[VIDEO] Georgia Turkey Hunt 2020

Turkey season had its ups and downs, but things heated up late April and continued through early May. Nathan was fortunate enough to tag a hot gobbler off the roost. Between Georgia turkey hunting and Virginia turkey hunting the gobbling seemed to be consistent on private lands. Public lands were a different story.

Whitetail Guru Hunting Podcast #45: Tagged Out! Two Late Season November Bucks.

On this podcast episode we break down a four-year quest for a 5 1/2-year old buck I refer to as car-jacker. I also tagged out in late November in less than two weeks. We break down how all this happened and more on this episode!

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 Episode 45

iTunes link: Episode #45

https://soundcloud.com/john-holcomb-99649240/whitetail-guru-hunting-podcast-episode-45-november-bucks

Whitetail Guru Hunting Podcast Episode 45

In this episode we discuss:

    • Rut hunting updates
    • Two Successful Buck Hunts
    • A 5 1/2-year old buck
    • North Georgia buck
    • Late season tactics
    • Trail Camera Tactics
    • Hunting food sources

Show Notes: 

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Whitetail Guru Hunting Podcast #44: (Part 2) Rut Update, Lockdown, Late Season Tactics

Learn how to approach the late season with these tactics we discuss.

On this podcast mini-sode we break down our rut hunts as well as my late season tactics that we’ll implement over the next few weeks. This is a short segment detailing with what we’ve been seeing in the woods. 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.

iTunes link: Episode #44

Whitetail Guru Hunting Podcast Episode 44

https://soundcloud.com/john-holcomb-99649240/whitetail-guru-hunting-podcast-episode-44-late-season-tactics

In this episode we discuss:

    • Rut hunting updates
    • Weather fronts
    • Lock-down phase
    • Late season tactics
    • Buck movement
    • Time in the stand
    • Hunting food sources
    • Hunting edges and transitions

Show Notes: 

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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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Analyzing Terrain Features on Small Properties

Using terrain features is key on small properties. Knowing how mature bucks are moving will increase your odds of harvesting a mature buck.

By Nathan Unger

Twitter: @Bulldawgoutdoor
Instagram: @Bulldawgoutdoors

Small properties might be some of the most overlooked gems in the deer hunting world. While it’s difficult to keep and sustain mature bucks on the property for any amount of time it can be favorable to pattern them as their passing through.

That being said an ideal parcel will have bedding areas nearby that keep the deer close. Locating these and setting up accordingly could pay big dividends.

Keeping in that in mind, a hunter needs to identify the terrain features that sprinkle the landscape. Okay, so how do we do that?

1.) Scout from an observation stand

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You might have to get creative with this one depending on the layout of your property. Take ample time to observe how the deer utilize the contours of the land to get from point A to point B. One of the small parcels I hunt took me nearly three years to figure out how the deer moved throughout it. Now, that might have been one year too long. I didn’t rigorously hunt this property the first year I had permission to hunt.

This leads me to my next point.

2.) Only hunt optimal conditions

I cannot stress this enough. If you hunt too much or when the wind isn’t in your favor it could mess up your whole season. Deer notice when someone is in their bedroom or trekking through their territory. The last thing you want is to force your only one or two mature bucks to go nocturnal or to shift their core areas.

3.) Enable good entrance and exit routes

Entering and exiting your stand is of the utmost importance. I’m still learning this. If you bump deer going into your stand good luck trying to make amends the rest of the season. Even worse if a mature buck sees AND smells your presence you might as well do one of two things. Hunt only the rut or find a different hunting property. Access is that important and might be the difference in a successful or unsuccessful season.

4.) Identify prime treestand sites

Because you’re hunting a small parcel your stand sites are limited. You have to consider the aforementioned access routes and wind tendencies. Placing a stand in the correct spot will change the game on small acreage. Try to get as a high as possible in your set, yet still staying safe. You might have to go up a hill or climb 5 to 10 more feet vertically. This will give you a better chance of getting above any air current that might be swirling where you are hunting.

