Winter To Spring Deer Transition - Where Are They Right Now?

Show Notes

Welcome to the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. As many of us start transitioning into the true off-season, we find that whitetails are transitioning in their daily habits and routines as well. This week, the guys discuss their thoughts on what deer are doing now as we roll out of winter and into spring. While we may not be able to hunt them right now, it pays off to know what they're doing. This change in pattern is very similar to what we find deer doing during the time of season where it's not quite pre-rut, but it's also not really "early season" anymore.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hey, thanks for tuning into this week's episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast, where you're gonna hear a valuable hunting based conversation that's tailored for us southern folk. If you love what we do and would like to support Southern Ground Hunting, you can visit Ground Hunting, or you can click on the link in the show notes below.

We'd love for you to join the Southern Ground Hunting community today. Again, that's Ground Hunting. You can also support us by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. It helps more than and we greatly appreciate it. And now let's get to the show.

All right, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. We are it's, it is just dudes this time. So if you're expecting to hear from a lady, we are done with that series, but it was a great series. I thought it, it turned [00:01:00] out to be really good with Eli, Olivia, and Elizabeth.

If y'all haven't listened to those episodes, go check 'em out. It's really cool. Something a little bit different for an off season thing. But man, I am excited about Turkey season leaving tomorrow for the first Turkey hunt of the year. But as we kind of transition into Turkey season, and that's really where a lot of our thoughts are gonna be at.

There is still things to be done in the deer woods. There's things that, that you have to be doing right now or you can be doing right now to really increase your success. So today we got Casey here. What's going on? Casey is gonna be filming for us this week in Florida. And so he's hanging here at the house.

He's gonna chill out with the pod with us on the podcast tonight. We got Matt Reeves and Luke Parker here. And I think it's gonna be a fun conversation. But Matt, you are the one who really came up with this idea for this this, these next couple of podcasts. Why [00:02:00] don't you give us a little rundown about what they can expect to hear tonight and on this episode, and then what we're looking forward to next week?

Yeah. You really hit on it with the, or. I'd say our key word is transition. It's really hard. I know we all get run down at the end of deer season and ready for something different, whether it's fishing. Turkey hunting. We're getting right into the middle of it, but I had this idea with bringing on a previous guest David Miller.

He's a very good post scouting hunter. He's very good at it. He's in the mountains, similar to our region, and he does a lot of shed hunting too. And so I, I'm really intrigued with shed hunting and the benefits that it can have going for you next season. Now, you don't hear that talked about a lot here in the south, not people aren't, trekking through the hills just to find two or three sheds, which, that's the success rate down here.

But I really wanted to dive into kinda some, I wouldn't say conspiracies, but what we see here in Alabama when we get [00:03:00] outta deer season, whether it's. Deer disappearing. Whether that be because one, we're not looking for 'em, or two they really do go somewhere to a different food source or whatnot.

And then, we'll get into how we, some of these areas that we never touch during the season because, you don't wanna go in there and potentially blow out at your target buck because, some people believe that they run miles away, you never see 'em again. That can be the case sometimes, but I really wanna dive in onto the, some of the dos now that are usually don'ts in the season.

Just a really cool way to jump in there and get through there. And what we're also gonna do is we're gonna ask you listeners we want y'all to submit some questions this week, whether that's a message to our Instagram account which is Southern Ground Hunting, and we want y'all's input on this next This next podcast with Dave.

We'll be recording with him for the, for this next week. But we w we want y'all involved. So we're gonna pick three, three questions from y'all. Send it our way, we'll [00:04:00] respond back to you and really want to get y'all involved with this so that, that's what we're looking forward to for the next two weeks.

So we'll jump into that and see where we can go. I think you guys especially both of you, Luke and Matt ha are able to have a good perspective on this. I, and I feel like anybody who has access to a decent amount of private land where you can put food out, right? You can manipulate things to to keep up with the deer right now.

But like you said, man, like it, where I typically hunt, It's big woods and big woods. It's really seasonal deer activity. It's not like we have a bunch of crops or even food plots or no mineral sites and that's just, when you're talking about public big woods, it is very difficult to do much as far as like keeping tabs on a deer throughout the year.

. But what [00:05:00] you can, you can do it with cameras and I know we're gonna get into that a little bit. And you can do it with shed hunting and that's great too. But because of the lack of destination spots I know Midwestern guys who find a lot of sheds typically find them in fields where it's like the congregating areas. And we don't really, I don't really get that, but you guys do, I know Luke, your property absolutely has some areas that could be considered those like destination. Congregating areas, are you seeing, are you seeing deer activity right now still keeping up or is it slowed down significantly where you hunt?

Yeah typically which I've had deer with rut where I'm at specifically on private land, like family land rut was like December 15th, all the way through like the 1st of January, in that range where it was like really heavy. But then I've had deer chasing. [00:06:00] At the end of February. So right now is when they're like slowing down.

They're back. I've just checked some cameras last week. I've got a lot of the bucks that I had on camera that are, that were showing up on a reg during the day. Now they're showing up less because they're going back towards where they're living and where they are in early season. They're already dropping their antlers.

So yeah, right now it's like basically where they were during early season and that pattern before the rut, that's where they're, where they've moved back to and the, that early season feel and that early season pattern or movement, it just goes right back to that. And that's what I'm seeing right now.

