Technical Hunting Series Tactical Scrapes and Scent Management

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Dieter Kochan (Stealth Hunting E-Bikes) discuss technical hunting strategies around hunting locations and tactical scrapes. Dieter explains his methods to locate deer. Dieter explains how he breaks down land and deer movement a year in advance to start to identify deer he is considering.  Dieter explains when he switches to scrapes and why he edges away from food in the areas he hunts.

Dieter explains how to develop scrapes in the areas you hunt and how to position them in a manner to make hunting scrapes easier. Dieter explains the concept of building tactical scrapes and how he collects data without cellular cameras. Dieter identifies a method to collect data as he hunts to his treestand.

Dieter clarifies his style of hunting and the attributes that lead to his success. Dieter and Jon get into methods to create scrapes and what options are available to hunters as they consider synthetic options. Dieter explains the importance of species, limb height, and natural examples, as well as rope scrapes. Jon explains some of the science behind deer and scrapes.

Dieter explains the fundamentals to his success including the clothing he wears that allow him to hunt in extreme conditions. Dieter provides his philosophy of managing body odor and his scent management regime. Dieter details how to manage his scent stream and how to reduce a deer’s ability to problem solve. Dieter provides a late season hunting example of where to locate deer when you are against the wire.

Dieter discusses e-bikes and how to use gear to make hunting easier. Dieter explains the efficiency gained and how these e-bikes have led to deer he has killed. Dieter explains ways to use e-bikes to be more covert with hunting locations, and allow him to access different areas. Dieter ends with a mindset that will help you throughout the entire hunting season.

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Show Transcript

Dieter Kochan: [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 Teder.

Jon Teater: Hi, I'm John Titor, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back, everybody. I am home. I'm in the office today. I am off. Just enjoying myself. I'm going to be hunting a little bit this week. I, uh, we, this is, we're going to continue this technical hunting series and then series. We're going to dig into different folks, you know, perspective philosophies that on different States that have, you know, their system and process.

And we're going to break down, [00:01:00] you know, somebody new system and process to introduce you. To new concepts and ideology that I think some of us may not clue into all the time. This is getting the nitty gritty, the nuts and bolts. I talked last time with Steve Shirk and I about execution, and we'll get into some of that today.

Um, may talk a little more gear today because Steve is pretty simplistic as am I. So give me a second. Hey Dieter, are you on the line? I'm here. All right, great. So I've got a new guest on and we're going to have multiple new guests for this next series. Uh, Dieter, I want you to introduce yourself. I want you to give a little bit of background about you and where you're currently living in the, we'll kind of drill into some of the basics.

So people know more about you and your evolution as a hunter.

Dieter Kochan: Okay, yeah, 49 years old and bowhunting since I was probably about 16. I think that, uh, the biggest thing that kind of shaped my learning as a, as a whitetail hunter was I played hockey growing up. I ended [00:02:00] up being fortunate enough to play professional hockey.

With that, I was moving all over the place. So I lived in Six or seven different states during that time. And that forced me to really look at a lot of different terrains and hunting styles and kind of evolve and be as, as well rounded as I could possibly be. And I think with whitetail hunting, one of the other kind of interesting thing is I'm currently a state trooper in the Michigan state police and I'm in the canine unit, so I've had a narcotics detection dog for six years and now I have.

An explosive detection dog also. So learning from the dogs as it relates to, you know, not only detecting odor, but Kind of the problem solving components that, that apply to whitetail

Jon Teater: deer hunting. Yeah, that's really interesting. I think, and I think I've listened to you before on another podcast. This is quite a few years ago.

And I, I remember you being a canine cop and dealing with, you know, that [00:03:00] hunt, that kind of information and utilizing it for deer hunting. You know, on the flip of that, you know, obviously, you know, the importance of understanding there are some differences in biology. And, you know, deer themselves, you know, their, their cadence or their ability to smell is pretty significant.

So, you know, introducing that into your system or philosophy is probably really critical. And obviously you probably have a lot of test cases playing out with the dogs of, you know, how, how easily concentrated scent is. You know, at a distance, et cetera. And I'm sure that kind of plays into some of your philosophies.

Now, the reason I wanted you on this podcast is I know you've killed some really big deer in tough hunting States. I know you've hunted New York, Connecticut, some of the East coast areas, but also Midwest. And I think you're, you currently live in Michigan from what I remember. Is that correct?

Dieter Kochan: Correct. I'm, I'm way up in, uh, UP in Michigan.

So it's, it's a great place to hunt just because there's so much public land. It's obviously very challenging. If you've heard anything about Michigan with lower deer [00:04:00] densities, there are older deer, the most. Difficult part is finding them once you find them, then you have the ability to kind of chase them to the ends of the earth.

But that's kind of the challenge up here. It's more of a, it's a marathon hunting season up here because the last three deer I've shot have been in later December. So. You know, you have the early season, obviously now where it's just probably the most difficult with, with the heavy browse patterns. And then, you know, in the rut, you can obviously have success.

And then late season, a lot of other people kind of give up and you have a full rain of millions of acres. So I enjoy the late season.

