Whether you’re an experienced hunter or someone who wants to get into hunting, Southern Ohio is a great place to be. At Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio, Joe Pacconi practices quality deer management in all of his properties to ensure you get a shot at a trophy whitetail. Sharing the joys of hunting he’d experienced with everyone that wants to give it a try, he makes sure that you’re geared up and ready before you put a foot out the door. This episode covers not only the hunting experience but also the preparations you need before heading out. He gives you an idea of what you can look forward to in his properties.
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Discover Trophy Whitetails in Southern Ohio – Joe Pacconi
Welcome Joe Pacconi to the show. Joe runs Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio. What does that mean? What it means is he got good bucks. Two, he got some good land. Three, everyone that goes to his camp has a great time whether or not they shoot the buck of their dreams or not. What does that all come down to? Joe understands what it takes to hold big bucks on this land. He’s going to tell us about that. Also, how to be a good neighbor. Know who is around you and what type of quality deer management they are or are not doing. The third thing is that when Joe put on the stand, you have a chance to get a shooter, it could be a Pope & Young upwards to Boone & Crockett.
We are going to meet up with Joe Pacconi of Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio. Joe, welcome to the show.
Bruce, how are you?
I’m doing good. Thanks. It has been quite a journey here at Whitetail Rendezvous. We are going to be celebrating our second anniversary. Thanks for being on the anniversary show.
No problem. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Joe, I’m thinking about the people who come to your camp in your land to hunt down in Ohio. I’m thinking about the people that haven’t done that a lot. Maybe this is the first guided hunt so to speak. What do you share with the people so they immediately get comfortable with your tips, technique, stand sets and the whole ball of wax? Let’s unpack that and I’m a brand-new hunter, so what are you going to do with me as soon as I hit the camp?
On an inexperienced hunter, I try to inform them everything that we try to do to kill a trophy whitetail as opposed to killing a whitetail. As far as how we check the wind, our stand locations, and making sure they can put the hours in is one of the biggest keys to killing one of these big deer. If you’re not in the stand for a lot of hours or in the blind then your chances are way less than if you can put the time in it. It’s the most important thing for them to be able to put the time in the stand or blind that we recommended them to sit on. Teach them the little things like the wind and having the proper equipment to hunt these big deer. We want them to have the proper bow or firearm to be able to put a big animal we are hunting on the ground and making sure that they are filled in on everything about the hunting trophy whitetail.
How do you get them to view and to estimate what a trophy whitetail is? A lot of these guys might have been shooting spikes or forked horns, 1.5-year-old branch, 2.5 years old looking pretty good age of ten-pointer or 3.5 years that’s getting up near 120 to 125 and that’s a great deer. Maybe we want him to be in the gene pool so we’re going to pass on them. Do you have any set things that you talk it out with people or show them, “This is the type of buck you’re looking for?”
Everyone knows I’m pretty much a trail cam fanatic with all my website pictures and Facebook pictures. I show them trail cam pictures of what we’re looking for. What a matured deer’s body looks like with the belly sagging a little bit, a full chest and heavy muscular deer as opposed to a 2.5-year-old buck. What their bodies look like and the rack size. We show them the picture of what a 125-inch deer to 150-inch deer looks like so that when they are in this stand and the opportunity presents itself to them that they can make the proper decision and harvest the right type of buck that they came to Ohio for.
If a person has never seen a 125 Pope and Young buck, it’s got to get exciting for him. If they sit and stand all of a sudden here comes a ten-pointer and they are going, “My goodness.” Maybe a 2.5-year-old deer is not quite 125 Pope and Young quality.
That’s where the pictures come into play. We show them the pictures and the body sizes what they look like on the woods live from a trail cam. We hope when that moment comes that they go back in their mind and remember the stuff that we told them and the pictures we showed them. We hope that they make the right decision when the moment of truth comes in front of them.
When new people come into the camp that has been there before, do you set them up on a range and determine their max shooting distance?
