock in the morning just to hike two hours in to get to a glassing spot and just glass the first hour and a half, run off the mountain and get back for b nine o'clock breakfast or whatever.
Cuz I wanted to learn area, I wanted to try to find bucks and that's the only way I knew how, it was either not go and it doesn't help me at all, or I went so but I love doing it. , does it stink getting up at three o'clock? Yeah. It's awesome when you're glassing up mule deer and elk and, better leave it, it's, it.
For me. I just love doing it, [00:22:00] but I guess I am intense and sometimes when I take my daughters out I gotta learn to back off and, cuz to them it's fun. My daughter, my youngest daughter shot her first buck this year. Okay. And I killed that big buck that I guess we're gonna talk about then.
But, that was, man, I was just as pumped up for that as I was my big buck. And we were talking about progressions of a hunter. Like now I think I'm at the point that I still love targeting bucks, but I love helping people now, like now people that didn't have that chance to walk up on a. On a big buck or any buck.
For me to see them have that same feeling that I had, and then I could be a part of it means a lot to me, man. Yeah, you and me both. Like this year I had I'd taken, so my sister-in-law decided she wanted to go hunting for the first time this year. They bought a property, had 20 some acres and, full of deer.
And she's I want you to take me, I wanna shoot my first deer. Okay. And we did this she ended up like going hunting literally three days and shooting three deer, filling out every single time. Wow. It was a freak of a hu I think she had five sits in, I think the first day we went, she sat morning and evening.[00:23:00]
The first morning she shot a buck. And hit it, backs strapped it. And, we watched it go and I had explained to her what happened and why we didn't get that deer and stuff. And that evening she ended up shooting a dough and, smoked it, put a great shot on the next day we went hunting would've been opening day rifle.
She shoots her first buck in on the evening. So that was four sits, two deer in two days. And then she went out in the late season and killed one. But it was like seeing her like develop as an, and then the cool part about it was, she butchered the last two herself. Oh, wow. Skinned it and butchered it herself.
And it was like, just seeing that part of it was so different because again I'm like, you like thinking about one soul deer and going after that, that's something that eats you too. But that'll make you nuts. It'll make you crazy it, it does. And I'm trying to, I'm trying to calm that crazy.
Yep. Just because of the family aspect of it too. But yeah, it just I went up to camp two weekends ago. And had a little bit of snow on the ground, maybe four inches, three four inches packed. Yeah. I'm like, yeah. I went up Wednesday night, I was gonna be [00:24:00] there through Sunday.
I had a couple buddies coming up Friday night, so I had a day and a half by myself, and I thought, I'm just gonna relax. Yeah. Just gonna hang out at camp. I'm gonna do anything. Seven 30 the first day I'm there, what am I doing? Put my backpack and my boots on. I gotta go see if my second buck from last year if I can find sheds.
And they dropped sort early up there this year. I have a friend up there that's a local, probably honestly spends 200 days a year in the woods. He's retired but just loves nature. , and I think he found 11 right around New Year's. Wow. That's 11 sheds. And then he had some health issues, so he hasn't really been out since.
But I did find a big track. I found where these, where he was hanging, I found where the deer were feeding, they were in their heavy. And I found several areas where he had the ground pulled out and a really big track. And I knew his track from. When I ran cameras on him he was gonna be my backup buck to the buck.
I ended up shooting, but I think it's him, but I don't know for a fact, but , you don't see many tracks the size of the one he has, so I'm really praying it's him. But anyway, you're going back to scouting. It's so already [00:25:00] that's what I'm thinking about for next year. I'm like, yeah, did he make it?
Yeah. And I'm hoping he did. It's been a mild winter. Yeah. You don't know if he got shot, but finding that track on the same Reggie he was running, was already has me looking forward to maybe running some cameras in mid-July. It's usually when I start and, okay. Yeah.
I was actually was gonna ask you, because the buck that you killed this year, which was, a heck of a deer, especially for, the, at the. How do I wanna word this? The atmosphere that you were hunting, the lo location, that's a heck of a buck in Pennsylvania.
So congratulations. And I was really curious like that deer, you said, you got hooked on targeting whitetails. And I love those stories. So like how many years of history did you have with this buck leading up to this year? Yeah, so this buck sort of unique in the fact that the story when I thought it was concluded when I killed him, actually concluded just two weekends ago when I was up and I went to my buddy's house.
He was a big shed hunter. Okay. And he had sheds from that deer from 2000, there were 2017 sheds. But he found him in the spring of [00:26:00] 18. Okay. And he found we, I had my rack and we put 'em up right next to the rack. Now the rack itself wasn't as big, but they, I mean they were identical match to the bumps.
To exactly how they ran. And he goes, I don't know where you shot this buck. He goes, but I don't wanna tell you where I found em. And he told me where he found em and it was a couple miles from where I shot him. Okay. And up there a couple miles. Is nothing like the buck. This buck I was hunting in the summertime.
I had him three straight line miles in the air. He was moving at least that far. I picked him up on we had 'em on camera up there. Yeah. The one I thought I had 'em zeroed in from what I knew the year before. And then my buddy asked me, he goes, Hey, I have a couple extra cameras. Where do you think I should run 'em?
I'm like, yeah, I run 'em out this ridge. And he texted me, he goes your buck was just all the way out this ridge. I'm like, come on man. And I actually got the press cuz I was like, if that box's moving that much in the summer, what's he gonna do? Come, the season when they start rotting but ended up figuring it out. I actually didn't hunt out there at all. I believe his area got smaller. Which is usually the [00:27:00] opposite, but I think he, his area got smaller from what I was seeing on him. This season what's pretty, pretty fun when you have when you have pretty good history with a deer or a location or a farm or something like that, and you have the ability to put the pieces of the puzzle together for certain deer, I can think of a couple deer in particular that.
One in particular, it wasn't a deer I killed as a deer that my buddy killed, that I hunt with. It was a deer that we had pictures of. We would never have pictures of him in the off season. We would not have those summertime velvet pictures of him. We would not have him, him developing antlers.
It was, it would, he would always show up at some point throughout archery season and when he was. , he stayed and he stayed pre pretty consistent throughout that season. We'd even have pictures of him going in the late season. We'd shed, and it was the same thing over again. That happened at least two, but I think it was three seasons.
And it seemed like that, that fall shift that he did wherever he summered , and his fall shift was right where we were. And we ended up putting the pieces of the puzzle together and my buddy [00:28:00] killed him. It was a heck of a deer. I think it I think he sent the tooth in on that buck.
It was a five year old deer according to that. We, couple years of history leading up to that mature buck. But I've seen that a couple times. And even my big one that I killed in 2020, I would never see that deer in the neighborhood. If I was glassing driving around in bean fields, I would never see him on my cameras in my.
But there was this specific timeframe. He did this, the one year specific timeframe he showed up and he'd be there for, 24 to 36 hours in the small wood lot. And then he was gone for a week and then he'd do it again. And it was like from the end of October through mid-November, and then he was gone.
And then I had him show up late season in January for a two week duration doing the same thing. And that was it. And that's all I had to go on going in. And I ended up seeing that similar pattern the next year when I killed 'em. And I find that a lot. And I'd be curious if you find stuff like that too, and the way they shift or is it completely different in some of the atmospheres that you're hunting?
No, I see that a lot. I don't know.[00:29:00] I think there's a lot of factors that come down to it, and it all depends where you're hunting, but I've had farms here local, where the year prior it was terrible. . And you're like, this next season's gonna be. no good. And then all of a sudden all these big shooters show up outta nowhere.
, up around camp in the big woods there really that I was telling you about my buddy I've become pretty close friends with. And over the years, like when we first bumping into each other in the woods, we didn't share any information. And then you realize that hey, we're like the same person here and we become friends.
