The next two months are arguably the best time to get in some post-season scouting for whitetails. Antlers are dropping, snow is melting revealing even more sign from last fall, and the woods are as open as they'll be all year. These conditions create a real opportunity for whitetail hunters to maximize their time in the field. Couple these conditions with the fact that bumping deer this time of year will have no impact on your hunting next fall, and post-season scouting is a no brainer.
This week on the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast, Josh talks with outdoor writer and Wisconsin native Paul Annear about post-season scouting for whitetails. Paul spends tons of time each winter scouting for deer and scooping up shed antlers, putting the pieces together for next year's fall game plan. In this episode, Paul shares a bit about his background, what makes scouting this time of year invaluable, how to read and weigh winter sign, and much more. This is one you don't want to miss!
What is going on everyone? Welcome back to another episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast, which is brought to you by TACTACAM.
This is your home for all things outdoors in the Badger State. I'm your host, Josh Rayley. Got a fun episode for you today. I was able to catch up with Paul Anir. If you read a lot of deer hunting articles online, chances are you have read something by Paul. Paul is a prolific outdoor writer. He works for cutback just an all-around good duties.
He's an avid [00:01:00] outdoorsman, a very serious deer hunter, and one of the things that he really loves is post-season scouting and also shed hunting, and that's what we're talking about. In this episode. We talk about how Paul tackles a property, whether it's a new property. Or a property that he's used to.
We talk about the areas that he's tries to focus in on. We talk about how important certain types of sign are to him at this time of year when it can really be tough to weigh, Hey, is this fall sign? Is this September sign, October sign, November sign? Like, when is this sign made and when is it important?
We also talk about the difference between how deer moved during the winter and how they moved during the fall hunting season. A lot of folks like to throw out information that can be gathered at this time of year and say the deer won't be doing that in the fall anyway, so it doesn't matter. Paul's approach is a little bit different, and so I think it's very good.
Very helpful. It's a fantastic conversation. Had a good time chatting with him. I'm also hoping to talk with him again soon about shed hunting. If you've been watching social media over the last couple of [00:02:00] days, you've seen the Emperor Dan Johnson, the Nine Finger Chronicles wonder online giving you some shed season tactics.
You go where deer live and you put your head down and you walk, and that's how you find shed antler. That's true, that's absolutely true, and it's a fair point when it comes to talking about the hunting industry and how difficult we make certain things to be. But at the end of the day, there are places where deer live where they tend to drop their sheds a little more often than other places, and that's just the truth of it.
If that wasn't true, then sheds would be evenly distributed across the landscape rather than concentrated in certain areas. And I think if you've found any number of sheds before or if you've done any shed hunting, sheds get concentrated in certain areas. So I hope to have Paul on again to talk about shed hunting.
And maybe we'll get into a little bit more than you go where Dear Live. Put your head down. And you walk even though, hey, there's value in that. Absolutely. That is absolutely true. And we tend to [00:03:00] overcomplicate things in in the outdoor space. But before we jump into today's episode, I do wanna say thanks to our partners number one tactic.
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Now let's get right into the conversation with Paul Ane talking Postseason scouting. All right, joining me on the podcast this week is Mr. Paul Ane from Wisconsin. Paul, what's going on, buddy? Hey, Ja, doing pretty good. How about you? Good, man. Good. Did I say your last name right? Anir? Yeah. You did? Yeah.
Paul Annear: Okay.
All right. It's like a one in 10 chance that people say it and you you nailed
Josh Raley: it. Perfect. The other 99 people that I've had on this show so far, I've said all of their last names incorrectly, so you got it. One out of a hundred, I guess eventually I've gotta get it right.
Man, Paul, thanks for taking the [00:07:00] time to come on the show. I've been following you on Instagram for, I don't know, a year, little over a year at this point. We finally got a chance to connect at Ata in person. That was a really cool experience just walking up and being like, Hey, there's a real live version of the digital person that I usually interact with and watches stuff anyway, really glad that you could make the time to come on and talk today.
Our topic is gonna be spring or post-season or winter, or basically scouting after deer season. However you want to frame that. I feel like there's a fuzzy line from when it goes to post, from post-season scouting to preseason scouting. Maybe Turkey season is the delineating line there.
Yeah, absolutely. It breaks that down, but Paul, why don't we kick things off by just saying, give us the rundown of who you are, what you do, where you live, where do you hunt, all that good stuff.
Paul Annear: Yeah, so I got into the hunting space. You could say probably like 2014 is when I started doing a lot of freelance writing.
Started off pretty small, sending a lot of places, articles for free in exchange for,[00:08:00] like a sweatshirt or some gear or whatever. And then eventually caught a break with Midwest Whitetail bill Winky over there. He started accepting some of my articles for Midwest Whitetail, and I sent him quite a few in the fall of 2015 and 16.
I was still unpaid. He just needed content in ex in exchange. I got, a good platform. So I've been, caught a break there. And then from then on out writing for various websites and magazines all sorts of topics covering within the whitetail world.
So I've done that for a long time now here. And then I work full-time for Cutback Digital here in Green Bay. I live just south of Green Bay, but I work there full-time. So I've been there a little over two years now and really like that. I was born and raised in southwest Wisconsin.
In Richland County, so the hills of the Drift list. Oh, and I know you've like we talked at ata, you've roamed around that area. It's beautiful. Oh, man. Love it. Still hunt back there. My parents land, so it's I feel super blessed to be able to recreate and do a lot of hunting back there.
And yeah, no, it's that's my, [00:09:00] I guess the short version of the backstory of where I'm at. Yeah. So
Josh Raley: tell me a little bit about your your writing right now. What are the outlets that folks would find you on? So I actually it took me a little bit to put some of the pieces together, but I'd actually read quite a bit of your stuff from the Midwest Whitetail d Whitetail days and that kind of thing, going back a long ways.
But how often do you read an article and say, okay, who was that guy? Let me, lemme make sure I saw exactly who the author was. You're just reading a post. Exactly. So where would I find your stuff today? Where, like where are you most active?
Paul Annear: Yeah, so Jury Outdoors they're deer Cast app.
I do a lot of consistent writing for them. Great platform. Really like those guys. Just top-notch people. Real tree, north American whitetail, deer and deer hunting. Nd the Quality Deer Management Association written there a few times. So pretty much anywhere, bow hunting.com. So really anywhere you look, I guess I've contributed to a certain extent.
, some more than others. But yeah, I'm trying to just crank out content and try to produce stuff that I would wanna read. Topics that, [00:10:00] have been regurgitated and thought through so many different times by so many different writers, but yet trying to put a different spin on it and bring something else to light that maybe hasn't been thought about before.
Josh Raley: I'm curious about the space, right? This is probably one of the number one questions that I get for what I do is, Hey, how do I get into starting a podcast? I wanna do a podcast. How do I do it? And then I talk to guys that have a YouTube channel and they say, everybody wants to know how to start a YouTube channel.
And then I talk to guys who write I'd had a conversation with Tony Peterson the other day or the, a couple weeks ago, and he said that was one of his most common questions is people are like, Hey, how do you get into writing? I'm sure you get that a lot, but I'm, I want to know, in your space, in, in the writing realm, what are some of the things that help the really prolific and successful writers stand apart from those who, can't quite get their foot in the door?
