Technical Hunting Series Rut Breeding Phase

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Eric Hansen (Just Hunt Club) discuss the rut and strategies around how to be successful.  Eric and Jon discuss preplanned setups and how to build hunting locations around the rut and how in some instances mobile setups are essential. Jon discusses the “right” days to hunt and details how he chooses those days in the woods. Eric details a close encounter with a giant buck and what explains how he setups his areas to be successful all year.

Eric details his setups and simple techniques and locations that should be considered when laying out a property and thinking through deer movement.  Eric explains how he uses trail cameras to develop a rut strategy and certain modes of operation that allow trail cameras to work better for data intel. Eric explains when he uses calls and when he decides to grunt at deer.

Eric breaks down specific rut spots in both areas with large agriculture fields and areas of forested land. Jon and Eric explain tips and tricks that increase use of areas during the rut. Eric explains changes he will make going forward to set up his hunting locations to ensure better opportunities.

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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 Teeter.

I'm John Titor of Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximize Your Hunt. Welcome back everybody. I have been busy hunting and Learning about what's going on in my own property amongst other properties that I hunt Currently and I had a great night tonight. I had two bucks Come into a set. I did a hanging hunt and it's been a pretty productive season for me I've been passing up, several deer.

There's one particular [00:01:00] deer. I'm going after right now and I think it's a low probability to kill, but I'm trying to put the pieces together. Seems like a lot of these deer, they're on to something, right? They have a plan. They've been planning out their their execution on some of these does.

They're trying to get ready to breed some of these does, or they're breeding does at this point. And it's prep time. So a lot of you that have these spots picked out, it's go time. It's not paying attention to your cameras. It's getting in the woods. And today I got Eric Hanson back. He was on a podcast previously we've done, and we're going to talk a little bit about his season, what's to come for him and how to rut hunt.

Hey, Eric, are you on the line? I'm here. How are you? Good. Welcome back, man. Happy to have you. Let's talk about your season a little bit so far and some of the strategy that you've already employed at least, maybe even talk about some of the setups that you're currently hunting.

And then I want to do prep and planning for the rut because when this comes out, it'll be,[00:02:00] during the breeding phase. So I want people to start understanding your approach and tactics. So let's hear about your season so far. Sure. So I am generally a private land guy. I'll say that up front because that makes a little bit of a difference.

So I like to, I'm big on the blinds per our last podcast. Obviously as well, but I like to have. Several, when I say several I'm talking dozens of, preset or setups, whether it's a blind stand, et cetera, usually based around, that early season, and then a lot of times that translates into late season.

But, at the same time, I do hunt some still private land, but it has pressure from other hunters. I don't own it. In those particular situations, I'll be doing the hanging hunts like you did. Or, you always find yourself having to tweak stuff a little bit. Yep. But, I think the cool part is he spent so much time in the offseason getting ready.

The season's like the relaxing part. It's like you get to [00:03:00] watch it unfold in front of you. Did it work? Did I do this right? Is this going to work? Maybe I need to hunt here a different time of year. This, this is awesome this time of year. Just watching everything play out and see how well he did.

Yeah, I think it's having a plan and executing but at the same point it's adapting and to that point, you know I like I'm doing freestyle hunting if I feel like I'm putting too much pressure on an area, you know I'll go hunt another farm and then you know my strategy right now and like tonight I was just tweaking a few things with my setup I, I bought, I don't even know I have, so my setup is like for my hanging on setups.

It's a lone wolf custom gear 1. 0. I've got the sticks. I've been using this setup for the past couple of years and I bought new clips. So I would, I was finding was, I wasn't quiet as I wanted to be or as quiet as I wanted to be. So I'm doing a little bit better of selecting trees and getting my setup in there a little quieter.

I walked in tonight and it's super crunchy. So I could only go in the woods probably about 30 yards and all these [00:04:00] deer were using these Congregate areas. I call them intermediate cover and all it is, young beach brush in concert with sugar maple and just awesome little staging areas for some of these does to hide in place as these bucks are navigating, these different travel corridors.

And so I'm hunting just outside a transition area from one, we'll just say intermediate area or focal point to another point. And I find that to be a pretty good strategy from this point, through the rest of the rut. And, I, we each have our own things that are going on, but that seems to work well for me versus, having these pre planned, pre setup, situations, which ultimately, I usually have more success in those locations, but, caution to the wind, I might just go for something and, in some cases, if I don't think those pre setups are going to work for me, I'm going to have to use, a climber in my hanging hunt setup.

So I'm trying to [00:05:00] be flexible, when, and most of my hunting, no different from yours, I want things like strategically laid out. And so it's a little more clockwork. It doesn't necessarily always flow that way, deer comes in a leaves and B and I'm not guessing where they're coming and going.

