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Bruce: Good afternoon, everybody. This is Bruce Hutcheon, your host at Whitetail Rendezvous. I’m really excited to have Stacy Beasley with us this afternoon. He’s written a lot of articles on Whitetail hunting and the outdoors. He’s a friend to a lot of outfitters throughout the country. He’s even going to be a TV personality coming up, and he’ll share a little bit about that at the end of the show. But Stacy, let’s open it up with you and give us some of your background.
Stacy: Well, Bruce, thanks for having me on the show, I really appreciate it. A little bit about me, I’m an Army chaplain. I’ve been in the military about ten years, and I’ve been a chaplain for approximately six of those years. The other four years, I was a topographic analyst. I made maps for the troupes over in Iraq. I’m a member of Alaska Healing Hearts, at Alaska Healing Hearts, we take wounded warriors from the lower 48 states and brings them up to Alaska for some wounded warrior therapy events. I’m also a hunting consultant broker, and of course we’ll talk a little bit about that later on, but really I do a whole lot of stuff. I do some writing, too.
Bruce: Excellent, excellent. So let’s get right into. What’s your why for Whitetail hunting? What tripped your trigger or put you in the tree stand and the blind or up at 4:30 in the morning chasing Whitetails?
Stacy: Well, Bruce, it started when I was 13 years old. I was not introduced to Whitetail hunting by my father like a lot of children are. I just kind of took an interest in it. I started hunting when I was 13. By the age of 15, I was able to take my first buck with my father at my side, and that’s the last time my dad ever went hunting with me. But after that day, I just took off and I’ve been hunting Whitetails ever since. I put down the rifle, though, because I wanted to get the most out of my Whitetail hunting experience, and I knew that was with a bow and arrow. So I put down the rifle and I picked up a bow and arrow and I’ve been hunting ever since. I’m 44 now so I think that’s about 29 years of Whitetail hunting.
Bruce: Wow. Hey, who was the most influential person to get you hunting? You mentioned a couple times that your dad was with you when you harvested a buck, but who really helped you get started in the business?
Stacy: Well, I’ll tell you what. It’s someone that no one had ever known about. I was from Carthage, Missouri, and there was a taxidermist in town by the name of Juan Evans [SP]. He was well-known for his ability to hunt Whitetails and so bless his heart. I was at his shop every night hanging out with him and begging him to tell me everything about Whitetail hunting and helping him on some taxidermy projects. He took me under his wing and he taught me everything he could about hunting Whitetail deer. Unfortunately he passed away about eight years ago, but he was very influential in my career and he instilled into me a passion for the Whitetail deer.
Bruce: Wow. From reading my background, I’ve got a couple guys, Harry Scheer [SP] and Otto Knight [SP] that did the same thing for me, so that’s great.
Stacy: They’re good guys.
Bruce: Tell us about your Whitetail aha moment. What lead up to it, what it was, and just that defining moment that you realized, one, you were a Whitetail Hunter, two, you’re probably going to stick with it for a long time.
Stacy: It was when I was 15 years old, Bruce. It was when I took that big buck. He was a big buck. At the time, I thought I’d shot the biggest buck in North America. He was a 12 point, 220 pound buck, and from then on, this is where I need to be, this is what I was probably born to do. Of course my wife doesn’t like me to say that, being born to Whitetail hunt, because there’s no money in it for me, but that was the aha moment. At 15, I knew that this was something I loved and enjoyed, and I’ll tell you what, it has kept me out of trouble and it has kept me focused. I even went through some difficult times as a soldier and chaplain, and came back and had some PTSD. And it was that Whitetail hunting experience that got me out of the house, got me away from everything and put me back in the woods where I felt that this was my place and where I belonged. And it really helped me connect again with God and nature.
Bruce: Yeah, let’s expand that a little bit. We’ve got a lot of listeners out there that have served in the military. Let’s expand about focusing on Whitetail hunting and how that helped you.
Stacy: I think for me in the military and for a lot of guys in the military, it’s that challenge. It’s the challenge of going out there and trying to outsmart the smartest and most alert North American game animal that we have.
Bruce: You got that right.
Stacy: And it’s almost like going out and tracking down Al Qaeda. They’re a smart animal and so it’s just good to go out there, and get that challenge, and be out there especially with archery. That’s why I love archery so much. I like to pull the trigger on that buck when I can see the whites of its eye. It’s just therapy being out in the woods. You slow down and you take a breath and you get to take in everything that God has given. That’s really also under the birth of a lot of my writing projects is what God taught me through hunting. I can leave the woods with that animal, but I always bring home a lesson about life that I learned that day.
