Technical Hunting Series Building Bulletproof Setups

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Skip Sligh (Iowa Whitetail) discuss technical hunting strategies around building better hunting locations. Skip explains the reality of Iowa whitetails, deer hunting, and explains what permits him to have success on his own farm and those that hunt with him. Skip details the specifics on locations he hunts and how to improve a property for better bulletproof setups.

Skip discusses entry and exit, and when it is too risky to hunt certain areas. Skip explains the basics, but essentials, to getting into a hunting area. Skip explains how he has made consistent access points that relate to his daily chores and other work on the farm. Skip discusses the features he creates or natural topographies to his hunting location that he uses during his hunts.

Skip explains his specific farm and how neighboring pressure can disrupt plans to hunt a specific deer. Jon explains his tactics on a particular deer and how he decides to go after a mature buck. Skip details how he plans on hunting a mature buck in mid-October and why he shifts his odds with multiple setups. Skip explains how to shrink a deer’s core range and make landscape improvements to ensure hunting becomes easier.

Skip and Jon discuss introducing children to hunting, teaching success in different ways to our kids, and giving youth the chance to make their own way in the woods. Skip explains why children do not fully appreciate large antlered deer and his goals with his own son. Skip ends with when he is hunting and how he plans on killing a 7.5-year-old mature buck.

Jon and Skip both talk about success stories this season so far and what we can do as hunters to continue to perpetuate success in our communities.  

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Show Transcript

[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 Peter.

Hi, I'm John Tito, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back, everybody. Today I am working on client drawings. It's fun. I love this part of my, my intro into my hunting season. I am trying to finish up my clients so I can start up with my next slew of clients here starting pretty soon.

The other piece of it is I want everyone to pay attention to, this time of year, this is a time of year where it's a reflection period. The [00:01:00] prior podcast we did, we talked about mindset. And that killer mindset and how to diagnose, being more in tune with your environment. I think a lot of people miss out on that because we're so focused on what others are doing or, maybe apps or anything that's information that's creating this information overload, be guttural when you attack things.

And I think that was the point of the other discussions that we had and go after things in a meaningful way. We're going to stick to this technical hunting series. We're going to continue. I've got a brand new guest on, which I hope to have him on in later podcasts. Cause we'll get into more habitat stuff.

He'll be a good addition to the slew of other managers that we have on. Hey, skip, are you on the line? I'm here. All right, skip. I want you to introduce yourself. I want you to just briefly talk about what area you in. I want to talk about your farm just a little bit. And then I want to get into your setups and approach this time of year.

So why don't you give some background on you? Sure. So I've probably hunted maybe a dozen States. I'm guessing I grew up in Michigan, a part of [00:02:00] Michigan where there was very few deer, tons of hunters. I really didn't see two and a half year old deer. I didn't know about them being shot. They were infrequent.

So once in a while, two and a half year olds would get shot where I grew up in Michigan, and then I started venturing out of state and went to just every state I could and all over the Midwest. And now I live in Iowa. I've been in Iowa for over 20 years. And I primarily hunt. My own farms in Iowa.

I've got little farms, big farms. And then I do take some out of state adventures on occasion to Kansas. And I go to Kansas just because it's actually fairly close. I'm in southern Iowa. And I do love just seeing different things and going out to Kansas. I probably will go to other states as I get older, when my kids get out of school.

But right now I'm in a really good situation in Iowa. I like to try and talk to people who, maybe aren't in the best situation to, and try and understand where they're coming from or [00:03:00] in situations where there's just tons of hunters, tons of pressure. It's hard to get deer to age class and try and still think through that lens.

So anything I say I'm still keeping those people in mind because I was that guy. And a lot of the farms that hunt now I'll go, I've got little 40 acre farms with. 10 acres of timber on him that I'm trying to thread a needle on getting a mature buck in there. And it's still a challenge to this day that, I'm still doing it.

So I hopefully I can bring the perspective of understanding everything from the worst case situation for a hunter to the absolute best. And we'll go anywhere you want to go from there. Yeah, and I don't, and I hope people understand this is I'm in central New York which is not the hotbed and in the sense that, our populations are, dwindled, the number of deer are not significant, so to speak, age class is a little different from other parts of the world.

In any capacity, deer are what deer are, and they behave differently in certain areas, but they have some of the same cadence, et cetera. I don't degrade that at all. In fact, last night I was talking to Perry Batten [00:04:00] who's on this podcast. He's one of the farm managers for Drury and he shot another monster.

And I'm a, I'm appreciative of the perspective. I think you guys have different issues. You have populations in some areas that are so high. It's difficult to manage the deer, the carrying capacities. Probably maxed out, you've got other issues to contend with.

There's a lot of eyes and ears and mouths to feed and some instances that is the case in other areas. Even in Iowa that isn't the case. The populations aren't, yeah. So extreme, so Iowa's a Iowa's a hot word that automatically puts a picture in somebody's eyes or in their head.

