In this episode, Uncle Bucky shares his outdoor adventures. Learn why Uncle Bucky decided to start filming and documenting his passion for the outdoors through an event that changed his life. He also shares some whitetail secrets that he uses in his hunts and how he speaks to other hunters and outdoorsmen at various outdoor dinners about his experiences in life, the outdoors, and how God has worked through hard times. Learn how Uncle Bucky overcame adversaries that came to his life with the help of hunting and his show.
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Uncle Bucky’s Outdoor Adventures
We’re going to head out to Indiana with Uncle Bucky’s Outdoor Adventures. Uncle Bucky has got some stories to spin. We’re going to start with why he’s on the Hunt Channel and what he’s bringing to the Hunt Channel.
I started a couple of years ago. Videotaping my hunts started back in 2008. What got me into filming was the fact that I’ve got Multiple Sclerosis and it got bad in 2007. I decided in 2008 that I want to film my hunts as a way to document my passion for the outdoors. I had this great fire for the outdoors. My kids at that time were maybe nine and twelve. I didn’t have any grandkids yet. Little did I know that I start putting these videos that were edited horribly on Windows Movie Maker. I didn’t know what I was doing. I hacked them up, put little music on them, and put them on YouTube. Before you know it, I got a good following. People like them because Jim Held from Field Logic was one of my first supporters. He told me, “You are genuine. You’re real. You show yourself missing. You show yourself laughing. You show yourself down because something didn’t go right.” I show everything. I was approached a couple of years ago by Hunt Channel and they said, “We like your show. We’d like you to come on board.” I decided that quarter two and quarter four of every year, I’ve got a ton of turkey hunting. I’ve got rabbit hunting, I’ve got trapping which is my main passion in the outdoors, and I’ve got bow fishing. I’ve got a wide variety.
What Hunt Channel saw is that I wasn’t just a deer hunter and a turkey hunter like the traditional TV shows. I had all this wide variety plus I make cooking videos and trapping videos. My alter ego is Bubba the Redneck Inventor. He has some great inventions that can help the hunters. The D&R I involve are good friends. They helped me because at first, it was a rocky road. I didn’t know what I was doing for that 30-minute show. They were good with me and helped me. I had an incredible show and what I did when the intro came in and said, “We’re going to teach you how to trap, skin, butcher and cook beaver.” I’m like, “Say what? That’s right, beaver.” I went through the whole show and showed how to trap a beaver, how you skin it, how you butcher it and how you cook it. Beaver is absolutely phenomenal. It was the highest-rated show I’ve had.
I got people tuning in that never even trapped and they thought, “I need to get out there and trap.” Trapping will make everyone a better hunter. When we rifle hunt, we have to be within 200 to 300 yards of the animal to shoot it. When we bow hunt, we have to be 50 yards or under. When you trap, you have to make that animal step on a 2×2 and you have to be exact with everything. It hones your senses to find the sign and where the animals are traveling. I’ve been fortunate in bowhunting. Since 2007, I shot seven Pope & Young bucks here in Indiana. It’s because of the trapping at such a young age. It builds that sense of finding the sign. When you trap, you can either go out with 1,000 traps and put one everywhere or take out twenty traps and put them into areas that they’re going to catch animals and be successful at it. That’s what I attribute my success in hunting, too.
A lot of it is I can be guilty. Let’s say, “I need to stand over here. I’m going to put a ground line over here.” All of a sudden, my woods are cluttered. I call it cluttered. I’m cluttering up. I’ve had some smart hunters and they go, “What are you doing?” I go, “I’ve put them where the deer are.” “The deer aren’t where you’d stand. Are they?” No. I have to learn all over again because things change. Your 140 or 180 doesn’t matter. Things change from year to year. You don’t think they do but they do. One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that your little 140, 180 or whatever you’re hunting changes enough that the deer activity is going to change. That stand that’s killed five bucks in a row, you can sit in there the whole season and you’re not going to see anything. During a rut, you may. You’ve got to give that wild card. The rest of the time, it is not going to happen so go and take that stand, figure it out, and put it in a different place. What are your thoughts on that?
