In 2019 Dane Whitsett made the decision to go mobile in his approach to bowhunting whitetails. In his very first hunt of that season he saw more in a single sit than he ever had hunting from the field edges. During that hunt he had an encounter with a beautiful 8 point buck he named Ohio, and from that point on it was Ohio or bust. Unfortunately, a neighboring hunter was able to get a lethal shot on Ohio and was gracious enough to share the news with Dane. Did Dane give up, nope!
Later on that season sticking with his mobile hunting strategy he was able to sneak in to a pocket of timber that was holding a lot of deer. From the ground Dane had an encounter with an absolutely huge buck that was chasing a doe. Does Dane capitalize? Listen to this episode to see if he he has a long drag or sad walk back to his truck. Enjoy!
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What's up everybody? Welcome back to the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast. I wonder how many times I've said that. That's a lot of time saying the same damn thing, [00:01:00] but today we have a good podcast and here's why. If you can go back if you're a mobile hunter or some kind of guy who has found success over the last X number of years, let's say, there's probably a moment where you changed your strategy and had an aha moment.
And today's podcast, we're gonna be talking with Dane Whitsett and he's going to talk about his 2019 aha moment where he started getting mobile and being mobile led to him being more successful. And I think this, that, that year he shot the biggest buck of his life. And so it's a really interesting episode and I can remember it was 2000 and it wasn't 2016.
That's when it really started to like, that's when it really all connected in 2016, but it was before that. [00:02:00] Even in failure. I can remember, I would say 2008 ish, 2007, 2008 ish is when I really started hard in the. Tear or set up, tear down, set up, tear down, set up, tear down, different tree, every single hunt type of approach to hunting.
And I definitely saw more deer and it wasn't, I had a couple successful seasons in between 2008 and 2016, but it was in 2016 when it just all clicked for me. And it just became reaction and I didn't have to think about it too much. And a lot of that has to do with jumping off the comfortable cliff and hoping you fly when it comes to being mobile.
And a lot of guys are afraid to do that. And so Dane on this episode, talks about that and talks about how it instantly translated into more opportunity on good deer. And so that's the topic of [00:03:00] conversation today. It's that aha moment. Do me a favor. When I post this, I'm having some trouble and I need your help.
I posted a picture of a sandwich on Instagram the other day, and it got four likes. And so I've noticed it an absolute huge decline in activity. And I have a good feeling it's because I've been banned on some level or my content. I know in Instagram there is a button that in the background if you tend to violate their terms, what those are, nobody knows.
But when you do that, they have the ability to hit a reduced visibility button on your profile. And so I think that's what's happening because I ask a couple questions and only one person responded to it. And usually it's way, way higher than that. And I and I could go into detail about other [00:04:00] reasons, and I'll tell you this, that is why I like going and posting some of my content on Go Wild as well.
If you're not familiar with Go Wild, it is a. It's an app, it's a social media app for Outdoorsmen specifically. And so if you don't, if you haven't heard about that, go check out. Go Wild. They have a website as well, and it, and so I just get real frustrated when I see all, I don't know, me getting shut down for something that I love to do that's not really hurt, hurting, or threatening anybody.
And so it just makes me frustrated. And so what I'm getting at here is, do me a favor. When I launched this episode, go to social media, go to my Instagram, page nine, finger Chronicles, and just leave a comment about your aha moment that you had in hunting, what year it was. Maybe a small little comment about what it was the scenario where you had that aha moment.
And I'd love to read your guys', your guys' comments on that. So awesome episode today. It's very [00:05:00] interesting and a little bit educational, a little bit. Fun. And I hope you guys enjoy it. Now, before we get into today's episode, I'm gonna run through our sponsors real quick. The people who helped me pay my bills, and that is tethered.
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And that might be a one trip. Like I, I'm gonna go down there, try to hit both states within maybe a 10 day period. And so that to me is gonna be a chore. But I'm gonna get ahead of myself. I'm gonna put the I'm gonna put the horse before the cart and I'm gonna plan as much as possible through HuntStand, looking for access routes, looking for public land, looking for All of the information that HuntStand offers through their platform, that's going to help me prepare for a trip like that.[00:08:00]
And then once I go out there, put boots on the ground, I can start journaling and documenting everything that I see. Whether I decide to hang trail cameras up, or find rubs and scrapes or mark deer activity, it's gonna allow me to save that information. So the next time I go back down there, I'm gonna have a better grasp on where I am actually hunting, and it just gets you closer to success.
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Vortex optics.com. Don't forget about their V I P warranty. You break it, send it back to them. They fix it for free and send it back to you. That's top to your customer service. I just paid my bills. Thank you guys very much for listening to that. I really appreciate it. Be kind to each other. Good vibes in.
Good vibes out. Wear your safety harness and let's get into today's episode. Three, two, one. All right. On the phone with me today, Mr. Dane. Whitsett. Dane. What's up, dude?
[00:09:54] Dane Whitsett: Oh, just another, I guess Wednesday. It is.
[00:09:56] Dan Johnson: Yeah. That's a fact, man. All right, so [00:10:00] I don't know. Do you have kids?
[00:10:01] Dane Whitsett: No, no kids. No kids. Girlfriend.
[00:10:03] Dan Johnson: One dog. Okay. All right. Good good. So this, I don't want, how old are you? 31. 31, okay. I don't want to scare you. All right. Huh. I was about, let's see, we got married in 2012, which would've made me 32. So I got married in 32. I've been married for, oh man. This year will be my 11th year of being married.
2023. Congratulations. Yep. And man, I look back at. What life was like before kids, maybe with a girlfriend and with my girlfriend's dog, it was the it's just a dream. Wow. It doesn't even seem like reality. Like I used to live that life, . I could go and do whatever I wanted.
Flashback to this last four days. So my son, he got sick, he puked, we took him to the toilet. He said, my tummy feels better. Walks out into the hallway, pukes all over the hall, and then, oh no, a [00:11:00] trail of puke to the toilet. And he pukes, not necessarily in the toilet, but all around it and on top of it. Oh, no.
Cleaned that up next morning. Barfs again. It does the same thing like this time he makes it to the bathroom, but instead of puking on the puking in the toilet, he pukes on the rugs that are in the bathroom. All right. Oh, no big deal. The next day he's feeling a little better. He's, he, you can tell his attitude's a little bit better.
And he we're sitting at the breakfast table. He's eaten some waffles and he sneezes and shits his pants at the same time. . Oh, the old sneeze shit. Yep. The old sneeze shit. Oh man. And he goes, dad, I pooped my pants. And I said I heard it, buddy. Let's go get you cleaned up. And then, so that took, at that point I've been through that, that was my youngest boy.
And so I've been through that with two other kids. So we don't [00:12:00] even try to save the clothes. We just throw that right in the trash, throw 'em in the shower, spray 'em down, like basically a car, and then we go back. I go, all right buddy, do you need to try to poop? No, I think I got it all out .
[00:12:13] Dane Whitsett: Yeah, I would hope so.
[00:12:15] Dan Johnson: he's can I go finish my waffles? I'm like, yeah, buddy. You go finish your waffles, . And so our house has been just like this disaster and chaos. Really it's chaos every day. So the whole point of me telling you this story is if you decide to have children, that is what's coming your way.
A lot of sneeze, shitting.
[00:12:32] Dane Whitsett: I think I can look forward to that. I'm not
[00:12:35] Dan Johnson: sure. All right. Just you've been warned, type of comment. Okay.
[00:12:38] Dane Whitsett: Luckily Casey's a couple of years younger than I am, so I have some
[00:12:41] Dan Johnson: time. Okay good. Do you have any neph, nieces or nephews or anything like that?
