Dan Johnson's Off-Season Whitetail Checklist

Show Notes

Listen to any deer hunting podcast this time of year, including this one, and you're sure to hear lots of advice on post season scouting, covering a lot of ground, and continuing the grind you only thought ended the with the close of deer season. But for many of us, time is limited. Sure, we KNOW we should get out, but after a season of hunting hard, it's time to get back to work, back to being a dad, back to being a husband. In reality, bowhunting is a pretty selfish thing that takes us away from many of our responsibilities for an extended period of time. When the season closes, for many, it's time to catch up on all the things we've been neglecting. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't TRY to get some winter whitetail chores knocked off the list.

In this episode of the How to Hunt Deer Podcast, Josh talks with Dan Johnson of the Nine Finger Chronicles and Hunting Gear Podcasts about what whitetail chores Dan is looking to complete this time of year. The guys talk about post-season scouting, trail cam strategy, gear, and planning for next years hunts. If you're a busy guy that wishes he could do more in the timber this time of year, this episode is for you!

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Connect with the How to Hunt Deer Podcast on Instagram.

Connect with Josh and The Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast on Instagram.

Big thanks to our partners!




Show Transcript

Dan Johnson: [00:00:00] Go Wild is a free social community created for and by Hunters. Go Wild. Has recently partnered with Mountain Tough for a free 30 day workout program. Designed to get you in shape for Turkey season called The Go Wild Challenge Download. Go wild to sign up. And let everyone know in a go wild post that you are joining us.

Then each time you do a workout tag, go wild and mountain. Tough to hold yourself accountable. Also, go Wild. Will be attending the Great American Outdoor Show. February 4th through the 12th. If you're in the area, stop by Booth four 12. Meet the guys and learn all about Go Wild. Visit, download go wild.com and sign up.

Josh Raley: Welcome to the Hot Hunt Deer podcast, which is brought to you by TACT Camp. This podcast aim to educate those who are interested in becoming deer hunters, brushing up on a central [00:01:00] skills, or maybe just adding a few new tactics to the toolkit. Here we cover a variety of topics that will help you be more confident and successful in the field while you're hunting.

We've got a fantastic episode in store for you today. I had a chance to talk with Dan Johnson of the nine Figure Chronicles podcast and the Hunting Gear podcast, and the CEO and Emperor of the Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. If you don't already listen to Dan's shows a few things that you need to know.

Number one, Dan's a killer. Since I've known the guy, since I've been listening to the guy, really, he. Been very successful, especially in his home state of Iowa. He does a really great job on hunting. Some pressured ground, ground that other people have permission on, and he seems to always walk away with a fantastic buck.

And he's a killer. He's efficient, he does it consistently every year. And he's a family guy. He's one of those guys that you can, sit back and watch him in the winter spring. [00:02:00] Parts of early fall, you can watch him be dad and husband and business owner. He's in there putting in the work in other areas.

And so I wanted to have him on to get a little bit of a different glimpse from what we typically see in the whitetail deer hunting space. Now, I love to get out and scout as much as I can, and I love to pursue my hobby as much as I can, but I'm always carrying around this guilt of man, I should have scouted more.

I. Walked more. I should have hiked more. I should have e scouted more. I should have looked at more maps. I should have run more trail cameras. You know what, at the end of the day, we've all got limitations. We all have life. We all have jobs, we all have families, we all have wives. We have kids that we want them to, grow up with a dad in the home.

And for a lot of us, it's just not practical to put in the amount of. That we hear some guys talking about. Now, this is not to knock those guys because man, those folks who are doing it at a really [00:03:00] high level and who are putting in the hours and putting on the miles, especially this time of year, man, more power to 'em.

I admire those folks. Those are the folks that I typically have on the show because they're the ones I wanna pick their brain about what they do. But Dan gives a little bit of a different perspective. Now, he had a time in his. When he was really putting on the miles, when it comes to, off-season scouting and off-season work now things have changed for him.

He's got a couple small kids at home. He is got a wife, he runs a business. That means his time is a little bit more limited. He has to be really laser focused on other things so that he can free up the time to hunt later on in the year. So I wanted to have him on this weekend and ask him the question, what does off-season prep look like for you?

Like with all the stuff that you're juggling, all the things that you've got going. What does that process look like for you? Because I had a feeling it did not look like, Hey, I tried to cover four or 500 miles of hiking a year, and it didn't. So in this episode we talk a little bit about how he preps for next season, how he's doing [00:04:00] his post-season scouting, what he's doing with his gear, what he's doing with his trail cameras when he starts planning trips for next.

Lots and lots of good information in this one. From Dan, if you don't already, you need to go check out his podcast, the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast and also the Hunting Gear podcast. He's got lots of great companies on with all kinds of awesome gear on that podcast. It's a really good one. Now, before we get into the meat of the episode, gotta pay the bills.

Couple of things. Number one, please go support the partners that support this show. I would not be able to do what I do if it were not for the brands. Have chosen to believe in what we're doing here and to partner with us. Number one, tcam. They are the title sponsor of this show and my other podcast, the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast.

They make great products for guys who want to film their hunts. Now, if you're looking to start filming your hunts, this is a great time to start gathering the equipment for that. You don't wanna go out and buy a camera in September and hope that, hey, by October I can be shooting confidently.[00:05:00] On my boat or, by hunting season, I'm gonna be ready to, and know exactly how I like to get things all set up.

Go ahead and check 'em out. Now they've got the 6.0 and the solo extreme cameras. Both are great cameras. The 6.0 gives you 4K 60 frame per second footage. It's got a little l c D touch screen, which is amazing to have on there. Also, you can go and watch your footage right. So if you want to say, Hey, where did I hit that deer?