I got a property that I mainly hunt. I have succeeded in killing bucks in one area. In 2018, no. I got to totally reline the property all over again because of some construction that’s close to our town. I was able to adapt quickly and ended up shooting a buck that barely missed the Pope & Young. It was a four-and-a-half-year-old eight-pointer that never grew big. He barely missed it because he doesn’t get complacent. In trapping, it’s the same way. You’ve got to look for that fresh sign. You’ve got to step up on it and it’s the same way with hunting. The trapping background I have is why I’ve been successful in turkey hunting and deer hunting. That face of my father got me interested in trapping back in 1973.
Scent control is huge and you’re going to use funnels or channels. I know you use them to move the critter where you want it. Hinge cutting is what we refer to do that in the whitetail world. You’ve got bait and then you’ve got the actual trap that has to be scentless. Let’s relate that to how it affects the deer hunter.Trapping will make everyone a better hunter. It hones your senses to find the sign and where the animals are traveling. Click To Tweet
When you’re on deer hunting, you can be 50, 40 or 30 yards away. You still have some leeway. In trapping, you don’t. However, like deer hunting, we use sets. Let’s take coyote trapping. My wife doesn’t believe that I’m not into hunting because I have to use my hands to talk. Coyotes might be running across the middle of a field but you want to play that like in whitetail hunting, you play to win. It’s the opposite of trapping. We want that coyote to come across the wind of our trap because we’re going to put a lure on a rock, a stick or we put a little hole on the ground. We want that coyote when it walks by, to smell that and then come investigate. That’s where the scentless part of your trap comes in because coyotes have such a great nose like a deer. You have to fool that. They come in and work your set. Hopefully, if you’ve done everything right and not left any human scent anywhere, they’ll step on the trap and you’ll be successful. Like whitetail hunting, I’m not a huge guy on scents. I do use my scent control system.
I’ve been asked many times at these speaking occasions I do on what I attribute my success in whitetail hunting, too. I call to the animals a lot. I use scent sometimes but most of the time, I call. It’s the same thing I use on lure when I hunt. The deer I killed was 175 yards away. I got my decoy out there. Your decoy could be the same thing as your call lure for your coyotes. I called him and I watched his reaction. He came in from 175 yards and gave me a sixteen-yard shot. He was preoccupied. He saw a deer and he heard a deer. We fooled the three main senses: seeing, hearing and smelling. I fooled two of those. He came in and he was trying to get the wind off the deer when I shot him. I did a clinic not long ago about decoying because I’m big on decoying. A lot of guys I see set up the decoys totally wrong. You have to have that wind to be in your face because that deer is going to come between you and the decoy to try and get the whiff of it. To make sure before he comes in and make sure who it is. Most deer know every deer in their area.
That’s why that dominant buck urine that I use a lot of, it worked because those don’t roam as much as bucks do. If you’ve got a dominant buck in your area, when he comes and he smells a new buck, he’s going to be infuriated. When he comes in and he sees a decoy that he’s never seen before and he hears them calling, it brings them in. I equate that to trapping. It’s the same way when I look at a coyote set. I look at the woods or the field and I say, “Coyotes are lazy.” If I was a lazy coyote, how could I spend the least energy to get my food? I imagine where the coyote would go. You can’t always get it exact. That’s why that set, I use red fox urine. I’ll give my secret away. I mainly use scat, coyote poop. When I’m trapping big areas, I’ll take little sandwich bags with me. When I’m on one farm, I find some fresh coyote scat. I’ll pick it up with the bag and I’ll mark it where it came from. I’ll use it on another farm 30 or 40 miles away. It attracts them because coyotes are not always hungry. They’re not always sexually active, but they are always territorial. That’s how I equate.
At a young age, my father told me, “You’ve got to act like the animal. You’ve got to think like the animal. You can’t think like a human. You’ve got to think like the muskrat you’re trapping. You’ve got to think like the beaver you’re trapping or the raccoon.” That’s how I equate my trapping. How I bring that over to the whitetail work is that I’m doing the same thing only I’m using a lure and a trap to get the animal. Over here, I’m using a decoy and a call to bring the buck in. The trap catches the coyote and my bow or my gun gets the buck. That’s how to use trapping into the whitetail world.
