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Interviewer: Welcome to another episode of Whitetail rendezvous, This is your host Bruce Hutcheon. This afternoon I’ve got Chase Bowman from Virginia. He is the co-host of Bound for Blood, a brand new TV show coming out, and we’ll be talking about that later. Welcome Chase, and welcome to Whitetail Rendezvous.
Chase: Thank you, thank you, glad to be here.
Interviewer: So, let’s jump right into it. Tell us about why you love whitetail hunting and being in the whitetail business. Just give us some background on that, Chase.
Chase: I love whitetail hunting mainly because it’s kinda more of a competition between you and something that has its own world out there. You know, I guess you could say they’re so much smarter than you. You step into something’s bedroom trying to figure out its daily habits. Yeah, it’s just it really, I guess you could say, piques your wits, to a sense. It’s not something you just get up every morning and say, “I wanna be a successful whitetail hunter,” and just go out and do it. It’s something you gotta really work hard for. That’s why I do it. I love to work hard and try and outdo something. I like the competition of it.
Interviewer: And are you an archery hunter or muzzle or shotgun rifle hunter?
Chase: Oh man, I hunt with everything, mainly archery but I love my muzzle Hugger. Shotgun, not so much but mainly archery.
Interviewer: All right. Let’s talk about your hunting tip. Based on your history, what’s the number one tip that you’d like to share with our listeners out there?
Chase: My number one tip would be, and it’s kinda reverse of what most people do these days, but my number one tip is to not rely so much on technology anymore. You know, it seems like everybody out there throws up 300 cameras and takes all these pictures of deer. And that’s great but, you know, from my standpoint, I hunt a lot of pressured deer. And you start fooling around in their areas and they start to know somethings up.
So my tip would be, just leave as little bit of an impact as you can. I carry stands in with me every day, carry them out every night. You know, it’s a lot of hard work but sometimes, if you just back up your perch a little bit, look at things more from the outside, use maps more, you know, rather than pictures. Just find the areas you need to hunt without getting in there first. You know, make your first trip in there the day you are going to hunt it. That’s it. Come in before daylight, set up, know where you’re going just by map. And, you know, it seems to really work for me. It’s helped me take a lot of nice deer over the years.
I get guys a lot of times, I actually had it happen twice last year, shot a dear and I’ve never seen it before just to have the guy across the fence send me a picture of it. That tells me that I’m doing it right.
Chase: You can take all the pictures you want but when you’ve got the deer on the ground there’s nothing like it.
Interviewer: No, there isn’t. I share with people all the time the hunting adventures, the hunting experience lasts about one second of taking the animal. The remainder of the whole time of the trip, whether it’s a day or week or whatever time you have allocated, it’s building up to that and then enjoying the journey. That’s what I call it, really enjoying the journey.
hase: That’s exactly right, I feel the same way.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about a couple whitetail ah-ha moments in the woods or setting up gear or just something that you learned talking to all the people. But share with us a couple of those ah-ha moments.
Chase: I guess my biggest ah-ha moment was when I was about 18 years old. Me and my brothers spotted a buck from the road. We couldn’t hunt the property he was on but my family actually owned the property on the backside. And my brother set me up, probably a half a mile from that deer, and told me to just sit there and not move. We’d seen the deer in the field and we were in the only covered area between it and the next field. He said, “If you sit up here, that deer will be there.” Two hours later, I shot the deer. For the longest time that was the biggest buck I had killed. That was kinda my ah-ha moment there, you know, one of the biggest to me was just because he’s not where you can hunt him you can always position yourself better. You know, I had limited visibility where I was. I didn’t think I’d ever see that deer but I was in the only place he could go. And I’d have never thought about it until then. So that was one of the big ones for me.
Another one, was when I just started killing deer. After I quit using cameras and things and started killing deer and then getting pictures texted to me or sent to you on Facebook of the deer I just killed on somebody else’s trail camera across the fence. That was a really big ah-ha moment for me.
Interviewer: So, what’s the impact of that? You and I both know that there’s trail cameras hanging on millions of trees, probably hundreds of thousands. I have no idea, but let’s throw out, it’s a big number, but yet you just mentioned something that I think key and our listeners should maybe tune into it. That in some cases nothing wrong with trail cameras but in other cases, I’m hearing you say that maybe it’s not such a good idea.
