So Who Is Whitetail Ambush Secrets, and Why Is It Different Than Other Hunting Sites?


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.










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Leave A Reply (44 comments so far)

  1. Joseph K. Lopez
    793 days ago

    hi ,can you hing cut a pine tree

    • Randy Vander Veen
      792 days ago

      Joe, yes you can, however they don’t all offer the same benefits to deer as deciduous trees do. But if you have too many that are blocking sunlight from the forest floor, then you may want to hinge or cut them down to use as screening or redirecting deer movement as an option.

  2. Allan Kershaw
    807 days ago

    Randy, can and how do new members view previous months videos and please add me too the Facebook group.

    • Randy Vander Veen
      807 days ago

      Hi Allan, we are working on the site to make it very simple for members to purchase previous months they may have missed. For now, you can contact me directly at if you are interested in a previous month.

  3. Jon Moss
    817 days ago

    Randy, how do the members of WAS join the Facebook group that was mentioned for charter members? Am I missing something or is that something you guys have to invite people to join?

    • Randy Vander Veen
      817 days ago

      Hi Jon, Yes you can request to become a member of the Facebook group and then I will add you.

  4. Mobile Web Design
    818 days ago

    Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, great site!

  5. Marcus Billings
    819 days ago


    Even with only the January videos available so far on WAS, the info covered is still a hundreds times more productive than 10 years worth of any magazines or $500.00 dollars worth of deer hunting books. I know, I’ve bought’em.

    Like alot of people, I’ve seen my property used as travel corridor by deer rather than a twenty-four hour hang out and I’ve longed for the information to keep them on my property. Thanks to Sniper and now WAS, I’ve added large amounts of cover and potential bedding areas. Keep up the good work and thanks!

  6. dirk.diggler
    819 days ago

    dave w. thanks! i also can get into sniper site. lots of great info- information overload. these doooods know their stuff…. thank you guyz. eddie b.

  7. Brian Sanders
    821 days ago

    thanks for offering a great wealth of information brian

  8. David Weykamp
    825 days ago


    Check out This is the original WAS site. It has a lot of info and videos. My understanding is that the new WAS site is currently being built and Randy is promising a ton of new stuff. I am currently reviewing everything that is posted on the sniper site. I am unable to retain this much information after one viewing. I find something new each time I log in.

    If you can’t access the site, I’ll bet if you contact Randy he’ll get you in. A buddy of mine got a hold of Randy and he got him access to all the content.

    • Randy Vander Veen
      825 days ago

      The info on Sniper pales in comparison to what is coming on WAS this year.
      But you’re right, there is some great info on there.

  9. dirk.diggler
    828 days ago

    1.15.2012 6pm:

    hi guys! i just became a member an hour ago b/c i heard awesome things about you guyz and have enjoyed the free videos u put out. now that i am a member, i only see 2 videos and one article, i thought i’d see more than this, like a FAQ section and some ‘old vids am i impatitient or not set up correctly? basically i’ve received about 25 mins of vids and article reading… whats up? thank you.

    eddie b.

  10. Rich
    830 days ago

    Hey Guys! Loving the info / videos on this site! I lost Jims video #3

  11. Valda Averitte
    834 days ago

    Loving the information on this web site, you have done great job on the content.

  12. John Sciera
    836 days ago

    Randy/Jake and Jim,

    I’m in my second year of improving the 22 acres that I have in the heavily hunted state of NY. I’ve already learned quite a bit from the videos so far. My current property is mostly grown over farm country with lots of white pine, apple, honeysuckle, autumn olive and multiflower rose, as well as a deep gully through the middle of the property with mature hardwoods in it. I’ve cut some trails and have several food plots. I’m currently focusing on trying to get more deer to bed on my property. I was wondering if you take questions and if so what is the best way to reach you.


    • Randy Vander Veen
      836 days ago

      Hi John,
      We get dozens if not hundreds of questions from land owners all over the country.
      There’s no way we could respond to everyone individually…especially when every property is different.
      The best way to get all your questions answered and see the answers to other member’s questions, is to register to be a member. It’s dirt cheap….no pun intended. We’ve made it a no-brainer for everyone.
      Anyone who buys property, pays property taxes, and/or wants to do any kind of habitat improvement cannot go wrong by registering for this huge volume of little-known information which is not taught anywhere else when it comes to pressured hunting areas.
      It will eliminate wasted years of doing the wrong thing to your land, and will allow you to see the big picture so you can get on the fast track to attracting and holding more mature deer on your property.
      I hope to see you on the inside.

  13. Dave Franey
    838 days ago

    Great site, challenging the status quo of habitat mindset and inviting all of us along.
    Thanks for the videos, tremendous information, so much to intake.
    I have large hills on my 34 acre property, massive amounts of trees to cut still (150 cord est) and have not planted a single seed yet but am on board with WAS and HS.
    My kids and I are working to prep the plan areas as provided by Jake.