It’s all intertwined because we’re dealing with critters and we’re dealing with wild animals. They have similar habits although not all are the same. If you’re a successful trapper, then you should be a successful whitetail hunter, turkey hunter and hog hunter. It doesn’t matter. I remember the first time I headed out west from Wisconsin for archery hunting. I went to a place where I never had then. I read a couple of books and talked to a couple of guys. I took about five things that I said, “I’m going to do this.” I found one, which was the north-facing slope. Two, wet musk deer. Three, a sign and four, smell. The fifth one was I got close. I didn’t get them but I was right there. If I had been smarter, I probably would have shot him or maybe I wouldn’t. Who cares? I got that close only because I did the five things. I figured it out only because people had helped me and said, “This is what you need to do. Go and do it and find all these conditions. There’s no difference in your whitetail woods at all. You’ll find the right conditions and the buck will be there or the doe will be there.”
You talk about listening to people. I was an athlete growing up. I wrestled, played baseball and I played rugby in college. Many ask about time. I’m not tooting my horn because I don’t think I was that good of an athlete. My friends said, “You’re good at everything you do.” Even when I got into golfing, I became a scratch golfer in a couple of years. I say this because I listen. I take direction well. I had a mother that was an amazing woman that could give you constructive criticism but still make you feel loved. I learned at a young age to turn off my sensitivity and listen to these people that were older than me that had all this knowledge. My father was a trapper and I was fortunate that I got introduced to a guy named Donald who passed away a couple of years ago. He was in a town a little bit north of me. He mentored me in trapping and I listened to him. Women are the same way. They adapt to hunting better because they don’t have all that testosterone like us, men. I get men all the time that says, “That’s not going to work.” It’s like, “Why did you ask me?” Women absorb all that and they listen.
That’s why we have such an explosion of women in this sport. They’re finding out that, “This is amazing. We’re part of the circle of life.” They’re out there doing it and they’re successful because they’re like you and me. They listen better. I’m not trying to knock men, it’s that I can’t tell you how many seminars. I’ll tell you my trick for whitetail hunting was successful. I’ll tell this to guys and they’d say, “That’s hogwash.” I’m like, “I started whitetail hunting in 2003. I started getting serious about it in 2005. I shot 98 deer. I’ve shot 73 deer with a bow since then. I’ve shot hogs, coyotes and turkeys with my bow and with my guns.” It’s like, “Why did you ask me?” That’s men sometimes. It’s part of our nature. We want to be the guys to bring it. You bring a valid point of people that are listening. When I first started whitetail hunting, I didn’t know anything. I got a deer my first year, Bruce, and I have no idea how. I did everything wrong. I found the dumbest deer in Indiana who committed suicide.
My mom always taught me, if you’re going to do something, do it right. I said to my wife, “I enjoy whitetail hunting.” I went out and I talked to all the most successful people that I could find. I absorbed all that knowledge and wrote it down a notepad. I soon found out that we talked about the five things you did. There are four to five common denominators that all successful hunters do. I’ve made that my face of my whitetail hunting. I add them on flare but I listened. It’s trying to do stuff outside the box. Deer are no different than us. They learn the habits of people. You start up early bow season and you can go out to hunt early morning until 10:00. You see deer but then soon, you’ll stop seeing them because they’ve got you figured out that you’re in the woods from sunrise until 10:00. I know a guy locally here that during the rut, he doesn’t go out until 10:00. He goes from 10:00 to 2:00 and he kills bucks. He thinks the deer get up and roam around. They’re like, “People have trained them.” They get on that clock. People are around and the danger is around. That’s my take.
I’ve always been an outside the box thinker trying new things and trying different things. I’ve always listened to people. That’s a good and valuable tip for people. You’ve got a guy that’s successful. When you talk about trapping, everybody knows Tom Miranda. He’s the guy that’s shot all these different rams and turkeys. He started out trapping. Tom Miranda was a big-time trapper. I talked to him at a couple of the ATAs. He and I both agreed that his success is because of that trapping. It gave him this understanding of the outdoors of sign and where to hunt. If you learn how to trap, you’re going to know where to hunt also.
What’s the whitetail secret you’re going to share?
You hear all these seculars. I wash all my clothes and set out soap. I’m careful with all my stuff not to have a scent on it. I take a shower but we’re never going to be able to eliminate all of our human odor. All these molecules float around. When we smell something, our gland is smaller than a deer. These molecules land on the air. We can smell bacon. We can smell our wife’s perfume. We can smell fresh beer. We can smell our buddy that ate burritos for lunch. We can’t smell all four of those smells at one time where a deer can. If you eliminate all your human odor, get it down to as fewer molecules as possible and you’d go out. I use Harmon Deer Scents. I use a scent that they use called Herd Blend. It’s a mixture of different whitetail urines. I spray it on my boots. When you walk out, you leave this fresh scent of a deer. You get up in your treestand, you get in your ground blind or whatever you’ve got to hunt, and you spray a little bit of this around also.
