Right, with cold weather and snow piling up, you got to think about getting some shinies pack boots, they handcraft every pair of their pack boots and they're Bozeman, Montana, boot factory.
There's no large scale production lines or automated machines. It's a small group of expert boot makers that take tremendous pride in their work.
The boot offers are constructed from hand selected premium oil, tanned leathers, milled solid brass hardware, heavy duty laces, a handmade removable liner, an optional advantage out soles with air bob traction that offer the ultimate winter grip.
These boots are also backed by China's industry leading customer service and support. When you shop at China's dotcom, that's s, c, h and E.
S dotcom, make sure you use promo code meter either 10 meter one zero that gets 10 percent off your parish pack boots or any of the other boots and shinies lineup.
Take care of your feet and the rest will take care of itself. Don't compromise. Get shinies.
Onex excellent combines detailed land ownership and GPS functionality that works without cell service and costs less than a tank of gas. Use the Onex Hunt app to scout new locations and sure, you're on the right side of public private land boundaries.
And to save offline maps, go to w w w dot o and X maps dot com slash hunt. Now to get yourself set up for the season and use code meter to receive 20 percent off your first premium or elite membership. All right, everybody, right up top here. Before anything happens, I know everyone listening a huge thank you. A couple of episodes ago, we released an episode called Begging and Pleading Redux. In that episode announced the release of our latest book titled The Meat Eater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival, in which I Had Gone on the Potty, in which the podcast episode, that is.
I had. Implored you to make the purchase not only for your own benefit, but because I have a lifelong dream of having one of my titles hit The New York Times bestseller list, and you guys knocked it out of the park. The meat eater guy, the Wilderness Skills and Survival, debuted as number four on the New York Times best seller list. So thank you to everyone who went out and bought a book. It's still for sale. It's still a good book, but you did it.
Thank you. This is the Meat Eater podcast coming at you, shirtless, severely beaten, in my case, underwear.
Listen to Meat Eater podcast. You can't predict anything presented by Onex Hunt. Creators of the most comprehensive digital mapping system for hunters. Download the Hunt app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Know where you stand with Onex. All right, we're joined now. I hate to say this, people, I hate to say it, but we're joined remotely like the. covid that. covid rejoined remotely by Clay Newcome Newcome. I see. And marched back 40 Kenyan.
Clay, how are you doing, man? I'm doing good, doing very good. Mark, are you well rested right now? Finally, for the first time about a month, I do feel rested, it's been a bit a busy spell here. So the last two days I got to sleep in and. Really enjoy that, like, are you being like a. You know, kind of like a white, fanatical kind of guy. Mm hmm.
There's there's still raging around, though, so why are you resting now? Yeah, so it's kind of just. I'm not completely resting, I'm going to start hunting again tomorrow, but I needed to take a couple of days because the last 30 I've wanted twenty eight of the last 30 days. So starting October 18th, that was when it all got crazy. So I got to see my wife and kids a little bit, get a little sleep and then and then I'll get back after I did a good job.
Like a job like you got.
Mark, I'm work. I'm still getting the regular work too. Don't worry, it's just after dark. It's amazing what one day of sleeping in will do for you after you've been found in the daylight hunt. And I've got an equation.
I think one morning of sleeping in makes up for ten days of hunting. It's amazing what one little break can do.
Yeah, I agree. Yeah, that's true. You come back pretty ragged and recovered pretty quick and it almost makes you think you could build a system out of it and it's worth it.
I have. I used to think that I would feel really guilty if I wasn't hunting every single possible moment I could. But I think that you get that eventual point of diminishing returns where you go ten days straight and you've just lost focus and you've lost some edge. If you get that one morning, it's totally worth sacrificing four hours hunting to get the much, you know, much more effective seven more days after that.
I think the thing that messes with me about it is all the the there's a lot of really compelling research. Sleeping is real, real good for you. There's possible links, and I usually hate when people say there's possible links between, you know. This and that, but. Early onset dementia and stuff, man from not sleeping enough. Hmm. Like, you need to do it. And I used to not do it much, and when I did, I was mostly kind of like sleeping like.
Like a lot of times, the kind of hung over and whatnot. Now, I try to really prioritize. Getting enough sleep. Do you know what your magic number is, a lot of people kind of feel like they find that sweet spot of how much they need every night. Yeah, but I'm embarrassed to say eight hours. Dude, you don't need embarrassed about that. Yeah, eight hours. Did you guys catch this news, this news item out of Wyoming?
In Wyoming they have. Are you guys familiar with the one shot, the one shot antelope hunt. Yeah, I know the I'm an alumni, an alum of the one shot. So for 80 years in Lander, Wyoming, the governor of. So for 80 years in a row, I think it's been like, what, 16 governors or something have been involved in this. They host this annual punt and you have these like it's very. In describing it, it can sound a little compromised, but it's like this you have these teams, right?
And the governor it. It raises money for some habitat improvement work, the governor hopes, and all these groups come out and you make these little teams. And the teams go out on antelope and even get special game commission analog tags, right? The teams come out to hunt antelope and. You got to you can only shoot once, OK, you shoot more than once, you can't you're disqualified. So everybody has to shoot one time and get an envelope.
And so if you're a group of three people can go out and fire three shots. One each one shot for each of you and get an antelope and basically throughout the whole day, there's like a timing element to it, but basically, if you can accomplish that. And all three people get one with one shot, you have very good chance of of winning, and they do it in conjunction. With a local tribe and there's all these like banquets and everything I did this couple of years ago where I was invited by, so I was invited by Colorado's governor.
And I went with a former special forces soldier who was on our team, he said he likes to get ringers. So it's me, a special forces guy, and him and we went out and did this thing now. At that time, there was starting to be a lot of heat, a lot of heat. And the one shot Antelope Hunt Club, because it was dudes only. Ambrose only and had been Jews only for 80 years and like usually.
I do all kinds of things with just guys that just happens to be just guys. Mm hmm. But I usually would shy away from anything meant to be just guys. Like the minute someone says it's just guys.
I also know it gives me a creepy feeling like anything like just for men or like a men's club or a men's group. I'm like, why? You mean like if I wanted to bring my super good body, who's a woman, she can't come. It's against the rule. It strikes me as so weird, right? Yeah, I'm surprised that was still the case well, with a lot of old stuff that's been going on a long time. Like, I honestly, honestly didn't.
Put too much thought into it, because there's so much like culturally, there's so many old institutions that are dudes only that it's almost like it's not like it's stand, it's beginning to stand out. But for a long time, it didn't like stand out because my old man, like growing up, my old man belonged to. But he's bigger, big, he like to go drink at the VFW after he is finished, and that wasn't meant only, but at that time it was met only.
And then he belonged to a thing called the Wise Men, like a philanthropic group that raised money for the Y.
And you had to be a dude to be a wise man, and then. His church group was four dudes, only like his particular group within the church was a dude only group like if a woman wanted to go, they would like not let her go. So it was very it's like very to me, right or wrong, very normal appearing, normal feeling to have, like, these gender exclusive things. I didn't pay much attention to it, but when I went, I was just the buzz.
There was buzz around two issues, there is buzz around that these people that participated got these dedicated tags. Which. Chappe, the asses of a lot of people around town who are like, I have to draw the permit, but like if people go to this, they, like, get permits. And that that was irritating to some. Yeah. And was this like a unit that was tough to draw otherwise? Yes. And it would be fun, but a good unit, a good unio and it would have been invitation only.
I assume you have to apply. But I was there like I was invited, so the governor of Wyoming always has a team, the governor of Colorado has a team.
This has always been like the thing. The new governor of Colorado, apparently the first guy in forever, like the new governor of Colorado, his. I gather that his husband is. Big A.. Hunter. So this dude. Isn't going, and he broke the whole tradition of it being like the governor of Wyoming and the governor of Colorado. Hunting together. I was there like like I had met Wyoming's. This gets a little complicated. I was at a concert, I was at an event one time where Wyoming's governor, Matt Mead, and Colorado's governor, John Hickenlooper.
Who are who are friendly and there aren't other sides of the political spectrum, but they're friendly and respect, you know, respectful to one another, I met them both like we had a cocktail one time. At an event where they were being honored for their collaborative work around Sage-Grouse Habitat, so they were being honored as this like Democrat and Republican who set their differences aside and came together around Sage-Grouse work and habitat work. So I shot the shit with both of them and afterward I was invited.
To go down and do this deal, so here I get one of these tags and I don't do shit to get it, I just get it. OK, so someone could look and say, oh, that's not fair, but then the Wyoming Game Commission, they put like apparently they put value on this sort of like collaborative conservation thing that is been going on for 80 years and fuels a lot of economic activity in the area and brings different politicians and figures together in this like collaborative mood of doing habitat work.
So. Right. Like everything. Like everything. There's two sides of the story. But the the women thing was just becoming an issue. And they started like somehow they got other commission tags to start like a woman's. Antelope hunt. Hmm. So now you've created now they had like two of these things at this point. Now this new story just came out that now for the first time since 1940. Women will be allowed to compete in the twenty one lander, one shot antelope hunt.
So they combine them, they didn't I don't know if they officially combined them or if they got competitive, you know, you remember like when I don't know if it's like a situation where.
Remember how the. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts gotten a little pissing match because the Boy Scouts were going to let girls into the Boy Scouts and that pissed off the Girl Scouts. Yeah. Mm hmm. I don't know I don't know enough about what went on. But a lot of people are applauding this, even even like people who are participating to another buddy of mine sent this article to me and he had done the one shot and had a good time there.
