Top Five Podcast Episodes by Whitetail Guru Fans

These are the top five most listened to podcast episodes by Whitetail Guru fans. In fact, it is hard to argue with the statistics. These are some great episodes and conversations with fellow hunters and biologists that you do not want to miss. As we draw closer to deer season you may want to listen again and see if there is a nugget you may have missed the first go-round. Either way we hope you enjoy!

5. #45: Tagged Out! Two Late Season November Bucks.

This episode highlights Nathan’s quick 2019 season where he tagged out on two nice bucks before the end of November. Both Georgia bucks, Nathan walks through step by step how he put the pieces together to harvest a five-and-a-half and three-and-a-half year-old buck.

4. #42: : Public Land Bear Hunting, Plans for the Rut and Mentoring New Hunters

This episode lays out Nathan and Daniel’s plan to make a DIY trip to north Georgia for the fall bear season. This is Nathan’s first go at a Georgia bear, and the two map out possibilities and plans. Likewise, they dive into the importance of bringing someone else alongside and teaching them the basics of hunting.

3. #41: Chronic Wasting Disease and Hemorrhagic Disease with Kip Adams

We cannot encourage this interview with Kip Adams enough. He details the detriment of deer diseases and how they can quickly become an issue if we as hunters do not do our part. What was once a western United States problem is now a problem for all deer hunters.

2. #39: Public Land Whitetail Deer Research with Gino D’Angelo

Gino D’Angelo gives insightful data on the research he and his team is conducting in the southern Appalachia region. Deer densities are light and numbers are not increasing anytime soon. He goes over his research and what needs to be done in order for the future success of deer in this part of the United States.

1. #47: Bear Biology and Behavior with State Project Leader Adam Hammond

Bear hunting is quickly becoming a fan favorite, and hunters realize there are several opportunities within their state or the state next door. Biologist Adam Hammond has years of experience with bears and shares valuable information about black bear behavior in the South.

We hope you enjoy these episodes as they will only be available for a limited time. If you would like to hear more episode please consider supporting by clicking the link below.

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[Video] 2019 Georgia Deer Hunting Season: 5 1/2-Year Old Buck Falls

Here’s the story of the three journey of a buck I call “Car-Jacker.”

2019 Georgia Deer Hunting Vlog: I catch up with a 5 1/2-year old known as “Car-Jacker.”

This story started at least three years ago when this buck showed up on my trail camera looking a little gimpy. After watching him over the years I knew he was a resilient animal. After seeing him for the first time on the small 10-acre parcel I hunt I dropped for a conclusion to the story.

This buck had a broken leg which undoubtedly affected his antlers in 2017 (see video). Additionally, he had a sore on his leg which made it seem like he drug his leg whenever he walked. He also had a split ear and a bare spot on the back of his heel. This buck was truly a warrior. I’m thankful I got to punch my tag on him. Through jawbone analysis we aged him at 5 1/2-years old. He had 6-inch bases and 10 scoreable points.

This is the three year journey of “Car-Jacker.”

 

Show Notes: 

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Whitetail Guru Hunting Podcast #43: Pre-Rut Recap and Rut Activity Update

On this podcast mini-sode I break down my pre-rut hunts as well as my rut hunts over the last few weeks. This is a short segment detailing what I’ve been seeing. Though it may not necessarily be the same in your region hopefully some of these ideas will make something click for you as the hunter to have success this season.

We encourage you to listen to the podcast by clicking the link below. If you like the podcast please also take time to subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes by clicking the link below. These positive reviews and subscriptions help us more than you know.

Whitetail Guru Hunting Podcast

iTunes link: Episode #43

https://soundcloud.com/john-holcomb-99649240/whitetail-guru-hunting-podcast-episode-43-rut-update

In this episode I discuss:

    • Pre-Rut Recap
    • Weather fronts
    • Lock-down phase
    • North Georgia rut hunt
    • Buck movement
    • Time in the stand
    • Free turkey

Show Notes: 

Five Do’s And Don’ts Before Deer Season

These five do’s and don’ts before deer season will put you on the track to success this fall.

Summer can be very busy, but summertime can also be very productive if you set your mind to it. The months of June, July and August are the three months every hunter should be thinking about October, November and December and for some even September. Here are five do’s and don’ts of summer that will help you identify what needs to be accomplished before the season opener.

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Do: Check all your gear

This always comes back to bite me every year, because there’s that one item I didn’t think about replacing or buying a new one before the season opened, and I find myself scrambling for the funds to purchase it after I’ve already purchased deer stands, arrows, broadheads, food plot blend, etc. Whether it’s bug spray, new socks or a scent eliminator be sure to check every item before the season begins. Then, check one more time and you won’t regret it.

