Technical Hunting Series Mindset for Mature Bucks

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Greg Litzinger (Bowhunting Fiend) discuss technical hunting strategies around mobile hunting and mature bucks. Greg and Jon discuss their upbringings as it pertains to hunting and what foundational elements framed their hunting skills. Greg discusses the concept of buck bedding and how this shapes his hunting tactics.   

Greg explains the clues that get him closest to mature bucks. Greg provides the details on where mature deer live and describes the locations that hold mature bucks. Greg discusses the importance of cameras, and how often he checks cameras. Greg explains how he deciphers a mature buck from a younger deer, and a simple tactic that will ensure you have better success.

Greg explains hunting directly over buck beds and what locations he has had the most luck in locating deer. Greg explains why he is aggressive and what success he has had in hunting over bedding areas. Greg provides specific information on how mature deer enter bedding areas and how close he can be to an exact bed.

Greg explains the gear utilizes and his evolution in equipment over the years. Greg’s goal is to be as light as possible and why he prefers saddle hunting nowadays. Jon explains what gear he is using and his mobile setup. Greg explains his secret to getting close to deer and why he is not using mapping software as much anymore.

Greg provides specifics on the deer he is going after, how he is hunting the deer and what intel he has used to make decisions to locate good intercept spots. Greg explains the analysis of winds and thermal currents and how he is using this data to decipher when to hunt. Greg explains his routine of hunting and how he approaches a hunting location to get info on deer and other hunters. Greg walks down each aspect of how he is going after a mature buck and how he is considerate of too much hunting.

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Show Transcript

Greg Litzinger: [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 Titor.

Jon Teater: Hi, I'm John Titor with White Day Landscapes. This is Maximize Your Hunt. Welcome back, everybody. Hopefully everybody's doing well. I've been busy today. I've been working on client plans. And I'm almost done. I've just got a few more for this season.

And actually, I'm going to be working this November on a client. I'm going to be starting again. In December and January and the story starts all over again. So if you're interested in booking me this year I do have openings in the summertime. If you do want support, [00:01:00] please contact me.

My schedule will likely be booked up by December for this year. Just so everyone's aware that's typically when I'm done booking for 24 or the year in ahead. So just keep that in mind. With that said, we're still in our hunting tactical series, and I want to talk, a little bit different scenario here.

I've got Greg Litzinger on the phone, and Greg, are you on the line? Yeah, I'm good. I'm here. Good. Greg, I don't know if a lot of people know who you are. I certainly know who you are. You've been on many podcasts, and You're out of the great state of New Jersey. So you're an East coast person and we're not too far, really far from each other.

I focused on you because you've hunted like salt marshes and, you don't really hear much about that. I know you hunt other areas in big woods, but it's an interesting, dichotomy of like where you are and the variation and vegetation that you're used to going after deer.

So I want to hear a little bit about your background. I want to jump into the technical hunting with you.

Greg Litzinger: All right. Background. So let's say it [00:02:00] turned 46 over the weekend and bow hunting since I've been 14 public land guy was a running gun hunter before it was a thing. My father never hunted the same piece in the morning and evening.

So I bounced around a lot, always A climber guy, and climber became a hang on, became a saddle, and I've just hunted every type of terrain that New Jersey has to offer. We've got mountains, pine barrens, big woods, swamps, salt marshes. So I've cut my teeth in a lot of different places, chasing whitetails.

And I learned it the hard way way back when there wasn't cameras and all that fun stuff. So the lessons learned were through trial and a lot of air,

Jon Teater: We're not that far apart in age and I'm no different from you. And I'll just tell you [00:03:00] just quick on me. I remember my dad was a police officer and my dad had saved his money and bought me my first lone wolf climber.

This would be in, I want to say this is, I want to say like late nineties. They had just come out with a, the tubular climber. And it was like, I remember getting it for Christmas and I was like stoked and I'm like, man, this is going to edge me up. Like I'm putting away that summit Viper. I got the lone wolf, and I just, I remember getting that stand and feeling like invincible.

And then, I think that, I, again, wasn't in a saddles at that point, any of that stuff, it was the climber and I had. Lived and died out of climbers for years. And I think that mobility thing is huge. I think that's probably set you up to be successful. Would you say that would be probably one of your key attributes, at least at this point, that's allow you to pick and choose.

So you don't have too much investment in an area. Is that kind of the foundation?

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, it's hunt the freshest sign possible. So I was doing that, like my father was doing it. [00:04:00] We were meat hunters. So it's like you would go into you find sign, you sit up and. The goal is to kill deer, so being mobile is super important because the deer are always constantly changing, and 30 plus years ago, there was nowhere near the amount of public, so every piece of public was just, asses to elbows, basically, so it's like you had to stay on the move and Follow the herd, basically.

Jon Teater: So now I want to get into your philosophy and you've probably find this. You've, you got other things going on in your life, right? Family, kids, whole nine, but you've had to be more efficient with your time because of work and everything. Yes. What has allowed you in your world to be. More effective.

What are the either tactics that you employ or the gear that you're using that make you the most effective?

Greg Litzinger: I would say, gear can really take you so far. You got the best gear, like the best bow, whatever. If you're not very in tune with the environment that you're hunting or the deer you're chasing.