We’ll have a target set up and guys will come out and shoot it. People are prepared when they come on a hunt. They are usually shooting at home. That never comes into play as any type of problem for us. Everybody that comes to my place, they can shoot a quarter at 40 yards or a pie tin at 50, keep it in the nice group. Guys are shooting at home if they are coming on a paid hunt, they are prepared and ready to go.
When they think about preparation, what’s your advice to somebody that’s never been to your camp or never been to anybody’s camp as far as getting geared up?
I tell them to try to get a quality bow, crossbow or firearm, that’s number one, and to practice with it for five or six months before you come to my place. Have your weapon and be practiced with it two or three days a week. As the five or six months go by, they will be ready to go whenever they step into the woods with that weapon.
Do you have archery, muzzleloader and either shotgun or a rifle on a hunt?
We do the whole season on whatever the hunters prefer to use. We have archery. Crossbows are legal in Ohio. Late muzzleloader season is a popular season everybody likes to come for that in January. Also, we have a regular firearm where you can use your muzzleloader or any known no neck brass cartridge. That’s always the Monday following Thanksgiving for seven days. The bow season is nice and long, it runs until February from September 23rd or 24th until the first week of February. It gives people a lot of time, a lot of hope and opportunity on dates to sit a hunt in on Ohio.
You mentioned an open neck or no neck, what does that reference to?
No neck brass cartridges like .357, .41-magnums. Guns without a neck on the cartridge.
My .30-06 wouldn’t be legal in Ohio. Let’s talk about when you look at your land in the springtime and say, “I’m going to have some food plots. I’m going to eat here and I’ve got a move from stands.” What determines those decisions?The big key to hold deer in your property is starting to feed early. Click To Tweet
We look at the trails where the trails are heavy. If there is a property that we hunted before we go a lot on past experience on where the hunters have seen the deer while they were hunting in the stand or blind where they saw a movement. We may need to move a blind or stand 50 to 60 yards in either direction. Hunters might tell me that they were winded in a certain area quite often so we figure out how to change something to put the wind in our favor.
Wind always plays a big factor when you’re hunting these deer over three years old. Their nose is the key weapon. With the topographical maps, we try to see where you have draws and ravines and flaps. Where we hunt there is a lot steep wooded area and the deer usually likes to get on tall. We try to find flats and tops where we can get the hunters set up in blinds or stands. Also, where they got some acorns, that plays another big factor. White oaks, water, wherever there is a creek, got to have water too. It’s multiple things that we look at and determine where we are going to set up for blinds and stands for our hunters.
You told me before that you bait. Is baiting legal in Ohio during the whole hunting season?
It’s only legal on private lands. It’s not legal on the public properties.
That keeps some bucks on your land especially depending on who your neighbor is.
It helps to steep the deer on our properties. When we pick out a property that we are going to hunt, we try to look at topographical maps and pick an area that’s against a lot of acreages. A lot of big timber where we can draw the deer out of the timber. Even if we only have a 30-acre piece, we can still as long as it’s against the 1,000 acres of big woods. We can bring the deer onto the ground that we’re hunting.
Let’s say it’s in the state parts, will they go back to bed? Can you hold them within a quarter-mile of your food source?
The whitetails will hang close to the food. I would say most deer bed within 1,000 yards of the food. As long as we start feeding, the key is I start feeding in July. By the time October rolls around, the deer pretty much is lost into where I’m feeding them. They will stay right in that area. That’s the big key starting to feed early. That as opposed to throwing in some corn out a week before the season starts thinking you’ll going to hold the deer in your property It’s not going to happen. Five to six months ahead of time, the deer get into a routine. They’re comfortable they are not being hunted, they will stay in that area, they will stay 1,000 yards with a corn pile or food plot whichever one you have there or both. It will hold them, they will stay right there but the key is starting to feed early.
Do you have food plots as well as bait piles on your land?