Bruce: And talk about lessons learned. I want to get into that and expand that a little bit, but what’s your best Whitetail story? What one story really sticks out in your mind? How did it happen, where were you at and what were you doing?
Stacy: It happened two years ago in mid-December. I was already jealous. I was always jealous of those guys who talked about, “I just got out to the woods and killed a deer.” Heck, I’ve got to hunt. It seems like I’ve got to hunt for six or seven hours just to kill a deer sometimes plus all the homework behind it. But I tell you what, I overslept one day and I wasn’t going to go. I thought, “No, I’ve overslept, the sun is up and it’s too late to get out there.” I thought, “No, I’m going to go. Just get out there and be in the woods and figure out what’s going to happen.” I got in my truck, got my climbing stick, got my bow, and crossed the fence. I knew this land really well, and in the corner of my eye in my peripheral vision, I don’t remember that tree being there. As I looked at further, a little bit longer, it wasn’t a tree. It was a big buck. He was looking at me, and I’m looking at him. He’s probably about 200 yards away at the time, and he goes back to eating. He wasn’t startled at all.
So I threw my sticks down, I ran over to the nearest cover I could find, which was a pond bank, and for whatever reason, he was curious. That thing thought I was another deer or something, and so he starts eating and struts himself right over to me. And at 15 yards, I take him. I’d been in the woods for about 15 minutes.
Bruce: Wait a minute. You’re saying you got out of your truck, got your gear ready. . .
Bruce:. . . you had a rifle, I’m assuming you had a rifle at this time.
Stacy: I had my bow. I had my bow and arrow.
Bruce: You had your bow?
Bruce: Okay. Did you grunt at him? Did you rattle at him?
Stacy: I did nothing. All I did was crawl under the fence, I stood up, I gathered my gear, walked about 20 paces and I noticed this thing that was just out order, and that was the deer. And he went back to eating and I ran to some cover and he just walked right towards me.
Bruce: You ran?
Stacy: I ran to some cover, yes, while he had his head down eating. He just didn’t care. And that was mid-December. I guess he was hungry from the rut and all he wanted to do was get his belly filled.
Bruce: Yeah. Usually when I see a Whitetail, they just head the other way. Their flag goes up and they’re gone.
Stacy: That’s been my experience, too. So that was probably my most memorable experience in the woods aside from the fact of watching my daughter take her first deer. That was a good day.
Bruce: Tell us about that. Tell us about that.
Stacy: Well, she had been I think rifle hunting a couple times and never got anything. So I figured out the land I had been leasing, I knew where the deer were bedding and I knew they carved this funnel area almost every day. So I took her out there, and we walked around the bedding area, and we sat down. We’d been sitting there for at least five hours, and it was good for her because there’s no cellphone reception out there so she had no access. And so she was getting pretty antsy and I kept whispering to her there, “Hold still. Be still. Your patience is going to be rewarded.” And sure enough at the time that they usually show up, a little 5 point came walking by. She was able to take this 5 point sitting on the ground with a rifle at 15 yards.
Stacy: Yes. And I tell you what, I would trade all of my deer for that one deer. That was an unbelievable moment.
Bruce: Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. Those are memories that we all have and the nice part about it is that we share them with our friends, and we build a community. Whitetail community is huge in the country, and our listeners when they listen in, they like the stories and they also like the lesson learned. Let’s talk about some of the lesson learned that you’ve had as a teenager, as a young adult, and now as a father and husband.
Stacy: Well, I think the biggest lesson learned, and it’s a takeaway from my daughter’s hunt, is I kept whispering in her ear, “Your patience will be rewarded,” and sure enough, we got her that deer and we put it on the plaque and I put on there, “Your patience was rewarded.” That’s the lesson I’ve learned too in the woods is that it’s not about going out there and running and gunning. It’s about sitting still and being quiet, taking in everything you can take in, and just being patient and knowing that, in time, it will be rewarded. That’s one of my biggest life lessons, I believe. And not only that, just watching God work out there. I pray when I hunt, and I pray before I shoot and watch God do some pretty neat things out there to, I don’t know, not necessarily increase my faith, but just give me a sense of comfort and know that God is with me.
Bruce: Yes, he is. And sometimes the best church is the church of the woods.