The gear is only going to get you,[00:05:00] I call it into the parking lot, you're not going to be in the stadium playing. I think the, finding something for me is very particular and I'm not a big food guy. It goes against the grain for a lot of people. I primarily focus on buck beds and doe bedding.

And that's pretty much where I spend most of my time. And. I've learned that through a lot of, like I said, trial and error and learning from the Dan and Foltz and Andres and every other master buck killer that's out, that came before me, old Myles Keller through my age out there, all what those guys were doing.

So I found what works for me and like how my brain works. Like I, I'm very good at deciphering clues. It was probably why I'm good at my job, like fixing things I get to, I can see. Two, three steps ahead where I think a lot of people. Can struggle with that, but I'm proud of, I'm pretty good thinking on the fly and making [00:06:00] adjustments in

Jon Teater: real time.

Yeah, let's dig into this then. Your thinking ahead piece of it is, you're putting this story together. I want to get into some of the specifics and the clues that you pick up on, when you're entering an area. And you could be very specific and, maybe say Salt Marsh or Big Woods.

Yeah. I want you to get into... Your process of looking at the landscape and then trying to diagnose your next move

Greg Litzinger: for me. I try to find where people won't go. And, it's the age old to go where people aren't and you'll find deer. So sometimes it's the thickest, nastiest piece on the property, or it's the furthest walking distance.

And or like I said, with the salt marsh boat distance, so I, once you get away from people or people aren't going, I should say things start to open up, you'll start to see more buck sign. You'll start to see, some beds possibly, and like I said, I don't necessarily focus on food.

I [00:07:00] primarily look for where is he going to bed because New Jersey is a pretty populated state. I hunted pretty hard and we have a very liberal season. You can kill five bucks with all the seasons. So deer get smart real quick. So I try to look at the map or if I don't have a map and I'm just like free range scouting, I just follow.

Deer sign and think like a deer, and meander through the woods, like a deer would and look for thick cover bedding cover, security cover, and that's where I start at it. I avoid open areas pretty much 90 percent of the time. I don't even scout open areas. I just, me personally, I don't have much luck hunting them.

So I try to scout in places I plan on hunting. I don't do a lot of random scouting, like walking through the woods. Hey, I'm going to go walkabout. If I'm scouting, it's specifically looking [00:08:00] for buck betting security cover, things that are going to give deer that little bit of security when they have walking through the woods, and a lot of my setups.

The first 45 minutes light in the last 45 minutes of light. So usually that's going to be thick, nasty cover where I think they could be bedded.

Jon Teater: That makes sense. No, it does. And I'm going to, I want to get into two pieces of this because. You have a purpose when you walk in the woods, at least the scouting, your off season is where you're doing your homework, right?


Greg Litzinger: Yeah, I do. I spend at least one weekend, one day a week, not with kids, but I definitely, even now I'll spend either five hours on plus on Sunday or Saturday. And that's pretty much from February all the way to hunting season. I'm almost in the woods every weekend. So there is a a time investment.

That a lot of people don't have or [00:09:00] want to do, maybe, I don't know.

Jon Teater: I think a lot of people it's commitment and prioritization, right? What do you want your season to look like? Do you want to walk in blind or you want to have some intel? The other piece of this is things change.

So moving on the fly and you brought that up earlier, but getting in these specifics this is the difficulty, a lot of people that probably listen as their landowners, right? And depending on the size of their property, they're. They may not be as aggressive as you. So your aggressive tactics may be a little bit different than most people, but in that aggressiveness, or even in somebody who has I have a particular deer I'm going to go after when I'm going after that deer, I may make an aggressive decision based on time and place and knowing what my probability intercept is.

And I may go after that deer specifically because I have the intel and I need to be aggressive because it's a short window out that I can kill him. So just as an example right there in your scenario. Obviously you've got this, I want to say competition around you, right? Other hunters, you're picking areas that people are typically aren't, utilizing or considering in some capacity.

I'm sure they are generally, but you're trying to fit [00:10:00] off the beaten path essentially. And then when you're trying to diagnose a location specifically, you're using the cover type to dictate that. And so once you get in there, how do you decipher this is used that what are the clues that say, Hey, this is likely a scenario that I can play into.

I can hunt this because some of those areas are hard to get into hunt. And so I want to know how you pick and choose those areas and how you decipher a deer meets your quota.

Greg Litzinger: I'm a big track guy. I do really excited. I do run a lot of cameras. But like usually once the season rolls around, I don't really check my cameras too often, but for me, it's big tracks.

And big tracks don't always necessarily equal a big rack, but a big track will always equal a big body. And, that's a win in itself, a five year old deer is mostly going to carry some weight. Four year old deer is going to carry some weight, or like a stud three year old, a year and a half.

Two and a half. They're not going to carry a lot of weight here in New Jersey. They'll be all right, but I like big wide tracks [00:11:00] and I like finding them when they're by themselves. I know that's usually the older deer, smarter deer will isolate. Even well before the sometimes they break off and they go and do they catch them with a human scent because a lot of people scouting on the summertime and somebody's older deer, they just break off and do their own thing.

So big tracks and I look for spots either coming up out of the marsh where the wind will be perfect for him. And borderline terrible for me, and I try to find that, either like a blowdown or like an island where the trail kind of just gives me that little bit of a turn on the trail just enough so I'm off wind.