Are your buck still holding? Antlers. Yeah. Yeah. So I've got two. Yeah, I've got one. One of the biggest ones that I've got on camera, he just dropped like last week. But I had one of 'em [00:07:00] drop before January was even up. It was like the, right at the end of January. But I've had 'em go to the end like the latest I've seen was like March 20th, somewhere in there.

Wow. So it's, yeah, it's crazy. Wow. Luke, I you really hit home for me when you were saying that, these deer going back to their summer living areas. I've got a small piece of property. It's eight acres. All summer I didn't have any bucks. Very little dough.

But then, that stretch between November to February, they were in there thick. Living in there. , but now it is nothing. I had one buck come through the other night, but it was, it is just so random right now where they're traveling and another property, they're just moving through meandering and losing their horns.

Which is another strange thing for me. This is the earliest I've seen antlers. Matt Antlers. Okay. Sorry. Antlers. Antlers. They're antlers. This is the earliest [00:08:00] I've seen some of these deer drop. And I think that's cool too, using your truck cameras to, to actually see 'em drop because then you're like, Hey man, these.

Antlers are now on the ground and I gotta go find them. And you're doing that, you're doing it too though. That's the cool thing. I'm learning. I'm learning. I found one the other day and putting them together, putting everything together. Which I'm not the one to talk to about that, that's gonna be next week, which I'm tickled about that.

I'm really excited for that to come. But I don't know, just in Alabama, all across the state, rut is different. You could start, people have said this all the time. You could hunt the rut from the first weekend of October to the last week of the season somewhere in Alabama.

If you're willing to travel, you can do that. Some people think that's insane, but it's the truth. So with these deer, going into a whole disappearing I'll. Almost related to rut, because where I'm at, my [00:09:00] ruts late, it's January, end of February, so now you know, I'm into February, March, I'm looking at these truck camera pictures and all these deer are gone.

That's probably the same deal for some other people. But Luke, what you're saying, your deal, your deer were still hanging around pretty regular after, right? You said they were still pushing, meandered with each other. Is that right? It just, it almost contradicts itself with what's going on with deer in each area.

It's, it is what I'm getting. But then Parker, you say you hunt, it's no good after rut. You don't even fool with it. Yeah. And part of the reason is because like what you just mentioned earlier, we've got opportunity in Alabama. When the ruts done, you can flip and go somewhere else. like you could, the rut might be done, but it's heating up somewhere else in the state until season is over.

And so that's what I usually try to do. But if here at home, if I felt like there was any real [00:10:00] strategy that I think could put you in front of or put a buck in front of you in the late season, I would probably do it. I haven't figured it out yet. And part of that is probably because I don't shed hunt.

I think it's a, I'm, I am in the category of people where I'm at that I feel is a waste of time. If I had somewhere to go, I would probably go now that doesn't mean I'm not gonna go scout every once in a while in the post-season and like keep my eyes open. I'll always keep my eyes open during Turkey season cuz I cover so much ground.

but I've said it in, in a lot of podcasts. Most of my post-season scouting happens during Turkey season because you might as well multitask, , you're, it's gonna Turkey hunting if you're doing it the way that I like to do it, which is moving around covering, 6, 7, 8 miles a day when you go out, then, that's a healthy scouting trip, even if you only scout for a part of the time or just in between spots.

And I've found a lot of spots I've killed a lot of deer in areas that I've found [00:11:00] during Turkey season in that like post-season scouting slash Turkey hunt timeframe. I am interested to know, though, because we all live in Alabama, Casey, however, lives in the land of, it's not the land of the giants because it's not Iowa.

We'll call it the land of the semi giants. Yeah. Let's go with that. In Kentucky and you in Kentucky you have this, I hunt there a lot driving through. There's crops everywhere. And so you really do have like these destination areas down the whole highway a lot of time.

, what are you seeing in that? More like Midwestern, I know Kentucky's not technically a Midwestern state, but it's more of a Midwestern style of deer hunting. Yeah. What are you seeing right now? As far as deer activity, just even if you're just driving back and forth from work or whatever.

Yeah. I'll tell you right now at the property that I hunt, I'm just hunting like a small little hundred acre parcel of private it's definitely slowing down a lot. It's almost [00:12:00] back to where it is in the summer. Like the parcel that I hunt does not hold deer in the summer. I don't know why we'll see doze, maybe a spike or two, but we've never really had a ton of deer in the summer.

A ton of bucks in the summer. And then, once October, November or December rolls around where they're like, like what Matthew was saying earlier, they're just firing off everywhere. And then right about now, like my trail cameras will get like maybe one buck every week. So they're, I feel like maybe they are going back to their summer ranges now.

I don't really know. I'm not gonna say I'm like a super knowledgeable deer hunter. Okay. Just being so young. And I haven't, I've only been doing it for eight years maybe, but yeah, I definitely do see a difference like now Yeah. Than like in the like rut. And I notice it just driving, like to go and Turkey hunt or whatever, I, you cross states to go Turkey hunt. And you just, It does legitimately feel like they're crawling in a hole and hibernating sometimes. But then once, once summer gets here[00:13:00] around summer, mid Turkey season going into May, I start seeing deer everywhere. You know what I mean? They're all over the place.

So I know that they're still there. And I feel like with a guy like David who we're gonna have on next week with a guy like that, like something when you can really use shed hunting specifically as a way to scout and not just a way to pick up antlers, right? I think there's two different goals for shed hunting.