We share maybe not exact spots now if we're hunting the same areas, but we show each other pictures of deer that have super unique racks. And I don't even mean they're always big and I cannot believe how much those deer move up there. . And it's not every year. Like we just had one last year.
I had 'em two years ago, summering between four and five straight mile straight line miles away, including across like a major land feature and. I was like, why would a deer move his summer [00:30:00] range that far up there? And he, where he left, had more food than Oh, had more food. Yeah. But he was super unique.
There was no denying it was him and I went back, I can show you pictures now, and he'd be like, yep, a hundred percent. Same deer. Then there was another deer I showed him and he goes I can't be, and I'm like, this is where I told him where I got 'em. We were hunt the same. I said, I got 'em in here one time this year.
I'm like, you ever see this buck super unique? Like he goes, I just had 'em. And he showed me a picture. He goes, I forget how many miles it was out there. He goes, hit a scrape last night. . He goes, I pulled the card yesterday, or I guess it would've been the night prior. He pulled the card yesterday, was looking at it, and even the block that I killed this year, he found the sheds on the spring of 18.
He haunted him in that area for. one or two years and then he said disappeared. I was hunting a couple miles outside of that area sporadically. Like I move around a lot. I never, most of these bucks I never kill even on the same mountain. . It's like I get in there, I do my thing and [00:31:00] then I go elsewhere and I was running cameras in there.
I killed one nice buck, maybe three quarters of a mile from him. I killed this buck this year in 2019. That was the first year I haunted it. Never hunted that area. I ran cameras in there in 19 and 20, never saw that deer in 21. I was scouting and I started seeing like big monster rubs and I'm like, dude, there's a really good buck in here.
And I haunted him. That would've been in 21 and I only picked him up on camera one time. And that was the only time, but I knew. Sign doesn't lie. Big track, big tracks don't lie. Big heavy, deep tracks don't lie. A big rub doesn't lie. You don't have a 105 inch deer, tearing a three foot, up and down tree or the size of your leg.
Yeah. At the, waist height or something that, yeah. Yes. So he lost that deer that for whatever reason, that deer just decided, I'm outta here. And he came over to my area for, and benefited me, and so last year I didn't kill him. [00:32:00] That was I might've got ahead of myself there, but you were asking me earlier the history of that book, so I'll back it up a little bit.
So I loved hunting up north, and that's where I grew up hunting. And then there in the early two thousands, . Anybody that knows the northern woods PA used to have a lot of b a lot of deer. Yeah. Oh tons. You shot a eight pointer with a 15 inch spread that was a monster in the nineties.
Eighties, seventies. Absolutely. Spike bucks and four points and, doe were abundant. When they hammered 'em pretty good during the two thousands, it got bad up there. Okay. And and my dad had some health issues and one of 'em, my best friend has a lease in Western Pennsylvania.
We got in that lease, and I stopped hunting up there. It was easier for my dad. The hunting was better. I didn't stop, but I didn't hunt it like I was hunting. . And then I started going up and scouting and I'm like, man, there's some really, good bucks up here, yeah. And then eventually in 2016, me and my dad said we missed being at camp. We mi let's go back. Let's go back. Let's hunt up at camp. Let's hunt the big woods. I think hunting out west, I was missing [00:33:00] the Pennsylvania adventure of going to camp. And anybody that knows about having a hunt camp, man, it's an adventure, I just love roaming the big woods. The downside is it's public. All kinds of things can happen, but the upside is you got hundreds of thousands of acres, between game lands and state forest and what have you. But, so in 2017, my dream always growing up was to, I shot some okay bucks, but I never shot one of those bucks that you dream about, right?
Yeah. Like coming out, coming outta the big woods, like ones growing up. In my mind, I always had these visions of big bucks and I'd find a big rub and I'd be like, I wonder what that buck was. But they didn't have cameras back in the nineties, yeah. And then even in early two thousands, the cameras were okay, but not like we have now.
So in 2017, my goal was I'm gonna get serious and, let's get it going. I went up there and that first year I was lucky enough to shoot one in rifle. It was that buck right there. He's up at camp. I have that mount at camp. I was hunting with my cousin that day. I shot him. So the first year I thought it would take five years, yeah. The [00:34:00] first year I got him, I had an encounter in archery with a really big buck. And I had him quartering to me at 26 yards. And I was like, just be patient, don't force the shot. And smart. It was raining and he was coming to me and I was like, don't force a shot. And he was really big.
Let's just leave it at that. And I was hunting him and he, that wind swirled and anybody that hunts the mountains I should have known that. I got so focused on just be patient and just wait. I wasn't thinking it's raining. I wasn't thinking about, he's been down there grooming himself and just hanging out for two or three minutes.
Like your wind is not gonna hold anybody that hunts the mountains and knows your wind. It swirls. It's gonna, and he caught my wind and I never seen a buck do this. He swirled. And I was in a select cut, so I could see up from my tree, I could see hundreds of yards, and I saw that bike run 400 yards and never stopped, never snorted, never did that little 2030 yard bound and looked back and snorted again, and he turned [00:35:00] around, snorted, and ran.
as far as I could see, and he never stopped running. And I was like, that sort of ripped my heart out. And I gotta stop you there because one thing that stands in my mind, I talked about this with one of my buddies before. He always tells this story of, I, I think it was something along the lines of, he and his dad used to right around lunchtime in archery seas, and they'd always get together, eat lunch at a stump together, and then they'd go back out to their stands.
And I think he was walking to the spot where they meet and he could see where his dad was in the stand, maybe a hundred some yards away. And he always tells a story. He watched this buck come up this ridge and. where the buck came from would've been downwind of his dad. And I'm gonna say that this was somewhere between a hundred and 150 yards.
There's laurel there's terrain, there's stuff that is impeding him from seeing the deer. But my buddy can see this happening, unfolding. And he said he watched that buck come up the ridge, lock up, stop, stick his nose in the air and just turn around and walk away. And I, I say all this because what [00:36:00] you were talking about with the hunting changing up, up in northern Pennsylvania, we went from having a ton of deer and this and that to, for years the conversation has been, there's no deer up there.
, there's no deer up there. . And even in, in, in my camp, like I, I remember the guys talking. There's no deer up there. No. And one thing that stands out to me is at that timeframe, everybody won hunting up. All the hunting pressure was up there and like I, I remember stories of my dad talking about the sun rising and you look and it's a pumpkin patch everywhere and you can walk miles and you're just seeing guys constantly.
And I think about that level of hunting pressure, like you were bumping deer constantly. And I still say to this day, if you had that level of hunting pressure in some of those places in the north woods, I'm not saying you're gonna see those 40, 50, 60 deer numbers, but I think I personally believe you would see more deer.
But I think it's because of the lack of hunting pressure. I feel it's so much easier for a deer to do exactly what you just experienced with that bucket smelled, you ran 400 [00:37:00] yards and you never saw 'em again. Like I think deer are busting you and you don't even know it in those settings. I would agree with there's definitely deer to gonna smell you.
I've seen it when you can see, like sometimes I'm in a select cut and like when you're on the ground you can't see very far. But when you're up in your tree, you can see , . I still think though, that it's not nearly what it used to be. Even the last couple years, the winter two year, I think it was two years ago, that bad winter when it was like 30 inches up there for four months, that really hurt.
Yeah. What you're, I think if you got these guys, there's so many clear cuts going in now. That's why these bucks are getting big. They're getting age True. They're getting age. That's where we kill a lot of deer too. Yeah. They're in the clear cutting and if you don't go in, they're not coming out.
Meaning if you don't have guys walking around pushing them they're not coming out. At least over our way, and I think that's very, yeah. I think that's similar to what I would experience too, because I, as much as I'm in the woods scouting , the trio cams I'm running, I'm very familiar with multiple different areas.