I don't know. It's just my take on things right now. Yeah, we did a hanging hunt the other day and we weren't even that high in the tree and it was remarkable what the takeaway was from it is they deer didn't even Look, there was nothing. They were totally oblivious. You know what I mean?

It was just that surprise element's the real deal. And, the fact that, the old saying your first time in is usually your best time in. And I believe it, it doesn't mean you can't kill them after that, but they, it is remarkable. That element of surprise and you definitely got to do it.

And, people think you got private land and you don't need any mobile setup. And like I started saddle hunting three years ago and actually just like you, I'm literally staring at a lone wolf custom gear. I [00:06:00] got the 0. 75 that I just ordered. Cause to your point, you're always trying to do it a little bit better, a little bit quieter.

When people are surprised. Did I do those, those hanging hunts and it's just, yeah, it's private ground, but you gotta keep them guessing for sure. Yeah, I like that. You're like a ghost and you vanish, but at the same point when you show up, the lights can go out real quick for these deer.

So another cool observation I made today, which I thought was interesting is, so one of the does bedded down and it was a doe fawn and she bedded down and the mother came up and she did like it sounded almost like a maternal grunt. I don't hear that too often. I wasn't far from these deer. I was within, I don't know, 15 yards or less.

And I heard her give a little, almost sounded like a grunt kicking the fawn up. She wanted the fawn to get out of that area before that buck came through, which I thought was interesting. That was my afternoon hunt. My morning hunt was cool. I had. A button buck come through with his his mother and they were [00:07:00] directly downwind of me.

And again, the high pressure system saves the day again, like it's picking the right day where, you throw out your milkweed and we pay so much attention and like using like observation tools like that, your set molecules are so light. If you see that milkweed rising at all. At any point, your scent molecules are doing like a thousand times that.

Where the milk, we went over the doe's head. It was, I'm sitting there thinking I'm beyond safe at this point. There's no way that she's going to, even downwind catch my scent. So there's certain days you can get away with so much and. It's finding those right days, at least making the huntable days, better for you picking the right location, but recognizing that you can get away with murder in some instances, and that was my takeaway from today's hunt for me personally.

Yeah, interesting. I did not, I haven't hunted in a few days. I I was telling you beforehand that I had, The perfect scenario will come into play on my target buck. Everything [00:08:00] except the final part. And I'll leave it at that. But this deer dropped like a foot at the shot. It was a 30 yard shot. Long story short, he's still going.

He'll be fine. Pretty much the rest of my season is going to be after him. And if it works out, and I think everybody will see why if it works out. Yeah, so I haven't hunted in a bit. I'm trying to get my daughter on one. She, a funny story, she's shooting like 40 pounds and she got her first shot two days ago at a doe and I was filming it and It was a little bit of a circus because I'm trying to film and arrange it and open the windows, if we're in a blind and, the arrow, it goes like a twink, and it's like, you can literally see it going through the air and the doe just ducks out of the way and the thing went like long ways over her back.

That was attempt number one for her. I think she's starting to realize it's not as easy as she thinks it's gonna be. It's been fun. It's been fun. Yeah, I can relate. No shots fired on my end, but we've had some close encounters and my son is blaming me for every mistake that [00:09:00] happens. I actually had my buddy take him out one of the nights and he saw seven deer, he had a chance and, he's.

We're at 20 yards. 23 yards, the doe comes in and then she gives him a backside shot and obviously he's not taking that. So we've just been, it's been a cat and mouse game. I think, not this weekend, but the following weekend we'll get a game plan together. I don't mind hunting with him in the rut, him getting to see the action.

And, it's, if you saw some of the stuff I saw tonight, I think he would have just. He hasn't seen that. So he doesn't know what it takes. What's ridiculous. I want to mention this is all these States have different regulations. So anybody who listens to this probably recognizes I'm in New York.

I actually live in central New York area. And the one thing about New York that's absurd is they have this youth hunt, right? And I'm not opposed to the youth hunt at all. But we wanted to, and I know Eric, you're anti this, but he's really struggling to be accurate at times with that ball. And I said, you know what, why don't we take the cross ball?[00:10:00]

And I started looking at the regulations, and during that youth firearm season, you can't use cross ball. I was gonna, I was gonna correct you when you said the one thing that's crazy about New York. Yeah, it's not like that, there's multiple things, but yeah. I didn't know that either, but okay.

You know what I say, you know what, Obviously, I'm trying to be very law abiding, obviously, because my career here, so I'm just double checking stuff, et cetera. And I'm thinking to myself, Oh my goodness, thank God I checked the regulations again. There was a little small, written, in small print on a map that you could not use crossbow.