[00:12:46] Dane Whitsett: I have one niece, one nephew one brother. So both from the same family? Yeah. I believe it's four and one. I, I should be a better uncle and know that by heart, but I really don't. No,
[00:12:56] Dan Johnson: I'll be honest, I think a good uncle doesn't know that stuff.[00:13:00] Yeah. Let's see. I'll go with that one. Yeah.
A good uncle is his responsibilities towards his nieces and nephews are go way beyond that. It's other things that are important. That's what I say. I like, yeah. I try to teach my little nephews something completely ridiculous every time that that I, we were talking about big animals and I uhhuh, I don't, it's probably a little inappropriate, but I said, Hey, do you know that a blue whales?
And I knew I didn't really, I don't know it right now, but a blue whales penis weighs this much. And he's whoa, that's cool. So he went around telling everybody that a blue whales penis. And so at the end of the day I go, not only did I educate him, but I got back at his brother and his wife at my brother and his wife just a little bit.
Oh, per, oh, perfect. Yeah. Yeah. So that's an uncle's responsibility I take. That is absolutely
[00:13:48] Dane Whitsett: an uncle's responsibility.
[00:13:50] Dan Johnson: Yes. Yes. Kids, dogs life. Uhhuh, . And then we sprinkle some stuff like deer hunting into that, or cooking wild game or [00:14:00] whatever it is. And you emailed me and I a little bit of a story and I said, I like it.
I want to talk to this guy on the podcast. So Dane, why don't you tell me a little bit about where you live and what do you do for a living? I
[00:14:13] Dane Whitsett: live in northeast Ohio. I've been here for pretty much my entire life. Did a couple years up in Michigan, but adult life here in Ohio. And I work as a firefighter paramedic, which I've been doing for 12 years now.
And if you haven't had somebody on the podcast before, who works in that field, it is a hunter's dream. And lemme tell you why, cuz I have so much time off
[00:14:37] Dan Johnson: work. Yeah. Now are you being sarcastic?
[00:14:41] Dane Whitsett: No, I actually I work 24 hour shifts and then I have two days off and then I go back. So that's about 120 days a year.
Okay nice. It's a 52 hour week cycle, which means according to fair labor laws, I have to be given off two shifts every 63 days. So that's about 10 or 12 shifts a [00:15:00] year. So that's 110 days a year. Plus my vacation days, I work a hundred days a year. Yeah.
[00:15:06] Dan Johnson: And it under, it takes one vacation day to get off five days in a row.
Exactly. Oh, geez, man. That's a lifestyle, bud. That's a good decision on your part. It's a good one. Yeah. Yeah. I got some other buddies who do that. One guy and I've said that, I've told this story before, he was in highway construction, so he builds overpasses and off and on ramps and does repairs to highways or builds new highways, whatever.
Okay. And so he works from roughly ground thaw to, to se mid-September, to mid, like to somewhere in that September, depending on how bad they really need him. But he's real good friends with his boss and his boss lays him off. And so this guy, shit, now he's probably mid forties, never been married, doesn't have any kids, and all he does every single year is [00:16:00] hunt a ton of different states from, if he goes out west and he'll hunt elk or something like that every couple years.
And so he gets off, he works like a dog when he is working, but when he gets off it's, the floor is yours, right? He can go wherever he wants. He goes to five different states to hunt whitetails every year. And and. When the ground thaws back up and you can get back out there and start working again in the spring is when he gets back.
What a hard life to live. Exactly. Exactly. Now I don't know how much how that would fly if you added, responsibilities in there like a girlfriend or a wife or kids or things like that. But even I can imagine your work being, your life with a couple kids, once they get to the school age.
Man, you could hunt, you could still do a lot of hunting Oh yeah. With that schedule. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:16:52] Dane Whitsett: There's a lot of guys who pick up second fire jobs and I used to do that and about 2020 I said, enough, enough. I want my time back [00:17:00] and with the idea of reserving some extra years before I have kids.
[00:17:03] Dan Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. Get that outta the way. And so last question I have is, have you seen the movie Backdraft? I have. Okay. So is your life anything like Backdraft?
[00:17:15] Dane Whitsett: No. As, as long with being a part of the fire interior tag team, I am also a fire investigator. And you would think it is like the movie Backdraft, but it is more paperwork than I've ever done in my life.
it's it's being back in college essentially.
[00:17:29] Dan Johnson: Yeah. And so are there like five alarm bells going off every day? When you're at work or you mean, do you guys get, are there days, do you live in a No, a populated enough city where sometimes you go to work and you just do the maintenance and the, the,
[00:17:46] Dane Whitsett: so the township that I work in is about 25.1 square miles, and it's a working class population where some rural activities in there as well.
Most of them travel into the city during the day and the older population sticks around. [00:18:00] So we run about 2,700 calls a year, roughly two to three dozen fires a year. And if that lands on your shift, you get lucky. So we're not beating down doors all the time. Yeah. But we keep ourselves
[00:18:11] Dan Johnson: busy.
Gotcha. Gotcha. Cool, cool. All right, so let's get into this deer hunting talk, man. So you're from Michigan, moved to northeast Ohio. Did you come from a hunting family? Did you, were you thrown into the pit right. ?
[00:18:28] Dane Whitsett: Pretty much I remember being a little twt following my dad in his footsteps out in the snow.
Yeah. And that was something that we grew up doing, both my brother and I who were about a year apart. So we were pretty much doing the same thing year
[00:18:40] Dan Johnson: round. Okay. All right. And so was this a was it, when I think of Michigan, I think a tradition in Wisconsin, Minnesota, I think a lot of like large groups of people, extended family, all getting together at one location during a rifle season or some kind of hunting [00:19:00] cabin.
And doing the gun season there. Did you guys partake in any of that?
[00:19:04] Dane Whitsett: Not so much cuz we were so young being up there. My family's originally from Ohio and I spent a couple years up there as a kid. So when we came back down here to Ohio, it, that's when the Ohio Gun camps, deer camps, that's where it all started.
[00:19:19] Dan Johnson: Okay. All right. And how old were you when that happened? ? I was probably about 9 0 9. Okay. So you lived in Michigan just for a little bit? Yeah. And then you moved, okay. Then you moved down to Ohio? Yeah. Okay. Now have you been back up to Michigan to hunt since then? Absolutely.
[00:19:35] Dane Whitsett: I actually try and get up there at least once a season.
[00:19:38] Dan Johnson: Okay. And so is there a favor, a lot of guys will say, man, the hunting is completely different once you cross the border from Michigan to Ohio. Is that true? It is absolutely true. What is the difference?
[00:19:51] Dane Whitsett: The deer know how to look up in the trees.
[00:19:56] Dan Johnson: That was funny. I didn't realize that. I thought people were joking, [00:20:00] but then I hunted Michigan and I literally watched a dough walk through. A coyote could have came through and she wouldn't even. She was, oh, just too busy looking up in the trees. I'm not joking. I'll believe that. Hundred. It was nuts. A hundred percent.
It was nuts. All right. And so in your, from your experience, there is a big, there, there's a noticeable difference once you cross that state line?
[00:20:21] Dane Whitsett: Yes. Pretty. And I would say more or less around the 45th parallel and above is where I spend most of my time hunting. So that's, that, that's where I can relate to is those deer, they know what's going
[00:20:31] Dan Johnson: on up there.
Gotcha. All right. And so I take it because of this you like to hunt Ohio just a little bit better? Yeah,
[00:20:40] Dane Whitsett: it's the home turf as far as where I feel comfortable at, especially since I like hunting steep terrain and hill terrain and up north it's really not so much, it's more thick dense forests.
It's where, down here in Ohio, I feel like I can breathe and move around a little bit more and have a little bit more predictability with the deer patterns.
