Technical Hunting Series Attacking Mature Bucks

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Johnny Stewart discuss hunting tactics in multiple states and how he works his hunting strategies as the rut nears. Johnny explains where to start when breaking down a hunting property and how he approaches areas that he has history with. Johnny explains the ideal habitat conditions for deer that he focuses on. Johnny explains how to lay out his cameras to inventory deer and what his tactics are to check each one of these cameras.

Johnny explains the importance of laying off trail camera data and why you need to forget scrape season, and move to where deer want to be. Johnny describes early season tactics and data that shaped his future hunting. Johnny breaks down the seasonality and the importance of thinking through the specifics on where he does want to be this time of year. Jon explains what is going on with his own property and recent things he notices in a field that are meaningful to assessing deer social hierarchy and communication.    

Johnny explains the activity of deer this time of year and why deer are switching to become more daylight active. Johnny details where deer are and what is meaningful data and how to approach large mature bucks. John explains when he focuses on terrain and how security cover can be more meaningful. John explains when to hunt high or low in the terrain.   

Johnny discusses how to anticipate other public land hunters and how they have had to evolve their strategies around these newly found or experienced hunters on the landscape. Jon explains how the tactics talked about apply to both public and private landowners, and how he hunts public ground that many overlook and why access is critical. Johnny discusses why deer select certain areas and when to be more aggressive and when not to hunt.

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Social Links

Show Transcript

Johnny Stewart: [00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management, habitat improvement, and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer share their secrets to success.

And now, the founder of Whitetail Landscapes, your host, John Teeter.

Jon Teater: Hi, I'm John Tito, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back, everybody. I just got back from a nice night of hunting. I hunted yesterday with my son. He got cold and he said we're bailing. So I said I'm gonna go hunting the next night and I did and I had a great night. I passed up a really nice buck tonight and a bunch of does, lots of chasing, scraping, rubbing, all sorts of stuff going on around me.

And one of the most [00:01:00] important things to my success tonight was getting in and out of that stand. I didn't have anybody to bump deer off the little food plot. I was able to get in and out of that stand while deer were in the food plot tonight. So that just goes to show you, you can design a property and set it up where your intrusion, as close as I was to those deer within 40 yards, I was able to get in and out of a box blind.

And not everybody's hunting out of box blinds, but still that feed alone, I thought was a big deal. It was success to me. Seeing a nice buck was another addition to my checklist, I'm going through, I actually went and attacked a deer tonight. I plan on actually killing a big buck tonight in my...

It didn't happen, and sometimes those things don't work out. And I'm okay with that. I'm starting to be, a little different this year. These bucks are a little random for me. And usually it's really a mechanical, orchestrated thing on these properties that I'm working on. And my own personal property.

And I'm okay with kind of freestyling. I've been scouting during the day. I've been [00:02:00] going out into different properties that I have access to and rainstorms. I actually did a little scouting last night around 11 p. m. And I'm just trying to take the time that I have and just enjoy this season.

All right, I've got a returning guest on, Johnny Stewart. He was on last year. Steve Shirk and I interviewed him. He's going to be part of this technical hunting series Snidbit. So let me get Johnny on the line. Hey, Johnny, are you there? Yeah, joining here. All right. Good man. It's nice to have you back and happy to talk to you.

I think you just got back from a trip. Is that true?

Johnny Stewart: I was in Ohio. No, I was in P. A. Northern P. A. Couple days. Three days. Actually yeah, it was slow. Them deer up there in that area are big body deer. You get some warmer weather. I feel like they don't like moving as much. And it was, getting into scraping, but I think with a little bit of warmer humid weather and some rain come in and the Spartan four job was on in the predictions. It was just slow moving as far as deer [00:03:00] movement. It's going to pick up. I think it was just early early in the year for some really good movement.

Yeah, that's where I was. I'm going to head out of state here, maybe Ohio for a few days. I jump around. Hit a spot, then come back home for a couple of days and up to another spot and just work like after the season.

Jon Teater: Yeah, I like that style. You're spreading yourself thin, but not too thin.

I'm sure I got a question for you today. I just got two calls from clients on the way back home. One has got a tremendous book that he's after. I've been working with him. Over the past couple of years, and we both had midday movement of our shooter box. Another client sent the same message today.

Right around anywhere between 1225 and 150 midday movement. I'm not really sure what's going on, it could be, One of the factors I looked at is the moon's location. A lot of people don't pay attention to this, I do. Perigee, it's the closeness of the moon to the earth. [00:04:00] And usually two days before, which is today.

I usually get midday movement. I've been tracking this for the past several years. Coincidental? I don't know. But it was a high pressure day. It was a good weather day today. And I just got a lot of movement today. And I really always think, the high pressure system is a big factor in that.

Anything going on with you? Any data that you got today that was like, wow, something's going on locally? Just

Johnny Stewart: I sensed the same thing as you. We had some warm, wet weather when I was at NPA. That was thursday, friday, saturday, then the cooler tempers came and cleared up and I was able to see deer movement sunday during the day.

And I felt like today actually hunted in West Virginia this morning was about an hour from me and I just had a morning to hunt. It was just dead calm. Even going in and on the roads and I felt like I said, you know what, if I had all day to hunt, I bet there'd be some just some midday activity.

I know it's supposed to warm up again. I don't know, but we're getting, there might be some does coming in [00:05:00] heat. It seems like there's always something around Halloween. You know what I mean? If you're

Jon Teater: in the right area. Yeah, absolutely. So I want to just go down a road and then I want to switch back to this next seasonality of things.

You do a lot of run and gun hunting. I know you scout all the time. The planning piece of it, like for your execution side of this is, you were down and like you said, you're in a different state today, you're headed out to another state, like, how do you attack these properties or these preset properties?

Are you going in speed scouting? What's going on? Because I think a lot of people can't really wrap their head around like how you attack something. I'm always interested in your approach.

