On this 3rd installment of The Fall Sessions, Dan and Aaron cover one topic... MATURE BUCKS. The guys talk about the differences in behavior between young whitetails and deer that have been around the block a couple of times. One conversation revolves around how mature buck just like to be left alone throughout the year avoiding interactions with other deer, until it's time to breed the does that come in to heat in his home range. This is another fun and educational episode that will have you asking "Have I ever seen a mature buck?" Enjoy and share!
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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to episode number three of the fall sessions. This is a good one guys. And today's topic of conversation. It's simply one thing. It is mature [00:01:00] bucks. Now you're going to hear some facts in this, the that you may not like. And the fact of the matter is if you've ever said a mature buck in my area is a three-year-old, that is not an accurate statement.
It is an impossibility. Number one, a whitetailed buck does not reach maturity until it's a four-year-old, just like a 12 year old. Is not a teenager, okay. Is a 12 year old is not a man, it's not a mature adult. So we talk about what a mature whitetail is by definition what a mature whitetail is. And it's very simple.
It's a four year old. And so there's a lot of people out there who say a mature buck in my area is a three year old. No, it's not. Nope. You don't have any mature bucks in your area. If [00:02:00] that's what the case is. Case is, and I cite the people who have told me this, right? It's straight up deer biology.
It's not it is a solid definition. And that's what we talk about today. The other thing that we talk about in today's episode is mature buck behavior. What characteristics a mature buck has versus a younger buck. What characteristics a mature buck in Michigan has in. Then a mature buck in Iowa, what characteristics does a mature buck who is heavily pressured, ha have as opposed to a mature buck that is not pressured, right?
And so how do we kill mature buck? How do we outsmart them? These are the topics of conversation in today's episode, and it's a really good conversation, man. I enjoyed having Aaron on this episode and would love to hear your guys' thoughts on this on these, this series that we're doing.
Hit me up on Instagram or whatever. Now, here's the [00:03:00] deal. I want this to be interactive, right? Like I said, hit me up on Instagram hit Aaron up with any questions, comments that you guys have and let's spark some conversation. Let's I don't know, let's move the needle, whatever that means.
All right. By the way my baseball team, the baseball team that we coached tonight we were down to zero and we came back and tied it up. Then we came yeah, came back and tied it up. Then we got up four to two, and then the last ing it was just a, oh no tight moment So many errors.
So many errors. And the head coach was getting frustrated. I was getting frustrated. The team was getting frustrated. And that is in itself anything can happen in youth sports, but it was just like, I don't [00:04:00] know you put a lot of weight on an eight year old to make these plays when the, they're, under heavy pressure and they just didn't do it.
And so it's hard to watch in the dugout and just watch everything unfold. It's nuts, man. But we had fun and I as hopefully they can rebound cause we have another game tomorrow. And anyway I, like I said in an earlier podcast, man, I really enjoy coaching and It's just too bad that a coach can't play the game for you.
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And let's get the party started with today's third [00:07:00] installment of the fall sessions. Here we go. Three, two. One. All right. I believe this is episode number three of the fall sessions with Aaron here, Aaron Mann, how has your last week been?
[00:07:17] Aaron: Been? Good. It's been good. Other than the weather a little bit here in Michigan, it's just it's gotten cold, man, like today, I think it was down into 33 this morning.
Really? And it's only supposed to get up till about 58. It's been the last two days. It's winding and I'm like, shit, man, I thought it was supposed to be summer. We're coming out of
[00:07:33] Dan Johnson: this. Let's go. Yeah. Yeah. I will tell you this though. So this I'm a hooded sweatshirt guy, and this morning it was mid low to mid fifties, and the high today is supposed to be 75 with a, with 31% humidity.
So it's real low and I could live in an environment like that all year, like just really cool mornings and then [00:08:00] warmer afternoons, and then down into cooler nights. And dude, I, dude, I would love to live in something like that.
[00:08:07] Aaron: I'm right there with you, man. I turn the AC on in the house just so I can wear a sweatshirt.
I just love wearing hoodies, so there you go. Yeah I'm glad I'm not out in Iowa in the summers, like some Kansas and Iowa because it gets so hot out there. I've been out there scouting whitetails and doing stuff like in the past, and I'm like, the falls are nice to live out there, but man, the summers suck.
[00:08:29] Dan Johnson: I don't know if you've ever been to like the Prairie States and I've had a couple encounters with, let's say in Western South Dakota and specifically Nebraska, where. It was 95 degrees, very little shade in the areas that I was at in these grasslands. And it just, it, in Iowa you can go find a shade tree or something.
Even in the biggest ag country, there's someplace you can get out of the sun, but right out there, man, it just, [00:09:00] it is brutal. The heat is brutal and it's consistent and there's no way I just feel sorry for these animals that just have evolved to take that, they just take it
[00:09:11] Aaron: and that's the thing it's just crazy how, they, God made them back in the day.
Yeah. That they had to withstand every situation. And with white sail, they're the most adaptive. Creature an animal out there, it's just wild that they can live in so many different habitats.
[00:09:27] Dan Johnson: It's crazy. Yeah. Yeah. Or even down in the southwest for some of these COOs deer and mule deer where it's like 110 during the day.
And then it's 30 degrees at night. And so the temperature swings just go are so wild and the wind out west and things like that. All right. We're gonna get to the topic at hand here in a second, but I had a, something happen to me over the last week and I want to talk to you about it.