He was also a governor. He was like a governor. Team. He had done the one shot and thought this is a step in the right direction. So it seems like a simpler solution. All women like you can have all women be on a team or you can have men, women groups. And the way this thing works is you apply. So when I was there, like some there was like I think some a group of firefighters. Right.
Had applied to come down and they were accepted into it. And like I said, a lot of banquets and elbow rubbing. What's the what's the prize? What do you get if you win this thing? Oh, I think the governor's. I know between the two governors, there's this statue, this little shit and statue of an antelope. And it lives at the governor's mansion. And swaps back and forth, and there's a lot of spirited, there's a lot of spirited.
You know, rivalry around who did it, so when I was on it. It went to it, it it flew home with the Colorado governor. Hmm, so why not have a say it again, I just this Colorado is not going to have a team then this year I. I heard that the governor of Colorado. Hickenlooper always took a lot of heat. You know, it could potentially take a lot of heat and took some heat, and after Hickenlooper had gotten involved in some things that.
Hickenlooper had gotten involved in some gun control measures. That were very unpopular with hunters and gun owners. And when I was there with when I was there with him, that was an issue and I thought it was. Bould. Of him to go, right? But he went and took it and tried to, you know, and like that collaborative spirit, even though people being on different sides of the aisle on such an important issue. Yeah, but yeah, now apparently Colorado's governor won't go.
Well, and they say that some women tend to be better long range shooters than men when it comes to like sitting on a bench, you know, if you were to, like, train man and a woman the same, a lot of times that woman would be a better shot.
If you heard that. I mean, I don't know why that wouldn't be true, but no, I don't. I don't know that. I don't know that.
But I mean, I've heard that. I've heard that it wouldn't kind of surprise me.
I've heard that from a guy that that had a long range shooting school. He told me that. Yeah, I want Danielle. Who her. Have you guys made Daniele's? Have you guys made Daniels whiskey butter sauce recipe just looking at it, but I haven't tried it. Shit, man.
Anyhow, she did though. She did the the the I think she did. The woman's one shot. Ayata I'm going to ask Danielle, I should have angasi if Danielle and Corinne, our producer, I feel like they should apply and go down apply for the old boys one. Get a little team going. Go on down there. Yeah, she place up. Can you are you allowed to ever go back again, Steve? Is it a once in a lifetime opportunity?
No, I was allowed, weirdly. Yeah, you are. And there's all these stipulations to it. But you are. And it works in various ways, but just for scheduling and other reasons, I was not able to go. Someone tried. There was a cause. Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper is in Colorado, you know, he's kind of a centrist, so he won the he went from he termed out as a governor in Colorado and just took a Senate seat.
He's a centrist Democrat, right, so he gets a lot of heat from the left and he gets a lot of heat from the right. Someone had done a there was a little bit of a hit piece out on Hickenlooper. Four have four. A hit piece out on him for having participated in the. One shot, well, did he do you know if he killed Nilo with one shot? I mean, that's the main thing, I think.
Well, here's the thing. No, he did not. He did not.
And I heard I don't know that I could lean back the other direction if you. Yes, yeah. I had heard people say there was like grumblings. I should ask him about this. There is grumblings some people either like I don't the guy doesn't do it, I don't think he's like an avid hunter. There's grumblings that he throws his shots. Yeah, yeah. That's where I was going. It's like I went, but I'm.
Yeah, so the reason but the reason he got to return with the statue, with the to bring it back to his, I think he had had the thing in the first place. It was like he has it in his office quite a lot or had it in his office quite a lot. I think the reason he got to do it is because, like I said, he brought in some ringers, you know, and so. I did, I got mine very I got one early in the morning.
And. This former Green Beret, he got one early in the morning. And then Hickenlooper did not get one. But then. Governor Mead. The way it worked was like he can't feel he can't get all wringers, like he gets assigned. There's some weird tradition where he gets assigned. Someone like an like like some person who's been involved for a long time gets assigned to him and I think he can only get one ringer. Tracking me mean it's not strange institution.
Oh, listen. You don't? Yes, I had quite a good time.
I had quite a good time, but yeah, and they you know, they're evolving with the times. Do you think is that is this is this thing pretty well received by the people in Colorado and Wyoming? I mean, because it kind of it does kind of make people uncomfortable sometimes these even governor tags. And I just go, yeah, it's controversial.
It's controversial for sure. I didn't like I didn't I'm guilty of having not known what it was until I was. Until I was invited. And I didn't give it I didn't spend too much time on it. When I got invited, I called Rorke Denver because Rorke Denver, who's a former SEAL Rorke Denver, had been brought down there by Governor Mead as a as a ringer on that side. And he got you. You were recruited as a ringer, though.
Is that true? Well, are you are you questioning the lot, are you saying that that was are you are you trying to be insulting to me?
No, no, no, no, no, no. Just I mean, you know, like you're like making a little dig. I mean, I guess I'm just kind of like, you know, like an NBA draft, you know, it's like first round draft picks like that dude's a ringer. You get into the second round and it's like. You know, he's good enough to play an NBA, but he's not these these NBA references, these NBA references are going to fall flat on Steve.
He's not following.
Yeah, I know. I know. I know. No, that's not true because I just watched the last dance. Hmm. Oh, that's good. Fascinating.
Dude, I now know everything about basketball. Yeah, I know all about the field they play on.
Listen. Yeah, that was a little dig Clay. And all I can say all I could say is let's just take a look at the facts. At daybreak at daybreak, I got a book. Yeah, can argue that the cold, gray light of dawn. I'm with you. How far is the shot, how far was the shot to. One seventy six, one 76, maybe if I remember digging back in the old memory bank. Hmm.
Well, like to feel can you cut him off? Yeah, Clay's getting a little bald for like like team.
Oh, it's like no, no go man for four hours here, like half quarantine.
And then I got to have, like. All right.
So that's a great that's a great shot man to lay buddy. Well, this is this is coming from a guy who lives in a state you can't see more than 50 yards in any direction. Yeah. Like a long shot for me is like a twenty two yard traditional archery shot. So I, I, for the first time in quite a while, missed a big game animal with a rifle this year. And no, I'm not saying that all my hits are great hits because that's definitely not true.
But just to like flat out to flat out miss. Really shook me up, man. You know, I thought you guys did your description of all the factors that went into that mess was pretty compelling, though. I mean, you know, the the the the length of the hair, you know, the you know, there were a couple there were two factors, I think, that were causing you to maybe shoot a little bit high.
That had to do with the with the gun itself. And so, anyway, I appreciated the in-depth look into the myths, and I didn't want to I didn't really want to bring that up. But, you know, here's your clothes, referring to a previous episode called The Miss and the Return.
Clay, what is the name of the now like super famous bear that that has roamed into your home state there? Yeah, Bruno, it's a bear named Bruno. You're familiar with the legacy of Pedal's the bear, right? Yes. Up in New Jersey, the bear that would was missing the front leg would walk on two legs all over all over the place. Yeah.
He had a real penchant for eating birdseed. I'm talking about pedal's. Clay is going to tell us the saga of Bruno the Bear in a minute here. It looks like now and then a bear really makes the news.
Yeah, and right now, Bruno is in the spotlight, but Pedal's, the bear had some sort of. Deformity. Where it would walk around a fair bit on its hind legs. Yeah, you know, we had to put a pause on pedal's when we were floating a river up in Alaska this year looking for moose, we had a saw grizzly. Who was irritated with us? Stand up on her back feet. And just swinging her paws wildly in agitation.
But 100 yards away, never seen that. I never have. Yeah, like shadow boxing, like like shadow like swiping her paws like. Just all worked up. And stood there for a remarkably long time. And then later, kind of around the next bend, kind of like half charged, a raft all worked up so pedals and pedals would get around on his back feet. And you got real famous around New Jersey. And it was very popular with, like New Jersey cat ladies and whatnot, so then some dude, New Jersey, had a bear hunting season and some dude, knowingly or unknowingly, I don't know what.
Shoots pedals and New Jersey has this kind of awful practice, had this maybe, yeah, the governor of New Jersey, if you if you live there, like, don't vote for that dude ever again. The governor of New Jersey sort of ran on an anti bear hunting platform like a plank in his platform was to be anti bear hunting. Yeah, just a joke of a position. And contradicting his own state fish and game agency, so, yeah, he.
They had this unsavory practice, which is like where you had to go to these check stations when your bear hunting, and they would allow like like open to the public so people could go down and, like, get riled up about. So if a hunter goes out legally, kills a bear and is trying to, you know, follow the letter of the law and bring to bear and do a check station, you got to go in there and deal with.
You know, it'd be like if if Planned Parenthood, like you could come into the lobby if you didn't like what they had going on in there and stand a lot like how that go over with people just asking for trouble, so.
Pedal's, everybody had a shit fit. There was even a newspaper that ran an obituary on Pedal's, and I read that he was assassinated.
You know, there's some new stuff with that, Steve. You probably you may have seen it. We ran an article in it about it, but. He's so it's the guy's name is Phil Murphy, and he is the guy who is the guy named Phil Murphy, Film of the Year in the Hunter. Yeah, the governor. The gun.
Sorry. Yeah. Governor of New Jersey. His name's Phil Murphy. And he has vowed that in 2021 there will be no better season in New Jersey and to give it on state land, right?