And then I was telling you, my buddy up there who's in the woods a lot , if he was seeing deer, more deer. [00:38:00] Or I was seeing more deer, and then you could be like I'm just not in the right spot, or they're not moving here. But, honestly, that sort of helped me kill my buck this year. Okay.
The lack of deer. Because I took a little bit different approach, but I'm not gonna go off on that right now, but we were just talking about the deer. You're right. There's still guys hunting up there. Sure. But definitely not in the amounts of, in years past.
But I will say this, the guys I am seeing hunting up there now are more serious. I think what you had back When our dads grew up, or even when I was young, it was everybody went up there for rifle season, right? They did their couple day thing and then they went home. Archery season.
You never saw anybody, man, I'm seeing all kinds of cameras. Guys are taking vacations. So I think the overall nu hunting numbers are down, but the more serious hunters are there and there's always ways to get around that. But I think there's still guys that are, there's more serious guys hunting, I believe that, I believe that.
And they're usually good guys. Like when you bump into 'em, [00:39:00] everybody's pretty respectful. I haven't I don't even wanna jinx myself, but I haven't dealt with too many, guys that have no respect. If you beat 'em into a spot or something, you don't. But generally, I try not to hunt an area.
I'd rather hunt one deer alone than hunt four big bucks with one other guy that isn't. Let's just say we're not gonna work together and stay outta each other's hair. Yeah. If that makes sense. And it's, it is not that. Yeah. I don't want anybody else to shoot a big buck.
It's that part of my enjoyment of hunting remote country is solitude. Yeah. You're not hearing any horns beeping and I just love hearing the, you hear the CROs or the Ravens or Blue Jays and Coyotes Allen and there's something to be said about that, but for sure. Yeah. To jump back in though on, I was saying I shut that buck in 17 and then in 18 I had an Iowa tag.
So I didn't hunt. That was probably the best year I had for a bunch of really good bucks up there. And I never got the chance to hunt it cuz I was in Iowa for two weeks and the begin early season [00:40:00] I had some work stuff and I think I had some out west stuff going on. , so I just didn't have the time.
19 I bought my cabin and it was only a half mile from my family's cabin and I grew up, which was nice, and then I killed. Oh, I killed that book. I don't know if you could see him here with the green hat. Wow. Anyway, that's where I was going with this story. So I killed him about three quarters of a mile from where I got mine this year.
So that's the closest two big ones I shot. But anyway, when I was going back with my big one there, he didn't come in there till 21, so last year where I was hunting him, I knew he was there, but I just felt like I wasn't on him. And it was a tough season. I thought I saw him maybe once.
I had that really Big eight come by Ron and Adele. And it was, you heard the grunting, I heard the leaves rustling. I grabbed my bow, saw a big shooter buck, and as quick as I saw him, him and the dead were by me. And they were gone. Wasn't him. I'm not a hundred percent sure it was either him.
There was another pretty good eight in there. But like at the, oh, in rifle last year, I went out with my [00:41:00] daughter ended up killing one in rifle and She, I think she missed one. Where we hone, it's pretty thick okay. I probably should have had her like on an oh six or a 30 30 shooting, a 2 43, and she tried to squeeze one in and there was just some saplings she didn't see.
But anyway, I was tug out and the last weekend a rifle was up there and I was like, man, I gotta figure this buck out. That's all I kept thinking about was this, this buck I was on and I went out scouting and I found this one area and I didn't know if he was in there. I didn't even run cameras in there.
And I was like, it just, something just hit home with me with it. I was like, man, I gotta get in here Last year. Like I can't believe I overlooked this area. I was like I knew it was up there, it was different ridge and I, but I was like I don't know what I was thinking, not going over there, but I thought I saw some good rubs down on the one side of the ridge.
But I just loved the way it's set up. I knew I could keep the wind pretty decent. I knew I could get in and out of it reasonably decent. , but I just had this feeling like it just reminded me of other areas. I don't wanna say that area, but it just seemed like a kill spot. , that's what it seemed like to me.
[00:42:00] So fast forward to this year, I waited till mid-July is usually when I'll start running cameras. Like I don't run 'em any earlier. That's just my preference. Okay. I don't wanna burn myself out. By that time you're gonna know what's gonna be at least big or not. They might, obviously they got a month to grow, but so I threw some out and I picked them up right away.
Or I was hunting 'em the year prior. So I, I had, or I was hunting 'em the year prior. I had a couple cameras in that area. And then the area I found in rifle season at the end of the previous rifle season, I put a couple cameras in there and right where I thought it was gonna be good. I never got 'em, I never got 'em in the summer.
I never got 'em in September. I never got 'em in oc. Halfway through October from where that spot was, it was about another, I guess I got OnX maps. It was like you just straight line it. It was about 700 yards down the ridge. I got him in there a couple times in August and it was just tough to get in and outta [00:43:00] that spot.
And I'm like he's gotta be back there where I'm not picking him up. So I went in there the first week of the season. Archery season. Archery season, yeah. Yeah. Went into the first week and I found one rub in between those spots that I looked at it and he, he always rubbed the same kind of trees, like same rub, different spots.
, and I'm looking and I'm seeing tines hitting nine inches behind the tree. And I'm like there's no other buck up here. That's him. And I'm like, who cares if you don't have a picture? I know he is here That's just what my gut was telling me. But now, you see a rub like that.
I'm like, that's him. That's still didn't get him. And then that I was getting him on the other ridge, so I knew he was there, but I just didn't feel confident that I could kill him there. I thought there was a chance. I just didn't, I didn't think that it was a spot I needed to be in. And I'm getting to my strategy that I take in the big woods now is I try to find a spot when I'm hunting a buck that I think I can kill 'em, and they [00:44:00] move around so much that I try to hunt the same two stands as much as I can.
Okay. And I know that goes against what you should do. If you hunt farm country, right? You're never doing that. But because there's so few deer and I can get in and out of these spots without spooking anything and keep my scent down to me, if you start moving around everywhere you're taking the chance that when you're zig zigging, he's zagging.
, and . I just thought if I can get in and out of this spot as much as I can within reason, yeah. At the right time. That's the other thing, you wanna go at the right time. Like obviously I'm not gonna go 75 degrees October 13th and just keep hunting these areas, but when I thought he was gonna be killable when I thought he was gonna daylight that, that's when I was gonna make my move.
So I think it was around that muzzle loader Bear and Dell. Yeah. I was a little nervous some of the state forests that are opening up their roads up there now, and I'm like they're opening up roads and he wasn't necessarily real close, but he wasn't necessarily real far from one of these roads.
And I thought I know. Excuse me. I know guys are [00:45:00] driving for bear and stuff. And I'm like, man, I'm just praying he doesn't get bumped. And I hunted up there. . I think that opening Malo Day at Bear for him didn't really seem any guys. So I was like let's hope this week goes good. But the end of that season, you have the senior rifle?
And I think the junior rifle. And then I was gonna be on vacation from, I think the 22nd till the 5th of November. So I went up there, I think I found two more rubs in the meantime. Oh. I found two more rubs down where I wasn't picking him up on Canberra. And I was like, man I gotta get in here.
He's here. I'm just not picking him up. I went back up there, the I don't remember what it was, 22nd, but it was after the, it was the Monday after that Bear went out. I was hunting that morning and I found maybe three or four more rubs, not right next to each other, but how I thought he was gonna move and I thought he's here like he's using this [00:46:00] ridge.
And I instantly moved one of my cameras. to a little bit different spot. And I picked him up the second night, so I knew he didn't get blown outta there. . And that gave me all the confidence okay, he's here game on. We need the weather and we, and the timing to line up here. So I got in there and I hung a stand and he had one scrape in there.
The licking branch was like eight foot off the ground, oh, holy god. Like it was up there, and now I did have pictures of one or two other bucks in there that would get up on their hind legs and get on it. But I could see his tracks in it. Like I knew he was in there.