Some people like, like Dave oh my gosh, I cannot remember the guy's name. Greg his name is Greg, I'm pretty sure. A guy from New York that I've talked to before, years ago on the podcast, he shed hunts and he legitimately kills the buck. If he finds the shed, he kills the deer, which is just a, that's a feat to me.

That is huge. And obviously there's something there that I'm missing, right? And maybe it's just because we don't it's harder to find sheds, but he's going out in big woods areas, [00:14:00] finding sheds up in New York, finding sheds, and he kills the buck and he finds a crap ton of sheds too.

So I, I do think guys like that and David they've figured something out within shed hunting that I'm very interested in. Yeah. It's, it wows me, but I know we were talking about the transition of these deer and, a deer has to eat. Yeah. And there's so many different food sources that a deer goes through.

When I, so when I walk into a woods, say at the end of February I feel like I'm walking into a empty refrigerator. Like in, in the big wood setting. Everything's dead there there's nothing, there, there may be some greenbriar form to eat here and there. So as we progress into March, my allergies have been bothering me lately.

What? Why is that? It's cause things are starting to bloom. Things are starting to green up. Yo ponds starting to leaf out, and those are, young Forbes and young leaves. [00:15:00] But those deer are gonna browse on like crazy right now. And I've heard people talk, if you go into a, the south, find you a private thicket or a yo pond, hedge to where, that's where those deer are gonna be living because that's where the food source is.

There's noon for 'em to eat. Nobody's really putting corn out right now. I know I quit because it's so stinking expensive this year. And then not many people supplement feed in the south really. Unless you're on a big farm that's just not realistic. But it's neat that Casey's from Kentucky because I've been dying to go up to Kentucky to get walking around.

I think I've told you Parker a couple times. They're like, Hey, I wanna get up there and just kinda look at it, because really the only times we were at Kentucky there were leaves all on the trees, and that, that's hard enough scouting, and you and I have talked before when we rather postseason scout or we would we rather pre-season scout in the summer?

And, I used to, would argue with you that I would, I'd rather pre-season scout. I'd rather [00:16:00] get out there when the leaves are on the trees, to see what's happening. Then man, I'd rather postseason scout now everything's dead. Done. How to deal with bugs. I walked around a day. I had four ticks.

You know that's not fun. And today was, not one of the warmer days. Yeah, like 45 degrees. Yeah. All day. So I ha they've, they're they're starting to move around, but that just goes to show you, when the leaves are off the trees, I feel like it's better for scouting and it just, the conditions are just so much better, man.

So much better. And to that point, talking about leaves being off the trees. If you're going out to look for sheds and going out to look for sign, I always struggle in the summertime to, to be able to pick out a deer trail because everything's grown up. And sometimes you can see the trails through the weeds and stuff that have grown up.

But right now, the leaves are gonna be, the leaves that are on the ground. It they're moved out for deer trails. Like you can pick out they're matted down or whatever. In [00:17:00] those deer trails, you're also getting this advantage of being able to see a shed will pop, right? Not, I'm sorry, not a shed.

A a rub will pop, in the woods when everything's brown and dead and do it, that yellowish orange is still there because those rubs are only a couple months old. And so they'll pop a little bit more, whereas you go in the summertime I, it's hard to see. It's hard to see a whole I feel like I, you spend so much time seeing just green blah, like green blob.

There's you can't pick out things. Yeah. There's so many leaves on the trees that the canopy has now shaded everything out, and it's dark. You're at 12 o'clock in the middle of the day and it's dark in there because of the canopy cover. Yeah. It's just hard to see.

But oh, I want to, I guess we talk about the transition of [00:18:00] summer to regular season and everything. I, and you mentioned it earlier, Parker, about trail cameras. I'm a big trail camera advocate. I love to use them. I use them as a second person to scout a whole season for me without me being there.

Granted, it only captures like a 10 foot radius. I understand that is the downfall of it, but it gives me a general idea of how these deer are acting. And I just wanna put this in y'all's head. We're still early. You don't have to put cameras out right now or anything, but just, give y'all something to think about.

I've been doing this now for the last, three years. And it's not just putting a trail camera up and letting it, Whatever. I find an area that I have an idea of I'm curious of what's in there, but I don't wanna spend my time going in there. It may be, a place that's hour and a half from the house, a mile walk back in, and I don't want to burn not necessarily burn a hunt, but I don't want to invest my time on a place that may be iffy.

How many times do we go in a spot and you walk to it and you're like, man, [00:19:00] this ain't what I thought it looked like. This isn't what I had plans on and you're be, you're better off to just leave. It's chalk it up as a scouting trip. But I've gotten to the point where I'll go in these areas, scout 'em out a little bit, and I'll throw a camera up and I'll leave it for a whole year, for a whole season.

This last year I left one up from June to February and man, what you can learn from that, I put it on video mode. And I learned so much from that area. Whe to where, when those deer use it during the summer where they're using it d when the season starts, see how their change and pressure goes.

Just a seamless amount of video to where there's no interruption and you get to see if there's people going in there. Yeah. Because that's, I try to stay away from people. And when I put these cameras out I put one out a couple years ago, left it all season. I had a picture of a guy one, one time, he was in there one time.