Johnny Stewart: Since I'm near Pittsburgh, I'm able to hit West Virginia fairly close within an hour or give or take Ohio's four to five P.

A. S. Three. It is jumping around, but having some of my summer scouting in and now that I'm 44 years A lot [00:06:00] of these areas I know about, but that doesn't say that I don't have the spot like every year. It's going to be money. I feel like everything changes, evolves year to year, whether different deer move in or where if there's a logging cut or is our mass crop, whether hunting pressures is so many variables, but I'll get like you.

A dozen cameras on average in these areas and just have 10 to 15 cameras soaking and maybe one area, maybe one buck where he's living, get, a handful, four or five cameras there, maybe four or five, maybe one or two. Sometimes it's just pockets of areas that I know are good.

And then, Just, you might not know the whole deers area, but the biggest thing is scouting. So in northern pa, I've been in that area for 30 years and this year they do some herbicide spraying in the areas they'd kill the unwanted beach and birch. But a couple years after that herbicide, they'll do a shelter, wood [00:07:00] cut.

They thin, thin out the canopy and take some harvest, some trees. That gets good. So I was actually on the spot like that early on. I feel like it's a summer time. Things go move fast. So I I was planning where I was hunting in this area with the herbicide spray and it was good early. I seen to, 1 51 60 deer on the shot.

I was close to them and then Then I went to Ohio and checked it. I had, cameras soaking there and it's some kind of rugged area and mainly if I don't got my odds in my favor, I might spend three days in a state and scout two days. Maybe get five, 10 hours in a tree because I asked myself, man, do I have a chance?

Is there a possibility that I can kill a deer? I'm not, I need to be in tight to these deer and no, I don't want to ever sit in a tree and hope for a deer. When I get up in the morning and it's I don't feel it. I started hoping a deer comes by. I won't [00:08:00] go. There's a certain.

percentage, like odds that I need in my favorite. And I think it's a feeling I get. But and I'll get to these pace spots. Like, when I get down Ohio, I'm gonna I'll get there in the afternoon. And, there's cameras that you can grab that you can safely Get to that. You're not going to bump deer, so there's maybe I don't, I think I got enough cameras that there are ones that I could ask myself, where's the deer?

And I can, if I get to an area, like in Ohio, I'm going to get there 3, 2, 3 o'clock. I said, I can grab this camera, and then the other ones, and then I'll make a plan for an evening hunt. Then the other ones I'll get, I'll go in the woods to about 10, 11 o'clock at night and grab my cameras or I'm potentially my wind could, daytime bump a deer or what have you and put pressure on them.

So that's about what I usually do. I'll get a few cameras and I can see what's there, take inventory and but I think there's a point where you like. So you got [00:09:00] to stop using your cameras and start hunting, I don't, I'm not, I don't want to see that wait for him to be on my camera.

He's here now. I want to know the area. I studied my Spartan four job religiously. I want to know the area that these deer and have a As well as they do, you know if I close my eyes, I want to visualize that map in my head and I keep going back to it. So I think knowing the area is a huge part of it.

Intimately knowing your area. Yeah, when I get to these areas, I can take it. So when I'm going to Ohio, I think there's a big deer in this 1 area and I just put cameras There maybe two weeks ago. I just feel like there's a big deer the way he is acting. He's got some big scrapes. And I come down by the parking lots.

He's rubbing down there at night, and he's using trails in and out that people walk on. And I catch him dropping down near that. The th this is just, I don't know, just all my life being in the woods, I, I said, man, this is a big deal. But, I'm just going to grab the cameras at night, take inventory, and I'm just going to start hunting,[00:10:00] use my woodsmanship and what I've known and, just start hunting the deer, I'll probably have some cameras still going through the year, but, some, when you got your cameras on scrapes right now, the last week or so, maybe in about four or five days, You might as well forget that, because they're not so if you're waiting for it, and it can happen fast, like scrape season is in.

And, when I was in PA, I was trying to find some scrapes sitting on them and then maybe in today, tomorrow, maybe the rest of the week, then it could be like, you got all your cameras on scrapes and it's it might be a free for all in the force, you just I didn't get rid of those cameras and be a good hunter and set up.

You still want to be close to some bedding. This week it's gonna be some warmer weather. But like I said, it will transition from my early season where I was in P. A. Man, I had three shooters. The first week of october, It was still in a summer type habitat. Then what happened there was there were some beach nuts that fell.

So early I was in PA and I headed to another state and my cameras still in the [00:11:00] summer and we had some warm weather. I was down low some springs near creeks, not way up on a mountain finding brows blackberry briars and stuff like that. And it I had gone to Ohio and I come back and I had eight cameras in where I seen two of them big bucks and there wasn't shit on them.

It just died right now and I even said they might be moving up on a flat, but weather's gonna be cooler. They don't, excuse me, need to be down low and there were some beach nuts falling and I could tell they were eating a softer. Not a much of a woody browsing and I there was a real brown like where I find having deer totally eating acorns and so they moved up on his beach and there's not much, there's not much to see.

Because the beach in my area is most sometimes they won't pollinate or not enough water and you'll have to husk. You won't have a lot of meat, a lot of seeds. So I think they are eating beach but traveling a lot and moving and I was afraid that's going to happen. They get up in that flat and different areas and just move a lot [00:12:00] and you're not seeing, you'll see the brown but it's just, it's tough.

I moved my cameras up there. I didn't, I barely hunted, I was focusing on early season, early October and they were still summertime patterns, hot weather and then we got some cooler weather and on top and then I was up there scouting moving cameras to scrapes but probably the next time I get up there, I'll have some, it might be a week.

10 days, eight days before, probably a week before I get back up there. And then, I'll maybe take inventory was on him scrapes, but then I got to start hunting and just knowing where the does are. And in historical like information that I've learned where deer like to hang out and stuff like that.