So I haunted him and it was, I didn't see anything Monday, I didn't see anything Tuesday, I didn't see anything Wednesday. And this is where I'm getting to you gotta believe when you get to a spot, you gotta believe in that stand. I think probably one of those nights, I think like a Tuesday afternoon, it was 75, 80 degrees.
I didn't hunt. I was like, I'm just, I'm not even going out tonight. Like I'm, it wasn't like it was November 1st. It might have been, October 24th or fifth. I thought, I'll give it a break. I'll give myself a break cuz I know [00:47:00] here pretty soon I'm gonna be sitting all day. , so I took that evening off my number two buck.
I went in maybe two times on him just to give this buck a break. And I was hunting those other ridges too sometimes. So I was waiting for this stand. I hung, the only thing I didn't like about it was I thought if he came. This one side of the ridge that he was gonna come right at me, whether he was coming left or right.
And I'm like, this is gonna be bad. Like this buck's coming right at me. How am I gonna get drawn? It's gonna be point blank. Even if he doesn't see me, I'm gonna be shooting steep angle on him. And, but I was like, I can cover a lot here and I can keep my wind good. But I was like, man, maybe I'll chance it.
And the more I sat up there, I finally saw a buck in there on, I think it was Thursday morning, I finally saw a buck in there. So it was my first deer all week. And then Friday night I saw a nice eight point, probably 18 inches he came in. So my confidence is starting to get a little better, deer moving, but I didn't, I still haven't seen any dough then.
I'm not even picking up on [00:48:00] camera. So I knew there were some in there because I could see tracks, I could see some dough tracks. And then Saturday morning I saw doe. I thought, that's good. Sunday morning was supposed to finally get cold. You can't hunt Sunday morning. . And I went in there Monday and I pulled my card Monday morning and who showed up Sunday morning?
8 45 in the morning, man, he's right there on that scrape, hitting that scrape. And I thought, you gotta be kidding me, man. Of course, that temperature dropped, everything was perfect, and the day I'm not in there, he was in there huh. I stayed in there. I think I just had a checker for my car.
I could read or I stayed in there all day. I didn't see anything. Tuesday was supposed to rain, so I was like I think I went back Monday night and I was just frustrated, I saw a dough and two buck, basically seven days of hunting. And I just said to myself, I'm like, it doesn't matter if you see 50 deer a day, I only need to see one deer.
That's the only deer I'm in there to see. And I know that's hard to swallow, but in all reality, if you're hunting one buck, that's the only deer you need to see. Because if I saw 50 other ones and they [00:49:00] weren't him, I weren't shooting 'em anyway. Now it would make the hunt a lot fun. A lot more fun.
Yeah, but, so I guess that's the way I tricked my mind in, into staying positive was like, , you only need to see one man. You're hunting one deer. You've been here before. It's just frustrating, man. Like when you're, if you're hunting farm country, a lot of times, like here, I don't see a lot of deer moving 11 to two every now and again.
Yes. If it's, if you get a hot dough or something, but a lot of times you can come home, you can take a nap, you need cheeseburgers, up there in the big woods, I see a lot of bucks, just randomly 11 o'clock, 12 30, 1 o'clock. So I was sitting on my couch, I had a little hissy fit on my couch.
My buddy was up there and I'm, I'm swearing on the couch and I'm like, I was like, you know what, it's outta my system. I got it out. So I went in there Tuesday, said, I'm moving my stand Tuesday. He goes what do you mean? I said I'm not moving it far. I'm like, but just something tells me that I gotta move it.
I'm like, and I only wanted to move it. I was sitting there for days looking at trees. I was like, I wanna move it like, 30 yards. I'm like, I can still cover the same [00:50:00] stuff, but I'm just really nervous he's gonna come down this way. I was, he's okay. So I went in there, I'd like to do it when it rains.
That way you can get in and out and watch your sin away. And I'm not, I'm a big believer in when you hang a stand, make sure you can shoot, a lot of guys I didn't make sure I had a shooting lane there. I didn't wanna spook anything, I didn't want any, my scent there, I'm like I'll wear gloves just to make sure that my bare hands aren't touching sticks.
But anything that I'm touching, I'm dragging away and putting it where I don't think that deer's gonna be. Cuz obviously they could smell that. So I made sure I had some good shooting in there and I tried to think every possible way he could come in scenario. But one thing you learn as a hunter is when you think, you know how it's gonna happen.
It never happens that way. You know what I mean? They, yeah. They do something that you're like, I never saw that coming. I climbed in there Wednesday, I think it was Wednesday morning, we were back at camp and I had had two buddies with me up there. One was going home and we were drinking coffee and we got the BSing and stuff.
And I look at my watch, I'm like, [00:51:00] oh my gosh. I'm like, it's gonna be light and no time. I'm like, scrambling to get my stuff. I'm like, we gotta get out the door. And I got in there just as it was just before it was breaking dag. So I got up my tree. It's the first time I'm actually in this stand.
And I hung it the day before and I get in there and I felt good. And I just had that, I just had a feeling and I was actually on a ridge where I get rece cell reception and I texted my other buddy, Ryan, who I ended up putting him on the other, my second box. , because I was like, I knew I wasn't haunting him.
And again, I'm trying to help a guy out. I'm like, I put him in over at that second box. So he was haunting him. I texted him, I said, , man. It just feels like they could something could happen to that. It just it wasn't 30 degrees in Frosty, it just finally was a little chillier, but it had a little, I think that rain just, it re you know, it re-energizes you or something.
Yeah. And I sent him a text and I didn't put my phone in my pocket, and I heard a branch break, and I was like that's gotta be a deer. There's no wind, there's no nothing. And I hurry it again. And it was up from the way I came in. [00:52:00] So when I was coming in, the way I was coming in, I was actually going past my stand and then coming down the ridge and I stayed off the ridge.
Like I didn't drop down into the valley in case something was down there was pretty thick. But I just stayed. Anybody knows the mountains like a little roll between the top and the sides. Yep. Like you can hide there. And I, that's how I'd walk in. And then when I'd get close to the stand, I always believe that when I cut to my stand, I just try to cut.
Where if a deer hits my centra, I can shoot him. Yeah. Because if he cuts it, where you can't shoot him and he smells in. He is especially a mature animal. They know man. It's happened. That's why I do this. So that's what I did that day. While he's coming sort of the way and I see it's a bucks, and I grabbed my bow and I caught a glimpse of him going through the trees and I'm like, man, that's a shooter.
And I remember saying to myself, you better make sure that's a shooter cuz you're in here after one buck. . And the caliber buck that I'm looking for was the buck I've been dreaming about my whole life. I'm like, you better make sure, like you didn't, sacrifice everything else all season to shoot any [00:53:00] decent buck back here.
. And here he is and he's coming the way I thought. He's under my other tree that I just moved from. And I see his left side and I see it's, I see it's the big eight and I see the, I see that like little sticker thing coming off and I'm like, oh my gosh, it's him. And I go the full draw and he's gonna come right behind me 10 yards.
The wind's you know how it is in the morning, it's that your thermals are pulling down and it just like drifting. And I'm like, holy crap, if it gets right behind me, he might blow outta here. I was like, I gotta kill him as soon as I can kill him. He's already in range. Yeah.
And doesn't, he's cruising, like he's just looking, you know how they get before that first doe comes in? Yeah. He just wants that first door to be in, but he hasn't found her yet and he's cruising and all of a sudden he hits where I just walked and that couldn't have been 15 minutes. And he hit it and he just stopped.
And he actually ran over my scent trail, smelled it when he realized what it was. Did like a 180 and turned around and he's broadside 20 yards. And I'm full draw and I'm like thinking back to [00:54:00] 2017, when. . I didn't take that shot on that other buck, which I think I could have killed him. But with the rain and stuff I was like, why chance it?
