Ryan Snow was looking for his first public land deer, and he wanted it to be a nice one. Using legendary whitetail hunter Bobby Worthington's mantra, "Big deer are where you find them", he was able to find exactly what he was looking for.
Ryan pulled off the extremely impressive feat of shooting an absolute giant in Ohio on public ground using tips he learned on The Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast, and his own tenacity to grind it out and really figure out how to have success.
The Southern Outdoorsmen episode library is an incredible place to load up on totally invaluable deer hunting information - a collective hundreds of years of deer hunting knowledge all in one place. The catch is, none of that information will do you any good if you don't put in the work and apply it on the ground. Ryan scouted and hunted extremely hard for this buck, and his story proves that when you combine good advice with a serious work ethic and a strong desire to improve, anything is possible.
To load up on all the tactics Ryan used to tag this buck make sure you listen to these episodes of the Southern Outdoorsmen Podcast:
141 - FIND & HUNT a Bucks Core Area with Josh Driver
43 - The 10% with Richard Fought
278 - Hunting Public Land GIANTS with Bobby Worthington
294 - Call Deer the Right Way with Richard Fought
315 - The Truth about Scent with Tom Brownley
Lets jump into Ryan's story:
I hunted when I was a kid in South Carolina. No one in my family deer hunted. I would just sit in a ladder stand with an old 30-30 only about 500 yards behind the house. I killed the biggest deer in the county at 12 years old.
Eventually I quit going hunting when I started making friends who did not hunt. From 14-27 it was race cars dirt bikes and drag strips. Long story short I got saved 3 years ago and needed to change my life completely. Led me back to deer hunting. I said all that to say this. I am 27 at this time with not one person in my life that knows anything about hunting. I buy a ladder stand and sit in the woods on a small property my uncle owned.
I’m eager to learn more so I look for a good podcast. I landed on your podcast because it gave me an opportunity to ask these experienced hunters questions through yall. You are asking the same questions I would, but I have no one to ask. I started listening about 5 hours a day while I was at work and listened for like a year before anything clicked.
It was to much for me to take in. I was stressing about wind, about thermals., stuff I didn’t know anything about and was having a hard time learning alone in the woods. The more I seen deer the more it started clicking. I went and bought my first trail camera after listening to episode 141 with Josh Driver.
I purchased 1 cell camera and placed it on the edge of a cutover. After getting a picture of the biggest buck I had ever seen around here ( South Carolina) I then started noticing him crossing trails corresponding to the moon. Then I remember episode 43 with Richard Fought talking about the moon. So then I started researching it more.
I ended up killing the buck and then I was hooked. Fast forward to the next year I’m not seeing that kind of buck on camera again. Then episode 278 happened! The man, Bobby Worthington! He gave it straight forward and a way I could understand. He said kill big deer where big deer are. I then thought, "well there are no big deer are in South Carolina!"
I then reached out to a distant friend that I knew hunted public land in Ohio. I tagged along in his trip in 2021 and I passed a 130 in the Ohio public hoping for a bigger. Unfortunately, the rest of the trip was a bust.
I then go back this year and re listened to those episodes before the trip. I knew I had to sit daylight to dark rain or shine. I knew I had to use my vacation time during the rut. I knew we had trail cam pics of big deer (near the road) and I remember again, "kill big bucks where they are".
This year my trip was not going good. I was sitting all day but not seeing anything. I would move to the next ridge the next day. After seeing a good 8 point about 100 yards away. I went to where he came from. I also started hunting from the time I got out of the truck, a tip from episode 43 again where I needed to be quiet as soon as I got into the woods. For a while I would tear off to my tree and then be quiet. But this year I started going in an hour before I used to and ease in.
Another challenge was looking for funnels when I didn’t know what they really are. But I started breaking the big woods down and making it small. I found a rock face and houses and travel between the two had really good sign. I started understanding funnels more and how to look for them after breaking them down like that. So back to where I saw the 8 point - it’s at the last day of my 7 day public land hunt.
As soon as I get in the tree I heard grunts and snort wheeze for an hour before daylight over and over. When the sun came up I seen a hammer of a buck about 130 yards away with a doe. Episode 284 with Richard Fought again gave me the confidence to call but this time it didn’t work at all. I called for an hour and he wouldn’t leave the doe or even look my way.
Finally the doe took off towards me! I knew I had to stop the buck. I drew my bow and screamed to the top of my lungs and he slammed on the breaks. A perfect shot had him on the ground in 25 yards. If I had not tried to call to him I wouldn’t have known that the grunt probably wouldn’t have stopped him. Me calling to him let me know that I had to do something different.
Biggest buck of my life and first public land buck. Also episode 315 was exactly what I needed to hear. After that episode I took a pair of lacrosse boots I had and dropped them off at goodwill. Went and bought a pair of Lowa boots and that has dramatically made hunting climbing and everything so much better. I was hanging onto those lacrosse boots for the scent reason control reason.
- Ryan Snow