I did it again, the next year I put a [00:20:00] cell camera up. I told myself I was gonna hunt in there. That sucker, he must have seen what I saw on the camera because he was in there like every other weekend, . And it, I'm, I don't wanna walk a mile to compete with another guy, I just don't, if he's gonna put in the work, I'm not gonna fight him.

Fight him for it. Yeah. But that's just me. But it. As far as what the deer do I put all my stuff over a mock scrap, people can argue if even this early or I guess, yeah, even postseason it. Yeah. Postseason. Yeah, deer, deer check scrapes year round. They're always using them.

I've seen, folks will make a post on Facebook, and Darren Turkey says, no they're still working the scrapes and Yeah. Cuz they use that as a central, they, that's how they keep up with their hurt. Ru ruts late this year. Yeah. Just wild stuff and I get it, a lot of deer in Alabama will hold their horns through Turkey season, sometimes after antlers back.

Antlers . [00:21:00] Y'all, y'all not gonna get me on that. Cause I'm gonna say I'm, say it again, but before the night's ever. I'm gonna say it again. Gonna say horns. Hey. But we'll correct you when you do it. I'll say horns again. But yeah, so I'll do mocks. Great. I almost got on the vine trend.

Have y'all seen that? Where the people put the licking vine or whatnot, almost put a rope up in the woods. But I did it. If Rick worked it did, it blew my mind. Yeah. There's a guy in Mississippi that my dad was actually talking to this past year, and he was talking about doing it. And I did it two years ago.

From the whitetail habitat solution guy. He, I was watching some of his stuff. It worked. They have made a scrape under that. For the past two years. It's crazy. I was like I'll try and I put it right beside a trail, like the whole stuff that you're supposed to do. , it worked.

I just tied a rope, I cut a vine, tied a rope to it and I was like, what the heck? [00:22:00] Yeah. Yeah. The you, the, what you said about the trail, that's huge. Getting up by a trail like I most of mine are right off or riding. I make that scrape as big as I can. Make it look like a car hood, get their attention cuz they, they're curious creatures, man.

Like a food plot. Like when you till the food plot up, you, you may have not put any C in there, but there's gonna be deer tracks all in that fresh dirt cuz they're curious, they can smell it. That, that's how a deer lives. They're gonna beat you with their nose more than anything and so they're gonna be curious and go and find it.

But yeah, so I left the camera the whole year, came back and checked it. And the amount of bucks that were coming through there, there was no new bucks. I was really surprised with this area. I had the same bucks in October that I did in January or in December. Now what we talked about earlier about just going nothing, just like everything in the woods died, like an atomic bomb went off.

It ha it happened at that place. Right after December, I'd say the 30th. It just fell off. [00:23:00] Nothing. And I'd have an occasional deer come, come here, there, but it was just, it was wild. It just turned to nothing. What you're talking about right here, Matt, is I think people, I think a lot of people, I'm trying to, maybe not a lot of people, what I have done in the past versus what I do now. And I consider myself to be a little more efficient now. Than I was in the past, but I would go into an area, you mentioned this earlier about you, you go into a, an area this time of the year or in the late season and it feels void.

Like when I go in the woods here at home, deer and deer season in January, in the areas that I spend most of my time in ruts already over it. Your explanation was very good. The empty fridge is what I feel like I'm walking into. However you, I, if I'm going, if I go into an area in January to like scout slash maybe hunt, if I happen to see a [00:24:00] deer I'm gonna cover a lot of ground.

I, I usually, it'll deer hunt the way that I Turkey hunt right there in January if I'm hunting here at home. And I spent a lot of time covering ground. And it would be really easy to go in there and say, I'm never going back because I didn't look like a deer had been there in weeks. But it, those areas like that, that I have found they've produced.

And I don't do a lot of detailed scouting. What you were saying earlier. Like you just walk in and throw a camera up. I don't do that. I don't use a lot of cameras. I would like to probably this upcoming season, cause I think it'll make me a little more efficient.

But I don't put cameras up, but I will lightly scout it and say okay, here's a big giant rub and five scrapes. , there's deer here at some point. I'm not gonna invest a ton of time into it right now. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna do a whole lot of scouting. I'm gonna, I'm gonna look at the terrain.

I'm gonna say, okay, I know [00:25:00] that there's deer here because I, I hit the outskirts and there was sign. I know there's deer here. Then I'm gonna go home and I'm going to look at my map and I'm gonna say, okay. This is where I if there was sign here, I know there's deer using it. This spot right here looks like the spot.

And if there's deer that are using this area, they're gonna be right here. And I'll bank that. I'll put a pin on it, bank it, maybe try to hit it deer in Turkey season just to cover a little bit more ground in there and learn a little bit more about the terrain. But if I find a halfway decent amount of deer sign on the outskirts, like on the, in a fringe area of an area, then I'm probably just gonna bank it and hunt it next year.

Like to me, that's good enough because what I know is I'm not gonna be able to go in and find a ton of fresh sign. It, it might be weeks, months old at that point. But if I know that there's deer in an area, I feel very confident in myself [00:26:00] to be able to go in deer in season and pinpoint the areas that I know deer bucks particularly like to use.

During the rut or during pre rut or post rut. And I'll attack it that way. And what I, what it does it's very similar to a camera, probably less efficient than a camera would be because I don't actually know what's there. But it's very similar in that I don't put my, I don't even risk spooking anything out of there.

