Show Notes:

A lot of factors go into trying to determine if one type of hunting is “easier” than another. On this episode I compare whitetail deer and turkey hunting to examine the difficulties and advantages of each pursuit to help new hunters better decide where to start and to help more experienced hunters expand into new areas of hunting.

Factors to consider for hunting either deer or turkey:

  • Geography and habitat are core to determine which type of game is more abundant around you.
  • General hunting pressure will train animals to be more or less skittish around humans.
  • Deer tend to adapt to some human pressure while turkeys seem to get more paranoid.
  • Deer hunting requires excellent preparation, selecting not just the right area but even the right tree in advance.
  • Turkey hunting tends to require more diverse skill sets like perfect concealment on the ground, calling, and moving stealthily at critical times.
  • Deer hunting requires a lot of advanced strategy while turkey hunting requires more decisions that are made in the moment.
  • Turkey hunting requires more gear to start out with but the birds are easier to carry out of the woods.
  • A spooked deer is hard to chase, but a turkey that takes flight may be impossible to ever catch sight of again.
  • Deer are larger and thus harder to conceal than turkeys.
  • Larger animals also tend to leave larger more recognizable sign.
  • Listen to the whole episode for more and to see how both pursuits stack up against each other.

Show Notes:

It doesn’t take rocket science to improve the ability of your land to draw and hold more deer. On this episode I talk about the cheap three-step process that I used to increase the number of deer on the small property that I hunt by over 660% from one year to the next.

Take Aways

  • I measured the increase of deer activity using the same camera, pointed at the same spot, during the same exact time period from last year to this year.  And no, this camera was not over new food or bait, it was a trail.
  • Assuming you have or could borrow a week-wacker, swing blade, sheers, a hand saw, and a spreader, you could do everything I did for a total budget of less than $100. You might even be able to do it for less than $50.
  • I did three main things starting in March:
    1. Improved deer’s ability to move around the property in a strategic way.
    2. Added focus points to define deer movement.
    3. Planted a super cheap and small staging plot of perianal forage.
  • Listen to the episode for all the details and to hear about the even more impressive increase in bucks and mature bucks.

Show Notes:

The best time to scout for whitetail deer hunting locations is usually right after the season you plan to hunt them. On this episode I talk about why post season scouting is ideal and how you can make the most of your scouting to improve your chances for success next year.

Take Aways

  • Deer patterns shift seasonally as cover, bedding, and food sources change.
  • When scouting you need to ask the question “where will the deer be when I plan to hunt them” instead of just trying to find where they are today.
  • Early winter scouting helps you identify deer habits and habitat as they were during the hunting season.
  • Pre-season and or mid season scouting can spook deer and push them to other hunters.
  • If possible, you want to make your hunting area a haven for deer after you have finished hunting, so they have a safe place to survive the rest of the season

 

Show Notes:

There are a lot of great things about eating venison; the thrill of the hunt, knowing where your meat comes from, the satisfaction of besting a deer in its element to provide for your family, and more. The flavor and quality of the food you put on your table can and should be near the top of that list. On this episode I talk about how to tenderize venison and share some of the preparation and cooking methods that can also help improve tenderness. 

Take Aways

  • Venison is not beef. Do not cook it like beef. do not treat it like beef. Do not try to turn it into beef.
  • Do not compare tough cuts of venison with tender cuts of beef. Each animal has its tender cuts and its tough cuts, and each cut can be prepared well.
  • Tenderness is a factor of field care, butcher care, freezer to fridge care, meal prep, cooking method, and doneness.
  • Do all of those just half decently and your will be impressed with what is possible.
  • Popular meal prep tenderization methods include; soaking meat in milk, buttermilk, olive oil and wine, vinegar, and similar fluids.
  • These methods take the most time and produce the smallest results.
  • Listen to the episode for the top tenderization techniques and tips to get the most out of your venison. 