I can sneak in there, set up on it, and if he goes right or left, deviation of trail, usually I'm busted. So I'm pretty, my setups are very aggressive, almost 90 percent of the

Jon Teater: time. How tight are you getting these deer? What's your [00:12:00] proximity do you think normally to them? Yeah. Yeah.

Greg Litzinger: In the morning I'll set up so I can shoot into the bed to 40 yards and under.

And in the evening, if you're further than 80 yards away, you're pretty much out of the game or you're out of it because they'll just get up that last 30 minutes, mill around, eat, and just slowly make their way out more times than not, they are very calculated risk

Jon Teater: takers. So you said you went right over buck beds and this is a strategy.

I think a lot of people have heard. What makes that work? And what makes that not work?

Greg Litzinger: I tried the whole I, I started that tactic in the mountains. I have more success in the mountains than here in the swamp and the salt marsh because they'll just come through it in the dark, I've had some success doing it here in South Jersey, but usually that's a better That's a tactic in like hill country and mountains.

I have more success doing that, but I tried hunting the shift hunt low. And then, when the thermal start rising and go up [00:13:00] high and it's just, I never seen deer and I was at a trade show, I was talking to some elk hunters, like guides, outfitters, and I was just shooting the shit with them basically.

And I was like, man, just curious. When do you guys get to the top of mountain? They're like before like we beat them to the top. I'm like, what about the thermals? And the guy the officer straight up was like, we don't necessarily care about the thermals. He goes, you're never going to beat an elf to the top of the mountain.

Unless you beat him to the top of the mountain. So I was like, it got me thinking, I was like, man, don't you worry about spooking because now, we get there and we let things fall where they may. We have higher grounds always better than lower ground, in a tactical advantage standpoint, I took that guy's information and something my dad told me years ago, he's as soon as that sun peaks, cratches, the skyline, it starts getting light, there's a thermal rise. He goes, it's going to be slight [00:14:00] and subtle. but it's still going to rise. And he's air molecules weigh nothing.

He goes, your milkweed, it's like an anchor compared to what an air molecule weighs. An air molecule. And I was like, wow, dad, that's pretty intense. But it got me thinking. It's all these things lined up. So I'm like screw it. I'm going to just start setting up on beds. And first couple times, I didn't get it right.

But then once I figured out my entry, I think it's going to come in this way. I started killing some deer and I'm like, I still kill some big deer, some old wise deer. So I'm like, man, there's something to this. And then my buddies, I, had some success doing it. And then I talked about it on some podcasts and other people were having the same Seeing what I was seeing, and it just went from there.

So I took a little bit of, elk hunters information and like bed hunters and it just put it in a pot and made my own recipe, if you will. Yeah. And it works for me and a [00:15:00] lot of people think I'm crazy, but if I'm driving two hours to hunt the mountains, I got three days to hunt.

All three days, all three morning sits, I'm going all in, all three evening sits, I'm going all in. I don't have time to sit back I'm gonna observe, I'm gonna do this. I don't have that time three days here, maybe four, if I'm lucky, sometimes two, sometimes just a day, so it's like sitting back and waiting just you'd be waiting a long

Jon Teater: time.

All right. I want to get into specifics. You're up on this mountain and you're attacking a deer. And when I mean attacking, you're not stabbing me to death, but you're going after it and you're looking at the terrain feature and you're making a discerning decision surrounding how to approach and I'm sure you have history in some of these areas.

You've hunted probably these areas multiple times over the years. Yes. Yeah. So you build up some historical information. How do you approach those in the right way? Because you said you learned from your setup changes. You must [00:16:00] have been doing some tweak there. What were you tweaking in the equation to make those function correctly?

Greg Litzinger: My, usually it's the entrance and like I said I'm three hours away from some of the spots I hunt in mountains, so I don't necessarily know where the acorns might be dropping. So I can think, alright, they're gonna come low into this bed. If there's no acorns down low, odds of him coming from down low into that bed, in my opinion, just doesn't...

It doesn't make sense. So he might be come from over the top of the ridge, cresting over the ridge, right at daybreak to get into that bed. And then like circle, near his bed and come into it. I find just as many bucks coming up over the top as I do coming from the bottom. I know you had some, like they come directly into the bed.

Like I've had mature bucks, just not even Jay just go right into this bed. So a lot of my tweaking. Is all right. [00:17:00] How close do I really need to be to that bed? Like sometimes, if I got like a rock face or something, I can get right on top of it. I'll get right on top of it. If I have like advantage, so it was like, all right, there's a blow down here.

He's going to have to go around this blowdown comes from behind me. So there, there's my opportunity. I can get really in close. Or it's open. I don't really have any cover behind me. I got to back off a little bit. So once you locate the bed and you're scouting, sit in the bed, you look at like, all right, he comes down low.

Here's his line of sight coming into the bed. For me, tweaking would be, Alright, I don't want to be in his direct line of sight if he's coming up. I want to be off. He's not seeing me, Coming, anybody hunts the hill, hunts your mountains, If a buck's coming down low, and he's looking right at you, He feels like he's looking right at you, even though he's not.

But he's I can't even move, Because he's walking right towards me, and he's going uphill. It's not like he's going to deviate looking. So it's alright. That's a bad place to be. So I want to be [00:18:00] out of his line of sight. So like I said, a lot of my tweaking is visual, if you will.