It depends on which property it is. Whatever the terrain is determines whether you can put a food plot in. We do hunt a lot of big hardwood where we are out there in Southern Ohio. It’s not a lot of open lands. It’s a lot of big hardwood and baiting works there because we don’t have competition with a 300-acre cornfield like Western Ohio or a lot of states out west where they have a lot of agriculture. It plays into our hands that we don’t have a lot of agriculture in open land and it’s mostly hardwoods that we hunt.
I’m used to hunting up in Wisconsin, Iowa, out Kansas and it’s completely different than big timber. In Northern Wisconsin, we have some big timber. I’ve only hunted up there a couple of times. I’m hunting at the cultural ground. What’s the difference between the alfalfa field, cornfield or greenfield, as opposed to big timber bucks?
The big timber, the biggest key is it’s going to give your deer the age. We already have the genetics in Southern Ohio for these big deer. We need to get the age and we’re going to provide the speed tunes. There are three ingredients we need to harvest these trophy whitetails. The hardwood plays in our favor. The deer can live five to seven years much harder to corner and to harvest than as opposed to we’re hunting this alfalfa field and he is going to come out in the corner over here is three out of five nights. The deer is less patternable, but we can get him to come into the corn piles pretty good because we start feeding six to seven months ahead of time. The corn pile works as good as any alfalfa field. I would say even better because where else is the buck going to go if I have 300 pounds of corn down there every week in a pile and there is nothing within two miles. No alfalfa fields or cornfields, he is going to come to my pile. It works pretty for us. We are having a lot of success with it.
What about your neighbors? Is it all state land surrounding your leases or do you have some neighbors that also hunt?
Pretty much my property is all against other private property and it works well because my neighbors are looking for the deer that are between 125 and 200 inches. They are letting your 115, 2.5-year-old eight-points go, and we’re letting them bucks go. It’s all working out well. Quality deer management by your neighbors and yourself produce these big deer. You’re feeding them, you’re giving them the minerals in the spring and they’re putting corn up so the deer is good and healthy. Everybody is waiting for a quality buck. That’s getting a lot of bucks over three years old in the area. Everybody, neighbors, and all of us are getting nice bucks. Everybody is happy because we are all doing the same thing. We are letting the young bucks go and we’re killing mature whitetails.
That’s got to be rewarding for you to let him go and let him grow and have your clients do that. I’ve been in some places and I took up a nice 135 and everybody else is shooting over 150s. I took the deer with a muzzleloader because of my first muzzleloader. Its brow tines were eight inches as long as G2s, and G3s. I couldn’t let him walk. I put it on my wall. It’s not the biggest buck I ever shot, but he was darn sure the prettiest one and it’s the memories that I carry back from the hunt. I love to put a big buck on the ground, you’ll never get me wrong. Sometimes it’s right when you pull the trigger, you pay the money, you pull the trigger and it works out. You would have been one heck of buck about three more years.
That comes down to the moment of the opportunity to harvest the whitetail. I’ve killed a 165-inch buck, but I’ve killed 140s where that moment when he came was a better hunt than when I killed the 165. I know exactly what you’re saying. A buck could be coming in the rut on a cool morning you’re seeing his breath coming out of his mouth and nose and chasing the doe and, “A 140 looks pretty good if he is putting a show on him.” That creates memories that will last a lifetime if you put them on the ground.
I love those stories because to me that’s the hunt. What about another story where the buck is coming in on a frosty morning? Did you get any of those other ones to share?
A lot of stories of guys that come hunt with me that maybe in life had a hard year. I had a fellow come down and his best friend passed away that year. He had a rough year going and we were hunting bucks called stickers that had backscratchers coming off his main beam on the left side. I put him in there where we were seeing stickers three or four days a week. Sure enough, stickers come all the way across this field that we had him sit on in a blind. He watched them for 100 yards coming all the way right at him and he turns sideways. He let the arrow fly and he hit him and the buck ran about 40 or 50 yards and he rolled when he hit the ground and dust went flying everywhere he stood. When the dust all cleared out of the air, there was this huge buck lying there. It was a great thing for him and me as an outfitter and him as the hunter to get a nice buck to make his year something great happened for him that year. Those are the kind of things in a hunt like we said about the frosty morning and seeing the buck come in the rut and that’s what hunting is. What memory did it create for you when you harvested the animal that is going to last your lifetime? For me, that’s what it is.