Yeah. But I'm sitting here and I'm looking over top of my peep cuz it's still gray, like it's still pretty gray out. It's legal shooting light because it's dreary and stuff. And I'm shooting through these trees that I just tried to clear out some shooting lanes the day before. And I'm like, man, I was like, it looks clear.
But you know how it is when you get in a stand for the first time. Absolutely. You're like, oh, how didn't I see that branch over there? And then you climb down, you go clear it or you get it the next time. And I'm like, man, it looks clear, but I can't get my pin tight on his shoulder because he's right at a tree, so I gotta come back in the rib.
Just a not too far, but a little bit. And I'm like, I'm not taking any chances. This buck like knows that a human just walked here. And I let it rip. And I saw, I just saw it hit a mid rib and I knew it was pretty decent, but I didn't think it was like instant kill. And I'm like, the first thought I thought of was I see him run.[00:55:00]
And he ran back the way I came from. And then he did a little J hook to the right and it gets real thick down off the side. And instantly my mind went to, why didn't you just tuck it on the shoulder and take the chance that, you weren't gonna hit that tree? And right. I was like, you could attend ring there.
Mine you mind easily please train. And now I'm thinking now you're in for a rodeo all day. That's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking one long liver and out the gut. That's what I'm thinking. And I'm shooting a, I shoot a rage. I've had really good success. Most guys, either love 'em, like here's love 'em kind of thing.
Yeah. I'm not gonna get into the topic. I've had really good success. And that's why I shoot 'em As for a al hit. And at the time it just happened so quick and. I didn't know if he was a little quarter two or a little quartered away or perfectly broadside. He was pretty broadside.
But I, you know how sometimes if you're just a little quarter two, especially in that light right in that light. And I was just like that. I knew that was gonna change everything. So I stepped up my stand. I text Ryan back and I was just like, I just shot the big eight. And it wasn't one minute from when I texted him and said, I think it's gonna be pretty good to, when I texted him [00:56:00] and said, I just shot the big eight.
And he thought I was, he's you just texted me. I think it's gonna be good. Now you're saying you shot this buck, like . Yeah. Okay. I'm like, no, man. It happened that quick. It's amazing. And so I said, I was like I'm staying up here. I'm not even getting down. So I stayed up there till 10 o'clock and I was like, I'm just gonna get down and go look at my arrow.
So I went over and looked at my arrow and it was just coated with good, the good blood you wanna see, no gut, no nothing. So I was like, he must have been broadside or maybe a little quarter and away. So I thought, I'm just gonna take the trail up to where I saw him go over this edge. If I don't see him laying here and.
I'm gonna just back out, go back to the cabin, eat something, hook up with Ryan. I called my other buddy that was at camp and I said, listen, I just shot that big buck. I was after. He's I'm not going home. I'm helping, I started blood trailing him and, eh, it was pretty decent trail. And right where I saw him Jay Hook and go off the side, oh, I forgot to mention this earlier.
So maybe two minutes after I shot him, I heard these leaves rustling, and it wasn't like a thud and it wasn't the death thrash, but it was just like, it could've [00:57:00] sounded like a deer walk and leaves just hitting it side. But it never went left or right or away. It was just the same spot. And I th I thought Hey, maybe that's just him.
And he laid down and then did the old, like mini death kick. Yeah. You ever see one do that? Like it's real slow. . And again, then your mind goes back to maybe you didn't make a good shot, yeah. So I go over and the blood trail's starting to not look so good anymore. Still good. Like the color was good, but it's not as, as much petering out a little bit.
And I'm like, I'm just gonna go right to here and peak. And I didn't even get right to there. And I just see this beam sticking up on the side, and I'm like, oh my God, there he is. He was, he, if I would've just watched him probably with my binos, I probably would've seen him in that thicket, either lay down or die, but because right away I got disgusted that I didn't make, a better shot in my mind. It couldn't have been any better. He went over there and he died within two minutes. Exactly. . But in your mind, it's like you have everything on the line of your dream buck and you've been haunting him and you've been after him.
And in my mind, I guess it [00:58:00] just went in a direction that it shouldn't have gone, but it ended up working out really good. Is that It's a heck of a deer. When you brought it out and I looked at it tonight, I was like, good grief. He's bigger than it looked in the pictures. He's just a freak of a deer.
I think the thing I find interesting, as you tell your story, like it seems like there was as much woodsman's woodsmanship skills going into this deer as much, or more than reliance on using cameras. I think we get so hung up on cameras and, you use cameras obviously for this deer, but the bouncing around I think was what was interesting and relying on sign.
I'll be honest with you, I take every year you can look back and some years I'm like, man, I hunted my butt off and I just didn't make it happen. Which that happens. Then there's some years that it does happen. But this year I got, I think every hunter has strength.
There's some guys that you are great at whatever. For me it's always been reading sign, I've killed most of my big deer. Just reading, signing, understanding how animals use the mountain or the terrain or the farm. Like I [00:59:00] said, tracks rubs the timing of the year, like what, what are the deer doing, obviously early season they're feeding and it's pre rut, then it's rut and but for me this year I let the couple pictures we had so far away get in my mind and I just started going crazy looking for him over the course of three miles. Cuz I always thought, man, I. I gotta find a better spot. I gotta find a better spot, and then I'd be running more cameras. And I got to the point that I was so stretched out with cameras that when I'd go up to hunt him, early in the year there, I'm wasting three quarters of a day just checking trail cameras.
And I just had to sit down one day and go what are you doing? He loves this one area well, I think he loves it. All right. To me, if you're getting a buck on camera or like you're seeing that he's in there with a rub or his tracks or whatever at least two to three times a week.
He likes that area. , it's not eh, every two weeks, I'm just coming through here. I was like, get back to what works for you. I'm like, who cares? You don't have 'em on [01:00:00] camera where you want to hunt 'em, where you think you can kill 'em. You saw a rub over there. Now I saw two, three rubs over there and it was four rubs, then it was big tracks.
And I'm like, so I got back to. doing what works for me, which is reading sign. And also, I just think years of experience, you , you build a know-how from failures and successes of what what your gut says. Yeah. Every time my gut says it's good or bad, it could be good or bad. There's times I'm sitting in the stand and my guts saying, dude, you should have left here three days ago.
And then I'm still sitting, yeah. But my camera said this, no, man, sometimes you just gotta pull up anchor and cut your losses and leave. But that definitely helped me this year because it slowed me down. I started getting a little too quick and spread out, and I focused more on what I'm good at, and that, that, like I said, it's, everybody's good at different things, there's a lot of great hunters out there. But for me, reading sign, understanding the timing and I think a lot of hunting, no matter what game you're hunting, timing's everything, , and getting back to my basics and [01:01:00] then using cameras.
But I used them to supplement what I already knew, like getting a picture of him in there just gave me the motivation that I knew I was right. And what you're thinking in your mind, your gut is right. And you saw, even though it was a night picture, except for the time he showed up there at the scrape, three days before I killed him.
And even when he did that, I'm like, what's the chance is he's gonna be back this week? I'm like, cuz it was getting ready to blow. Eh, I or some guys said the rut happened a little later this year after I killed him, I came back and I hunted with my daughter. I think I worked a couple days, then I went hunting.
. So I wasn't in the woods to say exactly when it really started kicking off. I can tell you November 2nd where we were, the dough weren't in yet for sure. Okay. But yeah, it was using cameras to supplement. How would a hunted prior to ever having cameras, the stand location thing.
So you said you had. I think if I heard you correctly, you were talking about, you had two, basically two primary locations picked out that you thought, I'm gonna spend a bulk of my time here as far as stand hours. And [01:02:00] I'm curious for this Deere particular, did you have those locations pretty well set before the opener of the season for this Deere?