Jon Teater: Yeah. Yeah. Having either something between, you and the deer at some elevation or now, what about positioning yourself on the other side of the tree? So you're not directly in line. Do you do that often?

Greg Litzinger: That's. That's where the saddles come into play. I used to do it with the hang on.

I used to hang on with the tree. And, but then you're like standing, pretty much all morning. Because the mountain bucks, hill country bucks, they'll come into bed from anywhere from 7 to 9 o'clock in the morning sometimes. And if you're using the tree as cover, you have to be standing the whole time.

And that could really be it, exhausting. So that's like I said, the saddle's nice because you're just sitting leaning and sitting and just watching where that deer might be coming up.

Jon Teater: Yeah, I think these are all interesting tactics for people to consider. So the saddle piece of it and gear doesn't make the man, right?

And we just saw that earlier. In this example, I want to know what type of [00:19:00] gear you're using right now.

Greg Litzinger: Latitude method two and their X Wing platform. I use a two ring of steps to help me get around the tree. And also to help me for cause I'm more of a sitter than a leaner. So with the ring of steps, I almost straddle a tree and the steps are on the side at three and nine and I almost sit like a motorcycle.

You're riding like a cruiser. So it's pretty comfy for

Jon Teater: me. Platform. You said you're using the

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, the x wing. Okay. It's there. I like it. I don't stand a lot on the platform. So I'm more, I said more of a sitter. I said that, that stand that platform works really

Jon Teater: well for me.

All right. And sticks and bag you're, you must be having a, something, you're obviously getting elevated. So you're using some type of sticks. Yeah, they,

Greg Litzinger: This year I said Latitude just came out with their carbon sticks, their Speed Series, so I've been using them this year but years prior, like I said, I've got the 32 inch Lone Wolves, then I cut Lone Wolves down to double [00:20:00] steps, then I had the Walnut steps, I had Timber Ninja sticks.

It's a nice sticks. And now I said I got the latitude sticks, and it's all kind of lightning what I'm carrying in the woods. It seems like each progression I make, my gear is getting lighter and less moving parts.

Jon Teater: Yeah, I think that's important for people to think about that are in those mobile stances, having, very light and I'll just let everyone know what I use.

So I have a lone wolf custom gear 1. 0 stand with many sticks. That's my setup and I've got my, my own bag system for it. So it mounts and goes, it's pretty light. I don't remember what it weighs total. I did weigh it last year, but that's pretty much my up and go system. I'm not using a climber anymore.

I'm into that, but I would like to get back to a climber. They did come up with a new climber, which I don't know. I might buy one just to, cause I like climbers. I like gear. I love climbers,

Greg Litzinger: man. [00:21:00] Yeah. If you have, if you hunt mature hardwoods. Not a lot of, trees get in your way. A climber's the most efficient way to get up and down a tree.

Absolutely. But if you're ever in a climber, as we've all been in situations, and you're like, man, this tree would be great. Got a chainsaw to cut all the stuff off.

Jon Teater: Yeah I still do that. And this year when I was I own a property with a bunch of buddies of mine and I got a pole saw and I go up there and I trim up the trees because I want to use, I want to use my climber again, it's just been sitting there for the past several years, but yeah, like these light setups are fantastic. I just, it's great to have light gear. I think the reason I brought up the gear was because of that lightness factor of people are mobile running

Greg Litzinger: and they got, I've had four knee surgeries. I'm not exactly, a young buck when it comes to my body being a hundred percent.

I keep myself relatively in shape, but yeah. A lot, if you're carrying 40 to 50 plus pounds, every time you go in the woods, it'll wear you down by the [00:22:00] time, a couple of weeks of that, it could beat you up pretty good. Yeah. And you start making some mistakes, start cutting corners, or you're doing something that's not going to help what you're trying to do.

So for me, light is nice. I plan on doing this. Even though I'm busted up, I want to be climbing a tree when I'm sitting, my dad, he's 75, still climbs a tree. So I was like, I want to be able to, do the same thing, 75 years old, still climb a tree, still have the ability to move around the woods and be mobile.

Jon Teater: Yeah, I think that's a great goal. I want to step back to something, Greg, and I want to go back to, 80. And that's a number you threw out there and I'm sure it's plus or minus, that's one of your goals to these beds. What allows you to get in so close to deer and to be quiet?

I think a lot of people struggle with, having that cadence of movement to get in there or, what are the things that make you more stealthy in the woods?

Greg Litzinger: Just as we get older you're less than a [00:23:00] rush. So the ability to slow down. And almost walk like a deer, you get close to, all right, this deer's bed on this island or this point.

You get within that 150 yard mark, you just slow it down. Almost like you're still hunting, and you're just paying attention because I've seen a lot of bucks. I've shot at a lot of bucks. I've killed a few bucks on my way to the stand because they might get up early and move. You get in that, I get in that 150 yard range, I'm almost in like in a kill mode, like I'm ready to, I can, mentally I'm ready to kill at that point.

I slow everything down. I get to the base of the tree, all myself in silence, stealth strip, hockey tape, whatever it might be I practice a lot, moving slow, setting my sticks up slow, and just doing everything at a reduced speed. And super efficient with your movements.