We’ve all been there. It’s the moment and it captures. Sitting in Buffalo County early in the morning, the sun is coming up and the owls are hooting and it’s like, “My goodness.” You’re right at the moment, you’re right in the outdoors and for millions of us, that’s where we want to be. I look at people like you go as you help us create those memories and they are priceless. The harvest is important and grips-and-grins are wonderful. When you are driving home, flying home, all of a sudden, you’re thinking back to that magic moment where seeing the steam coming in the nostrils of a running buck.
That’s what gives me the most satisfaction as being an outfitter is to make their dreams come true for a client. That’s my number one thing that makes me happy. For the guys coming to hunt with me, I kill big buck. I want to make him have that moment that is going to last him a lifetime like when in the World Series or a Super Bowl. A guy has a couple of Super Bowl Rings, “Let this guy win one.” It’s a great feeling to see that dream come true when it happens and you’re together with the buck taking pictures. You see that the happiness in a hunter’s face and he is thanking you and shaking your hand, it’s the greatest thing.Hunting is the memory created for you when you harvested the animal that is going to last your lifetime. Click To Tweet
It is fun. Let’s switch it up a little bit and now we got a seasoned hunter. He said he has got a couple of nice 150 or plus on the walls of mature bucks and he says, “I want to hunt a mature buck and if I go home empty, I’m good with that.” What do you do with that type of client?
I get along well with that type of client because our mindset is the same. I’ve been on big bucks. He already knows everything about the wind and stuff like that too. Everything that we do to prepare to kill a mature whitetail is easier with a client that has an experience like that. When we go into an area and I tell him the bucks come in here, this and that. In his brain, he will look at that same area and say, “I see what you are saying. I see what’s exactly is going on here. I agree with you. Let’s put a stand up right here or let’s move 60 yards down there and see if we can catch some of the white oaks while going down to the creek to get a drink.”
It’s great to hunt with someone with experience like that because I think the same as him. I’m putting him in an area where the big buck is. His brain as a hunter with his experience is pretty much on the same wavelength as mine as we go to the hunting area. It’s easier for me as an outfitter to hunt with a guy like that. I still get the same satisfaction as an inexperience hunter because when that buck hits the ground, that guy has never killed a buck that big before. The kid comes out in them, the happiness and the whole shebang and it’s the great thing when it all comes together even with inexperienced hunters.
As one person says it’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together. It’s hard. All of you reading had been there either on your own ground or had the opportunity to hunt on the states and hunting with outfitters to get there, to put you to the right place at the right time. Let’s talk about the winds. What time in the morning do you guys get up and decide who is going where and what stands you’re going to use?
If it gets light around 7:00 AM. All my properties are within twenty minutes up and we pretty much know the night before. I have five or six hunters hunting with me that week, I’m checking the wind and stuff on my phone all the time on AccuWeather. I’m texting the guy that if I’m not staying in a motel or if they are staying with me a cabin obviously, we’re talking about it. I’m always keeping them informed of what’s going on. If I still like the wind shifts, I’ll move them to a completely different property because every one of my properties got shooters bucks going. I’ve got thirteen different properties.
It’s nothing for me to have two to four shooter bucks on thirteen different properties, so you do the math. There are 30 shooters for guys to hunt. That’s pretty good in the season instead of having one continuous 800-acre fee and us having five bucks to hunt all year. Having multiple properties, stand sets, and blinds help us all. Me as an outfitter and the clients that come hunt with me to get them in the right spot to maybe harvest one of these trophy bucks.