Or do you modify that as the season was going on and fine tune that? I modify it. Because every year one I don't like to put stands in cuz people find 'em and they're like, boy. And then especially like when you start putting deer in your meat pull at camp pe people start knowing your truck.
, so that's another thing we do is I'll walk from my truck and get dropped off somewhere else. But going back to your stands I don't like to get committed to an area before. I know a hundred percent. This is where I'm gonna put my time in now. And I'm not gonna say just one stand.
I usually at least try to have two. Now I'm talking about two different ridges and I don't know what the, maybe a half mile. Square area. I don't know. And I had one that was the, he was in there, but he was in there last year and he was in there this year. But I just felt the wind was so swirly that if he was coming through, he was gonna get me before I saw him, or it was gonna be extremely hard [01:03:00] to get a shot at him.
Then up on top of the ridge from there, I had a stand and actually had it ready to go. That I knew when he was on that ridge. He liked to bed somewhere over there. I didn't know exactly where. I didn't look around for his bed ever, but I just knew just off of cameras into summer. And then, also in the summer, do some glassing when I'm up there.
Okay. There, there were some cuts. Not too far. It's just like here with food plots, go out in a food plot or a soybean field in the summer up there with clear cuts that are, a couple years old. You can go out there and glass and see all kinds of bucks and doughs and usually as soon as they die off the deer.
Find other brows or Yeah, it's shift their food sources up there. It's, yeah, and it's not thick enough that they're like hanging out in there because of, security and stuff. But in the summer it draws 'em. Yeah, absolutely. So I knew he was staying up there when he was on that ridge. He beed somewhere in there and I thought, I can get in there.
The problem with that was for a bow, I couldn't air 'em down. It was like very sporadic. I could see him, but I thought it [01:04:00] would've been likely I see him not even 50 50 if I get a shot at him. You know what I mean? Like I thought he, a million different things could have happened. And to me as a bow hunter, I like to try to have every chance I can when I see that buck.
Because anybody knows any buck anywhere. If you're hunting one buck and one buck, particularly if you see him once, especially when you can't see in fields if you're hunting a farm field, you might see him come out at the opposite end of the field. Okay. You seen him, you can't see that in the big woods.
So when you see him in the big woods, That might be the only time you see him that year. And even then consider yourself fortunate. Heck in 20 20 20, I hunted a really big 10 pointer and I put 22 days on him and might have seen him once. I'm not even a hundred percent sure he beat me, man. Straight up.
I was close. I got outta my stand one day, 1227. I got outta my stand, walked by the camera and I had a buddy coming in and I wanted to make sure I had another stand ready to go for him. Said it was 1227 to stretch my [01:05:00] legs, get some, I'm just, at that point I was doing all day sets up there. It was cold, it was snowy, I went down and I pulled my camera.
About a week later I'm going through the pictures and there he is, 1239. And I'm like, what? Wait, this gotta be an old picture. Like I was there that day. I was in the stand all day. Not for 30 minutes, I wasn't, oh my gosh. I missed him by 12 minutes. That's when you want to call cameras 12. Yep. 1227. I walked by 1239.
He walked by. . And then at one o'clock goes back in my stand. . . That's when you want to get rid of cameras. Oh, I wish I would've never saw that picture. But so my point is I did have other stands ready to go, but I don't, I it's not until I know I'm ready to start hunting Yeah. That I get 'em there because the deer shift, and even in the big woods, the food this year for us, man, there was no nuts.
There was no where I was, there was no acorns or beach nut. Last year there was beach nut up there and it was pretty good crop. And that shifted 'em. So you were better off just like. Hunting out of a climber really, unless you were hunting a certain deer. But if you were hunting an [01:06:00] area that you could get a climber in or like a set of lone wolf sticks or Yeah.
Doing that until you were like, boy, this is a spot I really think that I'm gonna kill him out of. And typically speaking, if I'm hunting back in pretty good, I'm not hauling a climber too much when I know I'm gonna be in there often. Because if it's cold, man, you're hauling a lot of gear in a lot of gear out.
You can't over, you can't overdress going in. It's like I use my frame pack that I use out west to carry my stuff in the morning because I go in pretty light. But, I have I have some good heavy gear that I use to stay on stand all day. But no, to answer your question, it's not until I know it's go time and I feel a hundred percent confident that this is where I want to haunt 'em.
And like I said, I switched my tactics up on this book. There wasn't that many deer in that area to begin with, and I knew I could get in and out. Probably without spooking deer. You never know for sure, but low probability, and I could get in there and hunt every day until we cross paths. Almost every day. If it was, there was some really [01:07:00] warm days there. I gave it a break. But that's how I did this. I don't like setting a stand in summer or, yeah. September all hang stands in the end of September, but that's to hunt early season. These bucks generally are gonna shift, from their October 4th pattern to a, a pre rut or a rut pattern.
Oh, absolutely. And the you sounded like you were doing a little bit of in-season scouting for this deer a little bit, and I'm sure that's gonna, it's like you said when you're, when you built the confidence that you have for that deal, that's when you're gonna hunt him. But from year to year, buck to buck, does that look different for you each season as far as, oh yeah.
Yeah. So you touched base earlier about that, that really big buck you kill and he'd just show up in the season. And it was, I've had bucks up there that. They're there until the end of September, boom. Gone. Don't ever see 'em. Then I have bucks that are never there, and then they show up late September or October, I have spots that there's not a scrape or a rub on, and then all of a sudden, one week it gets hot.
And that's where I think just [01:08:00] continuing to check areas , and continue to keep your thumb on what, the pulse on what's going on because it, things shift up there, whether it's pressure, food when there's not a lot of dough and when the dozer can come in the heat. And that's just the way I like to hunt.
I don't like to get stuck on an area because if you get stuck, I know that sounds. I was stuck on that area, but it was I would've been in there. I felt the time was right. Let's put it that way. Yeah. So when, stuck on an area, I'm saying for the whole season. Yeah. You gotta adapt, cuz a lot of times it, it will have that really good peak action and activity in there, but it can go away and die just as easily as it's come.
It's just a matter of picking the time when the time's get in there and hunt it now because it, I hear a lot of guys, Hey, I'm not gonna hunt it today. I got this going on, but I'll haun it next week. And I'm thinking, dude, . Yeah. Wrong mentality. Yeah. As far as like you gotta haun it now they're there now.
Your timing is now next week. You don't know what's gonna happen, a lot of things could happen. But it sh deer shifting like we were talking about in the beginning, this buck that you killed [01:09:00] this year and having, Pretty spread out where he was and the other deer in particular, how they're, they just roam up there.
And there's something about big Woods Whitetails and their level of just moving from one ridge to the next. And I think it's overwhelming. So the shift that you were talking about, I think all deer have reasons why they shift. Food cover pressure there, there's a lot of things shifting in fall patterns.
I've seen that pretty consistently. But you were talking about pressure. I still say sometimes you, you said earlier in our conversation, you were talking about a buck shifting and the area he left, it was better food, better, better cover, and he went to an area that didn't quite make sense in your mind right off the bat.
And often wonder too, if you talk to a psychologist for children, they talk about how when they're young, there's certain points in their life where they're really impressionable and that stuff sticks with them. And I often wonder the same thing with the whitetail when they're young. Do certain things happen at a young age relative to hunting pressure and experiences that mold them?
The places that they want to go to and shift for security? I think food cover water, all those things are part of the [01:10:00] equation. Those places in where a mature buck likes to call home, I wonder sometimes if that's part of it too, that's easily overlooked. Yeah it definitely could be.
You just hit a good point there. That buck, I was referring one of the bucks I was referring to that moved his summer pattern. It does get some pressure in their rifle, to me, I was thinking summertime there's, there, there's really no one in there, messing around.
And it had good food, but at the end of the day, they're dear, and I think they all have their own personalities. , the buck I was hunting this year, he was loner. I've never seen him, I never had pictures of him with anything else and never saw him with anything else. And I saw him, I glassed him quite a bit in the summer.