Iowa's amazing. Every farm's good. Every farm's got giants on it. Everybody that hunts here is going to shoot pigs. It is not the case. And for every one guy you talk to, that's Hey, I do have a huge farm. I hunt with the juries and I shot a giant. There's also probably nine other guys out of ten that have big farms that are like, Hey man, I'm actually frustrated with my big farm.

I'm a wealthy guy or I have tons of acres and [00:05:00] it's easy to get jealous of these people. I understand that and they're so rare but just understand even the guys with the giant farms that have unlimited resources, like probably anybody would like to have, which many of us won't.

But, even those guys have tons of challenges. And for everyone that is shooting a giant, there's a lot that like, Hey man, I ate a tag. I didn't get the giant this year. I felt short of my expectations. So just keep that in perspective. When you really think of Iowa or even big landowners and.

Fantasizing over that someday. It's just, it's still difficult. It is still incredibly difficult, even on quote unquote, the best farms. Yeah. And that's good to know. And it's important for us to understand that contextually. But I want to get into you. I think you're interesting.

Obviously I've seen you on different channels, et cetera. People know who you are, but. The reality of it is you're managing this farm that you own, and you're managing it to the nth degree, which creates a situation where you can control a lot of aspects of it. And you're smart about what you're doing and very strategic.[00:06:00]

Let's get into maybe your setups right now. Owning a farm for some period of time, you're always making adjustments now that nothing is always perfect and you're always evolving in your approach and strategy. And I know that's your mindset. So on your particular property, your main property, what are you doing today?

That's going to get you to the end game, like the execution piece of it. You've got some setups that you've probably critiqued a little bit, or, fine tune. For the kill, and I want to hear a little bit about those, and I want to know how you think it's going to play out. So I have just infinite varieties of types of setups and I would just say no setup is 100 perfect, i've got setups where I can almost Get to the point where i'm like You could technically like I'll talk to my buddies or show my buddies out here and I let other people hunt here to like good friends that I trust and family members and I let as many people hunt as I possibly can just because I want to give back and I want to give other [00:07:00] people opportunities to and but.

I still I have them hunt them very carefully and strategically too. But I'll just say Hey, this spot, 90 percent of the time you could hunt it every day with the right wind, but still, you're still have a little bit of, there's some problems with, you might blow your scent this way.

You might bust a few deer that are bedding here. You might cause this issue. So I don't have any scans that I would, or setups really that I'd call 100 percent bulletproof. And if you did. That's really not hunting almost to me. That's just me. So I, I like a little bit of risk, but clearly I'm trying to minimize that risk.

And, I'm just doing everything in my odds to just reduce every single problem you can have with a stand because when people don't shoot mature bucks and they're like, I am on a great farm and there's mature deer here, I can't get them. I talk to a lot of guys like that. And usually you just...

You just start looking at their setups and [00:08:00] you just find all the holes with them. I'm just eliminating all the holes with my setups. And then, when I eliminate all the holes, like entrances, exits, which are, people talk about this stuff all the time, but it's, and it's sometimes hard to explain this, without actually showing somebody the exact spot.

But a lot of the spots I have, the entrances and exits are darn near perfect. I try and get them perfect. And there is spots in my farm where I'm like, I'm a pretty darn good hunter. I know how to get in. I know how to get in close range, but there's some spots in my farm where I'm like, I'm just not going to go there.

It's too risky. I just blow too much up. So I'll leave kind of areas, I'll leave sanctuaries and then my good spots I'll start down this road and you tell me where to go from there. My really good spots. I time it I wait till conditions are good.

I wait till the barometers up. I wait till the temperature is coming down [00:09:00] and I usually am finding spots now. Like October. That I'm not pushing too deep into the farm. I'm more on the outskirts in October. I'll go a little deeper in November. But in the evenings, I know I'm not walking past bedding.

And I slip around stuff. I'm always on downsides of hills when I enter. Nothing sees me coming. I've got a lot of native grasses that I'll come through where they're actually not generally bedded. So my entrances... Are pretty much bulletproof, not a hundred percent, but pretty much. So let's talk about that.

Let's talk about how to build a bulletproof setup in your mind. And let's get, let's go through either building it or one that's naturally created, and I want you to explain, some of the aspects of that, as you transition to the hunting location, and I want you to think right now, a hunting location that you're going to hunt over this next week.

Where you have this setup, you're going after something in that particular area, and you think you're going to have success. And explain why the deer are using that area as well. I want to know [00:10:00] specifically with you. Yeah, I'd say every setup I'm going to hunt this weekend, and this weekend it gets cold and I'm actually going to go out for, I've only been out twice this season because I've had so much farm work and so much other responsibilities going on, and it's been hot.

But, every one of my spots I'm pretty much amused using an established path that I've used all summer for chores and stuff like, like a fence line and neighbors have cattle here and there's not much, there's really not much deer activity in this. And I use all those types of spots to enter my farm stuff.