Do: Spend time with the family

I can’t stress this enough. Don’t spend all summer at your hunting property. Pick a day or two to get things done and don’t go back until September unless you have to. You are going to be gone all of October and November, and the best thing you can do for your family over the summer is give them the time they deserve, especially if you’re taking a week or two for your rut vacation.

Don’t: Give too much credence to summer scouting

Bucks with velvet act a lot different after they rub their velvet clean off. They shift their core areas, they break out of their bachelor groups and some will hardly move anymore during the daylight hours. The average hunter cannot form too much of a game plan in July or August of where to hunt the hit-list buck because when the velvet comes off that buck’s testosterone level increases, and he essentially becomes a new man. If you’re using trail cameras take note of the pictures your getting but don’t get too excited just yet.

Do: Clean out the freezer

Unless you have four or five deep freezers it’s time to start cooking burgers, grilling steaks and marinating back strap. After you harvest your first deer you’re going to need room in the freezer. This will also be a good excuse not to go out to eat, in turn, saving you money for more important items like arrows and new camouflage before the season.

IMG_8540
Using a water hole can be a deadly setup, especially during the early season when it’s hot and there has been little rain.

Don’t: Get behind on preparation

This is huge. When archery season begins you don’t want to find yourself playing catch up. Shoot your bow, set up your tree stands, check your release, set up your blind and the list goes on and on. I’ve found out over the years that the more prepared I am the more success I have in the deer woods. Waterholes, like the one shown above can be deadly. Make sure to freshen up the water as often as possible so the deer won’t be harmed by bacteria growing in the heat.

The more scouting I do beforehand the better my odds when I’m making a move on that big, mature buck. If I get my food plot planted, fertilized and watered with enough time the better chance I have of drawing deer within shooting range.

Like what you see here? You can read more awesome hunting articles by Nathan Unger at the Bulldawg Outdoors blog. Follow him on Twitter @Bulldawgoutdoor, Instagram @Bulldawgoutdoors and subscribe on YouTube @Bulldawgoutdoors.

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Shed Hunting: Where To Find Them

By Nathan Unger

It’s that time of the year again when bucks begin to drop there antlers and hunting season kicks back in! Not with a bow or a rifle but with your eyes, friends and maybe even a dog! Yes, it’s shed hunting season and not the kind that houses your lawn mower in the backyard. The kind where you cover miles of ground maybe just to find one or two pieces of bone. The reality is you can increase the possibility of finding more sheds in a smaller amount of time if you focus on these high percentage areas instead of aimlessly wondering through the woods. Here are a few to get you started!

1.) Bedding Areas

This is probably the location that even the amateur shed hunter is familiar with because you want to, with any location, find where bucks are spending most of their time. Bucks are traveling the minimum they have to in order to survive the harsh conditions of winter. Many times they’re going straight from their bed room to a food source. This is why if you can find the bedding area then there is a pretty good chance you will find antlers if they have already dropped. This leads me to our next location.

2.) Food Sources

This is arguably the second best place to search when looking for sheds because this is where bucks are going to frequent. Why? Because a buck has to eat to survive. Often times you will be able to see white bone sticking up among the food unless of course it has snowed you’ll probably have to walk the food plot. This is when training your dog comes in handy. Between the two of you (and a dog’s nose probably counts as two) you will be able to cover a lot more ground in a shorter time span.

Shed

3.) Deer Highways

This is quintessential just as much as the other two because how do bucks get between a bedding area and food source? Via the highways they travel. This is a great place to look because bucks will rub against trees or shrubs while they are traveling which can jar the antlers loose, or even when they duck below limbs it might be ample movement to lose the left or right side. You should especially be on the look out for rough terrain such as a gully, ravine or stream crossing. Anything that might force the deer to add extra movement could be just enough for that bone to come loose!

4.) Fence Crossings

Last but certainly not least are fence crossings. Anytime a deer attempts to jump over a fence or duck below a fence is perfect for finding sheds. The jump can jar sheds lose as well as barbed wire that catches the antlers when a deer tries to go underneath. If the deer have lost their antlers towards the end of winter, and you know where a fence is, there’s a high percentage chance you will find some bone. As long as the squirrels or neighbors haven’t beaten you to it!

