This is the first episode of "The Fall Sessions" with Aaron Bleise. Aaron is a very serious bowhunter who has set his life up around deer season. The goal of these sessions is get as detailed as possible about deer behavior, hunting strategy, and the landscape these animals call home.
On this first episode, Dan and Aaron get detailed about deer behavior. The conversation revolves around what a mature buck is doing throughout the year. This includes their mindset in the pre-rut, rut, and post-rut timeframes and how things like crop rotation have an impact on their movement. The guys also talk about buck aggression and body language, and how calling could hurt or help your hunting strategy. Excellent episode, share it!
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What's up everybody and welcome to episode number one of the fall sessions, and this is just a collaboration idea that I had in my [00:01:00] head. So I reached out to Aaron Blessey and I asked him, Hey dude, do you want to come on? On the podcast for several episodes and just talk about the thing that we both love the most, and that is deer hunting and he's let's do it.
So this my friend is episode one of this creation of this collaboration. If you guys don't know who he is the one of the hosts of the Fall podcast, us calling it the Fall sessions. And he is a fanatic behind the bow as well. He's had some good success over the years. He's been in the tree stand for several years and several hours, and that means that you're able to observe deer, their behavior how they act, how they react, and what you can get away with and what you can't get away with.
And so I will say that he's the perfect guest cuz he's similar to me. I think we, we roughly have, we started hunting hard, seriously, around the same time. He was maybe just a little [00:02:00] bit earlier than me, but then, we put. S we, sports creeps in social life creeps in, and then we don't kick it off and become serious till later down the road.
I feel like I was 26. He may have been a little earlier than that, but this, these sessions, I'm gonna start breaking everything down now. There's gonna be a lot more detail, there's gonna be a lot more let's see here. A lot more details that get covered. We talk heavily about crop rotation. We talk about deer behavior.
In this episode we talk about what you can get away with, what you can't get away with. In some of the upcoming episodes, we're going to break down things like staging areas bedding areas. We're gonna talk about how deer move through terrain and where you should put your tree stands and just everything.
I think you guys get it. So that's what today's episode is about. I'll tell you what kind of so there's what these episodes they're gonna launch on Mondays for a while. I'm still gonna [00:03:00] include all the other content that I put out, but this is gonna be a mon a Monday type episode. And I'm gonna put these out, for the foreseeable future.
One thing I've learned about myself, I don't know if you, some people can do it, some people don't. Some people enjoy it, some people don't. I absolutely love coaching youth sports, and I don't know what it is. As frustrating as it could be at times when you have groups of kids that don't listen. I absolutely love coaching kids sports and the verification came earlier today.
We had two football games, right? And we had two mistakes. The whole, I'm gonna say in those two games, we had two mistakes. One was a play went outside our cornerback got sucked in. The next one was, we had a lineman that bit on a[00:04:00] they got bit and got sucked in on a rev, on a fake handoff. He got sucked in and then they were able to score two touchdowns off that we ended up winning.
We got three touchdowns, or three or four touchdowns in that game. But I brought the kids in, told 'em what they did wrong, and they didn't make any more mistakes after that. And so here we are, what, five weeks now into this spring football season, flight football season. And the kids are starting to get it.
They're starting to. N be less afraid of blocking. We I give them this motto, blocking scores. Touchdowns. I said, if we can block guys, we can score touchdowns and touchdowns will win the games. Now they're, this is a youth league, so technically you're not supposed to keep score, but everybody keeps score.
And because the kids keep score, and today was a fun day because the, I'll just be realistic and honest here. There's multiple levels of skill, right? We [00:05:00] have the top tier, the kids that you want it, you wish you could give the ball to every time. Then you have the middle tier, which, one, if their brain and their body are functioning at the same day, they can be pretty good.
And then we have, the kids who just, they're, they haven't grown into their body yet. They're a little clumsy. They may not be necessarily into sports, but they're parents put them into sports and everybody was firing today. Even the kids that, I would call ha have a little bit less skill.
I was, because the kids at the top did their job, got us some points on the board, I was able to spread it out and give some other kids, some younger kids, the opportunity to run the ball, carry the ball, do some special things. And man, we had a run by one of these kids today, and I was, I have, I was so pumped up for this kid and I don't know, and that was right then and there that I was like, oh man, I love doing this.[00:06:00]
And so I think I'm just gonna keep, keep doing the coaching thing. The, I might even just keep doing it through the fall too. I know that the fall is busy for me, especially, I drew South Dakota. I got, I did draw South Dakota. I'm still in, what, two weeks? I'll, I should know if I draw Kansas.
And so then I'll be able to put the schedule together. I may miss the game as far as coaching is concerned or practice is concerned, but man, it is. It's something that I truly enjoy and I love watching these kids come together as a team. I love watching them be happy. I love watching the discipline also seek in where, at the beginning of the season, I had to tell 'em, Hey, listen, when I'm talking you're not talking.
I said, we have two rules. Number one, when I'm talking, you don't talk. Number two, the second rule is we have a lot of fun. If you can do num rule number two, rule number one will come real easy. And I tell you what, they listened today [00:07:00] and they did exactly what they were supposed to do, and that fired me up.
If you get the opportunity to coach your children, I say take it. The world needs 'em. If it wasn't for me, if it wasn't for me stepping in on this spring league, when the guy emailed me about 16 kids wouldn't have been able to play. Because there, there would've just been too many kids without coaches or on a team, and then the rotation is off and you can't, you're not able to do it.
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If you own a company and you are interested in advertising on the network or on this show, please reach out to me. We have a pretty good reach. And that's it. Let's get into episode one of the fall sessions. Enjoy 3, 2, 1. All right, ladies and gentlemen this is a special episode because it's gonna be a series for a while here where I'm gonna have kind of a permanent guest on the Nine Finger Chronicles.
And that is Aaron from the Fall podcast. And we're just gonna talk deer hunting. And I I've listened to his podcast. I have had him as a guest on this podcast, and I feel like we're in the same boat, but a little different at the same time. So I wanted to I wanted to [00:13:00] get I wanted to get him on and we're just gonna talk deer hunting for, a handful of weeks in a row here, and just see what happens.
There's no plan, there's no real direction. I know it's gonna be about whitetails and maybe a couple curve balls. What do you think?
[00:13:16] Aaron Bleise: I love curve
[00:13:16] Dan Johnson: balls, man. Yeah, let's do it. Yeah. I can't hit the curve though,
[00:13:21] Aaron Bleise: I'm a big baseball guy and yeah. Played baseball my whole life and everything and, curve ball was always To go down this rabbit hole was always difficult.
But if you stay back on the ball and, throw the knob of the ba the bat at it, you'll be all right. Yeah. You'll get it. Just don't get out in front of it. Yeah.
[00:13:35] Dan Johnson: Yep. I I can remember playing baseball in, it was nuts, man. I was 14 years old, 15 years old, something like that. And played against a kid who was my same age and he had a curve ball.