Stacy: That is exactly right. What did Fred Bear say? Fred Bear said something about that, “Every hunter is closer to God 20 feet up in the air.” I can’t remember. It’s something like that from Fred Bear.
Bruce: Yep, that’s for sure. Agreed. Stacy, what’s one thing holding you back from being a better hunter? If that’s the right word and I don’t know if it is, but what do you think the one thing is, if you could do x, you’d be a better hunter?
Stacy: Bruce, I think it is if I can quit my job and just hunt all the time. That’s what I see in so many of the guys that I admire like Phillip Vanderpool, and Brad Herndon, and [inaudible 00:11:46]. They’ve organized their life around the ability to hunt and being in the woods all the time. I think that’s what would make anybody a better hunter is give that person some time to be in the woods to understand and know what the deer is doing and how they travel. That’s what I like. I like the time. Sometimes I’m so busy as a military chaplain, and I’ve got my hands in a lot of things. So if just had the time, I think I’d be a better hunter.
Bruce: Okay. What’s the best hunting advice you’ve ever received?
Stacy: For the longest time, I was always told hunt the barometer and I thought, “Ah, that’s a bunch of crap. I’m not going to pay attention to it.” Until one day, I said, “I’m going to pay attention to this barometer stuff and see what it’s all about.” They say if the barometer is rising into the 30’s to be in the woods. So I started taking a bit of that, and I did discover that on the days that the barometer is in the 30’s and rising, that I saw more deer. When it was below 30 and falling, not much deer I could see. You could have the most perfect day that you could imagine if you could just dream up the most perfect day of deer hunting. If that barometer is below 30 and falling, you may not see much deer. If you could take the crummiest day, wind blowing and the weather is not that good, but the barometer is in the 30’s and rising, you’ll see deer.
Usually I just stayed home on windy days, but on windy days if I looked at the barometer and it was in the 30’s and falling, I’m going to be out there.
Bruce: And I’ve heard that. I do a lot of fishing myself, and I fish two things. I fish the barometer and I fish the moon phases. Give me your thoughts on the moon phases.
Stacy: Well, let me go back. I said on windy days and the barometer is falling, I meant rising.
Bruce: Right. Okay.
Stacy: Moon phases, Bruce, I think I tracked that when I was 21 or 22 years old and had some knowledge of it, but now I just don’t pay much attention to it. I pay more attention to the barometer now. And also when you talk about time, man, when you [inaudible 00:14:00] time, I guess it doesn’t matter what the moon is doing. You’ve just got to be out there. So my knowledge of the moon phases is limited. I’d have to go back and restudy. I kind of left all that behind when I started paying attention to the barometer.
Bruce: Works for me if it works for you. What sources do you go to to get more information about Whitetail? We’re all bombarded with social media and such.
Stacy: Oh, all the time.
Bruce: I find most guys go to different resources. Whitetail Rendezvous is a resource. Do you use any other Whitetail resources on the internet?
Stacy: Bruce, no, I really don’t. But there’s one person I pay attention to on Facebook and that’s Grant Woods. I watch how Grant Woods is doing and I watch his posts, because he posts really good stuff about deer activity, deer movement and food plots. So I’ve learned a lot just by following him on Facebook on the internet. My sources are people. I’ve got a good friend, [inaudible 00:15:07], in Kansas who I think is one of the best Whitetail hunters out there, but he’s not recognized because he has that environmental disease. So he can’t even be around cellphones, he can’t be around electronics, and so he just kind of stays to himself in his own house. He’s authored several books and several hunting stories, but that boy has killed some big deer and I’ve learned most of my stuff from him.
Bruce: Sounds good. Sounds good. Do you read any books, any noted authors?
Stacy: My go-to author always has been Jim Zumbo. He hasn’t written much about Whitetail hunting, but he has written a lot about elk hunting. There is one book out there. It’s called Mapping Trophy Bucks by Brad Herndon. I love maps, because I used to be a map maker, but also when you get that piece of land and you get a topo map or an aerial photo of that map and you take Brad’s book Mapping Trophy Bucks, you can almost figure out what the deer are doing before you even set foot on that land.
Bruce: Wow. That sounds good. Now how do you spell Brad’s last name for our listeners, so if they wanted, they can research it?
Stacy: Yeah, it’s Brad Herndon, H-E-R-N-D-E-N, I believe. It’s either D-E-N or D-O-N.