You can just pull it up on the screen and see exactly where you hit that animal, which is one of my primary reasons for wanting to film my hunt. You can also check out their solo Extreme camera now. They just were running a deal on the solo Extreme. It may still be going on, I'm not positive, but they were selling that thing for 1 29, 99, and 70 bucks off.

Was an incredible deal that Solo Extreme Camera gets you HD footage. One touch operation, just like all the other T cam cameras, weatherproof housing, just like all the other T cam cameras. It can be used with a remote, just like all the other T cam cameras that are coming out now. So it gives you a lot of punch in [00:06:00] a budget friendly.

Option you can go find not only those two cameras, but all the mounts and adapters and all the other things that make using tcam cameras a breeze at their website, tcam.com. Next up, hunt worth. They are making great camo at a price that's not gonna break the bank, right? If you're looking for camo for next year, if you're thinking to yourself, Hey my pattern didn't really blend very well, or my clothes didn't keep me very comfortable, or, Hey I, it's just time to update right.

These things are getting a little bit ratty. I highly recommend you go check out Hunt Worth. They just had their winter clearance sale, so they may be out of some things. I'm not positive on that. I do know, man, that if you didn't pick up some stuff during their winter clearance sale, you missed a great opportunity.

Everything was 20 to 50% off on their website. It's fantastic. But I also know that right now, if you go over to their website and spend 200 bucks, you get domestic shipping for free. So grab a pair of pants, grab a jacket, get free shipping straight to your. It's an awesome deal, so go check 'em out.

Hunt worth gear.com. Then finally, OnX goes with [00:07:00] me everywhere that I go. Chances are, if you're a serious hunter, you're using some kind of app to help you navigate through the woods, to help you keep up with way points and even to do a little bit of digital scouting. I've used several other mapping apps.

I think I have three of them on my phone right now. For different. And I've gotta say OnX is the best by far. It's the most user friendly. It is the most reliable from what I have found. It has the best looking interface. So when you look at it, it just, it doesn't look just cluttered like some of the others, and it's just a breeze to use.

So I highly recommend them. If you're not using OnX already, you can go get a seven day. Free trial. Just head over to the app store of your choice and look up the OnX Hunt app. If you have more questions or wanna learn more, head to their website. They've got all their stuff there. They've also got some great videos that highlight different features of the product.

So if you're interested in the OnX Hunt app, go to their website, OnX maps.com, or like I said, you can find it [00:08:00] in the app store of your choice. Now, personal request before we get into this episode if you're not. Please go and or subscribe or follow or whatever it is, this podcast, wherever it is that you get your podcast, whether that's on apple Podcast or Google Play or whatever it is, wherever you get this podcast, go and follow or or subscribe or whatever it is that they let you do.

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Post that up on Instagram. Tag me in it. I'll share that. And it'll let other folks know that you found this podcast helpful, that you found information from this show directly helpful. It points people to this. And what I think is a very helpful resource for folks. And last but not least, if you're not already obviously following us on Instagram, please go do that.

That'd be awesome. It's the best way to get [00:09:00] ahold of me. Best way to tell me topics or people that you would like me to have on the show. And it's also the primary way that I communicate, Hey, a new episode launched, or, Hey, we're gonna do this cool thing. So go follow us over there at How to Hunt, dear.

Now, with all that stuff outta the way, let's jump into the conversation talking about the off season checklist of Dan. All right. Joining me for this week's episode of the How to Hunt Deer Podcast is the Emperor, the man himself of the Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. I was trying to think of a lot of other stuff to call you, but I decided not to.

Dan Johnson: I'll tell you like it's up to you whenever. Whenever people start saying stuff like that, it makes me. seem like I'm some big important person. . I'm not . I'm just like a regular person. If not, but yeah. If not, even a little bit below regular. There

Josh Raley: you go. Yeah, there you go. Just subpar. Subpar. Yeah. The Subpar Emperor Dan Johnson.

. Dan, did you see? Did you see Nick Otto's most recent series. He's [00:10:00] starting on the Hunt of War podcast.

Dan Johnson: Oh, buddy.

Josh Raley: Okay. So it's the Emperor's table. Okay. Where he's interviewing guys from the podcast network, having us all on to talk about our favorite wild game, oh, wild game recipes and stuff.

But I thought the title was Spot on the Emperors Table. Yes. So I like

Dan Johnson: that you've made it into that. I hope he invites me on to do one. He

Josh Raley: probably won't cause remember the whole subpar

Dan Johnson: thing, but Oh, yeah. I'm not very good at what I do. . Yeah. I don't blame him.

Josh Raley: Oh, dude, Nick's,

Dan Johnson: Nick's the man that I love his pod.

He is, I love his podcast.

Josh Raley: Yeah. Yeah. He is man. And his voice like, I wish I had a radio voice like he does. Oh yeah. He's just got it like

Dan Johnson: rocking. Yeah. I s I can see him. Look, I don't know. Here's what I'll say. If you are a major company in the outdoor space and you are looking to hire someone to host your podcast, I would [00:11:00] say Nick Otto is that guy who, yep.

His voice and just how he talks. Like for me, I say a lot of e that kind of crap. He's he's almost flawless in his. He is. Yeah. So shout out. He is, shout out Nick Otto of the Hunter War podcast.

Josh Raley: That's right. And hey, if you want some ad reads done, you wanna run some commercials or whatever, call Nick, man.

He's got a great voice. Yeah. He'll put that stuff out there and make you sound professional. Heck yeah, man. So Dan, yes. It's February 15th. Yep. Did you win Valentine's Day or not?