Set a stick, let the woods die down a little bit, jump up on the stick, real [00:24:00] quiet, try and see if you can see that buck or see anything. All right. You don't see anything. So you put the other stick on, just really get into, I call it kill mode, be it. 150 yards away or 80 yards away, just slow it down and practice that, like I'll go out in the dark in my yard here.

I got trees, before I will, like before I had a wife and kids, like I would go out at 12 o'clock at night, with a crappy headlamp and set up my stand, practice just doing it, just do it in the dark, doing it without a headlamp, everything in my pack is in the same spot, everything in my pockets, always the same.

A very almost like robotish.

Jon Teater: Yeah, I look at it as almost a meditative movement where you're actually, you're so focused on, the movement and flow of things that it becomes second nature. So like in these scenarios, here's one of the things I struggle with personally is when I'm setting it up, I have a buckless method and it takes me a second to get everything and [00:25:00] then I got to cinch the.

The steps, step down, right? That makes noise and that's bothered me. So one of the things I'm doing is when I'm wrapping around that rope or that strap, I'm trying to go as tight as I physically possibly can, and I'm stressing myself out at that point, which, creates a little bit of lack of calmness in your mind.

So there's little things that I've noticed over the years when I'm doing my setups that, that make me less productive. You might be going lighter, but at the same point, that setting and the step can be definitely impactful. So think about your gear set up and how you can be the calmest or quietest in both scenarios.

All right. I want to take you down another road. So we started diagnosing all these, different areas that we're hunting and hunting over buck betting and getting close to the deer. What are the other like real serious tactics that you think have been a game changer for you over the past couple of years that, you've killed a couple of big bucks.

I remember when you killed either a year or two ago, it was. I don't know, maybe, but in Pennsylvania killed [00:26:00] a really nice deer. But what are some of the tactics you're using today that you feel are evolutionary or put you in a situation where you're excelling a little bit at a faster rate?

What are the, what are some key attributes? I

Greg Litzinger: find, I find myself relying less on like I said my mapping software on my phone. I I've slowed it down a little bit and when I was operating at my peak, like really thinking like a deer, like that was before smartphones, you had old school GPS and you just, you didn't really have anything in your hand walking out.

Like you were just out there walking out, like in tune with nature and surroundings. So I've been decompressing from technology. On my way out. Cause I know where I want to hunt. I got the trees marked and stuff like that, and I only pull my phone out when I want to, all right, I need to get to my tree and what's Northeast four yards.

All right. And I've put the phone away and I've. Trying to immerse myself [00:27:00] into a more of a predator mindset and less of a tech, I need technology mindset, and it's really helped my mental game. I enjoy what I'm doing more. So I seem to put more effort into it, if that makes sense. No, it

Jon Teater: does.

And actually I know the mindset I think you're talking about. So that predator mindset, let's try to explore that a little bit. Because it's a mindset of a killer. What does that mean to you?

Greg Litzinger: It's for me, it's, if you're on your phone or on a GPS or you got the compass in your hand, like you're not.

Paying attention to what you're doing. I, I fixed industrial equipment, heavy, industrial maintenance for a living. So I have to be aware of what I'm doing pretty much at all times and everyone else at the same time. So I'm pretty good at that at work. And for me, like it's the same thing in the woods where I'm just in tune with what I'm doing.

Like I'm not getting upset if I see other hunters. I'm not getting upset if I blow out a deer. I'm [00:28:00] looking at what I'm doing, why these hunters are here, how I can use these hunters to my advantage. What sign I'm seeing, is it a sign I want to see? If not, I'm going somewhere else.

And I'm trying to just put myself in a better mental state where, like I was saying earlier, I'm ready to kill. At a moment's notice, I don't need Oh, where's my release? Where's the I'm ready to go all the time. It's very I helped some guys that do that hunt my trad and they don't use stands and shit like that.

Like they're always in the moment. They're not anywhere else, but right there. So for me, like I try to be in the moment and ready to go at that said moment.

Jon Teater: So I want to tap into something real quick, because I think this is something that we, so I talked earlier about flow and I talked a little bit about being, being in an environmental state you're vibrating in the environment.

So just everyone just take this tonally, right? So this is the mindset that we're going to try to create when we're [00:29:00] approaching this environment. You're breathing the air. You're visualizing the things that are happening around you. And what you're doing is you're processing everything at a millisecond.

And the distraction that you're talking about, Greg, the superfluous phone that, buzzes and is distracting creates this, major, disconnect between the environment. So I think when you said earlier, thinking like a deer, what you'll notice is when you start to hit these stances of understanding deer movement, how they prefer to move through areas that, this applies totally to how I design properties.

I'm thinking about. What they're inclined to do most likely and when you're flowing through the environment that way in concert thinking about how they use terrain Features and where they want to end up and why and like you brought up that good example There's no food low, they may not approach it from a low to high ground scenario, right?

so you're thinking as a deer would think and I think a lot of times we get distracted by that and Okay. What's my set cone say [00:30:00] today? Am I in full range today or what? So I think the apps have some benefit to some degree, but at some point, I think that they create an analysis paralysis potentially.

I think you and I are trying to get away from that. And it's a more free mind, freestyle kind of environment.

