Dan Johnson Action Movies and Big Bucks

Show Notes

This Podcast we have Dan Johnson on and we talk a wide range of topics.  We give Dan some rapid fire deer hunting questions.  We dive into 90s action movies and how they correlate to deer hunting.  We discuss buck fever a bit.  

We also hear a bit more about Dan's past and journey through the hunting industry.  We talk about the White Knuckle days and the early Wired to Hunt era.  We do BS a little about kids as well.

Other Topics:

Iowa hunting regulations updates

Dad life

Trail camera ban in Kansas 

Wired to Hunt the early days

Evolving as a deer hunter

Should you paint your face? 

Show Transcript

Byron Horton: [00:00:00] All right. Welcome back to the Whitetail Experience Podcast. This is your host, Byron Horton, and I have a fun and quality episode with the man Dan Johnson. We bs about whitetails, but we also bs about life and talk about nineties movies. We talk about gear. It is just a looser. There was an agenda, but there wasn't like a hardcore five steps for big bucks kind of agenda.

That being said, I did put out a pretty good YouTube video last week on filming your Hunts in 2023. If you're thinking about it or want to dabble in that, I suggest you check it out. Let's get to the podcast with Dan. All right. We are live folks, and I have a guest that I've wanted to have on for a while.

A guy that probably inspired me a little bit to actually kick off doing any sort of media or work in the space and putting myself out there a little bit. Dan Johnson, welcome to the show. What's

Dan Johnson: up dude? Hey, first things first, we gotta talk about something. We know you're a [00:01:00] awesome dad when you have a dad coffee, cup of pictures of you and all your kids.

That's there. It's,

Byron Horton: my wife made this for me for Father's Day. This is a solid and she knows she knows to make it like the touch taller coffee cup to fit more coffee, right?

Dan Johnson: Oh yeah, look what I'm drinking out of, I'm drinking out of the big dog today.

Byron Horton: Funny story about that, and this is perfect for Dan being on the podcast.

There's this week I witnessed my boy. It was in a crib pearl and then muscle up himself over the top bar. And that crib now has been converted to a bed. So now he has dubbed the name the Midnight

Dan Johnson: Runner. Yep. Yep. So you're proud of him because he's finally got the strength to pull himself out of, that you're like, oh, the lats are working great.

He's progressing as normal, and he's gonna, he's gonna someday be good at sports and then you'll li your life will be happy. Yeah. Yeah.

Byron Horton: But the, yeah, so now he is running the halls or waking me up a little more regularly, but yeah, that's okay. This moment will pass in time and better [00:02:00] now than November 5th, if you will.

Yeah, for sure. For sure. So let's kick things off. I got a variety of funny topics. Some deer hunting obviously related in there as well, but let's go for a little rapid fire, Dan. How do you like that? Yeah. Oh yeah. Dan, how do you like your coffee? Black. Meal after you shoot a buck?

Dan Johnson: Oh, that's a tough one.

It just depends on where I shoot it at. If I'm out, if if I'm out. I know this is rapid fire, but I can't answer it. I can't a answer it rapid fire. If I'm in Iowa, it's probably Casey's. I'll stop at Casey's, I'll grab a pork tenderloin, a bag of chips, and like a Gatorade or something.

If I'm out on a out-of-state hunt, I'm gonna stop at a gas station probably, and I'm gonna just grab junk food and stuff. My. Okay.

Byron Horton: Summer Beer of Choice.

Dan Johnson: Ooh, dude. You can't go wrong with Coors Light, but Summer Shandy's up there, dude.

Byron Horton: Okay. Wide buck or big brows. [00:03:00]

Dan Johnson: Last year was big brows. The year before that was 24 inch inside, john, probably wide. Dude I think it's so sweet watching a wide buck walk through the timber.

Byron Horton: Dude, I'll shoot a 80 or 90 inch buck if he's 20 inches wide. Like I, that, that trip's my trigger. Just two spikes,

Dan Johnson: just two main beams coming out. Yeah.

Byron Horton: Yeah. Like I, I love I love wide bucks. Favorite sports team, and if you have multiple.

Dan Johnson: I don't watch too much pro sports. So anything Iowa Athletics, Iowa football, dude, I'll tell you this. There's a young lady by the name of Caitlin Clark. Who is an animal, she's a basketball player. And they're, tonight they actually play their the Final Four game against the number one team in the nation South Carolina.

And I have st this year I've started watching women's sports or women's basketball because of her.

Byron Horton: Yeah, no she's a stud for sure. Okay, let me ask this one. This is [00:04:00] related to whitetail experience. What is your frozen pizza brand of.

Dan Johnson: Frozen pizza, man, I'll tell you what, I can't. They're fast to cook, have you ever heard of the saying it's not the best, but it makes a turd. You ever heard that saying, no, I have not. You have not. Okay. So it's not the best meal I've ever had, but it'll make a turd. And are there pizzas that are better than this one? Yes, there are. But just growing up the way I grew up, Toti Totino's Pizza.

You can't, they're garbage, but they're, they hit the spot sometimes.

Byron Horton: Dude, my marketing professor from college worked for Totinos for a few years and he had some cool, funny stories. He was a good dude. Yeah. Okay. You're going on a road trip let's call it a western hunt. What's your road stop?

