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.

 

Show Notes:

When the temperature drops and the wind blows you need to dress for the weather in order to have a comfortable hunt. On this episode I talk about the niche that bibs fill and what features are important for helping you pick out a pair that is right for you this deer season. 

The difference between the best bibs and the worst bibs are two-fold, it is a factor of the construction and materials.

The main elements of bib construction include some or all of the below:

  • Outer finish – This is the texture and ultimately the noisiness of the garment.
  • Outer layer – This provides wind and/or rain resistance.
  • Insultation – This determines how warm the bibs are and what conditions you can expect that warmth to function under.
  • Inner layer – This is the part the touches you and should hold warmth and wick away moisture 

The materials most often used for bibs include:

  • Natural fibers like cotton or wool.
  • Natural or treated goose down.
  • Cheap polyesters, usually with no fancy brand names.
  • Better polyesters like fleece.
  • Fancy synthetic insulation, like Primaloft, Thinsulate, Cocona, etc. 
  • Weather proof membranes like nylon, Gore-Tex, etc.

Cost is mostly a factor of construction and materials. For new hunters I recommend gear with the right construction for your hunting needs while not worrying about the fanciest of materials. This helps you find something that is built for your activity but is still relatively affordable.  

Listen to the episode to hear how these elements work together and find out which are most important for your specific needs.

 

Show Notes:

There are few things that help with whitetail hunting more than getting into a tree, but what can people do if they are uncomfortable with heights? On this episode I talk about multiple deer hunting strategies and alternatives for people who are afraid of heights. 

Here are four options for people who are afraid of heights:

  1. Double up on safety and consciously work on pushing through your fear. (It worked for me.)
  2. Try a fully enclosed tree stand or elevated blind setup.
  3. Scout for high hillsides that have fallen trees where you can hide behind the overturned root balls.
  4. Work on playing the wind and brushing in ground blinds to get the most possible out of ground hunting. 

Listen to the episode to hear about how you can implement each of these strategies and the pros and cons for each. 

Show Notes:

Getting into a tree may be the single biggest thing you can do to improve your chances of success hunting whitetails, but how high do you need to go? On this episode I talk about the factors of how altitude effects deer hunting and what the optimal height is. 

Take Aways

  • A deer’s world is on the ground: their food, cover, bedding, friends, lovers, predators and just about everything else exists between 0-5 feet off the ground.
  • The trees are home to birds, squirrels, and leaves. Things that are of little interest to whitetails. 
  • Deer can and do look up. But they rarely have a reason to unless they hear something or catch a glimpse of movement.
  • Altitude even helps the scent equation because it gets our smell off the ground so it is less pronounced. 
  • Terrain does effect how high you should climb but only to a minimal degree.
  • The higher you go the more negative effects begin to stack up, such as:
    • Poorer shot angles with harder to hit vital areas.
    • Further from the deer, which impacts archery most.
    • More branches and obstacles can get in between you and your target.
    • The higher you climb, the more time and energy is spent climbing.
    • Piecing together high climbing systems increases the risk of an accident. 

     

Show Notes:

There is no doubt that ATVs can make deer hunting more convenient, but do they have a negative effect on deer? On this episode I talk about the impact of all-terrain-vehicle use on deer hunting and when the best time to use off road vehicles is. 

Pros:

  • ATVs are a great way to get deep into the woods quickly.
  • ATV’s can be enable hunters with physical disabilities/limitations to overcome barriers to whitetail hunting.
  • ATVs are an amazing asset to help recover game from the woods.
  • ATVs can help you get lots of gear deep into the woods with ease.
  • ATVs can be used in certain scenarios with no impact on deer.

Cons:

  • ATVs make a lot of noise.
  • ATVs make vehicle noises in places that deer are not used to them.
  • ATVs can spook deer, particularly mature bucks.
  • ATV use can contribute to lazy hunting habits and poor woodsmanship over time. 
  • ATVs provide a false sense of security because the deer can flee long before you are close enough to ever see them.

Show Notes:

The truth is, there is a best day of the year for whitetail deer hunting. But that day is not the same every year. On this episode I give you the tools to help you discern the best day of the  year to hunt whitetails in your area.

Take Aways

  • The rut happens at the same exact time every year, no matter what.
  • The moon does not determine the rut, the days getting shorter does.
  • The moon can play a small part, but the weather plays a much larger part.
  • Bucks are going to breed does every day and night during the peak of the rut. But there are days where they will move more during the daylight.
  • Here is Pennsylvania’s data on when does breed during the peak rut. I misspoke on the show, it is based on 6,000 does studied
  • The effect of weather and temperature is relative. There is no magic temperature or conditions. It is all about how the weather is compared to how it has been.
  • Listen to the episode to find out the best day of the  year for you to hunt deer.