And just start going after the deer. Getting near some does and maybe a pinch point, but definitely cover. I think these big mature deer and these public lands are not crazy out of their mind. They still want to stick to that cover and use the wind and stuff like that. So that's what I'm.

But it [00:13:00] is, it changes fast. From like early season, maybe what they're feeding on out of the summer and then scrapes and then run into, and you just got to keep, you got to be like ready for everything. I think

Jon Teater: when you're out there. Yeah, no, a lot of good information in that dialogue. You just gave us, so this thing of change and how quickly things change, I'm paying attention tonight, so I'll just paint the picture. So on my property tonight, there were five different bucks that were running in different locations. So one of the other bucks, it's a pretty good buck, came up and I was watching him, work a bunch of does in front of another subordinate deer. While the subordinate deer was making, a scrape on a scrape post that I have out there.

The buck swung back around the bigger buck and came in and just started plowing. Like he, he was eating. So He stayed off the, the Brassica radish blend I have. There's a little wheat mixed in there, a little crimson clover, red clover, excuse me. And then he popped over and he went to the white, red, and [00:14:00] wheat, hammering the wheat, hammering, absolutely hammering the wheat.

And it was interesting watching him just mow mow, mow. And then, he ate for about 25 minutes, turned back around, and sat there, and he's about to bed down. And all of a sudden two does came up and he went right after him and turn right back around and went back down and mowed mowed. I actually think he was kicking him off the field.

I think he wanted that field to himself. And I thought that was an interesting just saga. Another thing I was paying attention to was, how the deer interface with the licking branches, what they use they have a tendency to use their. They're face a lot more than we pay attention to a lot of times they use their nose.

A lot of people focus on, the glands around their forehead and near their eyes, but they use their nose a lot. There's a lot of communication just around mucal, the mucus piece of their face that they apply to, to the different licking branches, et cetera. Small tidbit, but like that type of communication on your landscape is big right now.

Like the social piece of it. Like you just [00:15:00] mentioned, like the next three, four or five days of scrape activity, it should just jump. And all of a sudden it falls off the face of the earth and we're into, real hunting time and, your cameras, they may be in great locations, high trigger speeds, everything like that, but you're not going to pick the whole story up out of these cameras.

So now it's time to just rock and roll and get out there. I think this piece of it's a critical piece because if you're a small landowner or somebody doesn't have a lot of spots. You've got to be a little more cautious than maybe Johnny, you just running and gunning, so to speak. What would you suggest or maybe you just say, go for it.

If you've got Intel, go for it. How would you have somebody approach like these next 5, 6, days? Because we're about to go through some real quick changes in just a matter of minutes here. Yeah.

Johnny Stewart: So like when I'm gonna, I'm wondering, so I'm going to go to Ohio, we've got some warmer temperatures and that's a reason why I'm going down there.

Cause he's Northern bucks. Okay. Or they don't [00:16:00] move. So I had a choice of going to PA or I'm going down there. It's going to be warmer. I feel like they're more apt to these mountain bucks down there. Their bodies are small. I think are made for the heat a little more Southern Ohio, but yeah, I was asking myself the same question on what's my move when I get there.

Like I said, I'm gonna get some cameras in the evening. I know one spot that has a really big old white oak. I'm anxious that maybe I can get in and catch. I know those have been feeding on it. I'm hoping like when I checked my camera, maybe they'll have some daytime buck activity. So food is still, Not out of the, realm possibilities to catch these bucks yet.

Especially if those are feeding in that area. So yeah, I got this big white Oak. I'm checking. And then I think this other spot I have, or I think a big old box hanging out he's kinda in thickets, so I'm wondering if he can, and I got some cameras there and everyone's I'll check at night.

I'm wondering if I can. It's going to be hot, but I'm [00:17:00] wondering if I can get in between maybe these thickets, what I know, not only does he bet in there, there's also does in there. So I'm wondering if, I can catch him in between them betting areas, maybe just keep an eye on a doe because it is it's as long as you feel safe going from point A to point B, whether you don't, it's not I don't know.

I'm not talking like a mile walk to the next dough bedding area, but I see he's setting himself up to where he has everything he needs. He got the covering of the does right. There's basically a mountain ridge and then down the north side and the south side, there's thick stuff and there's a little low gap in that mountain.

And I'm wondering if maybe I can catch him, through the, he can be antsy himself and I'm thinking that he's in this thicket. And he's just waiting, he's jonesing himself to get after these does. I'm thinking maybe I can get in the saddle, catch him crossing.

I don't know that, but I really can't get in a stick it. But if it's an area that I think he's safe traveling to maybe set up, [00:18:00] maybe it'll be a one or two o'clock. I'll catch him crossing that ridge or morning or something like that. But so I'm thinking along those lines food and also maybe like a transition area.

Where do you think Thank you. He can get to another go bed and then I got a couple scrapes of his. And I'm wondering if it's, I'm thinking I could probably get on those and they're just outside of the one thicket on a, he'll catch the wind or the thermals in the evening and work out into the folks from this thicket, maybe I can get on the, I don't have all the answers, if I did, every time I go out, I'd shoot a buck, but this was going on,

Jon Teater: yeah. Yeah, it's

Johnny Stewart: on my house in my head. We're in and I always have enough spots. So like the one white oaks in one area and there's big bucks. This is another area. And then I also have a couple straggler areas, another hollow, but I just don't feel like I'm sure of, it's tougher to get into and Then I got another spot.

I got a bunch of cameras that it's another long hike. And so like from where my place, I have a camp and [00:19:00] I hunt some public. Some of this public 40, 50 minutes away, and I'm finding, with the time I have and I have a good, I think it's a big deer and I'm gonna have odds of getting after this deer and the one white oak.

Whatever you feel like you got your best chance of seeing a deer, but it are those questions I ask myself. What is he, where is he at? In this time frame of year, maybe a younger deer, you can catch him crossing doe bedding. But does he do it? I don't know. Hopefully with some of these cameras have some daytime activity.