I also use a product that is called Interdigital which has got some of the interdigital glands from a deer. That’s how they smell each other. They have a little gland in between them both that secretes a little waxy substance. That’s how the fawns can find where their mother ran off to. That’s how they find each other through their own smell. You get to your stand and you spray some out, you’ll get a deer coming down. You’re never going to be able to play the wind 100%. When you had a deer coming downwind and they smell a few molecules of a human, it alerts them. When they smell the stronger odor or more molecules of a deer, they’re scared and they run. They’re flight animals. In their mind, they recognize that there’s been a human in the area but a deer has been there afterward. It must be safe to go through and they continue to come through. On the seven open young bucks I’ve shot with my bow, one of them was a 181-inch buck. One came directly downwind to my call. I attribute that to that smell. They smell humans. They’re alerted because they smell humans everywhere they go. When they smell this stronger odor or more molecules of a deer, it calms them down.
Years after I started doing it and a couple of years, they came out with that cover scent called EverCalm. Fitzgerald makes one called Deer Dander. I use the Harmon scent because I like it. It was more readily available than the other one. It was hard to find them and it was a little more economical. I had great luck with it. The reason I always used Harmon is its scent is 100% whitetail. They don’t cut it, color it, and water it down. When you get that bottle, it smells like a deer. I had other ones that smell like ammonia. They don’t smell right. When I get something I like and it works for me, I stick with it until somebody proves to me something’s better. That’s my secret. Scent out as best you can but use a deer base cover scent. It gives this calming effect to the deer. I’ve got hours of video footage of deer, does, little bucks, and bigger bucks are coming from my downwind side. I attributed the fact that I control my odor and I understand that I can’t eliminate 100% of it. We’ll never be able to do that unless we go out and hunt in a bubble with one of those ozone things. You’ve got to use a cover scent especially when you call. Deer want to come in downwind of you to see what deer is there. When you’re calling to them when they see a deer, they hear a deer and they smell a deer, you fooled all three of their senses and you’re going to get them.
Honestly, that’s what I attribute my success to. I’ve got hours of video footage of deer inches away from my decoy because I’ve used that same philosophy of scenting out the decoy and spraying some dominant buck urine on the ground. They see a deer and they smell it. They don’t see that they’re moving in there. I’ve got one video that’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s on YouTube. It’s been on the Hunt Channel those times where a young buck circles his 3D decoy. It’s a flat one and an HD picture of a buck on some PVC. It’s amazing. He sees that it’s all flared up, he’s stomping and anytime, he’s going to smash the thing all up. He gets behind the decoy and he sees that it’s gone. He raises his head back and then he backs up. He moonwalks, he sees it and he flares up again. He walks behind it to smell it. He does it three times. He stood there for probably two minutes right at the base of the deer, smelling where I sprayed the scent at. When he walked away, that was the most confused deer I’ve ever seen. He walked away like, “What is going on?” That’s what I attribute my success to. I practice a lot and I try to make sure I get out. Even in season, I practice because you got to make the shot. That’s the secret why I’ve been successful in whitetail hunting.When you’re out hunting, you’ve got to act like the animal and think like the animal. Click To Tweet
You left out the vocalization. You’re talking to these deer downwind and you get all the scent up. Are we snort wheezing? Are we grunting? Are we tending grunts? What are we doing?
I had a dear friend, Clay Shorthouse. I don’t know if you remember the TV show called Tred Barta. My best friend Clay was their cameraman. Unfortunately, Clay passed away. Clay and I were working on a TV show together. It would have been outstanding because he was an amazing producer and filmer. Clay was in his heart transplant and he passed away in the middle of it. I miss the guy. He always calls me the animal whisperer. With my voice, I can do elk calls, moose calls, coyote calls, wolf calls, goose calls and turkey calls, but I can’t do grunt calls. What I learned quick spending all this time in the woods is that deer are a lot more vocal than people realized. One of the complex common things I see when I turkey hunt and I deer hunt, people call way too soft. My buddy Mark and I were out filming. He’s a great guy. When there was a buck coming through, I told him, “Grunt,” and the buck is 75 yards away. We got traffic from the highway and I’m five feet away. I could barely hear it. I said, “Grunt louder.” My calls at the deer seem to work. One of my favorite calls is a can call. I use the famous buck growler and I use the can call.
