The great outdoors has been a place for incredible hunting adventures. Passionate Idaho whitetail archery hunter Todd Gneiting shares his hunting experiences along the Snake River drainage. He recalls stories of hunting as a kid with his brothers, and shares stories about his first shot and all hunting escapades.
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Deer Hunting the Idaho Hub – Todd Gneiting
This is a special episode with Todd Gneiting from Idaho. Todd, welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me on here. I’m excited to do this.
I have not hunted whitetails in Idaho yet. I am planning of getting out there next year. I’m excited to hear some of your stories about hunting along the Snake River Drainage. One thing that I’d like to find out is how much public land is available along the river or in whitetail habitat?
There are a lot of public lands. There’s a lot of open area. There’s a lot of public lands, the problem is the lack of private access or boat access. You’re fine with houses. People live all the way up and down and up down the river, family farms but the river wanders and snakes through there. There’s a lot of public lands that are intertwined right along the edge of the river. It makes it difficult that way in a lot of areas, but there is a lot of public access in many other parts of the unit. Right along the river itself, there’s a lot of a public through private access.
Have you rafted the river?
I have. I’ve done it in the past. The shotgun hunt opened. They have a shotgun, a short-range weapon season. They don’t allow high powered rifles or anything. It’s shotguns, slugs, muzzleloaders, archery geared. You can use crossbows during that season. There’s a lot of people that get into boats and they raft down the river. They island hop between island to island. They pushed through them. See what comes out on the other side. I’ve done that a handful of times. There are other areas that are open deserts that you can go out and push through the sagebrush. It’s got a big wide variety of spots to hunt. The unit South of me is draw only, unlimited draw. You have to put in for the tag. It’s a lot of private property on that unit.
In Wisconsin, I can remember days gone by, we floated the Black River and had success. One guy drops the other guy off, the wind has to be right, drops one guy off at one end, takes a canoe around to the other end, stands, picks one side of the island or not and see what happens.
I access a little bit with a boat through a couple of properties. It’s private intertwined with public. There’s a lot of people that I don’t know if leasing is a big thing, but it’s definitely getting more popular. It’s getting harder to find a property to access through because people are leasing them or buying out rights to the property. It’s literally accessed through it to get to the public behind that.
You mentioned something about crossbows, does the Idaho DNR allow crossbow hunting during archery season?
Not during archery season, unless you have a special permit from an injury or something with a doctor signing off on it that you can use a crossbow. They don’t allow crossbows during archery season.
That’s good to know because yes, I do have injuries. I do have permits in other states. If I’m planning, then I need to apply and get that permit. It’s not a problem, but it’s I got to apply to get a permit.
I know a couple people that have had shoulder surgery before the season starts and they’ve got signed off on being allowed to do crossbow during the elk hunt.
Speaking of elk, that’s pretty fine bull behind you. What’s the story to him? I know we’re talking whitetails, but you brought it up.
That is my first and only elk with a bow. I’ve chased elk since I was a kid. I have five brothers. Growing up, it was me hunting. We drew out tags, late season cow tags a lot of time. We go out to shoot cows. I’ve drawn a couple of bull tags. I took one with both rifles and then I hunted hard for another one, but this one I’ve chased them for six years with the bow and never even drew back on one. It’s hard. I like elk hunting, but I don’t dedicate the time to it to be super good at it. This, in particular, this bull, we’d had some elk earlier the weekend before. We got into some bulls. They were running. A guy I was with had a chance at one. He had snuck around behind us. We went back in the weekend after that with two buddies of mine. We started the trailhead and started walking. There’s another guy at the trailhead that had gone in before us. We sneak up and wandered through the dark and the trail splits. We could hear him bugling. We knew the guy was in there.
We could here bugling. He’s taken off to the right. We were like, “We’ll curl off to the left over here.” As we start going up to the left, we hear some elk bugling at the top of the ridge, a thousand feet above us. We’re like, “Let’s see what’s going on.” They would hear a couple of other. We’d hear the other hunters started bugling. We worked our way up the top of the hill. We got up there. We could still hear him bugling. We got set up. A kid who was with me, he sits at about 80 yards behind me. We set up on this ridge in the thin line of trees. My other buddy, he sets up about 80 yards next to me as a shooter. My buddy, Colin, he lets out a few cow calls and one of the satellite bulls comes running full speed if I’d have been standing there, he’s getting run right over top of me. He runs right past me at 30 yards. I’m left handed shooter and he came to my left side so I couldn’t even stop him. I couldn’t do anything. It could swing that way to shoot at him. He bailed over the mountain. He turned around. My buddy, Colin, you should’ve seen the look on his face when he’s run over the mountain and caught your wind. He said he reared up like, “No, I’m in trouble.”