And so then I was just like, how can the, how is this kid throwing a curve ball? And it was like a 60 60 or [00:14:00] which is pretty fast for a 15 year old, but 50, 60 mile an hour, had some movement on it, and I was, I couldn't hit it. I couldn't hit it four times up to bat that game.
And I struck out every time.
[00:14:10] Aaron Bleise: Yeah, you'll you'll get that in those big jobs. But definitely my problem was when playing baseball as my dog is going nuts in the background means someone's here and I don't know what she's doing. But anyway my problem with baseball is I couldn't hit with a wood bat, so we'd always go into like wood bat tournaments and stuff like that.
Oh yeah. And it's totally different hitting with a wood bat and, going into college then, we, we didn't hit with wood bats then, but af college, it you're always like looking for that next step of are you gonna go a little bit farther, maybe after college and everything.
And I just couldn't hit with a wood bat. Yeah. And I'm five 10, I was a buck 75 a second basement. Could only throw. A little bit, and I was decently fast and, the minors and the majors were not calling my name. Exactly. Yeah.
[00:14:52] Dan Johnson: Just put it that way. And so I can remember the same thing.
I had a dream in for a little bit where I was like, Hey I wanna play for the Iowa Haw [00:15:00] guys, man that's, I wanna play football for the Iowa hawkeys. But then I realized how much work needed to be put in, and the younger me didn't wanna put in any of that work. So I did not so that, Dr.
So that dream ended after high school. You know where, let
[00:15:16] Aaron Bleise: me ask you this though. Yeah. If you would've played baseball, you'd probably have 10 fingers still right now.
[00:15:20] Dan Johnson: That's a great question. That's a great question. It was after college, so it would've, here's what would've happened.
I'm looking at. Do you follow Marvel at all? Do you watch any of the Marvel movies? Like the superhero
[00:15:36] Aaron Bleise: movies? Man, you might be pissed. I don't watch any Marvel. I've not watched any Marvel Star Wars or
[00:15:41] Dan Johnson: anything like that. Okay. So here's they, they have the time stone, right? And then the time stone, I've explained you're you're tuned out right now.
Are we gonna talk about deer? Are we gonna
[00:15:53] Aaron Bleise: talk about, I you didn't I Headphones?
[00:15:58] Dan Johnson: Anyway if you could go [00:16:00] back and say, all if Dan was good at, there's alter alternate realities. If Dan was good at baseball, what would his life look like? I would, I don't think I would've been good enough even after college to go to the pros. So I still would've had to get a job somewhere.
Gotcha. Or I could've been like a major or a minor league coach. Which would've been sweet. I feel like if in an alternate reality, I'm a minor league baseball coach who doesn't give a shit if he wins or loses. That's really like a movie. That would be a movie like Minor league. But the coach doesn't care.
He's just there, like he, he's there. He always has a losing record, but he doesn't care. He's getting paid.
[00:16:44] Aaron Bleise: Let me ask you this, since we're going down the sports role. This is my questions my buddies and I ask each other too. Looking now, knowing what you know now to you, what would be the could be any sport, could be any position, anything, what would be the most ideal[00:17:00] situation if you played a professional sport?
What position would
[00:17:03] Dan Johnson: that be? Yeah, that's a great question. It would be first baseman. Okay. I, and I was actually decent at baseball. I. I was okay at football, but at six one, I, I was talking to a guy the other week, he played football for the University of Wisconsin, and man, he got up to 2 45 and I think he was probably around the same height as me, but they wanted him to gain all this weight and just basically changed his body type.
Then he made it to the nfl and you got not only now you have all this weight on you now you have to be fast too, so you're just training and eating and training and eating and things like that. I think I would've been undersized to play. I was too slow to play anything other than linemen or, maybe like some kind of blitzing linebacker, but football would've been out of the question just cuz I'm not fast [00:18:00] enough.
So I was okay at baseball. I could have I could hit. I could feel. And so I feel like first baseman probably would've been the best possible outcome for me. You,
[00:18:15] Aaron Bleise: I got two. Okay. And one, I think being a closer closing picture would be the best because, they're, in my opinion, and baseball's a dying breed, which really sucks for a baseball guy like me.
And I still love watching baseball. I watch Tigers. I'm a big Detroit Tigers fan, and I watch just about every game. You know it. I do. And I just love the numbers and the situations and stuff like that. But there's nothing better than playoff baseball. Yeah. In October and November and stuff like that we're already in the fall hunting.
It's getting colder, and baseball's on. When you come in from a hunt or something like that, you kick on the game. It's in the, there's the atmosphere is ridiculous. Yeah. I always thought it'd be really cool being like the Mariana [00:19:00] Rivera that is you come in game seven and you literally have to get three of the hardest outs.
Yeah. When everybody is at their loudest. Yeah. I love that part. Oh yeah. It's almost being like at the free throw line with one second left. You gotta hit this shot. I think being a closer would be ridiculously cool. The other one is being a kicker in the nfl. A field go kicker. Oh yeah. Because and I'm, I wanna preface this with, I love to hit people when I was in football.
I have, I'm not afraid to hit anybody, but being a kicker, that same kind of stage, like games on the line, one second left. Gotta drill this 60 yard field goal to win it. The Adam ary the Super Bowl. Stuff like that. Like it, I think it's even more to be like, sit stagnant, the whole game and then you gotta turn it on for 10
[00:19:47] Dan Johnson: seconds.
[00:19:47] Aaron Bleise: In, instant, instant. Yeah. And I think. There is something to be said for that as far as yeah, you might not be the most athletic guy in the field, but the mental capacity and the mental game of that is [00:20:00] just like astronomical in my mind. So I think one of those two would be really
[00:20:03] Dan Johnson: cool.
Yeah. Okay. So if I could be anything, I would be something like that too. If I was to pick number one, punters and punters and kickers, they're not getting hurt like everybody else is getting hurt. Nope. Closing pitchers, there's, there is an aura around like Denis Dennis Eckersley. I'm a huge St.
Louis Cardinals fan is ring housing back in the day dude would come up and gas. Yeah. Just smoke people. And so I that there's an aura around these closing pitchers that's badass is coming out like, the the movie, what's the movie with Charlie Sheen in it? I forget.
Oh, major league. Major League, right? Yeah. And the music comes on, he walks out, punches his glove Wild thing. Yeah. Wild thing Throws, throws a hundred and Chapman, back in the day. And yeah. And so yeah, that, those two, or just a punter who cracks beers on the [00:21:00] sidelines, got
[00:21:00] Aaron Bleise: a beer gut.
Yeah. But rips
[00:21:02] Dan Johnson: darts, yeah, exactly. And so here's like a perfect transition to talk about deer hunting because deer hunting is a lot like being stagnant, especially if you, not necessarily spot in stock, but if you're a tree stand hunter, And you're in a really good position, stagnant all day. We're all morning, we're all afternoon, and then boom, it's game time.
And you have to react in an absolute instant to get the shot. Yep.
[00:21:29] Aaron Bleise: I'll even go a step further and it's like you're stagnant the whole season. It's, you're always thinking, but you're in a train of thought of you're almost, I'm gonna use the word relaxed, but you're almost like in a relaxed state the whole season until you look over, you hear a twig snap and you're like, oh shit.