I just don't, that's just how it's always been. I'll know there's deer there, go back during the season and in season scout to try to pinpoint and then hunt it. And I, to me, I don't think there's a better time to go do that. But I think people get fooled a lot by going into an area and saying, there wasn't any sign there.

There wasn't any sign there because the deer aren't using it right there. Now something happens whenever they, whenever those bucks lose that testosterone and drop the antler. I know Matt, you found a couple of sheds. [00:27:00] In areas where I would assume at this point the bucks have moved out, but they shed their antlers there.

Yeah. And so that tells me when those testosterone levels really start picking up, there's something about that area that really, that they like. And probably it's probably doze if I had to guess. I know when my testosterone's high, there's only one thing that can fix that. So that that's kinda where I'm at.

I think it's easy to get fooled by post-season scouting and thinking there's no deer there, but in fact you just kinda have to know the things to look for. And again, pumping this episode that we're gonna do next. With Dave, I feel like he's gonna have a lot of insight to what they are actually doing and why they're doing it.

And that's things that I can't answer. I don't know. Do you want to know more about saddle hunting? Or you can go to tethered for all your saddle hunting needs. Tethered is four saddle hunters buy saddle hunters and they're redefining light hunting. If you know me, you know that I love to have a system [00:28:00] for all of my hunting equipment.

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Yeah, to that Parker. That is so true because there were three, three different scenarios that happened this past season. And Matt, you're spot on. Like I leave my cameras up year round and it really, to be honest, it takes a full season to really have, to me a good grasp on, okay, this is the movement, this is why they're doing it.

Like to bring it full circle cuz then it's oh, this [00:29:00] is what I assumed and then it's true or not true. But especially early season last year, there were two places that were both on public that I knew without a doubt finding the sign because of acorns. I didn't know, I'd never been to these spots.

I just thought, this is what I'm, this is what I'm listening to on podcast. Everything lines up to this is the spot that you wanna hunt if it sets up like this. And sure enough, there were deer there and I knew that there were deer there. But what you were saying, Parker, in other spots, and I wouldn't have known this until last year there was a spot on private that I just, I was in season scouting.

It was like the 1st of January. I was in season scouting and I found a trail that was just a really hot trail and I was like this is odd cuz I've never noticed this trail. And it was like right in rut. It was like the. [00:30:00] Where I just assume you hear about a second rut happening. I just assume that different groups of do came in to, to breed.

And they started chasing again, and at the end of season, I didn't even hunt it. At the end of season, I checked that camera and had, I had a, almost all of those, quote unquote target bucks that I had seen on camera that I was, I had no idea where they were at. They were moving in and out of that trail, and it was just during rut.

I put the camera up. I left that camera up and checked it before season, so it had till the end of season to the beginning of season. And there were, maybe. Three bucks in velvet, like one picture, three bucks in velvet, and then do moving through. And I was like, I'm just gonna leave this until rut because I know if they're, if they did this past season, they're probably gonna do it this season.

Sure enough, I left that camera out and I checked it this past season [00:31:00] and it did it. They did exactly what I thought they would, when Rut hit, those bucks were moving from neighboring property and transitioning, funneling down through that trail onto different properties. And it was like my camera just blew up and it was just for rut.

But during outta season that trail, I was like, God, dude, I ruined that trail. Like they know that I, or they knew that I set my camera up and so I moved my camera higher on the tree and it wasn't, it was just that they weren't using that until rut and it was like a light bulb. I was like, That is amazing because I thought they would do that and they did.

Yeah, just because it does, just because there's not a whole lot of deer sign there at that moment doesn't mean that there's not deer. You may just have to wait and see what's going on. Yeah. Luke, you, that applies to me for early season. You said you left that camera from the end of the season to the beginning of the next, and you had just a couple velvet bucks, right?

I used to, would get too early of a [00:32:00] start scouting. I'd put up a camera, I, I went, I'm okay. Not too early. I'd put up a camera like July and I'd leave and I'd come back and check it in September and I'm thinking, oh, there's just, there's gonna be some massive velvet bucks on there, , and I may have three doughs and a spike or something.

And it's just, man, that'll take the air out of you right there because. You've, you map scouted all summer, you found this honey hole and you put it in there and the deer aren't in there. When you have your camera in there, when you're in there, you're just in there at the wrong time. That's all it is.

It's all about timing. With Whitetails whether it's rut, early season, what, whatever pattern they're on. And I, I get discouraged real quick because of deals like that, and I'll ride a spot off before I even give it the chance to turn into anything. And that's one of my flaws.

With the post-season scout and leaving cameras out and just find an area, you've gotta trust the process. And you hear that all the time from folks, whether it be sports or just a [00:33:00] business decision. Just let things play out. I think a lot of times, us hunters, we get too hyped up about finding a big buck or having to get a picture of a big.

Why don't you just hunt an area because you know there's gonna be one in there in this, 10, 14 day window and that's when you hunt that place. And that's how I've started trying to get my spots is when I'm putting these cameras out, I find out three or four areas where what their ru window is.

Yeah. And then I can put that rut window on my calendar and I can say I'll be at this spot this week. I'll be at this spot the next week, this spot the next week, and I'll just rotate 'em in and out. So it's pretty neat how, a long-term, inventory calendar. This is all on public land where I'm doing this.