Jon Teater: Yeah. I think that's important because you're killing big bucks or mature deer. In areas that I think people don't necessarily focus in on. And that is a reason why I want to dig into your system.

And so I wanna start with locating deer. You know, what is your, what is your basic strategy? Defining the [00:05:00] deer. What, what are the tools, equipment, strategy, how do you, how do you start in an area and, you know, in your current setting, I know you hunt multiple states, but for your current setting, where you spend the most time, how do you attack that?

Dieter Kochan: So, Hunting, obviously huge pieces, I think I probably hunt five different pieces that are like 50, 000 acres, so I get a lot of questions about really big pieces, and you just have to slowly start breaking it down, and I end up using trail cameras quite a bit during velvet, and the way I utilize those, in Michigan you're allowed to bait, I don't know, I don't bait during the season because I generally don't think it's as effective But when you're allowed to bait i'm allowed to put out minerals So i'll put my minerals out now that i'm gonna run cameras on Next year, so you're kind of looking one year ahead of time because you're not allowed Put mineral out in the summer, but it's already put out previous fall.

It is what it is. So I [00:06:00] run my cameras on those and that's where I'm looking to identify just I need proof of life. If I can get a picture of a buck, then that's all I need. Then I'll then I'll dig into that area. I'll, you know, hunt the best. Areas, hunt the sign, do all that. I just need to know one exists.

So I try to find a couple to go after that I can locate in velvet and then those are the areas I'm gonna concentrate on. And then after they go hard horn, I switch all my cameras to scrapes and I'm a big scrape hunter. Pretty much what 90 percent of the time I'm keying on the, the food patterns up here are so browse related where they, they fluctuate more than they would with, with ag.

I think that the nearest ag fields and most of the places I hunt are 60 miles away. So you have no real specific bed to food. It's [00:07:00] more nomadic. Browse patterns and stuff like that. So I ended up keying a lot on scrapes and kind of travel areas and, and get it done that way that the one unique thing, I guess, some of those deer I've been able to locate when they're in velvet in their home range, I've been able to relocate late season, right before they migrate.

So if I can get a picture on a picture of a buck and velvet. There's a good chance I can kill him in the same exact area. Once the heavy snow

Jon Teater: comes. That's interesting. And not something that I'm too unfamiliar with because I do work in big wood settings with my clients, but this forested ground and Steve Shirk and I, we just did a big woods technical hunting podcast.

It's funny because they do relocate at some capacity, but the reality of it is some don't relocate as frequently as you would think, like I'm in forest ag setting. Um, and predominantly forest first ag. Uh, I don't know what the ratio is. I'd probably say 70 to 30. [00:08:00] And in those scenarios, you know, the relocation is significantly higher as compared to your scenarios.

But generally speaking, the just ag land, the relocation numbers are way higher. So, you know, deer are immigrating and, uh, leaving all over the place. And so it's interesting. You, you bring that point up. Cause we've brought that up on the show before, um, this scrape. figuring out transition corridors, those type of things.

Are you creating your own mock scrapes? Are there signposts type scenarios where, you know, it's a very consistent advertised scrape that you've keyed on year in and year out. Do you have to expand your horizon a little bit? Because I think you're trying to target older age class deer, you know, kind of, kind of go into some of those details.

Dieter Kochan: So all. If I can find a good scrape in a location I can hunt, I'd obviously hunt that. You're almost more likely to create, you know, the circumstances you need [00:09:00] with a mock scrape, with, you know, you can control where your wind's going, you can control the topography, you control whether or not they can get behind you.

So, it's easier to make mocks. that are tactically to your advantage than to just hunt natural scrapes because you might not have the advantage. I'll run a lot of my cameras on the natural scrapes and I have a lot of spots where, like, I may be able to check two or three cameras on the weight of my tree.

That are on scrapes where I can't I don't really have the advantage to hunt them in those areas, but I can get all the intel I need so when they come through. I know they're in the area because the deer up here seem to be very nomadic to where they may disappear. They don't relocate. I don't think I don't know if they do big loops and they'll just spend a couple days here, move on to a couple days here and then come back, but If I catch him on a camera, then I know they're probably going to be around for a couple of days.

And then I can just [00:10:00] go to the areas I have an advantage. And sometimes it ends up being, if you have the right tree where you might sit at four days in a row, if you have the right wind, knowing that eventually he's probably going to come by where if you were hunting like a destination area. You know, you'd, you'd probably end up burning that spot out due to other deer, or maybe he comes in later or catches your scent when he comes through at night.

It seems that, you know, if you don't see him for a couple of days, your chances almost get better that eventually he's going to show

Jon Teater: up. So I like the concept that you laid out. You're placing tactical scrapes in locations that make it more advantageous for data collection because they're in transition corridors, et cetera.

And it's in adjacent or in consideration where you're hunting location so you make it easier on yourself to hunt those particular areas based on that location itself. And then it sounds like what you're doing is diagnosing the specific location then reaching out beyond that and [00:11:00] saying, okay, generally, you know, what are the movement patterns that we've seen and Where do I think, you know, deer reside normally because of this, that, and the other thing.

