Summer Public Land Scouting & Trail Cam Strategy w/ Brian Dombrowski

Show Notes

Though it's hot and buggy, the summer is a great time to get boots on the the ground for some deer scouting. The woods are thick and green, but there is still much that can be discerned this time of year, such as preferred bedding, food sources that will be prime come opening day of deer season, and what bucks are hanging around the areas you hunt. One guy that scouts hard during the summer and has a solid strategy for hanging trail cameras is Brian Dombrowski of Wisconsin. In this episode of the How to Hunt Deer Podcast, Josh talks with Brian about Brian's summer scouting and trail cam strategy and what Brian does to consistently get on big publi land bucks.

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Show Transcript

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Welcome to the How to Hunt Deer podcast, which is brought to you by Tactic Camp. This podcast aims to educate those who are interested in becoming deer hunters, brushing up on a central skills, or maybe just adding a few new tactics to the toolkit. We cover a variety of topics that will help you be more confident and successful in the field while you're hunting deer.

Thank you so much for tuning in with us this [00:01:00] week. We've got a great episode in store for you. One of my favorite guests, one of my favorite guys that I've had the opportunity to meet over the last couple of years, Brian Debrowski. Now I've had Brian on the Wisconsin Sportsman and on the How to Hunt Deer Podcast.

So if you listen to today and you're like, Hey, I wanna hear a little bit more from this guy. There's a couple of other episodes out there that you should check out. But in this episode, we get into a couple of things that I think Brian does exceptionally well. One of those things is summer scouting.

If you follow this guy on Instagram, there's no doubt that he puts in the work when it comes to doing summer scouting. And the other thing that he does really well is trail camera placement. Now that's something that's really interesting because that's something that he has tweaked a little bit of how he does it over the last couple of years, and I think he's really honed in on a system that works for him.

And something that I think we can all learn a lot from. I know I am going to be employing some of his strategies here in the coming weeks when I start to get my cameras out. I am way, [00:02:00] way behind. But, I'll be honest with you, this summer, I have needed a little bit of a break from from deer hunting and I just spent so much time focused on turkeys and doing family stuff.

I just needed a little bit of time off. But I'm getting ready. I'm getting geared up, and I'm gonna get my cameras out and I'm gonna use what I learned from today's episode to get them in the right spots. Now, Brian Hunton, Wisconsin. But I think some of the things that you're going to learn from today's episode are gonna be helpful for you pretty much anywhere you are, especially if you are around any kind of a marsh setting.

As we jump in, I do just wanna say this episode is brought to you, first of all by tactic Amm, the title sponsor of the show. One of their really cool products that I like for this time of year is their spotter, lr The Spotter. LR is a full 4K camera. That will attach to pretty much any spotting scope that you have.

If you're like me, you love to spend summer evenings behind some glass. It's just a cool opportunity to get the kids out sometimes or to just go spend a quiet evening in the truck or on a field edge by yourself. And just watching bucks do what [00:03:00] they do at this time of year. And the spotter LR is going to allow you to film those bucks and take that home and show either your family or your friends or whatever, show them what you were able to see.

It's also a super helpful tool for long range shooting especially with a rifle so that you can watch that target. It's even helpful if you're shooting your bow, this time of year you like to shoot out to 50, 60, 70 yards, a hundred yards, maybe if you're one of those one of those guys, which I'm not personally, but I do like to shoot out to 50 yards or so.

And this allows you to video your group, video your practice and see, what the sequence was of how your errors were hitting. And obviously, last but not least, if you're a western guy, like this is for you. If you wanna be able to really share your hunt with your friends, with your loved ones, with your buddies, then the spotter LR is for you right now.

That thing is $150, that's like half off. So head over to their website,, grab you a spotter, lr, grab whatever else you need for yourself filming this fall and start sharing your hunt with [00:04:00] Tica. Also, this episode is brought to you by Hunt Worth. I was just on the phone with somebody from Hunt Worth today.

Looks like we're gonna be having a rep on pretty soon to talk about some of the hunt worth products. I've been wearing hunt worth for over a year at this point, and it has yet to disappoint. This time of year. I'm getting ready to get out a bunch of trail cameras, and that means two things. Number one, it means I'm gonna be wearing my Durham lightweight pants when I head out into the woods for my scouting.

And for putting up trail cameras. Number two, it means I'm going to be using the Lodi pack. That is the smaller of their two packs. I find it. That is the smaller of the two packs. It does have a section for a water bladder, which I love to bring. And then basically I'm going to have my range finder. I'm going to have my binos in it probably cause I don't like to wear them on my chest during the summer.

And I'm gonna have 2, 3, 4 maybe trail cameras in that pack while I'm doing my scouting and I'm gonna have my one stick strapped to the outside. Boom, my scouting and trail camera setup pack is complete. This pack has proven to be durable and it's just the right size [00:05:00] for what I need this time of year when I'm not necessarily bringing in a ton of camera gear or a ton of extra clothes.

You can find that on their website. Hunt worth gear. Dot com. And last, but certainly not least, this episode is brought to you by the OnX Hunt app. The OnX Hunt app goes with me wherever I am. It is the most important tool for me and for the way that I hunt. Whether that comes down to, number one, hunting in multiple states, it's awesome to be able to have, private and public land boundaries on properties that I'm, a lot of times not exactly a hundred percent familiar with the property before I get there.

It's also awesome because I hunt a mixture of public and private land. Some of that is family owned land. Some of that is permission land, and some of that is just general public land that's out there. And it's really nice to be able to keep track of not only all of my observations while I'm in the field, but just to have confidence that, number one, I'm not gonna accidentally stumble onto someone else's property.

And number two, I'm not going to get, turned around on one of these rather unfamiliar properties. One of the things that I'm making sure to do this time of year, I [00:06:00] mentioned I'm about to get some cameras out. What I'm gonna do with those cameras is I'm gonna mark each location. On the Ony Hunt app, it's going to get a red pin and it's going to be the camera icon.