Here’s the kicker. A majority of the time in order to be successful on small parcels all of these previously mentioned points must be put into action.

Good luck and good hunting!

Whitetail Guru is brought to you by:

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Receive 10% off your purchase when you use promo code “GURU10” at checkout.

 

Summer Prep: Poor Man’s Plot, Trail Cameras and Mineral Sites.

Have you started your food plot regiment yet? If not here’s how you can create a food plot on a minimum budget.

Have you started preparing for fall hunting season yet? Here’s how you can create a poor man’s food plot on a small budget.

Yes, it’s time already to begin your summer preparation for the fall whitetail season. Food plots, trail camera surveys and mineral sites are just a few items on the list that will lead to a higher success rate when hunting this fall.

It seems no matter how hard I try to stay ahead of the game there’s always something I should have done already to prepare for next season. Deer hunting can definitely be a year-round process even if you don’t work in the industry for a living.

In this webisode we’ll show you how we are preparing our ‘poor man’s’ plot by spraying the weeds and privet to create more room for our food plot to grow and to cut down on the invasive species.

If you haven’t already you can subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with what we’re doing during the off season as well as watch videos from turkey season.

We finished spraying the weeds and privet with a weed killer we bought from our local hardware store. You might also be wondering why I am wearing goggles. Especially when it’s windy, the spray can irritate your eyes, so be sure to be equipped with the proper safety precautions.

Additionally, ticks are bad this time of year. Make sure to spray down with bug spray to prevent ticks and tick bites as this could later hamper your hunting season.

Be sure to stay tuned as we check back in a couple of weeks to begin tilling and planting for the summer and/or fall.

Whitetail Guru is brought to you by:

Mangle Broadheads

Receive 10% off your purchase when you use promo code “GURU10” at checkout.

3 Tactics to Late Season Scouting

Late season scouting is essential for getting ready for next season.

These 3 late season scouting tactics will get you ready for next season.

As deer season nears to a close several hunters are packing it in for the winter months. They might try harvesting one or two more does for the freezer or try for that elusive giant that seems to be skirting daylight hours. Whatever the case may be, there are late season scouting tactics that could prove helpful for next year’s season.

Seek Out Bedding

A tactic that could make the entire difference in your deer season next year is locating bedding areas. Because much of the flora has lost its spring density deer are more limited to where they can bed – unless you created several bedding areas by hinge cutting in the off season.  However, knowing where these bedding areas are could be dynamite for the rut, especially doe bedding areas. Additionally, this knowledge of bedding areas will provide a head start for locating buck movement during the late season next year.

Know the Food

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Depending on the crop year depends on where whitetails congregate throughout the season. If orchards are present on your land then that might be the early season food of choice. If you planted clover then deer might prefer that throughout the summer and early fall. There are so many options it really takes knowing what your deer herd prefers. Also identifying what’s naturally growing on your hunting parcel will you give an idea of what deer eat on a day-to-day basis.

This year in southern Virginia we had a large white oak acorn crop. Deer, especially mature bucks, did not need to move as much because the acorns were literally feet from their bed. The hard part was figuring out which bed they were in. The catch 22 was that a neighboring property timbered several acres three years ago, and just this year the secondary succession was perfect for deer bedding. Needless to say it was quite the chess match.

However, if you don’t have a bumper acorn crop where are the deer focusing their feeding movements? Is it a cut corn field? Could it be alfalfa or brassica? It could be any or all of these. What’s pertinent is that you find what the deer are feeding on in your region. Up until this point this season, deer still are not feeding on the brassica which they have enjoyed in the past three years. It might just take another month or so before they shift to this. Unfortunately, it might be a month too late. Know what your deer feed on when, and it could be the difference of harvesting or not harvesting a mature buck this winter.