It's funny. Do you ever get in conversations with people, let's say like at [00:10:00] at at your kid's school, or maybe it's one of your wife's friends', husband's or acquaintances or something like that, and they are also hunters, but they don't. They don't know how serious you are about hunting. And so they will start talking like they're good or they are they know a lot or they're knowledgeable and things like that.
Have, do you ever run into situations like that?
[00:10:30] Aaron: I do, man, and it's all the time. Like it's, I, if I don't know the person, it's, it seems like it's everyone that I don't know that just brings up hunting and they may, they might not even know how serious of a hunter I am. I feel like it's all the time and honestly I have to go into it with a, I have to be con cognizant of going into a situation like that because I don't wanna sound like I am above, above them at any facet at all.
Because that's not what I'm trying to do. And then I might take it [00:11:00] to the extreme, the other way of being almost like captain obvious. Yeah. And that might come off a little negative or Yeah. Also, but yeah. Man, I run into that a lot. What was your encounter you just had with
[00:11:11] Dan Johnson: someone?
My encounter was at a kids' event and one of the, one of the wives knew that I had a podcast about deer hunting, and she introduced me to her husband and he was, Hey d Dan deer hunts, just like you do. And so you're talking with him and he is yeah, every year we do, we, we get together for shotgun season, we do deer drives.
And it's okay, you don't really do what I do. And and he starts talking about, yeah. I I'm okay. I shot I fill my tag every year shooting some deer and whatnot. And and he starts talking about, oh, yeah, my buddy. And he he lets me come on his property and start talking about, he starts talking about management bucks and calling deer and things like that.
And this guy [00:12:00] obviously doesn't know that I talk with wildlife biologists and scientists and people who do research on this stuff. And the reason I brought this up is because I got frustrated. This guy was talking adamantly about knowing all of this stuff, and I checked him, and it sounds it sounds like, oh, Dan's an asshole.
Why didn't you just let it go? But he was talking about, oh yeah, we like to shoot all the a pointers, so to get that genetic out of the pool. And so I simply went, Hey, did you know that co deer does not work in a wild environment? He's of course it does. And I said, actually, scientific research done by, and then I mentioned Bronson Strickland, I mentioned Matt Ross from the NDA and like all this stuff.
And I, and he's Really are you? No, you can't be serious. And so I started dropping. I just dropped a whole bunch of knowledge on him, not necessarily trying to [00:13:00] undercut him. And then he starts to find out in mid-conversation that I do know what I'm talking about. I did the old he's so what kind of deer do you shoot in the year?
And I start going through my pictures on my phone. I go I shot this guy last year. He was a four year old. He was living in this and that. And then he starts to realize I'm outmatched here, right? And so I'm gonna shut up. And I didn't do it to be an asshole. I did it because I'm sick of, I was sick of people just saying the wrong thing all the time.
And so I subtly, Just I eased into it. I didn't call him a dumb ass right away. I just went, Hey, did you know? And then I started sharing information and and I just am was curious if you had any type of encounters like that?
[00:13:45] Aaron: I do, man. And honestly it's hard for me to I'm so invested in deer hunting.
It's deer hunting, literally 365 days. I talk about deer do something, deer for every day of the year. And it's hard for me to come [00:14:00] down on that level. Where it's just Hey, it's fall time. It's how I feel about like, when Turkey season comes around. Like I don't get excited with Turkey season until about end the week that turkeys start gobbling and Yeah.
And season's coming. So like on the flip side, like that's, I have family members that are like that, that it's oh, it's a deer season. We'll get the bow out and, we'll, yeah, we'll we'll just go sit in a tree and that stuff like that, it's hard for me to accept that, i, and it's really cool that you're doing it, but there's, for the guy that just goes out and sits the first time and, maybe not takes care of his gear and stuff like that and goes out and kills like a giant, and I look at that guy and I'm like, really?
Yeah. Like really? You just tripped into one and now like you're on, now you're podcast,
[00:14:46] Dan Johnson: now you got a podcast.
[00:14:49] Aaron: Yeah. And it's gosh, there's more to it than just. You know that. Yeah. It really is. And I wanna trip into a big deer every once in a while too. But yeah, I put in so much time and effort, man.
I just can't accept[00:15:00] the fair weather bandwagon people, whatever you might call '
[00:15:03] Dan Johnson: em. Yeah. Who are the fl like the flash in the pan? So I know a guy who one year he killed 188 inch giant. This thing is very impressive. It's like a typical 12. It's huge. And he, when I start talking to him, and it's the only big mature buck that has ever, he's ever killed.
And so anytime I talk with him, he starts to flex that number. That number means something in, in a list of, Hey, I shot a big antler deer, therefore I know how to kill. Giant whitetails all the time. If you knew that or it gives him the right to talk to everybody else. Like he is this knowledge point for whitetails.
And I just laugh. I just, I don't ever break him down like I did that this guy, cuz I know him. I don't ever break [00:16:00] him down, but I, oh geez. It's just it's funny listening to people like that talk.
[00:16:07] Aaron: Yeah. And being a podcast podcaster, podcast host, it's hard to vet those guys out.
Yeah. You talk about the guy that you threw some knowledge bombs on. It's like that guy, you look at like a social feed. He might have three, four big deer. But then, they were, you find out they were shot on a deer drive with a gun. Yep. And it's that's really, that's neat.
And that's really cool. But. That's not what we're trying to portray here. Yeah. And trying to get out to the listener. So it's like really hard vetting those
[00:16:33] Dan Johnson: guys out sometimes. Yeah, absolutely. And this is a good segue into what I want to talk about today, and that is just mature bucks, okay?