Bruce: Okay. Is he on Facebook at all, any social media platforms or not?
Stacy: I haven’t looked him up on Facebook.
Stacy: I hadn’t thought about doing that. I think I’ll do that, though. He’s got to be on Facebook.
Bruce: Do you have any special TV shows that you watch frequently once a week or monthly?
Stacy: No, not really, but my go-to show all the time for inspiration and for knowledge is anything by Phillip Vanderpool. He was doing some Dominator 365 stuff. I think he’s now started a new show called The Virtue. You can find him on the web. He has a good webpage, and what he does is you don’t have to wait a year to see his shows. When he films his show, it goes straight up on his webpage. Good, down to earth guy as real as you can find as a human being, and has exceptional Whitetail knowledge.
Bruce: Thank you for that. And just so I can make sure everybody heard the gentleman’s name and the show, could you repeat that, please?
Stacy: Yeah. His name is Phillip Vanderpool. And he has the new show called The Virtue. He had been doing Dominator 365, but I think he switched over to doing a new show called The Virtue.
Bruce: I’m just taking a note here, so that’s why I was silent. So Phillip Vanderpool and The Virtue.
Bruce: So let’s talk about what you would do if you had a new parcel of land, 100 acres, never hunted in it before, and it’s this time of year. And you’ve got full rights to hunt it, it’s your land, just walk me through what you’re going to do in the spring, in the summer, and then how are you going to set up your hunt?
Stacy: Well, Bruce, I think first of all I would map it out. I would take that parcel of land and get me a topo map or get an aerial map. I’d begin to circle all the possible bedding areas, the possible funnel areas. I’d circle ridges and edges. That’s some good advice. When all else fails, hunt ridges and edges. I would map it out. I would circle those areas and then I would walk it out. I would take note of those areas I circled and see if that’s what they actually were, what I circled on the map, but as I’m walking it out, I would be taking notes on all the possible food sources – what’s the acorn crop like, what are the grasses like, anything else the deer might be munching on. Then I’ll probably set up some trail cameras. I might set up some trail cameras on a ridge or an edge, and I’d be checking those trail cameras.
Bruce: How about food plots?
Stacy: Yeah, I’d probably find a good place for a food plot. Of course, you’ve always got to do that, right?
Bruce: Well, at least mini food plots or even food plots. I know guys that put down grass on the trails. They cut some trails so they can recover their game, or they can walk in pretty quiet.
Stacy: Exactly, yeah. Food plot is a magnet. If the deer aren’t coming to you, you’ve got to find a way to make them come to you, I guess, and a food plot is the best way to do that. That’s what I’d probably do. I’d probably put in a food plot somewhere. I’d be probably between a bedding area and a staging area. Again, I’d probably watch that food plot with a trail camera, and watch my trail cameras in other places that I’d put them up. I’d do some new gear assessments and readjust where I need to readjust, and then begin hanging tree stands and see what goes from there. And then, of course, eventually hunt and kill something.
Bruce: What about after the season is over? Do you go out and look at the trails and see where the bucks are moving versus where the does and fawns or yearlings are moving?
Stacy: Oh, yeah, certainly. If you’re a Whitetail hunter and you’re serious about it, you’ve got to be out there after season to get a better idea of what’s going on and what do you have left after the season especially if you’re hunting in a public area or you’re sharing them with another person. Go out there and look for some shed. Of course a place I have over here in Missouri that I lease, I’ve got hogs on the land now. So I always go out with a rifle and do some hog hunting while we’re looking for deer as well.
Bruce: Yeah, how big is your lease in Missouri?
Stacy: Well, I tell you what I do. I belong to Hunting Sports Plus. It’s the Hunting Sports Plus club and I pay, I think, $150 a month and I have access to land all over Missouri, access to land in Iowa, some new land in Nebraska that is overrun with mule deer. In fact, the land owner called the company and said, “I am overrun with mule deer. Get your hunters up here this year.”
Stacy: So we’re planning a trip up there. It’s not my perfect lease per se, but what you do is you go in, you sign up for which land that you want, and it’s yours for the day. No one else can get on it. So I have an 800 acre track of leased land that I usually get to hunt all by myself.
Bruce: Wow. That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you, either in the tree stand or just Whitetail hunting? What’s the funniest thing?
Stacy: Boy. Let me think, Bruce. The funniest thing. . . Yeah, I can’t think of anything right off the bat. But I’ll tell you what, my friend, sometimes you have to go to the bathroom in the woods, right?