In those cuts, he was always alone. , and I'm not what I mean alone, there might be to say four bucks over here. He'd beat 75 yards over there by himself eating, so they all have their personalities, but Right. I think anything's possible. Anything's possible.
I have no idea why sometimes. And that's why sometimes not. That's why sometimes I think as humans we outthink ourself, it's true. Sometimes you just gotta go with what's in front of you and hunt, and this past year, I don't, [01:11:00] I dunno how many, I heard a couple stories of guys where theoretically you shouldn't have been in the woods.
It was a hot day, it was a, whatever. Moon wasn't right. And. They went hunting and they shot a big buck, oh yeah. And it's and then I've heard guys, oh, I'm not going because of that. And I'm like, dude, it's November 5th. You should be in the woods, . You just never know. But don't outthink yourself as a hunter, man.
If you get a chance to go hunting, just go hunting. And you know what it, we do get caught up a lot in the kill, but to, to me the chase and just being out there e even from a, everybody being busy and crazy in life, it's just get out there and hunt sometimes and enjoy just being out there, don't lose sight of that.
Do you think western hunting and the scale of western hunting and glass and big mule deer and hunting, mountain to mountain, ridge to ridge in the high country, do you think that putting that scale has helped you hunt whitetails in Pennsylvania more? It do. Anytime you're hunting it helps you man, and especially when you're chasing big animals.
And I've had an opportunity to harvest a few. I think it, it's calmed me down in the moment of truth, to be able to bear down and make a shot. I [01:12:00] still. , I still get pretty excited. I'm not gonna lie. If you quit doing that, you're probably gonna quit. But I think I can I have a little bit better that I can focus, but I think anytime you can hunt, I don't care what you're hunting.
And that, that's one thing I tell, there's some guys that I know that are just huge whitetail hunters. And like I said, that's where I cut my teeth. I still love it. I come back here every year and spend three or four weeks every fall between archery and rifle chasing 'em. And it's you don't forget where you came from, but there's so many other animals out there to hunt that will teach you that you aren't as good of a hunter.
You think you are because you gotta hunt 'em differently. That you gotta learn their behaviors and they're, and it's not that it's rocket signs, it's just you're learning something new. Getting outside of your comfort zone. You're getting outside of your comfort zone.
So like mule deer, and especially a Wiley mule deer, an older mule deer. They don't miss nothing, man. The ears, their hearing ability is crazy. Their eyesight is nuts. They got mountain line stocking 'em. . Same with elk.
I went mountain lion hunting in 2018 and before I went that year I thought, oh, this is gonna be a stupid hunt. You release some [01:13:00] dogs out and, shoot something out of a tree and I don't know if I'm into that. And then my buddy that I met out there ran dogs and, we got to talking and the way he explained it, he is like, dude it's not quite like that.
And I went and I did it and it completely changed my perspective of it cuz I actually went and did it. And it was just, the experience teaches you a lot that you don't know and you're like, man, I'm so glad I did this. Just cuz of a new, it just, there's another feather in your calf of what you did and how you can get better and you can draw off of some of those things of, what may or may not work or, but anytime you can hunt and harvest animals, it doesn't matter what it is, it's making you better, yeah. And that's what we forget. If you go 10 years without shooting anything and you're like, You still gotta seal the deal when you shoot something like, how many guys do you know, the big one got a wire I missed, or whatever the excuse is, you, they didn't get it. And to me, if you would've been shooting, heck if you just would've been, went out and shot ground hogs, with your bow or your rifle or your 22 and that all makes you better, man.
Absolutely. And then that's what I do with my kids with 20 twos, we're [01:14:00] shooting cans and targets and just. I know myself, I concentrate so much in the bubble, but when I switch over to the gun, I always get the 22 out and just plug some things just to get that trigger pull and that follow through.
And I think any experience makes you better if you can get out there. That's just it. So experience gets you better. I want, I wanna touch on something because you were talking about building confidence in a spot. And I do this myself too. When you're going on a spot, like second guessing yourself, and not having the confidence that this is the spot I need to be in.
And like I, I've noticed that, educated hunters are experienced hunters, get to that point where they believe that and they're gonna ride that out. And I think that's good for your mental health too. But they're, there's something to that in just the overall success. And I think one way that I think you get there is getting outside of your comfort zone because you're never gonna have those experiences to mold that confidence, right?
If you don't get outside your comfort zone. Does that make sense? A hundred percent. It's funny you say that cuz my wife Becky. When I have a teenage daughter and I, and I don't, we were talking about confidence and getting out your outside your comfort zone, right?[01:15:00] , and she said to me, she goes I don't know, maybe you just always had it.
I'm like, no, I don't think so. I'm like, I failed and messed up a lot of things in my life, but I thought about that. And I'm like, yeah, I think it's that you get outside your comfort zone and even if you make mistakes, you just keep pushing through until you have success. And then that's what makes confidence.
You just don't wake up one day and you're confident. The confidence comes from experience, it comes from learning from your failures and then having a positive experience and seeing success, and that's where confidence comes from. And. , I wish they taught a course in school that was all about mental health and mental strength, because you can have strength and conditioning courses and we don't have that in a great sense for your mental health aspect of it.
And you can't it's, I don't know how somebody could enlighten me. How you teach someone to be driven to do things outside your comfort zone like that. That's not a learned thing, right? Yeah. And I think it [01:16:00] can go the other way. If you don't allow kids to get outside their comfort zone or fail, they don't know what it's like to push through something, or even a person, even a human, , and I don't know if I ever set out to purposely fail or purposely get outside my comfort zone. I think it was more like, Hey, I really want to do this. Then you start doing it and you don't feel comfortable and you're like, but I have a goal. And if I want to get to that goal, whether it's in hunting or in business, or whatever girlfriend, wife you're afraid to approach 'em at first, right? Yeah. Most people don't just walk up and or introduce themself. Like it's no problem. You gotta get outside your comfort zone. Yeah. Every now and then you're gonna find that one woman that's having a bad day and you introduce yourself and then she decides to get married to you.
That's what happened to me. Yeah. . Exactly. Exactly. They feel sorry for you or something. . Yeah. But yeah, that's that's a good point. I think if people just get outside their comfort zone and try things, it makes you better, yeah. So like when we showed up, you were walking around, you were like, man I threw my back out.
Like right now my back's bugging [01:17:00] me and you were talking about, getting back in physical shape and or trying to push the envelope on physical shape and stuff and that's where I'm at too. Like I, I feel like I'm stagnant lately. I wanna get back, doing more things actively, but that mental blocky to just get outside your comfort zone and make a section of the day, whether that's to get up early or before you do this in the evening or whatever, to just do that one thing like that.
It's that first step that's so stink and hard to do then, and you can translate that into whitetails. I'm thinking about my, my progression in having confidence in some of the stands I wanna choose, whether it's just for generally hunting, I'm mature buck. It's, you gotta get outta your comfort zone and try something until you, you figure it out.
I think. Yeah. No, most of life is just getting out the door, just get out the door. And I always said I was in sales for a couple years, before, I got into what I'm in now, law enforcement and the hardest thing was just getting the ball rolling. It wasn't, it was just getting out the door in the morning and then, once I got going, [01:18:00] and I always said, A body at rest stays at rest.
Body in motion, stays in motion. And it's true even at work now or anything I do, like even waking up in the morning, man, if I'm sitting around just watching TV and I never move, that's all I'm gonna do. But if I get up, I get my coffee and I go hit the gym or I go for a walk on my day off or whatever you're doing, just get out the door.
, and that, that's even, there's days I get up and I don't wanna go to the gym. I'm like, man, I'm not feeling it. I'm sore, I'm tired. Or I hit it five days in a row. And a lot of times if I just get there, I'm fine. Yeah. J just get there and let me ask you this. At this point in your life with your hunting career, family, and everything else that you're at, like where, at this point in your life what motivates you the most?