And I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but that, that seems to be what your, your strategy is. So you're in the big woods scenario. And I think a lot of people get a little bit baffled by trying to figure out concentration of sign. You know, other than, you know, just looking at ground tracks and looking at size of track and I'm assuming cellular cameras, do they work in your area?

Do you have to use just, you know, regular cameras? What, what are the, what are those setups like?

Dieter Kochan: Yeah, the cell cams don't work. So that's why, you know, a lot of times I can, you know, the quickest way to go to my tree might be in one direction, but a lot of times I'll take the longer way where I can get that information.

Cause if you check two cameras on the way to your tree, you're most like you're going to get three times as much information. So a lot of killing [00:12:00] bucks in big areas is. Just maximizing information where compared to, you know, you, you don't have the ability to just drive roads or glass or, or doing anything like that.

I mean, you have limited sight distances. You're not going to see very far even from the tree. So if you can get more information, what's going on, you can better adjust and, and make moves and, and kind of predict what you, what you think might happen. And there's just, there's not that many scrapes where I'm at.

And. A lot of it has to do with the deer density. I can walk for 10 miles and When I'm scouting the spring and sometimes I'll be lucky to find one or two. So the sign you find ends up being that much more important compared to if I go to a different state, you know, there could be 50 scrapes on a field edge and they're just, they, they mean less compared to in the big woods.

They're extremely important. You know, I think a lot of people kind of, [00:13:00] uh, scrape hunting is more and more popular. The last couple of years, but there was a, there was a time period where people basically said they were pointless to hunt them and this, that, or the other. And, you know, a lot of those people were going off experiences in ag land, where there's just so many of them.

A lot of them are just frustration scrapes with bucks with high testosterone compared to, you know, your big wood scrapes are really, they're the communication point for, for all the deer and they're really. Important, I mean, especially when you get into the breeding season, but even throughout the year, if you run cameras on them, you'll get, you'll get pictures of deer in the, in the licking branches all year

Jon Teater: long.

Yeah. And I think that's important for people to think about is if they are of significant value, like in your example, you know, it's focusing on those and creating more meaningfulness around them. A lot of people that are building a habitat. that, you know, in my world, you know, they're capitalizing on that bit of socialization, but they don't realize is it's distracting if there's volume, right?

There's, [00:14:00] there's a lot of those scrapes throughout the properties, you know, you have to almost concentrate that Intel to create that best opportunity. And that, that may be an Intel location, not a hunting location for that matter. All right. So let me flip the script on you. So you're in these scenarios and you've been successful and, uh, you're hunting, you know, probably deer per square miles under 10, I'm just guessing, but probably very similar.

This is similar to Adirondacks in my area. Are you doing any of this, you know, this, I call it track hunting, uh, where they're tracking and shooting like the Benoits, are you doing any of that kind of stuff or you, I know you bow hunt quite a bit, so I'm kind of wondering like what firearm or implement that you're using and what's your strategy beyond just tree stand hunting, or are you doing mostly tree stand hunting?

I pretty much, I

Dieter Kochan: only bow hunt, so I don't really gun hunt. I've. I'm actually really interested in the tracking thing. And, and I might try that cause I, that, uh, actually listen to a podcast yesterday. And that's, that's an extremely efficient [00:15:00] way to target larger deer and to learn a lot about, you know, what they do out, do throughout the day.

But right now I pretty much just bow hunt, I'll bow hunt during the gun season. Just continue with, with that, with that weapon the entire year and for the. For the most part, it's all tree stand, tree stand hunting, um, obviously targeting, targeting scrapes and, you know, really, I guess more than anything, you know, like I said, with the season being a marathon, you know, sticking with it, you know, you have to have confidence what you're doing and, you know, I think a lot of times, you know, I might end up harvesting a deer just because Just because, you know, I don't give up and I keep after right to the end.

So it's, uh, it's Michigan's very challenging compared to obviously some of the other Midwestern States. And then, like you said, I had hunted, uh, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New [00:16:00] York. So I have an idea of what kind of goes on out, uh, in your neck of the woods too.

Jon Teater: People always ask this question. Do you, when you create your scrape, your tactical scrapes, you know, do they have, do you add a synthetic or what do you do in that scrape location?

And people always ask, you know, what are the species you're, you're keen in on to create that scrape? Or is it just more locationally based? Can you give some more details on the scrapes themselves? So I,

Dieter Kochan: I use buck fever synthetics. Um, I think one of the, I don't, I mean, I don't know exactly what's in their blend, but they're.

Their forehead component has a, has a large curiosity component in my mind where it's a, you know, it's a fruitier smelling thing. And so I think that tends to get the deer to, to take the [00:17:00] scrapes over more often than not, just because they almost have to put their face in the licking branch because they want to.

Kind of identify what that is, and as soon as they do that, then one deer has done it, and then multiple deer are going to do it after that way, so I think, I think that part of it is really good for mox, and then I like their products, just because it feels like you can You can build throughout the season where, you know, you have, you start with the pre post and then you build to the rut and then you can go into their, their red moon blends and stuff like that.

And I've never had the deer, I mean, more than anything, it might just be confidence for me or whatever, but I've never had them react negatively to it. So. I've seen nothing but benefit. I, you know, I've, I've done it where you just urinate yourself through the scrape and, and that works a lot of the times too, but I think it's more [00:18:00] how you build them and especially the closer to vertical, you can get those licking branches and then using the preferred licking branch for that area is the key.