That's right. But you can still hot on private land, which quite a bit of Manhattan in New Jersey does take place on private land. So it hasn't totally shut it down. But, you know, obviously all the game officials are trying to find ways to manage this large population of bears, which is it's a super dense population of bears and people. So, I mean, it just, you know, I mean, we're preaching to the choir talking about it here.
But I mean, it just makes common sense. It just makes rational sense from every single perspective that that hunters would manage that bear population. But, yeah, it's a it's a sticky situation. Does do you guys, though, so it could look real quick. Does New Jersey have the. Have they gotten the right to hunt and fish? Uh, constitutional amendment? I don't know that one. We'll find that out in a second. So start telling us about Bruno, the bear, who's now like the latest Internet darling.
Yeah, so it got here.
Here's the timeline, Steve. And here here is what we believe has happened. Some of some of this is very documentable. Some of it is speculation. But so Bruno, the bear, they believe, came out of northern Wisconsin. And I've talked to multiple people about this that are in the know. I've talked to the Arkansas bear biologist, Missouri bear biologist and another guy named Darryl Ratajczak and who's a biologist who's kind of covered the whole story of Brudno the bear.
But basically, as I understand it, northern Wisconsin would be where most of the bear density, you know, harbored in the areas are southern Wisconsin would be like farm ground. And in southern Wisconsin, they started noticing this bear traveling through urban areas and agricultural areas.
And it was enough of an oddity that people in southern Wisconsin started saying, hey, there's a bear in an odd place, OK, that bear gained some recognition. So he's wearing a collar or tracking or he's not wearing a tracking collar. Know, the bear to this day has no tracking collar. Oh, the bear really? Yep. OK, he does not. OK, the bear. Let me just give you the general overview and then we can talk about the details the bear traveled from.
What I believe northern Wisconsin into southern Wisconsin, into Iowa, crossed swam the Mississippi River into Illinois State and Illinois for some time, swam the Mississippi River again. All this is very I mean, people videoed him doing this, came back into Iowa, and then in early July, ended up in Missouri. Travel traveled south and Missouri.
Basically got himself cornered into a very populated area north of St. Louis, where the bear would had no way out other than the cross major interstate highways, the Missouri Department of Conservation, since their bear team in the capture of the bear state, the bear and take the bear to southern Missouri, where they have a population of bears and good bear habitat. So they. You know, the Missouri Department of Conservation, they handled this bear just like they would of any other, you know, nuisance bear, there's a Santa Clause because I'm trying to take the perspective of the listener here.
As a listener to this story. What is it without a distinguishing? Markings. I just assumed it had a collar on because how in the hell else would they know? Yes, OK, well, what is it doing that people are like, oh, there he is. That's him. OK, I asked the exact same question to Darryl Ratajczak and he said that the bear has an uncanny desire to walk down roads, to walk through crop fields and basically to stay extremely visible and to be undeterred by humans.
Man, I'm serious. There are videos with 40, 50 people standing relatively close to this bear, like following it.
And it's a four to five year old male, they think. So it's I mean, it's a good sized male. It's not a young male, which is odd because usually a dispersing male would be a young one. That's what's so odd about this, is this is an adult male. The only time it's been marked is when the Missouri guys got it. They put in they put ear tags in it that are distinguishable. OK, can I can I add can I add another thing in here to that?
That has to do with the Wisconsin component of this real quick, yeah, we've had Dr. Carl Malcolm on the show many times. When Carl was a bear researcher early in his career, he was a bear researcher and did a lot of work on.
Looking at these bears that were coming out of northern Wisconsin. Into southern Wisconsin and how successful they were. He had this thing about this animal he named the Wisconsin supercell. Put off and raised to 100 pounds, two litters of five cubs. In such a mild climate in southern Wisconsin that when she went to hibernate, she would just lay down. Under a tree. If you look at Bear, I think, in helping with this story. If you look at like bear populations and you know this way better, you can speak this for people that it's like it's like bear black bear populations in the country aren't aren't like intuitive.
And it's patchy, you know, if you're looking like moose, right, you'd look and be like, OK, there's a bunch of moose across the north or whatever. Right. With Bears'. There's like they're here and they're there, there's holes in between, and it might not make immediate sense to someone, right? Like how could you have why do you have bears in Arkansas, Missouri? But then there could be holes in their distribution to the north, east, south and west.
Right. So if you don't mind speaking to that, yeah, so that went on own around.
So the the the natural range of the black bear in North America was would have been from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, from the boreal forest all the way down into Mexico with a small a sizable hole in the Great Plains. OK, but all these populations would have been connected, you know, pre European settlement. And so now just with urban urbanization, fragmentation of wilderness, just that has happened with civilization. We now just have these pockets of really quality bear habitat.
And it's it's relatively big. I mean, there's surprisingly for such a large carnivore, there's a lot of black bears and black bears are thriving. But what it does create is what they'd call in the biology world, allopathic populations, meaning like isolated populations, like, for instance, like the Arkansas. Oklahoma, southern Missouri, bear population, they would have said, was an allopathic population, that population is not breeding with bears from east Tennessee, that that population is not breeding with bears from northern Wisconsin.
But that's what's so crazy about this, is that now we're seeing like a connection between these really vastly separated populations of bears. And so this bear ends up in Arkansas. I mean, to to kind of give the whole macro view. The bear started in northern Wisconsin and is today in Arkansas. And how many miles? Just linear. I'll take a look. I think it's around a thousand miles. So here's the most interesting thing, Steve, is that there's with talking to all these biologists, I just asked them, like, what the why do you think this bear did this?
And there were some interesting responses like a bear disperses for two reasons to find new territory because he's being pushed out of his territory or to find mate a find a mate or to find a food source. And essentially, Darrell said if this bear was looking for a mate, he wouldn't have had to go all the way to Arkansas. He could have stopped in southern Missouri like he passed through lots of like pretty good bear area. So clearly wasn't looking for a mate.
He wasn't looking for food because he passed through all kinds of great food sources. And he's an older male. So he wasn't dispersing just to find new territory or he would have just found new territory in southern Wisconsin. The only thing that makes any sense from a biological perspective is what they call the homing instinct on these bears, which they relocate these bears all the time when they get nuisance trouble, you know, so they'll a bear will be getting in trouble, you know, digging into somebody's trash can.
Now, capture that bear. They'll drive it 30, 40 miles away, turn it loose.
In the next day, the bear will be there eating out of that trash can. Again, there's so many incredible stories up to, you know, guys taking bears 150 miles away in that bear, ending up back. This bear acted like he was coming home.
That's that's the only biological driver the way he was just headed due south. Yeah, I'm nothing. I'm looking at it now. Like if you remove any zig zagging around, he covered between seven and eight hundred miles as the crow flies.
Yeah, yeah. I and in that whole time, Steve, he never got into any nuisance trouble that that's shocked that thing walked on roads.
It shows populated areas rather than like walking in like a river drainages. So Tamaya and Mayne's, the Arkansas bear coordinator, he told me that to his knowledge, the bear never got a single nuisance call like it didn't go on people's porches. It a natural food. It kept its nose out of the out of the, you know, out of the bad stuff. Then it's a credible. The holiday season sure knows how to lighten up the ol wallet if you need life insurance but don't want to deal with the hassle or expense, try policy genius.
Policy genius combines a cutting edge insurance marketplace with help from licensed experts to save you time and money. You could save 50 percent or more by using policy genius to compare life insurance. Just head. The policy genius dotcom and minutes. You can work out how much coverage you need and compare quotes from top insurers to find your best price. Policy genius will compare policies starting as low as one dollar a day. You may even be eligible to skip the in-person medical exam.
Once you apply, the policy genius team will handle all the paperwork and red tape and policy genius works for you, not the insurance company. That kind of service has earned policy genius a five star rating across over sixteen hundred reviews.
Untrust, Pilot and Google. If you have loved ones who depend on your income, don't go into 2021 without life insurance. Go to policy genius dotcom and get started. You could say 50 percent or more by comparing quotes and start the New Year with one less thing to worry about. Policy genius when it comes to insurance, it's nice to get it right.
As homeowners damn near every day of hunting season can feel like Christmas, but don't forget the actual real life live holiday season is coming up quick and Benchmade knives make great gifts. And I'll tell you, man, there's a lot it's nice to get a knife for Christmas, especially like a good one. I mean, someone can give you, you know, got like kind of handmade decorative knives, which are cruel, but kind of like a knife.
That's like a good usable knife. That's Benchmade, bring Benchmade home this holiday with a gift from Benchmade Knife Company, Benchmade has been handcrafting knives in Oregon City, Oregon, since 1987. They make knives for outdoor hunting, survival and professional use, and all their knives are backed by a limited warranty and life sharp program. They'll re sharpen your knife for free for life. I'm serious. If you have a Benchmade night and you mail that knife into Benchmade, they re sharpened at the factory specs and send the thing back to you.
As you know, I carry the bug out every day and use their hotline regularly. The bugout is great because it's lightweight, fit easily in my pocket and can handle a variety of tasks from opening boxes, the forward and mushroom's process and small cuts of meat. I have you can go on Benchmade in like design and make your own bugout, which is a pretty sweet system. Benchmade also makes the best knives when it comes to skinning and breaking down game.
They use high quality steels like S9 TV that offer premium edge retention. So your blade stays sharp all season long. So whatever you're looking for, check out Benchmade dot com. They got you covered. That's BNC h m a dot dotcom head there now to upgrade your kit, pick up holiday gifts or check out what's new. OK, now here's here's the coolest part. So if the bear was coming home, why did he like how did he get up there?