Man? Like right now, I'm 41. I feel like I still got a lot of good years to come, but. 41, in my mind's still young. Yeah. And I know I'm younger than you. The difference between you and me is I'm young and dumb yet. Yeah. I'm . I dunno if I've, I don't know if I'm not, too far behind you there,
I still do some questionable things without a doubt. I can just ask my buddies. But what motivates me, man, I just keep [01:19:00] setting goals, I keep having dreams and like I said, I love to hunt, and I just accomplished a dream this year.
We shooting, a big woods buck like a shot. And like I said, I had a couple, in a couple pretty good ones, heck yeah, absolutely. This one here yeah, I could beat 'em someday. Another level. Yeah. I could beat 'em someday day. But it's not, I'm not gonna say it's not important to me because that's dunton, that's not my d n a, but it to now I am thinking of the next thing.
I got a moose hunt coming up in Alaskan in 20, what's this year? 2023. Next year. It's next September. I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to Getting back out west and really, punching a tag on a big old mule, deer and elk again, I'm really itching to hunt elk again.
I got a bunch of points for antelope, never antelope punted, but I got a bunch of points for 'em in Wyoming. I should probably cash those in. And I'm actually, my daughter's a senior this year. I don't wanna miss too much for field hockey season, so like I'll make an early season trip for probably two weeks.
, when their season really isn't going yet. And then that will probably be it for out west, unless I get crazy lucky and draw something, [01:20:00] statistically poor chance of a tag, draw odds, on some crazy good tag that I'll put in for that I probably won't get. But yeah, that's just it, and then my youngest daughter got into hunting last year. I didn't know if she'd ever hunt, so I'm looking forward to hunting her with her this year. And I think that's what's just important. Just set goals, whatever it is. And for me, I'm. I just like to set goals, and it doesn't always have to be I do set goals for animals and hunts that I go on, right now with my kids, I love hunting with them.
, my buddies I got a, my best friend was coaching football for geez years. His kids are all I think gonna finally be one's done with college or soon done with college. The other one's going to college. But anyway, he's done coaching football. He is done with all this summer travel and he can finally get out west and hunt again.
That'd be a great, if I could hook up with him, be there for his first elk kill. That'd be awesome. Absolutely. That, that sort of, but that's all things you gotta make happen, and with having a family here on my own, it's that balance. But that's what I would tell anybody that's gonna go out west or do [01:21:00] any traveling.
When you're hunting, just make sure home's good before you leave. Yeah. Cuz you were talking, you told me that before too having that having stuff like, you don't want to be in the mental state of worrying about something else when you're trying to focus in, because you put the investment in to.
Put the investment in financially. Like you don't, you want to be all there upstairs when it's game time. Yeah. And having that at home, that's probably why I harp on it so much. I'll be open and honest, this past fall for me and my wife and family, it was rough just cuz we're juggling this new schedule and a new kid for this past year.
And it was just a huge link and I'd be flat out, my communication was poor. And, that all that adds up. Yeah. And I think that's probably where my motivation might have lacked in certain points throughout the season, just because I wasn't on the same page with my wife. And like I said, back to priorities, that has to be my priority.
And I think that's big. Yeah. It's big. You don't wanna leave with you wanna leave on good terms with your kids, with your wife. You want to, when you're spending money to go on these hunts and, [01:22:00] I do. All my hunts. So there, there'll become a time when I'll take a guided hunt, yeah. And I have nothing against it. The reason I don't, I do it on my own is I just like it. I like it more, but I can hunt more, and instead of spending just say, 10 grand with a guide, I can go in five or six self-guided hunts, but is I just make sure I took 'em on good, nice vacations, or we had a good summer and that way I don't feel bad.
Hey I'm taking this hunting trip, but I didn't take 'em anywhere this summer. I couldn't do that, right? , so I, I make sure they were taken care of for the year for. Life experiences, vacation or going up to the cabin or, whatever we're doing, visiting family and friends, doing things in the summer.
Make sure all the bills are taken care of, make sure you've been spending time with them, , and, I told you before, generally when I go out west, it's 10 to 10, 10 to 28 days, something like that. I've, I haven't, I think 28 was the longest. I think 25, 25, 28 was the longest I went.
And at one point there, I flew back for my daughter's birthday, went to the airport, three day, fly back. I don't wanna miss her birthday. [01:23:00] And then I flew back and that, that was a good mental pick me up, man. Yeah. And I ended up, that was the year I killed that buck. And then I hunted with that was the last time my best friend I was telling you about was out west.
. And man, we, I called a bulling for him that last day, come right in and it was, I don't remember 30 yards or 25, right there, top pen, pretty much, with the compounds, the way they shoot and he was just facing us, would whatnot. He, it was more like, not like even like dead on where he could, shoot, right there that saw spot right in the, right above that clavicle there between the, it was more like quartering too, and man, he just couldn't make it happen, he couldn't take the shot, man. It would've been all shoulder. But that was the last time he was out. And then I went home for her birthday and then I had my elk tag and I went back and I killed that 300 inch six by six, and that, that was awesome. And then my buddy was out, my other buddy was out.
He killed a five by five. I was, there when he killed that. So it was a good pick me up. But yeah, you take care of home, whether it's a wife, kids, a business, so when you leave, your phone's not ringing or you're not feeling bad because you know there's gonna be a point [01:24:00] in time at your hunt, you're gonna be sore, you're gonna be tired, and you're gonna.
Think about things because you don't have TV and radios and stuff going on. You're being a tent for seven or eight days at some point, and you'll be sitting there going you'll feel bad about things you didn't think about before. And that can definitely take away from your hunt and your I don't wanna say your determination, but your will, your I can't think of the word right now.
I know Exactly. Long lines. Your spirit of the hunt. Like your spirit and your focus on that hunt. It will take from it. . And sometimes you need to be focused because your opportunity is just, it's fast. , and you gotta recognize it. I've made a lot of mistakes hunting elk.
Hunt elk is always, A learning curve. Every time I'm in there, I'm learning. But I think of all the mistakes I made, most of 'em were because of inaction, not action. Like with Whitetails, it's a lot of times like, oh, I drew too earlier. I went too far and spooked them. Or with elk, it was like, I sat back and I didn't recognize opportunities and I should have ran right in there.
I should have snuck up, or I should have did this, or should have did that. Instead [01:25:00] I was like, oh, we'll play out. And, if your mind's not right in picking up those cues, I guess those cues because you're thinking about whatever problem you have at home, or maybe the wife called you and left a nasty message.
, it's not gonna be good. So yeah. Take care of home before you leave. Yeah, a absolutely. And I've been beating a dead horse since been talking about this a lot. And I, I think part of the reason for it is because every single one of us can relate to that. And I think it's one of the things that gets so overlooked when we're talking about the world of being better hunters and, better, better everything, so to speak.
But it's really important to me. And, I think you hit that home. So we've we've been rambling here, and I wanna be, really I wanna re respect your time here, but this is this has been a blast. Thank you for sharing this story on the heck of a buck.
That's a, Dan, if there ever was one man I hope you I hope you can find a deer like that again, because that's, yeah. I probably appreciate it, man. And it's, I always hope I can too, I don't take it for granted because, you're a hunter and anybody else outside, there's a hunter, man, there's nothing, every year's different.
And I definitely very [01:26:00] grateful that I found a deer yet alone. Got to kill a deer like that in Pennsylvania here. I appreciate you having me on, man. And, hunting I could sit here and talk all night about haunting. That's the problem. . Yeah. You and me both. But that comes back to that thing and we both gotta work tomorrow, yep. Hey, let's wrap this up. Thanks again, dj. Yep. Thank you.