[00:20:57] Dan Johnson: Yeah. And A lot of guys, a lot of guys that I've [00:21:00] talked to have talked about Southern Ohio being a really good place running into some really good quality bucks.
What's north? Are you, did you say southeast or northeast? Northeast Ohio. Northeast Ohio. Yeah. Yeah. So what is northeast Ohio like?
[00:21:17] Dane Whitsett: It's it's the very beginning of the footsteps of the Appalachian foothills where you have a lot more terrain down south. We have the beginning of that here, where I'm from.
There's great deer here. It's an unspoken a secret of just how many good big bucks are in this area. And I'm spilling the beans on that one. But there's good bucks here and they're
[00:21:36] Dan Johnson: very fun to hunt. Yeah. And what's what's a good buck in your. .
[00:21:41] Dane Whitsett: All right. So that's a hard question because I've never actually scored any of the bucks that I've shot.
Gotcha. So a
[00:21:48] Dan Johnson: roundabout, you can look at something and you can guess, but, and I know 10 inches is a lot to be off. But average, what would be a buck out there that would have people going, oh my God, [00:22:00] that's a big deer.
[00:22:01] Dane Whitsett: I'm gonna guess 1 50, 1 60 plus is what starts pulling guys' heads.
[00:22:06] Dan Johnson: And so now we take a step below that and what would you say a lot of guys kill every year?
[00:22:11] Dane Whitsett: One 20 s, one 30 s
[00:22:14] Dan Johnson: Good. Okay. Awesome. And what's the deer population like? We're
[00:22:20] Dane Whitsett: about 10 to 15 deer per square mile in the northeast Ohio region. I think southern Ohio reflects that pretty well too.
[00:22:26] Dan Johnson: Okay. And so when you go out and hunt. I'm thinking of the average guy going up, hunting a field edge. You're gonna see some deer Yes. On a given hunt. Okay. All right. Yeah. And now what's the pressure and you've already had this experience where you're comparing Michigan to Ohio.
What's the deer, the hunter pressure like, versus Michigan versus Ohio?
[00:22:52] Dane Whitsett: That's, oh man. So the difference between the two is I think there's a lot of set stand hunters [00:23:00] In Michigan, they have their box blinds where they go to a specific spot. And I'm not saying that doesn't happen here in Ohio. But the pa the past couple years where the craze of mobile hunting has become very popular, that one hit Ohio hard, myself included.
So what used to be a little bit more predictable when you go on the public here is no longer predictable. You have to find where the other guys are at and then skip around and then find where the deer are avoiding
[00:23:25] Dan Johnson: those people. Yeah. And so that is a common theme with absolutely every public land hunter that I have ever talked with.
And that is, it goes like for me on when I go and I hunt the, my brand new farm in Iowa, I know I'm the only person on it. So I'm bas I'm basically playing checkers, right? , it's just me. And the deer. On my other farm my main farm, I'll call it, there's other hunters that are usually there the same times that I am.
Yeah. And so now I have to be more critical. I have to, [00:24:00] take extra steps. I gotta play a little chess with these, on, on these properties. And so I gotta flank them or I gotta go in a different, access route. Absolutely. And it sounds to me like that is, that's the theme if you want to get out there and hunt public you're, one of the strategies or categories in your strategy has to be knowing how to flank other hunters.
[00:24:22] Dane Whitsett: Absolutely. Yeah. And I, if you go to a new piece of public, I prefer to actually get down there on a weekend and not even. Drive around and see where guys are parked at and just exit off and keep on going.
[00:24:34] Dan Johnson: Yeah. How far do you live away from the properties that you hunt?
[00:24:38] Dane Whitsett: So all the public that I hunt down south, I'm about an hour and a half to two hours away.
There's a piece of property here in the county that I hunt. It's a kind of a tricky property to hunt because it's only about 30 acres. Half of that is cornfield, which is nice. But given the property lines, which I don't have permission on the outlying properties, I can only access [00:25:00] it through the corn, which is on the north side of the property.
So if the wind's out of the north, I'm sitting home that day or I'm driving south.
[00:25:07] Dan Johnson: Have you ever tried to get permission on any of the properties just to walk through it to get to your
[00:25:13] Dane Whitsett: piece? I have, and although the neighbors are nice, they just don't want other people on. They're mainly because they have kids and they're just concerned about their kid's safety and I have no issue
[00:25:23] Dan Johnson: against that.
Yep, absolutely. And. , I'm telling you the same thing, man. I, it's difficult when there's only, it makes things real difficult when there's only one access route into a piece. Yeah, it does. And so I'll say this I have learned how to be a sneaky mofo comes, and even though I'm hunting public on some of these spots this year I used an e-bike on some of my hunts. Okay. Other times I walk it, I drop down into a crick bed and I'll walk it for a long ways. And I just I don't think [00:26:00] guys who have that same I honestly, let me back up. I think that there is a huge difference in how people.
They're tree stand locations. And what I mean by that, if you're willing to take the long way around or do something difficult or harder than walking a like right on, right through the metal of field to get there. Absolutely. Have you noticed like a difference in deer behavior when you take that, that access route that's harder?
[00:26:30] Dane Whitsett: Oh, e extremely. I feel that if you can create some kind of bumper or buffer in between your access route as you're going in, you bump so much less deer, so many less deer.
[00:26:43] Dan Johnson: And another thing that I noticed, this is just from my personal experience, is having a not skylin yourself. And yeah, even in the woods, even when you are even in a field or a pasture with tall grass or whatever, [00:27:00] man.
sky lining years. When I take the extra steps to be below the horizon line, I'm seeing more deer period. Absolutely noth that couldn't be truer on this farm that I just picked up this past year because the well mode, easy route is a skylin walk right to the back of the farm. I just, it's still mowed, but I just hop over on the right side of it and I, on the, I guess it would be the east side of that and just walk that.
I can't see into the timber, so I can't see anything. , but they can't see me either. And then when I get to the back of the property, I Jay hook down in and walk this fence. Right down to the creek bed. And then that's when all, that's where all the deer show up. So yeah. Access, man you got it.
It's it's important.
[00:27:50] Dane Whitsett: It makes all the difference in the world. There's even some instances where I've been stuck in the middle of a, of transition hunt from the morning into the evening and I ha have to cross through the [00:28:00] open woods. I just have to, I'll actually sit in my stand longer to make that jump until the shadows cross that open hardwoods perfectly so I don't have to walk in the sunlight.
I can keep my health, my, myself hidden in the
[00:28:14] Dan Johnson: shadows. Yeah. Yeah. That's a great point cuz I like, there's a lot of. . I know some guys who, they got the deer pattern pretty well, and right at , right at Gray Light, maybe a Deer Ado group moves through. If you're coming in at gray light or you're coming in at 45 minutes before daylight and you're bumping deer, that's not a good thing.
And so I know guys who go in way, either way early or they'll wait till the sun comes up, take the same access route in, but by that time, maybe a dough group is already moved by. Yeah. And they're, they just know that, that dough group so well to where, they know when to move. And sometimes that's not in the dark.
[00:28:54] Dane Whitsett: Yeah. I used to be a daylight hunter. I wouldn't walk in until I could see, [00:29:00] 30 or 40 yards. Easily in, in front of me. Once I started filming my hunts, I completely switched and I'm in my stand bows up. Cameras are up an hour before the sun comes up.
[00:29:10] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. I'm pretty much in an hour.
Roughly an hour. Yeah. And it, a lot of it depends on what I have to do. Am I setting up well then I'm getting there. A little earlier, but if I already have a stand set up, I'm getting there and I'm sitting quiet for about 45 minutes to an hour before the sun peak peaks up now. Absolutely.