We're like, dear, do not bed there. And then a lot of my spots are like it's just the crest of the cover. It's where the cover just starts getting going and then all, trails or pinch points or intersections or whatever come together. And I can slip into a spot and maybe, let's just say I only went through maybe a hundred yards worth of and there's, that's [00:11:00] risky deer territory. And then the majority of it is in the, is still in front of me. So I'm setting up on the edges now. And I probably take a, I would say my approaches are less aggressive in that sense where I'm just more on the edges and I'm waiting for the deer to come out to me.

And then when you look at my setups, I try and have three, four or five things in every setup and they're all different, clearly sometimes it's food plots. Sometimes it's not, but. It might be, I've got a white pine rub posts there, it's just one more little thing with a scrape branch and then I've got.

Scrape area all around my stand. It could be food plots. It could be a big transition area between, a big, huge gap and like where a fence stops and there's a gap where the timber ends and they run the scrape line and it's stuff like that I'll be hunting this weekend and then I clearly am blowing my wind generally in my face.

So it [00:12:00] goes in the direction that I walked in and a lot of people will be like do you want to have wind in their favor? And to some extent, I agree with that to some extent I don't. But. Generally, every time I walk in, the wind's pretty much blowing in my face or kitty corner, and I pretty much will have the wind I clearly hunt the wind, and I know some guys don't, and they try and sit in sealed box blind, and I'm not saying that's wrong but I'm still hunting the wind to the nth degree and then when I get in, I'm in quiet, I'm in usually a pretty high tree stand, I like hunting high, And then I've got multiple things going, whether it's scrape stuff scrape locations, rub posts, plots, funnels, multiple trails that intersect.

There's usually a few different examples in every stand that I have that it's okay, there's multiple things going in my advantage here. When you were talking earlier, before the podcast started, you were saying you were going through some camera data. And [00:13:00] you're probably trying to put the pieces together for your future plan, I'm assuming.

Can you walk through, one of these areas? Do you build like a cadence of understanding as it relates to time and place? For example, when these farms are really well managed and the herd is at least consistently present. You tend to get annual or a very consistent movement in some capacity.

Do you find that on your property or maybe you don't, and maybe you're trying to diagnose, what they're using and why, and maybe it could be, the local, you, you mentioned earlier, and the inclusion of cattle, et cetera, or maybe crop rotations, et cetera.

Have you found impacts or things that affect your ability to be successful this time of year? Yeah. If I get into areas. And this will probably relate to a lot of people, but, if I'm in an area where I'm like, it's delicate right now, I'm getting in because these, a lot of these bucks are not moving very far, I'm hunting deer that are maybe moving, let's just call it 300 yards in a night or something.

They're not running a half mile.[00:14:00] So if it's a situation like the neighbors are pounding, it makes it just so much harder, cause they're just ruining it. Like it could be like, That buck could have been on the exact same pattern for three months straight or something crazy. I'm making this up but, and then the neighbors become maniacs and they just start pounding it and it's Hey, that buck was on the same pattern for three months straight.

Now, we just blew it up. It's ruined. So it can go haywire really quick for reasons like that. And that's maybe the frustrating part of hunting where it's I did everything perfect. I'm fighting. Nature, weather, all this stuff. And now I got a fire. I got to fight the biggest monkey wrench, which is people doing stupid stuff and overpressure and deer.

And, you might do it perfect, but if your neighbor's in there, like a maniac. And hunting with the wrong wind and blowing that deer out of there, that's just a monkey wrench that, there's no right answer for how to deal with that one. I'll have guys that are like conditions aren't great, but I know my neighbor's gonna [00:15:00] blow it up.

Should I just try it? And it's, there's no good answer to that. It's just, it's a difficult situation. Yeah. But yeah, there, there's some spots I'm gonna go. tonight that I just have to be very careful not to blow them up. And basically my biggest goal, like I think I will go out tonight.

And my biggest goal is don't bump that bed, that buck before I get to my spot, because he's very close to where I'm hunting. So that's a tough one. Yeah, no, that's tough. And I'll be personal here and explain, I want to talk about my hunt and I'm going to hunt tonight and I have a deer that low probability intercept at this point and the reason I'm going after it is Pressure systems risen to a point where it was so static a week ago, where we've had enough rise where I think I'm on to something, but the wind pattern hasn't really helped me out here.

It's not windy enough. I really struggle to make certain decisions, but I'm anxious enough to go after this deer that I'm going to push the limits [00:16:00] because I have a backup deer to go after. And I'm willing to push the limits in some capacity, knowing that the conditions are not optimal because I have a plan B.

I don't always like to do that. But, getting data and like collecting data and then sitting there and analyzing. In these locations in this example, a deer has a tendency to utilize this wind condition in this particular area at certain times and place based on all these other factors, humidity levels.

That's a big factor in certain areas that I'm hunting, change in temperature and conditions, weather conditions over a And I'm talking about four to five days looking at each increment of time and looking at the weather conditions that impact their interest in utilization. It's cooled down, which actually makes these deer spell out.