It’s exciting for you to game plan with the people because you set the anticipation when to do it well with your trail cameras and you say, “We are going to sit the saddle stand, the crooked oak stand, or the spring stand.” Whatever you name your stand. The people get tuning what you’re trying to do and then you say, “Here is the inventory, here is the hit list. You see these three deer at the stand. Drill it, don’t even think about it. You got the rack frame and everything.” Is that how you do it?
They know what bucks are there in the area. Every week on Facebook from July on when the bucks are fully developed in velvet every week and you followed me enough. Every seven days I have updated pictures on that Facebook page. Guys that are booking hunts with me a year ahead of time already know what is on my properties. We get roamers is what we call them when getting a buck that we have no picture of or no pattern of or never seen. Out of four bucks that we kill, we used to get one roamer. That’s another beautiful thing about hunting in the area that we’re in is every ridge has three to four bucks between 125 and 160 on them.
If a buck gets out of his area, we could kill something that we’ve never seen. It happens like one out of four is pretty good chances of you’re getting a buck that we don’t know about. Plus, all the bucks that we do know about are in the area. It gives the hunters a lot of confidence that hunt with us that we’re able to produce these pictures. We’re able to thank God in Heaven that we can even get daylight pictures of a lot of bucks. If you look at my pictures, 50% of them are daylight. I don’t know where else you can get hunting in a country where an outfitter can show you 50% daytime pictures.
Let’s talk about that because we all know we have seen bucks all summer on the field cameras and then all of a sudden September comes and they are gone. They change their feeding habits or they are gone and you don’t see them until the wintertime. They are still there but they become invisible if you say. I hear you saying, “I’ve seen it, folks.” He’s got daylight pictures of shooter buck. Why do you think that is.
It has to do with a lot of private lands, the biggest thing is unpressured. It gets back to where I got multiple properties. We have six guys come for five or six days. We may only hunt four of the properties. We let those four properties that we hunted that first-week rest for two weeks before we go back to. The key thing is the pressure. You can make a buck nocturnal so fast by pounding the woods with him standing there. Making him wise. He is going to do what he has to do to survive. What is he going to do? Turn into a vampire because you cannot hunt at night.
The biggest thing as far as you asking me what creates that, it’s pressure. The key to not having it happen is rotating your properties. Not putting a lot of pressure on the deer and having neighbors that do the same thing which gives back the quality to your management. Doing your investigation, and talking to your neighbors. Letting your neighbors know what your plan is over the next several years of harvesting whitetails on the ground that you have against theirs. Having them share what their plan is and then everybody works together and everybody has a good time and big bucks for hitting the ground.
Good times and you manage it well. Let’s talk a little bit about your management techniques that we talked about your hit list, you have three or four bucks on every property that are shooters. That doesn’t happen by chance. How do you manage that?
The biggest thing goes back to getting ground in an area against big timber, thousands of acres. I could have a twenty-acre piece if it’s connected to 2,000 acres of hardwood and you’re in an unpressured area where it’s all private land. You can turn that twenty acres into a piece that’s like 1,000 acres because you bring the bucks to you. It goes back to where we feed seven months ahead of time and getting them deer in a routine to stay on the grounds that we’re hunting. It goes into management as we hunt not to put too much pressure on them to turn them nocturnal. When the rut comes in, all bets are off, they run crazy. You don’t have to worry so much about it in November. October, December, and January you got to watch. They got touchy and you got to watch how much pressure you put on a property.
How much is enough?
I can tell by the pictures. If I got a buck say his name is Neptune, that’s one of my favorite bucks down there. Daytime October 5th through 10th, two days a week, all starting in the 11th through the 14th, night, got to back off. I don’t hunt it for two or three weeks. It’s up to me as an outfitter to keep checking these cameras seeing what mood my bucks are in. Basically, knowing what they are doing at all times to know not to put the pressure on them or put less pressure on that area for two or three weeks. When I start getting a couple of daytime pictures again when he feels comfortable. Go right back in and try to harvest them with some hunters.
You are more or less tethered to your game cameras. They’re your eyes in the woods. How do you check them without busting that bucks out of there?