Show Notes:

For those who hunt the same areas year-after-year, it is common for the number and quality of deer in the area to diminish over time. On this episode I talk about why this is a normal occurrence and what you can do to reverse it!

Take Aways

  • Great whitetail habitat will do one thing if left untouched for decades, become bad whitetail habitat.
  • Most of the time it is not the fault of the game commission, too many hunters, too many tags, etc.
  • There are more whitetails in America today than there were 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or the day Columbus stumbled upon the continent.
  • The number of hunters also generally decreases year after year.
  • Deer do not leave an area without reason and they are not attracted to a new area without reason.
  • Deer are creatures of edge. They need food, cover, and bedding.
  • Thick cover will eventually become open forest, young forests will become old forests. All of this is bad news for deer.
  • The number one simplest way to improve failing whitetail habitat is to get sunshine onto the forest floor. This creates cover and food.

Show Notes:

For many, hunting is a seasonal pleasure. But it has the potential to be a year-round pursuit, even when you are not in the woods chasing game. On this episode I talk about cultivating the joy of the year-round hunt.

Simple ways to enjoy whitetail deer hunting even during the off season:

  • Scouting and checking trail cameras to see what deer survived the hunting season.
  • Watching movement and feeding patterns in winter when cover is sparse in the woods.
  • Looking for new tree stand locations during the winter when cover better resembles its fall state.
  • Checking trail cameras to see what deer survived the winter.
  • Hunting for antler sheds.
  • Planting clover or other food plots.
  • Watching anthers grow via trail cameras over the spring and summer.
  • Creating habitat improvements.
  • Studying summer and fall movement patterns to help direct hunting locations.
  • Shopping for gear on Black Friday and after Christmas when deals abound.
  • Mounting antlers, tails, or your trophies of choice.
  • Talking about hunting and sharing stories.
  • Thinking about past hunts and anticipating new ones.
  • Practicing with your rifle and/or bow.
  • The list goes on and on!

Show Notes:

Every hunter will face opportunities to get discouraged with what seems like a poor hunt. But the very nature of hunting makes it a pursuit were success can happen in an unexpected instant. On this episode I talk about how quickly things can turn around and how you can take advantage of those unanticipated opportunities.

How to have more turn around moments:

  1. Always be ready – If you are not ready and able to take a shot within two seconds you may miss turn around moments.
  2. Pay careful attention – Whitetails, turkeys, and many other animals can appear unannounced, silent and seemingly from nowhere.
  3. Assume there is always a deer close by – Don’t get lax or sloppy because you assume no animals are around. Your quarry really could be feet away from you and you not realize it.
  4. Stay positive – You hunt better when you believe it matters. You can always have a good day in the woods, no matter what the animals do.
  5. Never give up – Everyone has a time they need to leave the woods but realize success can come even at the last minute you are out there.

Listen to the episode for more!

Show Notes:

Everyone wants to take a buck with big antlers, but why? On this episode I talk about why the quest solely for big antlers is folly, while being honest about the nature of whitetail deer and what really makes a mature buck a true trophy.

In many ways antlers do not matter at all.

  • The hunt matters.
  • The skill, effort, and planning of the hunter matters.
  • Matching wits against wary quarry on its home turf matters.
  • Having fun matters.
  • For many the meat matters.
  • And taking a trophy that means something to you matters.

However there are reasons why the antlers do matter.

  • Mature bucks (relative to your area) are the most experienced and strongest deer in the woods.
  • These bucks are the hardest to find, hardest to get a glimpse of in daylight, and hardest to kill.
  • Taking mature bucks with any consistency takes a lot of skill, patience, woodsmanship, and planning.
  • Mature bucks usually have bigger antlers.
  • These antlers (no matter how big) are a trophy that represents the accomplishment of the hunter.

The importance of antlers rests solely with the hunter.