And we have been practiced with a crossbow because, they're at 25 and he's just, he's not there at 25 or we're just not there. We're 15 and in, and I've got these spots set up. I'm like, I'm tempted the next rainstorm to go out and put fencing in so I can get them a little bit closer.

Just, we're just, I want it to go down for him and I have not killed a deer on my property. I got to take out two does this year really should take out three. And I really I'm getting in that part of the year where I'm like, I'm taking away, [00:11:00] food options for other deer by letting the season start to.

to carry on. And I think very consciously of this is, my, my deer population, how much food is being consumed almost on the daily and how much, I give up a month, two months. Start doing the math, right? That's a lot of food. When these deer at this point in time need really need those resources.

So I think about the important element of that is particularly three deer and a small property. It's meaningful when they're spending that much time on your property All right. I want to skip over this stuff. I want to some of the information That I think is important for people to think about is looking at You know the next phase is the rut And having a plan of action So I want to hear how you approach this next phase of the season And some of the tactics that you employ spot setups, anything specific or pertinent that you would think would be relevant to somebody who's preparing for this time of year, maybe even motivation, because I think, some people get to the point where they're like, Oh man, I [00:12:00] haven't seen a deer in a day, or am I in the right spot?

Or, they just start questioning themselves. And so I want to hear, Eric's take on, your next phase of this and what it looks like for you. Personally, I love right now till about the first few days of November, and then, obviously it can get a little chaotic, deer traveling, crazy amounts of ground, et cetera.

The rut isn't, I'll be the first to tell you it's not my favorite. It's exciting, but for me personally and how I set things up, it's not my favorite. Doesn't mean I don't hunt it. It's very exciting. I have... I have these food plots that, multiple, and yeah, you set them up for early season, sometimes a staging as they work out to the big ag fields or whatever, but they also work in the rut, because the bucks will check those sometimes it's the easiest path to walk.

And they can check those. Obviously I have most of those on the downwind side of bedding area as it is. So you'll catch these bucks maybe showing themselves a [00:13:00] lot more than they would this time of year. In terms of the motivation part, I think that I just think that if you've done it long enough it's just the magical time of year.

So you don't, if you need motivation, I guess maybe you're, I get it. It gets hard sitting there all day, but anything can happen at any time. I think cell cameras come into play in terms of just knowing okay, this buck is in this particular area. He's with a doe or he was by himself.

If he was by himself on the cell camera on November 7th. He's at two in the morning. He's probably not worth going in there because he's probably long since passed. But, if you catch him with a dough and you can probably put myself cameras on instant group. I use a stealth cam and you get instant group and it basically does is it keeps taking pictures until there's no more movement.

So it's not like having on video. That takes up a lot of space and whatnot, and it's tough with cell cams, but it's instant group, so it just keeps taking pictures, [00:14:00] so you get the, direction of travel, how fast they're going, what's going on, so that's been a, that's been a big plus for me this year to run that feature.

I look forward to it during the rut, especially. I think it'll help a lot. Yeah, that's interesting. I didn't know Stealth has that option. That's a nice feature to have. I I like hearing more about that because I think a lot of people get sucked into, sitting there and they're like, your cell cameras are going off and they get like a blank, you get a blank picture, you miss the deer, you got the tail end of the deer, or maybe just got a frontal the deer, you don't get the full story.

And you're like, okay, there's movement. And then it's trying to get ahead of that movement. A lot of times it's predicting what these deer are going to do. And, oddly enough, like it's knowing before they know, what's going to go down. And it's, if you set up these properties correctly, rut movement's pretty predictable in the sense of how they navigate the landscape.

It's like you said earlier, you're making the path of least resistance or giving the deer the most opportunity to evaluate, from a safety or reproductive standpoint, a particular area, and [00:15:00] then the other piece of it is vocalization. What do you typically do? Are you a big, a lot of people want to use grants or bleeds or, a type of tonality do you like deeper ground tubes?

What is your typical go to vocalization tools and how often do you use those? I have very mixed results with that stuff. Whether it's a grunt, snort, wheeze. I've had it work like magic. But, man, I've had probably more than half of it work. They just... They either don't care, I've had them get scared and run the other way I mean I had, mature bucks get scared and run the other way, and I don't think I sound that bad, maybe it is me, but I just don't, man, I don't know, I don't, I usually do not call blindly that's just me, I don't want the deer to be able to pin anything down, I just want to be, I want to be a ghost.

I just want to be there in the right spot, and then when he comes by, capitalize. Will I do it if I [00:16:00] see the deer going the other way? Sure I will. I did it the other night with my daughter. There was a buck at the other end of the plot, and he was following does, and I tried it, and he scrapes the ground, all aggressive, but ultimately, he was going to follow those does.