Paul Annear: Yeah, you're right. Yeah, I talk talk to quite a few people and they wonder, how'd you do this? And honestly, [00:11:00] I just started documenting and telling stories about what I was doing out in the woods. And then I sent a ton of emails, to anyone and everyone I could possibly find and connect with in the hunting industry.
You name it, I've probably sent them an email. Yeah. Whether it went through successfully or not, or I heard back, that's, people are busy. I never held that against anybody, but yeah, you just have to constantly be throwing darts at the dart board and, and if something sticks, you gotta really follow up on it and be be aware of, what you're putting out there and how often you can be contributing and just be Johnny on the spot with that stuff.
But yeah, it's it's certainly a space that a lot of people want to get into, and you just have to find ways to make it different and come up with content that, a lot of people write articles about frost seeding. I, I have a different way of planting clover now other than frost seeding.
And so I've been writing about that a little bit more. So it's just taking something that's been written about and talked about so much and putting a little bit different spin on it. Really good photography also goes [00:12:00] along with with writing, obviously, as you would know. . Upfront costs of, getting some camera gear to go along with your writing.
That's, a really good option. But yeah, I mean it's it was a grind to start, writing for free. And I knew that was the way to go is to like, Hey, I'm gonna, I'm gonna put myself out there and contribute these articles and really not expect much in return, but yet provide a lot of value for the people that I was given the articles to.
Yep. And I knew that eventually would kinda work out in my favor. I think a lot of people want to get into the hunting industry and they expect something in return right away. And I know, this being in the industry, a lot of these companies are so small. Yep. We think of 'em as these big maybe not, I thought that the hunting industry was so much bigger until I got into it.
Yeah. And then you show up at the ATA show where you talk to some of these guys and get to know 'em, it's man, these companies are small. They are, 20 to 25 employees. Yeah there's big. , big companies in the industry, Matthews and some of those big guys. But other than that, man, the [00:13:00] industry's really small and I think people do themselves a really big favor by not expecting too much in return when they're trying to, work as a pro staff member or do an exchange of some product and stuff like that.
You have to start out slow and these, a lot of these companies see through who the people are that can really provide them value. So I think that's something that I did really well to start out with. And then it snowballed into bigger and better things through the writing space.
Josh Raley: that's such a good point that, I do talk to a lot of people that want to get into the hunting industry and a lot of them don't quite grasp that. You've gotta be providing value consistently for a long time, before, before you get any money in the mail. You've gotta be showing up.
Yeah. Week in, week out, doing the work, treating it like it's a full-time job. Absolutely before, before checks starts showing up. And really before companies, if you're doing something like I'm doing where advertising is a thing before companies start taking you [00:14:00] seriously, before they really see, hey this is a guy worth investing in.
Because how many people are trying to do it and they pop in and out, they're here one week and they're gone the next and Yep. Yeah. For sure. So interesting man. Really good stuff. Really good stuff. Let's talk a little bit about the property you hunt. You mentioned that your parents have a property in southwest Wisconsin that you still have the opportunity to go back and hunt.
You do live in Green Bay though, so I'm guessing you've got lots of chances to hunt between the two and that you're not making the drive down every weekend or, every week. So tell me a little bit about the different properties that you hunt and the different terrain types and public versus
Paul Annear: private, all that.
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, I do mainly, a lot of my hunting back in, in southwest Wisconsin in the Driftless region where I'm born and raised, where my parents still live. But yeah, I mean there's some big deer down there, so it's really hard not to wanna try to drive back every weekend during the fall and hunt that area, especially since that's where I run the bulk of my trail cameras.
And of course, being in the industry and working for cutback, I, [00:15:00] we use a lot of cameras. You got a couple, you got a couple? Yeah, just a few , so a handful, couple. But yeah, there's some big deer back there for sure. So I'm really lucky to be able to hunt back there. The terrain in southwest Wisconsin, if people aren't familiar, it's, it's a Driftless region, they call it bluff country.
So a lot of ridge points steep valleys, steep hillsides. I always tell people hunting and hill country can be so easy and it can be so hard sometimes. And when it happens and comes together, , it feels too easy. Because you have the terrain working in your favor. You typically can cheat the wind a little bit to where you're using thermals to your advantage.
So in the, nighttime, they're gonna be falling back down the hill. So if you're expect expecting deer in front of you and you can get, you're stand up against a ridge point and you can have your thermals falling down. It's, it almost is too easy. But then there's certain times where deer bed, you know, out on ridge points or on, leeward sides of ridges where they can see forever, how do you access [00:16:00] that?
It's really tough. So we can go both ways. It's it's an awesome area. It's a beautiful country and super blessed to be able to hunt there. So just hunting private land Southwest Wisconsin, but then up here near Green Bay where I live, I hunt a little bit of both. I hunt some private just a couple pieces that add up to total of only like 25 acres.
Couple pieces that are one is 16 and then one is 10 and actually another smaller piece, so it's more, it's closer to 40, but three different pieces that are private. So super small, but they connect to a lot of private land that's, more spread out and it's a bigger chunk. So I purposely targeted some smaller private areas that butt up to a larger contingency of lar larger property landowners.
Cause I know that a lot of those guys looking for permission are gonna be knocking on doors of, the big guys and, people owning a lot of land. So I purposely reached out to landowners that own those smaller parcels, hoping that I could be on the back end. The [00:17:00] front end of the start of, a good chunk of property.
So I really scored pretty well that way and then had some good success up here. Haven't ever shot a buck up here yet, but I've taken a lot of doze passed some decent bucks, but try to save my buck tags for back home and in southwest Wisconsin. Couple different private pieces up here, and then I do hunt some public land.
It's been on my my list to shoot a public land buck up here. Really not gonna be too picky on the size. I just really want to, hunt some public land up here and give myself a little bit of a challenge. And in terms of that, so there's some good public land up in this area for sure.
You have to work hard to escape the masses and the people, but it can be done. But yeah, it's a different country up here near Green Bay for sure. You have some rolling hills, but a lot of it is just farmland with small wood lots. And like I said, when you do come across a swath of land that's, three, 400 acres of timber mixed with some river bottom, potentially some farm fields.
You gotta take advantage and try to get on those spots cuz there's definitely gonna be big deer. So [00:18:00] yeah, I hunt quite a, some different areas for sure. Couple of these spots that I have close to home, five, 10 minutes away. So I feel pretty lucky to be able to hop out and and get in the stand pretty quick from my house.
So it's nice. Whereas southwest Wisconsin, it's about a three and a half hour drive, so it takes takes a weekend if I'm gonna go there. Yeah,
Josh Raley: man. Something that you said I kind of wanna circle back to because if guys want to increase the number of places that they've got permission on, now's the time to do it.
Like September 1st, not a good time to go ask for permission to hunt on somebody's property. I am curious though with some of the smaller places that you hunt, how do you handle. A conversation that I've run into a lot. You go up, you knock on the landowner's door because I've done something similar to you finding smaller parcels touching a larger parcel or, two or three larger parcels and they say, I've only got five acres, or I've only got six acres.
I've only got eight acres. And I've had that conversation a lot with landowner yeah, [00:19:00] you'd be surprised what I could do with five AC acres. You can make a lot happen there for sure. And so how do you handle that conversation?