It doesn't concentrate them as much. So I'm getting a lot of random movement. just considering that the temperature range. And in my situation, I'm always playing odds and probability. And I'm like, okay, tonight's a 20 percent chance, which I would normally never do this, but this deer has been so random [00:17:00] and it's movement.

I've got one bit of data on him. That's similar to a day like today that I would go after this deer. Here's the problem. When there's no wind or there's a condition like that, there's no wind, we still have leaf cover. Any movement or any cadence movement of me in the stand has to be very like. I have to be very precise because if I make any noise whatsoever getting in and out of that spot, I'm in trouble, period.

And then beyond that, because of its location where I think this deer is bedding, to draw on a deer like that, it's just, it's time and place and knowing what you can get away with and it's always difficult for me to make the right decision. I'm not a, I'm not a by chance hunter.

And Walking into these situations that we have these very manicured, laid out properties, I'm wondering, how do you push the limits coming up? Because eventually it gets a little erratic, right? We get to the later part of October, movement seems to be You know, irregular in some capacity, they're present.

They're moving at a more frequent rate and they may be in areas more frequently, it's a [00:18:00] little more unpredictable. So what is your mindset right now versus maybe in a week or two from now, does it change for you? A hundred percent. So right now there's really only about there's a couple of bucks I would like to shoot right now.

But. In November, those same two bucks, let's just say there's two and I'm hoping some more move in and I know they will, cause we have so much corn up yet. Later on, it's going to get crazy. Like I'm going to have to just spread out and just try different setups that are totally random because it just becomes a crapshoot on where these bucks will be.

But right now I have two bucks I'd hunt and really all I know. Is I know they have very small core areas and I know they could be, I have about three tree stands for each of them, but I'm like, I know they're going to be in one of these three spots. Now, if I wanted to be super aggressive and I use every little bit of technology I could, I'd probably load it up with like cell cams or [00:19:00] something for me.

I have cameras enough, but. I don't maybe go as banana with the cameras as other people and I'm not saying that's right or wrong I just want to know. All right, this deer's here. Okay, maybe I'll catch him. He is moving during daylight and he's in this general area. Just a confirmation is all I need.

And the one deer I'm going to hunt for this weekend is a seven year old. He's not dumb. Very smart deer very big, and he's going to be in one of three spots. And I probably will just roll the dice and say, you know what? The wind's right for this. One of the three spots, I think I can slip in there.

And even if I have something like. If I had something like wind wasn't, there was no wind and I was real worried about movement or something like that, I might maybe hunt a spot a little further back from where he's at and then I like hunting a little bit [00:20:00] higher where I feel like I can, still getting good cover, but I didn't just get away with a little more movement.

And I'm pretty darn quiet with my setup. So that part doesn't bug me as much. But yeah, I'd say, two right now I would want to have multiple setups for one buck if you're hunting like one buck and you're very strategic and targeted. And then, if you want to go after me and you say the pressure's up and the temperature's down, if it's a west wind, you almost get forced into one stand. And if it's a north wind, maybe that stand doesn't work. And then I will just, by definition, I'll try that stand that works with the north wind or the west wind. And that kind of more defines it, to be honest. And then I'm just hoping. Did I gamble?

And every time it is a gamble, I think it's yeah, the conditions are really good right now. His little, my, I have a lot of bucks that live in 30, 40 acres and they really don't really leave it much. Hardly at all. I have some that have bigger ranges but a lot like that, a lot of it's due to [00:21:00] habitat and a lot of other things, but.

So if I say, okay, he's probably one of these three locations, I wouldn't necessarily say that's a third chance I get a shot at him because I could bump them. I could just things don't work out. I do something stupid. But yeah, I'd say, 20 percent chance. I don't want to just be like, that's my only buck to hunt either.

So I think part of this is you, this is the part that this is the 80, 20 rule of hunters. There's 20 percent of the guys that are willing to be like, listen, I'm just going to knock on more doors. I'm going to get more farms permission, maybe not even the best farms, but I'm just going to put so many different feelers out there and lines in the water, on different farms and run cameras and try these farms that you're like, Hey, my target buck, the one I wanted to shoot, he's, he got killed by the neighbors.

I'm done. Some people be like, I'm done. And it's in my opinion, the guys that are going to be consistently successful be like, yeah, I, the one I was after he's gone or [00:22:00] whatever. It didn't work out. I've also got five other farms. I can hunt and they don't need to be the best farms in the world.

And I might have five farms that I get permission on. And only one of the five has a mature buck on it, but you still got to do it. And you still got in for one buck. If I said, Hey, I got three, four setups for that one buck. Hopefully I have five different bucks. I'm after I, or I could get after, which is just a lot of work.

And then for each one of those bucks, I've got three or four setups for every one of those bucks and every one of my setups, none of them are just like, just thrown out there without thought. They're all strategic and they're all, I would say my thought on. Each one of those bucks, if they're five, I was after is literally, I would want one, one set up that, all with good entrances and exits, some of them for morning, some of them for evening, but all really dialed in setups.