Greg Litzinger: You, you look at the, I look at when I watched the white tower adrenaline videos, like. How in tune those guys are when I watch that, like you don't see him a lot of times like they grant They have a cameraman.

They're just living in the moment chasing the deer as it's happening in real time So it's like I try to take that and apply it to October hunting which you know Most people don't realize because October it's a good time to kill a big buck because they're going betting the food They're not running mandering all over the woods.

So if you're out in the woods, still hunt your way through to and from your stand. If you're like in that moment, I find that, you're You have a better chance of killing because you're ready to kill. You don't need, I like, I don't need to [00:31:00] be in a standing hill. Like I want to be able to kill when I see that deer, like I've had a lot of luck hunting in the ground, for majority of my hunting career, and I see a lot of big bucks when I'm on the ground and it's usually like the windy, rainy days and I'll go out when most people won't.

I see a lot of big deer, I've killed a few. I've missed a few. I've lost a few, but I'm ready to go. Like I said, more times than not, every time I time, every time I step out a truck, for me it's go time.

Jon Teater: Alright, so we're in October and I think a lot of people are, seasons open for most folks and they're out there bow hunting or whatever equipment you're using and they're trying to make some decisions.

And so I want to get into your decision making this year on a particular deer that you're going to go after, or a strategy that you have this year, and I want you to break down step by step your plan of action to kill. So I want you to walk through, I want you to walk through your mindset and how you're going to go after a [00:32:00] particular deer that you're hopeful on.

Higher probability of kill. Let's

Greg Litzinger: hope. Okay. This year is unique. I actually, I ran a camera in the swamp in the Pine Barrens. And I threw up just randomly in March. Just had a camera in my bag, I'm like, I'll just put it out. And I went and checked it in July, and it was like, big bucks everywhere.

I was like, whoa. I scouted out the swamp, so I dived into that swamp on a rainy day, and... Really set the tone. It was like, all right, this is where I need to be. So I put a few more cameras out and I scouted the perimeter, found some old rubs, marked them up. I love rubs. Cause they're a good indication of travel, directional travel, to and from, in and out of an area.

So I noticed those three spots where they're coming out of the swamp, rubs going in, coming out, relatively in the same area. I'm like, all right, cool. They're probably, they're coming and going in three sections of the swamp. So then I started, I went back about a hundred yards from the swamp edge, up on the high ground a [00:33:00] little bit.

I was like, all right, this is where I need to be. I started investing my time and I got three areas. I feel pretty confident that I can kill a buck in. Each area I got two of, two or three different trees, and I ran a few more cameras, and I pulled the cameras. We had rain, what, two weeks ago, we had four days of straight rain.

So I was out, and I just logged six miles, checked all the cameras, and a couple more bucks showed up. Now I know they're in the area, and they're broken up, but still staying concentrated in this 600 acre swamp. So my plan of attack is I have good wind I would say I have three sets, three possible kill scenarios for every wind, but an East.

So each time I get one of these, like last week I went in with a, which I thought would be a horrible wind. So I backed out really far and come to [00:34:00] find out, it was actually a great wind because the thermal pool in the swamp. was not what I thought it was going to be. It pulled, but not in the direction that I thought it was going to pull.

So I chalked that up to as a plus. So now that wind, which is a northeast gives me the ability to hunt this point in more. areas and just work my way around, I like to set my hunting like three days in a row. I hunt one spot, nothing happened to move a little bit closer and then move a little bit closer.

And then usually by then that kind of spot's blown out. Usually they're all to me, my ground scent's all over the place. And then I go to the next point and do the same thing. And

Jon Teater: you did mention something earlier, I think it's critical, is you check a lot of your cameras in the rain. And I'm assuming you're not using cellular cameras, you're using regular cameras.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, I have a few cell cameras and I use... Then more times than not for [00:35:00] people because where I'm hunting it's remote. And if I got somebody like the trailhead coming in some of these trails, cause New Jersey, there's a lot of some hiking trails and whatnot. I don't mind hikers, but if I start seeing, cell cameras blowing up with hunters going back in that spot, usually that spot is the deer have changed.

So I won't waste my time in that spot and I'll, I make an assumption of where them bucks might move when they're moving. And sometimes, buck's not going to move very far. It might only be, 80 yards over. So I use cell cameras more for people than actually deer, which kind of goes against what a lot of people do, but it allows me to monitor people because if I think I'm the only one in there and there's three other dudes coming from a different way.

I don't know this. So I'm waiting for the perfect wind or a good wind for me to get in there. And it's man, I ain't seen nothing. Come and find out there's guys been blowing it out. A lot of my cameras, believe it or not, I get [00:36:00] are for people. I say, Hey, half my cameras are for people. And like I said, and the cell camera gives you up to date.

All right. Somebody has been in there today and I don't mind like one guy, like walking through, but same dudes going in there every Saturday or every Tuesday after work. That spot's usually beat and I'll go grab that camera and move it somewhere else.

Jon Teater: Yeah. It's a, it's always those gamuts of dealing with other people and being smarter than the rest, right?

That's, yeah.

Greg Litzinger: And like I said I find a lot of good beddings hard to find in New Jersey sometimes and most States cause. There's a lot of private, but a lot of guys will bait in private and they got their tower stands and some of these older bucks and it's like high ground bucks will always bed in the swamp because they get thermal vantage in the morning and the evening.