You're, will it work? Sure. But me personally, eh, at best, 50 50. One thing I noticed recently, and this is on my own property, is I've been noticing, up into this period of time this is going to come out during the rut period, but in this, second half, or later half of October, I've noticed a lot of blowing throughout my property.

I think there's a lot of alarm calls going off with the does. And it's not, it could be a form because there's predators in the areas that have had a lot of coyotes cruising through at certain points in time, not as many as they have in the past, which shows me they're not transversing the property the same way they used to, which is a good thing.

And I think it's some of the work that I've been doing to disrupt their movement. But separately from that is, they're [00:17:00] blowing a lot. They're on high alert. I'm trying to, they always say hunt the does. I'm trying to figure out where the does are trying to co locate and what I'm finding is the maternal element of these deer is to try to, stay on the food as long as possible until they're disruptive, enough.

And they're getting to that point where they're starting to get highly disruptive, where they're a little more scattered. And it's trying to figure out what areas they're using and why. And when I used to hunt big farm country, it would just be the most random hedgerow or, they'd have this little small, I guess overgrown area out in the field.

I just saw the most random things in those instances, but in my own property, it's it's hard to pinpoint their exact locations where their traditional bedding areas get disruptive pretty easily because I don't have on a small property. I don't have the depth. I don't have the volume to cover these.

These bedding areas are half an acre. They're not three acres or four acres. [00:18:00] So because of that, I don't They're easily penetrated by bucks, right? And so they're disruptive and, the deer goes from one area to the next area, but they're in high alert at this point. And I've noticed that kind of behaviorally and watching their, their physiology, how they walk around and.

Just their attentiveness to what's going on. I've been watching these deer check out this one location consistently because that's where all the bucks have been coming up. And it's just, it's funny to watch that on your property and okay, so how can I give them more comfort in some of these areas, to make the hunting a little bit better when it comes to the rut.

And I think I gave some examples there. Size matters at that point. So what are things that you're noticing on the landscape or thoughts that you have just maybe in regards to set up and things of that nature? Yeah, you definitely need, you're definitely going to see less does in the food, the feeding areas, whether it's a big, like for me, I got the big ag fields, but I also got the smaller plots, but either one of them, the does aren't gonna be as frequent.

This [00:19:00] time of year, I'll go into spots and you may see a dozen, a dozen does, depending on the size of it, maybe more, but that is going to go away. And if you continue to sit that pattern, you're going to get real frustrated during the rut. I've been there, I've been there, done that.

Do food plots work during the run? They can, and it's those smaller ones that are maybe inside the cover more. And I think the does can still go to those, and they'll be on high alert. You'll definitely see them. They're like, they're wired. They're looking around for everything. And it shifts from maybe, Wired looking for human pressure to wired looking for those bucks that are just, harassing them constantly So I think this like you said the size of the food plot the type of food plot it is It can either be a dud during the rut or it can still be effective and I think deciphering the difference in those Takes, just time and experience to figure that out Let's talk about a good area on a property that you hunt or own and set up for this scenario and I want to know What it looks like, size [00:20:00] of it, how it lays out the hunting aspect of it as well.

Again, for me I have the benefit of having, ag country, big farm fields. But then I also have... The property with much more cover, still some ag fields, but the ag fields are somewhat irrelevant because there's not much there as you get into the, the November, December time frame.

If you want to start with the ag scenario, the big ag, for me, it's like you mentioned, it's small cover it's little postage stamps here and there. And for me, it might be some obscure setup. Like a hedgerow, or like a low spot in a field that connects, there might not even be any cover in it, but the low spot in the field connects two sections of timber.

Like you'll be setting up on these spots sometimes in ag country, and it's, people think crazy some days, and I think I am crazy at times too. Like you're what am I sitting here for? But if those deer are cruising, that's where they're going to go. And it might be the backside [00:21:00] of a hill, just a little bit over.

It could be it could be just the shortest point of the shortest gap from one section to the other. We find ourselves in hedgerows a lot just because that's where those bucks will run, so that's like in an egg setting. And I can go deeper into that if you want. More of the bigger wood setting, it's still these, in those situations I have the small food plots but instead of being on those plots, I have stands set up in between them, so to speak, more in the cover, where if I set up there in early October, it'd probably be pretty boring.

I wouldn't see the numbers of deer. I might catch them going through, but I don't have the mature bucks in those areas, but I know when it, when they start cruising, looking for things, that's when they're going to use those spots. Eric, that example that you're talking about where it's a little more forested and smaller food plots.

What's the relative distance you are from the food sources and what time of day are you typically hunting those? [00:22:00] Distance that I hunt from the food sources. Yeah. Yeah So in these transition areas or areas maybe adjacent to batting or whatever the case may be or their cruising locations a little more Descriptive on relative distance what they look like.