Paul Annear: Yeah. No, for sure. It's funny you mentioned that because one of the times that I knocked on a landowner's door he took me around in his gator right away.
Super nice old guy drives truck for a living, still works. And now we've developed a really good friendship. But that initial conversation was really took me on his gator. Like I said, we drove down to his field and, overlooked his whole property. And we actually jumped a really nice eight pointer
Oh, wow. And on that conversation on the way down he was saying that same thing, like it's only like 10 acres, yeah, we have deer, I don't really know what kind of deer we have running around. And sure enough we jump, probably a hundred twenty five inch, eight pointer.
And I'm like, okay, . I was I was, itching to get on that property at that point. But yeah, it ended up working out and that's one of the properties I hunt. But yeah, I think you gotta be, you gotta shoot shoot from the hip a little bit in terms of trying to find those properties and really not trying to go for the big ones right away.
You can do it, but if they're already [00:20:00] leasing it out or they got family that hunts there, they're probably gonna, they're probably gonna say no or they're gonna ask for a. A chunk of money that you might want, might not want to fork over. And I certainly, I do pay a little bit to hunt these properties, but it's more of just a kind of a thank you.
Yeah, it's tricky. It's tricky when you're looking for permission and, the price of land and leasing and how popular that's gotten in. Another thing, another challenge that I find with people looking to get on land these days is a lot of people are buying recreational land that don't necessarily hunt.
A lot of people are really catching on and people have always known this, but land is a really good investment. And guys that work at big companies and have high up positions, they own a lot of land, and I've , I've been, my eyes have been open to that fact a lot lately, that, these people that never hunt, they just wanna own land in really good areas where they know the price is just gonna keep going up and up.
They're gonna own land and eventually sell it and make obviously a really good profit. And that's, it's just good business, but, , it's hard to get on some of those properties. Yeah. Unless you know that person. And then of [00:21:00] course they're, they're looking to make more money too, and why wouldn't you?
So they're probably gonna make you lease it and whatnot. So it's tough. Asking for permission, in 2023 isn't like asking for permission in 20 15, 20 10, or 2005. It's a whole different game now.
Josh Raley: Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things that I've done is because and Covid really pushed me to this was lead with letters, that's the first thing they ever get from me before I show up, knock it on their front door.
You get a letter in the mail, we it provides an opportunity to open up that conversation before I'm the, bearded guy standing on your front porch. Absolutely.
Paul Annear: can be a little bit funny. That's funny you mentioned that because I talked to somebody, what was it, maybe a couple years ago?
He did the same thing. He sent a bunch of letters and coincidentally it was back in the area where I hunt. It's it's pretty well known for bigger deer and getting even more well known the western side of the state in general, but Southwest Corner has taken off lately, and he did the same thing.
He sent letters to, I think over 50 landowners and eventually did get [00:22:00] permission. Yeah, like some people don't have access to really good land and, they, they just might not be willing to press the issue and to work that extra little bit to get access. And it can be done for sure.
Absolutely. People still appreciate that face-to-face communication and then, the willingness to work hard and maybe help out the landowner doing something. Yeah, I sometimes feel sorry for people that they don't have good land to hunt. And other times I'm like, ah, it can still be done.
You just have to work really hard for it. Yeah. Yeah. And
Josh Raley: I, so with the letter writing that I've done, I've run about 10% success rate. And that's in Dane County. So you're talking lot big population, lots of people lots of hunters in Dane County, a lot of folks hunt. And 10% success rate is pretty good.
And another reason not to overlook the those smaller parcels, right? So I knocked on a door one time. There was a it was 20 acres on one side of the road, but it was all open crop field. There was no timber on the actual property. So I get over there, I knock on the door, Hey, can I hunt here?
[00:23:00] Sure, absolutely. And then he starts pointing across the road, telling me about the turkeys that are over there. And I was like, oh, is that yours too? And he's oh yeah, that 160 over there is mine too. You can hunt that . So I was like, oh, okay. That changes Jack. Yeah, exactly. Jackpot. So now I've got, this 20 on one side of the road to.
But then the 160 on the other side where I've got Turkey and late season deer permission, which is, that's awesome. Yeah. You can't beat that. So That's perfect. That's perfect. Yeah. Man, we're not here to talk to talk permission and access, but my goodness that probably deserves an episode in
Paul Annear: itself.
Yeah, no, I got a lot of thought of strategies and talking points on that, so yeah. We'll have to save that for another
Josh Raley: day. Yeah, for sure. So let's jump in now to talking about, what we're here to talk about. And that is deer hunting and doing a little postseason scouting.
Before we get into that though, I've gotta, I've gotta ask you one more thing. I said we were gonna jump into it, but a lied . Let's do it. You're a 20, 22 whitetail season. How'd that go? Yeah, it
Paul Annear: went pretty well. It was a good year. Bow season, I was playing cat and mouse with a really nice [00:24:00] buck that he was a good nine pointer, I'd say.
Right around the 1 35, 1 40 range. The neighbor ended up killing him. We have a really good relationship with the neighbors, so I was happy for him, but of course I wish I would've been the successful Hunter . I shot a decent eight pointer. No, it was a nine. I'm looking at him right now. October 15th or 16th I was, whatever that Saturday was in the middle of October.
It was actually really interesting hunt. So we have, the way my parents' property sets up, there's a big low lying cornfield and the corn was still standing, and so it's a long walk from their house to the top of the ridge. But I typically walk when the corn is up because I can sneak around the deer, so I have to sneak around.
A huge cornfield go up along the side of a fence row bordering their c r p field as well. It's corn, and then c r p and then the woods, and that all goes uphill. And so I snuck around, been getting a lot of pictures of that nine pointer that I was wanting to kill, got into the stand. Had a good morning, saw some, saw a couple deer, and then saw the nine pointer that I [00:25:00] wanted to kill along with the deer that I ended up shooting.
So the eight pointer came through munching on acorns and eventually came under my stand and I, I shot him nothing special, but just a good three and a half year old deer. And he went down, not five minutes later, the target buck nine pointer shows up . And actually I had another tag.
Did you really? As soon as I saw him I knock another arrow and get ready because I had a cwd positive deer from the 2021 season. Wow, okay. Yeah. So I'm like okay here we go. Like he might follow that same trail that the the buck that I just killed followed. But he ended up betting down about 70 yards away.
Ugh. I'm in my tree stand thinking, what do I do? Do I call Adam? Do I let him just wait it out? I decided to wait it out. So I'm sitting there chilling up against the tree, shaking like a leaf knocked onto my D loop and everything, and he eventually, , the wind switched as he would. He was bettered down and he got up and trodded off.
So that was the end of hunting him. And then the neighbor got him during gun season oh man, he's he's down and out. And then during gun season opening [00:26:00] morning of Wisconsin's nine day, I shot a pretty good. He was an 11 pointer. Had a little sticker coming off his g2. Pretty cool Buck.
Shot him right away in the morning which I'm very thankful for. It was very cold. Yeah. The opening morning of Wisconsin gun season.
Josh Raley: So Yeah, it was quite an opener this
Paul Annear: year. Yeah. Yeah. No, so it was a really good season. I can't complain. It was it was a good time. Good man.
Josh Raley: You know what You're obviously motivated though to get out and do some post-season scouting.