Dan Johnson: Who knows, man, who really knows like I bought my wife some gifts and I bought her, let's see here. Here's what I bought her one of her favorite kinds of wine.

I bought her some flowers, some chocolates. I took all the kids out of the house and as a team we went and we bought chocolates, flowers. A bottle of wine. We bought four candles at Bed Bath and Beyond that the kids helped picked out. And then [00:12:00] a really, I guess you would say classy pair of sunglasses.

Okay. She's always complaining about her sunglasses. I went and got a really good pair of sunglasses with a really good heavy duty case that she's able to take with her and not lose and things like that. I personally. Like I won Valentine's Day, but based off of her reaction to it, I guess I just did.

Okay. Like I, I don't know, like I, dude here's a little background. I come from a family that like really. We really didn't do a lot of gift giving. There was always some gift giving in Christmas and on birthdays and things like that, but it was never like getting showered. It was like, here is a pair of socks and underwear for your stocking.

Here is a shirt and some jeans, and here is a toy. And that's really it, as far as how gifts were given in my family. And [00:13:00] so like I, dude, I feel like I person. Take it to the next level on gift giving, especially for my wife in order to build up the brownie points for the upcoming season.

And dude, I'll be honest, I might be backing off some of this gift giving if I don't get the reactions that I want anymore,

Josh Raley: it's, you gotta get the mileage out of it, man. Again though, sounds like you're consistent with that subpar performance. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: At least in her eyes. Yeah, in her eyes.

Anyway I guess she was desperate when she married me. She's my clock's ticking. I, who's that guy? He'll do. Yeah,

Josh Raley: man. Valentine's Day is behind us. I managed to make it through Valentine's Day without talking too much about hunting. So that's a win. Did you, on my front, did you gift,

Dan Johnson: did you gift your wife anything?

Was she happy with what you provided for

Josh Raley: she, she was, yeah. So I, I won Valentine's Day usually, and because I lose Valentine's Day I usually am really bad like uhoh. I [00:14:00] didn't get you anything. Yeah. Kind of Valentine. I did flowers and a card that handwritten super sappy note on the inside.

Oh, okay. And all that stuff. Yeah, so I, I won. Okay, good. I think I won Valentine's Day. So good. Nice little investment, but man, right here on Valentine's Day and right after Valentine's Day. Really, now for a lot of guys in the Midwest, your seasons have been done for a while, but for a couple of other places for like your, Ohios, for your.

A couple other spots are really just now winding down deer season. It's just now ending. Guys are just now coming out of the woods. I know from where I hunt in southern Alabama the best days of the season are that last 10 days of the season like that. February 1st through 10th. That's when you're gonna catch cruising bucks.

That's when you're gonna see running activity and that kind of thing. So we are finally though out of all of that, and I wanted to have you on and talk a little bit about. Your post-season or off-season checklist, like what is Dan Johnson doing this time of year? And I want to [00:15:00] ask this from the perspective of number one, there are not a lot of guys that I know that are consistent every year and go into their hunting, whether it be prep or scouting or whatever, with no kind of plan.

Like there and you're a guy since I've known you, you've gotten a great buck there in Iowa every single year. There are other guys though, their post-season prep looks a little bit different. Somebody commented the other day I've got a thousand miles. , last off season.

And I don't know about you, Dan, but I can't make that happen. Yeah. I'm not gonna cover a thousand if I cover 40. Then I've done really well in my post-season scouting. Yeah. So I think the prep is gonna look a little bit different for everybody, but I think everybody probably has to do some, if you really want to be serious about getting on a good buck this fall.

So I want to kick it over to you and ask what does this post-season time look like for you? What are you doing? In February? Or are you just still detoxing from the season? That's

Dan Johnson: a great question and I'm gonna answer it by [00:16:00] elaborating on part of what you said earlier about this 1100 miles.

I may not put in 1100 miles or whatever x amount of time dedicated to scouting last year or this year, but trust me on the farms that I have access, , I have already done that. And so I've already put in the miles and the time and the energy on those farms in the past that have allowed me to understand deer movement on those pieces of property.

And and thus giving me l. Or requiring more time to f or less time to figure out the deer movement on that same property. Now every year something changes, maybe they'll log and I'll need to make some in-season adjustments or some, some adjustments to, my tree stands in August or whatever the case may be.

But I'm always like, I've already done a majority of the work now on a new farmer or a new piece. [00:17:00] That time is coming up and usually what I do. On that is, for March when I decide to go shed hunting or early March or, later this month when I decide to go shed hunting is when I treat a, shed hunt like a scouting mission.

I'll scrub a piece of property real hard. I'll take notes, mental notes and notes on HuntStand or or on whatever hunting app a guy uses. And I'll document everything that I find, everything that I see, trails rubs, scrapes, other people's tree stands, things like that. And so I just gather information that way this time of year, the, so our Iowa's season ends December.

No, excuse me. January 10th every year. So from January 10th to now, man, I have been just doing everything except hunting and I've been, yeah, full-blown dad, full-blown husband, full B blown business owner. And just, and I was talking to somebody about [00:18:00] this the other day. About business and so during I, I'll start January one.

Let's just say the season's over January one. So from January one until, man, I wanna say. , the time school gets out. So from January one to the sum like summer break, which is usually the end of May, I'm working my ass off to try to grow the business, to try to stack everything, all the odds in my favor so that when summer comes, I can just almost maintain everything.