That's the deer I've been looking for this whole time. And then everything is amplified. Exactly. Put a hundred thousand fans cheering in front of you and you have to make this kick from 60 yards. Yeah. And it's or even a chip shot from 25, and it's it's that moment. Yeah.
And [00:22:00] the thing is, and football. If we're comparing kickers to, to deer hunting, you almost, you have a, I feel like you have a little bit more control than you do with a wild animal. You know what I mean? Yeah. You could check something at the line if you don't see, it's fire, let's go to play two here or something.
Doesn't happen a lot. But then there is no checks at the line when you're in a tree, when a wild animal's coming at you. Yeah. There is no checks. Yeah. Like it is. Hopefully he comes by here and, oh God, this is the first time I've seen this deer on the hoof and he is way bigger than I thought. Yeah.
And I have to put one arrow in the right spot.
[00:22:33] Dan Johnson: Imagine a field goal kicker. If the ball was moving back and forth, man, and he had to time it. Oh man. Like he had to time it. Perfect. That would be nuts. That would be nuts. So hard. Okay. So how many years have you been a serious bow hunter? A
[00:22:48] Aaron Bleise: serious bow hunter?
I would say I. And this is a question I ask a lot of guys on my podcast too, because I always thought I was a serious bow hunter. Even, I started bow hunting when I was 12, but, go through [00:23:00] high school I played three sports and hunting was like a big passion of mine, but it was just a weekend warrior thing.
It was like, yep, maybe hunting in the morning on Saturday and then you get rocket football or something, or whatever. Yep. And then in college I played baseball again, but then the studies really took over for my career, I would honestly say I graduated college in, oh boy, 10th or 11.
Yeah. Or something like that. I can't remember. But I would say probably right around actually 2012, I would say I really started getting probably really serious as far as like it ingrained my life. Yeah. Like it was 365 is when that flip switched, in 2008 and nine. I was fortunate enough to kill two pretty good bucks in Michigan and.
That was a stepping stone. Like the starter. Yeah. That was the fire starter. And then it took a couple years for it to be like, yep. And then in 2012 I killed a really good deer. And then I'm like, yeah, this is it. Yeah. And then, so probably for the last 10, 11 [00:24:00] years, it's probably, I've been really serious that it's been 365.
[00:24:03] Dan Johnson: Yeah. And I went through the same thing. Like I, I picked up my first bow, I think I was 12 or 13. And then, I was the weekend warrior type football. The best time to be out is also football. So Saturday mornings usually sore and exhausted. Yep. I either had to say, I'm gonna tough it up, or I'm gonna sleep in.
And most of the time I slept in which mean meant that it was just usually Sunday mornings that I would go out or a Sunday afternoon. I didn't hunt during the school, typically during the week I was a weekend warrior just like you. And so then all that got shelved when the social aspect of high school.
I was also in student council. I was also in other sports and activities. Then I went to college and college was just a haze. And so I didn't do much. I did some pheasant hunting in college. I did a little Turkey hunting in, I, [00:25:00] in 2001 is when I started like my Turkey hunting period of my life.
But it wasn't until 2006. When I moved back to Iowa, from Alabama to really start, so it was at 2006, so I'm coming up on 20 years of what I would consider serious bow hunting. All right? And so the reason I'm asking these questions is cuz I'm trying to identify trends things that you've seen throughout your hunting career, your bow hunting career, sitting in a tree, observing.
And we can start really any time of the year. I think the best time to have this conversation is right now because we're coming outta spring it, we're able to start identifying bucks via trail cameras. What are Deere doing? So let's, what I'd like to do is have this conversation about trends that you've observed throughout the years, [00:26:00] really any time of year.
[00:26:03] Aaron Bleise: Yeah. And if you wanna start right now as we're talking, we're in middle of May, and all the crops are being put in like literally right now before I walk down here. Farmers around just putting crops in the ground and everything here. And like you said, you're starting to identify some bucks right now.
Some bucks have brows, some of them are, have some pretty good beam length on 'em right now. Yeah. You can start identifying those. And some trends that I've seen right now is, a lot of it revolves around crop rotation as well. There's some areas in farm country that I hunt that if it's a wheat year, they put winter wheat.
The farmers put winter wheated in. I'm gonna hold a lot of deer. Yeah. But the years that I don't, it's like I don't see a deer for four or five months. Yeah. And then they'll show back up. But I will say like those upper end bucks that I see in like a farm country setting like that from year to year, I don't pick them up a lot year after year.
[00:27:00] If that crop rotation is not the way that if they don't winter here it's a crapshoot. It is literally, I see a lot of like times where deer just don't come back. Yeah. And they, and the thing is I think that where I'm at, I think the deer have to branch out and I think they may find something that they maybe not have had as far as like maybe a cover source or maybe a food source that they really like and they'll just stick close to there.
Maybe a lack of pressure. Yeah. So I think, this time of year in May. And I think it's still delicate. It's still delicate as far as the pressure. I hate pressuring deer no matter what all year. But like right now I'm waiting for a couple bucks to, to show back up and they're not, and there's a couple that I can identify without antlers, just because I know some features on them.
[00:27:47] Dan Johnson: Like a torn ear or a scar or something.
[00:27:50] Aaron Bleise: Scar, torn ear. And the scars are really hard right now too, because you see every dough that's trying to rip their winter coat off. Oh yeah. It looks like they have scars on 'em. Yep. But there's a couple issues. [00:28:00] Like one may have a hoof that's, which won't get into that.
He is very identifiable, but an ear is a big one or I'm marking on the face or something like that. But yeah I'm waiting man, right now, I've got some cameras out and waiting for them to show back up and usually by end of May. It's really weird. It's something I've really. Scene.
But if I don't get that deer by end of May mo, like the percentage goes way down, I'm, there's a good chance I'm not gonna see him again. Yeah. If I know he made it through the previous fall, I don't know what it is, man. It's just one of those things that they move to greener pastures and, I just don't see 'em again.
[00:28:37] Dan Johnson: Yeah. So I, that's one thing that you mentioned a whole bunch there to un that needs to be unpacked, crop rotation. That's the thing that really hit me hard. And so last year was a bean year, and so bean year for me and so this farm has [00:29:00] beans and it has corn on it. But majority of the bottom where the deer mostly hang out, it was all in, in beans, the main farm.
And then Also beans that touch the timber, but then also corn further back. So anyway the point I'm trying to make here is on this particular year, just lower deer numbers during the breeding season during the rut, a lot of activity during the summer and right away into September, velvet sheds, there's a shift, and then things just, the shift goes, but never comes back.
On a corn year, it's the same thing. Really good summer pictures, corn, the corn's here and the, there's a shift in September, the deer go away. But then in the I would say in the late October timeframe, somewhere about, and it's almost like clockwork. 26th, 27th, 28th of October, big dogs [00:30:00] start to show back up and they start to daylight.
In wherever their pattern is now, and it's not really consistent every year because I always, I almost feel like there's a new dominant buck on the farm almost every year, right? Yes. There are some returning customers and there are deer that run the same circuit. I'm thinking about one in particular, but on a cornier man the rut is so much better.