If I pull that camera and I did not like the location, I'm gonna turn that to black. If I pull that camera and I did the location, but I just maybe want to move the camera somewhere else for a little bit of time, I'm gonna turn that white, because I know that's a spot that I want to return to. It's gonna be the camera icon each and every time.

I'm also gonna turn around and take a picture of that camera, because believe it or not, I've had pins in creek bottoms and stuff where everything looks the same, and you get in the general area where that camera's supposed to be, and all the foliage and the trees all looked the same along the edge, and it's okay, which one of these has my camera?

And for probably a good 15, 20 minutes, I assumed somebody had stolen my camera because I just could not find it. After that point though, I started taking pictures of where I hung the camera at so that I can find it. But [00:07:00] you know what, that's what I get for trying to hide my cameras super well on public land.

But anyway, the OnX Hunt app is going to allow you to mark your camera locations to take a picture of the camera's location and attach that directly to the pen right there in the app. You can learn more on their website,, or you can find them on the app store of your choice by simply searching the X Hunt app.

Big thanks to those partners. This time of year is when I really am getting geared up for Whitetails. And not that they're not on my mind all the time, but there's just something about this late summer, mid-summer to late summer time period when all of the anticipation is really starting to hit and I'm really looking forward to the season.

So it just makes me especially grateful this time of year that I have such a great group of partners that I get to work with that allow me to do what I do, that have allowed me to turn my passion into my career. So huge thanks to those guys. If you would, please do me a gigantic favor. Go support the partners that support this show.

That's the number one way that you can support us right now here at the How to Hunt Deer Podcast, or the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast is go show some [00:08:00] of our partners some love, and if they ask, tell 'em I sent you their way. And finally, if you are digging this show, and maybe you're newer around here, be sure to like, and subscribe or follow or whatever it is that the podcast platform where you found us allows you to do it would mean a lot to me.

If you'd share these episodes on social media. Tag me in that. Let me know that you're finding these episodes helpful or useful. If you ever have any questions or thoughts or anything like that, you wanna shoot my way, you can find me on Instagram at How to hunt Deer or at the Wisconsin Sportsman. That's where you can send me, ideas that you want covered or guests you'd like to add on, or, just let me know the kind of content that you would like to see.

So with all that stuff outta the way, let's jump right into this conversation that I had with Brian Dombrowski. All right, joining me for this week's episode of the podcast, I got Mr. Brian Dombrowski back on. Brian, how's it going? Going Good. Thanks for having me. Backed on. Yeah, man. I'm I gotta be honest with you.

I'm shocked. I'm shocked you said Yeah, let's do it. This is the third time we've gotten a podcast together now. Yeah. It's nice to catch up. Nice to catch up. And, [00:09:00] I never will shy away from talking about gears, you're gonna learn your lesson eventually talking to me. It can only hurt your reputation in the outdoor space.

But anyway, man. What have you been up to lately? So you jumped out to me cuz I was like, this guy's been out there, he's been hanging cameras, he's been scouting, he's been getting after it, he's getting pictures of good bucks already and they're not good bucks in a bean field or an alfalfa field or something like that.

You're in the woods getting pictures of good bucks already. Man, tell me what's going on in your world. We, I got my cameras out a lower earlier this year. I'm gonna be pretty busy in the next couple weeks, but, I do have, as far as the good pictures I'm getting with these bucks, it's I'm running 10 cameras right now, which doesn't seem like a lot.

But each camera is positioned in a spot that I've determined holds a good buck or held a good buck last year. And that's based off of scouting, pre-season scouting and just, after season and stuff like that. But the reason I'm [00:10:00] getting these good pictures, it's, I'm putting them in staging areas really tight to bedding.

So the particular buck I'm thinking is in there is he's gonna be located within probably a hundred yards of that camera, and I'm usually setting them up. Actually all of 'em right now are set up over a mock scrape in a staging area just outside that buck's bedding. And it's, the couple that I've checked so far are paying off number one buck that I was going after for the past three years.

He was the first buck on that one camera. So that, that really defines my season. Gives it clarity or some people, but it clears up my season a lot. I, you can be hyper focused on that deer, but still get everything else, yeah. Yeah. So tell me a little bit about how your past season went.

As happy as you are to be getting that deer on camera right now, you'd be a lot happier for him not to be on your camera right now and to be on your wall instead. Yeah. Already. So tell me how your season went. You still [00:11:00] tagged a couple bucks right? Yeah. We shot five deer last year.

Three bucks. I went out to North Dakota and I tagged out. I got a nice nice ve out there. Nice 10 and it was pretty neat. My two cousins were out there and they were hunting a different area, but they actually helped me with the recovery and skinning them out and stuff. We took 'em back to a tree and did that.

So that was really nice to be able to share that experience with them. After that I came home and I had a few days to really get prepped for the Wisconsin season, cuz we usually start a week later. And so I was able to get a lot of intel. The, my number one buck I was going after, which I did get pictures of this year, I bumped him opening night of the Wisconsin season.

I pushed in just a little bit too close to what I want, I, I worked my way around this grassy area and he was actually, I was getting up my tree and he was bedded probably about 20 yards behind me. I'd worked around that clump of brush and real quietly, [00:12:00] and I got about eight feet up the tree.

And of course my wind is blowing, my back trail right into that clump of brush. And he got up and took off. I did have two other encounters with that buck though in, in that same marsh. And my second encounter, which I was hunting, a mock scrape that I had put, and I was getting a lot of good intel of all the deer coming into that one.

I, it just, the season had just closed and I was getting down from my my sticks. I was on my first stick off my platform and I see a deer coming from the bedding right to that mock scrape. And I believed it was him at the time, but it was kind, it was dark, but I could just make out his figure.