And there's a theory. And you're going to like this theory, Steve. It's it's it's it's crazy.
There is a theory that this bear got trapped in a grain barge on the Mississippi River in Arkansas and he was transported up the Mississippi River, got out in Wisconsin and has been on a journey back home.
I love that.
That's great. You know, there's I'm sticking with it. Well, you know what? There's a story you guys grew up reading about Paul Revere, right? Yeah, one by land, two by sea. You know, the British are common. Yeah. Yeah. Later, historians really started to poke some holes into the. Story of Paul Revere, and I don't know the details of it, but it seems, though, there's this this idea that it was.
A little more a little more fiction than fact writer like an embellished legend. And some politician I can't remember who it was said, I love Paul Revere, whether he rode or not. Yeah. So that I like that theory. True or not, I'm sticking with that shit. That's that's what I'm buying. That's what I'm buying. A hell of a story. Hey, this. So here's the the social. Odd thing about this is that this is the first time that something like this has been documented on social media, there is a Facebook page with two hundred and thirty thousand followers that's called Keep Brunos Safe.
Pretty sure that's the name. Yeah, keep Bruno safe. And so Miren means Arkansas bear coordinator, large carnivore coordinator, received the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission when they found that Bear was here, received an incredible amount of pressure to collar that bear so that he would then be protected by law and Arkansas because you cannot shoot a collared bear in Arkansas.
So the world but back back on second year. Bruno is coming from a state that has bear seasons. Yes, his journey began in a bear season state. Right. Yeah, but then he spent some time in. A couple states with no bear season. And got famous. People start falling in love with them, and then now and his southern journey, he has now re-entered. A bear hunt state. And now people like I don't care about all the bears that live here, he used to live.
And I didn't care about him when he lived there. And I don't care about the bears that live in Arkansas normally anyway. I don't want anyone to hurt that bear. Because I know about that one. That's right. OK, so go on. Well, I was proud of the game in Fisher's response. Here is Myron. Myron said that bear is no different than any other bear that we have in this state and we're not going to collar him.
I mean, they just they just said we're not going to call it that because they don't collar male bears. The only reason they collar bears and expend resources to do social studies, den studies and whatnot.
And so the bear right now, they think they know where it's at. Supposedly one hunter took a photo of this bear in a den cavity tree, and it is just outside of one of the bear zones in Arkansas.
But but it's a deer hunter. Yeah, deer hunters, yeah, so it's not it's not even in a bear zone right now where the bears out, it is not in a bear zone, as I understand it.
But, hey, you'll like this, Steve. So all this happened in the summer and then the bear came into Arkansas in September. OK, Arkansas Bears season opens in September. My mother, my sweet mother calls me on the phone and says, Clay, don't kill Brudno.
My mom's like my PR manager. She's like, whatever you do, don't kill Bruno. And I said, OK, Mom got it. Won't because she doesn't want you to take the he or she doesn't. Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. She she she could foresee, you know, me killing this famous bear which. Yeah. There is a thing. No man where. There are dudes out there like like there are dudes out there who would be like, I want that bear.
And there are dudes out there, which I would imagine most people I hang out with will be like, I don't want anything to do with that bear that seems like trouble. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Well, here's what happened, too, is that so they were posting all over social media like these daily updates on this bear like you could attract you could have known where this bear was any given day of the year. Some, like when the bear came into Arkansas, somebody got online.
A hunter and made a comment and said, wow, I've got two hundred thousand gods telling me exactly where a bear is named, you say, and so after that, the thing shut down on the daily updates.
Well, that's that. That's what I heard. That's what that's what that's what one of the biologists told me. I mean, like, they kind of went quiet. They were like, oh, wow, we're giving out too much information.
There is a. There is a bird I'm not going to name, I'm not going to name the species. There is a non-native there is a very small population. Of a non-native bird. That lives in one state in America. And they live in one specific mountain range in one state in America. And you're allowed to hunt for this bird non-native. It is exceedingly difficult. They live in very inhospitable, very high elevation cliffy terrain, and they're hard to find.
And we took an interest in. Seen about going and checking this whole situation out, and I realize that. When birders see the bird. They they log it's. Where they saw it. And I remember thinking that that. Was not that great of an idea. To do that well over the little over the line in a similar situation, something we've covered in the past is in the state of Montana. The state has gotten. Remember, in the in what timeline, 24 requests.
For radio collar data off game animals. And they have little choice but to comply. Was coming from who hunters? You can just get that information. Apparently, they don't. It has to be through through whatever legal structure they work under. It's public information because it's a state project. So if the state puts a collar on the elk, the bull elk, apparently someone can come and say, I would like to see the collar data. And they don't have I think they don't have a way in which they can say, screw you.
Hmm, that's surprising. Yeah, I was in Fairbanks one time during Moose season and I was talking to a biologist and she was telling me. She's got Koller's. On a handful of bowls that live right around the edges of Fairbanks, and she could at any minute tell you where those bowls are standing. And doesn't want to do that now. Maybe they have different rules up there, but it is an interesting conundrum. You got to be pretty like.
You got to be pretty pathetic if that's your plan. Hey, this was this was public knowledge, so I'm not like divulging a secret, I saw it on social media, but our buddy Mike Chamberlain, the turkey doc. Yeah. He you know, he's radio collar and all these Gobbler's and I think in Alabama, he at one time gave. Information to. He somehow tells the story on this podcast. OK, OK, well, OK, got it.
No need for me. Like they couldn't kill it even when they had the information. Yeah, they were studying how he was.
I can't hear the name of that episode. My guest, Mike Chamberlain, they were studying how turkeys respond to various stimuli and how turkeys respond to hunting pressure. They had this bird no one could kill. And he would tell people where it is just to watch what it would do. And then but here's they had this one no one could get. And some dude gets in a fight with his wife. And storms off, gets in his car and drives down in the second he enters the the second he enters like the game management area, wildlife management area of some sort pulls over like at the entrance gate.
Walks over a hill, sits down against a tree. Does a hand clock and kills the turkey, the name of that episode was Gobble Your Ass Off if anyone wants to listen to it, gobble your ass off.
Yeah. So he sent all these stone cold killers after this turkey. You couldn't get them in. And some guy gets in a fight with his wife and storms off in a huff and gets it.
I remember you asked Mike if you knew what the fight was about between the husband wife.
So so where does it stand right now, Bruno? He's alive, he's alive, he's he's dead in in Arkansas and he's he's OK. So that we had hoped I'd hope that they had pulled a hair sample off this bear.
If they had a hair sample, they could tell from DNA where the spare came from. And they did that and they didn't do it. And it was unclear. It just wasn't protocol to pull a hair sample off a nuisance bear. And so they don't want to do anything out of the they don't want to do anything special. Yeah. And so but that would have told us because we have all this DNA data here in Arkansas. They got it in Wisconsin.
But here's the catch. My last thought on this, Steve, is that, you know, all the biologists said, like, this is really unusual, but bears are notorious and large carnivores are notorious for these wild like travels. I mean, there's there's stories of mountain lions that started in the Dakotas getting hit by a car in Connecticut. There have been there have been gray wolves in northern Missouri. There's there was a lynx that was seen or killed in Missouri.
Like these these animals do these big wild migrations. And and the question I asked all the biologist was, do you think this is more normal than we think?
And because you know how many you know, there's 800000 to a million bears in North America right now, probably, you know, probably less than 500 or radio collared that we can actually track. And we never would have tracked this except for social media. If this bear had just been a little bit different, we would know nothing about this bear. There just be a bear in northern Arkansas that is just we just thought was an Arkansas bear. You know, like this was just such an the the reason the bear we know this is because of how visible he was.
But maybe this happens more often than not. We don't know it. I'd put my money on that. Yeah, I think biologically and doing quite a bit of just looking at research projects and stuff, I think. Biology favors the odd bear that does something crazy because you have these populations that pretty much all do the same thing, but there's always these outliers and I think over like long, long periods of time, sometimes that outlier is the one that survives because of maybe some catastrophe in the home range.
Do you understand what I'm saying? So like inside the mechanism of bear populations, there's the crazy uncle, wild hair, you know, bear that just leaves and does something crazy. Maybe he's not biologically successful, but maybe he is and he is what passes on genes to the next generation when all those back home got killed in some catastrophe, you know? So anyway, I kind of like a broad view of bear biology. There seems to be a reward for doing crazy stuff sometimes.
Not all the time.
I think about that often. An interesting example is how we love the fact that and celebrate the fact that salmon have fidelity to their natal spawning stream. Right. It's kind of amazing that like a salmon can be born in some little stream.
And go out as a little fish the length of your finger. Like the your pinky. Spent a few years out on the ocean traveling around, probably leave us international waters, right? And come back 20 pounds. And lay an egg, right? Right, without some bitches was born. But some don't. Some like screw up. And go to the wrong stream. And think about the ramifications of that. Like you always have, if everybody was spot on, you would never be able to as climate change and habitat changes and forest fires burn and Phil Rivers full of soot.
Right. You'd never have the possibility of, like, expanding your range, but here you always have these freak outliers. Probing new spots. To see, right? And that's got to be how things shift around. Another example, I think about the way the Polynesians. Seafaring Polynesians were able to colonize. These insane places like to find the Hawaiian Islands. People had to have just gone off and died and gone off and died, but for whatever reason, people would like make a boat and head off.