That would be great, man. That'd be great. And I know he hasn't been bothered in this area. It has hunting pressure, but I don't think guys really moved in much, get into November. I think there'll be guys there. So that's another reason I'm getting down there. So I don't. So that's what's going on in my head.

And if it was an area that I didn't feel confident about, if you're sitting, if you're just going to hunt and hope to see a deer, I usually don't hunt. I want to know that I have a [00:20:00] good chance to some degree of shooting a deer. Or seeing a deer, something along those lines and might be just the amount of diverse, if it's a place you were in the past that you've seen bucks and so like the one oak area where I'm thinking is, but I don't know if he's coming out at thick and I don't know if you don't know the deers, if it's a big mature deer, you don't know he's there in daytime feeding chances are.

And like we set up last week in P. A. And it was early. So he was betting areas here and we were about 400 yards away and just across the road out of his betting area. And we were maybe 200 yards in the woods. And I got a camera guy goes with me and I said to my So he ain't, the scrapes were there to rub there and Harry said, I said, he's not coming.

It looks good. He's in bedding. Sorry. I said, we're four to 600 yards from where he beds. It's it's October. I think it was like 15th or something. I said, this is a, [00:21:00] 150 engineer and he's five. I said, yeah. So I If these deer get up at this time of year and walk 600 yards there wouldn't be many big bucks around.

I said, this is after, this is after dark. He's, it's that time, when we left the early season, the browse and summertime, they were, I caught them deer hour before dark, like they might do in the summer. But then there's that transition to before, they're not dumb, the hunters are coming in the woods and for him, he's not that anxious to go 600 yards.

You know what I mean? He's gonna stick to his safe areas. But like I said, I'm anxious to get down Ohio and see if this oaks, if this buck is daylight, and that's a big thing. If he's daylight now, then I know the next three days I'm hunting. I'm like, I got a real good chance of seeing them because it's only going to get better,

Jon Teater: yeah. So I got a couple of questions for you. This whole concept of you talked a little bit. I've talked a little bit about this on the podcast with a few other guests that we've had of this, there's a guttural piece of this meaning like you, you walk in and you feel it like your spidey senses go off.

[00:22:00] There's another piece of it is being sensible about things. So it sounds like it's a combination of that for you, plus the intel, when you're looking at an area, we've got some warmer temperatures coming up, I'm a big fan of North slopes this time of year, particularly because we have, we've had definitely a climate shift and we're seeing warmer temperatures, certainly in October, November, October, November, December.

So we're You know, what are you doing, this time of year what are you looking at terrain feature wise, when you're going to set up in a location like this, his train paint playing a part in the equation of how you attack this deer that we were just talking about.

Johnny Stewart: I don't think terrain is huge.

I know some of the one thick it's on a North side, it's going to be cooler. But it's not too far over the ridge to the other side. It feels pretty safe traveling there. I think it's maybe 100 some feet up to the ridge and down the other side. It's not too crazy. I could see him doing that. And I'm even thinking that he might, it's a narrow ridge.

He might be bedded on this ridge in a morning it's way up high.[00:23:00] Cooler, and I look at the morning temperature, the coolest time of the day that I even thought about getting on this ridge. I'll get there two hours before light if I have to, if I feel like he's going to stage up there and lay and let the thermals come up and, he can take his choice of where he wants to go from there.

I feel like that's a good safe spot. I'll just wait until daylight and hopefully catch him. So yeah, terrain is always a factor. The north slope. Okay. But also the wind in these areas and thermals is a major thing like he's going to utilize everything that he's going to utilize all these things to help him survive, especially right now on a fridge.

He has scrape season, but we're talking about, a bit mature gear. So that's a, another factor you got to deal with. In Ohio, it's pretty rugged,

Jon Teater: Let's go. Let's go to Ohio because it's you know, it's you're talking about rugged terrain I'm guessing it's mountainous wilderness kind of [00:24:00] areas.

I think a lot of people are experiencing that there's not really like food plots or Agricultural areas etc. We're talking a lot of public property here. I think walking into those spots We've got a lot of Intel people are focused on sign and walk sign in the woods But I don't know if sign other than catching a big track or having camera data is maybe your predominant focus Like you're looking at these areas for habitat features potentially that drive, you know your interest We just talked about the cooling factor north slopes kind of thermal catchment, right the heating cooling factor You know as heat rises, it'll be preference.

It would be putting deer in certain locations likely They want the advantage but like when you're looking at like those particular areas. Can you think offhand, in certain instances, what areas create this draw for you? Cause I, I'm almost certain you have an idea when you go to Ohio, like what are the, what's the beyond the terrain?

What's, what is the habitat like specifically that, that might make a keen [00:25:00] interest to some of these deer what is it like? Woodwise, et cetera.

Johnny Stewart: So there are some, that's, stuff for them to bet in. You know what I mean? And like you said, the North slopes are cooler. Acorns are, the food, their main and it's a pretty decent year for acorns.

And I haven't been in the cut to see if it and that's one thing I'm curious about if he can stage in there all till dark, I'm assuming there's a few in there but I haven't been in there to check and he said something like in these areas he set up. He knows the hunting. He knows the, he, the gig.

He knows what's going on. I see how he, so my parking spot, where I think he's laying is 200 yards from a parking spot. And he even, I think the trail that goes up in the forest. Guys walking. I think at night he comes down. I think I could see him and I actually put a trail camera on the trail where everybody walks up and I told her, I said, he's probably come down here.

I said, what do you mean everybody walks [00:26:00] here? I said, this, we're dealing with a different animal. He knows that's all daytime. He's going to come down here, sniff around. So he's been parked here. He got a big rub right there. But guys are going to park and go up there and I think your access, like you were saying early is, That's key.