And not necessarily we can tie in what we've already talked about, like the locations, right? And things like that. But I want to talk about, I want this conversation to really focus on deer behavior and [00:17:00] mature buck behavior. And how once you identify that y it might allow you to be to find more success on a mature buck if you have a mature buck in your area.
And like I said to you before we started recording, I think the best thing to do is identify what a mature buck is. Why don't, I'm gonna pass it to you and I want you to ex to explain what you feel or what you know, a mature buck is.
[00:17:30] Aaron: Yeah. And I'm not probably gonna be throwing out like biology terms here cuz I'm just just in my opinion, what I feel like a mature whitetail is that the deer has to be at least four plus years old.
I don't care where you're at in the country. I live, I've been here in Michigan, I'm killing two and three year olds. And I still don't think those are mature deer, cuz I think they have to be at least four plus years old and, they have to carry themselves as far as somewhat of an alpha, yeah. Like when they, when you [00:18:00] see them, you just know, you just look at it. It's like that's almost a different animal. That's they carry themselves different. They They treat the herd a little different. You know what I mean? And you can just tell they have an aura. If you look at enough of them, they have an aura about 'em, I am, I'm at the top of the packing order here. Yeah. And it's dumbest form, I guess that is what I look at as like a mature whitetail.
[00:18:22] Dan Johnson: Yep. And I will now drop some biology on this conversation because I've talked to enough people like Bronson Strickland Andy Ross guys who raised deer like Sam Korra.
I don't if you guys aren't if you guys aren't familiar with who Sam Korra is, do some research. The guy, I think he just killed his fourth 200 inch this year or this past year. I don't know if I was, he's the one that killed shipwreck. Yep. He's the guy who killed shipwreck. Not only does he raise deer he has a company where he collects deer urine and sells the deer urine.
He's been around deer, he's been around mature deer. And so from a biology standpoint, [00:19:00] A mature whitetail is a four year old or older, and it is because at that age, their skeletal system stops growing and they are the biggest that they're gonna be as far as height and width. Now, depending on where they are in the country food source has a lot to do with that about how much they will weigh.
All right. And just and there's a lot of genetics in their shipwreck was actually a very short deer. And if you were to look at him, he looked like a pit bull of sorts. He was really heavy up front and he, he just was like a bodybuilders, just short and not very big in the body. I would say his biggest year maybe was 2 25 on the hoof.
Just not a big deer, but he had just killer genetics in the antler department. And this is something that har is hard for some people to hear is there is no [00:20:00] ma what is a mature buck in my area? Cuz that's the wrong question to ask because the definition doesn't change if you there if you hunt in a state where a ma like you feel a mature buck is a three-year-old, that's not true.
A three-year-old is not a mature buck. It is the oldest deer on by average in your area, but it is not a mature a mature whitetail. So there's a hard definition there that I feel a lot of people, especially on the east coast unfortunately, who are, who feel like, oh dude I shoot a three year old every year.
We don't see many four year olds. So then you've never seen. You have never seen or you've never shot a mature deer from a standpoint, no. And that's not me trying to say, Hey, look at me. I'm in Iowa. We have mature deer all over. No, it's because you have a lower age average age class in the [00:21:00] state that you hunt.
And I'm not, I'm just spitting facts here. I'm not trying to like brag or anything. So I don't know. That's, that's just the facts. That's the truth on something like that.
[00:21:13] Aaron: No, I agree. And like I said, I'm the perfect example here in Michigan. I'm trying to kill a three-year-old.
I'd love to kill a four year old, but when a three-year-old comes by, I'm gonna shoot him. But like I said earlier, it doesn't matter where you're in the country. Like I, and I've been victim of it too, it's man, that's a really good representation for the area, like it is, but I'm trying to kill the top 10% of the bucks that I have.
Yeah. That is a three-year old. And then you might get an anomaly that's a four-year-old that's the way it is. But I agree with you the definition, it ha that deer has to be four or older to be to be considered a mature deer.
[00:21:45] Dan Johnson: Yeah. All right. So we've we've talked about the definition there.
Now I want to talk about characteristics. And I feel like the characteristics this is where it gets difficult [00:22:00] because I feel in some senses a three-year-old in Michigan could potentially be harder to kill than a four year old or five year old in Iowa, okay? And it's not, doesn't have anything to do with really maturity.
It just has something to do with the amount of pressure throughout the year that those deer have. What are your thoughts on that? A hundred
[00:22:27] Aaron: percent. They're dealing with the animals around here, dealing with. Different f or not, I shouldn't say different factors. More factors, more Val variables. Yep. You know where I killed my Iowa deer.
The only people I would see on the road for 10 days was the mailman. Yeah. Or an a, a farmer. Here I'm hunting areas where I can hear a highway. Or I can hear, cars going by all the time. Dogs bark and stuff like that. It's just that alone, the variables that they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Three year olds in a [00:23:00] lot of sense, could be harder to kill in an area like this than a four year old maybe where
[00:23:04] Dan Johnson: you're at. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Now, does that make that deer mature because it has to go through more things? No, I feel like the environment is the cause of that. Yeah, a hundred
[00:23:21] Aaron: percent.
[00:23:22] Dan Johnson: Okay. And so now let's talk a little bit about be, because I feel like a pressured three year old. I'm back up. One more step. Have you ever ran into, in Michigan, a four, a five or six year old ma? Mature, actually mature whitetail while hunting?
[00:23:49] Aaron: Two of them that I know of for sure.