Not necessarily, yeah, grow the business, but maintain everything because I. . I have two kids that are home. The other, the third kid will be in daycare, but I'll have two kids at home and so they can't just sit and watch TV all day. So usually in the mornings I'll get a lot of work done and then the afternoons I dedicate to playing with the kids, taking 'em to a park or on a hike or something like that.

And [00:19:00] then once school starts mid August, all the way up until usually October 1st, I'm back in grind mode again. And this is just getting content and getting getting everything organized. And what I mean by that is, for the business, but also for the like prepping everything for the hunting season as well.

Like making sure my mother-in-law is gonna be available on the dates that I've decided to go outta state or, on my rut vacation and things like that. Then when the season starts, I'm back to maintain mode again. And I can get out, I can go hunt as much as I need to, and. On an off week or if it's really hot, get back into this grind mode again before the next hunt.

And all of that work that I'm doing is really preparing me to be able to step out of I guess you would call it reality. Step away from being a parent, step away from being a husband, [00:20:00] step away from being a business owner, and then just fully focusing on whatever. I have scheduled or is going down for that particular day or week or whatever, whatever it is.

So that's that's a very long-winded answer to your question.

Josh Raley: Yeah. I think that's really good though because there's a and we've talked about it before, the terminator mentality of deer hunting at this point. And it's great for those guys that are 365 days a year out there scouting.

You hear the guys who say, I scouted 75 or a hundred days last year. That's wonderful. But the moment that they start to veer into, and this is what it takes to be successful, yeah. Is the moment that I think it does a disservice for the hunting community because then all of a sudden guys that are listening to these podcasts think, man, if I don't put in my 75 days or my 1100 miles, why?

I can't have success. I can't find success. I can't have a good hunt. I can't enjoy this sport because that's the [00:21:00] level of commitment that it takes. I can't, be a normal human being, have a job, have kids, have a wife. Yeah. And still be successful at this hunting game. And I think what you just described is a big relief probably for a lot of guys.

You're like, Hey, I focus on my business. Yeah. I focus on work. I focus on being a dad. I'm investing now in the time that I'm gonna have later. Yeah. To be able to, to hunt. One, one thing that you mentioned that I'm curious to circle back to, you mentioned if you have a new property, right? That's when you're really gonna be trying to log some miles.

Yeah. The properties that you've. At this point you're familiar with, you had the one new property for this year. You very quickly got familiar with that place killed a great buck on the property. Are you actively searching for new properties this time of year or like when do you go about doing that?

Man, I've noticed it's a little different. So when I was in Wisconsin, there was a time of year to, to find new proper. Coming down here to Georgia, it's a little bit different. Our season structure is different. People are very different [00:22:00] about Turkey hunting down here. And so I have to approach things a lot differently.

So when are you looking for, new farms or are you even doing that right now?

Dan Johnson: In Iowa it has it, it has and is becoming increasingly difficult to find any type of hunting property. And here's why. Number one. , we are in a timeframe here in Iowa where there is a gigantic shift in landowner.

In landowners. And so what we have here is a whole bunch of what has typically been a traditional farming community. These farming operations, these people who have been farming for x number of years have had children. The farmers are getting older. The they're retiring from farming.

The kids, there's multiple of. , right? Usually two to four or I don't even know what there is, but they have no interest in [00:23:00] farming. They see the value of the land and they say mom and dad are gone. Now let's just sell it and split it. And so then that gets bought by whoever and maybe, and usually at, as of right now, it's someone who has to.

Big money because land in Iowa is not cheap. So what I'm, so what that does then is it displaces the current hunters that are on that property. They have to go find new property or find hunting or or public property. So Iowa is 2% roughly. It's either 2% or less than 2% public land throughout the entire state.

So what that does is because we don't have a ton of hunting property, , all the other hunters are getting displaced. There's more hunters on private or excuse me, on public and private is now getting either leased up or purchased by out-of-state hunters or by other [00:24:00] hunters. So un, unless you want to lease a property and pay money, the whole the whole knocking on door phase.

is still somewhat available. I would say it's way lower cuz in the county that I live in one year I went and knocked on 22 doors over the course of a three day period and I was told no 22 different times. And this was from all over the county and it's getting increasingly harder to find permission only hunting here in Iowa.

I am basically just at this year, I'm pretty much just gonna rely on my two farms that I have available to me right now. There I will be , I will be doing a little bit of communication and it's only on one piece of property that I know the owner of and or I don't know them personally, but I'm going to go approach them because they live in a different town, but their property is in a different town, [00:25:00] and so they're, they don't, okay.

They're. They don't live on their property. I drive by it all the time during during my trips, and there's no one ever there. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna try to ask them, Hey, does anybody hunt your piece? Or does anybody do this and this? And maybe they say yes, maybe they say no. But we will.

I got one piece of property on my mind. . Okay.

Josh Raley: Yeah. So not a to, you're not gonna go blanket the county with letters or No. Or go do a lot of door knocking

Dan Johnson: this time you No, unfor I want to, but man, you get rejected a lot these days and so usually what I rely on is like leads.

It's Hey man, yep, this I know this farmer and he's got some ground. Oh, really? Does he? . No, he doesn't. Okay, that's a little bit of a lead. And I then I, because I don't gun hunt, I just say, Hey Manam would you mind if I shed hunt your property? And then I shed hunting leads to potential Turkey hunting.

Turkey hunting, then potentially lead leads into deer hunting. And in Iowa getting access on [00:26:00] shed hunting and getting access to shed hunt and Turkey hunt. It's way easier than any type of.

Josh Raley: Hey guys, just want to take a quick minute to let you know that the How to Hunt Deer Podcast is brought to you by tact cam makers of the best point of view cameras on the market.