My dad said, “If you want to trap an animal or kill an animal with a gun or bow, you’ve got to think like it.” A buck chasing a doe does his thing in one spot. He’s after that doe. When I’m in my stand I’ll physically make a sound. I’ll do that probably every fifteen minutes during the rut. Two of the bucks I’ve killed are dead because of that. One of them I named The Beefcake. It’s a huge bodied five-year-old buck. It was the heaviest deer I ever shot. I hauled him and it grunted like a buck chasing a doe. I put my calls away and turned it. There it was at twenty yards stomping at the decoy. Every situation could be as different. I killed that buck on October 24. One time, I killed 150-inch buck in the same farm blindly calling in and no decoy on October 19. If you have a dominant buck about the middle of October to the 21st, 22nd or 23rd, you could start and use the runt. What I found works is a long grunt. When they snap their heads up, pop them with a snort wheeze.
I’ve been fortunate to have bucks be right underneath me and snort wheeze each other. Every time they do that, it’s like a flutter out there. That buck when I snort wheeze, I grunted and he starts coming. He starts making a scrape at 175 yards. He starts walking and when I snort wheeze, he flared up. His huge body starts, flares up and starts pawing the ground up, peeing in a scrape and mixed another one. He walks straight into the decoy from 175 yards because of calling. One time, the buck that I killed is called the Gomer Pyle buck because it was my surprise. When I shot him, I thought he was a 130-inch eight-pointer I’ve been after for a while out there. When I found him, he was 150-inch. For nine minutes, he came up out of his bed at 135 yards away from me. For nine minutes, I called to him probably 25 times. People are like, “I don’t know how you got away with doing all that.” If you watch the demeanor of a deer, the way they flare their ears up and back or put them forward, their hair, the back of their haunch back hair, if you watch all that, I’ve been on the field thousands of hours.
I’ve watched hundreds of deer and called to them. I have this sixth sense of being able to watch a buck and know how to call them. When they start to act and their ears are starting doing the twitching where they’re like not interested and they start looking around, I give them a little grunt. I grunted at that buck that’s 58 yards away from me. He was over here and I grunted right over my shoulder because he was close. I wanted him to think the buck was over here. He finally came around and circled. He was trying to get my wind and I shot him at 51 yards. If I hadn’t called to him, he would have never come in because when he stood up, he was walking after three does. I was able to get at that stage of the game, play to his territorial, drag him away from three does and walk away. That’s what he got up and was staring at, by using that grunt and the snort wheeze. Every situation is different.
In a rut, you don’t want to use a snort wheeze because by then, the bucks have already established dominance. That’s when you want to go to that can call and act like a buck chasing a doe. All the bucks in the area are looking for that hot doe. Late season, I do the little calling. By then, most of the deer in the area have heard every idiot including myself calling to them. They get call shy but I will do fawn bleep. I got to little harmonize it. It imitates a button buck. I’ve called in bucks in late season using that little call. As they start to bounce back up, they think, “Is that one of my grandkids?” They come over to check it out and I’ve been fortunate. My buddy, Clay, calls me the animal whisperer. I hope the guy makes talent, it’s just that I pay attention. Everything goes in that mind and it turns all the time. You could tell that I’m a hyper guy. I sleep two or three hours a night and my brain never shuts off.
What about rattling? I’ve had some great success rattling and I’ve had no success rattling.
In Indiana, our areas are mostly thick. I’ve rattled in some small bucks. Most of the time, it’s not been good. I did rattle in a huge buck one time but he came in downwind and caught me moving. I never heard him. Rattling works well in Texas because it’s open. It’s a huge area and that buck can’t slip. You’d catch them before they get downwind again. I haven’t had much. I don’t do much rattling at all.
A couple of mornings, it was stupid. My buddy was listening to me rattling and said, “It looks like Foreman and Ali going at it or something. I was smashing them. I don’t tickle them but I smash those suckers. I’ll tickle them and then do sequences and stuff. When things are going, I smash the crap out of them.
You’ve had luck doing that?