Show Notes:

Many people discount the early season when it comes to hunting whitetail deer, but that can be a big mistake. On this episode I talk about the 5 big strategies that helped me land my early season buck and how you can find great success long before the rut draws close.

The Story

So I took the largest buck I’ve harvested so far. Thanks be to God! This deer was part of a two year long journey on the small property I am blessed to be able to hunt.

I spent dozens of days cutting trails, installing habitat improvements, planting 1/10th of an acre of clover with no more equipment than a weed wacker, and setting up stands and trail cameras to hunt and monitor the most likely locations for deer movement.

I spent even more time learning, studying, planning, plotting, and just thinking about the above journey. Before this year I had never seen or had a trail camera photo of a buck on this property during the hunting season. That is 5 straight years with not a single buck sighting or photo during the season!

This year I had identified and named somewhere around 6 bucks that were legal, some much larger than this one, and they are around fairly regularly. I’ve had over 500% more trail camera images of deer this year vs last year, from the same camera, in the same spot, over the same dates (and counting!)

It has been a great adventure in learning about deer, deer habitat, how to create predictable deer movement patterns, how to attract and hold more deer with minimal dollar investment, and of course how to hunt deer more effectively.

More important than all of that, it has been fun! And today I was able to reap some of the fruit of all that work.

The hunt today was simple. I got to the blind around 3:45pm. Watched some fawns graze and run away, and then sat uneventfully for two more hours. At 5:45 I saw a head with antlers appear straight ahead of me, slowly exiting the woods into the clover patch 30 yards away. Within two seconds I know it was a keeper, I drew my bow and fired without hesitation, second thought, or even a second look at the antlers. The shot was true. And my adrenaline kicked in fast.

It was my 4th hunt of the season, and the first legal buck that came within range. Though I could have taken many does, (and probably should have.) This deer was actually coming from semi down wind of me, which is not supposed to happen. So I was not watching that part of field as intently as others. I took great precautions to control scent, and they seemed to have made a difference.

It was a great moment. I wish it had been in the morning when I prefer to hunt so I could have savored it longer without wrestling with the fleeting daylight. But the bucks have been moving here almost exclusively in the evening during this part of the season, so I had to adapt my style some. That is another thing I learned, and it payed off.

I am so thankful to everyone who has had a part in helping me along in my hunting adventures, big or small, such as my family, friends, and coworkers. I especially want to thank my in-laws who have given me great latitude to work on their property with the intention of improving the hunting conditions. Not even I thought my work would have helped this much.

And I am most thankful to God, who set this beautiful creation in order for us to see, experience, and enjoy. He has given me the ability, the health, the strength and the opportunity to do all these things.

Show Notes:

Every year October comes and many hunters begrudgingly suffer poor hunt after poor hunt at the hands of the mysterious “October lull”. On this episode I  shine some light on the mystery  and provide some strategic insight to help you be successful all month long.

Facts:

  • The October lull is a thing.
  • It is NOT what most hunters claim it to be.
  • It is 100% understandable and controllable.
  • Three big things happen in October that impact whitetail deer habits and patterns.
    • Lots of hunters are going into the woods.
    • There is a seasonal habitat shift.
    • Deer begin to get their winter coats.
  • You can have great hunts in October.
  • Even still, October may not be the month you want to focus all of your energies.
  • Listen to the episode to hear the full story.

Show Notes:

The question comes up again and again every whitetail deer hunting season, you saw a doe with fawns and are not sure if you should take a shot. Or worse, you did harvest the doe and then noticed the fawns, will they survive the winter? On this episode I answer this questions with more than just opinions and feelings, I dig down to the real facts.

Facts:

  • Almost all fawns are completely weened by September 1st.
  • Bear cubs will not usually survive the winter without their mother because bears are primarily predators.
  • Deer fawns do not rely on their mother to hunt or teach them hunting strategy.
  • Fawns are fully equipped to join the heard by the end of August.
  • Fawns will be easily assimilated into the heard upon loosing their mother, if they haven’t been already.
  • Does may still be wet in late December, but that does NOT mean fawns are dependent on them.
  • The game commission times the seasons to make sure fawns are not still dependent on their mothers.
  • It is the mother deer that kick their sons out of the heard once they are old enough to breed. They do not remain a family unit for long.