I don't do this on any of my private, it's all on public. So it's just, it amazes me. So here's where I found a gap for me, in my knowledge. [00:34:00] I, I know I, I'm similar to what you're talking about I know the areas that I can go into deer in the rut and kill deer, right? This year was a large exception to that, but for the most part, I'm very confident that when it's rut time I've got the areas pretty much nailed down where I can find a buck.

And I say this year's an exception it took me a lot longer, but I did eventually make it happen. But I wanna get better at killing deer in the early season, specifically early season, but also postseason. The thing about postseason in Alabama is there's really not a post season cuz you can find a rut like we talked about earlier.

You can find a rut basically from end of November all the way through the end of the season. You can hunt rut, but so early season is where I really want to learn how to get efficient at. And so obviously this is a podcast. I usually try to share things that I'm knowledgeable about[00:35:00] when we're doing a podcast like this where we don't have a guest, but in order to really set up next week's episode, I want to acknowledge that I have a gap or a lack of knowledge when it comes to early season whitetail hunting.

And I don't know, I don't do a ton of summer scouting anymore. I don't do any trail cameras. Not really for any other reason other than I I just don't. Wanna spend the money to buy your own cameras, if I'm being honest. And I get TA Tasco. Yeah. I have a bunch of 'em. I get paralysis what is it?

Analysis paralysis on where to put the camera at and it flips me out. Oh yeah, man. I'm like, where do I put it here? Do I put it here? It's a stressful event for me. Is it at the, is it at the right angle? Yeah. Is that There is, it's probably not gonna, probably not gonna work whenever I come get it two miles back to the truck.

Did I turn it on? Yeah. I can't remember. So the amount of stress that it caused me pretty high, but I know that there's a, that I have a lack of knowledge in the area of killing early [00:36:00] season whitetail. So now that I feel like I've got a good grasp on a lot of confidence in rut tactics and how I hunt the rut.

I wanna get really good at this. And I think there's a way, and I think it has a lot to do with this timeframe that we're talking about of post-season scouting or like figuring out that transition. They're from the rut. Like when you, where the places where you find all that rut sign and figuring out that transition, trying to use the transition from rut to postseason and learning what deer are doing.

And I think it will make you better at being a an early season hunter. Because what we've all talked about, what you guys seem to notice is right now it go they're going back to summer range. But I do think there's an in between somewhere, there's almost like a , there's almost like a purgatory between the two.

Where [00:37:00] I think if you can figure out that like transition area, and I don't mean transition area as in a hard line transition. I mean like a, like their transition from. Fall to, or winter and fall to summer. , if you can figure that out. I think in that here in Alabama and in most of the south, we don't really have a, an early season, right?

The, Kentucky opens up in September. We don't really get that here. I know Florida opens up fairly early. Georgia opens up fairly early. But actual deer season, like most of the deer season, so I'm guessing in like the October range where most people think there's a lull. I think it's a transition that hap that's happening.

And we gotta figure out where that is. I wanna figure out where that is because I wanna kill freaking bucks in October. I'm tired of waiting until December here in Alabama to dang hunt a buck. I wanna do it all season. I wanna feel confident in it. And I think a lot of [00:38:00] people probably find themselves in the same position where you're like, Man, I don't wanna wait.

Some guys gotta wait until flipping February to hunt the rut. And the season opens in October. You got months of time. Casey's over here. All he's gotta do is hunt a few weeks before it's peak rut in Kentucky. You know what I mean? So you're not wore out, you're not tired. You can go in with a whole lot of confidence in the area and really grind it out.

But for a lot of us Southern guys where we have late ruts, man, how much better would it be if we could capitalize in the early season? So much weight off your shoulders? My goodness. Yeah. I'm right there with you, Parker. Especially so I've got a theory which it makes sense in my brain. I just haven't tested it out yet because the amount of time that I spend in season, like you said in season scouting and the amount of time that I'll.

Walk around, like especially this past season that I walked around, whether on public or [00:39:00] private land, and just basically tried to piece things together. Trying to do that during early summer to me is even harder because the, that spot, and I'll tell you why I think this, and again it makes sense, which I'm probably just like preaching to the choir here, is I found a spot on private that it was an area that I had no clue existed.

The only reason I found it was because I was tracking the deer this past season and it was a spot that was just so tight knit, thick garbage crap that I had to go through to follow this dog where it opened up and I thought, what the C, there was so much sign, buck sign in that area and I thought, That's exactly what they're doing.

And again, I may be preaching the choir here, but spending the time in summer and which it sucks because everything's growed up, but basically w[00:40:00] it would take a ton of walking because you're having to, almost I think of it like kicking a quell up out of the grass. It's like you're having to get so close and hit so spot on to where a buck's living that is like the start, almost like the start of you even being able to have a chance of killing other than just getting lucky in early season.

And so like this year, that's what I'm gonna try to do is like in season or before season, like in summer and stuff, like really hit some thick, nasty stuff where I know there's deer sign and I know that there's food for them to eat. But trying to really pinpoint where a, where bucks are. And try to capitalize on that.

I don't know, like you said, I it's just, and that's why it's so hard to kill 'em. It's just so hard to find that spot because it's so small. And if you look, if you, if anybody looks or follows the Mississippi Deer Lab boys, they just posted [00:41:00] their their maps on like their, the deer that they have colored on the different colors where you can see their travel patterns on it's like a TimeLapse video.