I'm not just throwing three [00:23:00] setups just to throw three setups. They're all thought out strategic. And then every one of those things, I'm doing everything I can put into my favor. If you want to add, if you think mock scrapes work, and putting grapevines out there and Oak branches for them to lick on or whatever, any little things you can do, or, Hey, I I whatever, I could manipulate something, just anything you can put in your favor to get those bucks at closer range.

And just set up so you're, all my setups are like 20 yard shots. I know I'm going to get probably a 20 yard shot. And if I need to move trees around or something or manipulate something or, get on this side of a. A creek bank where they really funnel. I just know I've got all the odds in my favor to get them at 20 yards.

And all of my setups are like that. Skip, I want to bring into a topic that I wasn't going to talk about. I want to go down this road. It's carving out territory. And you brought up a topic where you're shrinking or you're intending to build. of your property or multiple [00:24:00] phases of this throughout the property.

We're creating this deer suck, an area where deer want to congregate and be in. And like you talked about earlier, and I think a lot of people have some awareness of this is, some of these older deer get familiar with these areas and they get more comfortable. They have a tendency to feel that safety and security in particular area.

How do you build that on your property? What are the things that you're doing on your property that may be a little different from the rest of the people? And it could be habitat wise, it could be, like in this case, you talked about a sanctuary, or having multiple sanctuaries, and maybe they're, connected through some corridor that you believe that you can hunt, etc.

But let's get into maybe improving your property to the way where you can make this time of year more meaningful. Because I think a lot of people are sitting there in the tree stand, they're saying, Okay, I had this plan and whatever actionable plan they had. They didn't maybe think about the development of their particular property and diagnosing, maybe an area that's very productive.

And how did you make an area that was maybe non productive into a productive state where the deer are using at a higher frequency [00:25:00] maybe something along those lines. Cause I think people are interested in your topics. Yeah. So don't for a second, take like. This is what I, what I do is what everybody else should do.

Some of the stuff I do is insane for lack of a better term. It's crazy. I'm intense on habitat. That's my job. That's, this is what I do. I don't have an employer. I'm farming, I'm working on my farm. So I have resources and time that other people can't do.

I'm right at my farm every day. So it's a very intense level. And when I say I'm, the buck I want to shoot tonight, I would go after night seven years old. I've got five years into hunting him. I usually know him since he's two, and the spot I hunt, I'm hunting him in.

I built that area. I fixed it. I've done everything I can to make him want to be there. And that list is so extensive. It's so long that this podcast would be probably five hours long if I just got into that topic. But. Everything is done on my farm. There's no box left unchecked. My TSI is [00:26:00] done immaculately.

The successional growth in my forest is done immaculately. The thermal cover is done immaculately. The, just everything a big buck would want, like 365 days, he knows he has food on my farm because my grain is running out in the spring, whether it's corn or beans or whatever, and brassicas, and there's still.

a rye blend there for him to eat. And then by the time he's maybe not into that, now the clover's coming up and he's got the nutrition there. So there's never a need for him to be like, oh, the food's gone. I got to go travel a mile away or a half mile away or something. And, the other thing is some people will think the food's gone.

And then the deer leave. Even if my grains were gone and my plots were gone, My forest browse is crazy. It's insane the level of forest browse I have just because of my forestry management and the things I do where they'll never get on top of the natural browse[00:27:00] in my woods. And that's what, a huge component of their diet, over half.

I never give them a reason to leave. They know they've known for years and years. That example, it's a seven year old deer. Maybe he's there since he's a year and a half. Who knows? Maybe he was there since he was a button buck. There's a chance. Probably not. But he's known for 567 years.

This spot, this 40 acres has intense cover thermal cover when it gets cold. It's got all the brows I could ever eat. I can't, I've got food 365 days a year. I don't go hungry and these bucks are usually pretty fat and some people big. He's farming for deer. No, I'm not. I'm just creating the most healthy, biologically sound environment for a deer that you can get.

And that's what I have on my farm. So this deer, these deer are usually really big, really healthy, giant bodies because they have everything they need. They're not stressed out other than, nature stresses, [00:28:00] coyotes and hard winters and stuff like that. But they still have more things to deal with those tough times on my farm.

When you give them, and they have does to breed, I manage it pretty well, but I don't, I've gone overboard on shooting does, but you think about it, you go, okay, that buck's got the does he wants to breed, he's got all the food he needs. He's got perineum cover, he's not getting shot at and harassed by people non stop.

That deer gets pretty comfortable, and for that deer, I can't clearly read their mind, but I know what the result is. The result is most of my buddies will be like, yeah. This deer travels three, four or five hundred acre area. And I say, deer on my farm two miles away. And I'll be like, deer on my farm travel like a thirty to forty acre area.

Yeah. And it's just so much more shrunk because they don't need to leave it. They don't need to go over there to be like, okay, now I got to go over there for the doughs or I got to go over there for the good [00:29:00] natural brows and people don't realize that stuff. Hey, your natural brows is gone. That's one more reason to get them to leave.