Then I could hear his antlers thrashing against the tree. I had a camera on that tree, but I didn't go in there that night. Of course, I just got into Crick and I walked my way out, just cuz he was going out to the feed one direction. I'm heading back the other direction down to Crick and so I made my exit there, checked the camera couple weeks later and yeah, it was [00:13:00] him, he was, he was 40, 40 yards away from me, but it was just after light.

Then I did have another encounter with that buck too. October 16th or 18th, the last couple years, he ships to a different part of that marsh. Probably less than a half mile away. And I caught him coming back in the morning and he just worked down into me and threw that marsh and stood and looked in my direction for about three, four minutes and then just turned around and walked straight away, man.

So he knew he was, he knew the, the gig was up and he had, he'd known, he is hunting. There's so many people in this Marshall. There's people, there's gun hunting pressure, there's people walking around all the time, bird hunting. And then come after the season, I did, I got another, I was running a camera back and then I started getting pictures of him mid-December before I pulled my camera.

So I knew he had made it to that part. So I was tickled pink to see him, first on the list this year. But other than that, I've been off season consists of [00:14:00] me just speed scouting a ton of areas. And I'm not necessarily looking for deer. I'm just, I'm in there looking for big buck sign, wherever it may be.

And I'm just covering ground and throw, multiple counties here and, laying my pins down on my mapping app. And then once I get back, I kinda, Look it over and stuff and see how it all fits into play. But I came up, I usually, I can come up with enough areas to hunt to put a whole season together than the following year.

It just, I have more areas I can hunt in Wisconsin here than it, is possible. Sure. It's just, there's just so much to, to go after. But I'm trying to, I'm trying to target these rubs that are four and a half feet off the ground, and, trying to find those. And then I break those down into marshes, get a game plan together, and I might make one more trip in there to prep trees and do what I need to do, as far as trying to see what I, get everything prepped and put a plan in place.

And then you then come [00:15:00] summer, this time of season I'm gonna execute that plan. So it's just, I gotta lay down on a piece of paper what I wanna do, where each camera's gonna go. And I just go in there and execute it, and I just keep checking the boxes off and brings us up to this point, in the season.

Yeah, for sure. So I'm curious about that buck last year. I always wonder whether somebody is successful on a deer or not successful on a Deere. What did that buck in particular teach you last year? What did you learn from trying to hunt him?

I learned he does not like to go by many trees. That's the, oh, he does not like to go by many trees. He's in this marsh, he's in this lot of, just a lot of thick stuff. And he's a homebody. With all the pressure I put on him and other people put on him, he's just a homebody. He doesn't. It's neat to see how close you can get to these deer, these, cuz I, I've been after him for four years.

He [00:16:00] had a beautiful rack four years ago, so I'm thinking he's, six, seven years old, this deer. And it's neat to see that you can get so close to these deer so many times it's, and it's not just this year I had so many different encounters last year with other bucks that I was after and I didn't know it at the time, but you're so close to tagging out and you don't realize it until, you check your camera or something and you're there in the morning.

He was there at night. You're there, you know's, you're just so close that you just never, I never realized that before. You know how close you are to getting the deer. Yeah. With where you're putting these cameras at how did you see his daylight movement change throughout the year? Was he pretty consistent in daylight?

It was just tough to get in there on them or did he change some things up as far as, moving more at night? N he moved. So I kept track of every time. So I have the camera and a a mock scrape I had put up and it's in the staging area and there's a [00:17:00] lot of private around that area and they have the food plots.

So I knew the direction he wanted to move all the time, the, but what was I kept track of every time he went past that camera, which direction he was headed morning night. And I came up with a percentage that I thought, let's say I'm thinking he is moving more frequently at night versus morning.

I thought it would be a hard time to go in there early in the morning on that spot because he was in front of that scrape all different times of the night during the day. He was right there. And I would, I even have a three or four hour photo sequence where he beded there, at two.

Morning. So there's I wouldn't be able to get in there early enough, to beat him back in that area. So I hunted that one at night, mainly that deer, which I do like morning hunts, but I just thought it was too risky on that bunk. But yeah. And then, but there's other [00:18:00] deer I was after I was, I would do the same thing, you get pictures of your probability at night versus day, and I'd go in there and take a shot at them.

But it was close. There were so many times I was close that, I did get a, ended up getting a smaller 11 pointer towards the end of the bull season there right before Gun and kegged out on one and, another one in Muzz Loader. Had a good season otherwise, but yeah. Very nice.

Very nice. So in your scouting this fall and winter, I know, basically as soon as you can you're scouting again for the following season. Yep. Did you find and I know you're also pretty picky when it comes to the specific deer that you're chasing.

Did you find any new areas or new bucks that you're pretty excited about for this year? Yes. Let's see. I'm trying to figure it out. What are those GPS coordinates? Yeah. Hey, if I tag out, I'll send you some. Perfect. There's a. I found, so I found a 66 inch shed in one spot.

But it was a two year old shed never touched. I don't know if [00:19:00] that buck's still alive. The sign I saw in that area was from two years ago. I started seeing some really good buck sign, but it was two years old and I found his shed in there. I don't know if he's alive. So I'm I dropped a scrape and a camera right where I'm thinking he's, he beded at that time.

So that's gonna be a wild card. There's another spot that I found, and I'm really excited about that one. I don't know how big that buck is. I just know he is fully mature based off the sign I'm seeing when you start seeing four and a half, five foot rubs on six diameter trees, and in that marsh, that's usually a, I'm guessing it's a pretty nice deer.

Sure. But I have a camera back in there in between two of his core bedding areas where I found and I'm just, I'm waiting for that one to show up. Yeah. But it's exciting. There's a few spots that I think are gonna hold one heck of a deer this year. Nice. When you're out there doing your, obviously we're way past it right [00:20:00] now, what I would consider off-season scouting or that winter and spring scouting is that, when you say the bulk of your work is done as far as scouting goes, or, I know you're putting in the work in the summertime as well, but Yeah.