It's so small in early season. And then like when rut hits, it looks like a kid just took the paper and started drawing all over it. And then it's like when the rut stops, they just go back to little bitty areas where they've got food, they've got water, they don't have to really go anywhere cuz they're not looking for anything.

They're just looking to survive. Man, that you get on roll right there talking about that Luke. That's awesome. And listen, one of the things Luke talked about just then, Was tr track using a tracking dog. And I can't tell you how many times I've been on tracks, even if it wasn't with a tracking dog.

I can think of one particular instance last year or I shot a dough. The very first dough of the season was OC October 4th, two years ago, two season before last. [00:42:00] And I had scouted this area, found a persimmon tree that was dropping, shot her, and I was tracking her kind of the direction that she went.

And it was literally 40 yards in front of where I was at, towards a house. There was like a house over there and a a bunch of pines that looked like they were wide open. While as I'm tracking in there, I'm, everything starts getting like what you're talking about, like tighter and tighter.

And it was. Unreal deer sign 40 yards away from where I was at and where I just hadn't gone into that spot. You can learn a lot. I wouldn't, I would suggest everybody taken in, into account. Whenever you track a deer, pay attention to where it's going. It's not just going somewhere random most of the time.

Sometimes maybe, but a lot of the time, especially if you hit 'em in the guts or like a shoulder shot, something that's not gonna be like an instant death. A lot of times they're gonna start heading towards home. They're going home. Home. Yep. Yes. And I've even heard [00:43:00] people talk about these bucks heading towards their, or when they're wounded, heading towards their original home range, like where they were born, that home range.

I've heard people talk about them doing that too, but you really do. I've found so much stuff that I never even knew existed from tracking a deer because they're going to go to those safe areas. That's free info right there as you don't, y'all gotta pay for that one. That's something that charge, that is absolutely true, man.

Luke, you hit it hard too. Y'all are talking about these areas and say you want to find 'em and we're saying, we got, we're gonna have to get in there in the summer and get in the thick, nasty stuff and do it. No, you don't go there right now when the leaves aren't on the trees.

You don't have to beat it. And that, that's where this whole episode is leading is what can we be doing now? How can we be productive now as a deer hunter in the Lowell of Turkey season fishing, whatnot. How do we get out and maximize [00:44:00] our effort efforts for the next season to kill that early season?

But you get out now and you go to these areas that you've never been to. With me, I'm walking on private land on places I don't touch during the season, cuz that's where I think the deer. Right now I get to, I can tell if they're living there or not. I was walking the hillside the other day of South facing Slope, and I found four or five beds that confirmed, they're sitting, they're set up perfect for where I'm feeding them with corn where the neighbors got a greenfield.

They're, there's like almost the Bermuda Triangle. They're just sitting there. They've got a bed and they can go to either side and have food. And there's water right in the middle of them. So why not, say you have a Sunday afternoon or a Saturday, just go and walk through the woods.

The briars aren't gonna hurt you near as bad now as they will in the summer. You're not gonna get poison ivy unless you just lick the vine. It's not, it's prime time to get out there and find these things because it's perfect weather. And there's, all the [00:45:00] critters aren't gonna eat you if you fall on the ground.

That's right, man. And you're talking about going in and. Really trying to penetrate these areas that you're staying out of during deer season. Luke, I saw that face when I said penetrate, and now, hey, not my fault. Everybody who thought , it's kinda like when somebody says the number 69 and everybody's I'll be the one that's okay. It's all right. But you can get into these areas. I like, I really going into clear cuts right now. During Turkey season, a lot, especially early Turkey season. Get into those clear cuts because, or like cutovers or like thickets. Because what you talked about Matt it's so much easier to get around.

I don't know if anybody's ever tried to walk through like a, a four or five year old cut. During season, that's fine. If that stuff isn't dead yet, good freaking luck. But right now it is dead and we actually have had a fairly cold winter to where it's gonna be really [00:46:00] dead and you can move around in those areas.

A lot of the times, like when I was talking about tracking deer, a lot of times you track deer through clear cuts cuz they'll go into those clear cuts and die and you start seeing like beds. Cuz every clear cut that you find doesn't, it's not that every single one's gonna have deer in it, it's easy to think that they will, because they look so dairy.

But there are certain ones that are gonna have a little more of a benefit, whether it's in closer proximity to dough bedding or a, a really, like a heavy food source or something like that. And you can start putting those pieces together when you're going into those clear cuts. Because I always picture the clear cuts as Like that's the bed, that's bedroom for a lot of the bucks out in the south because we have a lot of clear cuts and it's thick.

It's got food, it's got cover, it's it's got everything. And when you're able to get into those cuts, I would say if I have one piece of advice just that I feel very confident on [00:47:00] this time of year, something that somebody could do this time of year is walk through those clear cuts that you plan to hunt and walk.

Like zig-zag them, try to find stuff, try to find rubs. Cuz you will, if it's a, there's little saplings, you're gonna find those little like little whip rubs. Like you'll find all that kind of stuff and you can really piece together a puzzle by walking into those. And it's, the cool thing about a clear cut is for the most part I just said they're not all gonna be the same.

But it is, it's like a cornfield, like you, we go out to Kentucky, you walk through a cornfield and you're gonna find deer sign, you're gonna see the trails where they're entering in. And a lot of times what we end up doing is setting up on those heaviest trails that we find with the most sign.