The, and even after they take the corn out, which is, sometime in that mid, depends on obviously the weather. Sometimes it's late November. The, when the corn is in the rut is if the corn stays in during the rut, the, you don't see as many deer, but you have more sparks of. Like heavy action, I would say like a dough comes through the timber and there's multiple bucks to run in now when the corn [00:31:00] is out, more deer come by my tree stand just because there's less cover in the fields, but you don't see the hot action like you would.
I don't know, but that's just a trend that I've identified throughout the years.
[00:31:13] Aaron Bleise: I've got a trend. I got a question for you. Yeah. And just because, so those corn years, do you see your deer density go up in the corn years? Have you noticed that?
[00:31:24] Dan Johnson: Yes. Yes. Now there, there are local deer groups or dough groups that they tend to they're more consistent in that timeframe.
Let's see. And then it just seems like there's way more deer in the woods on cornier okay. So everything is just better. In Cornier now bean years, I would say early season, everything seems really good as far as, the dough group sticking around. But [00:32:00] then when the breeding season hits the big dog there, there's still a couple big dogs on the farm, but not as many as if it was a cornier Corn just sucks them into this farm, and they stay until the shot shotgun season.
And once the shotgun season hits, there's no return. Like everything leaves the farm. It gets, th This year was a weird year though, I will say, because although I did have shotgun hunters pushing multiple days in a row in February my hit list buck returned with still antlers. And that's how I know he w you know, he made it through, at least made it through the hunting season.
Sure. And yes. How about with you? Same question to you. Is there a particular year or crop rotation that you like More
[00:32:48] Aaron Bleise: so for sure, like more, I like bean years more, and that's gonna come to probably as a shock to a lot of people. But like in my farm country stuff, I will take beans [00:33:00] 10 outta 10 years over corn.
Yeah. Because a couple things, my, a lot of my corn years are silage corn, so they're coming off in September. Really? For silage years. Yeah. Yeah. And they're, and the farmers leave nothing, so it's, if they're not putting a cover crop, that field is done for the rest of the year. And this is a conversation I just had with a buddy yesterday.
The bean years are way better and and you hit it. They are way better, up until the 20th of October. Yeah. I love that. I love the first 20 days of October because the first five days I can still pattern a, an, an ag land. I can still pattern a real good deer here in Michigan.
Yeah. Now from that fifth to the 10th timeframe, 11 timeframe, somewhere in there, they are gone. They, for some reason they'll just that's when the dark camera pictures are starting and I glass a lot and that's when I don't see 'em on the glass. It's almost like they're, that's when their shift happens a little bit.
Yeah. Okay. [00:34:00] And then I do have historical data on a couple I would, I'll call 'em hub scrapes or community scrapes that from the 10th of October until about the 17th of October, my ass is gonna be in the tree right over those scrapes because. One of the more mature deer in the area is gonna hit it mid-morning in that five or six time day timeframe.
That's how like intimate I am with the farm, one of the farms that I have to hunt. That is where you're gonna find me. Yeah. Because if I can withstand that, sit in the morning and a lot of times honestly, Dan, that I've been not hunting first thing in the morning. Like I'll take my daughter to school, come home, get my stuff on, and I'll go get in Yeah.
At nine o'clock in the morning and sit till one o'clock. Yeah. Because that 10 until noon is when it usually a deer is just, he's coming back in the area, he's hitting that scrape because he's trying to figure out who the hell has taken over his stuff in the last six, seven days. Yeah. I love that timeframe.
And then [00:35:00] usually from about the 17th, of October until maybe a little bit of a, after the 20th or 20, First 23rd, somewhere in there, that kind of shift happens a little bit again. You're gonna start seeing more deer, more of those bigger bucks. They're not as frequent. They're, yeah, they're more of they're starting to roam a little bit.
They might have caught some scent on a different farm or from a dough or something like that, but they're gonna come back. They'll come back, and then it's go time again around the 25th. Yeah. So those are the trends that I see, especially in ag land. I love hunting ag. Yeah. And what I mean by ag is there's no big timber around me.
The biggest section of timber might be six acres. But you got wooded fence rows. You got ditches. Like you get, you guys in Iowa, we get a lot of those terrorists. I wish we had like terrorists around here because it can, those man I love driving around Iowa and seeing terrace and seeing in the rut.
You know how many deer you, you know it like, you can see a big buck vetted up with a dough and a terrace and you can spot and stock 'em. And that is some of the coolest things. Yeah. I've seen,[00:36:00]
[00:36:00] Dan Johnson: Yeah. So there's not, there, there is terraces around where I hunt in Iowa. I will say though, I also hunt like most of my hunting, on the new farm that I have access to, it's more of just very small chunks of timber with, I'm gonna say l low, it's farm country, but all of the lower spots, the drainages have trees in 'em.
Okay. So along all the creeks have trees, but it's farmed right up into that. Now, let's see when we're starting to talk about breeding then, and, seeing the deer start to do their movement, when do you notice. An uptick in actual movement or is it pretty consistent?
[00:36:49] Aaron Bleise: Not general deer movement, doze, fawns, little bucks. It's, I see that all the time. Yeah. You just see you get, when you hunt a farm so much and you can [00:37:00] glass it a lot and keep tabs on it. I have family groups of dough that I can identify from year to year. Like I just 10.
But now with those more mature bucks that we're looking for, the older deer, which could be like a three or four year old or older though that movement really starts ramping up. Like I said, it's an ebb and flow thing. In the middle of October, like it is, you get a three day window.
When he shows up, you get three days and he is gone. Yeah. And then you don't know when he is gonna show back up. I think it's a three to four day window, but then, consistent, more consistent. 25th of October is here in Michigan. And a lot of the things where I've traveled to hunt a lot as well.
It's across the board basically about the same. It just depends on geographically where you go. Now, Kansas, I've talked about Kansas last time we were doing the podcast like in like a Southern Kansas, or it like moves back a week to 10 days. Yep. For me anyway, in the, in what I've experienced there, but anywhere else I [00:38:00] go, usually it's at 25th, man, if you give me the 25th through the 31st of October, I would take those days over any other days in the fall to hunt.
Yeah. Give me those five or six days. That's when I see across the board trends, no matter what, where I'm at, unless you get a little farther south. What I mean south, ca, Kentucky. Yep. Tennessee, stuff like that. When things start happening a little later, any of the northern, Midwestern, northern states, like 25th man is when I see more of a consistent daylight, bigger deer that you're trying to target, more mature deer, that's when it really starts ramping up for me.
[00:38:34] Dan Johnson: Yeah. And so in where I hunt, I notice can sit so I have a lot of trail cameras out. All right. You take, let's just say you take away 75% of my trail cameras and I put 'em into the p into certain positions, it would make it, or let's say before I upgraded and got more trail cameras[00:39:00] the data that I was receiving would imply that deer movement was very low in, like from the time they shed their velvet to late October.