Most so if, yeah, most of my work is in the springtime. I like to be done with my primary scouting by, let's say April, may. End of May, let's say. I like to have my game plan in place where specifics on every single camera, I'm in a position, I'm. Everything should be in place by the end of May.

Okay. And then I can start executing my plan. No, I just I've, I used to be kinda haphazard and I would place a lot of cameras, on trails coming out of batting. I'd move over every two weeks. I was I didn't have a good plan in place and that, my results showed that.

And now it's there. It's just calming that you, if you have a plan, you write it on paper, [00:21:00] you know what you're gonna do. You can put together enough deer to chase and a fall to come up with a whole season to hunt. And, but most of my, that's the bulk of it, right now. I got all my cameras that I want in.

I got my m scrapes prepped. I'm gonna go back there probably third week in July. I'm gonna freshen 'em up if need be. Check the cameras and then I'm gonna let him marinade for a few weeks. And then come probably the third week in August, I'll head back in there and make decisions on what I wanna do for the rest of the season based off of what I'm seeing.

Cause I leave for North Dakota then the first week in September, and then I'm gonna be back for Wisconsin right away. So come to end of August, I'm gonna have a pretty darn good game plan of what I want to do or what deer I want to go after. And but yeah most of the scouting is done in the, that I do is in the spring springtime, wintertime.

I, I just like walking in the woods basically. I know I, I take a [00:22:00] lazy walk all the time. There's just tens of thousands of baker everywhere public. So I can pick a different piece, go on the snowshoes if the snow is deep, and just go for a walk, check things out. And I've always been that way, and that's my favorite thing to do, that I like doing that more than the hunt itself.

I like just going on walks in the woods and finding these new spots and figuring these deer out, putting a game plan together and, harvesting one of 'em is, just kinda like icing on a cake, it's just proof you're doing something correct, yeah. For this area, area hunt yeah, for sure.

So when it comes to, hitting summertime, obviously you know this isn't an episode on winter and spring scouting, but Yep. What you're finding there you're finding where's the rut sign from the previous year? That to me is the big one. Where's the betting sign, where do I think this buck was gonna be holed up?

When it comes to the summer and you've got all this data in your mind, what are some of the changes? Or so how are making sure that what you thought based on your, winter and spring [00:23:00] scouting is correct for your plan moving forward. Because I imagine if you just head into the summer and start executing on that plan, but it needed to be tweaked a little bit, you're not gonna be super super effective with your camera placement.

If it needs to be if the buckham after is in that area that I've scouted, I'm going to get a visual on him. I firmly believe he will be on camera. Okay? And if there's an area that I don't need to place a camera, but I can sculpt the road, I'm gonna do that. I'm not gonna intrude, but I can go drive around there three times a week, check the bean fields, the peas are coming off, they're gonna be planting a second crop of beans, green beans, and.

Every buck in the area is gonna be in that green bean field. It's just, I can take three trips around there every week, and I'm gonna see the deer that are in there. If I, if let's say there's a change storm comes through, that kind of thing, you can adjust your stand sites and that, but if that buck is in that [00:24:00] area, I'm, I firmly believe I'm gonna have a picture of him on that camera.

Yeah. Just I'm putting that camera, within a hundred yards or where I think that buck is bedded based off of his sign that he left and that, he's, they stage up pretty darn close to where they're betting before they head out at night. And if he's in there, he's gonna leave sign.

So I really firmly believe I'll get a picture of that buck. Yeah. So what are you. What are you doing? There's a, so you're hunting Wisconsin marsh country, right? And when people hear Wisconsin Marsh country with a little bit of mixed ag around, most likely they're thinking the hunting beast.

That's just, it's been all over the place talking about marsh bedding and everything else. And a lot of that stuff's really good. I found hunting similar terrain, but not quite like cattail swamps or cattail marshes that the deer where I hunt, it's just, there's a little bit of tweaking to it.

It's not the same hunting, the kind of marshes that I hunt that I would call a marsh. Yep. And what Dan Infa [00:25:00] or somebody else's hunting and, cattails. So what are some of the tweaks or maybe different ways that Deere are betting in and using some of the marshes where you hunt as opposed to what may be some of the common knowledge or the kind of commonly accepted facts?

I put those facts in quotations because I don't think it's always as simple as if you've got a marsh, this is what the Deere do every single time. I think it's more situational than that. I think it provides a good starting point for us. Yep. But from there, we need to dial it in. So what are you seeing where you are specifically that may be a little bit different than the commonly accepted truth about what Deere do in marshes?

I don't have a, there's not a lot of cattail marshes around here. It's a lot of red brush, it's a lot of grass, it's a lot of just it's just a lot of, there's so much edge. It's crazy. Yep. So it's r to look at a map and pinpoint something that you can, without getting in there, it's really hard.

Because everything's an edge out there. It's just crazy. [00:26:00] It's not like a cattail marsh with an edge and a point coming out and you can go hit that point, check it out, it's not that There's just red brush for miles. There's, then you'll have a little piece of hardwoods.

You might have this, and, it's just, it's nuts. So my, what I've learned is these marshes are they're it's like a little own world almost. And let's say you have five, 6,000 acre Marsha hunting and you can, there, different parts of that marsh. There's different groups of deer.

And if I find all those groups of deer where the staging area, for where they're bedding based off my prec scouting, I can probably cover a lot of that marsh, a few thousand acre marsh just with a few cameras. I can place 'em in. Known, bedding areas. And these bedding complexes are.

They're not necessarily like one bed. They're bedding complexes. They could be, 15, 20 acres and size are bigger.[00:27:00] But it's, they're really thick. They're just all sorts of features in them. And it'd be really hard to figure 'em out just by, map scouting or, you gotta get in there.

Yeah. You just gotta figure out where these pockets are out there, the group, the families, and it's really neat. I was hu a couple years ago, I was hunting a buck in one part of the marsh and I ended up, he was with a group of deer over here and I actually, I took him where, in another group he had, relocated to the second group.