That goes back to the seven months. Whenever I go in there to see them, they are used to me on the machine. When I go in, I let my ATV run when I’m dumping corn. I dump the corn and use rubber gloves when I check my cameras and everything. It gets back to them being used to me coming in for seven months in a row and multiple years. I’m hunting the same properties. They are not afraid of Joe coming in on an ATV, they are used to that and they know I’m bringing feed in. Not so much me coming in as opposed to you putting a guy in a stand and him walking in and then them getting wind of them smelling the human scent. It can turn them nocturnal fast ones they start catching on to a guy hunting them.
You are farmer Joe and this is the routine. They hear the ATV or whatever you are using to get in there. When they hear that, they know that there is going to be a fresh pile of corn. Do you bait with corn or do you feed them corn?
Yellow corn is what we use. It works great.Create a comfortable and unpressured environment for bucks to come out on daylight. Click To Tweet
They are used to it like the farmer where I hunt. You can come out and there is deer in the field and he is spreading manure or he’s plowing some ground or cut hay. They stand there and look at them and go, “There is Eddie in the tractor and doing his thing.” They don’t care and you could see them flick their tails and their posture is not alert, “Seen him 1,000 times and this is what he is doing.” They don’t care but let Eddie walk out the same field, same guy, no tractor, all of a sudden, they are gone.
The will to survive is always going to kick in any animal. Say that buck is being hunted a week before that and the guy maybe had an encounter with him and missed him or something. It might be two or three weeks before he is comfortable enough to come in daytime to that corn pile. They’ll sit out there 1,000 yards away and listen to me dump the corn and stuff but the will to survive will still kick in. He will wait until it’s dark to come in. It still gets back to is that deer unpressured and comfortable enough to move in daytime. All bets are off in the rut, all bets are off in the gun season because you could have guys walking around them, bounce the buck and make them move in the daytime. Typical September, October, December, January, if that buck is too pressured, he is not going to move in the daytime out.
It’s fascinating that here we are rolling along and talking about managing your properties effectively and you got something going on. I know some friends that head down there and shot some wonderful deer and had some great experiences because you have some good places to stay. What’s the roadhouse right across the street from some of your cabins?
We have several options for clients. They can stay at the Knights Inn on States St. Athens, Ohio and it’s only $60 a night and there are two beds in a room. Two guys usually come together to hunt anyway. It’s $30 a piece. After they are done hunting, they can walk across the street to pass this roadhouse and Shades sports bar is there too to watch football. They have great chicken wings and prime rib and everything. All the properties are within twenty minutes of Athens so that works out well. If you want a cabin atmosphere, we have cabins also, Lake Hill Cabin, Shelly Rex runs those. They have full kitchens in them and a hot tub, they split fours so $150 a night divided by four guys. You’re looking at an affordable hunt. In Ohio out of state license is only $150 so that’s pretty cheap as opposed to other out of state licenses.
I know Kansas all in pretty much over $500 in Kansas Wisconsin, $125 something like that. That’s another thing. When you think about your hunt, there is a lot of aspect to when you are going to book our hunt, reservation, deposits and all that. That’s done now or should have been an hour or even earlier. You got to get there and then you got to stay there and come up better doing as Joe does. He has options for you and you’re going to roll your own meals. If you like to cook, bring a cooler and cook or whatever you need to do. Count the cost and I tell people all the time, come to Colorado.
The most inexpensive part of the whole hunt is booking the hunt and I’m throwing all the gear. If you don’t have the right gear for Colorado you got to get new gear and it goes on. Hunting is expensive. Plan a year head and say, “I want to hunt Ohio and it’s going to cost me XYZ and then travel time and time off of work.” Figure it out and make plans and that’s the biggest thing I see where people get into situations. They didn’t plan for that to happen and stuff happens.