And then the older I get, I'm starting to learn or utilize places that are closer to parking spots that have, your food and your cover and terrain. And I always felt like the deer, I say, need something for them to get old. It's either terrain cover. Or something just inaccessible, hard to get to, might be a combination of the most, the covers right there. It's near a parking lot and up on the mountains vast. And so I'm always finding myself in these situations close to parking areas and the one the white oak I was talking about. It's along the main drag a main road and it's only 200 yards from the road. There's a parking [00:27:00] spot right there.

And actually, when I threw that camera out. I had a camera on a scrape, maybe 100 yards and we were down there in early october and I grabbed the camera off the scrape. Check that white oak and it was falling. So I put it there, but it was weird. I had Harry drive down the road. I said, just slow down. I'm going to open the door and get out and don't even shut the door till you're about 200 yards up the road.

He like laughs. I was like, I don't need a deer knowing that anything out of the ordinary, this car stopped. They may not. Okay, we're going to do the same thing here when we get down there, I said, you're gonna slow down about 20. I'm just gonna roll out. He thought I was serious. No, I said, but yeah, how you're accessing these areas and where people are parking.

So that white oak, I'm going to, I said, you're just going to slow down. I'm going to step out of the car and you just keep cruising. And then once I get up there and check and then if we hunt, we're going to go down the road, 300 yards and parking. And that, I think every time [00:28:00] actually three spots in Ohio are like that.

Okay. I'm starting to, find, I have the area that is a 45 minute walk, to have more areas. If you have, you're talking about an hour and a half just to get there and back to the, when you have three days. So I do have cameras in them areas. It's an option, but man, I'm finding stuff 200 yards, 300 yards from the road.

So I can have way more. I was talking about the other day and So get yourself a lot of spots and chances are they're going to be near roads if you have a lot of them, if you're trying to access and check all these cameras and see where your best bet is, because they're out there.

These spots that are close all my spots this year, West Virginia is a long hike, so I do have those areas, but if it's a bust, you spend all this time and there's not much time in life or this time of year when it's hunting these deer, you need to be efficient with your time to have a lot of intel on different [00:29:00] bucks.

You got to be able to get to these cameras and check them, so I think parking access, like you said earlier is king. How are you getting into these spots? Whether it's like an area that you're hunting a flute plot or The place that I'm hunting and where does it do the people park?

Where would, you gotta be super mindful of that. And I'm not too worried about these people coming in that are going to be hunting this area because he's, I think he's probably a five, six, seven year old deer and he's probably lived there for the last two years doing the same thing.

I didn't hunt there. I wasn't down in that area last year or the year before. But I think where, basically where is danger coming from? The most likely dangers coming from so he's gonna set up on that and then you might be like the saddle I was talking about across the ridge. There's no, I don't think anybody's been up there, maybe in the gun season, it's sad or and then you gotta be mindful when you get up on that saddle.

If he's down in him tickets, thermals are gonna fall. You gotta think about all this stuff. You want to know where he's at or have a certain idea of where this animal is and then you can [00:30:00] You know, adjust accordingly and I call it probing get in just probe a little bit.

We were down there early october and I found actually we went up in them oaks, found a scrape and we're going to try to hunt it the one evening. But the thermals were going into that thick stuff. And it wasn't going straight along the North Slope into the thick stuff. It was angling down because of the thermals.

I was dropping my milkweed. And actually, we hiked up a little drain. Maybe three feet deep. We hiked up that North Slope, and I found the scrapes at midday. When the thermals and the wind was good. But I knew it was going to come down that hollow into that thicket and we actually hiked up that drain and through, I told her, I said, we're going to put that stand up and then we're going to lay in this drain to a last half hour daylight because you sit in that little drain.

It's a little, maybe three feet deep. You drop your milkweed. It just dies, so we did get up in a tree and it wasn't, it was going not straight into the cut, but on a 45 to the contour lines down. And [00:31:00] I said, no, I don't feel good. I said, yeah. This is how he's accessing these oaks.

He's coming down. And so we left, I got down, we actually went down the drain and laid in a drain, below, just for the last, and I even thought maybe he might be nocturnal. But the next day I went over and that thick stuff, I just went up from the parking, up to hollow and I went up in.

And the wind was going all crazy. I said, I thought I can get maybe just barely in the thick stuff catching moving around, but it was blowing every which way, which a lot of me, no matter what, about the wind and thermals, there's too many variables for you to know exactly what the wind is going to do or the thermals every time, the general guideline you have follow, there's no, you can't predict, a wind gust, like when I see this article about this tightrope walker long back in the twenties, he used to walk no net, When you go across these stadiums and the wind gusts came in there, he went down, splat on the ground.

So he knew wind well and he didn't make it. He couldn't predict that. But yeah I went up in that thicket and I said, we're getting out of here. [00:32:00] And when I got, we left, we dropped down pretty low to the creek and he had there was a little logging bench. I found a big scrape and I said, this is him.

He's dropping, and if he walked out to the moats if he went from that scrape another 100 yards toward the moats, he would have smelled us. I said, see, he said, how do you know? I said, This is how he's smelling his food source, and there's almost, what it was, there was a little log I mentioned, and it was like a cliff down to the creek, 50 yards.

And I said, look, he can see the creek, and what it was, the creek went up the hollow, but it made a bend into the thicket, it was weird, it was straight up the hollow, then it bent into that north slope, and it came back out and went up the hollow. He dropped all the way down to that creek, and he could see down to the creek.

And the trail that went up the hollow, was like 800 yards away because it paralleled the left parallel the right side of the, it paralleled the creek and but then creek bend into the hillside and yeah, the north slope and the trail on the left side of the creek and I said, this [00:33:00] ain't no dummy.