I'm also the guy who hates to sit in a tree stand for a long period of time. And yeah. If I could, I would love to just get there. As as it, it's at in gray, light clip in. and then the deer start moving. But that just do, it doesn't work that way, unfortunately.
[00:29:48] Dane Whitsett: It would be easier, but easier.
It's not always
[00:29:50] Dan Johnson: better. That's a fact, man. I think everybody knows that, right? I hope they do. , if you haven't figured that out yet you have a lot to learn when it comes to bow hunting, right? Yeah. All these, [00:30:00] the, these farms the 30 acres and the 30 acres in the northeast, and then you drive an hour south to all the public.
, are they similar terrain?
[00:30:10] Dane Whitsett: Not really. The terrain that I hunt up here that's private is, although a little hilly, it's very ag heavy. Gotcha. And down south is just hardwoods. And I try to go deep and avoid a lot of the other hunters. But the deeper you go on some of these pieces of public, it just gets so thick that although you might find deer and deer sign.
you're not shooting more than 20 yards. And although that's the ideal bow range, even if you're down there trying to get eyes on deer and scout it makes it very difficult to get out there and get it done.
[00:30:42] Dan Johnson: Agreed. Agreed. Man, I, and I don't know about you, but I used to be that guy who I would bury myself in the thickest, nastiest type of vegetation.
Yeah. I'd see deer and I'd even have, I'd see deer, 30, 40 [00:31:00] yards, but I couldn't ever have a shot at him. Nope. Yeah. So that movement, then I would have to try to find where that movement hit that edge. Or unless there was like a tree in there. I don't know about you, but sometimes in these real thick areas, there's a, like a big tree that.
sets up and usually there the canopy blocks out some light below it, which allows it to not be as thick. So you could, you can shoot into those pockets, but for the most part, I'm really focusing on where that thickness meets some sort of edge or crick or something. And then I don't know, share your experience, but that's where the deer, that's where the deer movement and that's where the opportunity comes in.
[00:31:42] Dane Whitsett: Yeah. That absolutely. I tr trying to find those pockets here in southern Ohio it's difficult, but it's not impossible. And if you can get eyes on a deer doing something patentable and adjust yourself to those pockets, it's a very easy way to get done on a dough or a bucket that, for that [00:32:00] matter.
[00:32:00] Dan Johnson: Yeah. That's a fact. All right. So in my notes here 2019, right? Yeah. 2019. My note says, game changing season. Absolutely. Let's talk about 2019 and why it was a game changing season for you.
[00:32:16] Dane Whitsett: All right. So to start with 2019, I think we need to discuss briefly the years before. Okay. Family hunters, we all go out together.
My brother would travel a lot for work cause he used to build and sell log homes. That's actually what my dad's company is and, or was, I don't know if he's actually retired or not. Sometimes he says he is working, sometimes he says he's fishing. So I'm not sure , but it was always that we would go out we had, names for Stan.
Oh, which standard are you going to today? Cherry Tree. Oh, cool. I'm going to old school. Cool. I'm going to Oak Ridge. All right, let's go. Yeah. And then we'd normally bust deer completely out of there in the first day or two because we're leaving our ground set. We're not being careful. We're just a bunch of people getting together and going hunting, which there's nothing wrong with [00:33:00] that, but it's not the best way to kill a deer.
So up until 2019, that's how everything went. And in the fall of 19 everybody got a little bit busier. So it was pretty, just, pretty much just me hunting that property here in the county that I live in, that 30 acres with the cornfield. Okay, gotcha. And it was right around the time that, you're listening to podcasts, you're watching videos, and the big discussion of being a mobile hunter hit the media everywhere.
Yeah. And I didn't own a saddle at that point. All I had was a climber, but I had never used it cause I didn't like having that extra rate on my back cuz they're certainly not light and they're very bulky. Okay. So up until then, it's hitting the stationary stands 2019. I'm gonna try it.
I'm gonna try to be a mobile hunter and see what I can do differently. See if it actually makes a difference. Dan, I'm telling you. , it was like somebody opened the [00:34:00] curtains and let all the light in on my hunting life.
[00:34:06] Dan Johnson: I I have I haven't got a reaction quite like yours through all of the podcasts. Like obviously people have aha moments when we start talking about, going mobile and finding active sign and all the benefits from that . Yeah. But usually it's but usually it's just hey yeah, I started being mobile and I started seeing more deer.
You just, you laid it out there so eloquently and and so it was a big noticeable difference. How long did it take for you? Was it one. or was it multiple hunts? It was
[00:34:38] Dane Whitsett: one hunt. It was the first hunt I had in on that property for the season. It was October 11th. I went in with the idea to go smack a dough.
Cause I tried to hit a dough in the freezer before I get a buck. Take the pressure off so you're not shooting that quote unquote meat buck that you can actually be a little bit pickier. Yep. So it was the morning of the 11th and I know [00:35:00] some guys are in it outside of, hunting October mornings.
I personally never really cared if it's the morning or evening sit. As long as I'm in the woods, I'm a happy camper. So I'm sitting outside of what I believed to be a dough be area and I'm in my climber. I'm in a, in an oak tree hoping that it was gonna be dropping white oak, white acorns. And I didn't do my preseason s scouting, so I didn't actually know.
Yep. And a bachelor group came out of the bedding and I was like, oh, cool bucks. And it was, you know how they do youngest to oldest, it was a little six point and then another. Six or maybe a seven, a small eight point. And then this buck emerged and he was just this classic looking eight point with really good mass.
He looked like a deer that you would find at a department store, printed picture, eight point for 10 99 that you would buy and take home and put in your living room wall. Yeah.
[00:35:53] Dan Johnson: That was him. Or on a t-shirt that you, that they sell at gas stations. Yeah.
[00:35:57] Dane Whitsett: Yeah. It was that guy and I was like, this [00:36:00] guy is the pinnacle of what Ohio bucks look like.
I want this deer. This is my target buck. Okay. And this was the first time I had ever picked a target buck. I have, I've always been happy with whatever comes underneath me app, a certain age class I'm gonna. , I neglected all other deer, not only in the county, but in the state. I wanted that one, and I named him Ohio, and that's the one I was gonna kill.
[00:36:26] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. All right, so let's talk a little bit about the gear that you, when you know when you decide to be mobile, you gotta evaluate your gear. Ladder stands, don't cut it. They could, if, I feel confident enough to where I could, it would suck to do, but I could move a ladder, stand around a lot in a given season and get in there and probably get a crack at a deer.
That's not really how being mobile works. There's some, usually some gear upgrades. What were your gear upgrades for going mobile?
[00:36:57] Dane Whitsett: I had that I call 'em the [00:37:00] dipping squat climbers, where you push on the top half and then squat your legs up and bite into the tree. And you do that like a frog until you're at a height where you're either gonna hunt from that height or you're just higher, you're climbing.
it. That was, that's what I was
[00:37:12] Dan Johnson: using. Okay. All right. And then from that point on, did you upgrade from that? Any other geared, or was it just a
[00:37:20] Dane Whitsett: climber? It was just a climber, and it had been sitting in my basement collecting dust. I think I got it for Christmas a couple years prior, and I was like, it's too big and bulky thanks for the gift, but in my heart, I knew I was never gonna use it.
[00:37:31] Dan Johnson: All right. All right. But now something clicked. What, something, let me go back. Let me go back and ask you this question. Why all of a sudden did you want to go mobile?
[00:37:42] Dane Whitsett: It made more sense to adjust to what the Deere wanted to do than what I wanted the Deere to do.
[00:37:49] Dan Johnson: Okay. Okay.
[00:37:50] Dane Whitsett: I would see deer, but it was, a hundred yards, 80 yards, 60 yards.