They don't have all that checklist of reasons to leave. So they stay and then they stay in these tight little areas and I guess I could use the words. They become easier to kill when it's good. It's just gonna be based on odds. It's gonna be easier to kill a deer in a 30 to 40 acre area than if he's in a 3 to 400 acre area, right?

And it is. It is. It's to my advantage, but I also spent years making it like that. And thoughtfully and deeply managing my farm so they do have that situation. And I fully understand that not everybody can do that. Not everybody wants to do that. Some people might even find that distasteful.

That's fine. It's just what I do. And I want the best ecology on my farm and the best habitat and everything a big buck could need. And then [00:30:00] I can have more big bucks to hunt because of that. I literally can hold more. And because I can hold more, that gives me more options. Oh, oops, the neighbor shot this one.

There's five more. And I literally do hold more mature bucks because of it. And my farm, when I started, it literally... When I first got this farm many years ago, I remember starting on this farm being like, I have one buck. I'd want to shoot on the whole place one and fast forward three, four years. I'm like, Whoa, I have seven or eight.

I would want to shoot. It literally changed to that extent. People have to really play the numbers game and I get it. There's cases where you're like, dude, this is the biggest buck I've ever had to hunt. I'm all in. And I'd be like that too. This book is out of class. Like I've never seen it.

It probably will never happen again. And I put all my chips on that. I would. But on a normal year, I'd usually be like, yeah, I want to have... three, four or five options to go after. And there is [00:31:00] no substitute for hard work, getting lots of spots, setting up, get a lot of permission, a lot of access, like I said earlier, and just dialing in every one of those spots.

And there's so many things that go through my head that try and describe all the elements of what makes those spots great. But I think most people know what a great spot is. And so all I'm saying is. Don't have two great spots have 20 great spots for simplicity sake. Yeah, and I like that I think that's the mindset people need to go into and you brought up a lot of different topics in there You know, some of them, obviously we can dig into it at a later date.

Thinking about population management control, you talked about going maybe a little more overboard with the doe management aspect of it. I think those are all good topics to get into. I want to end with kind of one, one thing. And we've talked specifically about a deer that you're going after, and I appreciate you being vulnerable and explaining that.

And I don't take anything negative away from the fact that you have a good situation. In fact, I want people to have more good situations. That's the whole point of this podcast. They're learning from [00:32:00] others to improve, what they have working or not working on your property. But like from a rose petal hypothesis standpoint.

Thinking about, instances where you are concerned with your ability to be successful. I know over the years, you've killed a lot of big deer. So sometimes deer don't mean as much as they used to. And it's more focused on the management aspect that you already pronounced here.

But in the standpoint of, I think you said your son's hunting is that correct? Okay. And I want to go down this road because I think it's really important quickly. in your mindset and setting him up for success or giving him opportunities. What do you think is going to be the difference maker this year to getting him to the end game, getting him to strategize well enough with you, where you've taken it way too far.

Let's just be frank because a lot of people aren't going to. The commenter is not going to take it to the level you're going to take it from a person getting into this and recognizing, holy crap, my dad did so much of this property. How are you taking him quickly into this [00:33:00] environment where he's going to be successful, find meaningfulness in it, be attached to the outcome, but not be, I don't know how to say this, but you're not privileging him too much.

I want to know what you're doing in this scenario, because I think I'm struggling with the topic. So I want to get your opinion on this. All right. So this is my son's third or fourth year hunting. And I want him to have successful hunts where he does not shoot deer. And it, we have a lot of successful hunts where he does not shoot deer.

I do not want to bring my son out on a stand I set up. Or a blind I set up or a spot I set up and him be like, yep, first time in, we got it. If it happens, but I don't, I didn't want I brought him out. He hunted a dozen times before he shot his first doe. I intentionally made it difficult.

I intentionally picked spots. That I actually didn't think we'd get a shot at bucks. He will hopefully never hear this podcast and maybe [00:34:00] I'll tell him this in a few years. He doesn't know that. He doesn't know that dad brought him out to a spot where I knew we weren't going to shoot a buck. I knew we'd see some little ones.

I wanted him to have a lot of failed hunts and he has. And now when he's getting to be 12 and 13 and he's wanting to do this on his own like intensively. He's wanting to get into bow hunting. One, this is just a little quick side note. I will not let my son at 12 years old. This is just my opinion, my stance.

I will not let my son shoot a high scoring deer. I just won't. He does not understand the difference between 130 inch deer and 190 inch deer. They're all giants to him. I do not want my son shooting a hundred 90 inch deer. I will not let it happen. I don't want to wreck him. I hunted where I didn't see deer for a whole week.

Like not a year. I froze. Mom dropped me off at public land. It was very difficult and I got hooked. I can't quite replicate that, but I can [00:35:00] make it difficult. Now, what I'm going to do for my son is we're going to go off to some of my little farms that are challenging farms by anybody's standard.