When you are able to do that in a clear cut what makes it different from a destination food source like crops or something like that, is that they're gonna leave big sign inside of the food, [00:48:00] inside of the clear cut as well. And that is a huge piece of the puzzle because then you're able to say okay, there's bucks here.

It's not just doughs, it's not just a trail that I'm looking at, it's actual buck sign. And to me that's about as valuable as anything you can, you could ask for. And I've spent, I've wasted so much time in season hunting the edges of a clear cut that just looked like it was gonna be money only to walk through it during Turkey season or.

While scouting and be like, crap, there isn't even anything coming through here. You know what I mean? You really will find out a lot of stuff through that. I can think of one spot in particular that if you look at it on the map or look at it in person, you're like, I will kill a big buck here.

I think that every time I walk in there and I check it every year because it looks that good to this day, never killed a big puck in there and haven't seen a whole lot of deer. I think I've seen one deer in that spot and it was a tiny basket rack deer. And so like you could, people really, if all they're doing is going by based on how something looks without ever [00:49:00] actually putting, like putting your boots on the ground and really trying to break that down, it's easy to get fooled that way.

And you can spend a, you can waste a lot of time hunting places like that during the season. The thing that I like about postseason is that I can actually get into those spots, like what you said, Matt. You can actually go in there and look. Like you like Luke was talking about earlier, I do feel like I'm preaching the quiet.

We're not telling anything, any new information, but more than anything I feel like we're just trying to encourage encourage people to, this is just one more person telling you to scout in the post-season because it's definitely worthwhile. And again with Dave, I think there's gonna be a lot of those like kind of voila moments in that episode based on what we're talking about.

Yeah. It's, I everybody falls into what you're talking about Parker, with the clear cuts. Like you'll see every old man that ha he has a story, oh, I [00:50:00] set up on this clear cut, on a cold, crisp morning, this big old buck came cruising and I killed him. And that's a southern man's perfect story of a deer hunt.

But the, these areas age out. Which a lot of people don't think about but o over time, and Matt you're a good guy to talk about that because you, it's your job to understand how clear cuts work. Yeah. The growth regeneration of the trees and it's it's pretty neat.

Alabama is known for Southern pine, that's what we grow. Lolly pine I'm a hardwood man. That's what I buy. I buy hardwood, timber cut hardwood timber. I want it to grow back. And a lot of times when people plant back in these pines, you'll, they'll come through and they'll spray it.

They'll do a a woody brow spray and just keep any woody vegetation from growing, so a lot of these stands are pines with grass, you'll see sage grass growing through 'em. And that can look very appealing. And I've seen [00:51:00] videos of deer bed in it, but I've never had any luck in that.

I don't have much luck. What the areas that I find lucky in with that is, is natural regeneration with high stem count that have patches in them. There, there may be an open area here or there because these deer, they need to move around too because, they don't wanna be stacked on each other.

They don't wanna be laying up against everything and they gotta get away. But yeah, they've gotta get out. They gotta escape. Yeah, they gotta move. I struggle to run out of a clear cut, it's not easy but aging, of a stand year after year the timber's gonna change. The food's gonna change inside that area.

The sunlight hitting, the ground's gonna change. Be able to adapt to that and find different age classes that are going. Their their growth cycle, because to put those in rotation, if you can have a key area and just move from stand to stand on uneven age stands is great stuff.

Absolutely. Absolutely. Man. I'm, [00:52:00] I am like I said earlier I realized that I have a gap or a lack of knowledge about a lot of this kind of stuff, particularly shed hunting. I don't, I, I don't do that at all. I'd like to, it's one of those things that I'd like to do. But I wanna learn how to, I, I do, I wanna learn how to kill deer in the early season, and I think this is a huge part of it.

Yeah, boys, I'm really looking forward to next week. I think it's gonna be a whole lot of fun. Quick reminder for people if you got questions about this man, send it in. We want next week to be we wanna be able to present Dave, with a legitimate list of things that you. Can actually help and it's not.

The thing I don't like about podcasting, one of the hardest things is that we do it every single week and it's hard not to regurgitate things. And it's just gonna happen. But I truly do believe that this is something that we haven't focused on as much as we should. And the reason I know that is because [00:53:00] for the most part, when we're talking about a lot of this stuff, I'm learning still right now.

It's not like I have a whole lot of knowledge to give out. Send in those questions. Boys. Thanks for coming on. Matt, do you have anything you wanna wrap up with? I think that was great. Thank y'all. Awesome. Thank you guys. Casey, me and you gonna go get out some turkeys tomorrow. So we are, how about that?

Y stuck. We got a long drive to South Florida, and from what I've heard it is south Florida does not it just it's not easy. So we'll see. We'll see how it goes, but I'll be safe all. Y'all be back next week for another episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. Thanks for listening. Hey guys.

Thanks for listening to this week's episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. You can keep up with southern ground hunting by following us on Facebook or Instagram, or subscribing to the YouTube channel, and you can be sure to check us to pick up some of our merch, read some blog articles, and all that good stuff.[00:54:00]

I truly hope you enjoyed this week's episode, and we'll see you here again next week. Remember that God gave you dominion over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the earth. So go out and exercise that dominion. We'll talk to you next week.