Chase: You know, I believe that there’s a place for them out there but, you know, a lot of the guys are hunting deer like me. You know, they don’t have 50,000 acres of private lease and they’re hunting pressured animals. And any time you hunt a pressured animal he’s gonna react to everything you do. Somebody doesn’t walk in your house and just go in there and take pots and pans out of your cabinets and set them on the counter without you noticing. It’s the same way with deer. You go in their bedroom, you go in their area, no matter what you do that deer knows you’ve been there. They don’t make enough scent killer on this earth to ever change that. That just a part of it, the less time you spend in there, the less time he has to figure you out. Nine times out of 10 you’re not patterning those mature bucks, he’s patterning you. So, if you don’t give him that opportunity then he never will.
You know, you take your tree stand out at night, he won’t see that in the middle of the night. There’s nothing there for him to see. The visual part of it is just as much as scent and stuff. You may be heading to the spot the next morning but, if he comes through there at night and there’s a tree stand that wasn’t there the day before, chances are that he’s not gonna come back through there for a few days.
Interviewer: Good advice.
Chase: Same way with the cameras, it’s something that’s not normally there, it’s out of their element. They’re not used to it and I’ve seen deers slowly shy away from them. The season comes and their testosterone levels change and things like that. You know, it’s just like in late September it’s like those bucks just flip a switch and they go from daytime deer to nocturnal. You know, they do the same thing on cameras.
Interviewer: Now are you hunting out of tree stands, hang-ons, I’m assuming . . . or possibly a ground blind? I shouldn’t assume anything.
Chase: Mainly I hunt out of climbers. Sometimes I’ll carry a lock on with me instead of climbing sticks. I never use ground blinds because they’re just so big, you know, and they’re very noticeable. Even if you brush them in, it’s a pile of brush that wasn’t there before. I kill a whole lot of my deer, probably 75% of them, on the ground without any aided blind. I just back up against a tree or a natural blow down or something of that kind, just low impact hunting.
Interviewer: Now, when you’re ground hunting, are you archery stick or strain or are you a muzzle loader?
Chase: I do it all, you know, archery and muzzle loader. Muzzle loader is about the only way I hunt. I will hunt with archery, I’ve had great success on archery bucks like that, too. You just take something to sit on, a little stool just to get you up off of the ground where you can draw that bow back and maneuver around with it a little bit.
Interviewer: So, I hear you saying that you’ve had good success just getting in the woods, finding a natural blind. Now you have materials in front of you, behind you, or all around you?
Chase: Mainly, you know, mainly behind me but I will take, if I’ve got a couple little sticks or something that have still got some green leaves on them that fell down or something like that, I will put in front of me. A whole lot of times I position myself to where it’s kind of hard for me to shoot because I’ve got so much cover around me. I use natural cover but there is always a hole you can shoot through. And the more you get around you, you know, of course the less likely you are for deer to see you. But, you know, overall what I’ve found is that deer have gotten so used to tree stands that they look up quite a bit. And a whole lot of times, when you are on their level, it’s like they don’t pay you near as much attention because they’re so used to a hunter being up in the tree.
Interviewer: How large an acreage do you hunt, typically?
Chase: I’ve got one tract of land that I hunt that is probably 500 acres. The rest of the tracts I hunt, typically 50 to 100 acres, I don’t hunt huge tracts. A lot of those are private land but I don’t have free rein over all of them. I’ve got other hunters in there to compete against, whether it be my family or guys from the outside, whatever. I don’t have a whole lot of leases.
Interviewer: But you have enough that you make it work. Now, when you start patterning a buck or get into an area that you know bucks are there, How many times do you try hunting them, do you actually go in, that you are gonna that buck and only that buck?
Chase: That’s a really good question and that’s something that is overlooked a whole lot. I will not hunt a deer more than three days. If I can’t kill it in three days, I move on. There’s just too many dear out there. What I’ve normally found is if you hunt a buck more than a couple of days, that you have littered that area so bad that it’s unreal. Usually, that’s all it takes, is just a few days. You know, you really do your homework and try and figure that buck out, like I said, from the outside. Try to figure out what he’s doing from maps, whatever. You are only in his area a couple days that’s usually when you get him. When you put a couple days in looking at the outside, what do you think he’s gonna do, whether it be draws, flats, terrain changes, things like that in his area. If you don’t get him in two or three days you’ve got him figured wrong, it’s time to move on and maybe come back later and hunt him a couple more days but if the rut hits, you can forget it all. He’s liable to do anything then.