It wheeled around and it came back. He was through the trees. I could see them about fifteen yards, but all I could see you were his nose poking through the packet of trees I was in. He looked and he turned back around. He bailed back off the mountain. I was like, “There goes my shot.” My first shot at shooting an elk in bow range. While we’re sitting there, I could see the hurt bull below us. He’s rounding up his cows. He has about 30 cows with them. He’s looking up at the chaos going up on the hillside. He rounds his cows up and he starts pushing them down the mountain. About fifteen, twenty minutes later, we’re still cow calling because I still got one or two satellite bulls that are calling in the distance. We’ll see if we can get them to come in. After about twenty minutes, I could start hearing elk coming back up the mountain. I could hear him coming through the brush. All of a sudden, the cows start filing over the mountain right next to me at twenty yards. I keep watching and watching. At this point, I’ve never shot an elk before. I’m debating whether I take on these big cows and shoot one of them and be done because I can shoot during the general and I could shoot a cow or a bull with a bow.
I’m debating it but they’re moving pretty quick. I look off the edge and I can barely see is the skyline, the mountain rolls over the edge. I start seeing the white tines as that bull start walking up the hill. They all pass this tree about 22 yards. I see him crest the top of it. I drew back, held the right side of this tree. As it got to it, I chirped at him. He stopped. I put it. I drilled in at 25 yards. He turned around, ran off the mountain and went up the other side. That morning, I left my good binoculars at the truck. I had this little tiny, cheap pair of binoculars. The sun was that direction. I’m trying to watch this bulls that are standing over on this far hillside. I’m watching it glares from the sun’s messing with my binoculars. I can’t watch them. I could see with my naked eye. I tried to pull it back and forth on him. Often, he disappears. I’m like, “Where did it go?” We gave him a little while. We’re sitting there. We’re still cow calling. The elks still bugling. My buddy sets up below us as we’re still calling. He starts waving at us. It turns out the other hunter was coming up to us.
We get down there, wave him out like, “We got a bull hit.” He stops in. He starts talking to us. We hang out for about an hour and a half. He’s shooting the breeze with us. We get to know him a little bit. We’d get on the blood trail and walked down off the hill, find my arrow, we start curling back up the other hill. It’s in the dense pine trees. It’s this black pumice dirt. We lose blood and it’s black because it’s not showing up very good in that dark soil. We’re following the trail. We’re following the tracks up the hill. We get ten feet from the bull. The guy that was with us, he’s like “There’s your elk.” It’s laying in the tree. We didn’t bother to look up to see if it was on the hill, but it turns out the bull tipped over and rolled down the mountain in the trees. He was there. He had a digital camera. He helped us drag it down to a flat spot, took some photos. We phoned him out. He went about his way. The three of us packed the elk off the mountain in one trip.
It’s a 300-class bull?
It’s over 300. We’ve been into elk. We’ve been close. I haven’t been able to seal the deal again.
That’s a little break in the action. Let’s get back to your hunting tradition. Let’s talk about that because I know there’s a great backstory here. Why don’t you share your hunting tradition with us?
My dad grew up hunting. His dad grew up hunting. Hunting for us and our family is like Christmas morning. We used to get taken out of school for opening day hunting season. Opening day of hunting and open day of fishing were the only two days that my dad says his dad used to take off from work, from farming to take the kids out of school and go hunting. That was the same thing with us opening day of hunting season, whether we drew a tag or general season, we usually got pulled out of school for a day or two. We’d go up and we would chase. We chased a deer around or elk around. We grew up that way. I have five brothers. Five boys are a lot of mouths to feed. We grew up shooting whatever walked in the front of his first. We did a lot of outlining late season elk hunting cows, deer and it evolved from there. I shot my first deer when I was twelve years old on a general season tag. In Idaho, you can shoot a buck or a doe up to eighteen years old on a general season deer tag and then after that, it’s buck only. We go out and try to get whatever we could. In elk hunting, we chased elk around on general spike hunts and late season cow tags.