What's the timber like and what time of day do you hunt them? Sure. So I've got plots that back up to large bedding like it goes into a river bottom and then up on a on a hillside and all that's bedding and. The food plot is the first thing that they hit when they come out of that bedding.

But they're on their way to more cover if that makes sense. Sure. So I can still effectively hunt those food plots because at certain spots, they're only 30 yards wide. I might have a two acre plot just because I need to feed deer. But it'll narrow up in certain spots and, you can find those travel corridors and still hunt the food, so to speak, it's just you're hunting food, not for that movement where they come out and stand there and feed for, 45 minutes and then work off.

It's more [00:23:00] of they're going to be passing through. They're checking for those. They kick some doughs out of the cover next to it. And then, you could have your chance. Does that answer your question on that one or no? Yeah, no, it does. And so I'm a little interested how you, people want to hear about this kind of stuff, the architecture piece of it.

So you said you got like a two acre food plot. So what have you done within the food plot to push deer one way or the other? Are you using fencing or is it, what you're planning there? Is it corn? What are you using to shape that movement? Not both. I'll do corn sometimes. Mowing corn.

If you've got a big enough plot and then you start to mow it in sections, that's a tremendous resource to have. But besides that, yeah, cutting giant trees down to narrow up a plot in a certain area. I'll tell you though, I'll tell you a story that's very relevant over the last couple days.

I have a food plot that's, relatively long and narrow, if you want to call it like an L shape in general. It's not quite that, but in general. And I've got a blind and a narrow spot, on the point [00:24:00] of the L, so to speak. Just trying to draw a picture. I can't get... Mature deer especially, but even just, middle aged does call it.

They, for whatever reason, won't come around that corner. I watched them for two hunts in a row, and they're down on the ends of this plot, but they're just going crossways in the narrow section. They'll come out and eat or whatever, but they're just crossing on the ends of the L, if that makes sense.

So for whatever reason, they're not comfortable coming all the way down in there, and it's not like I overhunt it, by any means. So I don't know if they're going to do that during the rut more, but I'm going to need to tweak that setup a little bit, and just simply move, I'm going to have to get in a tree stand, and just hunt those ends of that L.

I don't know if that, I'm trying to paint the visual, it makes any sense. No, it does. Yeah, that's not surprising to me. And, we've had so Perry Batten's been on here. We've talked a lot about how the juries let their food plots. That's exactly how they lay them out a little bit more of a boomerang setting, but same principle behind it.[00:25:00]

I won't do that on properties that I designed. I very rarely will do that because what I've found over the years is and I don't fully, I don't fully understand why, but I know that I've seen these movement and flow. So my own property, for example, unless it's like a short corridor where they're connecting, like the space is like 50 yards that, and there's an L and it's 50 yards, like that will work.

But if it lengthens for whatever reason, they seem like they're pinched down too. And with minor these slopey movements, so it's I'll have a slopey movement, and then I'll come across with, some type of cover. I've been really hesitant to put fencing out in food plots.

I've actually found that to be a huge deterrent for their actual natural movement. But beyond that, big bucks do not, and I don't know why this is, but they will totally, in our area, scatterbrain when you start doing it. I've actually seen like a lower rate of usage when you start adding fencing to food plots.

And I think it doesn't work well, and it disrupts their natural [00:26:00] movement, which is not a good thing. So the more I've tried to constrict their movement, the more I realize I've got to back up and make them, give them the movement they want naturally, and maybe expand it a little bit. And don't make them feel too confined because I don't know what the definition of too confined is what I'm getting at, but it's something along those lines is too restrictive to them and it makes them feel, out of sorts.

It also could be you're working with this, and I'm not trying to solve the problem, but you're working with these two divergent kind of. Atmospheres where you have one end and the other end, and one end, even if the food source is equivalent, all the way throughout. And what they've tried to do, the juries, is they've tried to vary that food source.

So there's more preferential food right in the center around that boomerang point. And that's the driving force. But confinement's a big deal. Does not work. I have done this though. I've dropped a tree in a food plot one time like that And it acted as fencing as long as it wasn't [00:27:00] too restrictive They were comfortable with it because it was a food source And so yeah, there's another piece of that kind of works whether than just putting fencing out, etc So not that it solves your problem or anybody else's problem, but I think That observation you're making is not too far off from what I've seen and some of the designs that I've done.

So I think it's good. Yeah, it is. And I'll a couple things to add to it. I where I recently shot that book that I was telling you about that particular setup is what I would call a rut field, which is just like some planted pine trees, some overgrown brush. It's a rut field, right? And it's on the downwind side of a timbered area.