I said, he dropped out of the creek and this is where all of the, I said, you feel that cool air right there? He said, yeah, I said, he's smelling that whole hillside, all them oaks, and this ain't his first rodeo, yeah. So yeah, it's but I guess it's just years in the woods and learning animals and running trail cameras that you start seeing you get pieces of the puzzle.

Then you start seeing a picture. You're always trying to see what the picture is. But you could start to, these mature deer start acting the same way and do it like I seen as rubbed down by the parking spot. And then I seen a scrape right now. I said, this ain't no rookie here. This is usually the furthest downwind or they'll use younger deer in different situations to check an area, yeah.

But that's what I like. Just trying to probe around. I was talking. So I found that scrape. We knew there was scraping them oaks on that north side, but, it's tough to hunt there. There was that scrape just in the bottom of that thicket. And I'm sure he made that and headed up in them oaks.

And then we went on a point at a mountain. Walked right up the point and found a scrape [00:34:00] on a point. And then we got on that ridge with them saddles and there was beds up there. He's, I said, man, he's laying up, three or four beds up on that ridge line. And I said, he's probably using a saddle crossing down into these thick, as there were some oaks up there.

So we run cameras there. So I just, don't, there, there's. He don't, this deer probably lives on that mountain, maybe the next mountain hitting him. So there's more, yeah, you find that oaks and I know he's in that north slope and that thick and he's going out there. That's a good spot. But there's more pieces, more to his life than just that.

You know what I mean? Not saying if you can get a good set up there, you just stay there and kill him. But I'd like to know other places where I can find it. chink in his armor there, so we went up that point and we stayed, out on a point. It was fairly open and the wind was right.

We scouted and we stayed away from them cuts, on each side of the mountain, the north, the south side dropped a couple of cameras going up on that ridge and looking for human activity all the time. Cameras [00:35:00] because usually if I find something like that, I just throw it out the door. I don't because I don't think everybody is so mindful of, What they are doing, it's more than I got to tell you, I'm going to go hunting and I hope to see a big buck.

But there were these animals, this is their life you're talking about. You know what I mean? You don't, they don't, they take that serious. You know what I mean? Yeah,

Jon Teater: absolutely. I think it's interesting because I like the way that you framed it. You're like, thinking about, generally what deer want to do and what big bucks want to do and how big bucks, may use another deer to its advantage.

How it. Sits in an area, you know how it allows people to approach certain areas and just observes, like there's factors in this whole piece of it where you kinda understand the behavioral piece of it. It's another piece trying to figure out how to hunt those deer and yeah, the camera data gives you some of the story.

And then in order for you to be successful, you've gotta go, you gotta jump in and in this instance, I think. You probably don't have a lot [00:36:00] of concerns because you know that it's a swing or miss kind of opportunity and I like I that and the more that I've been hunting over the past several years, the more I like being less strategic and more just going for it.

Swinging and I'm at the point now where I agree with everything that you're talking about is just collecting and analyzing too much information. But being smart about it and doing different than everybody else. Like the reason why nobody follows your rules is because nobody wants to think about it in the way that you're thinking about.

It's very tactical, and I think being tactical in these situations is critical. For example, today, oh, my goodness, I wanted to hump. I had to get my daughter on the bus this morning, right? I had stuff to do, and I'm thinking of myself, midday today, I think I could kill, but I knew if I intruded and it's funny because I was playing this whole story in my mind.

I said, you know what, I'm going to go into this spot this afternoon. He's going to come up in this location. And again, I got that midday movement on that shooter and [00:37:00] it was just, I'm going into the spot. And thank goodness I had a cell camera in there because all of a sudden I saw a doe, 50 yards in front of my stand.

I'm like, she just got up off her bed. She came over and was mowing, and that right there would have created a domino effect for me. So like in some of these examples, like having the intel enough to make these decisions, that just happened to be a cellular camera. And again, I don't think that's cheating.

That's just an advantage that I had at that particular time. I don't always check my phone. I just go for it. I go guttural and I would have been in the game with that particular buck for sure, but I might have created this other chaos, of just dominoes. And the piece that I like about this is, you've got all these Intel bits scattered thereabouts, and if you're going to go for something, you know that there's a risk reward opportunity, and it's weighing that.

And I think a lot of people struggle, figuring out what's the reward here versus the risk, and I would be willing to bet In your situation, because of the opportunities that you have in other areas, you're willing to swing for the, the the [00:38:00] farthest point in the atmosphere as compared to somebody else.

And I think that makes the difference with you. And if you don't feel good about something, like your spidey senses don't go off. You ain't going for it. It ain't, it's not going to happen for you. And like you said, if it, if you don't feel it cutting the edge there, you break away. And I think those are a couple of little takeaways I had from you, Johnny, and that, and the dialogue there.

Johnny Stewart: Yeah, that's for, that's right spot on. And that's why I have so many areas. So in PA. They were eating at herbicide cut. I showed back up and they started logging. Then I found a ladder stand by one camera. Yeah, and it's just you got to be prepared for is I swing for defensive there and it's been the one called the one big one.

thermals were good wind and just for no reason. I just turned it into his nose. So then, man, did I screw that up? Is he gonna still be here? But when I went back, I started logging. It's all good. And, walking that [00:39:00] tightrope as far as man risk reward. The thing I don't like is when they smell you, especially we approach from the way nobody approaches or roads.

NPA was a pie and we come in from the creek bottom. It's hard to get all the way down to the creek. And, when the roads are only 200 yards up the hill, but just made too much noise with that herbicide that just like walking on tooth, like he would have heard me a mile away. But, but the thing that does suck is when they smell you down in that area. That's really a bad thing. That's I don't see people down. I don't smell people down here in a wind shift. And I'm like, did we ruin this? There's so much. There's hundreds of thousands of acres, so that kind of sucks.

But with that. Risk reward. I know there's a lot of times when I'm hiking to my stand. Sometimes I go in before light. Sometimes I want to see what's there. And it's I made it here, because you are making chances. It's yeah, I made it. I didn't spook nothing or I don't know, three times this year.