We never chased horns. We’re never horn hunters. We’re never buck hunters. If we draw a late season tag, then so be it. We draw a late season tag. We never chased horns. That was never in our cards. My dad was always the first day, I can fill my tag the first hit. It costs me that much less gas driving to the mountains, put some meat in the freezer and be done. As the years evolved, I got older. I started being like, “Let’s put some bull tags. Let’s put for buck tags. We can still hunt general season if we don’t draw. It’s not a big deal. We started putting in that draw bull tag, got a little opening weekend on that. I got a raghorn busted up. He has busted all the pieces, but my dad’s like, “It’s opening day. You’ve got a bull standing there.” I’m like, “I know but we put it for this tag for so long, I haven’t drawn it.” It evolved. I’ve shot one decent, nice mule deer. I shot a few smaller mule deer with a rifle. Back then, it was a shorter season than it is now. They’ve extended it a little bit. He had a pretty short window to go get an animal.
I started dating my wife, my girlfriend at the time. We started fishing the river bottoms with my father-in-law. He grew up floating the river bottoms, float the river. He grew up down on the river. We go fishing with him. Over the course of a couple of years of fishing with them, we noticed, there’s deer all over the place. I didn’t even realize it growing up as a kid that there were whitetail deer that close to home and that’s many of them. It was a new thing for me growing up mule deer hunting. We always drove an hour and a half, two hours into the mountains, hike our butts off, chasing deer around. A buddy of mine’s like he’s like, “We need to buy boats, come down here and hunt deer with a bow.” I start doing a little research into it. I find out the archery season is three months long, starts in August and ends in December. He bought a boat before I did. You got to go through archery class. I’ve taken archery hunters ed class to be able to shoot a bow in Idaho or previously punted archery in a different state or whatnot. He picked up a bow that year. He started hunting. He shot a deer in his first year he picked up his bow. I’m like, “I can’t let her beat me.” I picked up a bow the next year. I start practicing. I didn’t do a lot of scouting.You've got to work for it. If a deer hides from you, you got to go out and get it. Click To Tweet
We went out and we’ve seen deer. They’re always there. They knew where they’re going and hanging out, I’ve seen trails in the gravel or in the trees. That first year, I borrowed a tree stand from brother-in-law. I went down one day and said, “There’s a big trail right here down this gravel road, hung a tree stand 30 yards off the trail. I sat my first night in a tree. First morning opening morning of the archery season, I sat in a tree stand and I shot my first deer, the first one to walk by. There’s probably ten of them, single file walking down this trail. I had the first doe that walked by at 30 yards. I was shooting about 100 yards into the trees, burying yourself down in this thicket. We searched for a while because we wanted to cross an open clearing and we lost blood. We looked around a little bit. I found her and I was hooked after that. It’s evolved from there. That was thirteen seasons ago, about thirteen and a half years ago. That’s evolved into hanging one tree stand. I start paying up to fifteen/twenty in a season. I fluctuate between what I’m doing. It’s a blast.
How do you manage that fifteen tree stands on public land, I’m assuming, is that correct?
It’s a mix of both. I have some on public. I have on private. I’ve got a couple of properties that I have access to. My in-laws own a property. There are a couple acres of trees. I’ll set some tree stands up there. I use boat access to get to other spots and then access through other properties. I do have a few private, public land spots that I hunt also.
When you think about your hunt plan for the fall, what are you focusing on?
I run 24 cameras. I scattered them over the entire unit. I used whatever data I collect. I run a lot of them. I’ll probably run ten of them year-round. I leave him up. See what’s going around. See what makes it through the season. I collect data of where they’re moving, where they’re coming from. My primary area, I’m focused on bedding and food. I know where they’re going. I know where they’re coming from. The crops changed. The farmer might have wheat one year and alfalfa the next year so that changes the pattern. I go the shotgun effect and see what I can put out there, see what’s moving and see where they’re at. I base my plan off of that.
I don’t know how you put a hit list together with that many cameras though.