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If you've tried to film your hunting and fishing excursions in the past, you know how frustrating it can be to get an action camera aimed just right or get it attached to your weapon or in a good spot for a second. TCAM makes all of that a breeze with their line of accessories. This fall, I'll be using their stabilizer mount on my bow with a 6.0 camera and their Bindi clamp paired with a 5.0 wide camera for a second angle.

And [00:27:00] to make sure I don't miss any of the action. To learn more and check out their full line of products, head over to their website, tcam.com. Share your hunt with tcam in southern Wisconsin. That was that has been my primary thing is Turkey unning, that's what I lead with. And that's, to be honest, that's where I want a bunch of different properties.

I want to have 5, 6, 7, 8 different Turkey hunting properties just because of the way they're so nomadic and can be really unpredictable on the public spots that I hunt. But yeah, wanting to have multiple properties. So when it comes to. Your current properties, the gear that you've gone out, all that kind of thing.

I saw Byron Horton the other day, and this is what prompts this question. Byron did his like final truck dump of the hunting season, right? He pulled all of his gear out of his truck and like finally putting away. Camo and tree stands and all that stuff. Are you doing anything this time of year to like store and organize your gear or do you know maintenance or are you saving all of that for summer and early fall?

Dan Johnson: I wish you could see my garage right now, bud. [00:28:00] It looks like a hunting store threw up in mud and then . We pushed all of that into my garage and so I have this, oh man, so earlier. Fall. I built a room that's connecting in this office where I'm gonna eventually put all of my hunting equipment in and my bows and my stands and my blinds and all that stuff is gonna go into this next room over here.

Right now it's just sitting in my garage in a big, giant pile. What it looks like I leave mo if. . If my tree stands are in a good spot, I leave them there. But I have a couple tree stands that I take down every year. And usually they're taken down because I'm mobile and so I know I'm not gonna go back to that spot.

The only stands that I leave up are in traditional rut hunting funnels or places like that. And then from there cell cams at this point [00:29:00] are up. My regular trail cameras right now are up, and so I will, I, I will be addressing taking down my trail cameras when I go to shed hunt and so Gotcha.

There, there is a period of time when I do not have trail cameras out on the farms that I hunt, and they are usually, it's usually between this March to June time. .

Josh Raley: Gotcha. When, so when are you've mentioned shed hunting a couple times. Dude, there's a lot of guys out there that are just like posting it up already.

They're like, ah, I finally found one on the board for the year. And they're like getting after it as soon as they noticed the first antler falling off. Yeah. Where do you fall in that? And maybe, there are some spots that traditionally people have said Hey, these are great spots to look for sheds.

And I've never in my life found a shed on these certain locations. So I'm curious to hear, yeah. When do you get started and what are the spots that you're hitting?

Dan Johnson: Yeah, so that's a good cor question. When it comes to shed hunting, back in the day, man, that's when I did my scouting. And back in the day [00:30:00] when I didn't have a wife, I was single and I walk.

a lot, and I, there were days and I didn't have a there was a year where I didn't have a job. And so from about February 1st to March 20th, I walked every single day. A couple of those days if it wasn't raining or extremely wet or there wasn't a snowstorm, I was walking from First light to last light, and I was cover.

Wow. Dude, I was covering ground, and this was in my late twenties when I was doing this mid to late twenties maybe, yeah. Yeah. Maybe even into my ear. Early, early thirties. And so that's where I did a lot of my scouting on some of the properties that I used to have. And then back in the day, everybody used to let you shed hunt, right?

No one cared back then. Hey, you mind if I shed hunt your pro or you're gonna go look for ant. . Yeah. Go for it. And so no one cared. And now there's a market for antlers. There is, people want to go and take their kids out and there's all these stories. Oh, I know this [00:31:00] deer.

And so shed hunting has gotten way more popular outside of that. Outside of that, where do I typically find them? When we talk. Deer patterns for hunting. We talk about this bed to food pattern, right? And Just hu deer are gonna use that same pattern unless there's a major food.

So source change. And typically there really isn't. They might go different directions for different food sources. A lot of it depends on if there's food on the ground or excuse me, snow on the ground that covers up any acorn crop that there potentially could be. I'm shed hunting that same line, that same bed to food pattern.

And sometimes I'll find them in the the bedding areas. Sometimes I'll find, find them jump in a crick or a fence. Sometimes I'll find 'em in a staging area. But I will say this, a majority of the sheds that I have found throughout the years, and it. , and these are the first places I check because they [00:32:00] are the most consistent is buffer strips or grassy strips on, in or around big egg field sources, food sources.

Interesting. And so I don't like, I have a couple places where I do hunt. I guess I would say there are a couple places where I do have a some big woods, but let's not get it twisted. Man. Finding a deer antler in a big block of timber is. Is hard to do. And so yeah, I, I go to places where it's a little easier and so I'm going to the food, I'm going to the the buffer strips.

They're easy to walk, park in the field or go get to the field. You can park right up there, walk the buffer strips, and the next thing you know, you got some deer. But it's not, but it's not guaranteed. Because yeah, on some of those spots that I just mentioned, I have to beat other shed hunters. And depending on when the these, [00:33:00] they fall, a lot of it has to do with who's there first and is there waste grain in the field?

Is there. A food source in the field. The best years of shed hunting that I've had have been a combination of that. So like a lot of a really good food source a really good heavy snow that led all the way up into mid-February. And then we had a warm spell it. Dried it. It melted all the snow, all the grasses flat.

The antlers fell right on top of it, and then you can walk around and it's just boom. I think my best day, I found 12 sheds in 45 minutes. Holy cow. Yeah, it was. It was just the perfect scenario.