There's the, there's slow movement, but I, okay, but I added roughly over the past five years, five to seven years, I've slowly added trail cameras every year. Buy a couple, put 'em out, buy a couple, put 'em out get some cell cams out and so now you're instantly starting to get data. Here's what I've noticed on the farms that I hunt.
There is from the time velvet sheds to the time I would say mid late October 25th, 26th, like the date, the 28th hits me, because that's when my target box typically daylight is right around that 28th. The whole point I'm trying to make here is that the deer are moving every day.
They're [00:40:00] moving every, almost every day. They're moving through the property at some way, shape, or form. Not the same path every time. They're taking different paths to different areas, but they are moving. And so it's just that they're not moving during daylight, right? So all of this data that I've collected throughout the years tells me, Hey, man, there's no point in going in there to chase them while they're nocturnal, or I'm not, I don't even wanna say nocturnal.
While they're moving, most of the movement is happening after daylight or after dark, before daylight, right? So you start to see these trends, and so it keeps me outta the woods. And so that's why I have a real big problem with people saying there's a lull. Oh, the October low don't hunt.
It's not that the deer aren't moving because my trail cameras and data says they are moving, and sometimes even right. In a very rare occasion that weather front comes through and it has to be a major, it would have to be a [00:41:00] major huge temperature drop, potential snow in mid-October. Lots of precipitation in rain, like a huge weather event for almost multiple days to even get me excited to go out in mid-October into a good stand location.
And so that's why, I have a problem with the lull because in my, in, from my experience, the lull doesn't exist. The lull only exists if you do this hunting all of a sudden. Then in then the movement stops. It's, it doesn't stop. It, it keeps going. Then in that late October frame, that's when it ramps up.
That's when the the scrapes start to really ha blow up. That's when I'm starting to see major rubs. That's when I'm starting to see all this crazy shit go down in, on trail cameras all the way up until that third week in November, and then it slides down again to Thanksgiving and then it [00:42:00] starts to slide.
But that's when I get the most trail cameras of mature bucks is the second half of November. Okay. Cause the they've bred a handful of deer dough and now they're back into, Hey, I'm gonna go try to find one more. Yep. What's what from a early season, pre ru and I, pre rud is the most intriguing to me when in.
For most of the properties that you've hunt, and you can even talk about your experience down in Kansas and other states. What does, what's the pre rut timeframe look like for you?
[00:42:36] Aaron Bleise: As far as what I'm doing or?
[00:42:38] Dan Johnson: No, just like the dates and I know that Okay. Or the dates and what the deer are doing in leading up to the pre rut and even during this pre rut timeframe.
[00:42:51] Aaron Bleise: So I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to like, segregate it a little bit here because I have the finger on the pulse here in Michigan pretty heavily. I've [00:43:00] seen a three-year-old deer, which here in Michigan, I'm trying to kill a three-year-old or better. That's what it is. So that's my target.
October 24th, it was the 24th and it was 2000 and, oh boy, I think it was 2020. 20, it was 20. On October 24th, I watched a three year old buck that I was trying to kill, breed a dough for 36 hours. Now to me that is more of a time where like they're seeking, they're out, they're moving, and, not say a dough couldn't come into asterisks at that time.
I see a lot of dough actually physically get bred or, the deer tr a buck tries a breed, a dough around that timeframe, 24th, 25th, 26th. What I'm trying to do and what I see in that timeframe is I'm, I am, I'm trying not to get skewed from those times that I have seen that, getting bred.
Because if he's locked down with her [00:44:00] for 36 or how many hours, literally they didn't move the, they didn't move a 20 yard by 20 yard. Section in a bean field on a main road for 36 hours.
[00:44:10] Dan Johnson: So they stayed in that little
[00:44:12] Aaron Bleise: area. I've got film and everything of it all. So how that kind of went down is the night before I, my wife had to work, she's a nurse, so I was on kid duty and I was going to get pizza for supper and I couldn't hunt that night.
And I was going to get pizza and I was like, I'm gonna go by the farm and drove by and I'm like, I could see two deer. They're literally 150 yards off of main paved road. And I'm like, oh my gosh. On the farm. Like I know exactly what this is all gonna about. Drove over there and there's the deer I've been looking for the last, like 17 days and he is right there with her.
I could have killed him with a gun off the road if I wanted to. And he's not letting her go anywhere. Yeah. And so I went and got the pizza, took him home. My mother-in-law was watched my daughter. So I just went and glassed him from the truck cuz it was getting in the evening. I couldn't get to a tree or nothing [00:45:00] like that.
And he's out in the middle of nowhere. So I watched him there and then the next morning I'm like, I'm gonna get ear up in, in the stand early and just let it get daylight and see if he's there. And as I, I got up in that stand and as it gets daylight there, him and her are in the same spot. So they were there all night.
And then I hunted the whole next day watching him until it got dark that night. And he stayed there all day. Yeah. And then the next day, the third day, He was, they were gone. Okay. And I don't know where he went from there, so I'm like, that was pretty, odd to see, but not too odd.
But anyway, what I'm trying to do and what I'm seeing there is I'm still, I'm hunting those scrapes, those historical scrapes that are Yeah. That are normally getting hot at that time. I'm not letting the, those deer getting locked down at that point. Cuz that's an anomaly in my opinion, not a lot of 'em are doing that.
I'm still approaching it that way and trying to get in some areas, really just trying to like, hone in on the historical data. I lean so heavily on historical data, it's not even funny. Yeah. Probably to a[00:46:00] probably to a detriment, honestly. Yeah. But on the farms I'm hunting, I'm still hoping I'm still looking for that.
And my approach isn't really changing much in the pre rut as far as I might go in and hunt a scrape even if I don't have any Recent information on that, right? I just know historically over the last five or six years, it's hot, it's gonna happen. If I ride the hole here, it's gonna happen.
So I will do that
[00:46:21] Dan Johnson: as well. Yeah, man I'm a huge believer in the pre rut in, on the main farm. Okay. I shouldn't say I'm this huge believer and on the farms that I've hunt because I've experienced it other ways on the farm that I hunted from 2006 until about 2000 and I want to say 14 ish, 2013 something in that, where I was chasing that shipwreck buck.
Yep. Huge uptick in activity. I would say the pre rut ended a right around [00:47:00] November 1st, second timeframe and then it was the rut, the real rut on the farm that I hunt now, pre rut goes, man the biggest, most mature bucks are not even clo. They're not even they're not even like interested in doze quite yet, right?
They're going out there, they're making their str scrapes. Why I've been successful on that farm is because of pre rut activity and hitting it at the right time every single year in that first seven days in November, where it's still the pre rut. They're waiting for the dose, and I feel like the bucks just get anci.
And Anci and Anier, and now they start to get a little aggressive and they're bumping other bucks out. They're, I killed my deer, not this year, but the previous year, I went into a kind of a man, it's I would call it a mini staging area that [00:48:00] before they head up to this finger to go to a main, a maiden food source.