I have found though, that there's nothing quite like a bad season to get somebody motivated to get out in the woods and actually do some scouting after the season's over. You no doubt it. It's almost man, if you have too much success, it's I did okay last year. Sit back on what you
Paul Annear: are.
Yeah. You can ride those waves. Yeah. And it it can make you a little bit complacent if you don't watch it. Yeah. No, I know what you're saying for sure.
Josh Raley: But let's talk to that crowd that's ready to get out there or maybe we start, in the middle of this we are making the case, Hey, you really do need to get out there.
, when it comes to post-season scouting or winter scouting or spring scouting, whatever you wanna call it, I'm gonna lump it all [00:27:00] in the same bucket for right now. I know there are different stages, especially in Wisconsin, where you've got, true post-season scouting or winter scouting when there's still, snow on the ground and then you've got a whole other level of scouting that you can do when there's no snow on the ground and things are very different.
In the timber, but let's talk about post-season scouting. When it comes to scouting after deer season. Where do you start?
Paul Annear: Yeah, so I, you brought up Good point. There's that scouting immediately after the season's done, while there's still some snow on the ground. And so that brings up a really good topic.
I like to do it in a couple different waves. So I do like to do some scouting while there's still snow on the ground because I think it's really critical. The snow and trails through snow can tell you so much. Yep. And there's a different school of thought that, some people are thinking they don't really move in the winter how they do in the fall.
And that's true. I think the patterns of when they move are very different, but I don't think the trails and actually how they move throughout the land [00:28:00] changes that much. I think it's the critical part of that, I think is the time. So I really do to get out and do some scouting in the snow to see how they're using.
You know how they're using that bend around by the creek that pinches down to that little bit of land that goes over to this trail that leads to the bedding area. All that stuff, whatever it is. I think it's really important to to get out there and read some terrain while the snow is still present.
So I do like to definitely get out and do that, but I'm a little hesitant to, do that multiple times just cuz I am a hardcore shed hunter. And so I love to get out there once the majority of the snow is off and do some good shed hunting. I tell people, if you're wanting to really find a lot of sheds and learn the most about your property immediately after the season, yeah, get out there, do a little scouting in the snow and find those trails and find, that leftover deer sign.
find some, droppings and you know where the bedding area is. Obviously you can find clumps of dough beds and find some buck beds in the snow really easy [00:29:00] too. So I think that's another good strategy is to dive into some areas that, you suspect are good bedding areas, have you really gone in there and confirmed it?
So it is good to do that. But yeah, I don't like the TRAs in there too much with all the snow on the ground cuz you know, typically that means you're still in January or February and not a lot of the deer have dropped yet. So dropped antlers I should say. So yeah, I mean I like to do it in a couple different waves and then I, the month of March, it's funny, I'm actually working on an article right now about why March should be one of your favorite whitetail months.
And I just think it's interesting, there's so much stuff going on in March, right? You got shed hunting bras, seeding clover prescribed burns for guys that are in the mid-south. Timber stand improvement, you can do that anywhere, just get a chainsaw or hack and squirt technique, whatever you're doing out there.
March is I think it's like one of my favorite whitetail months. Besides hunting October and November, I would honestly say March is my favorite month to get things done for Whitetails. I go around, I loosen tree straps on my tree [00:30:00] stands. But yeah, scouting in March I think is critical.
As soon as the snow melts, I'm out there looking for old sign, looking for old scrapes. Some of those scrapes look like they were just made. The way the ground freezes freezes the dirt. It's it's like freezing vegetables, it holds really well.
Yeah. And you find that, when the snow melts, all of a sudden you look at those scrapes and they're right there for you to see. So there's so much deer sign to read in March. And so I combine a lot of that with my shed hunting, I would say. , soon as the snow melts, like March 10th through the 25th is when I do the bulk of my spring scouting and shed hunting.
I like to wait to do a bunch of my scouting once I know that a lot of deer have dropped antlers, cuz I combine the two and try to make make it into one big weekend and I can only do so many trips, back 200 miles to my my folks place where I grew up. So that's where I do the bulk of it, of course.
But yeah, no, I mean I just, I absolutely love the month of March for Whitetails. That's awesome, man.
Josh Raley: I gotta know, what do you do? Like I've got this [00:31:00] major issue and that issue is called Turkey hunting. And I've noticed more and more here lately, by the time I'm at the end of February when I go out in the woods, it doesn't matter if I intended to, scout for deer, if I see the first Turkey track, or heaven forbid, I hear a something gobble.
I'm totally distracted from there on out. So do you have any prescription for me, man? Do you have anything that can
Paul Annear: help ? Yeah. No, not really. I, gosh, it's funny you say that cuz like I, I love Turkey hunting and I'm getting into it more and more, but I was in track and field at university of Wisconsin, Madison and college, and I was super busy spring sport of course being in track.
And so I never really got to hunt that much and I lost the passion for it. And now I'm getting it back now that I'm into my thirties and I got kids and I wanna get them introduced to it. But yeah, it's tricky. It's tricky to stay on task when you're out there scouting. I love turkeys, but man, I'm a deer knot.
So when I'm out there in March and February, my, my focus is [00:32:00] still 100% whitetail. Yeah. I don't know, it's hard for me to, and we can get into some shed hunting topics if you want, but, I love those days that are, to find a bunch of sheds. I found that. , sunny days are crap.
Yep. Hard to see antlers. You see a lot of, you see a lot of things that supposed, they look like sheds, but it's a stick or it's a corn stock or something. So I love those days actually where it's, you get a little bit of rain or you got some you got some heavy overcast where, those are the days where maybe turkeys might not be , out and about or you don't.
That's good. You don't hear that faint gobble. , I actually, I really like those days for shed hunting. The sheds seem to pop off the leaves that, get darkened by rain. So I, I really, I'm not afraid to throw on some waterproof clothes and pack some extra pair of socks or something like that and go out shed hunting for three to four hours at a time, even in the rain or just a light, light mist or something like that.
, gosh that's just where I really enjoy getting out there in the woods is those crappy days [00:33:00] where you can find a shed really easy if it's been bacon in some sun for a while and it's late March and you got a rainy day, you're gonna, you're probably not gonna walk past too many big, sizable sheds in those kind of conditions.
It's they really stand out. Just wanna take a
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Man you had a legit answer for my Turkey problem. That's amazing. I missed, can't get out there in the crap weather. Yeah. Go out there in the crap weather when it's, nothing is gonna remind you of Turkey hunting. There won't be any go going on. It's gonna be miserable. Nothing, it's not warm.
You're not gonna think about Turkey hunting at all no.
Paul Annear: It might get a cold later in the week, but yeah, bring an extra stocking cap so it doesn't get soaked.
Josh Raley: Yeah, man. Good stuff. So I want to get around to your approach and how it might differ. You've got a property that you've been hunting on for a long time, and I imagine that you still scout that really hard, but you're also adding new properties.
You've got other properties with less experience on, and then you've got other properties that are public, right? And things are changing all the time, or maybe you're adding new pieces. How does your [00:35:00] approach differ when you're, scouting a spot that you're really familiar with versus a spot that's maybe newer to you?