Okay. And one I killed the other one I shot and couldn't find, bad shot or whatnot. Yeah. And then ended up dying later that [00:24:00] year and then confirmed. Okay. And they were both, they're
[00:24:02] Dan Johnson: both four year olds. Four year olds. Okay. Yep. You have two, four year olds under your belt as far as encounters in Michigan.
Talk to us about, What was different about those deer compared to just a year younger as the average three year old that you typically see?
[00:24:22] Aaron: So I'm gonna talk about the first one that I did shoot and ultimately didn't get, that morning. And I watched him a lot. I watched him for three years grow up.
As far as I knew his four year old just based on trail cam history. I had four years of trail cams with him because he would only grow one side really good. And then the other side was just, he had some pedicle issues with his skull and stuff like that. And the one side was every year was just a spike for four years.
Even if, even his first rack was the same way. So I got to watch him grow up. And honestly, man, the biggest thing like that, I can [00:25:00] tell with that deer is, he was such a loner. He did not want to. Ev evolve him or involve himself with any other deer it seemed like. And, that really started taking effect when he was three.
I thought, like where I'd get so many summer pictures of him and he wouldn't be with any other deer, it seemed like. There'd be like, and you would see like deer on bean fields, like in the background. But they were almost like looking in like, when's he, when's he gonna move? When's he not, we're not gonna sit there in front of the camera.
Cuz I, a lot of times I like to put him on inside corners of bean fields and he'd just mowing this inside corner, all these beans. And then when he'd move off, more deer would come in. It was totally apparent. Yeah. And we'd turn four and I never had an encounter with him until I shot him that day.
So it was a cold front early October and it was in the morning. So I'm sitting on an inside corner and I look up and he's at 400 yards and he comes out of the timber and I'm like, oh my gosh. And. So he started to [00:26:00] work this field edge and he just had, like how I said, like he's just got an aura about him.
His neck, it almost looked like his, he just had a a front chest that was just like, man, you hit him with a truck and it probably wouldn't phase him. Yeah. Just a big burly deer. He looked muscular, but he, every step was calculated. He never ran. He would take a couple steps and he'd look around, he'd make sure the wind was in the direction he'd go out of his way to hook around to get the wind right.
Cuz he wanted to come over me and he had ultimately ended up doing that. It's just crazy how I feel like every step that those deer make are calculated and are thought out very well. Yeah. Cuz they've been around a couple years, yeah. And it's that would be the biggest difference I've seen here.
Now a three year old, you're gonna skit a lot of the same tendencies. I've I pull my hair out trying to kill three year olds around here because, like we said, the variables, you're gonna get a, you're gonna get a three-year-old that can be really educated like a [00:27:00] four-year-old could be.
And they do things very calculated as well.
[00:27:04] Dan Johnson: Yeah. I couldn't agree with you more. However, I will say this three-year-olds in Iowa, if you're not careful let's say, hey, I wanna, I want my goal every year is a four year old, three-year-olds in Iowa. Are e are, there is a noticeable difference between a three and a four-year-old in Iowa.
Okay? Sure. And the reason I say that is cuz I can rattle in 103 year olds in a year. You know what I mean? It just, I'm not, that has nothing to do with antler size, just they are more of a teenager who gets their first boner and that's what makes 'em so easy to kill. Now, when you start to get into this four year old, four year old range, I've found that rattling usually doesn't work.
For a four year old, it's more of a, I have to be the best hunter that [00:28:00] I can be and get into sh in, into just grunt range. And the way to get them close for me is if they're outside of a shooting range, is just the one, and then they get curious. They're like, Hey what's going on here? That's usually how I can get a four year old to come in or maybe a snort we, or something like that.
And even then, going back to this, how they carry themselves. Man, every mature buck that I've ever seen has not been in a group he's been, unless he's been chasing, chasing in 2020, I shot a four year old that was chasing Adele, and that's how I shot him. But outside of that, they've been by themselves.
And what I mean by themselves, there may have been other deer in the general area, but he's, these deer are not hanging out [00:29:00] with other deer. And th that is a, in my opinion, that's a big indicator. I feel like a three year old hangs around with some spikes or some younger deer. They all they tolerate each other and things like that, but, Just watching a mature butt come into a field and all the other deer, like when you put there's like that little science experiment where you put oil and salt and pepper or a pepper Yep.
In a bowl of water. And then you put that bar of soap in the metal and all the, it all goes like that. Everything goes away from it. That's the perfect example of what a dominant buck will do. In a scenario. In a scenario like that, deer, other deer leave, and when he goes, then they just absorb back into the area.
And I think it's because they're so social, they understand that pecking order.
[00:29:55] Aaron: Yeah. And I think that's why you get a lot of se you hear a lot of guys talk about I killed [00:30:00] this buck on the farm and then this other deer just moved in this other big deer. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's why you get a lot of that is a lot of those deer are getting kicked out of different areas because there's a buck usually there already.
That is, this is his ground and he doesn't want to be around, anyone. I will go back and say I've killed five bucks that I know for a fact are four plus years old. All of those deer except one, the one I killed in Iowa. I watched him for, two days chasing a dough. So he was with other deer that way, but the other four were all alone.
All by themselves when I killed them, and the and a lot of guys that we talk to on the podcast too, it's those deer, it just seems like the more mature upper echelon deer. They're just, they just wanna be left alone. Yeah. They're just don't mess with me kind of
[00:30:47] Dan Johnson: thing.
And that plays a little bit into my strategy to where, and we talked about this earlier from stand location standpoint. I'm not trying to see a ton of deer. Like my [00:31:00] goal, if I want, if my goal is to shoot a mature buck, I want to be in ma. I don't care if I go into a set and I do I strike out that night and I get skunked and I don't see a single deer because I know that the other deer in the, that just tells me I'm probably based off of my experiences, I'm probably closer to that deer than I think.