I use a couple of apps that I have to ping off my trail cameras so that I don’t forget them because I move them frequently enough. I have a pretty set spot from over the years of knowing where the deer moves. I set them. I mix them up. I’ll try new spots like October 1st, the archery season ends. October 1st through the 9th, there’s no season at all. No shotgun season. No archery season. I’ll usually pull my cameras and I’ll start sticking them at random spots down in a hole somewhere. There are a lot of people that hunt in the archery hunt, but the shotgun hunt, there’s a lot of people that hunt in the shotgun because they come out in droves. They start pushing the brush. I’ll stuck cameras in random spots that I normally wouldn’t do to see what’s moving. I’m like, “I wouldn’t hunt there but I’m curious to see what’s over there.” I’ll throw them up, see what’s moving during the shotgun hunt because the deer gets pushed around. I avoid the shotgun season anymore because people get shot almost.
I haven’t heard it in the last year or so, but there were quite a few years that people get shot during the shotgun season because people are shooting at movement. They’re not identifying what they’re shooting at. That’s forced the fishing game to change the season. During the shotgun hunt, they changed up during the whole season. Now they limited it to doe only the first part of the season and buck only in the last half of the season to force people to, “What am I shooting at?” A few years ago, a guy got shot crossing the fence and pick out one of his lungs. He lived, but it took out a bunch of ribs in his one side. That’s a bad deal. That’s why I strategize on what’s moving. As I said, I have a lot of different areas I hunt. I have flatland stuff that’s open country, not a lot of trees but thick dense brush and cover. I have taken some trees on the river that they wander through and off of hunt that fields.
What’s the age class of the deer that you’re targeting?
When I first started archery hunting, it was any deer was in the crosshairs. My primary area hunt, they’re probably like three and a half. You’d be lucky if you get a four and a half. I’ve been running cameras for about ten years now and bucks don’t show up from year to year to year. I don’t know if it’s the area I hunt or there are some that get a little better at age class maybe. I know I’m on the other side of the unit. I’ve got bucks that are maybe five and a half, but that’s about it. My uncle shot a buck years ago, a big buck. It was probably the biggest buck I’ve ever seen. We drag him out and it was his big year. It was probably about five and a half years, but the area I’m in three and a half, three and a half, four and a half as old as I’ve seen them. In ten years, I’ve had two bucks that have been a regular on camera from year-to-year.
One buck that I’ve tracked for three years. I got him when he was probably a year and a half maybe. I tracked him for two years after that and then he disappeared. I don’t know where he went. I had pictures of them after the season was over and that’s been the case with a lot of bucks. I’ve got bucks from year to year to year. I had a buck a couple of years ago. It showed up big drop tank club hanging off of his base and his horn. I never had previous history with him. He showed up. He’s there all summer long. I scattered them all summer. I hit him in October. I didn’t know it was him at the time. It was low light. He was in some thick brush. He ducked my arrow when I hit him. A buddy of mine that hunts across the river from me on a different property, he shot it in late November and had my arrow still in him. The year come and go. From year-to-year, I have new doe show up and the next year they don’t come back. I don’t know why. It’s weird. I put together a game plan for the deer that is on the property that year because I can’t predict from year to year to year if they’re going to come back.
From my experience, either they’re pioneering, they’re going across the river. They’re going to parts unknown because there are lots of drainages in Idaho. Whitetails have been there for a long time. They’re still moving and establishing their terrain, their habitat. I know that’s true in Colorado. They’ll see one deer down. The next thing they do it’s up by Slider. How did he get through the canyon? How did this deer get here? There are cases that bucks are moving. During the rut, normal bucks can move up the five miles during the rut in prime habitat. We’re talking about stuff like that or any good habitat they can range up to five miles. Five miles is a long way.Just hang out and see nature and enjoy life. Click To Tweet
I’ll get him on camera all during the summer, June, July into August. I’ve had them disappear into September. First of September, I’ve had a buck a couple of years ago that he disappeared. I never saw him again. I didn’t see him all during October. I didn’t see him in November. He showed up December 21st because the season is the 19th. He showed up on the 21st. On the 22nd, he shed one side already. They’re smart. The nice thing is the area I’m at, if I can pattern them during the summer, they usually show up later. They may disappear in October. I think part of it is pressure from other hunters. People being in there. November, I can usually predict that they’re going to be there in November. I do have a few bucks that I won’t get pictures of all summer long. I have no pictures of him. I have one buck in particular that a few years back he showed up in two different consecutive years back-to-back, late October and in November.