Towards shit that you had No. Concrete idea, maybe from birds or cloud formations or whatever, maybe you had a suspicion there was land, but all sudden, bam! Like you just found Hawaii. Hmm, your family is loving. So, yeah, that ability to strike off is. It's probably richly rewarded. Yeah, or it's quickly cut off, yeah, or you are you're just like one of the ones that get screwed. How many Polynesians didn't make it to Hawaii?
I would. You know, that's one of the questions that I would most like to know is. Just probably just the awful, heartbreaking stories of people that just. Didn't find landmen. Mm hmm. All right, Mark. Thing about that whole bear story, Mark. I love it, and it's actually I've been following a somewhat similar bear story over there in Wyoming, in the Tetons, you know, about Bear 399. Yep. That whole thing, that's that's a sore with four cubs, it's been there for twenty four years, photographed all the time, and just recently she's been leaving the park and going into the suburbs around Jackson.
And so there's all sorts of news around that world that she's going to get into trouble and this famous bear's going to have issues.
So, yeah, she's struggling with age maybe. I don't know. It's a weird thing from everything I've seen and read, like she's healthy. She's been happily in the park. And then just recently, she's she's got into some human food sources for the first time.
So I don't know. Hmm. Mark, update everybody.
Give people a quick crash course in the back 40 project. Yeah, so the back 40 is the complete opposite of a thousand mile roaming bear, and that instead of large stretches of land, we're talking about one tiny postage stamp piece of ground in Michigan.
The back 40 is the little piece of property that we picked up about a year and a half ago. And the idea was to try to find a representative piece of private land that has been farmed and worked over the years and to see if we could take that and transform it into a wildlife paradise. Can we bring this thing back to life for all sorts of critters and farm the dogs out of it, not farm the guts? No, it had been.
Oh, yeah. Historically it had been, yes. So can we take something like that that kind of been burned to the ground? And turn into a wildlife paradise for not just deer, which sometimes folks like me are tempted to focus on just the big bucks, but could we do something that's that's that's good for deer, good for turkeys and everything else, the two birds and bees and squirrels and all that kind of stuff and still have to get honey.
So that was the the question we set off to to try to at least get the beginnings of an answer in two years. So, yeah, we started last summer and we're wrapping it up this winter. So that's that's what we've been doing.
And the back 40 is 64 acres. Yes.
That's going can get a lot of comments about that. Why didn't your name at the back 64? I mean, because it just sounds like like something sexual or something man.
But like the back 40, he just it feels landis it feels land like the back for is that kind of ubiquitous term that people used to refer like.
Yeah, that's my piece. You got twenty four bonus acres man. Yeah. Yeah. Like I don't know, shot it out on the back. Forty there, whatever.
Mm hmm. Yeah.
So this is supposed to be kind of that standard for everyone's back 40 when you people can follow. Like we chronicle, we chronicle the back forty story through a series. Yep. Available on YouTube called the Back for Back Forty. And Mark does a phenomenal job of of bringing viewers along, bringing viewers along on the journey. Trying to do this is a really compelling story about like land management, because, I mean. People that like to. Hunt and fish and, you know, it's everybody's dream that you're going to buy this little chunk of land and have your own, you know, this little paradise.
I think about it all the time. And so it's like what goes into that? What are the heartbreaks and work that goes into that? And then eventually we're going to. And hand off the keys of the gate, this isn't something that, you know, here at Meat Eater, we're not going to, like, keep it, we're going to give it away, but. When Mark first started out, when I came out there the first summer.
Mark was like kind of depressed. Because you thought like like how daunting it was going to be, because you couldn't find like you couldn't find deer, like, mature on it. But then you got like a sweet buck the first year. And in this year, it's like even better. Yeah, yeah, I mean, how much do you think is a freak like like how many? So here's this place. How many big boxes you had, like big like?
Big, like mature deer, how many mature deer do you see running around there now? We've had. Pictures of relatively consistent pictures of eight or nine different bux that are, you know, three, four are all in that up from zero. We had there was one there was there a lot last year that the one shot, the one Shi'ah. What do you think the age was that you shot Mark that day? I shot last year was definitely four or older.
He was really fully mature. Yeah, he's yeah. Crazy looking old. But, you know. Do you think it's a freak? Is it a freak that it worked or do you think something happened that do you think something happened that made it that all of a sudden these deer start showing up? You know, I think it's a combination of factors. I think I am confident that the changes we have made have absolutely helped. No doubt about it, they've helped.
But I don't want to claim that it's 100 percent me. Right, because there could have been these random things going on. We only have a two year sample size to look at. So it's just not it's not enough to draw really, really hard conclusions. But, you know, last year could have been an outlier potentially. Right. Maybe for some reason that I can't put a finger on last year's really bad. But the previous five years before that maybe had been pretty good.
And we just happened to start on the worst year or the flip side, maybe last year normal. And this year our stuff helped. But then there was some randomness outside of our control that helped. You know, it's some combination of that. I still believe, though, that the things we have done have made a noticeable positive differences. You can't deny that just the way that we're seeing these deer use the property and all sorts of wildlife use the property.
So that has been really encouraging. I probably couldn't have written it any better if I had control of the world. And I could say, all right, this is how it's going to pan out. I probably would have told it would be great if year one was pretty tough. And then we see this wonderful transformation in year two. It looks dramatically different and deer popping out all over the place and we kill a bunch. That's how I would have written it.
And maybe we got a little lucky. It turned out kind of close to that. Like explain to people what kind of what are the main things that you did? Yeah, so, like, here's a chunk of land, you want to fix it up, yeah, walk people through, like, you know, the sort of X, Y and Z of how to sort of rehabilitate a chunk of ground. Yes, so there's a lot of ways to go about something like this, but we had the somewhat unique circumstance of just having a couple of years to try to do something.
So we did have a shorter time frame in which we're looking at how can we identify kind of quick turnaround, possible projects that can make a noticeable difference quickly knowing, though, that they're still right, the long term game that could and should and hopefully will be worked on by whomever takes it on next. So that said, the way I would look at this and the way we did look at this is try to identify what are the missing pieces of the puzzle.
And on any piece of ground, whether it's public land somewhere or your own piece that you're buying, you can look and see what are the basic things that wildlife need to thrive here. And, you know, for for most species, deer especially. Right. They need high quality food. They need high quality cover. So they feel secure and they can bed and live safely. And then, you know, they need water. And if you look at any piece of property and look at how your piece fits into the larger picture, you can start to identify what's the missing piece here?
What's the where is the water seeping out of the bucket and then try to plug that hole. That's a great place to start.
So in the case of the back 40, you know, we had. Essentially, the property has a big. What am I trying to say here, there's two very different habitat types in the property. There's these old fields that are old farm fields that have now kind of been left for two years to grow into whatever was there. So, yeah, these old open fields. And then you have this big swamp and some timber in the middle. And what we quickly identified was that deer and critters love that swamp.
There's tons of security cover. There's a lot of places they feel safe. There's natural Brouse in there. But these old fields, which are 50 percent of the farm, left a lot to be desired. So 50 percent of our farm was hardly being used by deer, hardly being used by turkeys, except for, you know, a little bit of strutting around first thing in the morning, that kind of deal. There wasn't a lot going on for birds and all these other things because it was mostly just an invasive monoculture of something called mare's tail.
See a 32 acres of like a beanpole. Like if you were to look at a soybean field after the soybeans dried down, anyone you know that lives in farm country, I think you can follow me here. Imagine being field that's dried down with no leaves and no beans on it, just as being stocks. That's kind of what all these fields looked like. There was no reason that birds or bugs want to hang out in their deer, didn't feel safe in their squirrels, didn't want to be in there.
So a lot of what we tried to do was transform those old fields. We did that in a couple of different ways, Steve. We did that by one trying to improve the cover out there and the diversity out there. So I didn't want this great big dry down being field of of no food, no cover. So we we did a few things. We planted switchgrass, which is a warm season, grass that provides a lot of cover for deer.
Great poultry habitat for turkey is great for all sorts of different game birds. So grassy cover provides a year round visible high cover animals and feel safe out there. Now we planted a blend of different pollinators. So wildflowers, certain grasses and forbes' that our bees are going to like that are butterflies are in a like we planted some milkweed out there and they're great stuff for for butterflies and all these different bugs and small birds that help pollinate everything else that's important for everything, all the plant life.
So we want to help out there. Something else we did was plant strips of sorghum, which is essentially a tall grass, a really tall grass that looks kind of like corn. But it was just a way to quickly this. This goes back to the quick turnaround in our case. I needed to quickly find a way to take these big, wide open tanager fields and make them feel much smaller, more compartmentalised. Again, most critters don't like to walk out into, why don't you know, wide open spaces.
They'd much rather be feeling tight to cover, tight to edge deer and turkeys. And most of these animals really like to be near edges where they can go from a place where they can feed to quickly feeling like they're safe again. We didn't have a lot of that to start. So by planting these big strips and half circles of this that cover, all of a sudden you had that we planted trees is another thing we did Doug or Doug and came out to help me out.
And we put 50 some trees in the ground this summer. That's more of a long term play. It's going to be a while till those are, you know, as big and as substantial as they could be, of course. But right there, we're again adding these different pockets of structure. So really, we're just trying to take this big, wide open sameness in turn to in a bunch of secure differentness. That's what animals want. And so that was a lot of what we did with the fields.
And you could right away see this fall how much more comfortable. You know, in the case of deer season, we're focusing on deer, how much more comfortable these deer were coming out and moving and feeding in these pockets where they were they'd never would have last year. So that was step one going to keep rolling through them. Yeah. How can I say my favorite part of the back forty so far, just real quick is when Doug turned and you were planting trees in, the new guy came to help you.