I don't care what state you're in. Hey, there's a 70 down the road with 15 acres of timber on it. And I'm going to go with him, I'm going to tell him, I think we should probably be here. What do you think? And get his input and explain to him why this is a good spot. And we're going to set the stand up when this is when he bow hunts for the first time.

And he's going to pick the spot. He's going to help me set it up. We're going to have safety lines in there. So I know my kid's safe because all of a sudden I'm wearing like a maniac, my kid could get hurt. Yeah. And I probably will go out with him a couple of times and be like. Don't move. There's a deer there.

Freeze, which I've had to do in the past. And then I'm just gonna let him go on his own and figure it out. If he ruins stuff, if deer spot him, if he tries to draw his bow and he gets busted, so be it. It's all good. But I don't want him on maybe of the best situations. Like my main farm, which is the best [00:36:00] hunting.

I don't want him starting on his own there. So it will be very difficult, but yes, there, there is some situations this year if he's going to gun hunt as a kid where he can't quite pull the bull, but he's getting close to where he's comfortable with the bow. And then I think the guns will take a backseat.

So this is his last year on the guns, but we will get set up in situations where I'll explain to him, we're going to go back to the spot. We're not busting anything and we're just Uber careful on getting back in our quiet. He's learning all this stuff. You can't move around. He's still in that phase of doing stupid things where he's learning deer don't tolerate this.

And then, I'd say it will probably play out like last year. I'd say we, we tried to pick for colder nights and there was a couple of times I let them skip school, got them out a little bit early, but not a lot. And we tried to pick the better nights and then we went [00:37:00] wherever, just, the wind was right.

And we got him on a mature buck and it took probably last year, probably took a dozen hunts. Before he finally got a shot at this old eight point that he said, dad, I'd love to try for that eight point, not a high scoring deer at all. And it took a dozen hunts and it was just like, we saw that deer three other times and this is with a gun where it's a lot easier.

And maybe the fourth hunt, that deer came in within range where every other time it's hey, that deer's at 300 yards and he's walking the other way. It didn't work out. And the fourth hunt, man, that deer came in at 50 yards and he got a shot and it finally worked out. So it'd just be a situation where there's a really good chance that a mature buck come in there.

Everything else is the same. The entrance and exits are good. The wind's right. It's in a spot. I think the deer is going to show up in daylight and then just roll the dice. I probably could get some deer where I'm like, it's almost a sure thing. He's going to be there and make it a first night for my son.

[00:38:00] And for my son, I'm not going to do that. Not going to happen. Now, for myself, tonight, Saturday, Sunday, I'd say there's a 50 percent chance that the 7 year old I'm after, which I do want to make all the odds in my favor, I will be like, This is my best chance and I'm going in, but now I understand it. Not like a kid does.

I've understood I've done this for 30 years, so I will go all in probably Saturday night and try and shoot the seven year old. It's not the highest scoring deer on the farm. I know a lot of people think who cares and I don't care either, but it's a seven year old buck. He's heavy. I'll send you a picture of him.

Super cool. And I'll send you a picture of where he showed up during daylight. And he's he hits this pine rubbing post. He's aggressive. And he rips this thing to shreds. And this thing is like 15 yards away from my tree stand. And he's coming, there's a cornfield and then it transitions where this river [00:39:00] bends and the cornfield ends.

And then I've got this strip that I just. I just drilled in like this green plot, and it transitions into this forest, and I've got this tree stand at the end of the tree row with a rub post at the end of it, where they funnel in there, and they'll come out of the corn area, or go to the corn area, and then they'll just graze through the green, and then they'll keep moving on.

They don't sit in front of me. They just walk through, It's a natural transition area for them to travel and while they're traveling they go, oh there's green stuff, there's clovers and there's rye and there's this and that and they'll nip it and they just walk along. They're in front of me for 20 seconds.

And then they move along and it's perfect. And then I got one thing to stop them like, Oh, I'll check out this rub poster. I'll make a scrape. And there is probably a 50 percent chance. If I had to guess that I get a crack of the seven year old buck this weekend. I know the tree stand. That I will shoot him out of if I do, and I pretty much think I know where [00:40:00] he'll come from, but he'll probably surprise me and then, but that's 50%.

Yeah. And I don't want it to be 100%. Yeah. I want it to be 50 percent at best because that's what's fun. That's what I still like. I like doing things that make it hard on myself and I don't want to make it easy. If he shows up at 30 years later, not the biggest buck I've shot. I'll be nervous.

I'll be stoked. And if I get a shot at him, I will be happy as a clan. If I don't, that's okay too. Yeah, I like your mindset, Skip. I like your mindset and I think a lot of people can relate to you. And I applaud you. for, taking it to the next level, but being realistic about things.

And I, I think that's why I wanted you on this podcast. I think you would bode well with the rest of the group. There's a lot of good guys all across the country. They're doing this professionally. I'm in the business of obviously designing hunting properties for other people.