  14. Tundra
    839 days ago

    Just finished the latest video and can’t wait for the next. I went out and did some barrier hinge cuts yesterday, but stopped there. Randy, do you know when you’re going to cover the different types of hinge cuts and how to do them? I need bedding BAD, but don’t want to screw it up. I’ve been fortunate to be able to shoot some “ok ” deer during rifle season…mainly because they get chased in. They are there during summer at my mineral spots, but when velvet drops-they’re gone. My 12 yr old loves to hunt…especially archery….and it’s frustrating when we don’t even see a deer alot of the time.

    • Randy Vander Veen
      836 days ago

      Jim and I will be doing our first hinge cutting of the winter this week. So look for the videos toward the end of the week.
      Got those chain saws locked and loaded.

  15. greg
    840 days ago

    Dear randy
    Your web site is a breath of fresh air.I bought my peace of ten acre American dream 12 years ago and started out with good deer activity . A couple years later after my neighbor moved in next door the deer activity dropped and all I ever hear is shooting after dark and before season starts.(I do not know or cant prove its him or someone on the 3000 acres of public land on the other side of me .)
    So after every hunting season I tell myself I have to do something to my property to pull deer to it more , not just past through .I have been wanting to add food plots to my property but I was always thinking in the back of my head that I was going to be paying to feed the deer my neighbor and those on public land would shoot.
    After watching your sneak peak videos I feel I have a new spark with my land .I have thought of making a hinge cut barrier along the side that runs next to my neighbor and bedding through the rest with some food plots through out the rest.
    I know you have this for guys that have no or little money and I garenteed to you that I am one of them.I would love to be a member but having 4 toddlers at home doesnt leave any extra money .Ever since watching Jakes video I have been looking up as much info I can about hinge cutting.I am hoping you can find it in your heart at the very least ,to send me your videos on hinging trees. If it helps you to know I am trying to lead as many people as I can to this maricall of a web site.

  16. Todd Bates
    841 days ago

    Great info! I am doing my best to soak it all up! I have tomorrow off, and think I may make the 2 hour trip up to my 30 just south of Luther tomorrow AGAIN! I was just there scouting two days ago but every video of yours I see brings new ideas and questions! Thanks guys!

  17. David Weykamp
    841 days ago

    Hey “dave”,

    Thanks for the input. You do however loose all of your credibility, in my opinion, when you post derogatory comments about people you don’t know and then are unwilling to “own” your comments by not giving your last name. I doubt that dave is actually your first name. You are obviously only trying to redirect traffic to “your site” which is littered with advertisement pop ups. Who’s in it for the “quick buck?” Spare me “dave”.

    A simple, is also a great site for similar info, would have been more effective and respectful.

    Randy have a great site and are highly respected. certainly is not the end all for this type of information, but I believe it to be accurate and detailed. And I like the fact that, if I want, I can call Randy on the phone and pick his brain.

  18. Jake Ehlinger
    841 days ago

    Yes you saw that I mow paths that allow access to my food plots with my tractor and some of my hunting stands when I walk in. What your not awear of is my “ultra high scent control system” I use. Later in our video series we will go into the depth and detail of what Jim and I do so we do not get picked up by deer when we do use our mowed paths for access to our stands. I also use my mowed access paths during the spring and summer to walk my lab every day, and do several of my mantiance chores using these access paths as well. I do what some could call Get the deer used to who I am and how I smell during these off season dog walks. They could care less about farmer and dog walker Jake, its hunter Jake who they are not awear of. I will add when you see what it is I do to keep my boots and everything I take into the woods as scent free as possable it will help you understand how I can get away with this tactic.

  19. David Weykamp
    841 days ago


    I am in the beginning stage of laying out my 30 acres north of Luther, MI. for mature bucks. It is 85% mature maples, (currently being logged, all maples 16″dia. and larger) and the balance is open field

    I pulled up the property on Google Earth and as cool as that is, as is, it really isn’t much help. I did however stumble upon the “GPS Import” function in the Tools drop down.

    Apparently, with the right GPS unit, you can import; way points, tracks, and routes which I thought I could use to mark potential roads, stands, food plots, bedding areas, etc. and end up with a relatively accurate representation of what I think I want to do.

    Do you have any experience with Google Earth and the GPS Import function?

    Any thoughts?

    I would need to buy a new GPS to give this a try so any info pro or con would be helpful.


  20. Patrick Helsel
    842 days ago

    Another new member here and anxious to learn from the experts.
    Is Whitetail Ambush Secrets the new Facebook page to share member info or is there another Facebook page ?
    Curious because I was able to access the Whitetail Ambush Secrets Facebook page prior to becoming a member of WAS ?

  21. Dave Johnston
    842 days ago

    I am a new member and throughly enjoy the information you have provided. I hunt on a freinds 60 acres and see a nice buck or two every year but have only had one chance at a mature buck. His property is park like with a high canopy. Bedding areas are needed. It really only has a couple of bedding areas on the property now. I have three food plots on the south end of the property. Two are in a field edge and one is inside the woods on the edge of one of the bedding areas. My question is what is the difference between hinge cutting for bedding area and creating a barrier. Also it mentioned that you could friend request on facebook once you became a member and comunicate that way. I am new to facebook but would like to friend request WAS.