And we simply went in there and It just did a, it's probably four yards wide. It's basically a small disc width. And we just went down through that rut field and just made a trail, right? Just it just opened it up. Something simple, right? Now, to contrast my last [00:28:00] statement about the L shaped food plot in the timber and I'm not wanting to do it, those deer are walking that strip right there.

I'd put some rye and clover in it, but it's in that rut field. And I think, to your point, One of the conclusions I have is they can still see very well because, the rut field, they can still see across that. It's not like it's over their head or anything. Yeah. So they feel extremely comfortable in that, and there's still only a couple leaps from that, that wooded...

edge. But gosh, those deer are just following that to a tee and so did that big guy that night and previous nights as well. It's just I wasn't sitting in that blind. But so there's a situation where I've had it work tremendously well with just a thin strip, just defining the movement down through some cover.

I've seen even you mentioned the juries. I've seen him drive a tire through fields. And they'll, deer will follow the tire tracks. Yeah. Yep. I can verify that. I see that all the time. I see them follow tractor tracks through a, like a clover field. They'll [00:29:00] follow stupid tractor tracks, and it seems silly, but...

They do it. I tried something this year just because that was a good pairing. I had a conversation at, to that point is I waited for a wet day. I drove and I thought this would move the deer closer to the blind and it worked. Is. I drove my tractor and they followed the tractor track and he said, you watch, they'll follow that again.

That was bare ground. I didn't get much going in that section, which I hate, I hate giving up any space to not, not have food in there, it's just a small couple of, a couple of tracks there, but no you're 100 percent right. It seems it's the oddest, it's, There's these little pieces of this puzzle that are interesting.

The other thing on my own property is interesting. So I have, I put in like willow screening and I've been using it. I always put it in for fencing. So I make it really dense so the deer can't get through it. So this saved me last night. A nice buck comes in and he got a whiff of something.

And he was like, what's up? And he turned and he's sitting there and he's licking his nose [00:30:00] waiting to see, what's going on. He couldn't get his antlers through the wicket because he was going to start going downwind of me. He was going to cut through the willows.

But again, this, a little thing that I planned ahead on this. I've been using this, tactic for years is interweaving willows. So they can't get through it because I don't like putting up fencing all over the place. It just seems really unnatural. And the only time I'm doing fencing is some distance away from my stand sites or, box blinds would have you where I've got an access trail in there.

And I want to put up, some barriers so they're not traveling down that access trail. And I put fencing up, and I basically put T posts, one side or the other, and I've got a little gap where I can get around it. Usually some structure, and I move part of the fence, and I can sneak through there.

That's the only time I do that. I do not want to be overly restrictive of these deers. I think it takes, the gamesmanship or the hunting piece out of it. I'm just, I don't know. People can disagree with me, but that's my philosophy. My own property, do with what you want. So I don't know.

It's just interesting [00:31:00] using vegetation and again what do those deer do? They fall right down that like the willows, just like it's a hydro and they're as tight as possible to those willows. So what I have to do is I have to cut gaps in it so I can shoot through it, a little gap, and it's just interesting because they're so close.

They're within five yards of the box blind. It's just okay. It's too close. It's too close to shoot. My box lines aren't even that elevated, but I cannot shoot over the vegetation. So yeah, that's that's, and in the rainstorm, it is massive rainstorm. I went out and I have like a hedge trimmer that's, it's got a shaft and a long head.

And I went out in the rainstorm and I, my son was complaining that I didn't set him up properly in the stand. So I went out there and I buzzed down the willows, just to give him a better chance so he could shoot him, shoot over him. Cause I like. You suspect he can't shoot more than 20 yards, so we're limited, but he wants those close shots.

So I did that the other night amongst hanging about 20 solar panels [00:32:00] and getting soaked and everything else that goes along with, this time of year when you're coming up with a plan of action. Alright oh yeah. My daughter's, it is boring. If we don't see more than six or eight deer, it's boring.

She doesn't wanna go back to that stand anymore. . Yeah. We had, we, we had, like we, you and I have had this conversation, right? Okay okay. I'm ecstatic when I see four deer. And again, these are my areas, like you're saying, it's my goodness, like what's a good. They get, they got to see tough before they know what good is, so I don't know.

My son's I'm getting too cold. The other night I said, man up, like man up, I want to go home and relax. We should just go relax. I'm like, you're giving up a chance to shoot a deer right now. I said. I want you to consciously make that decision. He's yeah, I want to go home. I was like, you want to go home?

I said, all i, and I said, I'm not going to hold you hostage up here. If you want to go home, we'll go home. And we snuck out and. We went home, I'm not going to force, I'm not going to force something. All right, Eric, I want to get off that. I want to get back into any [00:33:00] other little topic or any other thing that you think would help somebody, in the rut at this point in time, that might be an advantage that a lot of people aren't thinking about something that maybe it's worked for you in the past that you've used as a tactic.