They're just chilling. They're by themselves. They don't like to be bothered. They're, they may or may not be using the same food source or could be the same food source, but just a different little area of that, let's say a destination food source or an oak flat or something like that.
[00:31:42] Aaron: Yeah. I would agree with that as well. Yeah. I really can't elaborate too much more on that. You hit the nail on the head, I think.
[00:31:48] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Okay. So what is it about a mature buck that makes them hard to kill? [00:32:00]
[00:32:00] Aaron: They've stating the obvious, they've just been around for so long and they just know, I almost equate it to like when you have, let's say you have a lab dog as a chocolate lab or whatever, I've had labs my whole life. Usually how it goes is when that lab starts getting older, usually the family gets another dog because it's easier on the family, but it's also that dog. I've seen it set, firsthand that dog will train. The other dog.
In a sense it's like a big brother kind of thing. I think a lot of it is too, when you have, I think some mature deer are, see how, or some of the less mature deer see how these mature deer are, working and how they do things. And it's they catch onto that, but also it's just they are I don't know, man.
It's just, they're so calculated. They are every step they just have to be calculated. They have to, they be, and I think it is, it's just age. You just get wiser with age, and they've been around so many scenarios. How many times do you think, like you just said, you [00:33:00] could rattle in 103 year olds in a year, like Yeah, that is the truth.
Like, How many times do you think a three year old's gonna get rattled in when he is four years old? He and end of those a hundred times, he's probably getting shot at a couple times. Yeah. And maybe he's been shot over his back, or maybe he's been hit and he's just that's all teaching that deer or something.
Yeah. And how many hunters he got out there, one of those hu 103 year olds or whatever is going to blow at a hunter. He is gonna, he's gonna smell a gas pump, he's gonna smell something. Yeah. The cat on your freaking camel or something. Everything is educating these deer. And they're so smart, and I just think they, with age, they get wiser.
Yeah. Yeah. So I think that would be what I would say for it.
[00:33:40] Dan Johnson: So my, my top reason is patience. And they care. Just like you said, they carry themselves, but they are not, they don't, they're never quick. To judge anything. Yep. And the reason I say that [00:34:00] is, is, or time of year has a lot to do with that.
Yes. Do you, I feel there's still a pecking order. There's still, dear showing their dominance. But a true dom, like dominant whitetail does not need to fight. He does. He doesn't. He just walks into a scenario, maybe he'll put his ears back, he'll take two sideways steps and the rest of the deer like, oh, I'm done.
I'm done with this guy. But here's a couple scenarios that I really feel showcase a mature buck's behavior. And the first one I've seen a hundred times just because I've spent a lot of time in a tree's hand. Okay. Maybe not a hundred, but a lot of times, and that is, you're in a good spot all of a sudden.
A dough group comes out or maybe you see the mature buck first and it's late October, or [00:35:00] hell, it could even be early November. And you're thinking, oh my God, this buck is gonna come right to these doughs. And he doesn't, right? He's still by himself. He's still maybe over on a different part of the ridge.
He looks at 'em, he goes back to eating acorns, or he's making a rubber or a scrape or what? Or he is just chilling. Okay? He knows when those doughs are gonna be bred and he knows that three year old that's bugging him right now is easy to peel off and he will win that battle and he will go, and whether that's a five year old or an eight year old or whatever the scenario may be, he's in charge man.
He is in charge and he can go and take care of that. And he knows, he, it's, what's that that saying there's a young bull and an old bull on top of a hill, and the young bull goes, Hey, let's run down [00:36:00] there right now, and go bang one of those cows. And the old bull goes, why don't we walk down and bang 'em all?
And like that whole patience thing. Yep. The second is just, I had an opportunity one year to wa I was on, I was in a big timber scenario and that kind of led up, it was a big block of timber, but it was in ag country. Okay. Along a river like a river bottom type scenario.
But I was on the hills coming up and I got in there before dark. Good access route. I didn't feel like I busted any deer. Sun starts to come up and I, I, there was a couple deer that came through, but I was able to see the next ridge and the next ridge. All of a sudden I caught some movement and this is one of the only time, like I, I very rarely hunt all day, [00:37:00] but I was so enthralled with what this buck was doing that I stood, I just stayed and watched him all day.
He was vetted when I caught like the sun glistening off his antlers and he turned his head and he was in a bed at the end of a ridge and a blown down tree, like what you would think of where you would think a big buck would bed. And he just sat there and it was alre. He was already beded and it, as before dark or before the sun, he sat there.
All day long. He stood up I would say around 11, between 11 and noon he walked 40 yards, munched on some leaves and bed down again. About two 30 he stood back up, he walked almost back to the same bed, same area, munched on a couple stuff, and batted right back down. And he stayed there un until I couldn't see him anymore until dark.
And so that's a perfect [00:38:00] example of what this I'm guessing him to be a six year old. Huge body, just, you'd look at him and he was just, just in charge. And so the next year I went over there and I, in that whole area was just rubs and like old rubs, just ton, tons of rubs. And I feel like that is a perfect se, like a perfect example of what a mature buck does throughout the day.
There's no rush for them Ev ever.
[00:38:30] Aaron: Yeah. And I think it stems back. I agree with everything you said. It stems back to being like, there may be some deer out there that are born that are just like patient deer. But I think that goes to the years of them getting shot at getting blow or like blowing a hunter.