Paul Annear: Yeah I like every hunter. I struggle with the access side of things. That's, gosh, the more I hunt, the more I realize that is just so critical. You can't, yeah, you can't get in there on a smart old buck and kill him if you're bumping him or if he's, he knows you're hunting him, right?
I'm always trying. Scout and figure out how I can, how deer are scouting me, I guess is a way to put it. So I'm always walking thinking about how I, how can I access this stand better? How can I get into this, inside corner edge or this bedding area with this certain wind?
I'm always running through those scenarios in my head. So one thing I've actually thought about doing this spring, and I really need to do it is get a friend or, my dad or a buddy, whatever, get up to a couple of my tree stands and have have somebody, standing in [00:36:00] a bedding area and have somebody walk up how they normally would to that tree stand and get to, whenever shout at each other when, Hey, I can hear you, or hey, I can I can see you now.
And it's not, it wouldn't be a foolproof way of pretending you're a deer, but just to do some creative things like that. , I think anything you can do to focus on access and make sure you're getting in and out without spooking, deer is critical.
Yeah, it doesn't vary, I guess a whole lot from property to property. I have to think differently though, when I'm hunting in extreme hill country of southwest Wisconsin as compared to a wood lot up here near Green Bay that's flat and doesn't have acorns. So it, I gotta do some different things, but yeah, I'm looking at access and I'm looking at, where are the deer wanting to be at the time when I'm gonna be on stand?
That's really what it's all about. Yeah,
Josh Raley: man. One, one thing that I have to throw out here, because it's, you just brought up access, and this has played into my success over the last two years of [00:37:00] of bow hunting. Hunting where. Because I hunt primarily public, right? Like I hunt a lot of private ground for turkeys.
Mostly cuz I don't wanna get shot because I sound like a Turkey. Yeah, I hear. But, bow hunting. I love the challenge of public land. I love getting out there in the mix and trying to learn it and put all the pieces together. When I'm on public land, I've had a lot of success using the non deer hunting pressure to my advantage.
So areas where, you can tell, okay, the pheasant hunters drive here, they park their truck here, they let their dogs out here, and then they walk this route to get to this part of the field and then they start hunting. I use that as access because those deer have put that almost in a separate compartment in their minds, or makes sense.
This is a normal trail where people come and walk their dogs every single day or they come and hike every single day. The deer logged that in a different category almost. They do, and that has been really helpful for me. [00:38:00] And I have killed the last two bucks that I've killed in Wisconsin.
The only two bucks I've killed in Wisconsin. Only started hunting there three years ago. But it, those experiences taught me like, man, they, you can hug highly pressured areas really closely and just take a little bit of a different route off of that and boom, it's like you're in a totally secluded area that they don't expect people to be.
Paul Annear: Oh, for sure. Yeah, that's a good point because one of the properties that's public that I hunt up here, of course it's got road access on two different sides, and then one of the access points is actually on a bike path. And so you could, I could technically drive the bike path, park it, and.
dump it in the ditch and go up and hunt the property from there. And I need to do that, but I got distracted chasing different deer last year, , but no I need to do that. And that's a good point is you can find j just something like that. Yeah, it would take me riding a [00:39:00] bicycle or walking three quarters of a mile on a bike path, but is it gonna be worth it?
I don't know. You gotta find out, right? Yeah. So you have to think differently and do things a little bit different than other people on public land. If you're parking at the parking spot where everybody's at, and there's just constantly bow hunters coming in and out and deer, they catch onto that stuff and they know when, when hunters are getting out of the stand, just past dark.
Yeah, it's critical to be thinking differently and. And taking a different approach to things for sure.
Josh Raley: Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm curious now let's shift our gears just a little bit. When you're doing post-season scouting, winter scouting, spring scouting, there's a lot of sign, like the woods are just absolutely full.
When I first moved up to Wisconsin, actually we moved up at the end of January. I started scouting immediately, like three days after I got there. And I had never seen so much sign in my entire life. I didn't know how to make sense of it. And then once the snow started [00:40:00] to melt, I was like, I don't know what to do.
I walked into this little wood lot, there were hundreds of beds, , and I was like, what? What is happening? Why are there? And there were like, literally the entire ground was nothing but deer droppings. Wow. Every, everywhere you look and there's deer hair, everywhere. And I'm like, why? I didn't understand that it had just been frozen all winter.
It's just the accumulation of sign from a whole year. So one of the things that I've started doing, hopefully you tag out in November, scouting right away, right away as soon as you can in November. Trying not to mess up everyone else's hunt. If you're hunting public land then scouting as soon as the season's over or scouting, in the snow and then scouting again in the spring.
Kind of get a feel for how the sign progresses and changes. Yep. What are you doing to make sure that you're weighing things appropriately? Cuz you may find a trail in March that looks like a cattle path Yep. But in reality it's not being used very often.
Paul Annear: [00:41:00] Yeah, for sure. That's, going back to the point of.
I guess what I find is typically in like this can be, this can throw people off. So take this with a grain of salt, but like I said, in hill country it seems like deer are gonna use the terrain somewhat similar all the time. Cuz they can only work around so much terrain or a big rock out cropping or a big drop off.
They can't go, they can't go through, up and around it or whatever. They die if they went a certain way. They'd fall off a cliff like . That's how steep it is in southwest Wisconsin sometimes. Yeah. Yeah. So I have to be careful when I'm shed on Nick to watch my step and make sure I'm not like, tumbling down 300 foot cliffs.
But they, I think they just use it at different times of the year a little bit more heavily than others. So if there's a, if you got a big ridgetop crop field or something that was crusted over with layers and layers of snow for. for two months, and all of a sudden it breaks free in late February or early March.
Yeah, like you said, [00:42:00] there might be a cattle path out to that cornfield. So you do have to keep an eye on the food sources that are around you and make sense of okay, is this being used more heavily this time of year? Like how much was this really used in September, October, November?
There's food everywhere in September and, end of parts of October. So I think it's all about this kind of goes along with shed hunting too. You have to eliminate ground that really isn't gonna produce for you. So instead of looking at everything as like a possibility, I think you need to sometimes when you're out there spring scouting, kinda look at certain places and be like, all right, is this really a spot where I can get in and I'll realistically and kill a deer?
And if you can, then great, that's a spot that you know, you should mark up on, OnX or deer cast maps or whatever you're using, and put those way points all over there. And track your path in and out. That's another thing too. And I'm spring scouting. I'll I'll turn on my path tracker on OnX or deer cast maps, whatever I'm using, and pack path track my path [00:43:00] to and from the tree stands and look at that on a map and be like, all right, how does that line up with my terrain features that I see Deere using?
And do I see that they can do they have a, do they have a visual on me if I am approaching from this way with this sort of wind? And so I think you, you do a really good job during March of eliminating ground that, you think might be really good deer hunting, but you look at it from a map or you use a path tracking feature on your app or whatever you're doing, and you find that, hey, that's.
It's not really gonna work for access. So I think eliminating certain spots is really important. Almost more so than finding spots, I think. I think you find your spots by eliminating spots that, you know, Hey, I, the chances of killing a deer eight are very slim. Yeah. But that's tough because you also have to spend some time hunting in those areas to really figure out Okay.