Josh Raley: Yeah. Yeah, man. There is that tension right between. How early is too early when it comes to, are they dropping yet?

Yeah, but then also that thing, if are other people gonna beat me to them? Like it is it even worth it? , I was on a, I was on a property that I was trying to hold off and okay, I'll wait to shed hunt this property once I [00:34:00] know the antlers are down. There was a specific buck I was trying to keep up with.

Yeah. And I'm thinking, all right I'm just gonna wait. I'm gonna wait, I'm gonna wait. I'm gonna, and I drive past the property one day and I'm getting ready. I'm thinking, okay, in the next couple of days, this snow's gonna melt down a little bit more. And I'm gonna finally hit it. And I see a guy walking across the ag field with his lab, and the lab has a shed in its mouth, as it's running across the field.

I'm like, okay, you can forget that. And I went and shed hunted it. Me and my wife, we found not a single shed. We found probably 75 to a hundred. on this little ridge system. And not a single shed. We found drops of blood that I'm guessing was from a deer's head Yep. And did not find a single shed Yeah.

On either end of that blood, dripping in the snow. Yeah. So it had been covered pretty pretty stinking well. Yep. Yep. Man I'm curious when it comes to your trail cameras, are you doing anything? A couple years ago I started a little bit of a maintenance routine on my trail.

and they have, I've not lost a trail camera since I haven't [00:35:00] had one die on me since. , are you doing anything to yours or are you just bringing 'em in and throwing 'em in a tote?

Dan Johnson: Yeah, so I, I've talked to on the Hunting Gear podcast, I've talked to a lot of manufacturer or trail camera manufacturers.

Yep. And, They say that the best thing to do to increase the longevity of your trail cameras is to leave them in one spot all the time. So keep 'em on the tree all year round. And sometimes that can happen in other instances, like if you hunt public or if you know in a heavy theft area, you may not want to do that.

I leave my trail cameras on the tree from June to March usually, and I get a pretty good run usage run out of them. Throughout the entire year. And I have I, rare very, I have some trail cameras that I've been using for seven plus years. Wow. After that, [00:36:00] then they start to, I don't know, deteriorate a little bit.

But if you take ca, if you just don't grab 'em, throw 'em in your. And then just leave them in your truck bouncing around. All you know, or you're taking care of 'em, you're gentle with them. Because really what it is it's an electronics device, electronic device, and then you set it in there and you take care of 'em.

They're gonna last a long time. And so for me I've listened to what these trail camera manufacturers have said, and I leave my cameras. On the tree for a long, a most of the season, most of the year.

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Yeah, I've heard that same exact thing, and it might have been on one of your, one of your hunting year podcast episodes that I heard that I take mine out before the gun season starts in Wisconsin. Yep. Just because I never have any problems during archery. . But the one year I left them out during during the general firearm season, I came back and I'd lost four cameras.

Yeah. They'd been now not a single one had been stolen, but they all, four, four of them had been vandalized. Yes. Busted in with the butt of a gun, the SD card stolen. And just torn up. So I do pull 'em in, but I, because of that, I do a little bit of maintenance, like with the gaskets and that kind of thing, keeping 'em lubricated and Yeah.

Trying to make sure that I'm not gonna lose them.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. I'll tell you this, man. I've had, I think over the course of trail cameras being stolen when I started using them back in like 2009 or 10 or something like that, I've had about 10 trail cameras. . Okay. And it sucks. It makes me mad and it's [00:38:00] taught me that, hey, man, you gotta, number one, you have to be willing to to take a loss, especially if you're not cabling them to the tree or putting them in a big old box, a bear box.

Or I don't know, thi this year, . I had someone not steal my trail camera, but they ripped the cover off of it, and then they took the SD card out of it, just like, why not just take the whole camera? You just destroyed it. , you took all the information off of it. Why not just take the camera too?

And so it, it made me mad that somebody just kicked it or ripped the cover off of it. And, and then stole the SD card out of it. So my goal is, here's what I've done. I'm gonna go check tomorrow, I'm going to check this trail camera, I'm going to I put another SD card in it so it looks like it's still broken.

But then I took the latch [00:39:00] that was still there and I covered up the SD card portion of it. So it looks just like someone. , like the guy, whoever did it, I'm hoping I'd catch 'em on the same trail camera again with them. Oh, nice. So stupid that they think, Hey man, I, there's no SD card in there. Yeah, already.

You know what I mean? Already messed that one up.

Josh Raley: Yep. Yep. Nice man. Setting traps, dude. Trying, getting

Dan Johnson: sneaky, man. Trying. You gotta catch the rat bastards. . Oh, you're gonna have to edit

Josh Raley: that out. Sorry. No, I'm staying in there man. It's staying in there. . It, it's where everybody's good. And if, Yep.

Kids hear it, it's sorry. Earmuffs everybody. Yep. So when it comes to planning your hunts for next year, when does that start taking place? I know you do some stuff out west, so you've gotta be, think. Ahead. But when it comes to, like you're hunting there in Iowa, how quickly are you gonna start trying to carve that time out so that hunting season doesn't sneak up on you and you don't have anything planned?

Dan Johnson: I carved that time out. I've carved that time out for the rest of my life as far as the rut is concerned. . Okay. I told my wife, I told my wife that when we cuz the [00:40:00] girl I was dating before my wife I did a poor job of communicating with. That every se every year, the same time of year, I'm gonna do the same thing.

And so they don't or she didn't understand it? Before I even married my wife, I said, listen, this is what I do. I don't go to bars. I don't, I, I don't do softball leagues, I don't do this, and this. I'm gonna be focused on you. I'm gonna be focused on my kids, except. This time of on these times of years, and so they know that like October, I'm going on a trip and then November for two weeks I'm hunting, and then September I might be going on a trip.