And I'm not shooting that far with a. . So I needed to get myself to where that deer were [00:38:00] comfortable rather than find a way to bring them to me. And although baiting is legal here in Ohio, I don't bait I have no issues with the guys who do it. I just like the natural
[00:38:08] Dan Johnson: chase. Okay. And was that another, moving forward from there, between 2019 and now you've made the decision not to bait, is it difficult to work around other hunters who do bait?
[00:38:26] Dane Whitsett: No. I personally don't think so. I know there's been a conversations if, if the neighbor baits, I'm gonna bait cuz they're gonna see all the deer and I'm not the property that I hunted the past couple years, I hunt the back half and there is another gentleman who hunts the front half.
He baits. Okay. I don't. And that the deer that I see never get out of the bedding and go straight to his bait piles. I'm sure they hit it at night as they're milling and doing their normal deer things, but I have never seen a deer bypass. Their natural pattern just [00:39:00] goes straight to that bait that's on the same property.
[00:39:02] Dan Johnson: Okay. All right. So you don't think baiting's an issue. Do you feel like it could possibly play an advantage to you if a if another guy's baiting
[00:39:14] Dane Whitsett: it? It's possible. You don't really know what the neighbors are doing and unless you ask 'em and not, to be honest, I've never asked my neighbors if they bait or
[00:39:21] Dan Johnson: not.
Gotcha. Okay. All right. So what you had this initial experience and the initial experience is positive. And you say, oh my God, man, this is amazing. I want to go do this again. And so it allowed you to pick a target buck and you said, Hey, I want Ohio. I want only Ohio.
And what did you do the rest of that season or from that period of time to learn more about this buck? To find out how he was moving? All the stuff that goes into killing a deer.[00:40:00]
[00:40:00] Dane Whitsett: I pretty much did Observation sits mainly because it keeps me in the woods during season. And I don't particularly like to run drill cameras.
I have a, I have six cameras. I keep most of them in my hunting closet year round. Aside from it, if I go on out-of-state or a new piece of public land, I'll bring three cell cameras with me. Okay. Just to get quick eyes and make quick game plans. Okay. . So I didn't put any cameras out to try and figure out this Buck's pattern.
I figured if that was his bedding area that he came out of as a pasture group, he's probably gonna be the dominant buck that keeps that bedding area. So I figured he was gonna stick around so long that I didn't bump him too
[00:40:41] Dan Johnson: much. Okay. Okay. All right. And so then you, you played it calm, you hunted the fringes.
Yep, absolutely. All right. And did, what kind of information did you pick up while you were hunting the fringes? Did you find any little escape routes? Did you find out where he, you [00:41:00] thought he might be betting any encounters with this deer? I
[00:41:03] Dane Whitsett: had a very good suspicion that he was betting on the very southern end of the property, actually onto the neighbors where I didn't have permission, but the bedding stopped pretty much at the property line.
And I knew that if I allowed him to feel comfortable up there and just hunted from a distance and make sure he was still in the area, I was gonna be. Able to get in there and get 'em once the rut started to pick up. Gotcha.
[00:41:28] Dan Johnson: Okay. And so now you take a step back. Did you say you saw him at all before you killed him?
So you saw him first time, but
[00:41:40] Dane Whitsett: Yeah, after that I saw him October 11th, and I never saw him again within Bow Range until, I think it was the 7th of
[00:41:47] Dan Johnson: November. Okay. And then throughout that period of time of hunting, did you notice a lot of sign? Did you ha were you still seeing deer hunting the fringes?
Just not Ohio.
[00:41:59] Dane Whitsett: [00:42:00] I saw a couple of groups ago that were pretty patentable, a couple of smaller bucks, but he pretty much stayed very nocturnal during that, that pre rut time. Okay. So I saw some scrapes, I saw some rubs, but no, nothing that made me really believe that he was leaving this core area and coming outside of it.
[00:42:19] Dan Johnson: leave that sign. All right. Did you identify food sources at all where you thought these deer were coming?
[00:42:26] Dane Whitsett: I the corn was still on that property and that was actually left up that entire year. So they had standing corn from whenever they planted it up until I think December or January when they finally took it down and there was your natural brows in there.
And we didn't have much of an acorn that year. I think we had some red oak strap a little bit later, but there was nothing for the white acorns.
[00:42:48] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. All right. But nonetheless, there was food there. Yeah. Okay. All right. All right. So he is sticking tight to his core area now. What [00:43:00] when you got in there, was there a certain access route that you kept using or were you mobile to the sense where you were hunting that same area on multiple different wind directions?
[00:43:12] Dane Whitsett: I was adjusting to the winds. If I could sneak along some of the property lines and get in closer to that bedding, I would, but with very specific winds, I figured he was gonna come out from the southern end, walk north, and I had to avoid bumping him with an east wind or a west wind, a south wind.
I could get in pretty tight, but I also didn't want him slipping past me, veering east or west, and then grabbing my wind.
[00:43:39] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Okay. And is this is on the public right, that you've been No, this was private. This was private. Okay. This was the 30 acres that you were hunting? Yeah. Okay. All right, cool.
All right. Was there any other hunters that were popping in and out at the same time you were?
[00:43:56] Dane Whitsett: I knew that the neighbors to the east. [00:44:00] We're then and still are heavy hunters. So I was afraid that one of the neighbors would get the deer before I could, and this, that, that was pretty much the o only other hunting pressure in that immediate area.
If he went further down the road towards the south, there was a couple of, he heavily pressured private lands there that the guys would hunt pretty much all season around. But where I was at, I was trying to keep it as laissez faire as possible, trying not to spook this deer off this
[00:44:26] Dan Johnson: property.
Okay. And but as far as that 30 acres, you were the only guy? Yeah. Okay. All right. All right. So let's talk about the first encounter that you had with Ohio.
[00:44:38] Dane Whitsett: That was the one on the October 11th where I saw him. Oh, I'm sorry, with the
[00:44:41] Dan Johnson: Bacher group. Yeah, I'm sorry. But he goes in nocturnal and then the next time you saw him after that,
[00:44:47] Dane Whitsett: so this, yeah, this was November 7th.
It was just obviously the very beginning of the rut. We actually had snow that year. It was finally cold enough to have snow, believe it or not. and I was [00:45:00] hunting a bed to food rep where I figured some dough were gonna travel. And if he was interested in dough at that point, I figured he might've come down and try and intersect one of them.
Sure enough, it's right around evening time. The sun's just, turning orange over the horizon. But you can see the silhouettes of the trees. It was actually a very pretty sit and I look towards the west and I see this body start moving through the cover and I immediately knew it was Ohio.
I was like, yes, I see him, he's moving, he's mobile. I'm gonna have a chance at this deer cuz I'm between him and we're the dojos went. I have a shot. So it's about 60 yards, 80 yards from me. And he actually stops and just completely thrashes. This sapling just makes a giant scrape and a giant rub. And I was like, this is it.
This is the moment I have the picture saved in my mind and I know he is gonna come straight for me. So I grab my bow and I'm a little nervous. I'm not gonna lie. I'm a little nervous at this point. I the buck [00:46:00] fever starts setting in pretty good.
[00:46:02] Dan Johnson: Okay. And so you saw him come in talk to us before we start talking about him getting close enough to shoot.
Let's talk about the access route. Okay. I want from your truck to your stand, or two, wherever the most detailed access description that you can give us.
[00:46:21] Dane Whitsett: So from the truck the wind actually was southwest that day. So I knew that I could have accessed from the north. There was two fields, one being corned, one just being a general hayfield that was separated by a tree line that was about 10 yards wide.