I try it both ways. I have, but most of the time I rattle small bucks in. I hunt big areas and I hunt transition areas. I hunt where I see the does at. One of the farms I hunt down, we call it the corn crib. I have a natural old corn crib that I turned into a hunting shack. I have guys from Georgia like Travis Johnson who has a TV show. He comes up and shows up a lot of it. We have all the does that live on the farm that I hunt. All the guys across the street have all the bucks. One of the guys says, “You need to figure out how to get the bucks over there.” I said, “I get them over here because I got the girls. I want to keep the girls on my property.” We were young once. Do you remember prom? That’s my secret. I hunt the does and I hunt the transition areas where they’re crossing. I never dwell too bad until the rut. I’ll get into the thick stuff. I don’t like the thick stuff for filming because one of the things I’ve been taught is that you want to see that deer for one to two minutes. It gives you some buildup.
When you’re hunting thick areas, the deer is right there. You’ve got five seconds of video footage. At first, I don’t care and I just want to get the animal. I don’t hunt the thick areas a lot of times. I noticed that getting into the thicker areas isn’t a problem. If you get out in the afternoon, I’ve bumped deer off their beds. I’m one of the edge hunters. I’m the voyeur almost. I like to watch what’s going on and then make my game plan. Back in 2010, I shot a 148-inch buck with my bow. The cape went bad. My son unplugged the freezer and didn’t plug it back in the garage. I had seen him five foxes in a row from way far off. I saw him right at daylight and right before dark that same night coming out of the same area. I saw him a week later closer to the rut. I saw him about a half-hour after shooting light. On November 5th, I saw him an hour-and-a-half after shooting light in the morning. He was coming back into that area. That evening, I saw him leave and I waited until 10:00. I drove my jeep all the way back into that area, took a ladder stand and put it up. I came out the next morning at 9:00. Here he comes back in, I shot and killed him.
I had to call him in using that can, that’s why I first figured out that I can call, how to use it and how to grunt like that. He comes rattling right in. That’s how I like to work in that scenario. I don’t get in there unless I know there’s buck there. You’ve got to get in, get that knockout punch and get out. I did it when I first started hunting. In the first four years of hunting, I was learning. My biggest mistake was going out into that thick area on October 1st. You see all these bucks and deer on your trail camera but you never saw them in the stand because you’re getting out there in the thick areas. When you’re walking out, you’re bumping deer. A lot of times, people don’t even know they bump deer but they are. You’re like, “I never saw the buck.” The neighbor shot it. You kept going back in the thick area too early. He went over and started living on the neighbor’s property.Always be an outside-the-box thinker. Try new and different things and listen to other people. Click To Tweet
It’s amazing. I hope readers are picking some of this stuff up. It makes sense but we don’t do it. I love long-distance scouting for whitetails because I hunt out west at a long-distance scout. That’s how you save a lot of miles. You do the same thing with whitetails. What you learned Uncle Bucky say, he figured it out, he watched them come in later. He watched them come out and knew what time they were going to come back. He was sitting there when it came back and he shot them. He never hunted that deer except for that one time. That’s the neat part.
Dan Johnson of Nine Fingers Chronicles talks about that all the time. He’ll hunt a stand three times. First of all, he’ll see where the deer are running. He’ll slip in there, put up his hang on and back out. He’d hunt it that night depending on the wind, two or three times or two or three sets. He’d get them or he doesn’t. He starts all over again. I’ve been guilty of it. Sometimes, the concussion stand and I’ve shot some great deer out of the concussion stand. I was there and I got to take that stand down. Why? It isn’t going to produce because things have changed. You’ve got to change if you want to be consistent. If you want to go out, sit in the woods, have a great time and listen to the squirrels, do it. I could care less. I mean that. Go out and have a great time. Drink your coffee and think about how wonderful life is because it is or you could go hunting and kill stuff.
I love the outdoors and I respect animals. Bruce, I like to kill stuff and I like to catch stuff. I like to eat them. I like the way they taste. I want to know why you call it the concussion stand. You’ve got me intrigued. I want to hear it, Bruce.
On Eddie’s farm, we had a radio antenna. We put it and tie it against a tree. We put a little standout. This was when we used plywood, 2×4 and everything. We had that up there. We killed a lot of deer out of the concussion stand. One year and we go, “I don’t know.” Jim Bob was up on the concussion stand taking the scraps off and you know the rest.