So they're never not going to bed in the swamp from a safety standpoint. They might bet up as high ground here and there, but like some of the swamps I hunt, it's all boarded by, by private, but it's high ground. It's ag like [00:37:00] hedgerows. So those big bucks, they know, they're not going to be bedding up in that stuff.

Yeah. But back to my my methods is I, if I know a box in the area, like I said, I'll hunt, try to stack, stack them, and three days in a row. So I get three hunts, the wind is good. Get in there, like, all right, nothing's good. And I move on. But as I'm. Moving on. I'm, I know I'm blowing out that area of my ground scent.

Like I go in and out the same way to try and keep my scent stream, my ground scent just to one area. I don't walk aimlessly Oh, let me go scout over here. Like I'll scout my way in hunting the same way I've been hunting for three days in a row. It might take me a mile out of my way, but I know I'm just blowing out one small section of that swamp and not the whole thing, cause a buck will deal with a little bit of pressure.

He'll just shift a little bit. Does will shift a little bit. But if you're walking aimlessly scouting for big, looking for big buck sign, I think you can do yourself some harm, more harm than good. [00:38:00] Yeah.

Jon Teater: Yeah. I'll agree with that. Absolutely. A hundred percent. I did some scouting public land here recently.

With one of my close friends and we, I was trying to walk back like you I'm breaking down. Okay. There's going to be bedding here. This is going to be the volume of bedding in this area. They're going to pick that spot. Like I can already tell before I get there. And I get to one spot, I go there's going to be bedding 75 yards from here in that location.

I said, see that tree. Underneath that tree. So we go over there, there's a giant bed. And they're like, I'm like, I do this professionally guys. All I do is deer sign and deer beds. And and I'm some deer master. No, I just seen it a thousand times. But I look over and there's a camera staring at me and I'm like, son of a gun, cause I said, okay, you can kill here.

I said, and actually you can kill early here. I said, you can heal, kill early here in a morning set. And so I'm trying to explain how to get into this area, but I think without the cameras and the camera data the time, the piece of this is time. When are they using those areas? And I think, back in the day, it used to observational hunt, right?

And the time you'd have to figure out just [00:39:00] visually seeing the deer, I didn't have the money for cameras. Now that we have the cameras, we got the time nailed down. It's just figuring out how to get in and out of there to kill. Yes. And

Greg Litzinger: I find too, like I said, cell cameras are. Baiting's legal in New Jersey, so there's a lot of baiting, and there's a lot of cell cameras, and, which, I can't, I, I don't, I'm not against cell cameras, I'm against that, some of the methods that people use them for if you're time stamping deer to go in there and kill oh, that buck's coming in.

And at two o'clock in the afternoon and he comes there every three days and you're using that cell camera to kill like that. I'm just, personally, I'm not a fan of that, and I'll never be a fan of that. And it's not jealousy or anything. It's just a matter of respect for the animal.

Yeah. But people do some strange stuff or. Notoriety,

Jon Teater: I can tell you this, and somebody, got on me the other day. I said, I run 45 cameras a year and I have around 20 cell cameras and I'm not making [00:40:00] like My decision to kill a deer the cadence of movement My deer are regular and irregular.

You know just on my own personal property, you know This predictive intelligence stuff right this analytical piece of it Some of it's guttural like some of it's like I know a deer is going to be in that area because these wind conditions and that is the one thing I've learned the most from, some of the imagery that I've taken is, they're using certain areas at certain times for a particular purpose and, whatever that purpose is, you're defining that in your story.

And then based on that, the wind condition, I can tell what areas are generally going to use. I don't need cameras at this point to describe that the killing piece of it. I typically have my cameras on the exit, not the entrance, so I'm not catching them in the entrance, so I can't really use that data to know if they're in that bedding area.

So I've actually, I've played off this where I don't have a camera on the entry. I just have it on the exit and actually I'm catching at the time I'm killing them. I think there's a piece of this where there is a game and chip piece that I absolutely [00:41:00] agree with you. And I think we're taking it to an extreme level and I'm not saying, cameras, I'm not using cameras to my advantage. I absolutely am. It's a time saver for me personally. And I think you're in the same exact boat.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, it's I said, it's tough because technology, like Delaware, I hunt Delaware quite a bit and they ban trail cameras on all public can't use them at all.

And, but you can use on private, you can bait on private and you can use cell cameras on private, but there's no baiting on public or trail cameras on public. So like Delaware they went harsh on that. And I just put out a bunch of cameras like the day before, I think June 1st was the time you're allowed to put cameras.

I went out. Two days prior and put a bunch of cameras because I had free time and they come to find out that ban cameras. I'm like, so I was like, I drove down there three weeks later and I took the cameras and it was like, I had two cameras are just unreal. And Delaware has an early opener.

I'm like, my goodness. And it was like, [00:42:00] and set up, I never did get the hunt of spots because of the wind was awful. But I was like, man, it would have been nice to run those cameras. For three months and have these bucks coming through and working this scrape over and be like, we're coming into the field.

That's, it was like camera angle was good. Everything was money. And it's ah, so

Jon Teater: back to old school hunting, back to observation.

Greg Litzinger: Yep. And it was an early season. You find the food, you just cut tracks, like I don't, I'll walk field edges and cut tracks, and I was on some nice deer, just couldn't get close enough.