What kind of stops do you like to make on that journey? What's your in and out fast food place of.

Dan Johnson: Man, it just, I'm a gas station guy, right? I'm an, I'm efficient if I stop at a gas station, I don't want to have to cross the street to go through a McDonald's or anything like that.

Byron Horton: I tried. She's flying. [00:05:00] Jay, what are we thinking here?

Dan Johnson: Oh man. Probably a loves, yeah, probably a loves they have a pretty good selection. The coffee for the most part is always, Somewhat fresh, like some of these smaller gas stations, it's like they make it at 6:00 AM and then they don't change it until the next morning.

And so it tastes like cigarette butts and and so I like me loves.

Byron Horton: All right. That is solid. Dan, what's the best purchase you've made hunting related or non-hunting related in the last six months?

Dan Johnson: Sleeping bag. What'd you go with? I went with, you're gonna shit at this price, A Western mountaineering.

Made in the USA Badass zero, I think it's a zero degrees bag, 680 bucks, I think is what I paid for it. And it is magical. It is, it's money, man.

Byron Horton: Nice. Yeah, we, I spent some money on a backpacking bag. This had been two, three years ago, and they're not cheap, but[00:06:00] they're pretty nice.

Dan Johnson: Yeah.

Yeah. I'll tell you what it, you. The previous year, I would say I spent over that in hotel costs. Just staying in a hotel when I went out west. Now I just sleep in the back of my truck on a foam pad with this this sleeping bag and it's it's legit.

Byron Horton: Okay. Okay, Dan, we're gonna sw switch gears here.

Okay. We're gonna go a little more serious. Do you have any updates on some of the Iowa legislation that you brought up? Oh, a couple weeks back at the deer in Turkey Expo. I'm sitting here. I don't live in Iowa. But some of what you were informing the public on, I'm like, dude, that is ridiculous.

As a state that wish, like I wish my state would just mirror what you guys do. Yeah. And to hear that the mecca of white. Hunting is under attack by some bs. You got an update for us on that?

Dan Johnson: Yeah. The last time I checked so we have this guy in Iowa. His name is Skip Sly. Yeah. And he works.

[00:07:00] Closely with the Iowa bow Hunters Association. And so he was actually at State Capitol earlier this week, meeting with lawmakers, meeting with politicians, voicing his opinion to the politicians that are on our side. And he heard some he heard basically the. The lobbyists, he heard the lobbyists about the whole crossbo de debate.

Pretty much just say the, we are getting paid to try to get bo crossbows in your archery season so our clients make more money. Period. So it has nothing to do with the natural resource or, dear herd numbers or quality or whatever like that. And so the good news is hey man, you get.

A hundred to 300 people email in to their representatives, and this should be squashed along with, all the other stuff. And we've created a lot of momentum here in Iowa behind these Being [00:08:00] anti these laws. Yeah. That, that are being passed. And so we've generated a lot of support from other Iowa, outdoorsmen who, and even non-residents.

I don't know how many non-residents have reached out to me who have said, would it be nice to hunt Iowa every year? Yes, absolutely. But the minute that you do Iowa is not Iowa anymore, and therefore it loses its gust. And a lot of, I, I feel like we've created enough momentum. We just have to keep going.

And then eventually the goal is to take the offensive instead of ha just being on defense all the time. Yeah. Instead of

Byron Horton: reacting, you're being

Dan Johnson: proactive. Yeah. Or being proactive and potentially introduce some laws, rules and regulations that say, Hey, listen, these types of. These types of bills can only be introduced once every 10 years instead of every single year.

Some lobbyists going, Hey, we want non-resident hire, non-resident tags. We want this. The actual residents of [00:09:00] the state and the Department of Natural Resources will have way more say in how some of these rules and regulations get.

Byron Horton: Yeah. Yeah. That's, yeah, I appreciate that update and hopefully, the more we talk about some of these things is it's probably better overall, Oh, absolutely.

For the future of deer hunting. Yeah. Kinda like the cell cam thing we talked about exactly. I've seen obviously Kansas took all trail cams out of public land and then Minnesota is putting in some better verbiage around that true use. Yeah. You got any more, 2 cents now that, that matter has sat there for a couple weeks after we talked and again, how you're feeling about it.

Dan Johnson: I I wanna answer that question, but I wanna finish up the point on the rules and regulations thing. Very simple. All I wanna say. If hunters unite, if there's something that you don't like about a rule or regulation in your state, there are others who are just like you. And if you can rally enough troops and voice your opinion [00:10:00] and say let's just say.

And we live in a democracy, right? So it's hard to make everybody happy in a democracy. But I'm just gonna use this as an example. Let's say there's a state where the rifle season kicks off on November 1st. If there's enough people that don't like that and feel like it should be moved back a week or two weeks, and so the caliber of deer can get bigger.

Let's just say that, like the hopes of that There is hope for you guys to change that. If you rally around if there's some bogus rules and regulations, if you rally enough troops, you can change that for the better and put the natural resource back in the hands of the Department of Natural Resources.

That's all I wanna say about that. Yeah,

Byron Horton: no, I agree. And it takes oh, it takes people being aware and just being conscious of that. I've tried to post some stuff around some of our E H D outbreak and like some of the laws that got proposed for next season. But yeah, being active about that.[00:11:00]

The other topic I, we had just mentioned, you and I did a podcast on cell cams. There's been a couple things that are in the works. You got any more 2 cents on that topic? I don't want to be, 15 minutes on this, but touch base

Dan Johnson: on that. So I don't know. Here are the rumblings that I'm hearing from guys in Kansas.