And then like you said, the three year old, just about every three year old's gonna run around or two year old and gonna run around and try to screw every doer. That's what they're gonna do. That's what their body's telling them to do. When you're a four plus old deer, your body [00:39:00] tells you, it's like us walking into a bar, literally having the mindset and knowing whatever woman is in here, I can just go up and grab her hand and we're going home.
She can't say no. Yeah. Because both of their bodies are telling them to procreate and to keep. Are kind going Yep, we have to do this. Yeah. Like we have to. Yeah. And I think I agree with you. I think as they get older in their body, they just learn cuz obviously they can't go to school, they can't talk, they can't, obviously that's the obvious.
Yeah. So something has to tell them how to do all that. And that's, I think that's how it all, what it all boils down to. And yeah, I agree. Like the whole analogy of oh, that deer's gonna come over here and, nine out of 10 times they don't do that. Yeah. They don't. And the other thing is I agree with you on the calling part of things like how many times have you called and like blind rattled or something, and then just of an absolute pig of a deer runs out of the corner or something and was like, boom.
Where's it at? He's not looking [00:40:00] for a fight. Like they're, they are more like, yeah, I remember this one instance, this deer had to be at least five years old, maybe six low, one seventies. Just a big burly deer. And he's down the c r p bottom and he's probably 200 yards from me. And I'm like, I'm throwing the kitchen sink at him.
I'm rattling. He'd stop, he'd look up at me, I'd snort, wheeze, everything. And he just walked, I watched him walk for 300 yards, didn't give a shit about me. Yep. And he's just I don't need to do that. It's wild how that, how their bodies tell 'em to do that, but the next day you do that and they might come running up there.
They might have got ticked off the day before that night or something like that. Now he's in a different mood. It just, it all depends. Yeah.
[00:40:43] Dan Johnson: The next thing that kind of really stands out for me is whenever there is a sliver of danger what these animals will do.
Oh yeah. I think a lot of deer will just run. [00:41:00] A lot of deer will just run, but I've had two scenarios where one of 'em, the wind shifted and he caught me. The other one was, he saw like a coyote or maybe it was, yeah, I want to say it was a coyote or two or three coyotes. On a, I was in the middle of this big c r p field where shipwreck was at, and this, I think this five year old, eight pointer, just a big body bastard.
He was on one side of the ridge and then there was a low spot, and then there was all these coyotes on the other. In both those scenarios, the, those bucks stopped moving instantly. And did not move, and in both scenarios stayed perfectly still for one whole hour. Do you think as a predator we could stay still, like not moving perfectly still [00:42:00] for one whole hour?
No way. Yeah, no way. I could stand still for one whole hour. These bucks did not move. And I, you don't see that with and that goes with doze too, like a mature dough will do that. But she's standing perfectly still while the younger deer around her are nibbling on the ground and things like that.
I don't see spikes. Four corns, two-year olds. The three-year-olds, they're starting to get it, but they're still, they're dumb. And the patience they have right there is what keeps 'em alive. And what's keeps, keeps them getting older. And so it's just, that scenario alone is just very impressive to see once you start to observe deer behavior and understand why they're doing it.
I don't know. I just
[00:42:54] Aaron: it even goes to like, when you watch a, watch, a big mature deer on a dough. How many times have you seen [00:43:00] a dough? You can definitely tell he's with her. Okay. And you see a dough just runs across the field and he might lose track of her.
But he'll sit there and watch her, and then she gets outta sight and then he'll start moving a little bit. He might trot a little bit, then he is gonna walk. And it's not like he's, when I think that the rut is completely full blown is when you see a mature deer absolutely.
Dogging ado. Yeah. Running around, like running from one goal line to the next. He cannot let her go. And that is when I think it is like, it is odd. Yeah. And when he's just nudging her and looking and just oh, I'll be there. Yeah. He's got nobody else to worry about.
He might have to run another deer off, but that's his dough. And then just as much as a mature buck chooses a dough. That dough, I think ma chooses that buck. They, yes. Their again, their body tells them like, that's who I need to mate with. Yeah.
[00:43:52] Dan Johnson: So I think the cool the cool thing about that is wouldn't it [00:44:00] be cool, this just popped in my head, wouldn't it be cool to see a family tree of if this buck and this dough made multiple babies throughout the year and what those babies turned into, and it's almost like a a family tree.
Of deer. Like I want to see all of shipwrecks offspring and what they turned into. Yeah. I want to see this buck who I followed for four years or five, three years, whatever. I want to see what dough he bred with, was it the same dough and if what offspring came from that. And so I don't know.
That would be very interesting to see. And I bet in certain areas the same dough breeds the same buck. If they're not getting shot and there's not a lot of pressure that I bet you that happens quite a bit. That,
[00:44:54] Aaron: and that was gonna, my next question when you brought that thought to my head is I wonder how, like, how many [00:45:00] areas if they don't get shot, how many years would a buck breed?
The same doubt? Yeah. If they're on like kind of the hierarchy, if they're the, in the packing order after they're. On the dough side, she's the mature one and he's the mature one on the buck side. Like how many years would they breed each other? Yeah. If they're still alive, that I think that'd be cool to see.
[00:45:19] Dan Johnson: Yeah. I'll tell you this man. They have a sense that is more, they also ha they have a sense that is more than smell it, it's more than sight. It's more than the senses that we're used to. I if you told me, if there was scientific research that, how do I put this? If scientific research done and all of a sudden we were able to identify some kind of extra sense that animals or whitetails have that we can't understand because we don't have those senses.
