As many of you know, Todd Pringnitz is the owner and creator of White Knuckle Productions and if you don’t know what White Knuckle Productions is, you need to check it out. In an interview earlier this year I got the run down on WKP, so definitely check that out here. That being said, those that are familiar with Todd’s work know that he is one of the most hardcore whitetail hunters around and he has the shoulder mounts and videos to prove it. I recently was able to catch up with Todd again to pick his brain about his early season hunting tips and see how his season is shaping up. So read on to get some great advice for early season preparation, using trail cameras to monitor deer and to hear about Todd’s ’10 hit list!
What are the most important final pieces of preparation you are doing just before the season or during that first week or so?
Todd: The final piece of my whitetail puzzle that I’m currently in-process on is two fold. Monitoring trail cameras for new mature bucks to show up, and shooting my bow like crazy. The difficultly in my world is doing all the whitetail related activities while running 3 companies and handling the product supply of several other companies. This is my busiest time of year for business, so that occupies most of my time right now. I still think the best thing a hunter can do right now is get into archery mode and shoot A LOT!
How do you typically like to set up for early season hunts?
Todd: Lately, as I’ve continued my education about mature whitetails, I don’t even get excited for early season as far as “chasing antlers” goes. The big 5-1/2 and older bucks do not move much in early to mid October. They are a different animal than the young guys, and because I only want to kill mature bucks, I save most of my time and energy in the woods until they really start moving. This generally happens in late October as the breeding season gets closer. I think the biggest mistake many hunters make is diving in far too early to their best spots. I used to be that guy, but now that I’ve started gaining confidence in my hunting areas and ability; I am slowly becoming a patient hunter.
Whats one often forgotten or overlooked “key factor” that people should keep in mind for hunting in October?
Todd: I like that you asked about “That Key” or one thing. You know what the biggest, most important thing is? It’s “you”. You are the only one who can make or break your season. It’s not the latest and greatest gadget’s or that new bow. It’s not a bag of marketing that brings “big bucks close” for $7.95 at Wallyworld. The more time and energy the hunter puts into the different aspects of their seasons, the more they can expect to get out of their hunting season. Luck can happen to anyone; for peats sake, look at my turkey kill! The difference is that if you want this “luck” to be consistent, you need to put your ducks in a row. When that first cold front in October rolls around, I’ll be sitting in a tree where I know I can kill one of my big bucks. I spent 15 days of hell hanging stands and filming the entire process to show the effort I put into hanging stands and trimming them out 2-1/2 months before I plan on hunting them. This is really when I’m killing my bucks – 2-1/2 months before I even plan on hunting those stands! Investment in your season long before the first hunt is the best thing for success! Very soon, instead of talking about it, I will be showing what I do throughout the year to get the job done. People really don’t know how much time, energy, and money I spend doing what I do. Whitetails, Inc. Webshow will tell this story. Coming soon to www.whitetailsinc.com
What’s your hit list look like this year?
Todd: Our hit list is looking good by our standards, and would probably be GREAT by most standards. I can’t let the cat out of the bag yet, but let’s just say there are a few old faces, and a few new. I hope we can show you many of them this fall! It should be a great year. Crops are nearly out of the fields, and that’s been a HUGE issue around us and everyone. If the crops are standing during the season, your sightings will be reduced greatly. It was only after the season, through shed season, and this summer that I realized what is really running around. 12 Reconyx cameras and over 100,000 trail camera pictures in the past 3 months later; I have a very good idea of exactly what is around. This is how I will know what to let walk and what not to! Trail cameras have changed a lot of my tactics. They make it so you don’t have to put as much time out in the field trying to figure out what is around. The best tool around!
Here is a pic of a buck I call “Sippycup”. He’s one of the bucks I REALLY want to kill. I have pictures all the way from 2007 of him.
Here is an example of how I’m following these deer now. This buck is 6-1/2 this year and I’m pretty excited to hopefully kill him. He’s by no means a giant buck, but for me – it’s what I love to do. Follow a whitetail through his life, get to know him, where he lives, who he’s dominant over, and where to kill him. Now the time is right and he’s as big as he’s gonna be!
What’s your plan for opening morning?
Todd: My real goal for opening day is going to be to kill a doe from a ground blind over one of my food plots. I enjoy that nearly as much as buck hunting. It’s just a lot of fun to know that on these few early “doe” hunts that the chances of success are relatively high. Generally, throughout the rest of the season I get myself in the mindset of a long grind. This takes some mental toughness, throw a cameraman and associated “costs” into the mix and the pressure makes it feel different. Good, but different. When the time comes though, all the effort and frustration are gone and you can enjoy that moment; which is really what I live for!