Up here, it's kind of a, our scrapes can be kind of weird up here because a lot of times they. They prefer a balsam fir, and they almost, they barely even, they're really, they're difficult to identify because they don't really bite off, they just kind of rub their face in, uh, in the leaves if they're at the right height, and then they, they make very small scrapes on the ground, and for many years I kind of ignored these while I was walking through them, because I could, I couldn't tell exactly what they were, because they didn't look like, you know, what you would think in a magazine a scrape would work, look like, and Eventually, out of curiosity, I hung a camera on it and I was kind of dumbfounded when basically every good buck in the area that I knew about hit this scrape in a one week period.

And, you know, at [00:19:00] that point, I kind of changed my, my thought process where, you know, the scrape didn't need to look like I wanted it to look like. It had to look like what the deer Naturally want for that area. So then, you know, once you find a natural one, then you can kind of create, and a lot of it just had to do with limb height with those particular trees.

Cause the licking branches. Aren't very vertical at all compared to if you can find like a maple or an oak if you can get that If you can get that limb hanging closest to vertical as possible They'll take it over for sure

Jon Teater: And when you say vertical you mean you break the branch off and in place a vertical like explain exactly what you mean by that So it's not necessarily horizontal.

It's you're turning it downward. Is that is that what you're trying to do?

Dieter Kochan: Yeah, the more downward the better, you know, I have a couple that Are trees that have partially fallen over [00:20:00] where they're forced to walk underneath and it, it hangs almost perfect, perfectly vertical. And, you know, the harder part, once you start breaking them, then, you know, how long those, those limbs last.

And I think that's why some of the rope scrapes are... So effective in some areas, but I tend not to do those in public just because if someone's walking through there, there's a good chance they're going to ignore a regular scrape. But if they see a rope hanging in there and it's going to draw, you know, other hunters attention, but I, if you have.

You know, if you can get the right angle, I'll use ropes and stuff like, you know, like paracord to kind of pull at them to, to get them, you know, at least like a 45 degree downward angle. You know, that seems to be the most effective.

Jon Teater: I think this is interesting. And a lot of people in your eco region have different preferences.

I've worked in areas. throughout the country [00:21:00] and balsam for this. This isn't actually surprising to me at all. And here's like, I'll just take my example. So white pine is very prevalent in kind of these upland areas and they tend to be a really good tree. They're quite aromatic and for some reason there's a distinguishable difference.

So anybody pays attention to this. The aromatic element of these trees is an added value and on top of that, uh, so the health and status of the tree, you know, on top of that, um, the scent is so discerning different. It's a different scent that's being input. It's no different from why a buck clears off the ground.

You know, they intend to do that behaviorally, that's a reaction. But beyond that is they're removing the vegetation. So there's no competing interest in their, your urine matter. So, you know, the bacterial element of the urine is it, is it drips down the hock. So flip, flip this in this scenario, you know, softer bristled, you know, type, you know, structure.

And then a part of that is. You know, maybe there's a discerning difference where it's so drastically different, [00:22:00] that sensual stuff on, on their, on their head, their forehand gland, glands, et cetera, you know, their glandular output is so discerning that it may not be like competing, but I think there's an aromatic piece of it that draw a deer and they're curious by nature.

So it's kind of an interesting, but kind of a, I'll just say dissimilar, you know, comparable when you're thinking about how they clear off ground scent, because what happens is when the urinate. you know, on their hocks, you know, eventually things will volatize, and you know, when you have competing plants in those particular areas, you know, that will create some, I guess, conflict or competing scent, potentially.

And that's why they try to remove those areas, so it becomes more available and more interest to deer in that particular area. At least that's my perspective on it anecdotally. All right, I want to take you down another row because this is really interesting because you're really, really successful and I think that success is talks to your conviction and you know, I want to know, you know, you're hunting these [00:23:00] areas a lot and I want to know how much you, you want, you ever logged your hours for how many times you're, you're hunting, um, you know, a particular deer or a particular area.

And then on top of that, yeah. I kind of want to get into what allows you to hunt these really cold areas. What, what are your tricks of the trade? Cause you know, being technical means you've got to know the process. You've got to have a philosophy and you've got to be able to stick to it. And so I want to know how you, you survive those, those cold winter months.

Dieter Kochan: Yeah, I think, I mean, I end up putting a lot, a lot of time into to Michigan, and, you know, I think you can go out of state where there's. Higher deer densities and you probably have a shorter learning curve and can, you know, typically get it done in, in a week if you have it, have it slotted out like that where you can gain enough information where eventually you can, you can, you can strike.

So Michigan ends up being. [00:24:00] You know, a real long kind of, you know, arduous challenge every year. And once it gets into the late season, I like hunting the cold temperature. I think if you're going to hunt in the cold, you're going to need good equipment. So, I mean, you're going to want to have your merino base layers.