I would believe it. [00:46:00] However, how many times have you ever been in a tree, and maybe it's amature buck, maybe it's just a deer in general comes in and just is he's on a path, he's real calm and collective. He comes in and he just, you watch them change once they get close to you, even though you know your wind is going away from them in some way, shape, or form, and it's just, they have something I believe that they know what's wrong with their bedroom or their, it's like you, you ever walk into a house and you're like, man, that's a weird feeling.
I feel like someone's been here or someone's in here right now. Yeah.
[00:46:42] Aaron: I think we put off some sort of magnetic force or so Oh yeah. Something, what? I don't know what it is. I agree with you. I look back at the deer now, other than the deer did see my sticks on my tree. Yeah. But it, he got to 11 yards and he is you can see it on camera.
He stops and it's and then he goes like this. Yeah. And I'm [00:47:00] like, oh my gosh. Like he just looks right at me. And I'm like, thank God I was already at full draw. Yep. But it was just, something was like and when you watch him walk in, he walks in so calculated he'll walk 10 yards and stop and he just scans.
Yeah. And I think what he's doing, he was trying to get the wind right, licking his nose a lot, trying to wet his nose. And then he gets to about, 22 yards, stops again, looks again cuz he's about ready to get in the bubble of this secondary ridge I was on. Where there is scrapes everywhere, and what he was doing, he was gonna hit this staging area, the secondary ridge and see who the hell was there.
And he was just trying to smell for that. Yeah. And when he got to 11 yards is when he was like, that's not, something's not right. And he goes, boom. And he looks and he can see my sticks and then he goes, boom. At me. And I just, thank God I was at full draw, but Yep. It is crazy man. What we can, there's something we put off.
[00:47:53] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Yep. Same thing happened to me in 2012, man. I snort wheezed in this. He's probably a six year old.[00:48:00] He got I drew back and then he took a hard 90 degrees turn right towards the base of my tree and he saw my bottom step and did the same thing, followed him up, looked up at me, and right as I let go, right as I let go.
He was loaded, he was loading. So I was aiming right here for his chest. He's probably at 10 yards and he, his head stayed up and I shot him, this sounds bad. Shot him through the nostril arrow, went down his throat cuz his head was up and he died. Like I cut his jugular, I cut off his esophagus. Oh gosh.
His throat, everything just tore up. And just imagine swallowing a broadhead is what happened there. Oh man. And he died in 60 yards. It was bananas. Anyway, so now we've talked about their behavior. What a big, what a mature buck is. What have you [00:49:00] found has been the best way to get in that bow hunting, shooting range of a mature whitetail?
[00:49:08] Aaron: Man, that's loaded in a way. Just because every scenario is so different. I'm gonna try to pick out some points from all the ones that I've been with. And I've filmed a lot of deer, a lot of mature deer get shot too. It's tough. It's, it is so situational, but I will say in situational, on, on the fact of like seasonality too.
If it's like a food based thing or, if it's a, if it's a scrape thing or a staging area or something like that. But in general, getting as, as elementary as it sounds is getting as close to where their bedroom is probably the best move if you want a generality.
I'm just trying to think here. I've killed, one of my mature bucks was on food in October. And one was on a staging area late or yeah, late October one was in the rut chasing deer. So I got like a whole gamut. [00:50:00] Yeah. But honestly, like my favorite one, let's go that route.
My favorite one was that late October, staging area, getting them coming right out of bed, coming up a drainage, and getting him honestly outta all the deer that I've killed. He acted the most dumb. And I mean that in the most like respectful and smart way, because he was very smart about it.
But he almost was like, I've done this a lot. Yeah. And I had yet to get, I've yet to get busted. I'm good here. And then when he got into range, like I said, he was already, and then he was like, oh, nope. I've came too far. Yeah. And then it was over, yeah. That one felt like I've outwitted, I outwitted the a mature deer at, in his bedroom, w
[00:50:40] Dan Johnson: was that a first time in hunt for you? I hung
[00:50:43] Aaron: it stand. I hung it and I hung it. Dan, I hung it an hour and a half before I killed him right there.
[00:50:49] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Don't that, that is, there's such importance there. That dude they're comfortable when they're, when they [00:51:00] do the same thing over and over, they get comfortable because they know, right?
They have all their senses, they've evolved. They know how to use their senses. But if you're walking the same path day, boom, they're comfortable. And but the, if you if it would've been flipped, you got busted and you tried to hunt that same area again. I the chance of killing that buck goes down so much.
If they've caught your scent in there and their behavior changes, their personality changes, and they, there's a chance they just either avoid that area altogether or just move.
[00:51:36] Aaron: Yeah, no, I agree. And that's, that's the cool thing about it is like going in there first sit, hanging it, killing him an hour and a half later was like I beat you.
Yeah. And you're home turf like that was the coolest thing. And but yeah, to go back to your question, I would say like a staging area, late October is on a primary scrape or something like that is, is [00:52:00] probably the highest percentage, and then you could go to say more mature deer get killed in the rut because, they're dumb.
But I would say a high percentage opportunity is that late October in a staging area or, over that primary scrape with historical data,
[00:52:14] Dan Johnson: something like that. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's for me, I feel, and this is one thing that I've had to learn the hard way over the years is allowing, A scenario where a deer can get downwind of you easily.
For example, let's say a calling scenario, right? Yep. Or a pinch point scenario where you're just in the wrong spot and they come, they're able to get downwind and check out what's wrong, and then they blow it or they just, they skedaddle, they're not there anymore. And so one thing that I've really tried to focus on is putting myself into a position where getting downwind of where I'm at is still within shooting range.