[00:40:00] So on that, that one there in PA he smelled us. And I said, he, I said, we'll catch him tomorrow morning coming into this bed. And we got, I said, we can't, I'm not coming in the dark. I can't, I don't know, we just sat on the ground. But it was that herbicide spray two years ago, and it was like all this beach and birch that was, they come in and cut, two to four inch diameter trees or just mullar.

And there we just stepped off like a trail into the woods and he took off down a mountain. man, but you are, I'm like you're, you're playing with fire, because it can burn you, and then place in Ohio. We was early october. I said it was rainy. It was a 40 minute walk up this creek and I said, there's a blowdown up here.

Rainy, rainy and windy. I said We're going to get set up and have blowdown. I think he might lay in there. There's oaks around and nobody comes up that creek bottom or road. Same situation. There's roads on top, but we took, it's tough getting in there. And then it was the last 100 yards. I turned and he had the camera.[00:41:00]

We're going to do is go another 100 yards. We'll be in a blowdown. We took about three steps, 100 yards away. You hear that deep snort. I was like, man, but we're right on them. We're no, I know where they're at and then getting set up on them. Then, you take chances with the wind.

We're scent free. I made sure air. I said, I'm smelling you. He thinks it's funny. I said, if you stink, we're not going hunting, because I got my lucky hat on it. I said, no, never, no, let me smell that thing. But it don't smell like nothing. I said, this thing been on your head. You got a big mop of a hairdo.

I said, You're not wearing that, I said. I'm gonna give him a scent scent lock mask, and I said, we wash out and dry because, it's hard to early, when it's hot, but you get in this time of year, chances are, you're up there hunting in a tree, chances are the wind swirls around, it might blow to where deer is, there's a chance he won't smell you if you're trying to Conceal your, especially when it gets colder.

Conceal, your clothes are scent free, you got a mask on, gloves and there's a chance [00:42:00] it could not burn you, because you don't know what. So then again, with all these things being said there are, you have to do everything just right. So there are, I'm not able to hunt every day, like into the rut or hunt more, but I'm not able to do this.

Every day to do everything just right. It takes a toll on you. It's like a balance scale. I used to talk. It's this is up and this is down. It's you don't, you just can't, it's like intensity and volume. It don't go hand in hand. If you're intent on doing this, you're not going to be able to do this.

Be sent free. Get up before you end up, so that's why I do a three or four day hunt, especially this time of year. Okay. That's why sometimes there's mornings when I was in P. A. I think I had two evenings. I said, I'm not burning myself out. We're not gonna go sit in a tree and hope to see a deer.

We slept in a breakfast, used to recharge your batteries and sometimes a mental game to where it's like mentally in the back of your head, maybe it's October. It's cool morning. I should be out there, but it when you're in it and doing it and spooking deer, you [00:43:00] can't get in there.

You're not exactly sure. You know they're not moving. You're not going to, I'm not going to go hunt because I'll just burn myself out. It is, I'm putting a lot of time in the woods and that's why I always say scout more hunt less because that's what I end up doing. That's where I have luck.

And there's times where I worked a lot. Yeah. I know the one year I had 40 hours in a tree and I shot two big bucks and missed another one on public land, and it was like, just scout and look for the fresh sign and get a tree, you can do that.

Jon Teater: Yeah, it's funny you mentioned all these things because there's a, there's an insane this that goes into some people's routines and I'm one of those folks.

Whether people agree with this or not, I'll just give you my routine is it's. Like my car is only used right now for hunting purposes. Okay.

Johnny Stewart: I got it. Yeah. I just bought a bagel for hunting.

Jon Teater: So it's all cleaned out. I have a plastic sheets. I just bought more of them.

I ozone the plastic sheets like. So like I'm exhausted, like it's one hunt and I'm already tired, [00:44:00] right? So I'm exhausted and, I'm going through this whole like hygiene routine and, just the elements of it. And then prepping getting home tonight, getting my stuff all set.

Yeah, I think I'm going to hunt tomorrow morning. And I'm just, I'm playing out my spots and my data right now. And just my boot routine. I'm going to shower again tonight. Like my skin gets super dry. Like I'm just mentally, even after, like you said, three or four days, I'm exhausted because I'm sitting there a hundred percent.

And I do sometimes goof around my phone and talk to my buddies a little bit just to take, just take the edge off. And I was in it to kill tonight. I thought tonight was, probably a 25 percent chance of me killing tonight. And like I said, like I'm after like one particular deer, like you're talking and, it doesn't always work out that way.

And again, it's a question of how aggressive do you want to get? And, is it a day where, you know, I'll give you this. This is interesting today. So when that buck came up this evening, he came across, there was a bucket and a bunch of willows that [00:45:00] I have his fencing and one buck is rubbing its antlers and the big buck comes along, scares him away.

And, there's a little bit the way I had to design this setup is that the wind, even I'm hunting these deer in a direct south wind, which you would think I'd get it winded, but I have structure in there, and that structure curtails the wind, so it travels a certain way, and then, depending on temperature, and temperature drop there's that cold, Push that pulls that kind of warmer air into it in a lower region.

And I'm playing all these factors out while I'm in this hunting location, I'm like diagnosing everything that's going on. And I knew before I got into the stand, what the wind would be like, how it would move in that area. And generally speaking, like I had a pretty good understanding that on the hairy edge of this buck walked along that edge, it would be dicey.

And it got dicey for a second. And I just sat. I didn't breathe, or at least I breathe as little as possible. I'm not eating. I'm not drinking. I'm not doing really [00:46:00] anything. I'm just meditating and just like slowing everything down. And, when that buck came in the initial, I was ready to go.

