Author: Jess Wagner
A South Central Wisconsinite, passionate about the outdoors with a love for hobby farms, agriculture, and hunting & fishing. BA from UW Platteville in Animal Science and President of the All-Woman Madison, WI Chapter of Pheasants Forever.
Episode 1: Hunt With A Shot of Adrenaline
Jared Scheffler of Whitetail Adrenaline is the first ever guest on the Where to Hunt podcast. Whitetail Adrenaline was founded in 2006 and is completely sponsor free. All of their hunting is either public land or land they have permission to hunt. The premise of the show isn’t about big bucks but rather to deliver content that is relatable to the viewers. Jared said there is a lot of hard work that goes into a hunting show beyond the hunt. Roughly 16 hours of the day is spent organizing content, editing, uploading, managing, etc. His personal belief is that hunting isn’t about the general success of the hunt or even the size of the buck but rather how did he commit to success. The way you hunt speaks volumes and is more important than the quantity or the quality of deer you have killed. Staying humble is of great importance. Experiencing the lows will only make the success that much more meaningful. He also wants to acknowledge that there isn’t another species in the world that has more effort put into the hunt than whitetail deer. When you may be experiencing a low or a difficult season, keep in mind that deer go unkillable on high-effort properties too. Developing your style and learning the land or a new way of hunting will help create the foundation for success.
Public land hunting is very demanding in that motivation, ambition, and a positive attitude and mindset are required to be successful. Without these attributes, you might as well stay home. It doesn’t matter what your game plan is. If you don’t focus on the positives, you won’t be successful. I think we can all agree this carries over to every aspect of life.
The hunters during this period would walk out in red plaid, smoke tobacco products, maybe sip on a beer, and still shoot deer.
Scouting For Results
Scouting public land isn’t as hard now as it was in the old days. All the necessary tools are at your fingertips such as Google Earth, OnX Maps, BaseMap, and of course the Where 2 Hunt app. Paper topography maps are also great at helping pick out pockets. Technology may skew results as that patch of forest may have been chopped down or the hay field was turned into a corn field. Jared said he used to pre-scout – especially out of state. For his South Dakota hunt, he took 3 trips out to his projected area to scout but he has since discovered the best time to scout is when you’re hunting. He prefers hunting on the ground as it is more aggressive and allows flexibility. Don’t get locked down in one spot. If the spot isn’t producing, he recommends picking up and moving on to a new spot. Keep moving until you find something worth waiting on. Some of the best sign is found while you’re out there in the car with a map and boots on the ground.
Spots can go hot and cold at the flick of a switch. Cold fronts can change feeding patterns but there is no rhyme or reason as to why a spot may go hot or cold. Just because a spot may go cold doesn’t mean it will be that way forever. You can go back to try again in a couple days and find different results. If you’re in a spot that feels dead – even if you are 20 minutes before dark – pull out and walk or drive around to scout for the next day. Nine times out of ten a spot will stay dead so fight those what if’s and get gutsy. Taking chances can and will pay off. Treat each day as its own. There isn’t a 100% guaranteed way to scout – just get out there and do it.
While scouting out of state land, look into whether the state produces public land maps. Most do and they are fairly accurate. Along with maps, remember that not all public land is state owned. Some farmers lease unfarmable land to the government that utilizes it as public hunting land. States have different names for these properties. Kansas areas are labeled a “walk in hunting access” and North Dakota calls them “plots”. These spots may not be well marked as most require a lengthy walk in. Bring a pair of binoculars with you to scope the property line for signs as the entry sign may have been removed by a disgruntled local.
As with any hunt, be sure of your target and beyond as well as that state’s regulations. Western hunting areas have both whitetail and mule deer inhabitants. If you don’t have binoculars, have succumbed to buck fever, or the light hits the animal or your eye just right, your trophy whitetail may just be a mule deer. In this event, be sure to report it to the local fish and game office. It is better to admit to a mistake than be accused of poaching.
Scent Control Is A Big StinkScent control is a heavily debated topic – even 7 years after this podcast was recorded. There is a lot of skepticism as to whether scent control actually works. Stories circulating about people consuming tobacco products in the stand contribute to the ongoing debate. Jared told Eric before the interview that he was working on his vehicle before going out for a sit. He said he didn’t shower before the hunt but still ended up successful. My personal opinion is that scent control isn’t a necessity. Think back to “the good old days”, or more specific the 50s – 70s. The hunters during this period would walk out in red plaid, smoke tobacco products, maybe sip on a beer, and still shoot deer. I went on a Colorado public land elk hunt with a gentleman that has killed monster bulls in our area wearing thick, green wool pants, a red plaid button up, and a wool blaze orange vest complete with a orange Stormy Kromer. It doesn’t matter what you wear or what you smell like. It only matters what your strategy is and how you execute it.