Doug Durran tells the guy to turn his hat around forward. Yeah.
Oh, see you remember that. I like that. I mean, that was a good scene.
And it really. He did it a very surprisingly forceful yet loving way and then describes Doug well, the very the very next scene, the dude has his hat on. Oh, yeah. Doug told him he couldn't work with his hat on backwards and he fixed it. But then later, there he is with his hat backwards. Old habits die hard.
You believe I know this is true. I don't really care what you say, but. Do you believe that dog's urine? It really is, especially it's called Buchmann Juice, that it really is especially attractive to deer, that there's something about dogs, urine. You know, I used to I actually I'm going to contradict you here, Steve, because I used to believe that. And then I had him out last October and we had him spread some around force and it did not help for shit, so.
Oh, really? Oh, yeah. Because he's, you know, he's too far from home. That could be it. Maybe the Michigan dealers aren't trained up on it like Wisconsin.
They're probably food source different foods or he was he was eating different stuff and everything. So did he leave you the bottle of Barkman Juice.
No, I should ask for some. You seen the evidence. All right. I have the trail of evidence. Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, and, you know, I can't if we talked about it here somewhere before, but studies have shown that human urine is just as effective as an attractant in scrapes as actual deer urine.
That's proven, we've had a lot of guys right in that deer coming inspector to spit Pyles. When there's spit you off the tree stand that stresses me out, that they come in and they like that. Yeah, it's funny, one of our one of our cameramen does a little, too, and and I kind of gave him the talking to is that, hey, man, I don't think we should be chewing in the trees and spitting this all over the place.
So if he had a. If he'd seen this research you found or whatever the these stories where he might have been ill prove me wrong is OK. You know, the deer biologist well, general biologist, but does a lot of deer work? Jim Heffelfinger used to chew Levi Garrett. And named his kids Levi and Garrett. And dear, like, I have it on good authority that dear, lovely Reigert, all right, so continue on. The trees came from Doug during.
Some say he brought some Hynde's, he brought some pints and yes, that was cool, there's a little bit of the Doug Dirnt legacy on the back 40, which you know, is a nice is a nice little bit of of history to put on the place.
There's there's so many little memories and stories now attached to this piece of ground that it's nice to have Doug add his to that. So, yeah, we put some white pines in, we put some Cedar's, we put some spruce again, different kinds of, you know, coniferous trees that are going to provide structure and cover out there. Right. Deer going to eventually get around. These turkeys are going to hang out around their birds in a nest in them and in the way the trees the way we looked at it was that by playing these pockets of trees out in the wide open, you're going to have kind of the effect like you might see in a lake where you drop a Christmas tree in the middle of a lake or sanctuary and all of a sudden fish congregate around it.
Largemouth bass loved that structure cover inside of a water source that's the same deal with deer and other crops they want.
What do you guys call Croppies Kaleigh? And Croppy, oh, OK, I thought you guys had some stupid word for it. No, man, that's when I. Yeah, I heard that about that, Don.
So it's Christmas tree out in Lake. Yes, we've planted these pockets of Christmas trees are evergreen trees all around these old fields to again give animals a reason to come out into these fields, travel around. And, you know, if you could imagine. If you're seeing your urban flying across the country and they have the TV screen in the back of the chair in front of you and you can hit that and it'll show a map of all the different flight paths from the various cities.
Yes, that's the effect we wanted to create on a property like this. So instead of having just, you know, Detroit, Texas and Washington, D.C.. I would rather have, you know, 18 different airports on our property that these deer want to travel in between and across from a super interesting man.
That's an interesting way of looking at it. Mm hmm. You make a little shit that he needs to go look at.
Exactly. So we're going to see that every year as these pockets mature and the fields mature, you're going to see that happen more and more often. Already this year, we've seen deer hitting, visiting those trees and rubbing on them scrape underneath them. So they're already starting to use it in that way. Once those trees fill out, we're going to start to see those bedding in these pockets. And then all of a sudden, Bokser need to check these pockets for those that may be ready to breed.
So in a few years, it's going to be that airport effect for sure. This year we just started to see a little of it.
I like that. I like that. Do you cover that and you cover that and back 40. Yeah, we talk about it. I don't think I use that airport analogy in the actual video.
I don't need this, but I don't necessarily need that exact analogy.
But it's a it's like when you already to go away for a week and you come home, you kind of make the rounds. You see, like who did annoying stuff to your stuff while you were gone before I walk, if it's summertime, before I even go near my house that go into my garden. Right, and you look and you go look, and eventually, like an hour later, I'm seeing if they put the pans back right like the pans and it my my my tongs are in the top drawer next to the stove, you know, like, I just check everything.
I got my little circuit.
I love that idea with, like, habitate that a box is like I'm going to go see what's going on with the ladies. He's just got a lot of little spots. He's got to check out this one little brush patch and then he's off on the neighbor's property.
Exactly. If you watched the meter series or really anything else, we get up to you, I'm sure you've noticed that orange handled field knife our crew is always using to cut gut and get meat out of the woods is the Benchmade steep country for years now. But our go to thing for all things field dressing, I love it.
It's like the perfect size, perfect blade length hand feel light, not too light. It's a phenomenal field knife. And I'm excited to let you all know that Benchmade have now made this knife even better with upgrades from the tip to the lanyard hold. The new version features updated blade thickness, a grippy high viz orange Santa Pren handle, revised jumping location for better stability and a durable Voltaren sheath. Benchmade has a long standing reputation for quality American made hunting knives.
Family owned and headquartered in Oregon City, Oregon, Benchmade Knife Company has been manufacturing high quality sports cutlery for over thirty years. The steep country is a must have in the field is designed for the sweet spot of Hunter preference for strength, sharpness and edge retention. Benchmade takes pride in the fact that the manufacture of quality American made product that we've passed down from generation to generation each night carries a limited lifetime warranty and free sharpening and maintenance throughout the life of the knife with their life sharp program.
Make sure you ready for the season and get yours there. Benchmade Dotcom. That's BNC H. Maddi Dotcom. Hey, Mark, can I can I ask you a question? Just an observation. So the aerial video, like the drone shots of the back 40, I was struck by how it didn't seem to be any real big blocks of timber that the 64 acres was connected to. Did I miss some of that or or is that common? I mean, it's kind of like being from the kind of whitetail habitat I'm used to, like central Kansas.
Seems like it would be void of deer, but, you know, they're bedding and grass and there's hardly any trees there. So maybe that effect happening on me, but it seems like there's not any big timber close to that property.
So I guess it's all relative. When you say big, there are some substantial blocks of timber that our property connects into north and south of us. So basically we're in the middle of a of a little bit of a watershed. And there's that swamp that runs through the middle of our property and then farm fields on the east and west. And that same pattern follows as you go north or south to the neighbors. But they still have those big chunks of timber in the middle that kind of coincide with that west with those wet spots.
And you see that a lot down here in England where if it's good, dry, relatively flat land, it's going to be farmed. But the plot, the spots, you do still have timber and get covered. That's because confinement and and so there's there's a pretty good amount of that around here. So that's not a limiting factor, though, because I mean, a lot with a small property. You know, you're always trying to evaluate the properties around it because those properties are like for sure going to affect your property.
So on the back 40, you're not you feel pretty good about the surrounding habitat. Yeah.
So it's relative to a lot of places around here. It's really good. OK, we have a lot more cover than most people do, a lot more timber than most other places around here do. And that was a big part of why I picked this spot. I was really careful to think about exactly describe the neighborhood, because when you have a small piece, you you don't control everything. You don't influence everything. These animals are all over the place.
So you really want to pick a spot within a mile of high quality general area because you're going to be sharing you know, those wildlife are going to be passing through all of your places. So it's great to be in the middle of really good stuff. And so that's that's what we have. We have a good neighborhood, high quality, relatively high quality habitat around us. And we're just able to kind of plug a gap in it and make it extra good in this in this part of it.
So talk about the the you found this year. You. The way you hunt deer. Where you hang them, which is kind of like a little bit different than wilderness type hunting is is you often. Are very specific, in particular, where you're not hunting like deer, you're hunting deer. You know, and that's usually out of necessity now because, well, that's because you got you've got to you'll have a bunch of deer around, but you got one on your mind and you tailor your activities for that one.
Yeah, but usually that's because I'm hunting, in this case, one small property in the other places I hunt in Michigan, they're also pretty small properties. And I usually only have like one mature buck. Oh I see. Yeah. Yeah. So he ends up being the one deer I really want to take because he's the only one that meets that age criteria that the for me is what I want with you.
So you know, you don't have like you're not you don't have 10 to choose from. Yeah.
So it was a little different on the back 40 this year and that we had a bunch of relatively mature deer. So we had, like I said, eight or nine different bugs that are probably three and a half or older. And, you know, you guys like to name them all, do just their name, the quality of their names. We have a box we named here at my house called Old Olympe Olympe.
Yeah, we got one I Olympe last year, had a bad front leg and Olimpia this year has a bad back like. But remember, no, no, it's not think with my kids, it's Olimpia, and it's just all the live moved to move, but it's him.
Yes, we've got an old one I we've got a one eyed buck out there. He's a buck that was around last year, too. He's the only one that for sure I can identify from last year to this year.