Jim Bob. I like how you covered his name. He knows who he is.
2×4 in the head, it was ugly for a while but he didn’t die.
I figure that’s probably what it was.
Concussion stand went away and now we got a double ladder stand. I’ve got to take that away when we’re resetting stands. It is not working anymore.
My corn crib farm was logged out a couple of years ago. The best thing the owner ever did is he also turned all the 50 acres of tillable ground into this bird habitat program. It totally rerouted all the deer. Now, I’ve got to get down early, follow some paths. I know where they’re moving now. It’s a total game-changer and you get complacent. I do it too and it’s time to move stands. It’s a 120-acre farm and I have fourteen double sets on it. I’ve got a lot of things.
Hire some kids.
The German part of me is not being cheap. My mom would say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
Yeah but we’re getting older. There’s no way I’m setting stands anymore and everybody knows that. It’s not going to happen and I don’t like hunting on a ground blind. There’s nothing wrong with ground blinds. I just don’t like hunting there.
I do like being in a chain-on or up in the air because with filming, you need a little bit of leeway time. You can kill deer out of a ground blind as easy as you can kill them out of a stand. Neither you think because you’re on a ground-level within fifteen to twenty yards. It’s like, “They’re right there.”
I was hunting Saskatchewan one time. It was cold and we’re hunting ground blinds. It was black and everything. I didn’t like it. Finally, they took me out and put me in hay bale blinds which I was fine. I was as cold but it was something about the hay bale blinds that worked for me. I did not like those blinds. That’s personal and I know people shoot great deer out of ground blinds all the time. I’ve got a couple of merry steps. I’m going to put them up and see what happens. I like to be out in nature. I enjoy that.A buck chasing a doe does his thing in one spot. Click To Tweet
All my ground blinds are elevated on at least six-foot platforms or more. You’re limited where you can film out of it when you’re in a treestand. It sounds like a tree hugger but I tell people I’m a tree hugger. You have this whole range when you’re self-filming. You have the entire range your camera can go when you’re in a blind. You’ve got obstructions that you’ve got to worry about. Turkey hunting especially, we try to hunt out of blinds. I take a lot of young kids out because that’s another one of my passions, sharing the outdoors with our younger generations. You can’t get a kid to stop moving. My one buddy called my son, William, who’s 21. We call him the turkey thug. That kid has killed many turkeys. He’d be asleep in the blind and I’ll have to wake him up, “Will, do you want to shoot this deer? Do you want to shoot this turkey?” He’s like, “Yeah.”
My friend always laughs at him. He sleeps, you’d wake him up and he’d shoot. He always puts a good shot on him. It’s the same things when I film him, we’ve got to be careful that we get the turkey, the deer or whatever animal in that where I’ve got room. There’s not a blockage of it. Sometimes it’s hard especially when he was younger. I wanted him to get something. The filming came last. I was like, “This is something.” When you take a kid out fishing or you take them hunting and they don’t get anything, they get discouraged quickly. It’s nice to get them something and then, later on, teach him that, “You don’t always get something but you should always learn something in the outdoors.” Blinds are good for that. I’d rather be on the side of a tree.
The birds that land on the rail or stuff, the squirrels that sit there, I feed them half my lunch. I once had this hop come down out west hunting. I had a golden eagle. I was right below a rock out phase. I could hear him. I was going, “Oh.” This doesn’t happen except in the wild world of Omaha or whatever it is. You think of those. Knowing the ravine, I was looking over in Wyoming and I heard his feathers and sat. I went, “Are you crapping me?” He could care less because I’m below him. He can’t set me and I’m not moving. That is a thrill to have a twenty-pound golden eagle sitting almost on your head.
You and I love the outdoors thing. Many times things like that happen. I was hunting one time and I saw something flash out the corner of my eye. Within a range of me reaching was a great horned owl. He looked over and gave me a look, “You’re hunting, too.” One of the places that I hunt here close to my town is called an urban zone. There’s a busy highway within 150 yards. I’ll be in my treestand and I’ll have hawks fly over, birds land on you, squirrels running up the tree, coyotes pass by you, a deer. All these people are in their cars in the rat race. They don’t realize this amazing nature is right here off the road. I’m happy that I’m able to be out there and be part of it. The most awesome thing is to see a chipmunk run across your foot when you’re on turkey hunting or rabbits come up beside you.
