WHITETAIL GURU HUNTING PODCAST #16: DEERLAB WITH JON LIVINGSTON

In this episode we dive into the advantages of using DeerLab and how it will help narrow down deer patterns for hunters.

Today on the podcast I talk with Jon Livingston, co-founder of DeerLab. DeerLab is cutting edge technology that conglomerates your trail camera photos and shoots out relevant data to give the hunter a broader picture of deer patterns. DeerLab is used for overall populations and/or tracking mature bucks. In this episode we discuss the advantages that DeerLab has to offer.

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.

iTunes link: Episode #16

In this episode we discuss:

  • Everything DeerLab
  • It’s inception
  • Advantages for hunters
  • Facial recognition
  • The different uses for DeerLab
  • Different factors that DeerLab offers
  • Weather, moon and wind factors
  • Co-ops using DeerLab
  • Camera sites and properties
  • And so much more

Show Notes: 

Velvet Is Off, Summer Is Over, Now What?

Now that velvet is off of most whitetails it’s time to start getting serious about hunting mature bucks. Here’s how.

By Nathan Unger

Twitter: @Bulldawgoutdoor
Instagram: @Bulldawgoutdoors

Early season is upon us whitetail enthusiasts, and for the most part bucks have rubbed their velvet clean off revealing hardened antlers that they will carry all fall and winter. However, when bucks shed their velvet it’s almost as if they become a whole different animal to hunt. With that in mind, there is good news and bad news.

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Bad News: Bucks seemingly become harder to pattern.

Bucks, for the most part, are no longer on their bed-to-food-only pattern. While some may keep this pattern exclusively many are preparing for the seeking and chasing phase of the rut. They’re looking for does and doe bedding.

Good News: Bucks break off from their summer bachelor groups.

This, in theory, creates a higher chance for you, the hunter, to get a shot at one. While bucks are not rutting yet their testosterone levels are steadily increasing. If you’re like me, hunting a smaller land parcel, the bucks may have been venturing through every couple of days or even every other week. Now that they are broken off the likelihood of you seeing one could be more frequent as they hopefully travel more often.

Bad News: You probably shouldn’t check trail cameras every week.

The more you go check your camera the higher probability of leaving something behind for that mature buck to smell. Eventually, that buck will pattern you and stay clear whenever he gets the slightest glimpse or whiff of you in the woods.

Good News: You increase your odds by not checking trail cameras

By not checking your camera as frequently you are enhancing your odds of running into a mature buck. Even better, if you have the means to purchase a cellular camera you won’t have to defile the area at all.

Bad News: Mature bucks prove why they are mature.

Mature bucks will start to travel less frequently during the day. Why? There are several reasons. Here are a few:

  • They start to feel pressure from hunters
  • Food sources are changing.
  • Habitat and bedding are altering.

Good News: It’s time to start hunting that mature buck

This is why we as hunters do what we love. This is why we hunt. The chase. The camaraderie. The venison. The chess match. This is what brings us back each and every year.

So good luck and good hunting!

Whitetail Guru is brought to you by these fine partners:

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Why I Slept In Instead of Going Hunting

A lot of times we think the more times we go hunting the better chance we have of killing a big buck. That might not always be the case.

Quality sits far outweigh quantity of sits.

As I mature as a hunter and learn new tips and tricks with experience I’ve come to find out that it is not the quantity of sits in a tree stand that leads to success but the quality of sits.

Oftentimes we think that the more hours we put in the better chance we’ll have of shooting a nice mature buck. When in reality this is not always the case.

If a hunter constantly walks into his tree stand on poor weather conditions or when the wind isn’t right or late in the evening after work he or she increases the odds of educating a mature buck. I recently heard somebody say, “if someone walks into your house you’re going to know they are there.” The same goes for these old bruisers as well.

Another reason I don’t feel guilty for sleeping in is because if you’re like me and you have trail cameras and you’re not getting any pictures of mature bucks during legal shooting hours then don’t think he’s randomly just going to show up under your tree stand when you’re hunting. Am I saying it isn’t possible? Not at all. Crazy things happen. What I’m saying is the majority of mature bucks are going to change their pattern especially in the early season when they are in their food-to-bed routines.

quality deer hunting sits

Additionally, because of the change in food sources during the early season, if you’re not getting pictures at all of those mature bucks that you were getting during the summer it’s probably because they have switched food sources. The key is finding out what that new favored food source is.

A similar factor that has been dictating deer movement in my home state of Georgia is the lack of rain. We haven’t had rain in over a month at least, and the deer are sticking close to where the water sources are. Be sure to plan your sits around a water source during these times of drought because most of these mature bucks will be bedding during the day, going straight to food and water and directly back to their beds. If you are not hunting somewhere in between chances are you’ll never see him.

What if I only have one week to hunt?

My answer to that would be save it for either the rut or late season when the weather is cooler. Unless you have ample camera data where that mature buck is moving during legal shooting hours I wouldn’t even risk using a weeks vacation in the early season. I understand not everyone can go hunting 30-to-40 times a season, so choose wisely the time of year you can take off. I certainly wish I could go more than I do, but I also realize I’m fortunate enough to go more often than a lot of people can. In which case if you only have one week you have to go.

The experience of deer hunting far outweighs not going at all just because the conditions are not perfect. Maximize weather conditions (i.e. wind, rain, temperature, pressure, etc.) the best you can and enjoy the process. It’s better to be out hunting rather than sitting inside and not hunting at all.

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

NEXTHunting Bad Weather Conditions: Is It Worth The Trouble?