  • Antler size is relative to the area. In some areas a 3 year old buck is a mature deer. In other place a mature whitetail is 5 or 6 years old or older.
  • In some states a moderate 8 point is the king of the forest. In other states, hunters pass on large 8 points all day long looking for something more impressive.
  • When you know your area, you know when a deer is a personal accomplishment to you and that deer means something to you.
  • If you chase the approval of others you will always be empty and without joy.
  • Even a 2 point spike can be a trophy, if it is a trophy to you.
  • Antlers are more than just bone, they mean something, if they mean something to you.
  • We get into all kinds of trouble when we try to make antlers mean something to someone else. 

Listen to the episode for more.

 

Show Notes:

While prevailing wisdom says sitting in trees or on the ground is the most effective way to hunt whitetails, it is certainly not the only effective way to hunt. On this episode I talk about the strategies and ideal circumstances that can help make still hunting an effective tool in your deer hunting toolbox.

There are several situations when still hunting is the best way for you to hunt, such as:

  • When there are no trees or good locations for blinds.
  • You are exploring new territory.
  • You just hate sitting to hunt.
  • You get tired of sitting.
  • You get cold, sore, hungry or impatient sitting.
  • You are moving from a morning hunting area to an evening area.
  • It’s fun. Even if your chances of success are a little lower, what good is a miserable hunt with better odds?

To maximize your chances of success still hunting you should:

  • Always walk into the wind, either directly or at an angle.
  • Be as quiet as possible. You do not need to be 100% silent, but you cannot make more noise than a deer walking.
  • Always be ready. Always have your weapon in your hand so you can shoulder it and fire without delay, movement, or noise.

Listen to the episode for more.

 

Show Notes:

Hunters should be able to focus on hunting without needing a graduate degree in thermodynamics, but if you want quality gear that performs under icy conditions you need to know the basics of how different insulations work and what is on the market. On this episode I talk about the major types of natural and synthetic insulation used in hunting gear so you can make informed decisions when considering what gear to buy and use.

Types of Insulation & Insulating Materials:

  1. Cotton – The worst material for cold weather hunting gear hands down. It is only warm until it gets wet, then it drains the warmth out of you.
  2. Wool – Very warm, preforms well when wet, but you need a lot of it for outer layers. Merino wool is revered as the best for socks and base layers.
  3. Down – The gold standard by which all insulation is measured by. Warm enough to keep a goose alive flying at 3,000 feet at 50 MPH when it is 20 degrees outside. And thin and light enough to still enable a bird to fly 1,000 miles in a single day. But it is not very warm if it gets wet.
  4. Treated Down –  Chemically treated goose down designed to keep the insulation from getting wet to improve warmth in moist conditions.
  5. Fleece – Specially knit polyester that is good at keeping wind out and great at trapping heat in while wicking away moister. Makes a great mid layer and liner for an outer layer.
  6. Polyester Fill – A no frills and no special brand generic inter-garment insulation that helps keeps you warm and dry.
  7. Thermolite – Slightly more frills and fancier branding than Polyester Fill. Geared at providing lightweight insulation.
  8. Primaloft – Essentially a synthetic goose down developed for the military, designed to be as warm as down but also retain its insulating properties when wet.
  9. Thinsulate – Another down alternative, this insulation is best known for its thin fibers and thus thinner overall profile making it ideal for many specialty applications ranging from pants to gloves.
  10. Cocona – A science heavy synthetic insulator that focuses around helping maintain an ideal core temperature. If you are cold it helps you warm up, if you are hot it helps you cool down.

Most synthetic insulations are geared to help deal with moisture and retain much of their warmth when wet. But each has its strengths. It is hard if not impossible to definitively say which synthetic insulation is warmest. It more so depends on the application, the amount used, and all the other factors that go into garment construction.

Listen to the episode to learn more about each type of insulation and what types activities they are best used for.

Here is my episode I referenced about hunting bibs that provides some of the back story and why I found a need to start learning about these things.