So who is Whitetail Ambush Secrets (WAS) and what makes it different from the other thousands of hunting related websites out there?
My name is Randy VanderVeen and I’m a fanatical whitetail bowhunter who hunts in the high pressured hunting state of Michigan. Whitetail Ambush Secrets or (WAS) started out as a site I created called Sniper Bowhunting. It was a blog where I shared my experiences of creating small secluded food plots, with out any power equipment, way back in the cover. It quickly grew into many members wanting to know how to also improve the overall habitat for deer.
That’s when I met Jake Ehlinger and Jim Brauker at a QDM habitat day event. These guys are whitetail habitat ninja experts! After discovering we all enjoyed sharing our experience and strategies with hunters about high pressured whitetail habitat, I asked them if they would like to join forces and pool our knowledge into a new education based site with none of the typical hype, advertising banners, ads and endless promos. They agreed and are excited to fill the void for reality based whitetail information on hunting and habitat strategies for the average Joe who doesn’t have 100 acres nor the cash to go to Iowa every year where mature bucks live under light hunting conditions.
“WAS” is about hardcore hunting and habitat strategies for pressured deer. The purpose of the site is not to entertain its members with the ever popular hunting videos showing kill shot after kill shot. Nothing wrong with that at all. I myself enjoy watching successful hunts on video. The Outdoor TV networks and YouTube are filled with very entertaining hunting videos. But “WAS” is serving a different purpose. The site is strictly about educating its members to be consistently successful at attracting, holding, hunting and harvesting pressured mature deer.
Much of the information about being successful at hunting and improving whitetail habitat originates in the south and in low hunting pressured states like Iowa and Illinois. There is almost no source of information coming out of states like MI and PA where the numbers of hunters per square mile is so high, that opening day of firearm season makes these areas look like a pumpkin patch from an airplane. Most of the mature bucks in states like these stand little chance of surviving through the hunting season. Although the ones that do make it through have had so many negative encounters with hunters and human scent, that by the following hunting season they’re almost invisible and unkillable….is that a word?
In order to kill these wise mature bucks, they have to be hunted differently than mature bucks who live in the low pressure hunting states on TV. But many hunters don’t make the distinction between the two and go out hunting and scouting the way they see it done on TV or how it was taught to them by their dad. Ask yourself this question. How many hunting shows and videos do you see where mature bucks are consistently being taken by their prostaff members in states like MI and PA? Can you name even one? You rarely even see trail cam videos of bucks who have their own name nor find their shed antlers 2 years in a row. Hunting high pressured deer is a whole different ball game. These TV shows need to film big bucks getting shot or else the show won’t make it. That’s why they can’t afford to waste their time filming hunts in MI and PA.
Now if you live and hunt in one of the high pressured states, don’t get all bummed out and think you have to go out of state to kill a big buck. You can shoot big bucks in states that are over run with hunters……you just have to do some things differently. The question is, are you willing to leave your ego at the door and accept the fact the way you’re hunting isn’t working as well as what you will discover on video inside this site?
If you’re not sure, let me ask you this. How many times did you go hunting and not see a buck? How many times did you sit in your stand and not even see a deer? Don’t feel bad. It happens to way too many hunters when it doesn’t have to be that way. Most guys are hunting property which could be a whitetail paradise, but don’t realize it because very few people on the planet know how to transform land with almost no deer, into land which is over run with whitetails.
Jake Ehlinger is one of the few masters at creating a deer factory on any hunting property. Jake is a retired engineer who lives and hunts on his small 67 acres in southern MI. In 1990 his property was nothing but an open hay field with a little area of mature open hardwoods and devoid of any mature deer. The only deer he ever saw and harvested were yearling bucks and does. He has a wall full of these scrawny little racks. He decided that was enough. He wanted to shoot bigger bucks. So he started to plant some white pine and spruce trees, created a few food plots, planted more trees. He tried lots of things through trial and error. Around 2004 he started to see mature bucks once in a while. He finally figured out what it took to attract, hold and shoot big bucks.
Fast forward to 2011, Jake has passed 87 bucks in October and November. He shot a real nice mature 9 point on Nov 10 with his bow. He continues to pass up multiple bucks on every hunt, holding out for monsters he knows lives on his property. Jake has no fences! The only thing surrounding his property are “brown and down” hunters who hope to see those bucks walk off Jake’s paradise. There’s not a chance those bucks are leaving Jake’s land during daylight hours. They know where it’s safe.
Now you may think you need at least 60 acres and several years like Jake to make it happen for you. Not true. This can be done on as little as 10 acres and in a couple years. It opens the door to most land owners. Many of whom are sitting on a gold mine of a property and don’t even know it.
Over the last several years Jake has been helping land owners transform their property into whitetail magnets as a habitat consultant. Land owners from all over the Midwest pay Jake to come to their property so he can draw up a plan for them to implement. A few of these land owners only have 7 – 10 acres, and they are shooting 150″ class bucks.
Jake is a founding member of WAS and will be sharing his knowledge and experience step-by-step on video inside the site so WAS members will know exactly what to do transform their hunting property without having to use any big equipment. This opens the door for thousands of land owners who thought they needed over 40 acres in order to attract and hold deer on their property. He loves to teach and pass along his expertise with other hunters.
Jim Brauker spent his entire career as a biologist in the medical device field. He has 80 issued U.S patents, many of which are related to the diffusion of molecules. Jim has spent the last 5 years intensively focused on understanding the biology and behavior of whitetailed deer. In fact, he has spent more time on whitetails than he did getting his Ph.D. in biochemistry.
As recently as 2005, Jim had experiences like most Michigan hunters. He had never even seen a mature buck in the woods, lived out of state and only got 1-2 weeks per year to hunt, and was exclusively a gun hunter. He started bow hunting in 2006, he retired in 2007 and began deer hunting full time and improving the deer habitat on his property. In 2008 he killed his first buck with a bow, a 1.5 year old 7 point. In 2009, he killed a 100+ inch 3.5 year old, and in 2010, he killed a 130 inch 3.5 year old. Jim is shown here with his Nov. 2011 130″ Michigan buck. Jim passes dozens of shootable bucks every year waiting for at least a 3.5 year old.
Guys like Jim do not simply accept what they hear about whitetail biology and behavior. When they hear something, they question the reliability of the source, and go to the original scientific data to find out what is true and what is not. When they observe things in the field, they pay attention to every detail and often learn something new that is not written in any books.
He believes that the three most important factors in successful harvest of mature whitetails are scent control, scent control, and scent control, in that order. He knows that you can never completely eliminate human scent, but that you can fool a mature deer’s nose, and do it on a regular basis.
Jim has too much respect for a whitetail’s nose to believe he cannot distinguish human odor beneath cover scents. Cover scents are far more likely to spook a mature deer than to attract them. For example, the idea that a mature whitetail buck would ignore or move towards the odor of smoke makes no sense whatsoever. It might cause a young buck of 1.5-2.5 years of age to become curious, but in highly pressured areas, curious deer do not survive to adulthood, and mature deer avoid anything that might make a young deer curious. Mature deer know what is in their world, and they did not grow to adulthood by ignoring the fact that there is something new and different in the woods that was not there yesterday. If it needs to be explored, it will be explored at night.
The three of us hope to make WAS the go-to source for learning about high pressured deer, and how to attract, hold and harvest mature bucks. Your comments are welcomed below.