All right. Number one, majority of the people in Kansas, they hunt private ground because there is so few. Kansas is the number one state in the nation for the least amount of public land. Iowa is number two, I believe. Okay? Both under 2% public ground and. It's a minimal effect on the state of Kansas, but it affects somebody.

And so what we have here is we have a lot of people who probably don't care that law got passed because they hunt private. Okay? So I feel like it this new rule blindsided a whole bunch of. I don't necessarily [00:12:00] know if it was the right way to, to pass this law. I feel like there should have been a lot of information given to the hunters, but it sounds man I don't know what led to it. I don't have enough information to tell you, Hey, here's why they just canceled it. But from the rumblings and the rumor mill, basically, again, the rumor mill that doesn't mean anything, is that the people who made that decision just don't have any information about it.

They just were like, ah, screw it. Let's just.

Byron Horton: Yeah. Yeah. And I go back and forth. Like I know Missouri, there's a lot of restrictions on cameras on public land. And if that proposal came here in the Buckeye state, you know what I'd actually, I think I'm pro no cameras on public. There's something about, I feel like the woods being the woods a little bit of this I untouched ground is cool in, in my mind. Yeah, to me I'm, and maybe they're trying to get ahead of some of the technology that we discussed a couple weeks ago. Maybe. But yeah, it did seem a blindsided right hook. But [00:13:00] let's shift gears to something a little more fun.

Okay. And, Some of my favorite podcasts you have done in the last year or so have been the Tony Peterson ones specifically around you guys have done eighties action movies and I'm just a touch younger so I have a few movies here with like key elements in how they relate to deer hunting and I think yes, you're the guy to discuss

Dan Johnson: this with.

Yes, I love Tony Peterson and I think we are, we've been. The space him being a writer for several years, me doing the podcast thing and then the DVDs even before that. And so when you've been in the space as long as we have, it's always nice to just step away. From the, Hey, Byron, let's talk about, big buck hunting tactics during the rut.

Jesus, man, it, it just, after, after, eight years of the same thing every time I wanted to step away and luckily I have Tony here who is happy to jump on board and bs with me about this stuff.

Byron Horton: Oh, and yeah, the [00:14:00] conversations are hilarious. So I'm gonna take a classic. The scene in Predator, right?

Yeah. When he's being chased down and it's just, Arnold left. Okay. And he goes full camouflage and paints his entire face and the guy like with mud walks by him. Yeah. And I did a segment on a YouTube video about I do think painting your face is something that like, is definitely something I do because I feel it is a touch of an advantage I felt.

Whitetails id, their prey, predators from their head and shoulder outline of a human. And I wanted your 2 cents. Paint your face. No. Yes. Where you at with this

Dan Johnson: one? Luckily Whitetails can't see an infrared. Okay. Yes. It was not

Byron Horton: infrared specific, but it was just the whole concept


Dan Johnson: paper to face.

And luckily my life is not in danger when a deer is near. But I will say this, and this by Byron, with all due respect. If I had a hunting buddy or I was sharing a camp with someone [00:15:00] and they would paint their face before they would go out, I personally would make fun of them. I like I'm anti face paint.

I don't know why back in the day when I was like seven or eight or. Whenever I would go out, maybe it was 12 or 13, more like it, but I would put the, the stick underneath the eyes and across the forehead and stuff like that. And then I realized how hard it is to get some of that stuff off your face at the end of the day.

And I just was like, okay, I'm done doing it. And now that I'm a grown man and I see other grown men do it, I just chuckle a little. That's,

Byron Horton: that is fair. I so I do paint the face. I just throw some black across just to break it up. Cause I feel like when I'm walking in the woods and I see another hunter, the first thing I see is that face, like he can be camouflaged up and it's boom.

And so yeah, I have just felt and maybe it's just a inner confidence. The other thing is okay, if we show up at a parking lot, right? And the other guy pulls in and I got my face painted up, like he ain't messing with me, right? There's a little like war paint going on. [00:16:00]

Dan Johnson: He thinks you're crazy.

That's right.

Byron Horton: Yeah. Yeah. I started doing the haka or something wild.

Dan Johnson: That would be nuts. Before you're doing that, before every set? I would say

Byron Horton: mo most hunts I do throw some sort of paint on. Maybe an a, a rushed after work hunt. Okay. Next. And shooter. Are you familiar? Mark Wahlberg.


Dan Johnson: Yeah. And he's the really good sniper. Yes.

Byron Horton: Yes. They try to frame. Exactly. And there is a scene where like him and his, like compadre are like total prep mode and they're doing all these little details like they spray paint their guns in their scopes because they don't want 'em to be flat black.

They're making pipe bombs outta certain articles of PVC plus like a plastic water bottle. But my thought was all these little small details kill. I feel like it's the little things that you do, whether it be like waking up 10 minutes before, you could set your alarm for six 30, but if you set it for six 20 and you catch every red [00:17:00] light on your way out of town, you're okay.