Down in Georgia one time, I had a black snake. This is no lie. I had two turkeys coming in. I thought I had them figured out. They’re going to come right up this ravine and flap in a ruse. They gobbled coming in. I shut up and get the camera rolling. All of a sudden, I hear something. I said, “What is that coming?” Right up beside me was a six-foot black snake. I’m not scared of snakes. His eyes were glazed over because he was getting ready to shed. That’s when they stay at their most to strike. He’s not poisonous. I don’t care if he bites me. I don’t want him to scare the turkeys so I sat there. He curled up next to my leg and the turkeys came in behind me, 25 feet and I couldn’t move. I thought, “Are you kidding me?” I picked that snake up, put it in my decoy bag and took it back. I was hunting with Bill Harmon. I thought he wasn’t going to drive me home that night.
One thing that John shared to me is that he does have MS and he came through that. It was a son of a gun. It was crap. All of a sudden, he found a life that is meaningful to him. When you think about that and when crap hits us, think about what Uncle Bucky has been through. There are thousands of people who have been through stuff and for whatever reason, they do get through. John, why don’t you talk about that?
In 2004, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As you can tell, I’m a busybody. I own my own construction company. I work 65 hours a week in the field and I work another 25 hours here at home. The good Lord has a way of slowing you down. In 2007, I got bad. I underwent some heavy steroid treatments. I went from 185 pounds to 219. I was able to start functioning again. In 2007, I was out in the woods. I’m not pushing my religion on you but I believe all outdoors are spiritual. We have this spiritual connection because we’re doing what our Creator meant us to be which is the steward of His outdoor. While I’m out here on the stand, I always have a strong guide on this stuff. I wrestled and played rugby. I used to bench press almost 380 pounds. I couldn’t lift this 80-pound ladder stand up and I got mad. I sat there in the outdoors and I made peace with God with my MS. I felt like God told me, “Give it to me. It’s not going to be easy, John, but I’ll make you get through this. I’m going to use you for my good.” That’s what I think of. My mom was a farmer. She taught us, “There’s always somebody else that’s got it worse than you do. Get up, get moving and you’ll feel better.”
The entire side of both my cheeks, my outer arms, my legs and the nerves are totally dead. I have no feeling. You could stick a needle through my arm. Every morning, I wake up and I thank God for that day then I’ll say, “How can I serve you, God?” Some of those days I go, “God, can I maybe get a deer, a turkey or a rabbit?” Some of the times He lets me do that. Out there, if you’re going through something, remember that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that there’s always somebody like my mom would say that’s got it worse than you do. Get up and get moving. I focus on the outdoors. It gives me this goal that I’ve got that I want to be around for my grandkids. What keeps me going is the outdoors and the fact that I want to share my experience with other people that might be going through things as I’ve been through. That’s where I get my strength from. I’m not going to pull any punches. Every morning I wake up and I say, “Thank you God for another day. How can I serve you?” Some days I ask Him, “Can I go out to the woods?” He lets me. It’s my wife that lets me.
This has been fun. I can’t wait until the next time to do it. Uncle Bucky is going up to Canada to play fisherman or something. He’s going to work, he’s going to see bears, wolves, walleyes and catch some pikes. He’s going to have a blast. I can’t wait to hear about that story. On behalf of thousands of readers across North America, Uncle Bucky, thank you for being a guest.
Thank you for having me.
About Uncle Bucky
Starting at the age of 10 in 1973 after watching the movie Jeremiah Johnson, it was apparent that this was what I was designed to do.
Trapping, fishing and hunting, the next 8 1/2 years were filled with them all until 1981 when my father died.
He was my mentor in the outdoors as well as my best friend, that all got taken away and my passion for the outdoors died.
Then in 2002 after numerous invitations by an individual to go deer hunting I decided to get back into the outdoors. One day was all it took the fire ignited and it quickly became a forrest fired, consuming my life once again.
In 2004 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In 2007 it got very bad after turkey season. I underwent heavy IV steroid treatments which brought me back. So I decided then to start filming as a way to document my passion for the outdoors. One thing lead to another, God guiding me all the way to where I am at today.
I enjoy sharing my experiences in the field with others thru my hunting show, Uncle Bucky’s Outdoor Adventures and also my website and Youtube channel. I also enjoy speaking to others at various outdoor dinners about my experiences in life, the outdoors and how God has worked thru those times.