You're going to want to have. High quality camouflage, you know, I recently started using Osseo gear and if anybody's looking for clothes, they have some really high quality stuff that, uh, you know, is designed for, for whitetail hunters, but when it gets really cold, I'll often I'll switch to, uh, I have an Iwam suit, which if anybody's seen one of those, It's, uh, it's not the heater bodysuit, it's the other one where it only has one leg, basically you zip it, you zip it up and your [00:25:00] feet are together, but with that I'm able to, you know, hunt down into the single digits and, and below zero with, with no problem.

I think part of it's, you're able to carry that whole thing into, into the tree and get dressed at the tree where you're not sweating up on your way in and, and, you know, kind of causing your own problems

Jon Teater: from that. I think the eye wamps was interesting. I just pulled up online when you're talking about that, you know, in your areas, I think that makes a lot of sense.

And having. You know, this pack set up where you can walk in, you can, like, when I go hunting, sometimes I go hunting my underwear and I'll have, uh, my boxer shorts on and a t shirt, right. And everything's in my pack. And I'll change either prior to getting the stand location or directly at the stand location.

I've had instances where, you know, I've walked in, dropped some of my gear, uh, change shoes throughout the way. It just depends, you know, what my. You know, duration of a hike and elevation and all that kind of stuff, [00:26:00] because my goal in this is just to not sweat, right? That's, that's the ideal scenario. So when it comes to set mitigation, because this is something that you're strong on, you know, what do you do, you know, in the stand or on the way to the stand, or maybe change your diet, I changed my diet, right in that, you know, what are your What is your philosophy around trying to minimize your scent or minimizing the concentration of your sentence, some of the areas that you're hunting?

What's, what's your strategy around that?

Dieter Kochan: So I'll, I will, I'll take chlorophyll and stuff like that. I mean, that's, that's doctors prescribe that for people with problematic body odor. So, I mean, that's pretty much proven to work. Um, I get in this conversation quite a bit, quite a bit with the dogs and. The weird thing about being a canine handler for, for six years and watching the dogs and working with the dogs and preying the dog.

It's almost taught me to [00:27:00] push the envelope more than, more than I did before. And you'd think that, you know, once you realize that, you know, how sophisticated the dog's sense of smell is or the, the deer's sense of smell, that you'd, you'd give up all hope. But the one thing working with dogs has taught me is...

When it relates to deer hunting, it's not necessarily about detection and what the deer are capable of smelling. It's about the deer's ability to problem solve. 'cause if they, if. They don't come up with the right answer, then, you know, there's a good chance they're getting shot. So, there's situations that you can create that make the problem more difficult for the deer to solve and come up with the correct answer.

And every deer is different. To talk about what they're capable of doing is like for me to ask you if, you know, you're capable of running a mile in a world record time. Well, [00:28:00] just because a human's capable of it doesn't mean that, that everyone can do it. So, I think. I think everybody does some sort of, we'll call it scent reduction to some degree, because hunting the wind is a form of scent reduction.

Hunting in a tree stand is a form of scent reduction. Both those things meant the vast majority of human odor coming in contact with the deer's nose. So we're all doing something. And so if you can give yourself an advantage, and I'll never situate myself where. You know, a deer is going to be traveling directly downwind into my location because that's an easy problem.

I've, I've created an easy problem for the deer to solve for the deer to come up with the correct answer. So I want to create difficult problems for the deer to solve. And, you know, people who want off winds or, you know, obviously [00:29:00] elevated positions, utilizing thermals, things like that are creating more difficult.

Problems for the deers to solve because anybody who sat around a campfire knows that the wind is going to shift periodically. And I, I recently learned this more than I ever realized when I was training my explosive dog. And part of the training was you put a training aid out in kind of an, an open area and you'd bring the dog down wind.

And, you know, as the person who puts the training aid out there, I know the way the wind's going, a lot of times I do it in areas where there's a flag where I could see exactly where the wind would be coming from. And I am willing to say 75 percent of the time, by the time I got the dog out of the car and started the training exercise, the wind was blowing in a completely opposite direction.

So, even if. The wind is in your face, the [00:30:00] deer could be coming in contact with human odor, but they're not able to come up with the right, the right answer to the equation because they're not getting a steady enough stream of, of human odor. And I think that. That's the one thing I think people don't recognize is that there's a huge problem solving component to, to odor detection and that, you know, especially as a public land hunter, you're almost blessed with the ability to really push the envelope because there's, there's Not as many negative consequences compared to, if you only have a 20 acre piece, I wouldn't push the envelope at all.

Like I'd be very, you know, reserved in my approaches. I'd hunt the perimeters. I'd be very patient. Compared to, if you're hunting a large area public, I mean, you can, you can really push the envelope knowing that you can make adjustments, go to a [00:31:00] different area. And also there's a likelihood somebody else is going to mess it up the next day anyway.

So, I mean, kind of. Strategically really being aggressive puts you in a situation where the deer feel way more comfortable. And if they feel more, if they feel comfortable, you're very likely to see them compared to if you're, you know, hunting with the wind directly in your face every single day, you know, you're kind of hoping that.

The deer is forced to make a mistake in order to get somewhere that he wants to go.

Jon Teater: Yeah, this is the, everything you brought up here is so situational, but also so applicable to anybody's really hunting, you know, tactics. And one of the things I want to get to with you is you've been able to key on some really big.