Using Trail Camera Surveys to Your Advantage

Trail camera surveys are pertinent to your deer hunting success this fall. Here are some ways to maximize your surveys.

By Nathan Unger

Every summer it is important to get an accurate depiction of the amount and the type of deer that are frequenting your piece of property. How do you do that you ask? Trail camera surveys.

Trail camera surveys will help you understand how many does, fawns and bucks are in the area as well as the buck-to-doe ratio for your specific piece of land. However, as the velvet comes off in late summer and testosterone levels increase in bucks their range can tend to shift as they begin to seek out does and different food sources for the fall months.

No matter if the bucks stay or leave, trail camera surveys will give you a good estimate on age structure of bucks as well as individual characteristics of those bucks.

How to begin

trail camera survey

The first thing you obviously need are trail cameras. Be sure they have plenty of battery life, and if you are doing a survey on public land it’s probably a good idea to secure it with a lock to prevent it from being stolen.

Take your preferred choice of attractant and spread it out over an area 10 to 14 days prior to beginning your survey to give deer time to get used to the site. Also be sure to start the survey prior to acorns or any fruits fall from their trees, or else your survey will not be as accurate as it could be.

When you begin collecting data be sure your camera isn’t facing the sun or you’ll get several pictures with nothing on them which makes going through hundreds upon thousands of pictures monotonous.

Maximize your data

You then want to set your camera on field mode or food plot mode to take pictures at multiple intervals not just when deer cross, or you will miss several deer that otherwise wouldn’t be in range. For example, have it take a couple pictures 3 to 5 seconds apart then every 5 to 10 minutes. Obviously, if you want more pictures you will set it to take pictures more often.

This will enable you to pattern any bucks moving during the daylight hours or any deer for that matter. It will also allow you to see how many fawns are being dropped in addition to any does that remain pregnant.

Here is a portion of a survey we took after the season.

These surveys will show you characteristics of deer as well as if they are huntable or whether they’re strictly moving during nighttime hours.

Trail Cameras

I understand that two or three trail cameras is what most people can afford especially with all the other hunting equipment needed for a successful hunt. You don’t want to use all of your hunting budget your wife gives you on trail cameras.

If you are doing a survey over a field or plot and only have two or three, try to strategically place the cameras where you think the deer are entering and leaving the plot. You may have one buck show up on the south side of the field that would have never been caught on a camera placed on the north end.

After 14 days or so, if you’re not satisfied with your pictures move a camera to a different location and begin the survey again.

Be sure to refresh the mineral sites depending on how fast the deer eat it. You want the deer to consistently show up for 14 to 21  days to provide you ample data for your survey.

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NEXT: New to Mineral Stations? This Will Help.

New to Mineral Stations? This Will Help.

If you are looking to make mineral stations this summer, here are some ideas to help.

By Nathan Unger

Mineral stations for your whitetail herd is an essential part of deer growth over the summer months. It is vital during the entire year, but especially during the summer as their calcium-rich antlers are beginning to grow, and those velvet nubs are starting to appear.

For several of you, bucks probably already have 6 to 8 inches of velvet antler visible which is why to maximize their growth, mineral stations need to be started now.

What exactly is a mineral station?

I’m glad you asked. For those of you that are not as familiar with mineral stations, it’s an area set up to provide deer with crucial summer nutrients that will commonly contain blends of nutrients, salt, minerals and natural flavors for antler and bone structure growth. It also provides for healthy fawn sizes at birth. Typically an area where deer frequently travel, but is also not too much in the open.

If a buck feels secure when traveling his corridor to the station, he’ll likely frequent it more often. Especially when the deer are on a food-to-bedding routine this time of year.

velvet bucks

Another way to maximize the mineral your deer receives is to place the mineral on clay-like soil so that it doesn’t absorb into the soil quickly, and the deer can consume it easier. Additionally, it won’t soak into the soil as easily when it rains during those summer or late spring showers.

What if I don’t know what kind?

No big deal. Many, if not all, of your retail stores are going to carry several different kinds, and you’ll just have to choose what kind you think works well and which kinds fall into under budget. Most mineral ‘blocks’ last a longtime depending on the amount of deer visiting it daily. Sometimes they can last 3-4 months.

Granular or mineral bags should be placed out once a month depending on how much it rains, the amount of deer, etc.

I personally like a mineral called Monster Maker Mineral and Attractant by Non Typical Outdoors specifically designed by Dr. Tommy Daniel, hunter and animal nutritionist.

mineral stations

His implementation provides for the best and immediate absorption of the minerals within Monster Maker.

According to Dr. Daniel, “It does not make sense to have your deer consume mineral only to have it pass through the animal with very little being utilized.”

When do I need to start?

The sooner the better. The faster the deer can begin to absorb the nutrients into their body the healthier they’ll become and the more they can maximize their off-season growth.

Another great reason to for mineral stations is that you can place a trail camera over the site and begin to survey how many deer are on your property and what bucks are making your acreage part of their home range.

This will give you a great start on where you think you will need to place your deer stands as well as how many does, if any, you may need to harvest this season. Likewise, you can also measure the maturity of your bucks as the summer comes to an end and the ‘velvet rut’ arrives.

These stations are great because you can begin to survey the overall health of your deer herd.

*Be sure to follow state and county guidelines because not all states allow for minerals or attractants during all parts of the year.

Please subscribe to Bulldawg Outdoors or comment below. Also like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

NEXTThree Things To Prepare For Next Deer Season