And so it's just a matter of when they know I'm gonna be doing these things. It's just a matter of specific dates. Yeah. And times of year. . And this year are usually, so I'll say you this last year, I went to Nebraska in September for a week. I went to South Dakota in [00:41:00] October for a week, and then I started hunting.

I would say the third I think it was the 3rd of November in Iowa. And so I'm gone. It's I'm all that stuff that we've already talked about, prepping and planning and getting ready I'm putting that into motion in these times of year. The, these a certain times of years.

And so now when it comes to planning and prepping, a lot of it has to do with. Tags, right? Nebraska was over the counter. I had to apply for my license for South Dakota this year. I, I don't know if I'm gonna go to a Nebraska again, but if I'm gonna apply for Kansas. If I get Kansas, then I'm also gonna hunt Oklahoma because they're close.

And so I'm going into two, I'm going down to two spots. And try to knock out two states while I'm there. And then when I get back home, I'm gonna go do I'm gonna go do Iowa again. And so it's just, they know they're [00:42:00] ready. They know that this time of year is coming. I just have to put the specific dates on the calendar when I know when that's coming and.


Josh Raley: that's it. Yeah. I think it's good number one, that you've set an expectation, but number two, you work hard like the rest of the year outside of those times to make sure that your, yeah. Your dad and husband and business owner and all of that prior to getting to those Yeah. So that you're not, caught with your pants down.

Oh, it's November 1st and I've got all this stuff at the house that I've neglected all summer long that I haven't gotten.

Dan Johnson: I will say this though, you have to remember that when it comes to prepping for these trips, bow hunting is a specifically what I do and really hunting in general.

And unless you're bringing your kids with you or your wife, with you, it's of a selfish activity. , you're going out and doing your thing. Yep. And so when I go, when I was gone for a week and then I was gone for another week, and then I was gone for another, , [00:43:00] right? So there was three weeks in a three month period where I was gone for eight plus days or whatever.

, no matter how much planning and preparation you do, depending on what your wife's attitude is that you really can't prepare for that because you're asking someone to be a single mother in a high stress environment for eight days. Without, and I don't know. I just it's one of those things where you can pl prep and plan 'em all you want.

You can shower 'em with gifts and get the brownie points, but then you're still leaving. Yeah. Yeah. And so at the time, it's all good, but then when the time to actually leave and go and do your thing, . It's just here I am by myself. And unless you are clear at communicating with them it's gonna, it gets stressful.

Yeah. And there's always those. What time will you be home? Phone calls. Oh, yeah. When will you be home? Phone calls. When will you be home? Texts and for me, I just [00:44:00] respond with, I've already told you all of this.

Josh Raley: I'm gonna take a different approach. Yeah. No I will say this was the first year that I did a really great job of communicating up front Hey, these are the dates that I'd really like to hunt.

My wife is super gracious. She let me go for two weeks for a rut hunt in Wisconsin. And man, the amount that I learned, setting aside a big block of time to specifically devote to hunting was tremendous. I would advise anybody who. The weekend warrior or maybe reluctant to take a week off of work or whatever and hasn't done an extended hunt, whether that's in state or out of state.

I recommend you do it because the amount that you learn over those 3, 4, 5, 10 days, however long you have it's like you, you stack multiple seasons into one, essentially, as far as your

Dan Johnson: experience goes. And I, in my previous comment, I'm, I do that with, I, I say that with all due respect.

Oh, sure. Because, . I ha I do. I know, I do. I [00:45:00] know. I communicate. Hey, listen, I'm gonna be gone these dates. and then, if there's an issue what do you want me to do? I can't come home. , oh, okay. Give me 11 hours and I'll be back. Yeah. I'll actually gimme 12 or 13 hours and I'll be back.

Yep. To handle this issue. And so they, comes a certain point where if they're okay with you going, then they have to understand. , they, and this is the scenarios that you have to run by 'em. Yeah. You can't. So when I say I'm gonna be gone, it means I'm going to be. And I don't necessarily want these phone calls saying, Hey, this is a problem I'm dealing with.

I, number one, I can't do it. Number two, you need to do it. And number three, when you call me and now it's taken my mind out of the hunt, and now I'm not thinking about hunting, which I'm why I'm on this trip anyway. So it's very important to run these scenarios by them. So what are you gonna do if this happens?

Josh Raley: Yeah. Little Johnny needs stitches, needs to run to the [00:46:00] emergency room

Dan Johnson: now. What? Yeah. You're gonna freak out. You're gonna call me. No, you're gonna put 'em in the car and you're gonna take to go get stitches, , yep. I don't

Josh Raley: know. Yeah, man. That can be tough. That can be real tough. Yeah, it

Dan Johnson: can, it can be.

It can be really tough.

Josh Raley: We need to have a whole podcast episode called Dan Johnson is Selfish. And talk about all the ways talk about all the ways that bow hunting makes you selfish. Cuz it really does. I like the way you said that, and I've heard you say it that way before. What we do is a selfish thing.

Yeah. But it's limited in time. It's for this window and we're up front, Hey, we're gonna be real selfish for two weeks and then we're good, then we're back. The itch is scratched

Dan Johnson: and it's too bad. I don't know, I don't know, like I'm a numbers guy, but my wife is not a numbers person, so I could say, Hey, three weeks of three weeks a year out of 50.