After Hunts one and two, I have a beat on these deer and I know where they're gonna be. There's, maybe an alfalfa field that's still [00:44:00] green or the soybeans haven't yellowed up yet, so they're still using this trail. So there is a little bit of in-person hunting that has to supplement that spring scouting, but I think that's where it's really important if you get access to a property or even, if you'd have, you've had access to a property for a long time but those first two years of hunting a place, the next couple springs.
Scouting is gonna be really important because that's where you can really dive in there with March looks like November, right? There's no leaves on the trees, there's no understory. The deer sign is still very fresh, like we said. So that's where you can make some really good gains on those properties is scouting those years after you've done maybe two seasons of hunting and you can be like, all right, I need to dive in here during my spring scouting and see where deer are hanging out.
And like we talked about, it's tricky. You kinda have to take everything with a little bit of grain of salt because they might not be in a certain area in November, but they might be there in March and vice versa. [00:45:00] So I think it's really important to know the food sources and what the deer are gonna be eating, because then you can kinda gauge whether the deer are truly gonna be there come hunting season and you can actually pull a bow back on 'em.
Josh Raley: Yeah, man. A couple of things that you. Talked about there. I want to circle back to, so you mentioned deer using terrain similarly or pretty much the same, especially when it comes to southwest Wisconsin. So where I primarily hunt Dane and some surrounding counties we've got some hills in some areas, especially Western Dane County, you can get pretty Yep.
Pretty hilly. Yep. But in some areas too we're relying mostly on vegetation edges, right? They're not typically the kinds of terrain features you get in southwest Wisconsin. At the same time though, I have observed the terrain features that you do get or creeks, ditches, that kind of thing.
Those really dictate deer travel and deer movement. Number two I've noticed, even if, let's say an [00:46:00] edge used to be a nice, thick, brushy edge a frost comes through in October and all the leaves fall. And it's not a thick brushy edge anymore. The deer don't totally abandon it. It's like they move to the next edge.
They're still within eyesight. Maybe if you go in there and hunt again. So it's not ah, all is lost. They use this in October and, come November 1st, they're nowhere to be found. It's no they're sev 75 yards that way. Or 65 yards over there now.
Paul Annear: just make a small little shift. Yeah,
Josh Raley: exactly. Exactly. And that, so I just wanted to circle back to that point. Even if folks aren't hunting in southwest Wisconsin, even if they don't have these big terrain features, deer aren't just abandoning good areas. No, they're not. Now, if for sure.
And that's, if they're there only because of a food source, yeah. They may abandon that area, but if you're deer or there only because of a food source, you might not be hunting the best spot anyway. There, there are probably more consistent producers. Then, if you're hunting a spot that's only good because this food source in this small window of [00:47:00] time, there are probably some other spots on your ground that you could find where, hey man, this is gonna be a lot more consistent.
There are deer here, season long rather than a week, the second week of October or for sure. Or whatever it is.
Paul Annear: Yep. I always like to sum it up. It's every animal's goal in life, every animal out there on the entire planet, their goal is to survive. Yeah. So whatever helps 'em survive, whether it's food, whether it's cover or food, that's where they're gonna be.
And you brought up a really good point about, in more flat areas, I have a, a property up here that I have access to that, that, that's exactly what it is. It's really flat, doesn't have a whole lot of terrain feature. There's some mature hardwoods right off the edge of a cornfield, and then that's probably 70, 80 yards wide.
And then it transitions into Cedar Swamp. And then it drops off into more cedar swamps. So there's a little plateau. And it's just those edges like that where deer, first of all, they love to bed. Yep. They love to. And you're gonna [00:48:00] see a ton of deer sign. They love to cruise those areas during the rut.
Those edges like that. Habitat edge, right? Yeah. How often do you, you see that out there? It's all about the edge habitat and it really is. And so that's where I've done a lot of my spring scouting on this property. I found a couple sheds there. Deer are just attracted to edge. I don't know if it's the potential for escape cover or if it's because there's edge habitat, there's different woody brows, species, whatever it is, deer love it.
And for shed hunting and Spring Scout. Those are two spots that you can't you can't miss. And I think people should really focus in on and look for deer sign in those spots. And if there's something that's even, a terrain feature we're talking about, southwest Wisconsin and my situation.
But terrain features really don't have to be very much. There's a lot of flat properties up here that I've been on with some people friends and whatnot, and just little rises within Cedar swamps or even in hardwoods up here where you think it's as [00:49:00] flat as a pancake, but yet you get up on just a small little three foot plateau that goes and leads up into a cornfield, man.
That's where deer you're gonna be. They're gonna be land signed down there, and in those areas, they're just attracted to those different slight train features and edges like that. It doesn't have to be drastic. You don't have to have three, 400 foot bluffs like I do in southwest Wisconsin.
Deer are, if you see it and it sticks out to you, it's probably gonna be an area that deer are attracted to as well. Yep.
Josh Raley: G when before moving to Wisconsin, I lived in southern Louisiana and there. if there was a two foot rise. We called that a ridge. Yeah, that's . That literally was the ridge that the deer are using to get through the swamp.
And it's because it sticks up out of the water by two feet, for sure. And or it's the shallowest water , they've gotta go through the water. It's just the shallowest water. So it's just, it's all relative to, it is to the terrain that you're hunting and deer. But deer are going to relate to terrain very much the same way.
The buck I killed this year, [00:50:00] there was this very slight little knob in a spot where a ditch flattened out just a little bit. And I had to, I, I didn't find the spot until I turned OnX. The elevation. Exaggeration. Yeah. I turned it all the way up and then I was like, oh, look at that. And I went in and I killed the buck.
And so it was like, man that just made all the difference. And I saw more deer that day than I had seen any other day that I'd been hunting. It's this one little bitty feature. . Yeah. Couldn't even see it on a topo, but it made all the difference. Yep.
Paul Annear: Absolutely. That's crazy. Yeah that's how I it was more extreme.
When I killed my buck in southwest Wisconsin this year during gun season, opening morning. It was really cold. He saw a couple doughs come around the corner, this rock out cropping. And if, for people listening, if you hunt, in the Mississippi River Valley or anywhere in southwest Wisconsin, Southeast Minnesota, that's all the same terrain.
Rock out croppings that drop, there's a steep ridge point, and then you gotta a rock out cropping. If you can hunt below those rock out [00:51:00] croppings, there's gonna be trails and there's gonna be deer that fall into your lap. And that's what happened with my buck this year. He came around a corner and, I was there with a 3 0 8 Remington and he basically fell right into my lap.
And it was, that's where it feels too easy, . But yeah. But yeah, you gotta use those features to your advantage. Yep. And yeah, it doesn't have to be anything crazy that, you were saying two foot ridges. Any undulation and terrain that leads to any sort of food source or water source or anything like that, or has good cover.
That's where beer are gonna be. Yep.
Josh Raley: You said something earlier too. And it's something that I'm really bad at and it makes me inefficient when it comes to scouting. And that's eliminating ground. And it's because I've always got that optimism of this could be a good spot.
May, maybe it's a good spot. And you talked about March is a great time to, to just eliminate a lot of ground, and you mentioned access being a primary thing of Hey, you can't get in here unseen without being smelled and without being heard, on your way in.[00:52:00]
are there other factors that cause you to just eliminate large swaths of a property? Maybe it's through map scouting or maybe it's boots on the ground that just make you say, you know what this spot's not worth it. I'll kill the deer somewhere else.
