Editor’s Note: Alex Rutledge of Birchtree, Missouri, has been a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer for the last 6 years but has been in the hunting industry as a professional hunter and TV personality for more than 20years. Today he co-hosts the “Bloodline Outdoors” TV show on the Sportsman’s Channel and the “Bloodline Outdoors” radio show. When we asked Rutledge about his favorite Mossy Oak pattern, we found a true believer. “Mossy Oak’s original Bottomland is hard to beat, but I also hunt in Break-Up, and this year I’ll be hunting in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country.”
There are several reasons why I prefer to hunt cattle farms. Cattle ranchers know that they have to have highly-nutritious soils to produce grasses and hay on which the cattle can feed. On a cattle farm, the rancher understands that he has to feed his cattle all year long. A cattle man also realizes that cattle have to have water and also pastures with some type of thickets and shade trees. All the same needs of cattle equal all the same needs deer have. Also because most fairly-large cattle operations have small patches of woods in their pastures and on their properties, these small patches of woods create sanctuaries for deer.
One of the key reasons, besides the ones I’ve already mentioned, that I hunt cattle operations is because ranchers usually ride their properties every day to check on their cattle. So, they will see and encounter any deer on their lands. The rancher may or may not know where older-age-class bucks are feeding, bedding and watering, but he’ll usually have pinpointed the areas where he most often sees a big buck. Since I try to be the best friend I can be to the landowner and his property that I hunt, always taking care of it, these landowners will share their knowledge with me about places where they’re seeing older-age-class bucks. Before the season in the middle of the day, I’ll go into those regions and look for food, water and bedding sites and the deer trails leading to those three kinds of areas. Once I locate these key sites where deer go daily, that’s where I’ll set-up my trail cameras.
Then I’ll tell the rancher and show him where I’ve put my trail cameras, since many of these ranchers and farmers are friends, and I’ll ask him to pull the SD cards out of each camera each week and put into each camera the new SD cards I supply. Then he emails me the pictures and mails me the cards from each camera. Every week I review and store the information from the trail-camera cards I’ve received. SpyPoint (www.myspypoint.com) organizes my photographs for me by dates and also give me the wind direction, moon phase and other critical information about the day and time that picture has been taken. Then SpyPoint organizes the pictures, according to each individual deer that the camera has photographed, and email the pictures to me. This system really helps me know when an older- age-class buck is appearing, and what wind, weather and moon phase may contribute to causing a buck to be at that spot at that time.
Yesterday: Alex Rutledge’s Successful System for Hunting Deer
Tomorrow: Take a Deer on Opening Day