Stacy: And sometimes you’ve had a meal the night before that doesn’t settle really good with your belly.
Stacy: And our neighbor, my friend, had a little incident in his pants in the tree stand and he had to go back and get him cleaned up and showered down and go back out for the hunt. But my fun times, I hunt a lot by myself. I’m a solo hunter and I remember now being down in Texas. It wasn’t funny at the moment, but it is funny now. Being down in Texas in 2002. . . It’s not a Whitetail story, but it’s a pig story. I actually got ran up a tree by a big ol’ hog and my friend thought that was the funniest thing. We were hunting hogs one night at night and we had split up. He snuck in behind me and began to squeal like a pig. I’ll tell you what. I came out of my skin and I began to run.
Bruce: Oh, my goodness.
Stacy: Until I found out it was him, but it wasn’t funny at the time because I had a few choice words for him, but we laugh about it now.
Bruce: I’m sure that is. . . it was an interesting time, that’s for sure.
Stacy: I’ve had more God moments out there than anything.
Bruce: Well, tell us about that. Share one.
Stacy: Well, I can share one with you, but folks may not believe me. In fact, I’ve written a story about it and I had never published it because there’s no way anybody on earth is going to believe me. My friend who was sitting beside me still has trouble believing. It was a few years ago back in December. My mom had brain cancer and I knew it was going to be her last Christmas with us, and so I came down to see her because I was about to be deployed to Iraq.
I needed to get out and hunt. I was under some stress and concern for her, so my friend invited me out to hunt. We were sitting in a tree stand. It [Inaudible 00:24:25] over season, so I’ve got my bow, a Muzzleloader, and a buck comes walking by. This buck walked behind a tree with, a lot of branches. I’d pulled back on him right before he went behind the tree and I just said a little prayer and I tell you what. It gives me goose bumps just talking about it, but I saw that buck as clear as day and I double lunged him. My friend couldn’t believe how in the world I could shoot through all those branches and I told him, “Troy, I didn’t see any branches.” I said, “It just opened up and I saw the buck and it was standing unobstructed.” And it was just kind of a sign to me that, “Hey, God is just telling me, ‘You know what? I’m with you through all this pain and hardship.” And anyway it was one of those moments that you had to be there to see it in my boots.
Bruce: Well, we’ll just say amen on that. That’s all I have to say. So wrapping up here, I always like to give our guests the opportunity to tell us about what they’re doing, what they’re looking for, the type of business you’re involved in, if you want to give your contact information, websites, whatever. It’s your time. So let’s get her done.
Stacy: As I told you, I’m an army chaplain. However I’m about to hang up my boots for some civilian work boots. I’ve done this for two years and I’m ready to do something different looking for some new challenges. Actually I’m gonna be out of the army. And by June 15th, I’m looking for a job. So if any of our listeners out there want somebody who can revolutionize their company by coming in and being a presence and doing some training and teaching for them, I’m all in for that.
I just got finished filming a project for Animal Planet off the cost of Puerto Rico at a place called Mona Island. I was selected for the project and it was me and three other archers. We spent 20 days on Mona Island as a conservation effort to save the rhinoceros iguana. Rhinoceros iguana is an endangered species that lives on the island, and the feral pig and the feral goat is taking over the island and destroying its habitat. Now they have a hunting season there, but they also wanted to bring in four guys to do a hunting show. So we went after the wild pig and wild goat. We were able to kill a couple, and then we just told the story of the island. It was supposed to be a reality TV show, but it’s also more in the genre of an adventure show and it was a pretty neat story that was told. We’ll see how it works out. It’s supposed to be on Animal Planet during Monster Week in May.
Bruce: In May. Do you have a URL, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page or Twitter account?
Stacy: Yeah. I’ll tell you what. If people want to connect with me on Facebook they can just search for me on Facebook, Stacy Lee Beasley. You spell my first name S-T-A-C-Y. Stacy Lee Beasley. And then they can find me on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @antlerobsession.
Bruce: Well, Stacy, thank you so much for being on the show and joining the Whitetail Rendezvous community and thank you for your service, sir.
Stacy: Well, you’re welcome and I appreciate you having me and I appreciate what you’re doing out there and getting the word out about the great Whitetail deer. Fun stuff.
Bruce: Hey, have a great day.
Stacy: Okay, Bruce, thank you.