Yep. Did you prep all your mobile equipment? Did you give it a once over the night before that takes you five minutes, but then you have all your buckles, you have all your steps. Yeah. I feel like those little details sometimes kill big gear, and I wanted your thoughts on that concept.

Dan Johnson: Absolutely. I do something that I don't, I know a lot of people may think is crazy, but if I know I'm coming back to the st the same stand the next morning, right? Let's say I hunt in the afternoon and I know I'm coming back to that same stand, I'm leaving everything. If it's gonna rain, I'll take it down, but I'm leaving everything in the tree.

My bow if. Depending on what I need to carry in and out, like if how cold it is I leave my pack there, everything stays, and then the only thing I'm doing is getting outta my truck and walking to the tree stand. And so that's a specific one. Now as far as detailed, like paying attention to details, dude, the one thing I do not skimp on is access routes.

I've learned the hard way so many [00:18:00] times and it's just, that's a detail that I'm not willing to.

Byron Horton: Okay. All right. Final movie here on this segment. The Patriot a classic.

Dan Johnson: Okay. Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson. Yes. Oh, that was in the nineties.

Byron Horton: That I think that was either late nineties. That might be two thousands.

Dan Johnson: Anyway, yes. There was a good scene in that movie.

Byron Horton: Yes. The concept where they're laying the trap and he tells his two little boys like Ames, small, Ms. Small. Yep. And they do okay. They knock some dudes down but, I had this thought of in my bow hunting career, I messed up by not shooting enough doze Early on, I would wait till gun season, just smash 'em with a shotgun, and yeah, that practice of that final 10 seconds, you can't duplicate.

No, and I should have killed like four or five more deer with my bow in that probably five, six year period instead of waiting for shotgun season and doing it with the guns because you can't, those final 10 seconds, 30 seconds with a bow inside or with a deer inside bow range like that is the best [00:19:00] practice you can have.

And I messed up on that personally, and I thought I'd mentioned this as a concept for listen.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. The more deer you shoot, the better you become at shooting deer. And that's something that it took me a while to do. Because I, the way I approached or how my, how I got serious into deer hunting I jumped right into big deer.

I didn't really go through, it's brown, it's down face, and I honestly believe. It cost me some big deer throughout the course of my career. And yeah. So Ames Small, miss Mall is a lot better than what did, what was this? The one guy joked, he's rage broadheads. Shoot 'em in the middle.

Find him in the morning.

Byron Horton: Yeah. Now there is something to like remaining. Conscious, if you will, and not going to blackout mode. Cause I killed a few even bucks and I like, dude, pin hits the brown deer. Boom. I'm squeezing, maybe not even squeezing the trigger. Yeah. And I feel like there's [00:20:00] something to that step of just remaining conscious.

And not going to black out. Oh

Dan Johnson: dude, you black out. It's over. And so it's been, I would say that 2016 or six, 2006 is when I started taking deer hunting, big mature bucks, serious, it took me maybe 10 more years to get comfortable around big deer. Maybe even a little, maybe even a little longer.

And big, a big deer steps. Most guys are going finally I've been able to like, control my breath. I talk to myself. I'm like, don't mess this up. Stay calm. He's coming your way. You're gonna get a shot, chill out and then, make it happen.

Byron Horton: That I do have a fear that if I have an absolute mega come down the pike, I.

I don't have that experience. I have the decent amount of experience in, in the pop and young crowd to like the one 40 crowd. But let's say like a one 50 s eight would come down, big framed here. I might [00:21:00] crumble a good bit even though I've been there, but I think that next caliber, when that cage comes through, I think.

I might be a little rattled, I'm not gonna lie.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. And it's hard to overcome because you know that saying when you win a championship, and it may be it's your first time the saying act like you've been there before. I really do feel like the only difference between, like what's the difference between a hundred inch deer and a one 70 inch?

Right. 70 inches. That's it. It's on their head. It's not their behavior, it's not their, most deer are gonna do the same exact thing for the most part. And. And if you can remain calm and take your mind off the antlers and onto the vitals, I think you're gonna do just fine.

Byron Horton: Sure.

I just have, maybe it's one of those that is a quick decision kind of thing where it happens quick.

Dan Johnson: Yeah, I always debate that. What would I rather have? Would I rather have a deer that's 300 yards out walking right at me and I can see him come in? Or would I rather. Have a [00:22:00] buck show up five seconds.

The whole thing takes five seconds. Here he is, boom, shoot him or watch him slowly start coming in. I don't know, because I think I would get more nervous the longer I would see him. Yeah. But I also think, feel like I could talk myself down off the adrenaline rush initially.

Byron Horton: So I know my biggest heart pounding moment was at a dough and I was like 18 years old with a crossbow.

I think it was my first or second year hunting in. The, my mentor, Gary Yer my best friend was Corey and his dad had a cabin and he had we were out hunting there and he decided, Hey, I'm gonna go back and watch the Buckeyes play that night. Why don't you guys stay at the cabin? Yeah. So we're like, we're trying to prove ourselves as young men.

Yeah. We're like, dude, we're gonna shoot a deer. We're gonna drag it out the woods. We're gonna gut it and not have any adults. We're gonna be bad asses. And I watched this this do two do come into the swamp and they probably appeared a hundred ish yards, but they worked their way to 20, but it took 15 minutes.