For example [00:53:00] this past year I had a pond wall or a pond levy to my back. And I had shooting, I had a shooting lane to the pond. And although this deer did not go that direction several other deer did. And what it did was they were trying to get down wind of me or get down wind of this little.
Pinch that this pond levy created. And it's a kind of a staging area too. So two check boxes there. They tried to get down, downwind of me and I'm in sh it's within shooting range. Yep. And I try to find those types of scenarios where a trail, cause if they go too far, then they're not getting the scent.
And if they come if they stand too, if they stay too far out, then they're not downwind enough. And I don't know. I feel like those types of scenarios are just, are killer. If you can find that trap for, for 'em, because [00:54:00] they're usually if you have a big field or a big finger and you're rattling, man, there's so many deer that you're not even seeing, getting downwind to you and they're Oh, so many out, they're out.
[00:54:13] Aaron: That's the tough thing about it, man. And. And honestly, whether it's right or wrong, but when I'm rattling I like to rattle When I, when the wind is blowing, let's say I have a cornfield behind me and the wind is blowing in that cornfield, that's when I like to rattle a lot. Because, and I don't know if it's right or wrong or not, but I feel like when a wind like kind of goes into a cornfield like deer they're surrounded in cover.
If they're already there, they're, they might booger out, but they already feel like they're safe. So if they smell me, it's okay, it is what it is. But I feel like when the wind gets into that corn, it disperses a little bit and might dissipate. That's where my head's at.
But I love rattling up against corn when I'm not facing corn, when I'm facing away from it. And the winds blowing into the corn. Yeah. So I feel
[00:54:58] Dan Johnson: like that, yeah, [00:55:00] dude, I'm starting to get fired up. There is, there's one buck on the main farm that I've hunted for 15 years now that I really hope shows back up there.
And then there's one there's multiple deer at the new farm that I got access to, but one of 'em is this potential four year old who could be, he was one 50 last year as a three year old. 11. If he does that again, man, he's that deer. That could be a, is that, I don't know. He's that, that Boer at four.
180 at five. Like just his antlers aren't gonna stop growing. He's gonna be, he has the genetics to be a freak, like just something special. And I just want to, I can't wait to go get my trail cameras out here in early June to catch him on velvet if he's still in the area. Man, I'm just, I'm starting to get, I'm starting to get fired up.
These conversations are helping, man.[00:56:00]
[00:56:00] Aaron: And the other thing to get fired up about Dan too is, as we're sitting here recording this, we'll probably know as when this episode goes live. But I'm gonna say either today or tomorrow, we're gonna know if we draw Kansas. That's a fact that's, I'm ex I think it's gonna be by the weekend, because Yeah.
You probably got the same email I did. Yep. They already took the money outta my account, and that's the first process they have to make to see if you draw or not. But I'm like, let's go. Yeah. Like, all I wanna know is if I draw Kansas so I can start making that further plans Yeah. Of, Everything.
Shit. I might start even packing right now and we're coming out.
[00:56:35] Dan Johnson: Oh, that's funny. That's funny. Yeah, man. I'm starting to get excited. We're gonna shut her down here, but is there any other things that we need to think about from your experiences about what to do, what not to do with with a mature whitetail?
[00:56:51] Aaron: Yeah. If you, and I'm gonna try to describe this the best way I can, but if you're ever in an area like maybe you're running or scouting at the time, let's say it's in season. You're [00:57:00] trying to get in on this big deer. If you ever have, and you, which you will, you'll ever have this notion of man, should I do that?
You probably should go with your gut. That pushed the envelope a little bit. These big deer don't tolerate it as much, but you're not gonna learn if you don't. Go with your gut and try some new things. So that's what, that'd probably be the thing I would say the
[00:57:21] Dan Johnson: most about it.
Yeah. I would just end with this, try to match their patients as much as possible. I don't feel that a guy who hunts the same farm a hundred days in a row is gonna have any more chance on a mature deer than a guy who has calculated himself and tries to hunt just the perfect, like the one or two perfect days.
Yep. That makes sense, ma'am. Yeah. Yep. Aaron, man, again, appreciate your time. I'm now that you brought this up, I'm gonna go back, I'm gonna check the email. I'm gonna [00:58:00] read it again for Kansas. Yep. And and yeah, by the end of the week, or hell by this time next week, we should know if if we're going south or not.
[00:58:08] Aaron: I can't wait man. Sorry, I probably didn't end that the way you,
[00:58:15] Dan Johnson: and there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, another episode in the books. Huge shout out. Who are we talking to here? Huge shout out to tethered, huge shout out to Wasp, vortex, HuntStand and the Woodman's pal. Huge shout out to all of you for taking time out of your day to listen.
And most importantly, huge shout out to Aaron. He's doing these every week with me now, and I'll tell you right now, it's it it takes a lot outta his schedule to do these. Huge shout out to Aaron and man, hit me up on Instagram, right? I love talking with you dudes and dude, DATs.
Hit me up. Let's chat. Let's talk, let's have a good conversation. And I don't know, dude, I just love talking about deer. If you have also shot a big deer or a deer that has an awesome story behind it. Or not [00:59:00] necessarily a deer, but just any animal or any hunting experience and you wanna share that check out.
Let's put that story on the Nine Finger Chronicles. Man. I love sharing those types of stories. DM me through Instagram. That's usually where I'm at the most. I'm very rarely on Facebook anymore, but we're talking about good vibes these days. We need it, right? Good vibes in, good vibes out.
And if you're gonna be in a tree, wear your damn safety harness. Have a good weed.