Find the Travel Routes

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Late season can be tough because many deer become nocturnal and wait in staging areas until it gets dark. Find these staging areas, hang a stand, make sure the wind is in your favor and wait. I’ve witnessed deer hold up right inside a wood line until dark. I’m sure many of you have witnessed this as well. The reason is because deer have been pressured by hunters all year and are more wary of predators.

Simultaneously, you can begin looking at these funnels and pinch points for clues to next year’s season. Observe where these deer are moving and ask yourself, “why are the deer being funneled this way?” Is there a terrain feature? Is it the wind? Are there drainages that are impossible for the deer to cross? Search these out and take advantage of where it forces the deer. Sometimes in the winter it can be easier to identify these funnels, drainages and crossings because the leaves have fallen and line of sight is clearer.

Whatever your goals are for late season hunting, make sure to take every advantage to scout for the next year as well.It could be the difference.

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

NEXT:3 Keys to Late Season Success

Three Deer Stand Locations That Will Lead to Success

These locations will be dynamite this fall. Be sure to get intel now for these deer stand locations.

By Nathan Unger

Each summer, as hunters, we’re often faced with the conundrum of where to place our deer stands for the coming deer season. Deer stand locations are important because it could be the difference between harvesting that big whitetail you’ve been dreaming about all summer long.

Hunters have to ask themselves a few questions before they set up stands:

Should I place a stand where I’m seeing summer bachelor group bucks?

Male whitetail home ranges can vary drastically once their velvet comes off and their testosterone level increases. Bucks will move from food-to-bedding patterns in the summer to  looking for and chasing does in the fall.

These deer stand locations will account for some of these changes in home ranges, and will ultimately lead to success will a little bit of buck luck.

Find the food

three deer stand locations

The first location that will be good for the entire season is on the edge of a food source that is downwind of a bedding area where it funnels into that food source. This could include a food plot or a crop field.

If your state has an early bow season this could still be highly successful under the correct weather and pressure conditions in the early season as bucks are still easily patterned. Likewise, if the bedding area is a doe bedroom those bucks will be cruising all around during the rut and into December and January.

This is probably my favorite set-up because it’s good all year long.

The key? Early season scouting before dark or with trail cameras to see where the deer are entering the food sources to help narrow down which tree to precisely put a stand in.

Locate funnels

deer stand locations
A diagram of bedding areas, stand locations and food sources.

While some of this terminology may be more familiar in the western states they can still be applied in south where I do most of my hunting.

There have been several times that I have bumped deer because I thought there was no way they would be located on a certain hillside or in a certain ravine, but over the years it seems as if they prefer certain terrain to better smell approaching predators.

Funnels are a specific point where several paths intersect that deer prefer to travel because of terrain features or obstacles.

The key? Make sure your stand is on the downwind side of these funnels and that you’ve done your research on where that buck is traveling from.

A lot of times that mature buck will make a ‘J-hook’ to sniff out the area before entering a certain location. Oftentimes this is specific to bedding, however deer don’t always follow the rules.

These can be successful during the rut primarily as bucks are chasing does and can be careless from time to time especially if the wind is in your favor.

Identify benches

These unique, topographical ledges are exactly what they sound like. Imagine a hillside being the backboard of a bench and the seat being an off-shoot of that hill. These off-shoots are some of mature bucks favorite bedding areas because they can see anything coming from below them and smell anything coming from above them.

Numerous times have I gotten too close to these areas and bumped deer because they caught my scent. Setting up a stand on the downwind side of the entrance to these benches will be great sites to place a stand.

Diagram

The diagram above highlights food sources, “F”, bedding areas are marked with a purple circle,”X” marks stand locations and the purple lines are streams running through the property. The three X’s that are immediately adjacent to the red borders are the funnels specific to this property where the terrain or stream forces deer into this specific location.

The X’s that are not located on a food sources or immediately next to the red border are benches where the deer will sometimes bed or travel in between food sources or bedding areas.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. By no means is this a one-size-fits-all formula, but for the majority it will lead to hunting success this season.

NEXT:New to Mineral Stations? This Will Help.

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.