And I swear to God, you could hear my heart like through my [00:23:00] eardrums. I was it was it, and we're talking a d and I didn't even shoot her, she busted me sliding the crossbo up the jacket and it was water proofy type material. So it made a noise right and right even to this day. And I've probably shot 10, 15 bucks since then.

That by far is the most adrenaline I've ever had because it took so long. Yeah. And we were trying to prove ourselves.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. Man. I had a, you know the shipwreck story? I had shipwreck step out after chasing him for four years, and and I literally couldn't breathe. When he stepped out, I instantly, like I saw one of his, one of the G two s, I knew it was him and I was having trouble breathing, like my heart was beating.

I thought I was going into cardiac arrest when all this was happening. And that did, that played a role in, in, I feel, the shot process. And I hit him a little high.

Byron Horton: Yeah. Yeah, dude, that's, oh man. Yeah. You, can, you, I don't know, when you tell that story you are, go into dream mode and see it happening.

I gotta believe. Oh yeah. So Dan, [00:24:00] one thing I did want to ask you about is like when you, I don't know the white knuckle story going on a web show that was bef I guess it wasn't technically a web show, but that was, when I discovered you, you were already on wired to hunt. How did it develop?

Like you were like, yeah, I think I'm gonna start filming my hunts for Todd and running around. Running with Lucas Psycho and some of that crowd yeah. How did that truly start?

Dan Johnson: Okay, so man, 2005, I got my finger cut off in an accident when I was working in Atlanta, Georgia, somewhere over there.

Someti somewhere? Yes, early 2005, maybe. Late 2004. I can't really remember. It's been so long. Anyway, I came back to Iowa. I bow hunted for, cuz I got my finger cut off in October. Had to go get some surgery done on it. I did two weeks of r and luckily that was like the first two weeks in November.

I didn't get a deer that year, but I rehabbed back in Iowa and then, my [00:25:00] hand was better and it was time to it was time to get back down to work and I ended up taking the same company moved to. All right. I worked in Alabama for a handful. Y probably 10, 15, 10, 12 months, somewhere around a year.

And my buddy who I went to high school with calls me and he is like, Hey, dude, there's this guy who moved into town and he's all about deer hunting. And I'm like, oh, that's cool. I love deer hunting. He's if you ever come back, you should meet up with this guy. And luckily, I. I took a job back in my hometown.

So me and my girlfriend at the time we moved there. And so my buddy my buddy, this is no joke. The first time I met Todd pregnant, the My buddy takes me to a bar. Todd's already had a couple beers in him and it's pretty loud in the bar. And I go, he goes, Hey, my buddy Brent goes, Hey, this is this is Dan Johnson.

He's the guy I told you about. He likes to hunt deer too. And he is oh yeah. What's your name? I said, my name's Dan. He goes, Dallas. [00:26:00] I. No, Dan Johnson, he goes, Dallas Fort Worth. And that is, that was the name that he called me and everybody called me. They called me Dallas Fort Worth for 10 years.

They gave me that nickname and it was all because Todd had a, he was already feeling real good. But when I first met him, so now,

Byron Horton: I knew Todd knew the taquitos. Had Todd at that point Cannon balled into like higher

Dan Johnson: level hunting. Yeah, Todd was already into that style. Cuz he had come down to Iowa, I think a year or two previous.

He drew Iowa before he moved from Michigan to Iowa and he haunted for like 45 straight days in Iowa with that tag. And he ended up getting a really good buck that year. And. That kind of was the, that kind of was the straw that broke the Campbell's back for him to quit his job, start doing what he was good at, which was basically exporting [00:27:00] and working with China and designing things.

And he moved to Iowa. And he started hunting Iowa.

Byron Horton: And did you then, oh, I gotta believe, he's Hey, will you film your hunt? Or were you already pursuing whitetails at maybe an elevated level at that point, or was that kind of also a springboard for you?

Dan Johnson: No it was not like previous to 2006.

I met him, conversations with him, and I knew some other big buck killers like in the area. Sam Korra. That name, if you don't know that name, this, that this dude has four, 200 inch bucks. I think he actually, I don't know if I'm supposed to say anything. He might actually have a fifth one now.

Okay. And he, and so he's got a couple, 200 inches on the wall. The dude just slays. He, not only that, but he raises deer. And so I had him to pick, pick brains, pick, pick from and stuff. And so really watching Todd describe the [00:28:00] difference between a mature buck and a regular buck.

Got. Thinking about it. And then I started making moves based off of some of that stuff. And just at that point was like, everything was self learned, right? I taught myself kind of everything and, oh, shit I'm gonna take this mobile hunting series. And I got busted every time I went into the woods, the first, year or so.

And so it took me a whole, a long time to figure all of it out until I, until it just clicked for me on how to access, what the wind, the thermals, all that stuff. And so running into Todd W was a bit of a tipping point for me to go mobile. It just so happened that in this court, in. In this timeframe is when he was starting white knuckle.

And then I just was in the same town with as him, I jumped on board with him. I started, hanging with him, filming hunts with him. He was, he would jump in a tree with me. I would jump in a tree with him and we'd go shed hunting and do all things whitetailed together at [00:29:00]

Byron Horton: that.