Interviewer: All bets are off once the testosterone switch is thrown. It gets crazy, that’s for darn sure.
Chase: It is, that’s exactly right.
Interviewer: ‘Cause I’ve been told by a lot of our community that they’ll shoot a buck they’ve never seen. I mean either just driving roads or trail cams or watching fields, watching bean fields, whatever. They’ve never seen the buck and all of a sudden the rut kicks in and there he is. They go, “Where did he come from?”
Chase: That’s exactly right. That’s the way it is. I’ve done it before, too.
Interviewer: That’s exciting. Let’s talk about some of the people that have impacted you. You’ve said your brother. You saw a dandy buck, Mr. Wonderful, in a field and you were fortunate enough to get in the right place and you stayed still and you put him down. But who are some of the other people in your life that have helped mature you as a whitetail hunter?
Chase: One of the big influences I had was an uncle of mine, he’s passed now but he always hunted public land deer. That was his big thing, he loved it. The guy just lived for public land deer. He told me when I was young a little story about when he started out hunting deer. You know, he killed his first two bucks and he said, “At that moment,” he said, “I thought I had the deer hunting figured out.” And he said, but here he is, you know, 60 years later and he said, “I’ve figured out now, that I know about as much now as I did the day I started.” And that’s the truth. You know, nobody ever learns everything about a whitetail deer. You are always learning. So, he was always a big influence to me, to always keep learning, you never learn it all.
My father was, my father carried me deer hunting before I could even walk. He put me in a book bag with two leg holes cut in the bottom. So you know, he was a big influence into getting me out there. Just instilled the right ways to hunt. You know, you don’t poach and things like that. Mainly just my family has really been my biggest influence out of everybody.
Interviewer: Thank you for that. What would you say, Chase, is the one thing holding you back from being better at the craft of whitetail hunting?
Chase: If I had to pick one thing, it would probably be that I have a job. That’s the one problem. No, in all seriousness it’s that I’m the kind of person, I get, if I haven’t killed my deer in the first few days of hunting him, I get frustrated. You know, sometimes I get down on that. There’s a lot of times that I look back and I think, you know, if I had just settled down and went back to the maps on that deer, you know, I’d have seen where I went wrong and killed him. But I was so sick already because I hadn’t killed him that I gave up. So, that would probably be it. Just that I can be hard on myself sometimes.
Interviewer: I’m sure we all can echo that sentiment, that’s for darn sure. What’s the best advice you ever received about hunting whitetails?
Chase: The best advice I ever received, I guess would be that . . . well I really don’t know even where to begin with that one. You see so much over the years. I guess probably that thing I told you with my uncle. That he knew as much 60 years later as he did the day he started. Just that you never quit learning. That was always, I guess you could say that was the best advice. Just to always keep trying to learn and learning about them.
Interviewer: What, with all the internet and social media, do you have any go-to sites that you like? Just to go to and say, “Hey, that’s good information.” It might be a podcast. It might be a blog. It might be a Facebook page. Do you use anything religiously?
Chase: No, there’s nothing that per se use religiously. I kinda just watch local Facebook pages. You know, for me, it’s just things out of southwest Virginia where I live. I just kinda watch and pay attention on, whether it’s friends’ Facebook pages or groups on hunting and start to see when the big bucks really start dropping and kinda follow that a lot, on which gear I’m gonna hunt at what time. You know, if you start looking at other people’s success in your area, you learn what the best times are to hunt, you know, where you need to be. A lot of times I will message somebody and say, “What was the weather like?” Or things like that. Or I’ll just look outside and I’ll just kinda follow that. But I don’t use per se anything religiously.
Interviewer: All right, any TV shows or books, where you say, “Hey, I read this book and, boy, that guy was spot on about rubs or the pecking order in herds,” or something like that?
Chase: Yeah, I read a book once by Ron Spomer. I think it was called “The Rut Hunter’s Book” I think was the name of it. It was a really good book it had a lot of information, you know, on hunting deer in the rut, which is something that a lot of us struggle with because you don’t know what the deer are doing because of testosterone and stuff and he really put a lot together on that.
Interviewer: All right, if you had a new hundred acres and you just bought it, let’s say today, it’s March 19th, and you’re gonna hunt it this fall. Just walk us through what’s gonna happen in April, May, June, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, and January. What’s gonna happen in the next 12 months on that piece of property?
Chase: Well, you know, to start with if I picked that up, we’ll just say in January, you know, I would start watching your vegetation areas because all the acorns and everything is pretty much gone and all your hard mass is gone. So, you kinda start to watch the fields on days, if you’ve got cold days and then you’ve got a warm snap, go on those warm snaps and see what kind of herd you got using those fields ’cause that will give you a big tip. Do a little bit of shed hunting. Just kinda see what class of deer was in there the year before.
Then as your spring and summer months go on you start to plant some food crops and kinda key in on where your deer are coming from. If you’ve got a long field that goes down into a draw, you know, see what corners of that field they’re coming from. If they’re coming out of that draw or if they’re coming out of the other corner. That’ll kinda get you in the area, ballpark, of where you need to start looking to put your stand come early fall, October.
Then, you know, once say August/September hits. That’s when I start glassing from a distance and not impacting the deer. If you’ve got a long field or something, just glass those deer, see what they’re doing. If they’re starting to spar yet, that means the testosterone is starting to change a little bit. It won’t be long they’re gonna start dropping velvet.
And then when October hits, that’s when you go in. I mean, you look at your maps, you find your terrain changes, whether you’ve got a creek bottom that comes in the lower end of that area, you know, your thickets, your high spots, your oak flats, things like that. Then that’s usually when I just go in blind. I source the woods, after January, I never really step foot in those woods after looking for sheds or whatever. I would be out until deer season hits. Then I would make my first approach in there with a stand on my back.
Interviewer: Wow! So let’s take it apart now, shed hunting, what does that tell you? Everybody knows, okay, you’ve got some sheds and you’ve got the sizes of deer. But what does that tell you more than the sizes of deer that you have on that 100 acres?
Chase: Well mainly, you know, it’s gonna tell you overall herd health. If you pick up a lot of puny looking sheds, not much mass to them, you know, things like that, which some will do ’cause you always want to have young deer, but if overall your shed quality isn’t that good that tells you that your herd health just isn’t good. If you find very few sheds, that’s also a good indicator. So that’s when, you know, once you do your shed hunting and you’re not finding really good results, that’s when you may want to start thinking about food plots, supplemental nutrition, things like that.
Where I live, we can’t bait. It’s not something that I would do personally, if I could, just because it’s not my thing, not saying that anybody else is wrong for doing it. But, you know, it tells you herd health, mainly, if you’re finding a lot of good mass of sheds that look like old deer, you know that your old bucks are making it. There’s enough food for them old bucks that are, say, run down to make it. They’re not having to search for food. So that’s a good indicator, just mainly herd health and that’s what everybody wants. If you don’t have good health in your herd, it doesn’t matter because you’re not gonna have old, mature bucks and your young bucks aren’t gonna grow good horns. So that’s the biggest thing, I get out of shed hunting.
Interviewer: Can you estimate the size of your herd by the number of sheds you find?
Chase: I mean, yeah, you can. You can get a rough estimate. You’re not gonna be dead on by any means but, you know, say if you find . . . you go out there and you find 20 different sheds all from different bucks. You’ve matched them up and there’s 20 different sets. Well then you can go to, like, your local VNR and kinda ask them ’cause they usually know. You ask them what the buck to doe ratio is. And then you go back and you match that against your sheds found that that will give you kinda a rough estimate. Give you something to go off of. If you find a bunch of sheds on 100 acre plot you need to start shooting some does. You need to clear some of those deer out because too many deer in one place, they’re eating up all the nutrition, you’re not gonna have big horns.
Interview: Let’s go back to the food plots and you said, if you’re just not seeing good mass in the older age class of deer. How do you set in food plots on your 100 acres and not disturb the deer? Does that make sense?
Chase: Yeah, it makes sense but the thing with that is you’re gonna have one or the other. I mean, that’s just the choice you’ve gotta make at that time. You’re gonna be kinda impacting the deer a little bit there, there’s no way around it. But as hunters it’s our responsibility to have overall herd health anyway. In any thing we pursue that should be your ultimate goal is the health of the animal you’re hunting. And making sure those numbers stay good and stay in balance. So, sometimes you just got to, I guess you would say bite the bullet. And deer are pretty well used to most of the time if you’re working field areas, they’re pretty well much used to tractors, things like that. They’ve seen farmers to it hundreds of thousands of times. So the impact of that isn’t like walking in the woods, you know, going through a bedding area, things like that. So, it’s lower impact but there is still impacting but sometimes you just have to make that choice.