Long story short man, I grunted and snort wheezed this buck in, he started raking trees, so I was able to read his body language and there was, they, he wasn't chasing doze, doze walked by. He looked at 'em. He didn't even go to scent check 'em. And so that's pre rut activity if you ask me. There's no breeding happening. And if there is it's not happening in, in this area. And so now the pre-reads pushed back or the, it's pushed into November and I feel. I feel like that is when big bucks are at their most vulnerable, as far as being called, is concerned with that simple one, two grunt, the or the snort. We, especially on a big mature buck, they're just like, nah, dude, I've already kicked everybody's ass. Who's this guy? Yep. And so I've just fallen in love with the pre [00:49:00] rut and I have to learn this on this new farm to when this pre rut timeframe is. I killed a deer last year on it. I still think it was in that pre rut timeframe on this farm as well.
Just doing the same thing, ba get 'em in. Seal the deal. I like, I don't know, like I feel like once the rut hits, chaos happens and yes, they're vulnerable from they turn stupid, but then the, they're not working terrain features as consistent. They're maybe crushed in a ridge or they're running straight in a bottom or they're all over the place and then the consistency goes away and then you lose that portion of it.
[00:49:42] Aaron Bleise: Tell me this, since we're talking about the trend thing, what, you've been successful on some really big deer score wise and probably even age wise. Age wise, mostly that's all. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So my question to you is, those deer that you're killing and what you're saying [00:50:00] is the pre-up for you are, is that, do you think, is the oldest deer on the farm, do you think he's the king to on the farm?
And the reason why I ask is because, I see this a little bit as well too. Yeah. Where you might still think it's, this is me talking, but I'm, I might still think it's pre rut and I'm killing these really good deer. But am I killing the deer that is the mature guy in the area that is out there? Is it what I'm saying?
Is it the pre-up Because there's another buck out there kicking these deer all around saying you guys need to back up a little bit. I'm getting the first dough around here. So you guys just kinda stay away a little bit, do your thing. Does that make sense? Yeah, it does.
[00:50:43] Dan Johnson: I know what you're getting at.
On the new farm this year, I shot, or I shot my buck and I felt like there was a little bit of a power vacuum that happened that I could witness on trail camera. Now, was this the biggest antler buck? No, but I felt, I f I had a gut feeling [00:51:00] that told me he was the dominant buck in the area once I pulled him out.
And then when I went back in March to check trail cameras, I saw a flood of deer come into this farm, and there was a whole bunch of big deer it, and there was chaos. Like the pictures showed me, deer running, deer chasing. And yes, that's what happens in the rut, but there's several big deer that I didn't have on trail camera until the rut kicked off.
Okay. So I felt like that buck was keeping other deer out. Now, on my main farm, I'm gonna say that. There's enough room and terrain features in area and dough groups to where there can be two kings of the castle. And they stay away from each other because in 20 20, 20 22, let's see, I'm trying to think here.
20 20, 21 when I shot my buck, [00:52:00] that buck this 2023. 2022. Yeah. 2021. I shot a real, wa a big wide one. I think he was the king of this little area. But if I was to go 500 yards down, there's a completely different buck on trail camera hassling a different dough group. And that buck never showed up on, on that.
On that terrain feature in the little staging area. But he, but there was two different dough groups. One was on the ridge and one was down in the river bottom. And I feel like they wouldn't overlap until they handled their business with that dough group. He handled his business with his dough group and then they started to cruise.
Sure. And so I feel like I, I just go back to your question. I just feel like it's all about the availability of dough and that's what's gonna hold the bucks. A buck doesn't need to fight [00:53:00] if there's dough available. So there's plenty of doughs available. So these mature bucks can all move in.
They can live in, they can coexist for the time being until all the dozer bred, and then they will fight once their territories overlap. That's an assumption and just information from trail cameras. Now same question to you though,
[00:53:23] Aaron Bleise: In Michigan, I don't think.
It's probably on a smaller scale, just because, for us to get a four or five year old or older is very difficult. I'm not in, in my area. I know there's places you can do it. But I think you see a lot of coexisting around in Michigan in my area. Like I just, because when you get a deer, that might be king, he is, he's an anomaly. Yeah. Unless he's a very aggressive deer at, in, in nature. And he might be a three year old. The deer I killed a buck in in 2020. No, yeah. 2020 here. And I chased him in [00:54:00] 19 and 20 I believe it was. And in 19, I thought he was a three-year old. He was just a big, burly deer.
He was only a six point, he was just a clean six. But he always had that big neck, like just a big pop belly. And I'm like, man, I feel like he's a three-year-old. Yeah. And then I end up shooting him in 21 or 20. I'm like for sure. Four year old. Yeah. He was 250 pounds on the hoof. And I'm like, he is an eight pointer.
He got real heavy mass. He was like 120 inch deer. Got him age. He was three and a half. Yeah. And but that deer was a deer that acted like a four or five year old. He, you would never see him with other deer personality. You would never see personality was completely an aggressive deer. He would when you'd see him in a bean field, You could see him walk for 400 yards and he'd just be like, EOR out there.
Yeah. Just don't freaking touch me. I felt like his ears were always back for some reason. Yeah. Like he was just, he always looked like he was in the [00:55:00] rut. Just a big burly deer. So like a deer like that. When I look back at that year, how many shooter bucks I did I have on the farm in the summer.
I had four or five that I would shoot when I'm talking like one 20 or better that were probably three year olds. There could have been some two year olds in there. But like I had a great year. Yeah. But then when the fall came and a lot of them left. Yeah. And you're gonna get that turnover.
But usually I'll have one or two or three deer coexist. That are, that I consider shooter bucks. Yeah. Usually I will have that year. I did not. And he ruled it. Like he, I saw him a lot. Yeah. A lot. I encountered him a couple times, but I saw him glassing a lot. He was so visible.
And and then coming into the year that I did shoot him, he was a ghost. I saw him in the summer. I knew he existed. And then I think the last picture I got him was October 8th, something like that. Never glass him again. November 2nd comes around and I'm doing a hot lap in the morning, and then he's locked down with a dough.
Yeah. And he, [00:56:00] I was able to do a spot in stock on him and get an arrow at him. Yeah. So it's I guess I think I am killing like the top 10% of my buck. So I don't know. I don't, I don't know how to answer it. I think the ones that I'm trying to kill and the ones I am killing are the top 10%.
So they're the ones that like, Are kicking the other deer out. Does that make sense?
[00:56:22] Dan Johnson: Yeah. What we're identifying here is that age like dominance has nothing to do with age class. No. So I don't think I I've watched a three year old beat the shit out of a five year old before.
Okay. I've watched 120 inch 120 inch six year old, beat the shit out of 155 inch. He was a four year old. Okay. And so dominance just means that particular deer is, cuz there's always a hierarchy. There's hierarchies in doughs, there's hierarchies in bucks for [00:57:00] sure during the breeding season.
And I think that starts as soon as the velvet comes off. And I'm pretty sure it does. That's why there's this huge shift is because deer are going, Hey we're not friends anymore. I'm stronger. No, I'm stronger. And sometimes it takes a fight. Sometimes it just takes a little bullying. But dominance has no, in my opinion, has nothing to do with age class.