Big antler deer older age deer, and this, this idea of disturbance, this intrusion [00:32:00] factor, things you're bringing up here at the end of this, when you're going after a deer like that of age, and of age you assume of intellect, right? And in that, you know, they're, they're keen on their, their environments that they're, they're living in.

Maybe in some instances, they're not so keen because they're in the focus of breeding, but you said you've killed deer. A lot of deer in the later season, which that means they've gone through a gauntlet of hunting. And maybe in some areas, the deer don't have a much, you know, much human disturbance at all, potentially because of, you know, there's the lack of hunting pressure.

But regardless, they've, they've experienced some form. You know, uh, of change and maybe it's, you know, a diet shift, you know, they, they're, they're worn down from the rut, but you've able to key in, you know, later in December, what is your trick to that particular scenario? We're getting on some of these deer later season, you know, and you're considering all these other factors.

Like what maybe tell us a story of some of your success and how you attacked a particular [00:33:00] deer and you killed this deer. I kind of want to hear a little bit more about your tactics there.

Dieter Kochan: I think, you know, once we get to the, in the later part of the year, the snow kind of shrinks the playing field where, you know, they're going to be forced to go to certain areas.

So I think that's part of the, the advantage shift in my direction. And then, you know, having identified where they. Where they felt most comfortable, we'll call it their, their home range for, for at least during the velvet part of the season, because they end up, they end up migrating and we're talking, you know, getting four feet of snow in a week is gonna, you know, really start pushing them to make decisions that are based where

Their patterns are really [00:34:00] focused on browse. It's the one time where they're going to be more predictable going to certain areas where if you see them, you know, go to a food source one evening that there's a high likelihood that they'll be going to the same food source, the following one. So it's identifying, they end up being mostly large.

Acorn flats, and I usually, I usually find them in the spring and find them in the spring by when you're scouting, you'll find areas where the oak leaves are just totally pulverized all in pieces where you can barely even tell, you know, what the shape of the leaf is. And what I started to learn was that was from that heavy browse during the snow, where they're real, where their pawn at the.

At the ground so much to dig up the acorns where they're just crushing all the leaves underneath these trees and [00:35:00] then coming back to those those same areas during good acorn crops in the following years, knowing that. They're going to come here because not all the acorn flats are created equally like you could have an acorn flat that has a million acorns in the spring, and it's, it's most likely in an area that for whatever reason the deer can't access through the snow where they're burning too much calories to get in there, you know, the bedding isn't close enough because thermal cover ends up Saving the deer's lives in the, in the winter where, you know, if they can limit how many calories they're forced to burn just to stay alive, that, that cuts down on the amount of food they need to consume.

So, you need the right combination of, of a food source with thermal cover in an area near where they felt comfortable in the summer, because they end up, they end up staging, it's a weird thing. And there's like a. [00:36:00] There's like a two week period where they'll stage up before they fully migrate and, you know, I don't, there's studies that say they'll go, you know, many, many miles when they migrate, but they, they stage up and they almost bachelor up like I've had it where you'll find an acorn flat and you'll have, you'll have nothing, but, you know, there could be a group of four bucks and no does, which is yeah.

You know, opposite of what we typically see with, with our, with our buck doe ratio is way skewed to does. We haven't even been allowed to harvest those for probably like six years. So you can figure what that does to the dynamic. But so if you're all of a sudden finding areas where there's only bucks, you know, it's, it's something that's outside of the migration zone.

It's outside of the wintering zones. They've kind of, you know. Turned into survival mode where they're not really interested in breeding anymore and they're, and they're being led [00:37:00] around by their stomach. And, you know, that's kind of where things really start to tip in my, in my favor. If I, if I've located a deer that, uh, I wanted to harvest and I didn't even answer your question about the one.

So basically the one buck I found him in spring, I got a picture of him in velvet. He was on, he was around quite a bit when he was in velvet in this, in this one area came into the season. He kind of left during the season. He was in and out a little bit during the rut, not around very much. And I was hunting a different buck at the time.

So I kind of just left him alone and then it got to late season and I was kind of, you know, I, I have to, you know, kind of. Switch my tactics. Once the snow starts coming, um, you know, my biggest problem has been accessed once we get a lot of snow. So I bought an ATV with tracks so I can pretty much get anywhere I need to [00:38:00] go.

So I drive, you know, I'll drive that a couple of miles down, uh, down a logging road where you can't even drive a truck in there anymore. There's so much snow. So I was able to relocate him and he was, he was in there like every single night. You know, you'd kind of. Bounce around here. They're kind of figuring out where he was coming into this flat.

And the one big thing that I kind of learned from, from these deers hunting this one flat was it was, it was completely, my access had to be completely opposite of what I normally would do. Normally when you come to your tree, you hook downwind to your tree, you know, where, where you don't think the deer are going to walk and then you get to your tree.

Well, cause the snow ends up getting so deep. I was realizing that where I walked, that's where the deer would start to walk. So I had to walk like directly, you know, directly where I wanted to shoot the [00:39:00] deer and then come in the opposite direction of my tree. And as I started walking down this trail, they started taking it over.