Interesting. Knowing where groups of deer are, you can jump around and hunt those, you don't have to, it's not like a big canvas. You can. Just if you knew the, the layout of how they just use that marsh, hey guys, just want to take a quick minute to let you know that the How to Hunt Deer Podcast is brought to you by Tcam makers of the best point of view cameras on the market.

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Where I typically am. And so betting opportunities [00:29:00] are a lot more very, and what you just described, there's food everywhere inside of those marshes. They're not as dependent on, hey, they gotta get up out of the cattails and come up onto the high ground to get some food because literally all that red brush.

That's food. They're gonna, they're gonna munch on all of that. So they've got food right there in the bedding cover and have pretty much pretty much everything that they need. And yeah, like you said I'm seeing bedding complexes where Yeah, correct. There are some big beds out there, but I don't know if he's here today or in that little patch, 250 yards away because he just beds all over in this area.

Generally correct. And I may see him come back to his bed for the day, but he's not gonna necessarily use the one, root ball at the bottom of the hardwood that's growing next to the edge of the cattail swamp. Correct. And that's where you're gonna have to figure out his destination food source for that night.

You're gonna [00:30:00] you just, you need a dire, you just wanna know his direction. Yeah. Brought up next, because if you got maybe soybeans on some food, maybe on a farmer's field a half mile away, they might eventually be working their way out to that or corn this way. Or maybe the oaks are dropping.

So they're actually gonna go further into the marsh to hit the oaks first before they swing around. Cuz they're not on a time crunch. They can just, they're just out there meandering all night long. So it's yeah it's fun, playing that chess game with these deer and yeah. It's a good time.

Yeah. It's just, it's really really gotta understand the family groups, out there. And once you understand that you can hunt marshes more effectively, in my opinion. Yeah. Just knowing the groups and the areas, they, you can eliminate a lot of dead water out there. Yeah. I want to hear more about your you mentioned, finding these staging areas and you realized you can cover, a couple thousand acre marsh with just a handful of cameras whenever you've been able to identify these areas.

I have personally struggled with that. Now I can find a staging area that's 50 [00:31:00] yards off of a bean field. Like I get that, I understand that. I can also find the bedding and where I get myself in trouble is I'm not often very good at finding and figuring out the staging in between and I'll just blast up in there and get busted when I would've been a lot better off, finding, Hey, this is where they're all gonna, Sort of converge.

And I don't know if it's a reading sign issue, I don't know if it's a patient's issue, which it very well could be for me. I'm just like, nah, let's get super aggressive and get in there. But how are you finding these staging areas and what are some of the markers that I need to be looking for?

So you're gonna it all starts with finding the bedding and that staging area. That beddings gonna be a very thick complex, and that staging area is usually just before they leave that thick complex where they can stop. They're gonna, you're gonna find a lot of fresh gear poop cuz that's, they get up, they walk a little bit and then you'll see 'em [00:32:00] poop, usually but it's gonna be right on the edge where they can kinda look and see just mill around.

But they can see everything going on. In the direction going. That's what I've seen for the staging areas that I've found. You're gonna find you're probably gonna find a lot of rubs in that area, and it's gonna be thicker stuff, but there's gonna be rubs in there. You're gonna be able to see.

But you're gonna find a lot of sign, a lot of, if you look on a map, you're gonna see a lot of, you might find a lot of runways heading into a certain area, and then once you follow that in there, all the runways dissipate, but you can see where all the deer were milling around, you're looking for the different they're gonna be feeding on maybe, fiddleheads or if they're small maples that's eat those fresh maple leaves.

Or even maybe the raspberry bushes, or if they got some sort of bush out there, they're gonna be munching on them. Those are the three that I found really and some of these marshes around here. But it's, they're gonna be pretty darn tight to that Betty complex. And there [00:33:00] might be a couple different staging areas, depending on the time of year, if they're heading in this direction to eat versus this direction, so you gotta just keep your eye on, keep your eye on what's going on in that marsh at any given time.

Yeah, I think that's a really good point that you made there a second ago too, about deer aren't on a time crunch. When we, when we think about deer movement, we think in a bed to feed pattern, and it's almost like in our minds, like they get up and they walk in a straight line towards that bean field or, whatever it is, and they may walk, if there's a, an ag field to the east that they want to end up in, they want, they may get up and walk 400 yards west to an oak island, correct?

Yep. And nibble on acorns for three hours. Once it hits about eight, nine o'clock, they may get up and make a big circle out to the ag field, whereas that just does not fit our conception of a typical, bed to feed pattern as very linear, yeah. Kinda like you Turkey on you.

Yes. The turkeys, they make they make their [00:34:00] rounds and they'll wind up back there. But that's why I get a lot of pictures. You get a lot of pictures either, going past the camera toward the feed, and that's, and you won't get that buck coming past her. But I know the direction, I know whereabouts he went back into his bedding area or complex.

So it's, yeah, it's, they're just, it's like a whole little ecosystem out there. They don't have to come out if they don't want, and there's no time crunch on, it's fun to hunt that area. It's fun to hunt those areas. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. So are, I can't remember, are you a Turkey hunter?

No. Okay. I shot a Turkey a long time ago and I think it had a one inch beard. Okay. And probably be Jake shamed for that, but No, man. Go for it. We're, we are not anti shooting Jake's here. That's good because yeah I went out a couple times. I I have a seven year old boy and I'm, I'll go out in the spring once in a while just to get him out there, but Sure.

I'm not too big a Turkey hunter myself, man. I am and I [00:35:00] wasn't until I moved to Wisconsin. And then I've just gotten more and more into it over the years as it's gone on. And I'm finding it takes a while for me to get my head back into a whitetail frame of mind, this time of year now, because I'm just mourning the loss, just like you do.