Okay. And this is pre-kids. I gotta believe in pre wife or early wife. Oh yeah, pre

Dan Johnson: wife. This was let's see, 2006 or so. I just broke up with a girl that I was living with in Alabama. She moved back to Iowa with me cuz she was from the same town as me. And then that didn't, that went away.

And then for from that point on, no girl, no problem man. I was, I was a hundred. And that's why I feel like from 2006 or seven until 2000 and man what year did I get married? 2012, I think I got married. And so from that period was, I was all in. On deer hunting. I was hunting 30 plus days a year.

I was shed hunting 30 plus days a year. I was scouting like every day. While I was sh shed hunting, I started running more trail cameras. I [00:30:00] started learning. I started, like mentally noting everything. And so that's when that period of time is really when my, if you were to look at me on a graph it'd be low in 2006, 2006 hits. I break up with that girl and just the time spent in the woods and my knowledge of big mature deer just went and how to be comfortable around him and things like that. But it really wasn't until 2016 after being married four years. Is when things started to click for me.

Cuz I got married, had a kid right away. And that, what that did was force me to be as efficient as possible in the woods with scouting, with running trail cameras, with shed hunting and all the stuff and hunting specifically. And then once that forced, I reacted to my environment and it clicked for me and that's when I started having consistent success.


Byron Horton: And so you had mentioned that time period of 2006, seven ish to [00:31:00] 2011 you got married. Why'd the hunt came about? I want to say 2012. 20? Yeah,

Dan Johnson: I'm not sure. 13 When? 13 Mark. Yeah. Cuz he'd been doing it for a while. First time I ever met Mark was at A white knuckle production film school.

Where Todd would put on a film school, teach people how to, film, his camera guy was there as well. People would pay money to come to it and learn and things like that. And so Mark Kenyon was there and that's how me and Mark first met and we headed off and would text each other and message each other and things like that.

And then I think it was about, I think the, it was either 2013, so Wired to Hunt had been a thing for a while.

Byron Horton: Yeah, I'm talking the podcast. I realized he had the blog online website. And the blog.

Dan Johnson: And then so it was like 2000 early 2013? No, it was probably, I'm trying to think if it was March of 13 or March of 14.

When I invited [00:32:00] him down for a shed hunt, and on that shed hunt is when he was like, Hey dude, do you wanna host or co-host this show with me? And I was like, let's do it, dude.

Byron Horton: Okay. So I just scrolled back. I got March, 2014 as the, that's the first one. It looks like that's the number one episode.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. And I think Nine Finger Chronicles came that fall. Okay. Or later that year. And so I think he had eight months. We did it, we did the show for six to eight months before I was like, God, there's a whole nother demographic that That were missing on the wired to hunt that I could hit with my podcast.

And I we did both, like I did both for a very long time. Yeah. It

Byron Horton: was cool because I would say the first hundred episodes of Wired to Hunt like changed my life. That was one of the information was digestible. I think you and Mark were at the perfect point in your white.

Careers, if you will. You didn't, you, your family was either young or you had just gone through this, like you said, five, six year period where you [00:33:00] were just ate up with it, but still learning, learning the craft. And your role as being the funny, relatable it was perfect, if you will.

Yeah. And timing is everything. And in a lot of things that are successful. And then Mark, with his marketing background, podcasting was so new. That was fire, if you will.

Dan Johnson: Yeah, I missed those days, man. I think from a, from. A team like like two people who work well together.

Mark was in his own world and I was in like, we were similar in a way, but really different in a way. And I I really missed that. I, that wired to hunt time was just something real special man. It

Byron Horton: was and you guys were, I think it's a combination of timing where you guys were in your whitetail careers and two guys that did age.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because he had the time.

Dan Johnson: I'm 10 years, I'm roughly 10. I think I'm 10 years older than him or seven or something like that. And age and kids and exper like little bit different experience level. He came from, the hard to hunt high pressured public lands of [00:34:00] Michigan.

I came from the, the permission big buck state of Iowa and it was just like a perfect mix, man.

Byron Horton: Yeah. I would agree with that. And I, yeah, I wanted to hear a little more on, oh, that development, or and I gotta believe when he said POD podcast, I don't know if Rogan was even around then.

Did you just go, what the hell is a podcast? You know what

Dan Johnson: I knew what a podcast was because I was listening to a podcast at the time called StarTalk Radio. Okay. I don't know if you're familiar with that, but there's this astrophysicist, his name is Neil deGrasse Tyson. And so he talks a like it.

I get a kick out of things like black holes and time travel and space and the theory of relativity and all that. All the, just the nerd dumb stuff. And so it, he would bring comedians on to that show. He would talk about these things. They would crack jokes about it. And I just, I love that podcast.

So that's what I was listening to back then[00:35:00] long time ago. And. And then just from there. So I knew what it was and I knew, but I didn't really know the inner workings of it. And so Mark, he didn't you

Byron Horton: figure out your mic on like episode

Dan Johnson: 26? Yeah, it was funny. Yeah, that, yeah. Yeah, it was crazy.

Yeah, we were just going through the computer and every time it's man, this microphone sucks man. It just sucks ass. And then I had to switch a setting on my computer. I didn't know you had to do that. I thought you just plugged it in and it worked automatically. But yeah, it took us a while to get the wheels properly greased.