I would say nine times outta 10, an older buck will probably be more dominant just because he's got another year of size on him. And sometimes the per but that's personality as well. I've watched a I've watched a dough group for five days in a row come out and a couple, three year olds come out with him every single every single day.
And then one day, the big dog shows up in late October. He comes in and all he does is put his ears back and turn sideways. And the other deer just left. They just left gone. And yeah. So when [00:58:00] the age struck, the only difference is the age structure. Is different in Iowa than it is in Michigan. You're going after three year olds, but that three-year-old is the dominant he's the dominant buck on that property.
And then I think my answer is that the dominant, there's, there is an opportunity for there to be multiple dominant bucks in a given area based off of the availability of do, if that makes sense. Yep. A
[00:58:30] Aaron Bleise: hundred percent Makes sense. And that's, I see that as well, like in a lot of the stuff I'm talking about is like ag ground.
I do have some big wood stuff, close to me as well that I hunt a lot. And that is that's harder to hunt. It is, definitely. And the deer density there is ridiculous. Yeah. Ridiculous. We have so many doughs, but now here in the ag that I have the ag ground, I mean you might only see a deer or two a night.
Yeah. And you can see forever. But [00:59:00] I like that because that gets the deer up and moving. Yeah. That tells those bucks that they have to move. They have to, they're not gonna hole up in a five acre patch of timber every day, all day during the ru They're gonna move, you're gonna see 'em. Yeah.
It might be the most boring hunting you've ever experienced, but it's gonna happen. Yeah. So that's why I like the whole ag ground stuff. And you might have, let's say a hundred doughs on your farm. I probably have, honestly, in the farm, like the ag I'm talking about, I have a group of four to five doughs that I think all at home.
Yeah. And the reason why is because I see them every day. Yeah. And I see them like there's always the same mom and she's got markings on her. I, she's probably about seven years old now. Yeah. And. She's always got like an another adult dough that hangs out with her, but then they always have a couple fawns with them, and that's it.
And I, I could tell you right where they live, I can tell you what woodlot they live in, what they frequent Yep. At what times of the year. It's, and it's, it makes it difficult in the way though, [01:00:00] because you're at the mercy of those doughs and when they come into asterisks if you get into that latter part of the year, the pre rut you're talking about you're hoping that one of them comes into asterisks because there's a good chance your odds are pretty low, that if a Bucks condition gonna come and check, just to check he knows. Yeah. They're a home game every year.
They're every day because they live out there. He knows those dough intimately. Yeah. He knows when Sally comes into to heat. He's probably bred her before. Like I really think that with those deers, so it can be very touchy with the ag base thing.
[01:00:31] Dan Johnson: Yeah. All right. Outside of Michigan, What state have you hunted the second most?
So outside, not counting Michigan, what's the next state you've spent the most time in? Kansas. Kansas. Okay. Now Kansas. Yeah, I want to, now I want to compare Michigan to Kansas. All right. And we're talking about trends. Again, everybody says Michigan is a high pressure state. And now we're stepping out off to [01:01:00] Kansas, which is its whole different animal compared to Michigan.
Yep. Are there any, does the pressure in Michigan cloudy the trend or being able to identify trends that you think, or do you have to work harder or versus Kansas, where things happen more cut and dry, more black and white? Do you understand the question? Yes, I do. I have the idea in my head.
I'm glad you get it. Okay.
[01:01:27] Aaron Bleise: Yep. I, hopefully I answered this right. But yes, I. So in my experience, so there's probably other Michigan guys that are listening to this are gonna be mother fing me through here. But, and in my experience, I think the pressure does cloudy, the trends. Yeah. Because and I have two farms that I hunt here in Michigan.
One farm, it's just me that hunts it. Yeah. The other farm is 11 other guys, 10 other guys with me. Yep. They're two vastly different farms. [01:02:00] But when I go to Kansas or Ohio or Illinois or Iowa or Missouri, I can see, I always say I see big bucks do big buck things. Yeah. There's more times than not Dan that I'll see a, what I think is like a upper class deer here in Michigan, like a three or four year old.
At noon steps out in a bean field October 8th, and you're, and I say it all the time, what are you doing? Wh why are you doing that right now? Yeah. And when I'm in Kansas and I see that and I'm like, I don't say that at all. Yeah. Because of the lack of pressure. But yes, I agree with you like that deer.
But I will tell you this, on the farm that I hunt more with more people on, I will not see a deer do that at noon. But the farm that I hunt one person on, I will see that every year, multiple times a year. Yeah. And it's I do see more deer like doing deer things on that farm. So Yeah.
I do think it cloudy is the trends. And[01:03:00] that's why it's hard to explain, From a Michigan standpoint, like some of the it's hard to compare what you're doing in Iowa to what I'm doing in Michigan in a way. Yeah. But yeah, Michigan or Kansas, like a state, like Kansas is very black and white to me.
Yeah. My experiences in Kansas, there has been pressure. Don't get me wrong, but like deer, just deer do dear things. Like you've read about you've watched on videos, like you've watched on YouTube, like Yep. Deer do those things. And it's then you look at it when something happens, like you might kill a deer.
I killed a big deer in Iowa in 19 and I killed a midday. And it was like, oh my God. Yeah. That's the first one I've ever killed midday. And it's it worked. It actually worked. Yeah. You know what I mean? Yeah. So it's just pretty crazy how, geographically and stuff like that, how it, it changes.
Yeah. Hopefully that answers your question.
[01:03:44] Dan Johnson: No, that, that's awesome because I really do feel like pressure is the key indicator here. There's more pressure on my main farm than on the, on my new farm. So this first year, I was blown away by the cell camera pictures that [01:04:00] were getting sent to me.
And when I finally went and checked the rest of my trail cameras in March, the amount of daylight activity I saw from mid-October to mid-November, like deer just aren't supposed to be this active. I in a normal, in a, on a normal year, on a normal farm, I'm comparing two farms. One has zero pressure, one has min, like more pressure.
I'm not gonna try to justify it, but just more pressure. And so even on that more pressure, it's also the farm. My main farm has. Livestock on it that has it's farms. So there's activity, throughout the fall people coming and cutting trees down and the whole active farming scenario.
And on this new farm, there was no, there was none of that. They came in, they planted, and then they came in and they harvested. And then maybe in the summer, a couple times they would mow hay at or mow grass, bail it, and then get it out of there. [01:05:00] That's it. Other, until I stepped in. And so now dude, my trail cameras were showing like 11, 12, 1 o'clock deer like mature bucks on their feet, just moss.
And it, okay. It blew my mind, the activity that I was seeing. So again, pressure is the key indicator there.
[01:05:19] Aaron Bleise: Would you say that would you say no, I think you hit on this, but You're killing more of your bucks in the pre rut and you really love that timeframe. Yeah.
Is it just because you can call the deer and respond because you did talk about, how you like to call the deer, like that's so much fun, isn't it? Oh dude, it's the best. Would you say that is the biggest driver? Is that being like your favorite time?
[01:05:40] Dan Johnson: Yes. It's just that I figured it out.