What is your number one go-to technique for hunting whitetails?
I say trail cameras because I like to leave them up there. I like patterning them. I love cameras. I’ve got some crazy stuff on camera. I’ve got pictures of moose giving birth over a two-hour period on my cameras. Coyotes, packing doze off, hot packing rabbits off. As I said, I run cameras year-round. I pattern them. I see where they’re going and I’ll move things around and adjust. Over the course of the ten years of running them, I’m guessing within the week when the rut starts every year. I plan my vacation on the same weekends every year.
You’ve got enough data to do that.
I have a two-terabyte hard drive that I save, not all my pictures, a lot of doe pictures and smaller buck pictures and stuff. I’ll keep a handful here and there to see if bucks recur from year to year to year. Early data, I’ll keep a few but October and November, I have them all categorized of locations, dates, even some of them down to specific deer. I can go back through all those pictures and see, they started moving here. They showed up on camera here. They like activity these days. They were here for three weeks. I have people asking me, “What do you think the rut is going to be?” I’m like, “It’s been the same two weeks for the last ten years.”
Do you get Deer & Deer Hunting?
They come out with Charles Alsheimer. He has since passed, but they’re still using his data, his algorithms. It’s interesting to look at that. We got the seeking phase and chasing phase and then lock down phase or “the rut.” That’s an exciting time because at any time you can see deer that you’ve never seen before. There’s typically a lot of activity. Everything else being equal, it’s a great time to do all they set and to see it in just a wonderful way. That’s for sure.
I play the weather a lot. I have a three-week period that I know I need to be in a tree stand between this and this. If it’s going to get snow or I can see the snow is coming in November, it’s usually pretty common to get snow, at least some of it or the temperature drops, I’ll plan around. I won’t set. The storms are going to be here on Tuesday, Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday. I’m sitting possibly Thursday night and Friday because I picture show snow comes in, a nasty weather. That day after, it clears up, there are deers everywhere. The deers are running around. They’re like, “Freedom.”
The first bull elk I ever killed, the storm hammered for a day and a half and at around noon time it stopped. We get out the woods. It wasn’t easy because we’d been hunting in the same ground that we laid up and everybody else laid up. They are now everywhere. The first elk that I saw I shot. I’m going, “There he is.” He’s been there the whole time. It takes that magic. There’s no question about that. When you think about what you know now, what you wish you knew five years ago that you’re using as far as tips, techniques and strategies for hunting whitetails?
The biggest one is patience and getting to the stand at the right time. Years ago, I thought it was more of the longer you sit in a tree stand, that something is going to walk by you. I had one year in particular, I sat 320 hours in a tree stand. That’s a long time. Over the course of August, September, October, and November. I spent like 320 hours in a tree stand. That’s probably one of the worst years I’ve ever had. I shot a deer. A lot of times I was sitting there I was watching nothing, squirrels, some deer here and there. Now, I’m much more strategic on what I do. I don’t hang fifteen, twenty tree stands anymore. I hang three. They’re very specific spots. I only hang them when it’s the right time. I don’t willy-nilly throw some tree stands out and hope something is going to walk by them. They’re very specific spots. I have one stand that I’ve shot six bucks out of the same tree stand.
Let’s camp right here because first time sits if you did some studying and talked to people, listen to things, people were taking mature deer or taking them on the first time sits. No question about it. Josh Honeycutt took a gorgeous eight pointer like 178-point in velvet. The first time, he sets it but he’s long discounted it. He didn’t hunt it. He scouted it until he figured out, “Where do I need to be? I’m going to be there tomorrow. I’m going to go close the deal on this thing.” More and more people that I talked to and I’m one of them. I love to sit in the woods. I have no problem seeing the woods. I enjoy the heck out of it. I’m not killing big deer. I’ve seen the woods. I’m accomplishing that. It’s wonderful, but I’m not in the right place or I’m not killing a big deer.Trail camera is a number one go-to for hunting. Click To Tweet
I have modified everything to where I want to see the deer first and get a sense of what’s in the neighborhood. Unfortunately for me, I can’t hunt Eastern Colorado. It’s relatively difficult and expensive to get out. There is some public land, but that’s very competitive. I don’t want competition when I’m archery hunting. I want my own space and that’s what I want. You look at that, you’ve got it down to three stands. Let’s talk about each of those three stands and why they’re so critical to your success.