I snuck down that tree line to avoid my silhouette and my scent was, or the wind was good to blow my scent away from where I suspected the deer to be. Once I got into the woods, it really wasn't that far of a walk to get into the thicker bottom where I expected the deer to travel. It's probably about 60 yards.
There was larger diameter trees, so I could actually hide behind those if I thought I heard or saw something. And there was [00:47:00] enough more flora and some small saplings in there as well. That broke up my movement as I walked
[00:47:05] Dan Johnson: through. Okay. All right. And you found the tree. What kind of talk to us about this stand location now.
All right what the tree, where this tree was at and why you picked this tree. So this
[00:47:17] Dane Whitsett: tree was right on the edge of the cover where another ridge was bottoming down into it with a small creek running east to west. And the tree that I picked was actually very open poplar, but there was a couple of dead oaks around it that, and the branches were this way, that way.
And I figured that was enough to break up my silhouette of my person. To where if the deer did get enr, although I'm in a very Oakland poplar, that the deer would be, confused by what they were looking at with all the dead limbs around me.
[00:47:48] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. Okay. And then he shows up. All right. Walk us through what happens next.
[00:47:56] Dane Whitsett: He starts heading my way. I grabbed my bow. I'm [00:48:00] fight or flight response. I am shaking terribly. It was like somebody put Gumby on vibrate mode. I would, I could not stop it. . So this is probably the most embarrassing thing I've ever done in the woods, Dan.
But as I'm sitting there holding my bow, those tucked ready to draw back, I am shaking so bad that I actually rattle the arrow out of my whisker biscuit. .
[00:48:26] Dan Johnson: That's not that bad, cuz that's happened to me. I thought you were gonna say maybe you sneeze. Shit. No . All right. So and did the arrow like fall out and hit your tree stand?
[00:48:38] Dane Whitsett: It, it did it stayed on the, it stayed on the string with the knock, but it turned out and hit the metal support beam of the climber that I was in. It was just a, quick tin. Yep. It was all that this deer needed to know that, hey, something's in that tree that's not supposed to be there.
[00:48:53] Dan Johnson: he ski addled.
[00:48:55] Dane Whitsett: He actually, he looked at me I think he assessed that the fumbling mess up in [00:49:00] person wasn't a threat to him, and just went about his business real slow and fallen where the dough
[00:49:04] Dan Johnson: went. Ooh, buddy. Second chance.
[00:49:06] Dane Whitsett: That's what I thought, but, and it was cold. I was pumped full of adrenaline.
I tried to grab another arrow and by the time that I had the next one in, or I think I may, might have even tried to fix the one that fell off. Either way he was gone. It was that. That situation was
[00:49:22] Dan Johnson: over. Okay. All right. And did you walk away from that failure? I guess we'll call it, because, maybe, oh yeah, maybe that was a failure.
Okay. Maybe he would've walked by if you didn't, or the dough would've walked by and anyway you get outta there from a failure. Sometimes when you bump a deer or deer, something bad happens, you go, oh my God, I'm never gonna see that deer again because it busted me, or I messed up that bad.
, what was your gut reaction after that encounter went wrong?
[00:49:57] Dane Whitsett: I was absolutely, [00:50:00] besides myself, I remember driving home just thinking to myself, I can't believe I just did that. I finally had an opportunity on my target buck after not seeing him in range for almost a month. And I screwed it up because I couldn't keep myself together.
[00:50:15] Dan Johnson: How long until you were back in the woods? . I went back the next day. All right, so next day happens same access route,
[00:50:23] Dane Whitsett: Same access route. I think I only saw a small buck. Four. Four or maybe a six and a couple of dough. And then I really get hard on myself thinking you had 'em, he saw you, he busted you.
He's not here today. He's never coming back.
[00:50:39] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. Okay. How, what did the rest of that, until you saw Ohio again, how much time passed?
[00:50:46] Dane Whitsett: It was actually just one more day after that. And I figured you being mobile, I can be a little. I can adjust myself a little bit more, so I'm getting back to his main bedding area to see if he's still in there.
Gotcha. [00:51:00] All right. So I went back the next morning and I saw him enter the bedding at 10:00 AM
[00:51:04] Dan Johnson: Okay. So he was on his feet later in the morning. Yep. You saw him enter the bedding area. And did this give you any type of knowledge of where he was coming from or what he was doing that would allowed you to make a move on him?
[00:51:20] Dane Whitsett: I knew that if he entered that bedding area, he was going to stay in, that I couldn't wrap around this bedding area because of property lines. So I was stuck to where I was. I could only move along the one edge of it and hope that he would come out onto the property that I was on and be able to get a shot.
[00:51:37] Dan Johnson: Okay. From there what are we walk us through the next the next day then. ,
[00:51:43] Dane Whitsett: That, that encounter wasn't all that exciting. Cause I saw him go in at 10 and he actually came out in the evening with Ado tending her, it's right around the eighth or ninth or 10th of November and he just wasn't gonna leave her side.
So I figured if [00:52:00] he's comfortable in that bending area, especially after me bumping him a couple days prior, he was gonna go back. Okay. And there was one really good access route for the deer to get into the Benning area in the morning with a lot of thick cover. And I knew that there was a couple of game trails in that same area.
And if he was gonna be sent checking anything, that was probably the route that he was gonna go the next morning.
[00:52:22] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. Okay. All right. And did you make a move then the next.
[00:52:27] Dane Whitsett: I did, I got home. I immediately went to bed and I woke up at 2:00 AM so I can get in my stand. Before light, I was, I think I was in my stand and ready by 3 34 o'clock.
[00:52:39] Dan Johnson: And so that, that's a long time before daylight in November. Yeah, I was a little over anxious. Okay. . And sometimes that can be a negative thing. Sometimes it can be a good thing. Did you have, could you hear deer moving around doing their rut stuff in the timber?
[00:52:55] Dane Whitsett: No, I didn't. I didn't hear anything until a little bit before daylight.
[00:52:59] Dan Johnson: All right. [00:53:00] And so walk us through what happens that morning.
[00:53:03] Dane Whitsett: This was my heartbreak moment with this deer. You thought the first one was bad. This one might have been a little bit worse. So it's about 10 minutes before legal shooting light. And mind you, on my wristwatch, I have a setting to where it vibrates 30 minutes before sunrise.
So I know when legal shooting is and when it isn't. And I see him, it's about 10 minutes before light. I check my watch just to make sure. I'm like, okay, it hasn't gone off yet, but I can see the deer. I know it's Ohio. He's coming through the access route that I was expecting, and he's just coming through real slow, real lazy.
I might have time for him to make his distance from about a hundred, 120 yards to where I'm at now before he gets in into the bedding area. Okay. So I grab my bow and I'm praying like just wait. Don't come too close too fast. I need more time. Okay. And he comes in a little bit faster than I was hoping him to.
And I wind up going full [00:54:00] draw on him at about 20 yards. But I know for a fact that my watch did not vibrate yet. Although I can see his body silhouette perfectly against the snow, and I can see my pin perfectly, I know for a fact it's not legal shooting like, oh boy. and I am stuck with this ethical dilemma.
Yeah no. Nobody would know. I'm in this, in the stand by myself. I could always say on the check-in app, yes. I shot 'em three minutes after legal light and nobody would know.
[00:54:28] Dan Johnson: But you would know.
[00:54:30] Dane Whitsett: I would know, and I didn't wanna be that guy, and I didn't want to have this target buck hanging on my wall and mentally have an asterisk next to it knowing that I did the wrong thing just to get something that I wanted.
[00:54:43] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Man, that's a tough one. And because sometimes, and sometimes the conditions, an overcast day, it's gonna, Too dark to shoot before legal shooting light ends, right? And in the morning sometimes it, hey it's [00:55:00] legal shooting light, but you still can't see anything.