And then, uh, eventually, you know, one evening, I think for whatever reason, I don't know if it was the moon phase or what it was, but I mean, they. He showed up like probably two hours before, before dark and was able to get narrow in them.

Jon Teater: Well, I, I, it's amazing to me late season and your success late season and then keying in on these, these areas like you, you detailed and you know, your explanation of trying to dial into how frequently those are being used.

And again, this whole discerning. element of, you know, bucks may be congregating these areas for a certain reason and kind of diagnosing that and then attacking it and having the equipment to do that as well back to the gear thing. It just is all play on, you know, just having really a high focus towards, you know, success.

And then, you know, I guess [00:40:00] trying everything that you can to learn, you know, the most about deer in a particular area to get really kind of good systematic approach to handling, you know, maybe a late season hunt. It's just impressive to me. In your scenario, the other thing you brought up earlier, and I just love that you said this is if you're hunting a small area, your intrusion is so meaningful.

And then, you know, comparably, you're just giving this explanation where you're actually plowing trails, you know, through the. The, uh, the properties, you know, through the public property, where, where deer are utilizing it, you know, because path of least resistance and, you know, it just brings up another point of, you know, if you just were out there hiking and you're writing, you know, trail systems, adding to the strategy, you know, you could essentially push these deer into an area just just based on that.

And maybe they aren't so freaked out by, you know, your human scent in those particular areas, etc. Because, you know, there's a benefit and advantage to your interaction in that environment. It's just it's an interesting thing to think [00:41:00] about. And, you know, some of these areas, you know, we get about I get about 100 inches of snow on average, it's been a little bit lower the past couple years.

So you know, we'll get a good healthy snow load north of me gets. I've seen environments like you're talking about where there's, you know, small migrations. People will negate the fact that, you know, migrations happen in certain areas. They absolutely do come out these plateaus and they come down to lower lands.

But there are these micro movements that I think you can concentrate on late season where there is snow load. And your example of taking advantage of that, I think is It's really interesting. All right. So we're kind of getting to the end of this and I wanted to kind of end with, I know that, you know, uh, you use e bikes.

So I want to talk a little bit about e bikes and, um, I don't have an e bike. So I'm a little interested in this from a gear standpoint. And, uh, I know you sell e bikes and you make one. So I want to hear a little bit more about that. And then, you know, just your advantages, disadvantages, you know, what do you think about them?

Dieter Kochan: So I started a [00:42:00] company stealth. Hunting e bikes. I started it two years ago. I probably, I started to dabble in it probably four years ago. And then I started the company two years ago and I was basically just to, to build bulletproof e bikes. specifically designed for hunters. So the bikes I sell have no derailleur.

They just have the one gear. They have maximum speed of 16 miles per hour. They're mid drive powered and they're 1000 watt motors but I program them to operate at 750 watts because the max speed is only 16 miles per hour so you don't need the extra wattage to reach speeds of like 28 miles per hour so they're public land compliant and for me it was about Kind of what I said before, where, you know, efficiency ends up killing deer.

So the more information you can get, the more successful you're going to be. So if I can utilize an e bike and check. 10 [00:43:00] cameras in a day compared to two, you know, I'm getting way more information. That's going to potentially make me successful. And, you know, being able to utilize the bikes, I think the last couple of deer I've shot, you know, before the, before the snow started falling, where I consider those bike bucks or whatever, where, you know, the bike was a big part of that harvest and, you know, getting.

To areas where other people aren't being able to hide my vehicle where I can park in one area, drive the bike for two miles, and then people have no idea where I'm at compared to if I park my vehicle closer to where I'm hunting, you know, there's more likelihood that somebody is going to start sniffing around or looking around where, where I might be.

So a lot of that has been using the bikes and somewhat of a deceptive matter to hide my. Hide my truck. But I mean, they give you the [00:44:00] ability to access from different angles that you'd never think about, even if it's from the road where, you know, there's a lot of areas where there's no parking. And those are the places that I want.

I want places where there's only a handful of places where people are allowed to or, you know, can can actually park with without blocking the roadway. So If I can utilize a bike to access from different angles and in the hunt areas where other people aren't going, I think it's been a, it's been a huge

Jon Teater: advantage.

Yeah. And I, I love the decoy example and the efficiency piece of that is critical. I just think about like working on any property for me and I, this is, this is how I design hunting properties is I want access into an area and I want it to be. You know, easily, uh, available to the equipment, right? So I can get in there and do my job efficiently.

In, in the case of just checking cameras or, you know, and you've got large, vast areas, this efficiency to that point is [00:45:00] huge. The stealth ness is obviously also important, and I'm, I'm a huge fan of this because I'm start now starting to revert back. I'm getting outta hunting. private land, I'm actually hunting some public land this year, which is totally unique to my style.

And, you know, getting back to some things I did years ago when I was younger in college, and just trying some new things. And the e bike piece of this, you know, would be huge in my equation of success, just from a time management standpoint. And I don't think people realize, you know, I'll spend You know, three grand or four grand and something that's going to make me that more efficient because over time, as long as I take care of that, you know, it'll pay dividends, you know, and I'm, I'm a big fan of, you know, equipment that makes you more efficient in the field.