Yeah, so this can be related, but also, current because I'm gonna go back to these I had two hunts and I wish I had this, because every time something doesn't, everything went right on this buck hunt that I'm referring to, and I don't want to beat a dead horse. So you ask yourself, what could I have done different, right?

I'm hunting out of a box blind, but take this into the rut as well, and I think it'll apply. I, the only thing I wish I did different is I had to grunt to stop that deer, okay? And I'm, in a box blind, you're shooting out of narrow windows, right? So I had to grunt to stop him in a particular spot.

If a buck is cruising during the rut... similar type thing, you're going to have to grunt to stop that deer. What I wish, and I'm going to do it in any of these, any [00:34:00] places I can, I am a big proponent of simply planting a scrape tree in a particular, if it's a rut, a cruising area. For this situation with me, it was in that strip that I planted inside that rut field.

If I could have put a licking branch, a scrape tree of some sort right there, And do it based on your tree stand, get in the tree stand if you have to do it now, you can still pull it off, just do it on the right day, if it's in a blind, get in the blind so you know literally what window you're going to be shooting out of and put that there because it can be the difference between that deer dropping a foot when you shoot and being relaxed, just checking that scrape tree.

So for me, that was an eye opener. It's probably the only thing I can say I wish I did different out of that hunt, but you can do it. The same thing applies for turning the rut. Those deer are going to be going crazy, but they may stop and check a tree, clicking branch, something like that. It's a good takeaway.

Give you that split second. [00:35:00] Yeah, no I think it slows them down and it makes it, like you said, keeps them off edge. And obviously when you're talking about a deer of the caliber you're going after you need everything to work out just right. So it's putting everything on all the cards on your side.

The other piece of this is maybe a good thing to end with is you don't feel defeated at this point. I'm certainly you're not pleased with the outcome, but you don't feel defeated. So you're still having to go at it, right? How do you, get after it again without feeling, too down, right?

Because this is tremendous deer, right? Yeah. For me, I've screwed up. I've screwed up on other ones in the past. It was just me being a dumbass on something, right? When, in this situation the difference to me is, the plan came together so good. I really wouldn't have done anything different.

I don't know what I would have done different, other than maybe, if I had a licking branch there, maybe I wouldn't have had to, grunt with my mouth to stop him and put him on edge. I'm, the deer does not [00:36:00] have an arrow in him. It's through him. It's a non vital hit. Everybody I talk to says, you'll see him again, you'll see him again.

That's a saving grace for me with this thing. The other thing that helps is we're going into a really good time of the year where that deer is going to and have that urge to breed. It's not like it's late season or something where he might just hold up and just, go underground totally like we're going into the time of year where he should be visible.

Those the combination of all those things is keeping me somewhat sane. I cannot watch the video of it. Because that drives me crazy because you just don't get that many chances like that. The video is. It's great. Everything, it's, everything's in frame. It's right there. It's just perfect.

I can't sit there and watch that or I will go crazy, but I'm just going to start hunting him again, even if I don't get a trail cam picture of him. I have a lot of trail cams out, but even prior to that hunt, when I got the shot at him, he was only on [00:37:00] maybe one of the 15 trail cameras on that property per night.

So it wasn't like. He was showing up a bunch anyway, so he might still, he might be there and just not go by. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. So yeah, I just, everything came together. The plan was so perfect and I get enjoyment out of that, but man, it just gives me a whole, I respect those animals so much as it is, but then when something like this happens.

And that deer literally saved his life at 30 yards. I'm shooting a 75 pound bow. It's no joke, that thing's going fast, but that thing dropped like a foot and turned at the same time. And it's just 30 yards is like a danger zone for that. They're close enough to hear it.

But they're far enough away to respond if that makes sense 30 yards. That's a that's tricky Yeah, and then drop to bound where they drop to bound and get out and it's amazing You know their ability to sense and hear that right prior to actually [00:38:00] impact and we're talking milliseconds before you know a deer can actually react and in all fairness, his reaction saved his life, at least at this point in time, more than likely.

So it's not a, it's not a bad thing because it gets you another shot at the apple. And at the same point, the way I look at these scenarios, not that they're good is it's a lot probably went into that strategy and execution piece of it. Like you, you had it dialed, like you were prepared, like when those things come together, like in your hunting career, it's just so satisfying beyond satisfying.

It's I called my shot. It's the Babe Ruth. scenario, and it's so meaningful. I've had that happen over my career many times, and it just has given me so much confidence and like I have nothing to prove. And I think you're, in a similar boat, it's just, it's a caliber thing. It's a quality thing.