Or this is what happens a lot during the hunting season is if there is snow on the ground or in a, and there's a clear sky with a moon, you think it's earlier than what it really is. Yep. And so you could definitely see what's going on, but it's past the legal shooting light, so you made the right move.
All right. And it sounds like you let him walk.
[00:55:23] Dane Whitsett: I let him walk and I figured I was gonna do an all day sit. It's, it's the middle of the rut. He can come out at any moment. I'm just gonna wait him out.
[00:55:31] Dan Johnson: Okay. And what happened as you start to wait him out? I
[00:55:35] Dane Whitsett: didn't see Didley
[00:55:36] Dan Johnson: squa the rest of the day.
That's how it goes. Yep. Oh, man. And I'll tell you what I, one of the last times I did an all day sit, I went in, . I saw a target buck show up. Same thing. He, but he was in a different field. He walked through, he was on a different property, walked into the property. I [00:56:00] guessed where he was betting.
I got down outta my tree stand. I moved my tree stand another 30 yards closer to him on a cri crossing thinking this is with a wind and everything in my favor. This is where he is gonna step out. This is where he is gonna cross. I didn't see another deer for another eight plus hours, nine hours, whatever, whatever it is.
And that was when I made the decision. And I said, dude, I'm never gonna hunt like I am. It's gonna have to be some kind of gigantic buck for me to wanna sit all day long. Yeah. I can't do it. I just can't do it anymore.
[00:56:37] Dane Whitsett: They are grueling days. .
[00:56:39] Dan Johnson: Yes, they are. And didly squat happens. What's the next move?
[00:56:45] Dane Whitsett: Next moved. I had to go to the work the next day. I think I ran out a vacation time for I think just one shift. So I was able to go back for a couple days after that. And I work my shift. I get off work the next morning. I think I'm just planning [00:57:00] on an afternoon sit, and I'm sitting on my brother's couch and I get a text from a neighbor and I was like, oh, no, he, this guy never talks to me.
Yeah. I do not wanna look at this text. And sure enough, you sent me a photo of a deer that he killed, and it was Ohio.
[00:57:15] Dan Johnson: Ah. And so all your eggs were in one basket. Yep. And a guy says, you know what I shot this buck. What was your initial reaction?
[00:57:25] Dane Whitsett: I was expecting to feel envy and grief and jealousy.
But to be completely honest, I was relieved.
[00:57:33] Dan Johnson: Yeah. And why were you relieved?
[00:57:36] Dane Whitsett: Because I had tortured myself with a target buck, which I had never done before. And I have heard guys talk themselves into tizzies about chasing just one specific deer. And I told myself I would never do that. And then there I was just absolutely suffering over the best two weeks of the year and I'm having a miserable time.
[00:57:55] Dan Johnson: I feel ya. I feel ya. That's happened to me as well and I had some [00:58:00] mixed emotions going into it. And did you get the opportunity to go over and check the buck out?
[00:58:07] Dane Whitsett: Nope. Him and I, although we never had any disagreements, it was just one of those very casual relationships. Different friend groups, different interests in life.
And the only thing that he texted me that might have been the first and the last time he actually texted me a photo of a deer, to be honest. And he had no idea I was hunting this deer. Gotcha,
[00:58:25] Dan Johnson: gotcha. All right. The season's not over, right? The no deer season doesn't stop. So this happens.
Did you get back in the woods then and finish strong on the 19 season?
[00:58:36] Dane Whitsett: Yeah this whole event, this whole series of events with this book I named Ohio, led me to take a day or two out of the woods, reset myself, mentally, get my heart in my mind, back into it. And I knew I, I had been hunting a specific property really hard for a couple days, a couple weeks.
I, I needed to make a switch. So I after a couple days of relief [00:59:00] time I get back in there and I'm sitting on a different property, although close to the one that I was initially hunting. We lost our cold front. It was warm, it was about 65 degrees. It was very dry. So I decided to go into a bedding area that typically held more moisture than any other time of year or anything else in the area, knowing that if they've been running hard, they've been running around, they're tired, they're thirsty.
I want to be around water.
[00:59:27] Dan Johnson: Okay. And walk us through what happened, man.
[00:59:32] Dane Whitsett: So it's about nine o'clock in the morning. I hear some chasing going on behind me, but the sunlight is sun washing all the branches in the forest, and I can't really see into the thicket very well, but I see this dough I think it was a dough go running through.
And then there was a couple small bucks that chased it, and then this one just absolute giant rack, making all the racket, hitting all the branches in the woods as it's chasing this dough. And I was like, all right, [01:00:00] there's still a deer in the area. I didn't get Ohio, but I can maybe stick out this guy if he stays in the area the next few days.
Okay, so I finished up the morning hunt. I knew that I needed to make a change for the evening hunt cause that was the only activity that I saw that day. I needed to get on a different side of where this bedding was hope, hoping that I could catch deer going into it rather than just sitting in the middle of it.
So as I'm walking back to that stand location, and mind you this was planning to be an on the ground sit. I didn't even bring the climber with me at this point. I just needed, I needed information. So I left the climber at home. All right, I'm walking back, I had no idea where to go and I just, I sat there for a minute looking for some divine intervention.
And I look up towards the sky and I see that there's a contra. From a plane going straight to this ridge. I was like, I don't know if that's a sign or not, but it's more than I have for my information to begin with .
[01:00:56] Dan Johnson: So you were, I'm following that contrail. You were looking for any sign, [01:01:00] right?
Yep. I was like, God, send me a sign. This is good enough, .
[01:01:03] Dane Whitsett: Yep. That's exactly what I was doing.
[01:01:06] Dan Johnson: And where does it lead you?
[01:01:09] Dane Whitsett: It led me to a creek bottom, which I got almost busted on by the group of deer that came crashing through 9:00 AM that morning. Okay. And it, it wound up being one dough who had to be an Esthers and three small bucks and an absolute giant nine.
It had the tallest times that I had ever seen in the woods before. Okay. Especially on this property. But here's the problem. I didn't have anything to get into a tree. And even if I did, it was an open hardwoods. I couldn't get up. Okay. , I didn't have a way to get closer without them seeing me, and I didn't wanna move back because giving a deer too much cushion gives them too much opportunity to get away from you.
So they were about 80 yards from me and I, the only thing I had going for me was I was standing in a creek bottom that allowed me to move quietly [01:02:00] to the east and to the west, hoping that at some point they were gonna be thirsty enough to come down and get a drink of water. I just had to predict where they were gonna go if that's what they did.
[01:02:09] Dan Johnson: And what
[01:02:09] Dane Whitsett: happened? I analyzed the terrain, saw that there was a beeline, the shortest beeline that they would have to walk to get down to the creek. And I put myself about 20 yards from where that bee line would end up. All right. And I stood there for about three hours with a large tree right behind my back.
And sure enough, the dough gets up and obviously the bucks follow and the big D started chasing these little bucks around. But he was always just about 10 or 15 steps behind her. He was not letting her get out of the sight. Okay.
[01:02:43] Dan Johnson: So at this point, you're on the ground and you have this giant in front of you.
How far away was he?
[01:02:52] Dane Whitsett: He started walking down the hill at about 60 yards, and as she came down the hill, she started drinking water about 30 [01:03:00] yards from
[01:03:00] Dan Johnson: me. All right. So is 30 yards a shot opportunity for you?
[01:03:04] Dane Whitsett: That's my max. I can shoot further. I just choose not to. I have an older bow, and at that point I wasn't too particular about my arrow set up, so I always kept 30 the max.
[01:03:14] Dan Johnson: All right. She's at 30, he's coming up behind her. Yep. Does he provide an opportunity?