Paul Annear: Yeah. I try to, I try not to do this, but I do a lot of that with I feel like I do a lot of that with trail cameras too.
Yeah. I feel like they, they help so much and obviously, you got eyes on the woods 24 7, right? It's hard to beat the handiness of a trail camera. I would tell people, yeah, use those to your advantage beside, in addition to your spring scouting. But yeah.
Off the top of my head, I can't really think of anything that I look at Hey, this is just gonna totally not gonna work, I think until you've run trail cameras there, if you've really boots on the ground, scouted it, and you've hunted it, . I wouldn't eliminate anything.
It's funny, one of the spots this year that I'm gonna focus on early season is a spot between my neighbors and my parents' property. It's just a little fence [00:53:00] gap. That's all it is for the farmer to drive his combine through. And it's made a really nice little little runway between the two corn fields.
And I had, it was probably my busiest trail camera all year. No kidding. Lots of daytime, not necessarily tons and tons of buck daylight movement. Okay. But during the rot that, that for sure cranked up and it's 150 yards from my parents' house, and I would just never think to sit there. Yeah. Yeah.
And if you're getting that daylight movement, there's no sign there's no sign there. And, it's just, I had to put a camera there to find out. Yeah. Yeah. It's tricky. Sometimes you just don't know. Yeah. And
Josh Raley: if you find those little spots, even if you're saying like, wow.
There's a ton of traffic. It's not necessarily daytime traffic, but it's a lot of traffic. Their movement is influenced more than just that spot though. So let's think about how that ripples out into what could be daytime movement. Like how does this spot being a high traffic area change the spot over here, 300 yards away, 350 yards away?
Where they're gonna be, [00:54:00] possibly still lingering around in daylight. Yes. I want to get to one more topic. Everybody knows what to look for in when they're winter or spring scouting. If you don't, here you go. Rubs, scrapes, trails, deer tracks, anything cool that makes you go, wow, deer, we're here.
That's the stuff you wanna note on your OnX, and it's super important to mark all that stuff down on your hunt. Make sure you're keeping really good notes. Piece it all together, come back home. One of the things I like to do is just mark it all on my phone, come back home, put it up on the computer and say, okay, here's how everything kind of fits together, and try to put those pieces of the puzzle together.
, I'm curious though, when it comes to the transition from spring scouting, winter scouting into now it's time to throw trail cameras up, how do you begin to choose the locations? Even a guy with a lot of cameras, you're still limited, right? So how do, how does that inform your trail camera strategy?
And maybe what are some of the spots that you're, like, these spots get [00:55:00] cameras, but these spots don't.
Paul Annear: Yeah, no, that's a good point. There's some areas where I'll put cameras where I have no intention of ever hunting. I just, I want to confirm or deny whether bucks are hanging out in this spot.
And if I'm getting them on that camera, then maybe 200 yards up the ridge where I can kill him, I'll put another camera and expect to hunt that spot. But yeah, it, it is tricky. You gotta pick and choose your cameras. Do you wanna find, do you wanna see pictures of deer where you're planning to hunt?
Or do you wanna load 'em up in areas where, Hey, I'm curious. I've never really put a camera here, but I wanna see if deer coming by and then, maybe you don't have a stand there or you don't have a mobile setup and you can't, move in on a deer that's working that trail. But yeah, supplementing trail cameras with your spring, with spring scouting something I obviously do a ton of.
It's funny, I was gonna bring this up earlier when we were talking about terrain feature. So there's a really nice up on my neighbor's property. It's a giant, all it is a huge ridge. It goes like [00:56:00] this and then it dog legs to the left, it look, it literally looks like a par five dog leg , if you look at it on a on a topo map.
And so I did a ton of scouting up there. He was an older gentleman and let me look for sheds. Super nice. And then it kinda led to some gun hunting permission. He wouldn't let me archery hunt for some reason, but I was able to gun hunt, huh. And so I shot a a pretty nice nine pointer in 2021, up at a spot where I'd found a ton of sheds, a ton of deer sign, really good trails, right where that ridge took a bend and made a dog left to, the dog left.
It was all the deer sign right there. And actually my very first hunt up there, I ended up killing that nine pointer. So it was one of those spots where I had shed hunted. The daylights out of that area, scouted at a ton. Found a lot of good deer sign even marked some trees where, hey, if I ever hunt up here, it's just where I'd sit.
And sure enough, within it was literally 30 minutes of my first set up there at two 15 in the afternoon during gun season I killed that nine pointer. [00:57:00] And I didn't have any trail cameras up there. I just went, hey, there's a bunch of saplings and, thick stem count up on this ridge, and all the sign and all the, the sheds I found up here it wasn't a ton it, a couple, three or four sheds, but it all just added up to this is just where I need to be.
Yeah. So I guess that's just an example of, shed hunting, spring scouting, adding up to fall success without having to use trail cameras. But cameras certainly help. I run a ton of 'em and. I'm sure a lot of listeners do, and I don't, I know I, I know you've run some cameras, but it's all they all have to work in unison to find those hotspots and to be able to really nail down where deer are gonna be when you can actually kill 'em.
Deer moving in on out of properties during certain times of year, that's another tricky one. Chasing deer that may not even exist or may not even be there anymore. . Yep. It all comes I tell people all the time, I know the jury outdoors the jury guys have said this for a long time, that, deer are killed in the off season, and I totally believe that.
Yeah, you pull the trigger, you send the arrow in September, October, November, but man, [00:58:00] deer, our deer are killed in the off season for sure. Yeah. And all the scouting is it's about to happen and it's it's a good time of year to get out there and get boots on the ground.
Josh Raley: Yeah. So as a, primarily public land when it comes to deer, Hunter.
For me this timeframe is giving me a lot of starting points. Now I'm gonna walk away with, I want to hang in that tree one day and I'm picking the tree and I'm doing all the things that a private land guy would do except for hanging a stand. But I'm also viewing that as a starting point, right?
I'm gonna come back, I'm gonna hang in that tree during this time period for this reason, and then I'm gonna adjust from there. How often are you making adjustments? Obviously you're gonna hang some stands and you're gonna make plans based on what you find this time of year. But how often are you like, man, I was off by 20 yards, off by 30 yards and need to make tweaks?
Paul Annear: Yeah, that happens for sure. It happened a couple years ago. A big ridge top that so it was a field bottom that went up to a couple big ridges and then the [00:59:00] neighbor's cornfield was just 89 yards off of this big ridge. And I was . I did a ton of scouting up there and just set the tree where I set the tree stand.
It was going on the backside of a ridge and it faces a bedding area that's over on the neighbors, and I just never really thought about access. When I hung that stand, it ended up that I just spooked a lot of deer up there. So I had to make some adjustments there. But yeah, it happens for sure.
I do find a lot of my tree stand spots during my spring scouting in March. And in into April to where I'm at. It's, it's not green and up until mid to late April. So I can get away with a little bit of that, but by then mine has shifted over to Turkey, like you said. But yeah it's a great time to, to figure out your stand locations and also maybe mark some trees that where, hey, this spot I've never really focused much on, but if I have a deer showing in kind of in this area, Or the certain given acreage, I can mark some trees where if I need to get mobile, I can do that.