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Big Bucks: A Logical Approach

By Caleb Unger:

If you are a deer hunter like me (if you are reading this article, there’s a good chance that you are), the ultimate goal is to bag the “biggon” or take down “big brown,” otherwise known as shooting the giant bruiser buck that is on the property you are hunting. To accomplish such a gratifying endeavor, it is quite logical in the way we hunters must prepare for and pursue these beasts that can so easily evade the carefree attitudes that many hunters possess. Notice I said logical, not easy. As with the majority of impressive and satisfying accomplishments in this short journey of life,  perseverance and patience pay off in the pursuit of trophy deer. By keeping a level head throughout the process of this daunting adventure, it becomes a reality to bag and appreciate the giant trophies that lurk and thrive in their natural habitat.

Pre-Game Preparation

Championship fourth quarter and you are down by twenty making no progress. The Coach says, “keep the same players in and run the same play we have been running with the same defense that hasn’t been working all night. After all it’s the only thing we know how to do because that’s all we have ever done.” That’s clearly poor preparation for the big task at hand. Though deer hunting is definitely not the same as shooting a basketball or catching a football, they do all require sound preparation to accomplish the most prestigious goals.  And I’m not just talking about sighting in your gun/bow and practicing in every situation you can think of to prepare for that shot (which is extremely necessary and practically impossible as well because it never fails that an animal gets you in an awkward position that you weren’t expecting). I’m talking about putting yourself in a situation/environment in which you can win, in which you can kill that trophy.

Food

Now ponder this thought. What does it take to grow big and strong? A healthy diet, requiring available nutrition and plenty of water. Duh, it’s elementary. Therefore, make sure you are providing such an atmosphere on your property for the deer that inhabit it. That’s really all I have to say about that.

Caleb's Wide-guy
Caleb Unger with his 4 1/2 year old he encountered on one of the few cold days this past 2015 season.

Wait! I promise it’s worth it.

You want a big buck huh? Stop shooting little guys with baskets on their heads that make the occasional deer observer say, “oh good for him; he probably just started deer hunting this year.” That’s cute; it really is. But really?? Stop complaining that you can’t kill a big buck when you’re not even patient enough to pass up the occasional 100 inch eight point that walks in front of you. You’re better than that. It’s logical, and you know it. Deer cannot grow to gigantic standards when they are being taken out within their first years of living on this earth. Let him grow and age so as the years go on and you see him on the camera or in the woods, you appreciate him more and more for what he is, enjoying your hunt even more than before. Then, when you shoot a big buck (which there will be more of them), that same deer hunting enthusiast will say, “wow, he must be a skilled hunter. Look at that rack!”

Don’t wait on all of them.

This lesson I had to learn myself over my high school years when I wasn’t thinking nearly as logically as I do now when it comes to deer hunting. Bucks like does, just like men like women. And like men, big bucks love to pursue their women. However, if there are does everywhere and so numerous, then that big buck does not have to risk much or travel far or in the open to go find a doe, especially if he is the dominant guy in the area. Therefore, what is the logical answer to this? Shoot does. I’m not saying go on a rampage and shoot every doe you see. If you hunt enough and use a trail cam, you have a decent idea of the population of deer you are hunting, so don’t be afraid to take a couple nice-sized does to feed your family or hungry people other than yourself. This also helps prevent overpopulation and malnutrition, as it keeps the deer population just right so that everybody has enough to eat on your property. Just don’t shoot a doe that will leave a small Bambi who is right next to her helpless, not knowing how to survive. You have a brain; make the right judgement call. However, like I said before, don’t sway to the other extreme and kill every doe you see because there also needs to be a future population of deer, and she is in charge of giving birth to it.

Where do you hunt?

Obviously, you cannot kill a big deer without hunting where the big deer is. So find out where he is traveling, when he is traveling, and who he is hanging out with.

Put these logical tactics into place, and you will find yourself with a great recipe for successfully hunting a mature whitetail!

Good luck and keep hunting!

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Hunting: It’s About The Experience

By Nathan Unger

As I’m writing this I’m driving to my home state of Virginia for one last shot at a mature buck that has filled my dreams since January. The season is almost over and I’m not sure where it even went! So in an event to reflect on this past season, instead of giving out some pointers, I wanted to reminisce on what this year has meant to me and talk about some of the tokens I’ve gleaned from the experiences.

This has been one of those years where the experience has had to be more important than the kill. This is mainly because, thus far, I’ve struck out on a mature buck.   I’ve been in the woods 25-30 times this season which is pretty good considering I work a full time job. However, with limited time and fluctuating temperatures, I’ve had one heck of a time trying to match up the perfect conditions, and the few times I did, I still didn’t have any luck at a mature buck.

However, looking back on the season, I have constantly asked myself one question.

“Did I do everything possible to put myself in a position to succeed?”