And, once deer season's over, you have that sadness. Now that Turkey season's over, I've gotta, I gotta grieve losing Turkey season first before I can, really get excited about whitetails. But I almost get excited when deer hunting is over. Then I can start scouting again.

Yeah, man, I totally get that. I totally get that. And that's, so in this area where I'm at in Georgia right now I'm really looking forward to getting some boots on the ground this winter. I didn't get a chance to do that a lot this past winter. A lot of that was because I spent so much time in Wisconsin in November and then I knew I was gonna be traveling for Turkey season.

So I was trying to play things a little bit cool here at home because I had been traveling and then I also traveled for for the ATA show, for the Archery Trade Association. So there were several things that I was doing that I was [00:36:00] like, I better not push my luck and try to get out there to do a lot of scouting.

Cause this place is like an hour from me, 45 minutes. It's a drive, it's not Hey, let me go for a quick drive around the neighborhood and see what's out in the fields or something. It's a long drive. And so I didn't push my luck, but what I'm finding is I'm excited about hunting Wisconsin in November and I'm real excited about getting boots on the ground and scouting this place.

I'm gonna hunt it a little bit this year. Yeah. I'm real excited because one of the things that they have is on these WMAs, they have very small gun seasons. So there's a four day gun season in November that's kinda like the peak of the rut hunt. Yep. And then outside of that, it's bow only. When it's bow only, there aren't a lot of guys out there hunting.

Correct. Cause we have really long rifle seasons here in, in Georgia, so that means I've got all this time while the deer are still in peak rut, making all this sign, I can just be out there walking around with Yep. No obligation, no feeling like I have to climb a tree or anything like that.

I can just be out there having a good time. Pretty pumped, [00:37:00] pretty excited to get back to that scouting. That's, yeah, I love that. And With the marshes. I, or the marshes I hunt, I've been a lot of the smaller parcels around here are getting just pounded. And then you've Wisconsin before and I'm in central Wisconsin and we have a lot of, 80 acres, one twenties, we got a lot of those are just getting pounded and it's very, those used to be pretty decent back, a lot, years ago.

But I've been looking more to these larger properties that are harder to figure out. Yeah. Getting in there and learning them real well. Cuz put a little, if you can put a little equity into find, figuring out a particular marsh, like by you, you got some pretty big parcels. You have a lifetime hunting in there, oh, absolutely. You take some of those parcels you're gonna be hunting in. You're never gonna run on spots down the rest of your life. It's just No. Once you learn them and learn where the, do you know, the deer groups are, it's only gonna just [00:38:00] start steamrolling as far as the deer you're gonna be finding and stuff.

So yeah. If I took a 500 acre chunk of this area Yep. A year, and just focused on this 500, I could not po I don't have enough years left. Correct. To hunt. To hunt, to hunt that out. Literally I could, I've got a lifetime worth of hunting, right down the road. I just need to figure this place out.

Yep. But again I save all of my all of my vigor for Wisconsin because it just feels like that's where it's gonna pay off. And so yeah, that's where my, that's where my time off is going and that's where all my brownie points are getting spent and all that good stuff. But man, I want to step back to the staging area thing, because one of the places where you're putting these cameras where you're getting really good Yeah.

Intel, even during the summer is on those in those staging areas on mock scrapes. Correct. I feel like they're a couple of camps. There are people who hate mock scrapes because they never have any success over them, and they don't wanna use 'em or bother with them anymore. They have no faith in them.

There are [00:39:00] other folks who are just like, I only ever hang a camera around mock scrapes. I don't do anything else. And they've had tremendous success with it. And even within that crowd of the folks who have a lot of success with it, there are guys who take it super seriously about how they make the scrape.

And then there are other guys that are just like, yeah, kick the ground a little. And I pee in it and I walk off, and so I'm curious how you're making yours and how you're having so much su success with it. I it's nothing I figured out myself. The master of M scrapes is Troy Pottinger, I believe.

Oh, yeah. And I've only been doing M scrapes for a couple years now. Before that, it was more targeting runways, just really hitting, moving cameras a lot. And there I'm like, there has to be a better way to hunt these bigger areas where I can get the intel I need. And it's just genius where I can place that m scrape in that staging area and get all the intel I need.[00:40:00]

But as far as making 'em, there's a few different things, I try to make him the shape. I, I don't know if you've ever seen a deer make a mock scrape before or scrape before. He'll take his right leg. He scrapes it out, makes it almost a triangle shape sometimes. Left paw, right paw You gotta pay attention to the type of, the type of trees they're using in that area.

A lot of my areas, they're using smaller oak trees cuz that's, that's the primary tree they're using in a lot of these marsh or smaller oak trees. Yep. So pay attention to the type of tree they're using. You got the shape of the scrape. I think more than anything else, it's location that it has to be in the right location.

If you're off a hundred yards, you may not get a, you might get a sporadic picture or something. And if I see that on one of my cameras, where last year I had a scrape, I thought it was in a good area, the deer told me it was an okay area. I abandoned that and I relocated it, a couple hundred yards [00:41:00] where I think it needs to be now kind in a bedding, a horseshoe bedding complex.

And it's in the middle of that horseshoe where they, I can insert myself right in the middle of that horseshoe and the bedding complex is around it. And I got an entry exit route there. It's right in the middle. I believe that's the primary staging area in that area. And I'm excited to pull that.

I'll probably be pulling that cam in a couple weeks here just to see what's on and freshen it up. Nice placement. I think it just like buying a house, I think. Location. On a mock scrap. Yeah, you can put 'em on field edges. Just to get inventory by the food and stuff like that.

A lot of guys do that. But I've done that too and I've seen, it's almost all nighttime pictures on those. Yeah, that's, I get pictures throughout the day, middle of the night, throughout the day, middle of the day, all this. Right now I'm really close to that buck. He's with an id, a hundred yards probably that scrape right now.