I, I figured out the deer herd on the farms, how they use the terrain features. So the first step is putting your tree stand in the right position to catch the movement, right? The second is being able to identify what the body [01:06:00] language of this deer is e callable. And when I see a lone mature buck raking a tree, it's a no-brainer for me to throw one grunt out there and it just pisses 'em off to the point where they're like, what?
And they come in to investigate. And Or I snort wheeze at 'em or something like that. If they're being aggressive, I will be aggressive back to them, especially if they're a mature buck. And so they just they get curious. They come in and it just, it's just so happens that I'm able to get in there certain times a year.
Now if there's a buck trail and a dough or there's some kind of other dough in the area, and I try to do that single grunt, they don't come in to investigate. They typically stay with the, do they that they're messing around with or they're following? Yeah, following a dough. They won't come to investigate.
In my 18 years of bow hunting, I have only pulled one buck off of [01:07:00] Adele to come in an investigate, and I've never How did, how'd you do that? The same. I just did the same thing. No, wait, let me think. It was in 2017. The buck I shot. He, I think he's a f I'm pretty sure he is a four year old. Maybe could be five.
But I'm thinking he's a four year old 17. Yeah, I think he's 1700, 14 days in a row. And he came in and he beded down or a dough beded down. He betted down next to the dough and like he was panting, so he'd been chasing her a long time. She stood up, worked out of shooting range. I threw a grunt at him.
He looked my direction. He looked at the dough. He started following the dough. I blew one more kind of a, that was it. And he turned and he came in and I shot him, brought like broadside at tw [01:08:00] 27, 8 yards, something like that. Anyway. The point is that only happened one time. Every other time.
Whether I'm rattling, whether I am. Grunting, snort, wheezing. The call, the calling does not work. Typically if there's dough in the if they're following a dough or they come in behind do.
[01:08:20] Aaron Bleise: Yep. No, I agree. And that's I've never pulled a buck off of a dough, but honestly, with the amount of out-of-state hunting I've done, I've been filming my whole life, so I could only hunt the times that when I wasn't filming and everybody wants to be filmed during the rut and stuff like that.
So I was hunting a lot of early and then late like Missouri, I was hitting Missouri like in January and hunting food patterns and was able to be successful doing that a couple times. A lot of my, the bulk of my rut hunting has been in Michigan, so the calling, I wouldn't say it's out the window rattling pretty much out the window, but what I love is a bleat.
Like [01:09:00] a can call from primos. Love that call. Yeah. And a buck roar. And I agree with you. If I can get a three year old buck to be by himself and I hunted this deer. I called bomb pop because he had an a tie that looked like one of those bomb pops suckers. Yep. And so I hunted him.
He was a good deer. He was probably like right around pop and young. And it was an evening hunt. I was hunting a field edge. All beans. All beans. And he pops out of Woodlock. He's probably 150 yards from me. And I'm like, man, I can't blow a grunt at him right now. All he's doing is a tree fell into the field and the farmer couldn't harvest the beans right there.
So he is just hammering beans by himself. And this was during the rut, and I'm like, I'm gonna hit him with a bleed and see if I can get him like, oh, there's a hot dough over here, kind of thing. Hit him with a bleed. He looks up. And he could clear as day, see me if, I was blowing a blow horn, basically.
Yeah. And then he'd go back to feeding. So I hit him with another bleed and he goes back, he looks up, goes back to feeding. I'm like, okay, [01:10:00] now I'm gonna really get you, cause now I'm gonna hit you with a tending grunt. And I did. And he peeks up and he like takes two steps at me and he comes running on a string to me.
Yeah. Because what he heard was, okay, there's a hot dough over there, I'll get over there eventually. But then when he heard the buck, it's no, I gotta go down. Now I have competition. Yeah. Now I got competition. Yeah. He comes into 35 yards. I actually had a decoy out, which helped as well. But he saw the decoy didn't come in and face him like normal.
He went around backside of 'em and caught the wind and blew out. And I was trying to self film and they went through my hole and a lot of excuses. Dan, I'll tell you all about 'em, but I didn't end up getting a shot at him. I'm like, damn it. But like one of those things is just like you said, I love reading deer and trying to figure them out.
And that just helps so much when you can. You can do that.
[01:10:44] Dan Johnson: Yeah. And I think the moral of the story, the moral of this conversation is you gotta do, if you wanna learn, you have to do more than just hunt. You have to observe. Yep. And that once I, [01:11:00] in 2016, so from 2006, two until 2015 I just hunted. I was just going out and hunting.
In 2000, starting in 2016, I started observing, I started calculating, that historical data that you talked about. And so that, using that information referencing that information, Observing. All of that led to me now it like clicking for me. And so I can't preach that. If I'm gonna be a preacher, I'm gonna preach, dude, you ha you have to observe, get off your phone.
Watch, watch how dear, just, oh, don't just say, oh, it's a dough, but identify the path she's on. Identify how much vegetation is on the trees, identify what the thermals are doing, identify all that stuff. Because that will, all that matters. Like I feel like all of it matters.
[01:11:56] Aaron Bleise: Yeah. And it just goes back to like when we start talking about baseball and sports and everything and being a [01:12:00] kicker and a closing and it's You know what those guys are doing a lot.
They can't be in the game all the time. So they're observing. They're sponges. They're trying to, essentially hunters are not in the game all the time until that moment of truth happens in a sense. So it's I agree with you a hundred percent. Always ask yourself why, and always observe, always try to learn Every experience you go out.
I don't go to a tree anymore, and it's just eh, just going to hunt. Yep. I'm going to hunt. I don't do that anymore. Because when I started, when I stopped doing that and putting more calculated sits in is when I was more successful. Yeah. And observing more. And I love to glass. I'm a big glasser.
I will glass more than I will hunt. And it has definitely paid off in
[01:12:43] Dan Johnson: the last couple years. Yeah, that's awesome. And I think this is a great place to stop, watch more good conversation coming our way out of these sessions that we're gonna be doing. And hopefully what it does is it gets people's brains fired and it gets people thinking it gets us fired up, most importantly, for [01:13:00] the upcoming season and what we need to do.
And some of it's gonna be prepared and some of it's gonna be shooting from the hip. But Aaron, man, I really appreciate you taking time outta your day to and weak really to do this because we're gonna be doing a lot more of these. And so thank you for your time and thank you for your insight.
And until next time I'm in.
[01:13:21] Aaron Bleise: Yeah. Thank you, Dan. I appreciate it.
[01:13:25] Dan Johnson: And there you have it. Ladies and gentlemen, huge shout out to Aaron, man. Really appreciate him taking time to go do this. Huge shout out to Tethered Wass, vortex, HuntStand and the Woodman's Pal. We got some more companies jumping on board here late summer or yeah, mid to late summer, and then maybe in the fall as well.
So please go out and support the companies that support this podcast. Huge shout out to all of you. Please go to iTunes, leave a five star review. Let everybody know that this podcast is the shit. And then man, it's all about good vibes, man. We gotta stay positive. So good [01:14:00] vibes in, good vibes out, and we will talk to you next time.