My answer to that question, quite simply, would be, “No.”

Due to unusually warm southern temperatures the deer have been suppressed to nocturnal movement much of the season.  The two opportunities I had were difficult and required extreme patience which is my first token I took from this season.

1.) You can never have too much patience while hunting

I was hunting the weekend before Thanksgiving in northern North Carolina which during that time of year, during the rut, I typically see several deer. This specific day I hadn’t seen any. My first mistake was assuming that I wouldn’t see anything just because I hadn’t seen anything the first two hours in the stand.

I knew better than this.

At 9:30 a.m. after three hours in the stand I decided to adjust my swivel seat in our box blind. Low and behold I didn’t get a chance to spray some WD40 on it and it squeaked as I rotated. Next thing I know something behind me less than five yards away jumped up out of the thicket and pranced off. As I turned around trying to get a peek at what it was I caught a glimpse of white bone bouncing through the pine trees which leads to my second token I took from this season.

2.) Preparation leads to success

Had I either not moved or properly fixed my seat beforehand I would have had a nice mature 10 pointer at less than five yards. As I sat there mentally beating myself up for squabbling the opportunity, within minutes I heard more movement. After seconds of looking to see what the noise was, there was another mature buck trotting in the thicket behind me having no idea I was even there. My Horton crossbow was still sitting next to me because I never would have thought a second mature buck would have followed the first one I spooked. Clearly I was wrong!

3.) You HAVE to maintain mental toughness

Deer hunting, especially archery hunting, can be one of the most mentally taxing endeavors a hunter can experience while he or she is in the field. As I continue to gain experience bow hunting I never stop learning this. As many of you know, and many of you will learn, you will hunt often times without shooting anything, and sometimes you may not even see anything. This has discouraged me all season, but until you can learn these valuable lessons you can never truly enjoy the experience of being outdoors. As I’m writing this a young spike buck walked 30 yards from me and, for me, just seeing that young deer makes my hunt worth every hour even if I don’t shoot anything.

All this to say, don’t give up, don’t be discouraged, enjoy the experience and keep hunting!

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Hunting Bad Weather Conditions: Is It Worth The Trouble?

By Nathan Unger:

First of all I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope that you have had valuable family time as well as some rest and relaxation.

Any opportunity you get to hunt a torrential downpour or a blizzard you should. I’m not advocating hunting in a tornado or lighting storm, but just enough nasty weather to use it to your advantage. Here’s why.

  • Rain eliminates scent

Anytime it’s raining you probably have a distinct advantage against a deer’s nose. The rain seems to wash away any scent you may leave behind, and personally, I have seen a lot of deer movement during the rain both in mild and cold conditions. The only time I have not seen much movement is during warm, rainy days, however that can be said for most warm days. In addition, I believe immediately after it rains is a prime time because deer will be eager to eat the moist vegetation.

  • Snow is great!

Okay, maybe not for you, but there is nothing some hand warmers and several layers of clothes can’t fix. The cold temperatures that come with snow are ideal because deer have to keep and maintain body warmth during these harsh temperatures which inevitably leads them to search for food. These cold temperatures also produce day time movement because the deer have to be on their feet so often in order to survive which plays right into the hands of hunters. During these cold temps be sure to hunt around high calories food sources such as corn that deer prefer in the dead of winter.

  • Wind

It’s exactly that – wind. It can be advantageous or it can really kill a hunt. I’m not really talking about seven to ten mile an hour winds. I’m more so talking about in the 20-30 range. Strong winds can dampen noise, and if you use the wind correctly deer will have to get down wind of you to smell you which hopefully will offer you a shot which is why it is important to have a stand placement downwind of the deer. However, we’ve all been busted by a deer’s nose before, so I don’t really need to explain what happens if a deer catches your wind, but in short you might as well find a new location to hunt. This is really up to you to decide whether you like hunting strong winds. I’ve heard experts say that they love hunting strong wind conditions, but I’ve also known deer to bed down and wait the strong winds out. I’m still personally trying to learn more about this myself.

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Nathan Unger’s doe he took during a hard rain in 2014
IMG_5047
Caleb Unger’s 4 1/2 year old he shot in rain storm in 2014
So comment below, and I would like to get your thoughts on these and which you like to hunt and the ones you don’t! Good luck and keep hunting!

Keep scouting and good hunting!

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Three Things To Prepare For Next Deer Season

By Nathan Unger

If you have already discounted the remainder of your hunting season, or if you are part of the group that was fortunate enough to tag out then you can begin to implement these practical tactics. This will help make you even more prepared and successful next season.