They’re between bedding and food. They’re on a travel corridor for bucks to walk down. Between two slews that come to a head and I have the hub. I’ve got probably six trails that merge at my tree stand. The funny thing is the first year that I hunted this spot, I was with another guy. We were shotgun hunting. We’re pushing through the brush. We jumped a couple of deer out of it. This is nice. We set up there and he’s like, “I’m going to sit up here in this spot.” It’s a little bit of a clearing. I’ve got about a 35-yard shot in, on four different trails but I can see out to a couple of other spots I get 50, maybe 50-yard shot at the max.
All these trails converge into it. Over the years of set cameras out, this one tree stand, six cameras around it within a 100-yard radius around this tree because I’ll get bucks on one camera going past and they will never hit the other five cameras. They’re all in spots where it’s easy for me to get to. I’m not going out of my way to black brush, push brush to get to them. The wind is blowing this way. I go in there and pull this camera, pull this camera, pull this camera. The bucks are crossing back and forth through that. I do whatever I can to minimize my affected area.
I used to hang cameras all the way around the area. We’re on the far side of the property over here or over here. I don’t put him over there at all anymore because I’ve established that if the deer come here, I don’t need to hunt over there. I don’t need to push them out of it. I avoid it altogether and try to minimize running any deer that are there off. There’s an outfield 500 or 600 yards away that they’re going to cross the road. They’re crossing off of that to go to this act field to it. I’ll drive down the road in afternoons when I’m leaving and I jumped in the road all the time here in the headlights as I’m leaving my spot because they’re heading off to that or even in the mornings I’ll be driving down in and catch them coming out of the fields back into the timber.
That’s on stand number one, hunting the hub. What about the other two?
I have a few people I hunt with. The other one is a doe location, but it’s an off the wall. If the hub is not working out and the wind is not right or something, I will pull this other spot. I have a friend who hunted a mile up the river from me, a mile to a mile and a half. That was about three years ago was he got a camera, hung out his camera for about a week, and then disappeared off his camera. It showed up on my camera. About four days later, I shot him. I have a couple to relieve pressure from another stand. The other one is, it’s a doe stand. It’s a big ladder stand. It’s partially to take my kids hunting. It’s a lot of low activity. The bucks will cruise it during November. It is a good area to cruise in November. It’s a nice place. It’s easy to access for my kids. I take them in there and my boy. We sat on opening weekend. We had some fawns and does and a little spike come underneath us and walk around. He had a time of his life watching them. Playing his little Kindle Fire while he’s sitting in the tree stand.
The other one that I hang is if the hub is not working, they’re either going by the hub or they’re going by the other one. It’s far enough apart that they’re either going by one or they’re going by the other. The wind is good for the other one, for more of an evening spot. The hub is more of peak right, deer chasing. I can expect them from almost any direction. That’s part of why I dress down in Idaho and put it into effect that they’re no longer allowing natural deer urines for spread of CWD or whatever they’re concerned about. Now, it’s going to be more of a synthetic. I used to use your Deer Scents Tink’s 69. I used it almost more of cover scent because I expected the deer to come there. I didn’t use it as an attractant to draw them into me. If some comes down and window me, I’d rather them smell that than smell me.
Have you tried any of the Ozone?
I’ve never tried any of the Ozone stuff. I know there are a couple of them that you can throw in like a bag. I’ve never tried. I have a buddy that has one. I’ve thrown around the idea of buying that scent crusher duffel bag. I’ve never tried the Ozone stuff. I think I bought five bottles of the Tink’s Spray. I have some Scent-Lok Gold that I’ve sprayed down with. I leave a bottle of it in my truck. I put one in my backpack.
When you think about your hunting tradition and your dad, what are some of the great lessons that he taught you?