I have maybe some permanent sensors on the corner, up on the [01:00:00] ridges. But getting mobile and leaving those options open is always, super good idea too. Or people with lightweight hang ons or saddles or whatever they're doing. Yeah, I mean it's it's all about sheds and marking trees and find and sign for sure.
Josh Raley: All right. So you have yourself to thank for this because this is totally your fault. Now I want to hear about your spring Turkey hunting plans. You just mentioned Turkey hunting. I've done a really great job of staying on topic when it comes to scouting for deer, but then you mentioned it as a way to wrap up, man, what are your plans for the spring?
Do you have your what did you get selected for one of the earlier seasons? Yep.
Paul Annear: Yeah, I got season what do they call it, B now in Wisconsin, so season two, second season. So I'll be doing that primarily up here in Green Bay. There's a ton of turkeys up here. It's crazy. Yeah. As people listening, they know if they pay attention to hunting media.
A lot of talk about Turkey habitat these days, and improving that, which, you improve habitat for deer, you improve it for turkeys and vice versa for the most part. [01:01:00] So yeah I'm gonna be hunting up here during second season. Hopefully we're not snowed under and I can get after 'em pretty hard.
I can luckily one of the places is really close to my house, so I can probably get out a little bit before work if wife can get the kids dropped off and all that. But yeah, I don't I don't travel a whole lot for Turkey hunting yet. I'll get back to my folks' place and do some morale hunting and whatnot.
So I, I might work in a little Turkey season and buy one over the counter. But yeah, up here there's just a really healthy Turkey population and a lot of people do some predator coyote calling in the winter up here and get. Get a lot of coyo coyotes. I haven't done that too much yet, but no I'm really looking forward to getting after the gobblers and seeing some warmer weather.
Josh Raley: talked with can't wait. I talked with Taylor Finger from the DNR yesterday who's the the game bird ecologist and Sure. For the state of Wisconsin. And whereas a lot of the rest of the country right now, they're seeing, declines in Turkey populations, very low pulp per hand ratios, and they're trying to figure out what in the world do we do in Wisconsin, our Turkey [01:02:00] population has dropped and stabilized in the southern part of the state, but then in the northern part of the state, like up around where you are, it's still growing.
Yeah. And so really is the golden age of Turkey hunting in Wisconsin right now, especially where you are now. There may be a time in the next couple years where that high population comes back down a little bit into something that's actually reasonable. Yeah. But for right now, man, get out there and enjoy it.
Paul Annear: No, it's doing really good. Yeah. One of the properties I hunt, it's a 16 acre piece, used to be an old crop field. It's mainly a big bottom. . And the lady who owns the land, she doesn't have it enrolled in c r p every so often. It depends on the year. She'll have somebody cut it for hay, but the last couple years she hasn't been.
And boy, that's, I think that's been awesome nesting habitat for those turkeys and Oh, yeah. Mentioned to me one year, she's oh, I should really have a farmer come down there and cut it for hay. I'm like no. It's beautiful. Like it's perfect. There's milkweed everywhere for butterflies.
There's species growing in there that's [01:03:00] just I've never. Seen up here before it's awesome. Like I told her and she's oh really? And I'm like, yeah. It's like tricky populations are going nuts up here cuz you know, in part cuz you have this giant field, I think, and it's hiding PTs and it's doing a really good job.
Yeah. A raising Turkey. No, I mean it's yeah, tell her if anything population up here, if anything,
Josh Raley: maybe maybe burn it in a year or two and then Yeah. Start it, set it back again and then Ooh.
Paul Annear: Could be, yeah, I know. I'd have to convince her of that though. I don't know if she Yeah.
maybe the next part of her education. Yeah,
Josh Raley: man, you start talking to landowners and I work with some people down here in Georgia on their properties specifically for whitetails. But you start talking about setting somebody's property on fire, Yeah.
Paul Annear: That people get real weird.
People need to Yeah, they do. They get, things get weird. Yeah. No doubt. A real quick, a funny story about burning is switch grass and Indian grass and all that stuff is very. , very flammable, right? Oh yeah. , it's funny, when I was like nine or 10, I was helping my dad do a prescribed burn and [01:04:00] their big c r p field, so like I mentioned before, it's a big crop.
Crop. Bottom field leads up to a C R P field and leads up to the woods. And so that's all consecutive leading up to the woods. It all goes uphill. And so the CRP in between the corn and the woods, it's probably a 20 acre C RRP field. And that's, that was my dad's thinking. This was a long time ago now when I was nine or 10.
I'm 33 now, so it was a while ago. We were doing a CRP burn. And man, that fire, we had 25 foot flames. It was what? Insane. It was crazy. What did you leave light at the bottom? The driest day with no humidity, and that CRP grass. It was a little bit taller back then. It's an overtaken by some weeds now, but man, that grass was probably 6, 7, 8 feet tall and it was just a Hellman.
Oh yeah. And that fire was hot. He called the fire department just to have them come out and Hey, if this thing gets outta hand. So that's the last time we've burned our property, but we gotta do it again cuz Yeah, we're getting a lot of species that we don't like and it's getting overtaken by a lot of annual stuff that [01:05:00] Yeah it's getting nasty.
But yeah, no it's Turkey habitat, Turkey hunting is a hot topic right now and yeah, I can't wait to get after him. Yeah,
Josh Raley: for sure man. Paul, thank you so much for coming on. Great conversation. Might have to do it again to talk shed hunting specifically cuz I'm terrible at finding sheds like . I got, I got a couple of them, laying around here, but did I see that?
Not a lot and I need all the help I can get.
Paul Annear: Yeah, it's tricky. I tell people all the time Hey, if you're not finding sheds, you just, you might not have the winter deer. And that's where running cameras and doing that scouting is gonna help you if if you find out if you actually have the deer hanging out in your property you might not be as bad of a shed hunter as you think you are.
Yeah, I'd knock on doors for shed hunting permission specifically. Yeah. La
Josh Raley: last one I found was bright white bleached by the sun and the surrounding c r P had been. So it was literally a bright white beacon in the middle of just ads. Could miss it all around. There you go. Yeah. There was no way to miss it.
Yeah, . And actually I was probably five feet from it before I even [01:06:00] saw it, so That's funny. It was, it's pretty bad. But anyway, yeah, Paul, man. Where can folks go if they want to, if they wanna find more from you? They probably want to read some of your writing, catch up with you on Instagram, so where's all that?
Paul Annear: Yeah, absolutely. So just on Instagram, I am at P and Ear, so p a n e a R. So just my first and last name there. And then yeah, I mean my writing, catch up with me anywhere. Like I said, writing for a lot of different publications or if, if you Google my name or something, I'm sure some stuff had come up.
But yeah, consistently contributing to a lot of places like Deer Cast real Tree, doing quite a bit for them. Yeah, if there's something to be written about regarding Whitetails I'm trying to cover it. Awesome.
Josh Raley: Thanks Paul. Appreciate your time tonight and good luck while you're scouting this year.
Thanks, Josh, appreciate it. That's all for this week's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in. If you dig this show, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever it is that you get your podcast. While you're at it, if you could leave me a five star review, I would very much appreciate that. You can also follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at the Wisconsin [01:07:00] Sportsman or at How to Hunt.
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