As hunters, a lot of times after we meet our personal quota of deer for the year and put meat in the freezer we tend to call it quits for the most part and enjoy the remainder of the winter season. My encouragement to you -keep hunting!

One of the most valuable things you can do for the next season is scout how the deer are behaving now in order to be one step ahead of them next year. Hear are a few things you can begin to focus on:

1.) Find the bedding areas

This will help tremendously for stand placements in the fall when you are trying to key in on that big buck. Likewise, if you find where does are bedding this will be where you need to set up during the rut to find those bucks that are cruising through looking for the hot does. If you find these beds you will also be able to find these bucks in the late season when they become a lot less active and merely move to eat and then head back to bed. This is pertinent because after the rut a lot of big bucks become invisible and revert to being nocturnal.

2.) Find the relevant food sources

If you are scouting right now for where deer are cruising to eat, this may not be as helpful in the fall months next year. During the winter months deer are eating higher calorie foods such as corn in order to stay warm whereas in the falls months they might be targeting clover fields and such. If you can pick out these foods specific to your hunting property and specific to the weather you will increase your chances of targeting that big buck you have been after.

3.) Find the travel routes

This point does not need to be overlooked. If weather doesn’t go your way and deer aren’t showing up where they typically do these routes will, however, give you an idea of where they are traveling. Instead of setting up on a field or food plot you may have to set up back in the woods at a pinch point or saddle where these deer are traveling to the fields and plots. Sometimes if these deer have been over educated during the season they will wait in almost a holding pattern until cover of darkness. If you can locate these spots it will not only help you in the late season, but it will also give you a one-up for next season on those early season bucks.

Keep scouting and good hunting!

 

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Deer Management And Why I Do It

By Nathan Unger

One thing I believe all or most hunters can agree with is that the deer population has to be managed in some way in order for our sport and livelihood to survive through the next century. However, not everybody practices management in the same fashion. So what I want to do in this article is provide some ideas of what has worked for me the last several years at the property I hunt now and provide some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Growing up, shooting a buck was my only goal. It didn’t matter how big, how many points or how old it was I just wanted my first buck. At the time, two of my brothers were collectively aiming for the same goal. So what happened? All three of us shot our first buck the next two seasons. Two seven pointers and a spike buck.

My first buck (December 2012)
My first buck
(December 2012)

Season three (at this specific property) roles around in 2012 after we shot these bucks, and we wanted what any hunter wanted. To shoot a bigger buck. The problem was we didn’t see any, but little did we know the impact of shooting three  1 1/2- 2 1/2 year-old bucks the preceding two seasons was going to have on the age of the males in our herd. The next two years we made a pact (my dad, brothers and I) that we wouldn’t shoot any bucks that we didn’t want to mount. That way the consequence of our shots would affect our bank accounts, so we wanted to make those mounts count, and we decided if we wanted meat for the freezer we would manage the does in our herd.

That’s exactly what we did!

The following season we began seeing some results of our management. I was hunting towards the end of November in 2013 and was able to take a good 3 1/2 year old buck (picture is on the “Trophy” page).  The next year my brother was able to record his biggest buck to date – a nice 4 1/2 year old in late December. We really started seeing the fruits of our management at the end of the season in 2014  when we captured two 4 1/2 years old bucks on camera. This 2015 season, there are at least three 130″-140″ class deer with the potential to grow even bigger.

I write all this to say that when we started we didn’t look much beyond the current hunting season, and we believed that somehow big bucks would just magically appear out of thin air. After studying big bucks and educating ourselves on deer management we discovered that in order for them to grow you might just have to pass on them when they’re young.

As far as does our concerned, the age-old question posed is – “is it better to shoot older does or younger does?” What I’ve deduced the past several years from articles and other knowledgeable experts is if you want to grow your deer herd shoot younger does, and if you want to thin out your herd shoot older does. This is because older does our able to foster their young during the winter better finding cover and food sources more effectively, and they are able to protect their fawns from predators better than yearling does can.

Now, I understand that not everyone has the ability to hunt multiple times a year or has private property that they can manage overtime, so I get that. I really do. I know some hunters hunt public land that is pressured by other hunters so any deer is a good deer. I’ve been in similar situations before and understand not everyone hunts for trophies, and providing for you and your family is a  higher priority. So don’t think I’m trying to impress this belief that you should only shoot 4 and 5 year old deer.

However, I do think we need to be cognizant of the overall deer herd. We need to educate ourselves and others about this precious resource – about the negative effects of not practicing management, but moreover, educating others on the overwhelming positive effects of quality deer management.

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