[01:03:21] Dane Whitsett: He stays about 10 yards up the hill, and I did not have an opportunity where he was still at 30 yards, but he had this. This cross log going right through his vitals, and I just wasn't able to get a shot.
I needed her to go into the cover behind me, to bring him down further. Okay.
[01:03:40] Dan Johnson: All right. And then at this point it's a wash, right?
[01:03:45] Dane Whitsett: Yeah. So I was sitting there. I'm not drawn back yet, but I'm standing in front of this tree, so I don't have really much cover between the deer and I, there, there's a creek opening and there's a small bank to go down to the creek, and that's it.
So I'm sticking out like a [01:04:00] sore
[01:04:00] Dan Johnson: thumb. Okay. All right. And you stick out like a sore thumb. There's nothing that you can do. Is there any, anything awesome that happens at the rest of this day?
[01:04:11] Dane Whitsett: The dough takes a step into the cover, which causes him to take another few steps down the hill, which gave me a shot.
[01:04:18] Dan Johnson: Okay. Here, I thought Okay. The way you were talking was, Hey, he's outta my life forever.
[01:04:24] Dane Whitsett: Nope. No. All right. I'm just leading you on
[01:04:26] Dan Johnson: a little bit. All right. All right. Good. That, Hey, that's a good storytelling . All right.
[01:04:31] Dane Whitsett: So he steps out from the cover of that one horizontal log. And I'm in the open, so I have to draw no matter what.
And he catches that movement. But as long as she didn't spook, I didn't think he was gonna get off of her trail, which he didn't. And I don't know how long I was drawn back on this bug. I remember singing the ABCs a couple times to distract myself from the muscle fatigue. And I think I hit Happy Birthday once or twice as well.
Gotcha. And [01:05:00] I just, I didn't wanna shoot with him looking right at me. Cause I figured he would jump the string. Now he finally gave up on the movement. He took one step and I gave him the classic where Yep. To stop him. Yep. And, I let the arrow fly it. It wasn't a great shot. It actually wind up spining him, but he dropped immediately.
[01:05:18] Dan Johnson: Hey man, I'm okay with that. You're not tracking him. You know where he is at. Yep. So what's did it, and so you spine him, you drop and is this buck bigger than Ohio? Oh, significantly. Okay. And so he drops, did you have to follow up with another arrow?
[01:05:37] Dane Whitsett: I did. I knew he wasn't able to stand back up, so I actually ran up finished the exchange, but the second arrow and that, that moment afterwards was complete.
It was euphoria. Be honest. Yeah.
[01:05:55] Dan Johnson: So right. When you have this low spot in your career, like the number one buck [01:06:00] you wanted to shoot he's you know what? This sucks, man. I did you ever think for a moment, I'm just gonna take a couple days off and quit, or were you just Hey man, it's time to get back on the horse right away?
[01:06:13] Dane Whitsett: I'm always a back on the horse kind of guy. I hate failing and I hate giving up even more.
[01:06:18] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. Okay. And so as as you, you stand over this deer, you're in state of euphoria. What was the rest of your, what was it, what was the feelings that were going through your Oh
[01:06:32] Dane Whitsett: man, it was I knew I never wanted to do a target buck again.
Even in that very moment, I was like, I'm never letting a target buck take away the season, because if I had stuck with Ohio, if he had ne never been killed by the neighbor, I never would've had the opportunity on that deer. Okay. And this was a bigger buck. He was, it was a much, it was a greater story to be able to share with people being in the creek for hours, watching him come down, chase the doe, [01:07:00] waiting for her to cross the creek and get into the cover for him to finally give me that shot.
I enjoyed that so much more than having a Target book. Just completely give me the ring around. And in that moment you do what you always do. You grab your cell phone and you start making phone calls. Yeah. I did it.
[01:07:15] Dan Johnson: I did it. Yep. And who was your first phone call? Normally my dad.
Okay. And normally, but Did you call your dad
[01:07:24] Dane Whitsett: the, I, yeah. I did. It was and I say normally cuz sometimes he's busy, quote unquote working or fishing. Gotcha. And he answered. He's like, all right, congratulations. Good job. Was it Ohio? Cause I actually didn't tell him that Ohio was killed by the neighbor.
And I said, no, it's a different book. He's much bigger, so this is better. Yeah.
[01:07:41] Dan Johnson: Okay. And and who helps you drag?
[01:07:45] Dane Whitsett: My brother. It was, he was living close to that property at the time, and I called him next and I said, get the four
[01:07:51] Dan Johnson: wheeler . Get the four wheeler. And he was pretty jacked about this whole thing as well.
[01:07:56] Dane Whitsett: Yeah. Him and his wife came down. We had a bunch of photos taken. [01:08:00] It was a great moment for the three of us to experience
[01:08:02] Dan Johnson: together. Man. That's awesome. And so 2019 happens and it is a awakening for you to continue, to start this mobile approach to hunting. And since then, have you found success being mobile?
[01:08:18] Dane Whitsett: I have gone from killing two deer year to four or five deer year after making the mobile switch. Oh,
[01:08:25] Dan Johnson: man. And that's are, does that open you up to different states too?
[01:08:29] Dane Whitsett: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I after 2019 I started hunting Pennsylvania more. I started hunting Michigan a little bit more frequently.
And now that I have a little bit easier of a work schedule expect, then I was still working to fire jobs. The plan to go out to other states is just ever growing e
[01:08:47] Dan Johnson: every year. Gotcha. Okay. My friend, congratulations on, having the gusto to go mobile. Congratulations on a great deer in [01:09:00] 2019 and congratulations for, the following season.
Since then, man, it sounds like you are, you found something that works and you're sticking.
[01:09:09] Dane Whitsett: Absolutely. I don't think I'll ever go back and thank you for the congratulations.
[01:09:12] Dan Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. So the last thing that I just wanna touch on is you do a lot of filming your hunts and you do a lot of you have this little thing that you do called food or field to food, right?
Yep. All right. So talk to us about what field to Food is and where we can find it. Field
[01:09:32] Dane Whitsett: To Food is a media production company that I started in 2020 and the 2019 led to beginning field, to food. Thinking to myself, like I had this target buck that I chased. That's a great story in itself.
And then having the highs and lows of a season and the pinnacles and the climaxes of a story match up with this perfectly, this season needed to be on film just to share it with people. . So [01:10:00] that was the conception of field to food and all the meat that we harvest from the field is what we eat.
If it weren't for the meat, I honestly probably wouldn't hunt. Okay. So the whole concept of field to food is to give the game that you require from the field, the respect that it deserves not only from where it starts with ethical hunting and making sure that you take good, clean shots and hunt with respect for the animals, but also the better care you take of the.
The better it's going to taste and you can do so much with your meat. And I think a lot of the recipes, no pun intended, get left on the table.
[01:10:34] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Gotcha, gotcha. That's awesome, man. And what's your Instagram handle?
[01:10:40] Dane Whitsett: Everything. TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are all field to food.
[01:10:44] Dan Johnson: Perfect, perfect. Go check that out. Dane, really appreciate you taking time outta your day to hop on and share this story with us. Thank you very much and good luck in any and all upcoming seasons.
[01:10:56] Dane Whitsett: Thank you, Dan. I had a great time talking with you and good luck to you as [01:11:00] well.
[01:11:01] Dan Johnson: And there you have it.
Huge shout out to Dane. Huge shout out to our partners, tethered Wash, HuntStand and Vortex. Please go out and support the companies that support this podcast. Please go to iTunes, leave a five star review. That really helps me. If you could do that, please go to the social media your, so like Instagram for example, please go to Instagram and just see if you can even find my Instagram page that I would really help.
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