Whatever your take on this is, the bottom line is there's a lot that goes into this. And you can't take yourself too seriously and you can't shift every odd in your favor. But at the same [00:41:00] point, it should still remain hunting. And that's really critical. I think. to everybody.

And I brought the child thing up because I think it's important for people to think about other people, not just themselves. And I think that's a big 100 percent there's a big piece of this. And you mentioned that earlier about letting other people hunt and being considered others. There's a selfishness that sometimes comes along with, thinking about these mature deer, et cetera.

I'm not in an area where the culture is that meaning, it is dog eat dog here, but the idea everywhere. Yeah. The idea of quality and what people are trying to get out of things is different everywhere. And so I think it's being realistic within your goals, but it's also recognizing that you can do something more for the ecology.

I think maybe on a future podcast, we'll talk a little bit more about kind of social biology at deer. I think that would be a good conversation and talk about how they're spatially grouped on your landscape, because I think people are. I had, I'm going to have a success moment and this podcast here pretty quick, but I had a success moment the other day and it was [00:42:00] really simple.

I called my partner who does the implementation work with me. And I said my shooter buck ran through the, he bedded in the area that we cut out earlier in the summertime. He went up here, he circled around. I caught him on every, I caught him on five cameras. He went from camera to camera.

I'm trying to get these deer to travel west to east. I'll be honest with you. When it comes to that this year, that's my success. I don't have to shoot a deer. He did exactly what I intended him to do. And I'm taking that as a huge win out of the equation. The deer that I wanted to move through the terrain in the way that he moved was exactly like I had predicted.

Talk about manipulation at 100 percent success. Hit every single camera along the way. Stopped where I wanted him to stop. You brought that point up a second ago. I think if you're thinking through each one of these elements I'm shifting probabilities, but the manipulation aspect and giving them the ideal scenario.

I didn't go after that deer. No, I knew I could kill him that evening. I didn't go after him. I let it go. So [00:43:00] my success was in the data that I just collected. I did something that I didn't think I could do. I could get them to travel a certain way and it worked and that, that will pertain to my clients in the future of how they set up and lay out properties.

But Skip, what you're telling me is the same thing is like you're taking heart and everything you get you when you're diving into these properties, your heart and souls into it. And I just want to convey that because I got that out of this conversation. I'll leave you with a quick success story that goes in two two different directions and I will not get too deep in this, but I'll go a little different direction than maybe where somebody would think here.

But I had a very successful hunt the other night. It was my second night out. I put the phone in my pocket. I turned it off. I had some two and three year olds walk by me. It was quiet. I didn't hear a car. I heard the wind. I heard birds. I heard pheasants. I genuinely love it. I genuinely love being out there.

And I'm 45 now. If I shoot a deer now, if I fill my tag, in a [00:44:00] sense that's success. But if I don't, I'm okay with it. I don't care at 25. I was very different. I was very different. I was intense. Hardcore. I want to get a buck and some of my buddies that shot bombers. I got a little bit jealous, even buddies or guys, I get a little bit just now I don't, and that just comes with age.

People will understand this through 25 right now. Trust me. If you're into this hardcore, you're intense, you and you're successful, eventually you will get to a point where you're like, listen, you're what defines success changes. And the last thing I'll just leave off with the success element is it is success for me now, truly, it's like cliche get kids into hunting.

Feel good. No. I agree with that, but I agree with it for different reasons because I grew up in the city and I have a very intense personality. I have one of those like, Addictive driven personalities. Had I not got into hunting. Or in other things like faith and stuff like that. I won't get too deep in that stuff, [00:45:00] but had I not got into these things, I probably would have got into drugs and alcohol or wound up in jail.

I have just an intense personality. And the more times we can get others involved in this stuff. It's a bigger message, and this is a discussion for another day and a huge other topic. But the more we can get these kids into this type of thing and get them ingrained, they're going to do great things with this and end up improving habitat, improving the environment, improving farms, for next generations.

But it's going to keep kids on the right track in life, and it's going to keep kids who would get into other things. It got me, if had I not got into hunting. I would have gotten into other things that would not have been good. It's success for me to get other people out here and they shoot the big buck.

I love it. I love it when they shoot a big buck. And this season is probably more, I'm more interested in other people shooting mature deer on my farm. Cause I know the ramifications it can [00:46:00] have for their life and and it just gets them away from all the other things that tear us, pull us away in society.

I would just say, think of success in different terms like that. And that's the goal for my season in a nutshell. I love it. And I want to end with that. That was fantastic. All right, skip. I appreciate your time. And I'm looking forward to future conversations with you. Hopefully we can continue to do this and have you part of the team to talk about more specifics, things you're doing on your farm, things that do work and things that don't work because people want to learn for our successes and failures of field.

And I think that's really critical. So I appreciate you taking time out of your day for me. And we'll talk again soon. Anytime. Sounds good. Thanks for having me. Maximize your hunt is a production of whitetail landscape. For more information on how John Teter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetaillandscapes.