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Bruce: Hello, everybody out in Whitetail Rendezvous community. This is another episode, and today I’m really excited to have a really sharp young man with us, Cam Pauli. He’s in media, you can you find him on Twitter and Facebook. Cam, welcome to the show.
Cam: Thanks, Bruce. Glad to be here.
Bruce: Hey, why don’t you just share with us a little about what you’re doing today and your joy for hunting whitetails.
Cam: Sure, yeah, I guess a little back story, how I got involved in the hunting industry. Started hunting when I was about 14, and basically, have been duck hunting my whole life. Started out working for Sportsman’s Channel. I was in college and got a full-time gig with them. Once I graduated, worked for Sportsman’s Channel for about a year. Also did Delta Waterfowl for a little while and currently work full-time at US Sportsman’s Alliance.
A few of my coworkers at US Sportsman’s Alliance are big whitetail hunters. The bug was starting to itch again a little bit, to get out and try bowhunting. This past fall, picked up a bow again. I had a bow for a couple of years and just never really got around to really pursing whitetails. Last year, I gave it a go, dedicated a lot more time to whitetail hunting, and I actually managed a harvest my first year, my first year ever, with a bow. It was a great experience and looking forward to getting back out there this season.
Bruce: Now wait a minute, your first year, and you got a deer? Was it a buck or a doe, or?
Cam: It was a six-point buck.
Bruce: Six-point buck, first time. Now how many days of hunting did i take you to close the deal?
Cam: I probably had about 15 days of hunting in, 15 to 20 days. It’s been a steep learning curve, learning how to hunt whitetails. They’re very smart critters. This is my, actually my third year bowhunting, but the two prior seasons I really hadn’t put enough effort into it. Just didn’t dedicate the time or the resources to actually learning how to bowhunt, learning about whitetails. I didn’t care about wind, stand placement, any of that, just kind of went out there, just tried it out. So last year I dedicated a little bit more time. Spent some time talking to different people, learning a few things, and it paid off.
Bruce: Let’s talk about some of the things you learned, or that people shared with you.
Cam: I’d say the biggest thing that I learned is I have a guy that actually taught me how to track. His biggest piece of advice was just be out there. Tree stand time is key. Just be in the stand. On top of that, just learn more about whitetails. He’s been hunting whitetails for like 40 years, probably. He says he learned something new every year. That’s the biggest takeaway for me, was just to keep learning, keep asking questions, keep trying to learn more about whitetails, stand placement, everything. There’s lots that goes into whitetail hunting. There’s a lot of different aspects of whitetail hunting, especially if you are a bowhunter. Wind is key. Just practicing with my bow, at least for a few minutes every day. There’s a lot that goes into preparing for a whitetail hunt year-round. My biggest lesson out of the whole two-year fiasco prior to the season where I actually put enough time was just, I wasn’t dedicating enough time to honing my skills. Like I said, there’s a variety of skills that go in a quality whitetail hunt. I just didn’t dedicate enough time to learning enough.
Bruce: Let’s talk about, just take five skills that you really had to get to know. I’m not going to say master, because I don’t think any of us master anything about whitetails, we just keep on learning. So let’s talk about five skills that you honed that enabled you to close the deal this year, or last year.
Cam: I think patience was the first one. Not only in the tree stand, but just patience with my own development as a whitetail hunter. I would get discouraged too easily. I actually had missed two deer the year before, and that really kind of turned whitetail hunting off for me. I took a bad experience, I guess, and just took it from a negative angle, when I should have really took it as a positive, and learned from it. Which I ended up doing this last season. I kind of got over the fact that I had missed two shots. My biggest fear about bow hunting was making a poor shot. Luckily both misses were clean misses. This last year, I had really good shot placement at twelve yards, and made a good ethical call on a deer, and had a good shot placement, and I just grazed the heart, and hit both lungs. I was very proud of that shot. So, I guess patience would be a first one. Second is time. Time going out out and practicing or shooting every day. Time in the woods placing trail cam, or pulling trail camera cards, habitat improvement projects, just putting the time in. Trying to think of three other ones here off of the top of my head. I would say wind was a big factor that I hadn’t really taken into consideration before. I don’t know how many times I got busted in previous years just by making a little error of sometimes I’m walking at the wrong time. I only had two stands, and I didn’t really place them or really care about the wind at all. Whereas last year, I upped it to five stands and took the wind into consideration. Fourth, I would say, just the amount of time that I spent in the woods. I think I spent more quality time in the woods during appropriate times of the day, appropriate times of the season, versus just going out whenever and taking the rut into consideration. I’d say a timing issue. Fifth, let’s see here…
Bruce: One more.
Cam: I would say, not utilizing my resources. I’m so fortunate to work in the outdoor industry. I really didn’t ask enough questions. I learned a lot about whitetail hunting from my coworkers, from social media, from people that I know in the outdoor industry that I just really didn’t speak up before and ask them the right questions that help me develop into a very green, new whitetail hunter. I attribute a lot of that success to the people that really helped me along and gave me more motivation to keep trying, and really instilled the drive for me to harvest that first whitetail.
Bruce: For our listeners, Cam, just recapping what you just said. It’s so important to just reach out, get outside of your comfort zone and say, “Hey, I need help to understand this. I’m really interested in doing this well, whitetail hunting well”. Listeners, you’d be surprised how many people will take the time to help you do that.
Cam: Mm-hm, definitely. Mentors are key. I think a lot of the success from my own life has always been from having good mentors. Whether I was in college, in my education, or in terms of my hunting career, or trapping. Every time I’ve ever tried to take on a new skill or a hobby, it’s been a lot easier to have a mentor there to guide me and help me learn from their mistakes, so I don’t have to repeat those.
Bruce: It saves a lot of time, that’s for darn sure.
Bruce: Let’s talk about, I think this is an interesting connection. You were a waterfowler, and you’re a photographer, and you’re involved in media. How have those other skill sets helped you morph into a whitetail hunter?
Cam: I think, some of them have, and some of them haven’t, but I think most of all, having those different skill sets, it just takes patience. If you want to be a good photographer, if you want to be a good duck hunter, you have to learn a lot of different aspects of the hobby or the sport. The same is true to whitetail hunting. There’s more to it than just setting up a few stands and grabbing a firearm or a bow, and going out there. There’s so much more to it. You really have to understand a lot of different aspects of whitetail hunting to be a successful whitetail hunter. So, I think delving deeper, asking more questions, combing through resources, just having the desire to learn more about whatever it is that you’re doing. That’s what’s really helping me start to grow as a whitetail hunter. Even this year, I know I’m going to know more going into it, just because I’ve utilized my resources, and I’m honing my skills to become better this year.
Bruce: What’s the one thing from last season that you learned that you’re going to make darn sure you implement during this season, this upcoming season?
Cam: A lot of my success was attributed to, I feel like, my stand placement. I spent a lot more time in the woods prior to shooting season, cutting shooting lanes, planning two very small food plots. So I think preparation was really key, and I wasn’t surprised by that at all. I did invest a lot more time prior to the season and I plan on doing so this year again, and hopefully that will pay off.
Bruce: What’s something funny that’s happened to you afield? You’ve been hunting whitetail for three years now. Can you share one of the funny events that you had. It might not have been funny when it happened but when you can step away you go, “Holy fright, that was awesome”.
Cam: Yeah. Well, I had a great encounter accident my first year bowhunting with a ten-point buck, he was about 25 yards behind me. It’s just one of those experiences that you never forget as a first time bowhunter. Having your first encounter with a big deer. I was so excited, I remember my adrenaline pumping, I was shaking, and I was just already envisioning myself drawing back on this buck. He was quartering behind me, and it wasn’t going to be a good shot. I was trying to wait for him to come up this path a little further so he could be about 15, between 15 and 20 yards and a good broadside shot. I was just waiting for it. I was actually, I don’t know why, but I was moving my wrist and I had my. . .trying to think of the term for it. Redo this question. My release. You want to start this question over, Bruce?
Bruce: No, you’re doing fine. It was your release?
Cam: Yeah, so my release ended up striking my tree stand. The deer immediately perked his ears up, grunted, and took off. It just shattered me. I felt horrible that I had made this simple error. Same thing I had practiced, my bow, practiced all season, and I was ready to make a good shot. Just that simple little error caused the deer to take off and that opportunity turned me off for an entire season. I walked away and never went back up in the tree that season. While it wasn’t a funny experience, it really did teach me a lot. This season reflecting, I understand that I really shouldn’t have done that. I should have went back out there and just gotten over a silly little error, and spent more time in the tree stand.
Bruce: Well, thanks, for sharing that, because we’ve all goofed up. We’ve all made mistakes. We all haven’t checked our gear before we got into the tree, or get in the tree and gone “I can’t believe I didn’t bring” whatever. That happens to us all, and that’s part of it. That’s why a lot of people have written checklists and with social, with iPhones or smartphones now, they have checklists right in their phone, so when they get out of the truck or their car and walk into the stand and they go, “Okay, I get this, I get this.” Because you get excited, especially during the rut, because you know you’re going to see a buck today. There’s no doubt about it.
Cam: Can’t blame a guy for being excited, during that time of the year.
Bruce: It’s important to do that. Let’s talk about…you mentioned that somebody mentored you for your trapping. Would you say he’s the person that gave you the best advice? And who is he, if you want to identify him, or just share a couple of other things that he shared with you about critical advice that’s made a difference.
Cam: His name is Mike Traub, he’s actually a chiropractor here in southern Wisconsin. He’s a big whitetail hunter, and hunts exclusively with a bow. He’s probably been the best resource in terms of my whitetail hunting career. I’m always texting him and asking him what’s up, what you doing, are the deer moving. He’s always really encouraging me to get out there in the stand and learn more about deer by either watching deer or utilizing my trail cam runs, or different resources. He occasionally emails me links to articles. He’s just been a real motivator and has always pushed me to do better, and more and more. Sometimes I think this guy, I don’t know how he can learn any more about whitetails. I think he knows everything there is to know. He seems to think otherwise, which just really amazes me to see somebody like him to still try and learn more even though he already has. He knows more about whitetails than… He’s forgot more about whitetails than I’ve ever know, probably. But he still has that drive and passion to learn more. That’s very exciting, and that’s a lesson that I can apply to any area of my life.
Bruce: So, listeners, just the comments, somebody invested time and took an interest in Cam, and I think there’s a lot of us who listen to the show that can do exactly the same thing. Take an interest, and spend some time with somebody that sincerely has the passion for getting better at hunting whitetail. Let’s talk about your “A-ha” moments. There’s been a couple times, I’m sure, that you’ve been trying to figure something out, then all of a sudden the light bulb goes on and you go, “Oh, man. I should have thought about that days ago”.
Cam: Exactly, and I would say that, maybe it’s not one specific “A-ha” moment, but it’s a series of them, and I think failing tends to be my “A-ha” moment. Where you screw up or you make a mistake or an error, and that’s you realize that you have to do better, or that you can do better. It’s just having that constant motivation to overcome those feelings. That really make me realize that I can do better, and then when I in turn succeed, like harvesting my first whitetail last fall, it was a huge success in my mind. And that was an “A-ha” moment, like where I can do this. I can [inaudible 00:15:13] and shoot smaller deer, what’s to say I can’t shoot a bigger deer, or take a better shot, or make more improvements to the land that I’m hunting on to hold more deer. It is very doable, I see other guys doing it, or my mentor doing it. I have the same abilities. It’s just being able to put the time and resources and having the desire to learn more and improve. So that’s what I’d wrap up as my “A-ha” moment, is those smaller experiences.
Bruce: What about one of your personal habits, characters, that has contributed to, not only your success as an archer, but in life.
Cam: I think consistency, whether it’s, it’s in habits that you form. It’s having the desire to practice, to do more, to have that drive and motivation, to learn something new every day. Also realizing that I don’t have the time to go work eight hours a day on improving habitat, but I do have the time. I can take a half-hour or hour out of my weekend to work on some of these projects. I can consistently do that throughout the year so that I can improve my chances of harvesting a whitetail in the fall. That’s been true for every aspect of my life, whether it’s working on photography skills, or graphic design, or improving my relationship with my fiancée. It’s being able to dedicate time to these things consistently, every day of my life. If I just worked on a habitat project one day out of the entire year, it really wouldn’t get me that far versus working a little by little, every week or every other week. So I’d say consistently working on these different aspects of my life on a routine basis is what really has helped me succeed in a variety of aspects of my life.
Bruce: Today, just a tremendous amount of information at our, literally, our fingertips. Smartphones, and the World Wide Web. What resources do you go to daily, weekly, specifically about whitetail hunting?
Cam: I would say, I don’t usually, particularly visit one resource. I spend a lot of time on Twitter. Twitter has been a phenomenal tool for me in my professional life, and also in my whitetail hunting life, if you want to call it that. I’ve met so many great people through Twitter that know a lot more about whitetail hunting than I do. I create lists on my Twitter account of people that have an addiction to whitetail hunting, based on their account. It’s just chock full of all of these individuals that are bowhunters across the country. I can just go to that list every day and see what’s they’re tweeting about, and they have links to their blogs, and additional resources, stuff that I might never come across if I just visit one online resource every day. I would suggest, if you’re a bow hunter or a deer hunter, for that matter, get on Twitter, make connections, make friends, learn from others. That’s probably been the best online resource for me.
Bruce: For everybody listening, I’m on Cam’s Twitter account. He’s done over 6,000 tweets. He’s being followed by over 2,000 people, I mean, he’s following 2,000 people, he has almost 7,000 followers, and some of his tweets. . . He’s got almost 6,000 favorites on his tweets, and he has 12 personal lists that he’s talked about. Here’s a young man that’s really using a social media tool to enhance not only his hunting, but his life, his professional life. Get involved in social media because there’s a tremendous amount of information out there if you take the time to learn how to use it and then apply it.
Cam: Exactly, and there’s so many people that want to help you. They might be halfway across the country, but they can still teach you something about whitetail hunting. I’ve been so fortunate to have a mentor that lives close by that helped me out in my whitetail hunting career. But I’ve also had a lot of career advice given to me by people that I’ve never met before but have just followed my story through social media and have chimed in, and are willing to help. “Hey, give me a call.” “If you get a deer, let me know.” “If you need some ideas on habitat improvement projects, here’s my email.” There’s all these people out there that want to help and that can be excellent resources for those of you wanting to learn more about whitetail hunting or about habitat, or whatever it might be.
Bruce: Is there a book that you would recommend to our listeners?
Cam: I guess, being younger, I probably spend more time on social media and the web than anything. I haven’t really read books pertaining to whitetail hunting, but just a book that I really enjoy and have always enjoyed is Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac.” While not related to whitetail hunting, it really, I think, has helped me become a more observant hunter, be more aware of my surroundings. A book that’s really encouraged me to think about my role as a hunter and the outdoor community. It has been a great resource for me, and I bet I’ve read that book four or five times now. Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac,” I would recommend that book to anybody interested in outdoors hunting.
Bruce: Thank you for those suggestions. Let’s talk about where you hunt. Is it a 40, an 80, a 120, public land, private land?
Cam: Actually, I hunt on a 20-acre parcel that my parents own just outside of town. It’s a smaller parcel, but at the same time, it’s a whitetail magnet. Where I live, there’s a lot of agriculture, a lot of clear-cutting going on, a lot of larger dairy farms are buying up these smaller farms and removing the woodlots. That 20 acres that my parents own is an oasis in the middle of cropland and a lot of whitetails take refuge there. So I’m very fortunate to be able to hunt on that parcel. It’s more, more lowland I’d say, we have a lot of swamp, White Oak, which has been great, drop tons of acorns, very good food source. A lot of buck thorn, of course, that you see all over southeastern Wisconsin. Then a little bit of upland habitat, just maybe a few acres. But I think it’s a good mix, and it attracts a lot of whitetails, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of that again this year.
Bruce: Cam, thank you so much for your information. Listeners, we’re at the point of the show that I’m going to turn it over to Cam Pauli, and he’s going to share with us what he wants to about his website, about his media company, what he’s doing for US Sportsman’s Alliance. So Cam, next couple of minutes are all yours, take it away.
Cam: Okay, thanks, appreciate it, Bruce. If you want to learn more about me or follow along in my hunting adventures, or you’re looking for some hunting tips, you can find my website online at www.campauli.com, also on twitter @CamPauli and I have a Facebook page, Cam Pauli Media, and I’m also on Instagram as well @CamPauli. So those are very easy ways to find me, to get a hold of me, reach out to me if you have any questions about starting a career in the outdoors or pursuing a career in the outdoor. I do a lot with small business in the outdoors, and promoting small businesses. I’m very passionate about small business. If you have any questions about small business or need help setting up a website or graphics, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be more than glad to help or just brainstorm. I’m always willing to help a fellow outdoors man out and small business owner. That’s all I got for you, Bruce.
Bruce: Well, Cam, again, Whitetail Rendezvous community, we’re fortunate to have a young man like him be our guest and you shared a lot of good information that many, many listeners, even if they’ve hunted a lot of years will go, “Wait a minute, I haven’t thought about that.” Thank you for helping build our community here at Whitetail Rendezvous. Until next time, this is Bruce Hutchin, your host, wishing you a great day.