My buddy's seen a couple of big ones and we hunted for a couple of days, but. Just the amount of people in that area was just astronomical, man. It was just crazy. Because it went, like you said, old school. So people couldn't run the camera. So there was a lot of driving around classing like old school style.

There was a lot of people classing the day before the season. I'm like, man, there's a lot of people on the side of the road, looking all looking at the beam fields, but technology it's. It's nice[00:43:00] and I'm not a big data guy personally, like I don't have spreadsheets because I will drive myself crazy with data.

I can overanalyze everything and it'll be death by data. I'll be so skitzed out by all the numbers, pictures, and the wind, the moon, the pressure. It feels like it takes my my senses away. I want to keep myself sharp. And like that, keep that, I don't want to lose that wismanship because it's hard to get back once something is gone.

It's oh, this is easier. So you're like alright, it's easier, I don't need to work as hard. And I don't want to... I don't want to get to that point where I'm always looking for like the easy way out if you would

Jon Teater: know and totally relate to you a conversation I have with my partner today.

We talked this morning. And he's he's got a similar perspective to you and that's drawn me back into, the early two thousands when I was doing [00:44:00] the grind, the day grinds and hunting a little bit differently and not so data driven and, this strategic, I'll just, people, and I've said this many times in this podcast, I would try to collectively hunt 10 hours a year.

Okay. 10 cumulative hours a year. I would want to be killed out by 10 hours. If I hunted over 10 hours, I failed. So my objective is to work in the off season, do as much scouting habitat development, those types of things. And when it comes to execution, I'm done as early and I'm not it.

And what that did is it took away the instinctual piece of, my understanding of what actually is happening, because there's one thing to scout. There's another thing to see it. And putting the two together, in some cadence, it makes it mean more meaningful. I would suggest for anybody, if you can take a piece out of this discussion that we're having today is, get back to that guttural, we talked about the mindset and flow and thinking about, this predator kind of prey environment, I think.

I think, Greg, that's what I'm getting out of this discussion with you and I think [00:45:00] that's, I think it's helpful for folks. Yeah,

Greg Litzinger: and but I before, like I said, my daughter was born, I was hunting with Johnny Stewart quite a bit, going out there quite a bit. And it's just, it's tough to get out there now cause it, it's seven hours away.

So it's been last couple of years. It's been rough time wise get out there. But Johnny's very, him and I are very similar with our mindset. You're going to kill, like you can just feel it. You have, you believe you got to believe it. Like you have to see it. You have to feel it.

If you go out and get up every morning Oh, here we go again, you've already set yourself up for failure. So it's like you get up and it's five straight days of getting your butt kicked. I think it's the greatest five days in the world, whether I'm seeing deer or not, because that, you have to believe you're going to kill mentally, like you got to know what's going to happen and be ready when it does.

Like I lost that deer before I shot that one and it sucked. It sucks losing a deer. And two days after losing that one that I shot that one and there [00:46:00] was no way that I was not going to kill that deer. Like I, once I got the full draw, that deer was moving around and I'm like. In my head, I'm like, you're dead.

Just stop moving. You know how this ends. I know how this ends. So I was like, he's he's trying to find this, center of the dough, and he's catching whiffs of me, but I'm like, dude, just stop for a second. Cause I, I don't like shooting moving deer in the rut, I want him to sit still.

And and the moment he just paused for a second, boom, and it was like gone. And he was like, blood just, he was dead as soon as the arrow hit him. And it was like, there was no doubt in my mind. When I seen that deer, he was going to die. Yeah.

Jon Teater: And I'll end with this. And I think, if you want to add it's pleasure in the grind.

Don't think about those five days. Heck, you could be doing a lot worse things picking, picking stone or, working just think of something that's really a lot more difficult than enjoying the outdoors and take pleasure in those days. And the other thing you brought up is. Is hunt unconventionally.

And what I say [00:47:00] is utilize days that people don't consider like today. And I'll just tell everybody today, it was 82 degrees at my house. Guess what? My shooter showed up at one of my key hunting locations. And the reason I didn't go is because I'm getting torn up by mosquitoes in our area. Just torn up and I won't run a thermal cell.

I just I can't hunt in those conditions. And I just said. Actually, I felt like today was a probability to kill and something guttally said you could kill today. Today's your day if you go killing. And I didn't go after it cause I was working on my furnace. Priorities take take place.

So Greg, anything you want to end with you, anything motivating or anything that you're thinking or any tactics that you want to throw out for people this October, just,

Greg Litzinger: just go out and Enjoy the moment, man. Let last year be last year. Learn from this year, don't carry any baggage, any missed deer or anything like that.

Just go out and enjoy it because not to sound morbid, but it could be your last season. Sure. Something could happen, life changes, things happen, and[00:48:00] I had an accident, I had a treason accident years ago, so I appreciate every hunting season because I almost lost everything from my accident, so I probably think the way I do because of that day, like I almost lost everything, and so every season, whether I'm killed or not, is a fantastic season, man.

Jon Teater: Yeah. Way to end on that. I appreciate you, Greg. I appreciate you taking time tonight and we'll talk again soon and good luck this, all right. We'll talk soon. See you

Greg Litzinger: later. 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.