Once those antler tips came up, I'm ready. And once I knew I wasn't going to shoot them, I'm just not tense, but I'm just, I need to calm myself down. I think people need to get into a state of mind where. You've got that confidence, Johnny, like you were talking about, but you're like walking into a scenario, having a storyline together for what, what could eventually happen, but also being nimble and saying, I got to get out of here.

I got to get down. Because if there was an instance tonight where. I thought my mature buck was going to come from a different area and it wasn't going to work out in my favor. I would not even consider going after that because that's a one deal. He wins me game over. I got one shot at that particular deer, so I think it's

Johnny Stewart: better.

Yeah. When, and I hate when I tell people, I said, You scouting, making a guy do some consulting, and the guy asked me, you worried, he said, you worried about putting your scent on the [00:47:00] ground? Where, I said, no. I said, so I'm going to stay out in the woods and not know what's going on a piece of public, that everybody else is going to walk through.

I said, these animals, they don't walk through the woods, smelling 24 7. If there's a, get to a it's a Rolodex. If they're going to keen into maybe humans for some reason, if he goes down to a parking lot or see where people are parking, he's going to turn on, flip to a human. And he's going to start looking, but it's like you, you can get your car and drive down the road tomorrow and get killed.

But are you going to go to work? Yeah, you're going to drive to work. You got to live your life. And these deer, I am watch what my clothes touch. When you're in the woods, your head, I try to have a hat on. There's times I'm not, my clothes aren't sent free, but sometimes it's just, I don't, I need, I'd rather get in and get to Intel and know they live with humans.

They live with coyotes. They live with bear, whatever it may be, mountain lions, wherever these deer live. them. This is they're ready for you. They smell coyote [00:48:00] in the woods. They can't get away from it. You know what I mean? Their lips are I'd rather walk and learn. But yeah, when it is time to hunt them.

And then you get into a different zone like this is serious stuff. Like you said, you were cause this you got the chance of harvesting the steer. You got to do all these things, right? It's like going into battle, like you just get totally at your, I'm a different person, like mentally on point, like everything you just got it.

It's yeah, pretty serious. You know what I mean? You have to be that way. Cause that's how they are with their life. And you gotta be. That way, when you're hunting them, you can't just not saying in a rut, you can just go, other stories about guys just going up woods and killing a deer because that's the only time they are not who they really are is during the rut and you can, but other than that, they're on point, you need to be the same,

Jon Teater: way.

Yeah, excellent. Yeah, I agree with you. So I think this is good. I think people coming up are getting ready for the rut. And we talked a little bit about the [00:49:00] next, days ahead of us. And then we gave into the idea that it's the risk versus reward. It's having a game plan. It's trying to execute.

I think the last piece of it is, competence not giving up recognizing you've got to have multiple options out there. And if you don't, you need to be a little more cautious. And don't throw caution to the wind. Just be conscientious of the things that you need to do. And also recognize that, your success happens from the experiences that you have.

And so those same mistakes that you make this year. If you repeat them again, next year, like I wanted to see if I could sneak in this area that I had intel on where I knew deer were bedded extremely close, to one of my stands, probably not the smartest idea. So if you're gonna, attempt something like that, you're gonna experience some form of failure.

And so it's being conscious, like rational about this, rather than emotional sometime or just driven to do something, you've got to be smart about it too, because like you said, it's a battle and if [00:50:00] you're in the war, it's those that are smarter and strategic that typically, when that event and so I would suggest that, it's one of those things that, that yeah.

That you've got to be very mindful of as you approach this next phase of it and be consider the wind don't think that these deer aren't paying attention to the wind you know that thermal rise in the morning or that your cold shift in the evening, you know Pay attention to those things and lastly be where deer want to be It's as simple as it is be where they want to be and hunt them where they want to be And it's trying to look at Factors like Johnny you were talking about like north slopes and cooler situations or warmer situations You know picking and choosing, what location works for their particular dear It's not just a slope or say it could be the vegetation that's in there Do you are you in a hemlock area or maybe it's an area with upland with white pines, etc You know will provide some thermal or cooling benefit as well, so You've got to think about, those locations specifically and pick and choose your access into those areas and don't booker them up too bad and like you said, [00:51:00] the spidey senses do matter and if you don't feel right about something, you get out of there and I don't know, that's what I took away.

Anything else from you, John, that you want to add?

Johnny Stewart: No, that's that, that sounds good. And like, when you get into an area when you're hunting scrapes, rubs, food, be really mindful of the wind because chances are that's where he's going to come from. It's definitely if you're just hunting and hoping and you're in an area with sun and you don't, you're not mindful of where the deer are.

I was asking where could they be? And if they could be there, then you're probably in a wrong spot. So try to, there's no where. or not know where they are. You might know where they are. Or I asked myself Is he there? Could he be here? When I'm in a tree, could he be in that location?

No, I don't think so. You, because of the wind or what have you, if you know the area enough. And then just accordingly, just study your maps, man. That's the boots on the ground and studying. It was Spartan Forge, the LIDAR, man. I went over all my stuff now [00:52:00] with the LIDAR.

And you're just seeing little drains and actual x ray of the earth and log inventions help you see things that, we're just average top of maps and that. So the tools are out there. The knowledge is out there and you got to have a good work ethic. You're going to work hard for these mature deer.

Yeah, that's it.

Jon Teater: I was happy to hear about how you abused your cameraman. And I think that's, I think that's another takeaway that I had. It's funny. Good, man. I appreciate the time. I'm looking forward to seeing how you do this hot season and good luck to anybody who's out there getting prepped, we're getting into prime time.

This is the most. adventurous, period of time for us. We wait all year for these next few weeks. And I would suggest that everybody who's going out there, be safe, enjoy yourself and do things like johnny said today, go after it. All right, man. Appreciate you taking the time with me and you again soon.[00:53:00]

Awesome. Thanks, John. All right, brother. See you, man. Bye.

Johnny Stewart: Maximize Your Hunt is a production of Whitetail Landscapes. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetaillandscapes. com.