It's, we don't have deer [00:39:00] of that caliber show up every day. It's not something that you're in and you want a really good area, mind you, but it's not something that's a common occurrence for us in our state. So for a lot of people that have multiples of high caliber deer. It's on to the next and we sit and probably think a little bit longer about that because there may not be another deer of that caliber for some time.

So it's just being mindful of everyone's different scenarios. And I don't envy the guy that has 10 of those, running around. I don't, I think that's his circumstance and that's great for him. Whereas, Eric, even though you do hunt a pretty good area, it's you're mindful of the quality that you're trying to pursue and it takes a long time to get a deer to that age class and of that caliber, it's a rarity.

Yeah. Yeah. I'm not going to, pretty much now it's that one or. Barring some huge, tremendous surprise I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna go after him and that's it, and that's how it [00:40:00] was anyway, going into it. I was like, that particular one, I just, that was the one I wanted to get and I tend to do that.

I think that's a lot of fun. Just lock in the other one, trying to learn it and, the cool part is, alright, so it's, that situation, I set it up, it was, you read the script, you did it, right? He's still alive. Alright, now that deer... Depending on who you talk to, they're all, I don't know what he's going to do.

Somebody has one opinion, somebody has another. The deer's personality is going to play into that. I'm going to have to get, I have a really strong hunch, I'm going to have to get creative as we go. I would be shocked if he walked by that blind again unless he was really lovesick. That takes that one out of the equation, and that was my number one setup for him.

Now it's gonna take a little creativity, I think to bounce around a little bit and try to get within range of him again. Yeah, and I think that's probably a good thing. And it was maybe meant to be that way. Give you an opportunity to maybe learn a new area or try a new tactic or go after something different, there's intention behind that.

I'm sure I'd like to see [00:41:00] you with a monster things sometimes, they don't play out that way. All right, so we're getting to the end of this and I wanted to leave a chance for you to talk about anything that's on your mind. I've enjoyed having you on, we did the box blind and obviously this, I'd like to continue to have you on.

I think you're, I'd You're a good amount of knowledge here. What, anything on your mind that you think is relevant or something you want to say to the audience? We've got a pretty big listenership this time of year. So something that's, from your mind or heart that you think would help folks out towards the rest of the season, everybody's, everybody finds different, everybody gets a different enjoyment out of different parts of the hunt, and I just encourage everybody to figure out what that is.

And. And, it's okay, whatever it is. It might change as time goes on, but for me, I know everybody's not going to think the same way as me, and that's totally cool, but I just get, I would encourage the experience part of it whether it's the experience for yourself or for, a kid or somebody getting into it, don't rush it.[00:42:00]

Just enjoy each day that goes. I tell everybody all the time, There's only one October 28th. There's only one October 29th a year. They're all good, so just enjoy it. Make the most out of it. Try to learn something. And then, the other part is just... I always encourage people to try to do a little better, if you shoot a two and a half year old buck for five years in a row, if that's what you want, great, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna tell you that's wrong, but I just, I find so much enjoyment out of the challenge and challenging yourself and growing as a hunter and then, growing as a hunter doesn't have to mean shooting older deer.

It can mean, bringing another hunter into it, teaching them how to do it. Yeah. I don't know. That's, I guess that's where I'm at with stuff. I could blabber about that all day, but that's me personally with it all. And it's neat this year because I got my first my first child, my daughter.

She's 12 and bringing her out. So I'm really trying to be patient in the sense of I'm going to lose hunting time. You know what I mean? I am. And I told you the story about her arrow, like slow [00:43:00] motion going through the sky. Way over that nose back and it's oh, gosh, how am I ever going to get her? I don't know.

It's like mission impossible right now, I got this five and a half year old buck that ducks my arrow at 30 yards And it's I got that and then I got my daughter you know lobbing arrows out there and I don't know sometimes i'm I don't know. It seems like a it's almost mission impossible, but i'm sure we'll figure it out.

We'll figure it out yeah, and hopefully you can laugh about it right because it's There's an enjoyment piece of this too. And it's, those are the memories, remember that time you shot 10 feet over that deer's back. Dad you missed that giant, huh? It's always that give and take in the relationship.

And I I appreciate that. I think those are great words of encouragement for folks. And I think people should listen to what you had to say. I think that was important. being on the podcast, looking forward to catching up with you. I think, we might do a recap at the end of the season.

I think I've got a ton of feedback. People enjoy these, these detailed, I think a lot of people don't get into details. And I think that's been a good chance for us to [00:44:00] describe what's going on and give people some real information. There's no reason to sugarcoat anything, right? I don't know everything that's out there and either to you, and we're exploring this as time goes on and using our knowledge or science and.

What, whatever our prowess is out in the field to make some decisions and be informed. So appreciate everybody listening to the podcast and Eric, appreciate the time. Thank you. Thanks for having me. All right, brother. Talk soon. See ya. 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.