Byron Horton: Oh, that's so funny. Alright, two quick bullet points. Dan, you are, you're not a gear nerd, but you're definitely a gear guy. You have a hunting gear podcast. You've done that even from the early, I think that was a first addition to the network before there was a network. Yeah, it was

Dan Johnson: probably top four, five.

Byron Horton: Yeah. So I wanted to ask, what is the best piece of hunting gear you have spent your own money on? This can't be a sponsor or anything like that. [00:36:00] Like you forked out X dollars and you're like, dude, this is worth every penny.

Dan Johnson: A hundred percent Crispy Boots.

Byron Horton: Boots. Nice.

Dan Johnson: Which model? Thor's. Okay. Green Thor's.

I can't tell you how much. I've worn boots before that. I wore a pair of Danner pronghorns for a handful of years. And if you were getting side hilly if you were getting up and down a shift in your foot, I'd get some small blisters, that kind of stuff. I've never had a a blister on in my crispies.

I, the, I'm afraid to get rid of the pair that I currently have, and they're five years. And so I've been using the same crispy boots for four or five seasons now, and they are, they're still I power wash 'em. Every year I, then I let 'em dry, and then I put a. A coat of waterproofer over top of them and they work great still.

I just, but it's time. The waterproofing wears off and they just break down. [00:37:00] You're putting miles something they just breakdown. Yeah, exactly. And so it's time. I think this year I'm gonna go get the exact same pair again. And yeah, man, ju just hands down those.

Byron Horton: Okay overrated piece of gear in the hunting space.

Is there something that you see people spending money on or is hyped beyond and you're just like, ah I don't know if that's that big a deal. At the end of the day, we're whitetail hunting 15 to 45 minutes from the truck most times.

Dan Johnson: Oof. I would, I, the old Dan Johnson would've said an e.

Because I could, I, oh dude, who could even afford an e-bike, what E-bike? But now I have an e-bike and they're freaking awesome. Especially on some public land spots where they're legal. Now, instead of hiking one mile back, I was riding six miles back. I rode back six miles and it took me like 30 minutes.

And I was getting in places where people just weren't going unless you were the person running the cattle on that public.

Byron Horton: So I grew up hunting some private ground that we had four-wheelers in access trails and stuff like that. And they were really [00:38:00] sweet. But I'm like, I never see myself.

Ever owning a four-wheeler Now because an e-bike stores way better, I can use it for like personal fun, way easier. Yeah. To load and unload it. It's way easier. Like honestly, the 4runner or Quad Runners, four-wheelers as a hunting tool. I think I'm good to go with the e-bike is gonna replace a lot of that.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. Unless you, the only thing I can see would be the hauling out of deer, but still make a second trip on a bike. It's nothing,

Byron Horton: dude, I think you strap like a toe rope and a jet sled to it. And you walk next to that bike and you're hitting that throttle, so oh yeah, you're going at a walking pace, but it's doing 90% the work to pull your.

That's a good point. Yeah. So Dan has a look on his face. He's gonna smart buy a jet sled. Smart, right? You're smart

Dan Johnson: man. Over overrated though, huh? I can see how someone would say an ozonics would be overrated. I love my ozonics. I think that thing has in the field and out outside of the, back in the garage [00:39:00] functionality overrated.

The only thing that I can think of is a bow. I say bow a bow. And the reason I say that is because with proper practice, I feel I could take any bow that's currently on the market, tune it, practice with it, and go kill a deer with it. Yeah.

Byron Horton: Dan, I think you and I could pick up Matthews Z seven bows, that was like a 27 or 2007 flagship model.

Yeah. I think that particular M model has killed more whitetails than probably any other bow that I can think of. Yeah. And I That bow is what fif that's over 15 years old. Yeah. Like you and I could pick that bow up and go hunt with it this fall and inside of 30 yards, we're killing probably everything that we would kill with our 2023 flagship.

Dan Johnson: Yep. I feel I, other than that, I just can't think of probab, I don't wanna say broadheads cuz I, I have a couple broadheads that, [00:40:00] that do a lot of damage and I love them, but I think I, I do think that there's too much also, so it's a one A and one b, Boz and Camel. And camel.

I think certain camo is overrated. Or camouflage in general is overrated. I think a lot of people put too much weight onto their camo. When all they need to do is just not move so much.

Byron Horton: I could see that. I could see that for

Dan Johnson: sure. But I'll tell you what the hoodie you're wearing right now.

Yeah. Is, I gave it away to my stepdad and I want an Indian, give it back. Now I want it back from him. But that predator hoodie, man, that's a badass hooded sweatshirt. I love it. Yeah.

Byron Horton: This is the old school brown deception, not the new brown deception. This is the old school and if you take note of guys in the nineties and two thousands, they were wearing guys that were doing it at an elevated

Dan Johnson: light all.

All the slayers were wearing predator.

Byron Horton: Yeah. A Andy may killed a buck early in the Instagram days and was decked out in a wolf [00:41:00] woolens predator, brown deception. Everyone's what pattern is that? And I'm like, dude, the killers now.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. And I was a huge fall gray guy. That, that, that was my go-to November camo.

And then the Brown deception came out after that, I believe. And when I got that hoodie, God I actually, after we're done talking, I actually might go and buy it online.

Byron Horton: Dude. Yeah. Yeah. Oh man. And I had the same note. Is there underrated gear that you feel is not talked about enough?