Yeah. And that's what I think sets apart what I'm seeing from you and what I'm seeing from guys like Troy [00:42:00] Pottinger, who I had Troy on Yeah. Oh gosh, A couple weeks ago maybe a couple months ago at this point. It's been a, it's been a minute but you're right, he is the master of mock scrapes.

And but when I see somebody having success with him, I always wanna pick their brain. And so just to see that you're having some success with that. What was it? I'm curious with the camera. That told you, Hey, this is an okay spot for a mock scrape, so you're gonna move it. Were you just moving it more into the bedding complex and what you thought was the true staging area?

Or was there something specific that you're like I'm gonna pull it from this spot because this thing is making it not work? So I, I had one in a spot where there was really good buck betting that year, the prior year. And I had it on o on side, this oak ridge where the, I felt these gear were coming up and running that back of the ridge.

Coming up in the, and the prior year they were doing it pretty, based off the sign they were doing it pretty darn good. So I threw a scrape up, [00:43:00] mock scrape right there. So when they're exiting the thick bedding complex, they'd be right there. And I was getting pictures of the bucks in the area, but they were sporadic and.

They weren't what I wanted. I knew I wasn't close enough to those deer. So then I reevaluated that spot and I found a better, it turned out that bedding complex kind of dried up, actually that, later, that year after I went back in there and resc scouted it, it didn't have the sign I wanted.

Something changed. I don't know what changed. It looked the same and I didn't even hunt. I didn't even really intrude out there, but something changed out there. So I found more sign about 300, let's say three 400 yards, off in another direction, in another bedding complex right there. And that's where I dropped it this year.

But yeah, it's. You gotta, reevaluate 'em I guess from time to time. If they're not producing. [00:44:00] Yeah. Not, don't be afraid to move them. You gotta get 'em outta there if they're not producing. Yeah, I think that's that's one of those things, man gosh, it comes up in so many different scenarios.

Being, being afraid to move a camera when it's not panning out. Being afraid to intrude too many times when, or being afraid to be too intrusive when you're scouting this time of year or even as we get closer to the season, like so much fear of bumping that deer or something like that. Is it holds hunters back a lot of times when What's that?

Yeah, it holds 'em back big time. A lot of guys. Yeah. And I see that myself. So that's why I say it holds people back. Cause I feel it I feel it holding me back a lot of times and it's you know what? If you don't have the intel or if that camera's not working for you, or if this spot isn't what you need it to be like, Who cares if you bump him, go bump him and watch him run off, go I'm growing more and more convinced that it's really hard to kick a big buck out of an area.

Yeah. Oh gosh. Yeah. If you bump him, he ma he [00:45:00] runs, he won, gotcha. You're just, we're, I'm walking amongst wolves, bears, bobcats, coyotes. There's all these in these marshes out here and so are the deer, and they're not getting bumped out by, these intrusions by the wolves and the bears, and they're just, they live with them.

They, they shift around and they move or whatever. They might vacate area for a day or two and come back in, or, but yeah it's hard to chase these gear out. Look at a fa, you walk up on a fawn, what does it do? It just puts his head down to their ground at, and sit still.

And that's what you know now. You gotta a five, six year old deer you're going after. And these marshes, tall marsh grass. He knows if he gets up and runs, these wolves are gonna be on him. These guns are gonna be shooting at him. So what does he do? He just puts his head down, lets you walk right by.

Yeah. As long as he can, as long as he can hear you walking, he just lets you go. But if you stop, a lot of times he gets a little nervous. Yep. Yep. And that's I've shared this story before, but it's been interesting, hunting marsh country like, [00:46:00] like you do and like I do in southern Wisconsin.

It, I've gotten to watch a buck betted down about 45 yards from me. He was a small, two year old. But he betted down against a clump of brush and then some pheasant hunters came in to hunt this big field that he was in, or this marsh that he was in. As they zigzag back and forth, he would get up, do a half circle around that bush to get the bush back between him and the hunters and lay back down.

And then they would, come back the other direction and he would get up and go around the other side of the bush and lay back down. Yeah. And so all he was doing was just making sure that clump of brush was between him and the hunters. Eventually they got too close and he didn't like it.

You know what he did? He got up and he went into the middle of this bush. I don't know like where he went up inside of there, but it was, it was a big, maybe eight foot circle of just trash. Yeah. He got up and went inside of it and he never busted out of there. No. Never left. Yeah.

It's, I've seen that happen too. A couple years back we were I shot a buck in this marsh [00:47:00] and me and my mother-in-law were back there and the deer that we found it, it had dove in some brush and been walking around this a hundred yard area for, scouring for a couple, about an hour or two and.

There was a really nice buck beded right there the entire time, 30 feet away from us and mother-in-law. She, she actually breaking branches to get into thick stuff and that thing got up with in feet of her and took off and Oh my goodness. But we, we, my buck with my buck that I got was dead.

We just, it was just really hard to locate in this area. And, but that deer was there the whole time within yards of us listening to us talk, walk back and forth, and it never moved. Man, it's amazing. Yeah. They just, it's hard to come out of those areas sometimes. Yeah. I think guys would do themselves a favor if they would.

I honestly, I think it's harder to bump a buck out of an area on [00:48:00] pressured public ground than it is to bump 'em out of an area on Unpressured private ground. Yeah. It seems like those unpressured deer. Have a much bigger negative response when they do. Yep. When they do get bumped, and I think it's because they have options, right?

They think I can go over here and maybe I won't get bumped there. That buck on public, he knows this is about it. This is about my only spot where I'm not gonna be bothered yeah. By people or animal, other animals or whatnot. Yeah. So you're, you've got a good chunk of your summertime chores done.

You're sitting things, letting things sit and simmer right now and sitting back watching what's gonna happen. Any plans for any more scouting or are you are you just gonna be gearing up for your fall hunting trips? So right now, doing a lot of sh I've been shooting since the snow was on the ground.