    • Randy Vander Veen
      842 days ago

      Hi Dave,
      Glad you enjoyed the info.
      The difference between hinge cutting for bedding and barrier is that a barrier zone (or no-go zone) is random hinge cutting of trees so that trying to move through it would require you or a deer to constantly be climbing over horizontal trees to get from point A to point B.
      Hinge cutting for bedding is more precise and takes into account a number of factors which determines how it is done.
      Please don’t do this before you watch our videos about hinge cutting. You cannot uncut a tree.

  22. Elmo
    842 days ago

    Jim, nice videos, I like how you explained the importance of post season scouting to determine where deer actually bed; I’ll be waiting for a snow so I can do the same.

    When creating hinge cut areas for buck bedding does it matter if they are on N, W, S, or E facing hills? I have an N facing hill that I want to create a bedding area, but the area is cold b/c of lack of sunlight compared to S and W facing slopes and wasn’t sure if deer would bed there if I hinge cut it or not, or if I should just keep it as a travel corridor.

  23. Elmo
    842 days ago

    Jake, in your video you had what looked like a bushogged path that was about 4-6 foot wide. You said you have it so you can access stands and not rub clothing or touch any brush on either side to help control scent. But then the same path also had overhanging branches for scrapes. So do you access your stand sites along the same paths that deer travel?

  24. Kenny Inhoof
    844 days ago

    I have 825 acres in central PA.. All wooded with 2 fields i cleared for food plots around 2 acres each. Only me and my close friend archery hunt it. 4 or 5 of us hunt it in rifle. The land is posted and ready for change. The deer are here just want more bigger bucks. We killed a 142in 10 point and a 134in 8 point this year. I want help.. Thanks kenny

  25. scooter
    845 days ago

    great info thanks looking forward to #3

  26. Marv Van Dyke
    845 days ago

    This is great info. I am learning all I can. Thankyou

  27. Big T
    846 days ago

    As states strive more and more to get over population issues in check the deer that remain will seek the best habitat, it’s just natural.
    Many hunters that have experienced seeing deer in marginal habitat due to over crowding, will be in need of great habitat construction technics like those offered on this site.
    Pheasant folk have always understood that it’s about habitat, habitat, habitat, in that order ;) . Deer folk haven’t had to consider this…yet.
    This ‘ol dog is always receptive to new tips and technics….so bring it!

  28. Tom Bleck
    846 days ago

    Thanks and I’ll be looking for it.

  29. Tom Bleck
    846 days ago

    I have 80 acres in NE Michigan that really needs some help, the canopy is starting to close off sun light. It looks good in the summer but its pretty open in the winter. My land is kind of isolated it is about a mile walk from our parking area. We use atv’s to stuff in and out but it is still not easy access. We use to see a lot of deer but now it seems like all we see are small bucks and a few does. How do I sign up? E mail me and let me know. Thanks

    • Randy Vander Veen
      846 days ago

      Sounds like your property is in need of exactly what we’re going to be teaching.
      The website opens up on Jan 1st….a few more days yet. You’ll get an email when it does.

  30. Jimmie Sorrells
    846 days ago

    Will this work in a state such as Georgia that has miles of thick brush in cutover land?Also what happens to the feeling of security when a buck is killed in this santuary?

    • Randy Vander Veen
      846 days ago


      Absolutely, if you have that much thick brush, then there should be the opportunity to control the deer movement
      with defined trails so you can divert them to where you want them to go, and place real small food plots along
      the way from their bedding areas to their main food sources.
      The key is to identifying where their beds are, and making sure they are in areas that make sense in relation to
      your entry and exit while hunting. You also want to make sure the deer movement is within your property, and
      not in a direction towards leaving your land to your neighbors stands.
      We will talk about this in great detail in the coming weeks.

  31. Jeff
    848 days ago

    I became a member last year and learned more then I could have hoped for. I went from seeing zero bucks to having 5 different bucks in bow range in one year. All of the information I was able to incorporate into my land was truly the difference. I will continue to build upon what I did last year and can’t wait for opening day. It feels like I’m able to hunt year round now and hunting season is just the icing on the cake. Thanks Randy!!!!

  32. brokentines
    849 days ago

    Looks great! I always look forward to gleaning every morsel I can about creating a Whitetail Haven. I am a small parcel owner (10 acres) and habitat is my hobby. Hopefully I can catch a bit of info that I have overlooked. Can’t wait.

  33. Spencer Lavalley
    852 days ago

    But wanna say that this is handy , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  34. Ty
    863 days ago

    I cannot wait for the new information Jake and Jim will add to an already great site created by Randy. I know we are re-structuring our entire 10 acres this coming Feb/March after talking with Randy and viewing videos and pictures from Jake’s property…priceless!

    • Admin
      861 days ago

      Thanks Ty. I am looking forward to hearing the results you guys receive from the information that this new site will make available in 2012. It’s going to be a fun offseason. Kinda like deer camp all year long.

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