It's a very small percentage of time that I'm actually asking for to go do something. And and maybe we'll even, maybe let's even add a fourth week in there for maybe [00:47:00] a Turkey hunting a Turkey hunting trip or something like that. Yep. Four weeks out of 52 man or 20 days outta 365 when you put it in that type of, it just so happens that what I do requires me to be gone for multiple nights in a row.

It's not like I go and do something and then I come back home. Yeah,

Josh Raley: yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, I get that. Man let's shift gears Now. This is the How to Hunt Dear podcast, but I have to know Dan, I think you're my favorite Turkey hunter in the world because you do it, so I don't place that you do it.

So begrudging. Like you , I feel like you Turkey hunt at this point out of sheer obligation.

Dan Johnson: Yeah, I, yeah I think you're right.

Josh Raley: So what do you have planned? Are you Turkey hunting this year?

Dan Johnson: Yeah, but for Turkey hunting, I don't make any plans until usually one or two days before the season starts.

Okay. All right. Yeah. And this year though, they're I'm gonna, [00:48:00] I'm depending on where I go Turkey hunting. If I tag out early in Iowa, I might drop down to Missouri and. Because where I, where some of my Turkey hunting spots here in Iowa are real close to that bor, the Missouri border. So I might drive an extra 20 minutes south, hop over into Missouri and spend a couple days trying to chase turkeys there.

There you

Josh Raley: go. Awesome man. Yeah, I'm going to, I'm gonna be doing the same thing I did last year, taking some days there in Wisconsin, but hopefully I can get it done real quick and maybe hit some states on the way home. That would be a dream. Yeah. But we'll see. Dan, man, I'm gonna let you get get back to the rest of your day.

You've got a garage to go clean, dude. If if all your Not today, . Not today. Today is Not today. Today. Not doing it today. Okay. Not today. All right. Dan, enjoy the rest of your day. Thanks again for coming on and I think you've got a, you've got a little show. Do you want to, do you wanna plug your little podcast or No?

I, you can probably use some more. Here's

Dan Johnson: what I, you probably use some here's what I do wanna plug. We talk on this podcast, we've talked about, every and all things deer hunting. Yep. So [00:49:00] there is a spinoff of the how to hunt deer. Podcast called the How to Hunt Turkey podcast that is just launched on the Sportsman's Empire Network.

And it is all, it's same format as this. The people who are interviewed by Paul Campbell of the Ohio Outdoors Podcast, he is a, he actually works for the N W T F. And so he is interviewing all of these stud Turkey hunters and wildlife biologists. So it's all things Turkey hunting on the How to Hunt Turkey podcast.

Yep. And then this week, correct me if I'm wrong, Parker. Yep. Yep. Parker Parker McDonald of the Southern Ground Podcast. He's dropping his limb hanger podcast, which again is all things Turkey hunting with some of the, with some of the greatest Turkey hunters throughout all. All states are gonna be on that podcast, and it's just, Parker loves to Turkey hunt.

[00:50:00] Paul loves to Turkey hunt, and so why not bring a little bit of Turkey hunting content to the network that is right now really heavily really heavily whitetail focused, big game focused. And so this this Turkey content is gonna make a lot of people really happy,

Josh Raley: I think. Yeah, I think so. And if you haven't checked.

The How to Hunt Turkey Podcast drops on Tuesdays, and then actually from the day that this launches limb hanger will be coming out tomorrow. That is Friday morning and it'll launch on Fridays moving forward. Yep, absolutely. So not to mention, there's just a ton of other good stuff out there. My goodness.

How many shows are we up to you now,

Dan Johnson: Dan? I'm looking at, I'm looking at our calendar right here. And so Hounds Man, xp, Oklahoma Outdoors Michigan Wild Hunt de War, the Go Wild Podcast. That's the brand new one. Another brand new one that we've just launched this this year already.

And for those who are not familiar, the Go Wild. The Go Wild Social App. They have their own podcast and they [00:51:00] decided to join forces here on the network. Then we have the guys over at Missouri Woods and Water. We have John with Whitetail Landscapes. We have you doing the Wisconsin Sportsman. We have Dan, and now.

Brandon doing the Western Rookie podcast. We have the Paul and the How to Hunt Turkey podcast. We have the Ohio Outdoors Podcasts with the guys from Ohio, the Nine Finger Chronicles, of course, antler Up with Jeremy Dinsmore average conservationists, nomadic outdoorsmen. The Hunting Gear Podcast, the How to Hunt Deer Podcast, the DIY sportsman, the Whitetail Experience, Southern Ground, and the Pennsylvania.

Outdoorsman or Pennsylvania? Woodsman. Woodsman. Woodsman. Yep. Man. So woodsman over 20. Yeah. And dude, we're rocking, man. Yeah. We're rock. We're dominating life right now. Yeah.

Josh Raley: It's getting pretty stacked, man. It's awesome to see where this is. How long has the network been around?

Dan Johnson: Two, we, I started it [00:52:00] November 1st, 2017 is when the website launched.

And the first real feel of the network. Was launched. Okay. And that was launched with two podcasts on the network.

Josh Raley: Wow. So we're just over five years from then. Yep. And Yep. Now I've grown to 20 something different shows. So Yeah. Man,

Dan Johnson: no matter we got some big news potentially coming too Uhoh.

I should have, I should no more by the end of

Josh Raley: this week. Excellent, man. Next next time we talk, you'll have to let us know about the big news and we can I hope so. Yeah. Sweet. All right, Dan, have a, Yeah. Thanks Josh. That's all for this week's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in.

If you dig this show, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever it is that you get your podcast. If you could leave us a five star review, I would very much appreciate that. While you're at it, you can follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at How to hunt deer. That's also the best way to get ahold of me.

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