I'm getting all my gear prepped. I'm really, I'm actually living out the hunts in my head right now. How I'm gonna do it going into these spots. I'm [00:49:00] just visualizing the hunts, the deer coming in. I'm just focused on how each area I plan to attack how that hunt's gonna play out.

I'm, a lot of visualization there. I will be doing some scouting on areas, wildcard areas I would call 'em. Okay. Just cause I down the woods. But the areas that I have, the cameras, the mock scrapes, they've been prec scouted, and I just need confirmation that buck is in there that I want to go after.

And of all my ca you know, I'm running 10 cameras right now, which that's probably all I could handle right now in the areas I'm going because it's, it takes a while to get back in here and do this stuff. I know some guys run just a ton of cameras, but. Based off those cameras, I'm probably gonna have five or six really nice bucks for the, this central Wisconsin, this is all sand country out here.

It's the worst soil you can possibly have for nutrients and stuff. But I'm gonna have five or six really dandy bucks to go after this year, and [00:50:00] that's a whole season, and then, and then you repeat it every year and just, it's just your plan, you execute.

And just every year you kinda do that. But back to the scouting I'll probably go back into these areas a little, just a touch heavier, probably end of August before I planned to hunt 'em. And I just want to double check that everything, as is the way it should. My tree's still standing that I plan to hunt or the area hasn't changed.

I don't wanna go back there, and wind damage or something like that, but yeah, as far as, it's gonna be a lot of driving around, checking fields a lot of prep for stands, gear, just all the details, just getting, getting ready. Yeah. Yeah. So what about North Dakota? Is that still on the Yeah, on the docket?

You bet. I can't go here without going out there there's just something about chasing velvets and I just love it. I love getting out there. In that first week of September, or end of August, I shot a, [00:51:00] I shot one in August out there one year which was awesome. Did you really? Yeah. So the one right behind me here, this is hit that one there.

That was an opening morning. Wow. Go to hunt. So that's a fun hunt for me because it's, I don't do any pres scouting out there. I don't do any cameras. I'm just going off of historical what I've noticed in the past out there. Yeah. I, the hunting pressures, it's up a little bit, but I don't mind hunting pressure.

I don't really care about that. It's a fun hunt because it's just boots on the ground. Just read the sign and hunt. And I've been going out there long enough where in these couple counties where I'm just gonna walk into a spot and I'm gonna check one spot in this whole area. And if the sign is there, I wanna see, I'm gonna, check it during the middle of the day and I'm gonna hunt it that night, or hunt in the morning.

And I'm just gonna keep repeating that, checking spots based off the sign, hunting them. Hunting, but if you find an early season scrape out [00:52:00] there that's opened up. Or maybe some licking branches nipped off. It's just subtle sign like that. Cause a lot of times they're not, they're gonna be hard horned yet.

That's, if I find an early season scrape out there, that batcher group is close. So I kind of keying on that out there too. Not m scraps, but real early season scrapes. That's a fun hunt. I like going out there and just kinda, just winging it. Yeah. Yeah. The I threatened to, to try to hit up North Dakota this year at some point, but it doesn't look like, doesn't look like it's gonna work out for me this year.

You threaten your the wife or just in general just threatening? No, we we are actually I'm still at the stage where I wanna make sure that I've got two full weeks in Wisconsin. And so if I, last year I went up for a long weekend. I did four days in Wisconsin in late September, early October.

And then I did the rut hunt. And that was just a little much on the travel, close together. Cause I had 15 days [00:53:00] there last year. Okay. So this year I'm gonna skip the September, october, hunt in Wisconsin and I'm just gonna go up there for two weeks first two weeks of November and see how that plays out and what kind of success I can have.

And if I go up and I'm able to take a good deer this year I'll probably, maybe next year whittle it down to one week and then so I can give myself a week somewhere else. Yeah. Because once I come back, last year plans fell through, but I'll also be hunting Georgia and Alabama.

Okay. And our hunting season in Alabama goes through February. So I've got quite a bit of, and that's actually so down where my family property is. The rut there. The peak rut is like February 1st through 10th. That's our, yep. That's prime time. And so I've been trying to figure out with our move and everything, how do I allocate my time so that I, keep the peace and keep, kids functional, keep them actually getting to school every day and all of that.

I joke with my wife all the time now that she's the one [00:54:00] with a real job and I just talk to people about deer hunting all day. What what should I be doing during the day? But anyway, at least you got someone to talk to about deer hunting. My my wife just, she won't listen to me oh man.

I walked, I was talking to myself half the time I will say I mine. Has been very gracious. Now there we get to points where it's like, all right, let's talk about that. You gotta be done, you gotta be done. Yeah. But then I just call people like you and I make you talk to me about it.

There you go. Yeah. Going on 21 years of marriage this year. So it's, yeah, it's, I think I won to battle finally. There used to be a lot of give and take, but I think I won to battle where she doesn't in, she gets aggravated that I hunt a lot sometimes and, but yeah. Yeah, it's fun. Win some, you lose some, right?

Yep. Man, thank you so much for coming on the show again. I think folks learned a lot. If they want to see maybe some of your updates, hopefully they're not looking too [00:55:00] close. Hopefully they're not from Wisconsin and start recognizing some of the spots. But if they wanna see updates from you, keep up with your hunting season this year, where can they find you?

I'm on Instagram Brian Dombrowski D o m b R O W S K I. That's I post a lot of stuff. I've been posting a lot of reference pictures, of the growth of the deer this year, so that's neat to see how fast they're growing throughout the season.

But that's primarily where they can reach me at. Awesome. I'll put a link to that in the show notes. Brian, thanks for coming on again. I appreciate it. Yeah, thank you buddy. Anytime. 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.

If you could leave us a five star review, I would very much appreciate that. While you're at it, you can follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at how to hunt deer. That's also the best way to get ahold of me. Suggest topics that you want to hear, guests you want to hear from, or questions that you'd like me to explore on the show.

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