Staff Bios/References

Steve Bartylla bio

Site Co-Founder.

Habitat projects


Steve has been a full time outdoor communicator and hunting and habitat consultant for over 20 years. To this day, every deer he has ever arrowed have come from stands he scouted and hung himself, which is something very few in the industry can claim. At the same time, he still spends approximately 25% of each season hunting public lands open to everyone. Another 10-15% of an average hunting season is spent on what most would consider rather normal, smaller properties. That said, he is also extremely blessed to spend the other 60-65% of an average season hunting some of the best whitetail grounds out there.

This do-it-yourself approach, when paired with hunting such a diverse quality of habitat greatly benefits his work producing how-to articles, seminars and tips for various hunting shows. He can relate to most hunters and land mangers’ struggles and challenges, as he’s been right out there in the woods with them and forced to overcome the same challenges.

Speaking of land management, Steve’s entry into the outdoor field began with the production of instructional bowhunting and habitat improvement videos, way back in the late 90s. Teaming with his brother, Joe Bartylla and highly respected retired Whitetail Research Biologist, John J. Ozoga, he produced 2 videos, before shifting into writing, seminar, TV and consulting work.

Along with his diverse hunting experience, Steve credits 3 other factors in helping him most with his consulting activities. The first is his trapping experience. Beginning at age 10, he built his trapping abilities to the point that it paid for his way through college. This was his first experience with manipulating habitat and structure on the micro level to better suit his needs. It was a natural to apply that land management for whitetails.

Then, both his degrees in biology and cartography taught him how to analyze situations and read maps and photos, which Steve relies on heavily to this day. Finally, while attending school, he had a two year internship working for a large seed company as a Plant Breeder’s Research Assistant. This both taught him how to conduct very controlled field trials on various plantings, as well as alerted him to the vast differences in traits between strains of seed.

Joe Bartylla


I started deer hunting in 1978. While I was in high school I worked on my uncle’s farm. I graduated from college with a major in biology and a minor in earth science. I followed that up with a master’s degree. While I was attending college and after I graduated I worked at Jacques Seed Company as a research technician. We used the scientific method to develop improved soybeans, corn, sunflowers and alfalfa plants. I still use many of the same testing procedures to evaluate food plots each year. I conduct many tests of a variety of food plot seeds each year. What I have learned has helped me to choose seeds that will perform well in some of the poorest conditions and what plants deer prefer. Most of my testing is done on sandy acidic soil. I have raised the pH on my main food plots but I also keep some of the testing areas with a pH of around 5 for plant evaluation. I made my first habitat improvement video in 1999 and I teach courses on habitat improvement and whitetail management.

Ethan Welscher


I grew up deer hunting in southeast Minnesota from the age of 12. I dairy farmed for a number of years through high school. My family owned a large amount of ground in Minnesota and we tried to “manage” it growing up, with some success. After going to college for dairy science for a year I was offered a job guiding for Sugar Creek Outfitters and decided that the farming industry just wasn’t for me anymore. I guided there for 3 years, helping with most all forms of management in the off season on the properties. I was then given the opportunity to manage an 1800 acre property in western Illinois in 2012, I took the position and have been here managing the property full time, ever since. We have a very strict timber management program here on the property and have been able to manipulate the timber to make the deer do just what we want them to, it’s been truly incredible.