Maybe a simple item, and then I have my final bullet

Dan Johnson: of the. Yeah, so underrated. Something that's underrated, man. I personally, for me, in the way that I hunt, I would say some kind of ozone device. And the reason I say that is not necessarily, yes, I have seen, I have, I feel personally like I've gotten away with.

Some really tight situations in the tree Stand with an ozonics [00:42:00] blowing, say what you want about how it works, but the science behind it is the science behind it. I feel where it really stands out is instead of having to wash my clothes every two days during the rut, I hang it in the case in the little closet thing or in a closet, run the machine and let the ozone soak into my clothes, man, there.

I just feel invisible when I'm walking in the woods on a morning. And you get in the tree, you got that mixed with the right thermals or whatever the case may be. I just feel that ozone is, cru is just completely destroying the, all the bacteria, all the odor and making you smell fresh, and I think ozone from. Cleansing your clothes application is probably underrated.

Byron Horton: Nice. Nice. That's a good answer. Okay, I have my final [00:43:00] bullet point. You ever gonna buy a piece of ground? Is that I

Dan Johnson: was close Uhhuh. I was close this year. And what I mean by that is the things were all adding up and then there, there was like a shift in some certain things and.

And then it didn't really pan out, but dude, that's a dream I feel for everybody. Unfortunately I'm not gonna be able to afford land in the county in Iowa that I live in because it's a very populated, highly taxed, that's, yeah. Sought after piece of property where like a hundred, a ac, a hundred acres is going.

12 five an acre. Right now on junk. On junk soil. Okay. And that's like Northern Iowa prices for black dirt, egg ground. My dad owns, inherited 80 acres from my grandparents, and he was like unprofessional. And he was, [00:44:00] I think the neighbors were in the fourteens, like when they sold their property, 14 something.

And so it'd have to be in southern Iowa somewhere where, the soil's not that good, the population isn't there. And so maybe back in my home county or west of that, It's a dream man. I want to really bad. I wanna be able to have that second archery tag, that landowner's tag for, spot for

Byron Horton: your kids to hunt that spot


Dan Johnson: my kids's.

Always there. Yeah, exactly. I want those things and I want to be able to pass something like that or snowball it, by the 40, a couple years later, but, traded in for the 80, traded in for the one 60, traded in for. I'll be 60 by the time that happens, but, 300 acres. And then tell my kids, don't sell it.

Save this, have this, be the investment. Take, teach your kids how to hunt and fish and things like that on it. And create a legacy of sorts. And it's a dream, man. I want to really bad. It's just finding the [00:45:00] finances, and in this crazy world where we're living in, man, my grocery.

Oh, just my grocery bill has gone up, $150 a week. Yeah.

Byron Horton: That's where we, I feel like, feel at the most is in the groceries.

Dan Johnson: Groceries and things like that. And obviously gas is higher now that this guy's in office. But just. I don't know. I feel like we're getting, I'm getting my, I'm getting, there's a vacuum attached to my my bank account and I'm trying to plan accordingly and we'll see what happens after tax season this year, after I finished my taxes.

Yeah. I

Byron Horton: have set aside a nest egg for it and labeled it, yeah. And communicated to the wife like, this is for land. Yeah, I, if I had any, For a guy who's listening to this, let's call 'em like just outta college 20 some years old, they're not making great money. I would tell them, take a paycheck or take 20 bucks out of a paycheck and put it in the s and p, especially right now cuz it's down.

But literally start building that nest [00:46:00] egg because compounding interest, by the time you're 35, you're gonna have your down payment for the. And even if that piece is 10 acres, 20 acres or 50. But dude, I wish somebody would've grabbed me by the head at 22 years old and said, I know you're not making great money.

Yeah. But you gotta stash away 20 bucks a month right now. And then if you get a little raise, can you stash a little more because you'd be sitting on it by 35.

Dan Johnson: I just look at the the amount of money that I spent on booze. In my twenties, I was just like, holy shit, what would that have been if I invested that, and things like that.

Yeah, dude, it's a dream. Hopefully someday I'm gonna make it happen. Yeah.

Byron Horton: Yeah. All right, Dan, that is a gamut of topics, a wide variety. I really appreciate you coming on today and spending some time and I enjoyed it, man. These were a couple selfish questions I wanted to talk about with you.


Dan Johnson: absolutely, man. Love love chatting with you, Byron. Man, I love taking a step on, on the little bit on the wild side and talking about things like movies and away from the actual deer hunting because I [00:47:00] just feel like life. 5% deer hunting and everything else is actually what matters in this world.

And guys like. I'm guilty of it. We put probably a little too much energy towards it sometimes even though this is my full-time job. I still feel like I'm thinking about it when I probably shouldn't, but I guess when it's in your d n a, you can't help it. Yeah.

Byron Horton: Yeah. And just in case guys where can Dan where can people find you if they are not following already? I would find that hard to.

Dan Johnson: Yeah just go to only fans.com and type in nine fingers and see what happens. No the Sportsman's Empire, that's where everything is at, right? That's where your podcast is at.

That's where my podcast is at. The Hunting Gear Podcast is at all the other shows that are on the network. That's where they're at. So sportsmans empire.com and just. Go check it out.

Byron Horton: All right, Dan. Thanks man. Thank you.[00:48:00]