A couple of other nice things about hunting in Ohio are Sunday hunting is allowed in Ohio and our season is long. It starts on September 24th and ends around February 5th. You have a lot of time there to figure out a hunt in your schedule. You can start a hunt on a Thursday and ended on a Tuesday and only use three vacation days because Saturday and Sunday you’re off anyway and you can hunt Sundays. That’s what makes it nice for hunting in Ohio having the long season, having Sunday, cheap out of state license. With me, you can have a cabin atmosphere or you can stay in the motel in town by the restaurant. No matter which options you choose, we’re going to have you within twenty minutes to hunt a big deer.
Joe, how do people get ahold of you? Where is your website, Facebook site? What’s your email address?
It’s Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio under hunting and outfitters and my Facebook page is Joseph Pacconi, Washington, PA. People can go on there and that’s the page that I post the trail cam picture every week from July clean to February, every seven days new pictures. I check the cameras and update them and that’s become a popular thing. If I missed one week, believe me, my phone is burning up, “Did you get down there and check the cameras?” It turned into a fun thing for everybody because there are hundreds of people involved viewing this trail camera pictures on my Facebook page. They look forward to it every Sunday, “Wonder what Joe is going to have on the cameras.” I like it too. I like being able to do that and I get as much excitement, getting a picture of a big buck as opposed to killing them anyway.
Let’s visit the difference between hunting mature bucks 4.5 years older on private land versus public land. What’s the big difference? Why the advantage rolls with the private landholder?
When you go hunt on public land, you don’t know who else knows about that big buck is number one. You may drive clean to Ohio from Michigan to hunt public land because you know of a certain big buck on it. All of a sudden, you’re up on a tree and here come three flashlights through the woods and drove all the way to Ohio or flew to Ohio for this hunt and some guy from New Jersey knows about the buck. He blows your whole day up because he walks into the same spot, so there it comes to pressure.
When you’re hunting on private land, it’s regulated. I’m managing it, I’m controlling who hunts on and how much they hunt a big deer. I can always get you on unpressured deer on private land because that’s my job. I’m in to get enough notable properties to keep things unpressured to rotate guys and to make sure everybody has a great chance to harvest an animal. I would say numbers-wise 30% to 40% better chance to kill on a big buck on private land as opposed to the public. That’s my opinion as an outfitter.
Sometimes you have a lot of people hunting on your farm, it gets a little squirrely. There’s no question about it. People figure it out, sort it out, and everybody can’t hunt private land. They can’t hire an outfitter or they can’t lease land and a lot of great bucks are killed every year on public land. The one guy that I know DIY hunts all the time multiple states. He gets as far away he can get from roads and parking lots. He will go where people won’t go and that’s why he kills the right buck.
There again it comes back to the pressure. He is getting back in foreign obstacles where other hunters aren’t willing to go. He is maybe pressuring the deer that are less pressured and closer to the road.
Let’s talk about your neighbor. You said you’re fortunate to have neighbors, everybody’s got QDMA on the brain, or let go and let grow. What happens if there is a new neighbor and he is not so nice?
To tell you the truth, I never run into that yet. I could see where that could be a problem for sure. I don’t think we’ll run into it as the norm in that area. The only reason someone is going to hunt Athens and to meet Tony is that they want to kill a big buck. You’re seldom never going to have guys going to hunt even like Buffalo County, Wisconsin to shoot a four-pointer. It could happen, but I don’t think it’s ever going to be the norm or frequently to where it’s something that I have to worry about all the time.
I’m fortunate to hunt Buffalo County every year. People are taking good deer. The bigger deer, the matured deer, the wall hangers, the 180s. I don’t care where you hunt from Canada to Pike County or Kentucky or Ohio. They are hard to come by. There is no question about it. Do they exist? Yes. Are they there? Yes, they are. You’ve got to do a lot of the right things to put them on the ground. Having said that, everybody knows the hot places in the country. That’s what sets the expectations and that’s what makes places like yours inviting. You know that you are going to have the opportunity to see one of the biggest deer or not the one biggest deer in your whole life despite sitting in that tree stand.