So that was cool to see a hold over there was little drapey, just a little he's got a little drop time. And when I first saw him, I was like, he's got a little droopy time. And so that got his name stuck there. Was it? Usually these names are just kind of just leaving a label in a characteristic. So there's the sticker. There's a tight eight pointer, has some stickers off of his base. On one side, there's a heavy eight, just a really heavy, solid eight point.
Sometimes you bring your very clever.
Right, like last year, last year, there was a book called The Wild Eight. And guess what that part was like, man?
It's I used to I used to do the whole naming thing.
It used to be a thing like I think when I when I was getting into hunting to this degree, I saw all these other people doing it and I was like, oh, that's like that's the cool thing to do. And I started doing it from that perspective. And that kind of faded for me. Yeah. And now it's simply just it's a practical thing to do because I see these deer over and over and over and I have to talk about these deer over and over and over.
It's really difficult. It would be very difficult for me to be on a podcast and say I saw that one eight pointer that's on the 64 acre property. It's got a patch on his Nechirvan G4 that's not quite this tall. So so I keep it pretty simple. See, there's the sticker rate, the good.
OK, I need to ask you why you can't get that one Tron buck, but go on. Oh, no, don't bring that up.
So stick to the back. Forty four. Zeoli So what are their names.
Yes, I'm trying to think what happened. I covered yet there was the heavyweight. There is the sticker a there is dropping. There was all one I there was there's a funky side of Buck that Tony Peterson, one of our media contributors, he was out there with me the summer and we were looking at trail camera pictures and there was a book that has one really nice four point side and the other side side's really funky, strange couple of forks and daggers coming off.
So if you look at him from one side, he's real straight and normal. But if you were to get to know him a little bit more, you see he's very strange and a little bit unique. And so Tony thought that was it'd be fitting to call him Spencer after our mutual friend Spencer.
Yeah, that's good.
So so there's Spencer and I'm trying to think who I'm forgetting here. Those are those are the bucks I can remember off the top of my head. And when you but when you're hunting and you to you know, you had a crew with you. So you're filming the hunt when you're hunting and you can see on the back because a cool successful hunt, but. Were you tailoring it, were you like trying to generalize it or were you tailoring your activities for one of these or for all of these women?
So in some places it would be for one of these. In this case, it was kind of for any one of these. We had to see which one of these deer or which which of these deer would spend the most time during hunting season during the periods we would actually be hunting there. So as you know, coming into the season, I saw all these deer were there. I was looking at pictures of all these different deer using the property.
And we can only hunt certain windows, right. Because that's when we're going to be there hunting it and filming and everything like that. So it was a little bit of a waiting game and seeing, OK, these bugs are there right now. Which of these bugs will be around here when we can start hunting them? And what can I learn about that? And so as the season started progressing, you would see there was you know, this book is spending a lot of time in this corner and these two books are hanging out in this bottom section.
And so you start to have a little bit of a pattern related to one or two of these books. But once we started hunting, you had to cut. Given the fact it's so small, you simply don't have a lot of options, there's a few good spots that are probably going to be where it's going to happen.
Yeah, it's not like you're like driving off to this end of the place.
It's just like you can walk it off. Mark, how many cameras do you have up on that 64 acres?
You know, I think we had ten ten we had a bunch like a canvas, like it's like a convenience store.
It's it seems to me like on a property that small, it would be hard. I mean, to answer to to add to the question Steve's asking is like on that 64 acres, there wasn't like a section that you were like that book is always there.
That book is always there. It was there. You were hot and travel areas that any one of those books could come through.
Now, at any given time, it might have been a trend for one of those books to be showing up there. Yeah, about right.
That's that's exactly right. And so, you know, what happened is that eventually as we started hunting, I noticed that Drivetime Buck was our most frequent visitor to the southern half of the farm.
That's where he was spending a lot more time based on pictures and sightings of of any deer that we saw. I saw him the most and he was spending a lot of time down there. So he became the deer I thought was most likely that we'd have a chance at. And I saw him the first time we hunted the farm all year. I saw him come out down there. And then the first night of my rutt hunt out there in early November, I saw him and almost got a shot, had him come in chasing the dough into one of those fields, one of our little food plots there.
And he came running around and several times stopped at about fifty five yards.
I just didn't want was going to take that kind of shot. And so after that I said, OK, this book, the drought time book is hanging out in and around this betting area. We call it the honey hole. He's in here a lot. And if I spend enough time around this betting area and make sure that the wind's right, so I'm not spooking deer, if I if I'm in this area with the right winds for enough days during the run, he's going to come through and and I'll be in the game at least.
So to oversimplify things, that was was my strategy when I actually started hunting, which was during the run. And, you know, eventually it kind of came together. I don't know if we want to get into that. Yeah. Tell me what happened. Oh, yeah.
So two days after that encounter with him, this was on November 9th, I think, or 8th, 9th, I guess I went and sat in that honeyball spot. So this is this patch of native prairie that we found last year. It's really unique. It's rare. There are not many spots that native prairie ecosystem still exist in southern Michigan.
That place, because I really is.
And I like how you recognize that right off and knew that it was going to be like a producer.
Yeah, that was what sold me on the farm when I walked at the very first time. That was I walked it from a clockwise in a clockwise direction.
So I started up in the panhandle at kind of eleven o'clock and then walked the outside edge all the way down to about eight o'clock. Eight or nine o'clock is when you get to the honey hole. And when I got there I said, oh, this, this has something special going on here with the grasses and the cedars, just tremendous bedding, habitat for alstrup, all types of animals with deer especially. So this is actually the spot. The first tree I prepped to hunt last summer ended up being the tree.
We killed that buck from this year and we did a prescribed fire in there this summer to improve it. And it started out summer and spring. So we actually went in there and lit the place on fire, which is a cool thing. I'd never done that before. And it's amazing the power that fire has to naturally revive and restore an ecosystem. Basically, it burns all the extra detritus and leaf cover and dead material on top of the soil and opens it all up for new growth, adds new nutrients to the soil.
Right. That that's what happens out on public lands out west when a fire comes through.
It restores a lot of vitality to that to that area. And so that's what we try to do here. We had a special little rare prairie. Let's let's boost it. Let's help it along. Let's help it grow. So we remove some of these invasive automotives and buckthorn trees in there, too. So all that to say is that we we it was neat to make some changes to this already pretty neat spot. See that come together. Hunt the first tree.
Ever thought we should hunt from on my last hunting trip on the back forty and have it come together where you know, that morning I got in there on the edge of this and oh an hour after daylight spotted a buck way down the swamp beneath me and pulled up my benos. And it was that Spencer bucket was the funky side of deer. And you could just see he was cruising across the swamp. He wasn't with a dog, but he was he was searching for just you could see the way he was moving on a mission across the swamp.
So that got me excited. And maybe ten minutes later, I saw another flashlight down there. I pulled my binoculars. And I see a dog running across and then a big set of white tines behind her and run soon after, I could see the drop times I could see was not was the drop buck that I'd seen a few days before. So I'm watching, watching and see the dough squirt out maybe 50 minutes later. Here she comes again and here comes the drive time back again.
So I was excited by that, but it was pretty far away. This is 500 yards away maybe. And on the neighbors, you know, off in the distance, I could there you could just see him through the binoculars. So I knew they were in my world, but I did not necessarily think they'd be on top of me anytime soon. So fast forward 45 minutes when I saw flash and movement right underneath me, about 60, 70 yards away, passing through the Cedars.
I wasn't expecting it necessarily to be one of those bucks, but I saw a nice set, nice kind of profile view of of antlers passing through the cedars just like a flash really quick. I knew as a buck that I want to get another look at. At least I saw I my gun to let out a couple just deep grunts and five seconds later, this deer comes popping back out from behind the cedar and instantly saw it was the drivetime buck.
And it's beautiful. It's so neat that we have it captured on film. And I can relive that moment because just a really cool deer. And he came into the grant, walked underneath one of these cedars, just ripped up a scrape of dirt and leaves like kicking 20 feet behind him. You can just see it thrown way back there, like, all right.
Yeah, he was fired up and made that scrape and then kind of walked across behind a big oak tree that's in there. And I couldn't get a shot. And it was there was a moment of. Significant tension where he was if he continued on that route, he was going to hit where my wind was blowing, it was blowing around the edge and he was headed right for it. And so in my head, I'm thinking, all right, if he steps out from behind that oak tree, smell's going to be right.
He's going to right my wind. And it's going to be either I don't have a quick moment to get that shot or he's going to blow out of there. So I was mentally preparing myself for that. And then just out of pure luck, he stopped, turned around and started to go back the way he came. But angle even closer to me. So he came back, came around the oak tree and walked right to the most perfect place for a shot.
How family and. 15, 20 hours. Somewhere like that. Perfect. Yes, I was I stopped him. When there's a little man, it's a little sound stopped him. And it's a pretty good girl.
Mark, when you when you went when you when when you went. Man, did he. That he Pegu, urged him to stop. He stopped and looked right in our direction, but not up. You know, I don't I guess I don't remember if you looked up or towards us, I'd have to go look at the video again. I don't remember. But either way, whatever. Folder. Yeah, I was a full drawer and he had an ear on him seconds later.
So if he ran, he ran maybe 50, 60 yards and was down.
So that was it was super cool between like between that wide eight, which is so cool.
Yeah, it's great man. It was it was it was awesome, I mean, it's been a project that's been a ton of work and a lot of a lot of last year felt like we were just beating our head against the wall. And I was surprised by how little progress we were seeing to see it change this year in a pretty dramatic fashion. Just, yeah, this is really encouraging to me and in what you can do. And it wasn't like we did anything really crazy with with an insane budget.