Interviewer: Now, you said that you go in January and then if you put in January shed hunting, then you’d set up your food plot. Once that’s in you’re out of there. You’re not walking the ground, you’re not putting up trail cameras. You’re not on the ground or in their neighborhood or their back yard at all.
Chase: No, not really. I mean, I’m pretty much out. I look at it, that’s their space, they’ve got that. Until hunting season rolls around, I’m not going to be in there. I’m not going to let them know that I know where they’re at. If I go in they know that I know where they’re at so they’re going to change, you know? And if you’re trying to hunt a deer that’s constantly changing on you because of the impact you left, it makes it hard. So, you know, I just believe in staying out. I’ve only been . . . some of my main places that I turkey hunt, they’re not areas that I deer hunt. I don’t small game hunt in a lot of my deer hunting areas. I just stay out completely, it’s just a safe haven until season hits. And then what you’ll find on that, if your neighbors aren’t doing what you are, when they put pressure on their deer, they’re going to come over to you. And they’re going to start taking shelter in your area because it’s unpressured. And that’s when you start killing bucks that you’ve never seen. You’ve never seen them anyway for the most part because you’re not in there, but bucks that would normally be across the fence are now on you because they’re not pressured, they’re not feeling it.
Interviewer: Good advice. You mentioned a couple of different times about maps. What types of maps are you using?
Chase: Usually, me and my brother we just go on Google Earth and that will tell you a whole lot. Just get an aerial picture. I’ve used things like topography maps, you know, it shows the lines and stuff. And you can get a lot out of those, if you know how to read one, about your high points and your depressions and your creek bottoms. But a lot of times, you know, we use things like Google Earth. It gives you kind of an overview of what your canopy is and you can kinda go off that a whole lot. In a briar patch, and things like that, in big thickets, you don’t usually have the overhead vegetation where these briars and things couldn’t grown. That kind of lets you know that, “Hey, this is a very good possibility for a bedding area.” They’re going to come out of this thicket, this heavy patch of briars, it’s going to come down this draw and work its way up and around to the [inaudible 00:28:45].
Interviewer: I’m just thinking about what you just said. So, we’re talking about funnels and we’re talking about nets and we’re talking about pinch points. Talk about that a little bit.
Chase: You know, as far as pinch points and funnels and things, one of the best things a hunter can find on his property is a saddle where two ridges meet, things like that. That’s usually golden and deer seem to funnel up through those. They’re hard and you’ve got to watch your wind on those. Pinch lines, I’ve always had good luck hunting on pinch lines. If you find a good pinch crossing, deer use that time and time again. And if there’s an old fence that’s [inaudible 00:29:41] up, you can oftentimes, if it’s a fence that nobody’s using and you’ve got land on both sides of it, it’s just old and [inaudible 00:29:50] up, you cut a hole in it and those deer start going there. You know exactly where they’re going to be.
Another thing that I’ve found that really works well is a drainage ditch, that’s really thigh deep, or something. You find an area in there where it shallows out, those deer come up out of it, you know, they cross it there and that’s where you know to be. You know, high creek banks work the same. My brother shot a 137 inch deer just by sitting in a creek on a five gallon bucket because it was a really high bank, except for one spot where he dug out to get his farm equipment across and the deer were using it like crazy. And he killed a monster off that. First time he ever hunted it.
Interviewer: Hey, great ideas and Chase we’re at the time that you get an opportunity to talk to our listeners about, you know, what you do and the programs and the groups and companies that you are involved with. So I’ll turn over the mic to you and you can tell all our listeners what you’re all about.
Chase: Okay, thank you. We’re running a program called Bound for Blood on the Hunt Channel, spot it in October 2015. We’re not just hunting whitetails, that’s our main patch and we’re hunting everything from hogs to turkeys, you know, anything that can be hunted we’re trying to go for it. It’s just something that we have a great passion for, but like I said, mainly whitetails. You can find us on Bound for Blood on Facebook, you can find me on Facebook, it’s Chase Bowman. Or you can reach me directly at (276) 266-4270.
Interviewer: Chase, thank you so much for being part of the Whitetail Rendezvous community and we wish you well with your family and friends this hunting season.
Chase: Well thank you, I enjoyed it.
Interviewer: All right now, talk to you soon.
Chase: Okay. Bye.