Obviously, there's an expense that comes with that. So you have to weigh that in the equation. So, you know, otherwise get up earlier, right? Um, maybe you got to go and wake up at 3 a. m. Because you've got to check cameras, you know, longer duration of day, maybe you don't have that time. So then you're smarter with your spot, location, et cetera.

You know, where you're collecting data, et cetera, how you collect data. [00:46:00] So I think that all plays into kind of your decision making process, you know, in the scheme of, you know, making a decision on certain gear, et cetera. Okay. So we're at the end of this theater and I wanted to say, is there anything else you want to end on in, you know, something that maybe a listener can take away from maybe the past couple of years that you've kind of keyed in on it was like.

Boy, I wish I would have known this or, you know, this is really kind of a game changer for me. What, what's something that's been like that over the past three, four years outside of the bikes that could be very helpful for somebody who, you know, really wants to take it to the next level.

Dieter Kochan: I think it's, it's confidence.

You need to have confidence in, in what you're doing. And sometimes that can be difficult. I think in the age of Facebook, I think it, we always feel like we're We're behind the curve or I mean, even right now with like, I haven't even really started hunting and you kind of, you're seeing people post pictures and you're like, geez, you know, [00:47:00] I'm behind, behind the, behind the game already, but, you know, you have to hunt your own hunt.

You have to, you know, kind of realize what you're, what you're physically and mentally willing to do. And. You're going to need to make, make decisions. When you make those decisions, you have to be confident what you decided to do, because I really think that confidence kills deer, because if you're confident you get up early, you.

Get into your tree efficiently, not making a whole lot of noise. You know, you climb up into your tree, dead quiet, you get up there, you're focused, you're paying attention, you're not on your phone. And then when you finally get an opportunity, you're able to capitalize on that information, capitalize on that opportunity.

And I think the big mistake people make is, you know, they make [00:48:00] a decision and then, you know, they. They don't, uh, maybe they don't have the confidence in, in their ability, but they get, they get sloppy. And, you know, if, if you knew for sure with a hundred percent certainty, the tree you picked the buck your dreams is going to walk in your walk in and your exit from that tree would be totally different than if you kind of went in there thinking you're.

So if you can have that mindset where you're, you're on the top of your game and you can maintain that mindset throughout a season, I can guarantee you're going to have some success. But if you go through a season and you're sloppy and you're making mistakes and you're not focused, you're either going to blow an opportunity or you're not going to have an opportunity at all.

So I think, you know, whether that goes back to, My prior life as, as an athlete [00:49:00] or, or what, but, uh, you know, you have to be mentally focused and committed to being at the top of your game if you want to be successful.

Jon Teater: Yeah. And I think I'm going to add to this theater. I think everything you say, I echo and agree with a hundred percent.

The other thing is having multiple plans of attack. And if you don't execute the first time, don't give up. I've had instances where I've gotten down on myself and I've given up. And that I've said to myself, don't give up. I mean, giving up and quitting is one of the worst things you can do. Even if you failed in that one particular scenario, you'll do better.

Um, it's only up from there. And I always had that kind of positive outlook and then having alternative options, having a plan B and C and having that depth to you. You know, if something fails, right? If this deer doesn't work out, do I have a plan B? There's some years where I don't have a plan B. And I'm okay with that.

And I've already accepted that right. But I know that going into the season and I'm open minded. Well, maybe I'll learn something else from this or maybe I'll [00:50:00] try something new that I'm I'm not so worried about not working. And so you're going to get wins in the equation, maybe just in a different mindset.

And so it's being realistic and prioritizing the things that you're trying to gain from the season. So don't just I think don't just try to gain from an outcome. You know, the means to end is not the deer. In some cases it may be for food value, et cetera, but generally speaking, you know, walking into this and having a plan and executing or failing, there's wins and losses along that way.

And I think the wins that you get out of it, you know, maybe something so small minute that add to your technical hunting. And that's kind of where I want to end. This is, you know, be technical. Uh, and, and tactical. I like your terminology, you know, tactical scrapes and tactical this or technical this because in, in all that it shows that you're attending to the detail and that detail is what makes property design well or a hunt to go successfully.

And some of the things that you missed out on. [00:51:00] You know, your technical mishaps are the things that you'll repair the next go around. So I want to kind of end with that. Dieter, I appreciate your time today. I will have some links. If people want to check out your bikes, they can get ahold of you there.

What's the best way to get ahold of you anyhow?

Dieter Kochan: On Facebook, I'm under Dieter Kocken and then the e bikes under stealth hunting e bikes. And then on Instagram, I'm under Either my name, or I think it's at ranger Matthews for the Instagram. And then, yeah, those are probably the two easiest ways to get ahold of me.

If anybody has any questions about the bikes, feel free to call or message me. And, you know, I want to make sure that when people make a purchase like that, they're getting exactly what they need for, for their situation.

Jon Teater: Awesome. All right, man. Well, thanks for the time today. And, uh, hopefully we get to check in with you, you know, maybe even before the end of season and see how, uh, your late season hunting went as well as your mid season.

Sounds great. Look forward to it. All right. Talk soon. [00:52:00] See ya.

Dieter Kochan: 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.