It’s hard work. Nothing comes easy. Nothing you want comes easy. You got to work for it. Deer hunting, if you want some, you got to go out and get it. You’re not going to get it from the couch. One of the examples he had with this is he drew a moose tag about three years ago. He put in for years. He put it for a long time and on and off different areas. Since I started whitetail hunting on the river bottoms, there’s a lot of moose on the river bottoms. Cows, bulls, I get a lot of pictures of moose on my cameras. I drew a tag about six years ago for a moose. I got a pretty good moose. It was a nice moose. I was happy with it. I didn’t know any better. I convinced him. I was like, “You need to put it for a moose tag. You need to put in for moose. You’re only getting older, you need to put in for moose down here.” After I got him into whitetail hunting because he’s going out the first day shooting a deer being done. I was like, “You need to put it for moose.” He started whitetail hunting. He started enjoying that. I got him into archery hunting. I convinced him, “You can go out and shoot some whitetail. It’s general season, you don’t have to draw tags. Let’s put you in for moose and get your draws moose.”
We did a bunch of scouting through connections. My dad knew everybody. We go to a restaurant, we walk in there and he’d pick out five people and start randomly talking to people. It’s through casual conversations. He talked to a few people that own some property and they’re like, “We’ve got some moose. You can come out here and hunt. We scattered a few other areas for a moose.” Opening day comes up and we’d seen some lot of moose sign. We’ve seen a couple of decent bulls, but we do the moose. There’s a bull in the area. We’d seen some rubs. The landowners like, “There’s a moose that have been out here causing havoc with my cornfields.” He’s like, “Come out here and take care of them.” We go and push this brush. He wanders around the other side and I’m walking through this slew and all the sudden I hear a gunshot go off. I start yelling.People will tell you to do one thing or another thing; you just got to figure out what works for you. Click To Tweet
I’m like, “Holy cow.” I walked over to him and the moose is laying there. He shot it at 40 yards standing there. It’s laying on the ground and we’re like, “Oh.” We high five and stuff. The moose gets up and takes off running. We’re like, “What in the world?” He shot at it again as it ducks through the trees. It turns out he hit it high. He shot with a shotgun slug. We started this shotgun slug into 100 yards. Shooting it like it was probably like 20, 25 yards. It was right there. He hit it high up in the shoulder. He’d had enough force to knock it down. We thought it was dead. It took off running. We looked at it for a long time. There’s blood initially where we hit it and then after that nothing. We tracked it. It ran across an open field for a mile. We watched it. We run into some brush. We scouted. We pushed brush, try to find it. There’s so much moose sign we couldn’t figure out which one was which, besides his hooves were like the size of a dinner plate. They’re huge. We were like, “Let’s see what we can do.” It’s like he’s still alive. We went back and then over the course of that next month, he kept pursuing this thing.
I was working in the garage one day and he’s like, “Do you want to come out and go look for the moose?” I’m like, “No, I got some project I got to go finish.” I’m like, “Let me know what you see.” It was raining, a crappy day outside. I get a phone call about an hour and a half later, and says, “I shot my moose.” It was across the river, the same property just across the river and a slew. He got him at 130 yards and he hadn’t track it yet. He comes back, got me away from this eight-foot pontoon boat, little pontoon raft, kick raft. Two of us pile onto that raft and push it across. With that, we cross the river about flipped it on us. We walk up the slew and his balls laying there in the bottom of the slew.
A couple of people are like, “If you ever shoot one, let us know. We’ll come up there and help you get it out.” It’s one of those, “We’ll help you when it happens.” A couple of calls later, finally found somebody with the jet boat comes up and helps us drag this moose out of the river bottoms. It’s persistence and patience. He was not always the most patient. Bow hunting for him first was not his thing. It was sitting in a tree stand, waiting for deer to walk by was not his thing. Over the course of a couple of years, he’s tired. He’s like, “I can go down here, hang out for a few hours, but I don’t see any deer. I don’t care.” Hang out and see nature and enjoy life.
That brings us to another episode of Whitetail Rendezvous with Todd Gneiting from Idaho. Todd, it’s been a pleasure listening to you. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to sit on the hub and see what happened. Any final thoughts?
Do what you do. There’s so much information out there. People tell you to do one thing or another thing. You got to figure out what works for you. Every situation is different. Every property is different, public land or private land. I’ve had the same bow for ten years. She’s fantastic. I’ve bought bows since and pass them on because they didn’t suit me. Do the best you can with what you got and then have fun with it. That’s the best. That’s the thing. Have fun with it. I dragged my kids into it. We’re going up on a shotgun hunt. I’m going to drag them down the tree stand and possibly in a ground blind and see what we can see.