We went we didn't sink tons and tons and tons of money into the changes we made. We we used small equipment. We rented something for a day to plant the trees. You know, this is something that that I could have done, you know, on my own. Maybe what I'm trying to say is not outside of the possibility for anyone else to do something similar. Hmm. How bad do you wish like. Like, if you had that place, if somebody said like.
I know you wouldn't want to back out on the plan, but also it was just yours for whatever reason, would that be like a favorite hunting spot of yours? Last week while we were hunting, I thought about this a lot and even one of the cameramen, I joked that maybe we should save up some money and whenever the new owners want to get rid of it, will buy it from you like this much, because here is this place pretty far from where you live, Marc.
It's relatively close. It's within you know, I could run it if I wanted on a frequent basis. There's so much potential like to see the difference we were able to to make in one year. I could I could sit here for two hours talking to you about all the other projects I'd like to do if we had this for ten years. And how how much? How. Just how awesome it could be, it's I think what we proved here was that you can make progress towards a goal like we had.
And I think you can I can confidently say we made positive steps in the right direction in two years, basically a year and a half.
But there's lot, lots more we could tackle if we had the time. And hopefully, you know, someday somebody will.
Yeah, well, one of the beautiful things about the project is that you're starting to, you know, help and create a blueprint. Not that, you know, like the like we're inventing anything here, it's like a thing that people do, we're just doing a version of it. We're creating a blueprint for how to. Come in and maximize wildlife habitat. Like, you know, restore a piece of property that has been, you know, the the.
Priority for that land was different, the priority for that land wasn't wildlife habitat priority, that land was making food for people to eat, which is like noble and then great. But what can be done when you can take a little piece of ground and bring some, you know, environmental stewardship and good conservation practices and kind of watch that impact? And if you could do that or people can do that and a lot of places all across the country and create like this.
Extensive patchwork of pieces of ground like that with some protections on them into the future. It's good for everybody. Yeah, yeah, that's the truth. Are you to talk about what's going to happen with that place or should we hold off? Yeah, yeah, I could talk about that. But I want to give a little prelude to that in in in that this project not only opened my eyes from a habitat perspective, but it also opened my eyes from the perspective of how you can use and enjoy a place like this.
There's definitely a tendency, especially within like the hardcore whitetail hunting world, to look at a property. If you were to have access to a property, whether you own it or have a lease or to hunt club or whatever, there's there's often a tendency to be hypersensitive to keeping it all to yourself or keeping it all to just, you know, no extra impact, no extra people, because especially if you're trying to target mature deer or big deer or whatever.
One of the overarching. Principles for being able to have dinner like that around and to be able to get a shot at deer like that is to keep those deer unaware of the fact that there's a bunch of hunters trying to kill them. So keep pressure low. So for a lot of years, I have obsessed over the idea of, you know, nobody else out on this property, if you can control it, you know, nobody else out there.
I'm only going to go in there a few times and everything's just right. And I don't want to mess it up because if I do that, Buck's going to be out of here. And so that was a little bit of a that was like a lens that I looked at habitat management and hunting through for for many of my years leading up to this, but.
Taking on this project, we decided that, hey, this isn't going to be a place that just mark hunts and this isn't going to be about just Mark trying to kill a big buck. This is also going to be about sharing it with other people.
So last year we invited we invite a researcher out. We invite Doug Darren to come out and hunt. We invited my dad to come out and hunt. We invited Cal and a new hunter last winter to come out and hunt. This year. We brought my dad back again. We brought the hunt winner out last week to come in and spend some time out there. We brought another new hunter out there and. What I learned was twofold, number one, I learned that even on a small property like this, even in a state like Michigan where there are a lot of other hunters, there's a lot of pressure on these deer, you can still share and have other people out there doing this, these kinds of things and having a good time and still have quality hunting.
We had way more people hunting this property than I ever would have thought we could have got away with and still killed some nice bucks. So from from that standpoint, that was eye opening and encouraging to me. But most importantly, I also was just reminded. How much more enjoyable hunting can be when you share it with people? A lot of my whitetail hunting and a lot of other really serious whitetail hunters, you sometimes can get stuck in the solitary nature of it.
And it's just like me trying to achieve my goal in my spot in my way. And it's me waking up at three thirty in the morning and going out and hunting all day. And I'm very mission focused or whatever you want to say. There's a lot of folks like that and it was a great reminder to me in getting to share this place with other people and hunt with other people and see them enjoy this place of just this is a simple thing and it's obvious, but sometimes you got to get smacked over the head with it, like how great that is.
It was great to be able to take a new hunter out there and see him get a shot at his first buck and the highs and lows and the excitement. It was it was amazing to get to take my dad out there. And I got the opportunity to spend time with my dad on the property last fall and this year come back again. We changed a bunch of things to try to make it, you know, a better situation for him.
And I actually got to kill his first deer with Archer equipment ever. His biggest luck ever getting to see all that, the joy I got out of spending time on the property with my dad and with Dan and with Dana Hunt winner. And last year, those are the people. That is what I will probably remember even more than those nice parks I shot. And and so I think if I take anything away from this personally, that is actually been my greatest lesson from the back 40.
You can transform a property not only in habitat and wildlife use, but also in how we as humans enjoy it and enjoy it together. And that was that that was the moral of the story for me. It's great. I like all that. That's good. Super good. So tell us real quick what's going to happen less, less, you don't want to get into it. Oh, no. Yeah, so that was that was my long windup to answering your question.
So. As I just described, I think that we have both I personally and we as a company, obviously see the value in sharing places like this and and using it as a tool, as a as a as a place where we can help others experience something like that. I'm one of the things that came about this year is that I invited a new hunter, Dan Jeggo, out to the property to hunt with us. And I had met him last year at a Q DMA field to talk event.
Stephano, you had those guys on the podcast. I think it was last summer. We were all out here together. Basically, it's a mentorship program that that is is kind of been scaled across the country to help bring new hunters out there into the field, partner them with a mentor, and spend a weekend teaching them how to do everything from shoot a crossbow to find deer and find deer sign and then actually how to gut a deer process. A deer took a deer, all these different things.
So I met Dan at a program like that last year that I was mentoring at. And I noticed in him that he, you know, was really passionate, was excited about learning, but had really struggled without a mentor. And we invited him back out this year. We had him come join us on the farm with Doug and helped plant trees and plant food plots and helped to teach him along with all these different things. And coming out of that, we just saw that man, this place, the back forty, it it's a perfect place to facilitate that kind of learning experience, both in the off season and then actually in the season.
He came out hunted and had a really awesome experience. And so we've been looking at ways to find how can we scale that? How can we keep that kind of learning experience happening here? How can the back 40 not just be a terrific launching pad for Dan, but could it be something like that for other people, too? And what we have settled on and what we're going to do is we are going to give away the back forty to the organization formerly known as the Quality Deer Management Association.
Now it is the National Deer Association. We're going to donate it to the National Deer Association so that they can continue using this place as a as a as a learning tool, a place that they can bring folks out and show them things like have the habitat management we've done and show them how to set up a tree stand and how to find deer sign and how to improve native grasses and why deer like to use these pockets of evergreens and then eventually take them out there for these hunts and have a great high quality place to have a first year hunt.
I know from working with some friends that have that work for the Quality Deer Management Association and set up these mentored hunts that oftentimes finding a place to bring these new hunters is your greatest challenge. A lot of times private landowners, you know, they don't necessarily want to open up their ground to a bunch of new hunters in the middle of October. So that has been a struggle. And we thought, hey, let's let's help as much as we can, thereby providing a great place to do that and a great essentially a living museum of of of learning opportunities here.
That's what the back forty can be and what we're hoping it will be. So the NDA will be taking on the property and using it to help other folks and teach other folks and hopefully mentor a lot of people into the future.
And that's at a high level. That's our plan. OK, tell people to close out, tell people how to go check out and engage with back forty. Yes, so the best place is go to the Meat Eater YouTube channel and watch the show there. Season one came out last fall. Season two is being released right now. Every Sunday, I believe. I can't rule it time, but every Sunday, a new episode is dropping through December.
To check that out, you're going to get to see all the preseason work I've been talking about. You'll get to see my dad's hunt. You'll get to see my hunt for the drop time, Buck. You'll even get to see the hunt. Or we take Dan, the new hunter out and down the sweepstakes winner. And then we're going to be putting together some content, also documenting what's going to happen next year, these mentorship opportunities. We're going to we're going to create some stuff around that as well.
So you'll see all that at the Meat Eater Dotcom. We'll be sharing articles and podcasts about it as well.
Mark, how many episodes of the back 40 and season two are there going to be? There's six regular episodes. So there's there's two.
Well, by the time this comes out, they'll be a little bit more. Yeah, but yeah.
Six six episodes of the regular series and then some bonus content to come next year. Right. All right, thanks a lot, Mark. Thank you, Clay. Neukom. Newcome. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for the X and thanks for the excellent. Book report. You did on Bruno the Bear. Bruno is going to be giving you a fascinating story of you, a lot more assignments in the near future. He did original research. Sounds good.
Like a like a like a like a like a hard hitting journalist. It's like watching 60 Minutes, watching you work, man, you should have seen me on the phone, man, I was giving them left and right. Bam, bam, and those biologist's back in the corner. Good stuff, man. Thanks a lot. All right, guys, thank you. Everybody go check out back 40. It's a great story. We're super proud of it.