There are only so many pockets in the United States that even produce these deer. We’re fortunate to be one of them in Southern Ohio. The reason I mentioned these pockets is do other states produce big deer? Yes. Tennessee killed the biggest buck ever shot in the last years. It was a bow down there, 250 inches or something like that.
I know a kid in Southwest Iowa. I saw a replica of the deer is 283.
The point I’m trying to make with this is yes, he got that deer and he got it in Tennessee. Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Texas, 125 to 160 is on every hill, three to four of them. Can it be done in other states? Sure, it can be done. I’ll take my chances sitting in a tree in these certain pockets in the United States that history books have proven. Look at Pope & Young records, Boone & Crockett entries, Ohio Big Bucks twelve entries. Look at the counties that these deer are killed in. You want to be hunting these Counties.
You don’t want to spend time somewhere where you make it one buck out of every twenty years you hunt. That’s what I’m saying, you need to hunt for pockets in United States that produce these big deer to make yourself more successful over the long run killing multiple big bucks than hunting somewhere like Pennsylvania where I’m originally from. I killed one record book deer in Pennsylvania, 141 Pope & Young. I hang off the side of the tree for many years to kill that deer. Can it be done? Yeah, but you’re better off to be in these counties and pockets in the United States where you have a better chance of killing these deer. In Athens and Meigs County, every hills got bucks going on between 125 and 160s. I’ve taken my chances in those areas.
That’s well said. All you have to do is google Pope and Young counties and/or Boone & Crockett. Google that and you’re going to come up list and list and all the magazines, outdoor lives of the world, they’ll have, “You want a big buck, go here.” Everybody can’t get there, I get it. If you do a lot of things that Joe has shared with us. One, you can hold deer on your land, obviously if you’re going to bait feed, however you want to call it, make sure you know the regulations where you live. Get on it and the secret for Joe is the trail cameras because he has got an inventory. It’s like going into your favorite restaurant saying, “What’s on the menu?” You might think that’s funny.
Every single place I ever hunted, they will do what Joe has done, they will say, “This is what we see, on the side bet we see this. On a broken limb, we see this. Over here at Bob’s hollow, we see this.” If you’re hunting place long enough you start to learn it and you go, “I like side bet, that’s where I want to hunt. I hunt out with the right wind. I know that buck is going to come right down that bench roll and I’m going to have a good chance at them.” That takes time and that takes investment on your part to put in yourself to that place. By saying that Joe, why don’t you give us some shout outs?
My website is Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio under Hunting Top 10 Outfitters. My Facebook page is Joseph Pacconi Washington, PA and I also have a Facebook page of Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio. Feel free to check them out and follow our trail camp pictures from July on and give me a call, my phone number is on this site. If you would like to book a hunter, text me and I’ll give you all the information you need to get you down here in Southern Ohio.
Mr. Pacconi of Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio, it’s always a joy to talk with you. I love your passion because I know someone of your guest and everybody that I talk to. They love hanging out with you and you make your guest friends. I know it’s a business opportunity for you, but people that come down there, they enjoyed every aspect of your operation. Well done on behalf of thousands of readers across North America. Whitetail Rendezvous says, “Thank you for being a guest on this show.”
Thank you, Bruce. It’s always a pleasure and I appreciate you giving me the time to come on and talk to you. Thank you.
- Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio
- Joseph Pacconi – Facebook
- Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio – website under Hunting Top 10 Outfitters
- Pacconi’s Trophy Whitetails of Southern Ohio – Facebook
About Joseph ‘Joe’ Pacconi
Our hunting business is built from a family tradition that goes back many generations. It is going to be my pleasure to pass all that I have learned in the field for the past 35 years so that we can make your whitetail hunt successful.
When it comes to big bucks I have followed the record book kills over the past 15 years and have chosen these farms in the areas that should give a hunter the best chance at a trophy buck in Ohio.
I personally have spent weeks in the field all over Ohio, and in my opinion southern Ohio is as good as anywhere in the country for Trophy Bucks. I will do everything in my power to make sure you enjoy your hunt with us!