Hunting In A Wildlife Preserve

Show Notes

On this episode of the Nine Finger Chronicles, Dan chats with Michigan hunter Brock Wingo about a special draw hunt he went on this year. Each year the state of Michigan allows hunters an opportunity to hunt a in a nature preserve in a special regulation lottery. Brock explains that he drew to hunt the first 7 days of the archery season. He talks about the preparation that went in to this hunt, the importance of e-scouting, getting information from other hunters who hunted this property, and what happened when he ran in to other hunters in the locations that he wanted to set up in.

Because of his work schedule, he was only able to hunt 4 out of the the 7 days as well as sacrificing some of his time to look for a buck that another hunter shot. Luckily, Brock was able to locate a huge rub line that led in to an isolated bedding island in the middle of a swamp. With a couple close calls, and attacking the deer from the ground, Brock shares the story of this special hunt.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Dan Johnson: Here we go again, another episode of the nine finger chronicles podcast. I'm your host, Dan Johnson, and today we're going to be talking. With 1800's gunfighter Brock Wingo. At least that's what I feel like a person with that name would be doing. Like he's an outlaw. Brock Wingo. I believe there's a guy in the movie,

god dang, I should know this. It's one of my favorite movies. I'm having a brain fart. I'm probably getting early onset dementia. Tombstone is the name of it, and I think there's a bad guy with a part of his name is Wingo And so [00:01:00] anyway Brock, he's not a gunfighter. He lives in Michigan and he drew a special I guess it would be like a Special regulations, lottery hunt in a nature preserve or a hunting preserve in Southern Michigan.

And that's what we talk about today. We talk about how he only could hunt the first seven days of the season. And in this seven day period, he. Could only hunt four days because of work. So with that said he talks about e scouting. He talks about scouting on the fly. He talks about getting information from other people who have hunted who have drawn this hunt before he talks about bedding areas, wind direction.

We get into access routes. Everything. That a person needs to know in regards to going into a property pretty much blind because in this special regs property, you [00:02:00] cannot use trail cameras. And you gotta go back to the old school and you gotta do everything with Proper woodsmanship and making sure that you're aggressive, but not stupid and how you don't want to, blow deer out of bedding areas and things like this.

And so it's a really good conversation, man, on how this all played out how this all played out for him and and how it turned out. Before we get into today's episode, I just want to say thank you guys very much for continuing to tune in. I honestly. Truly hope that each and every one of you either fills the freezer or finds that wall hanger or fills their tags and gets out as little or as much as you would like.

I hope that you find time to reconnect with nature and, or spend time with family. It's that time of year and I look at it like. The next three weeks for me, I'll be going on a late season hunt. [00:03:00] The next three weeks for me will be grind mode. And I know my wife probably isn't going to like when I tell her, Hey man, Hey, the next three weeks are busy.

You're going to have to do this, right? You're going to have to take care of the family while I'm gone. And it's that time, right? So make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row. Everything's planned out, things like that. And that's what is coming up. So it's grind time. I'm dealing with a shoulder injury right now, which absolutely sucks, man.

And so I'm shooting my bow right now at an absolute bare minimum. I'm doing like this stretching slash band workout routine twice a day, icing it multiple times throughout the day and just not lifting anymore and only shooting my bow, like four arrows at a time. Okay, and so from what the doctor I haven't done an official MRI yet But from what the doctor has said and is seen it [00:04:00] seems like I probably have some sort of partial tear in my rotator cuff ligament or tendon or whatever that is up there and so it's best to just Chill, because that tendon is inflamed and that gets pinched in between the joint, and that's what's causing the pain.

And if the tendon was torn, then I would, all the way, then I would be losing proper certain functionality. And I'm not losing certain functionality, it just hurts in certain positions. And I'm icing and I'm doing all the, taking the proper steps. Because, I'm not gonna lie, I went to the doctor and I said, I need medication that will help me get through the next.

Three weeks of the hunting season, and then I can go and get an MRI, go to physical therapy, things like that. And that's what that's what the plan is, so a little help, this sounds terrible, but a little help with some [00:05:00] painkillers, some anti inflammatory medication, and just manning it up. I'm gonna get through the next three weeks and hopefully put some deer down right away.

I was looking at the 10 day forecast for my South Dakota hunt, and it looks like it's going to be warm like highs in the 70s, the first three days of the hunt, but then there's going to be a gigantic cold front that's going to produce rain and potentially snow, and then the highs are going to be in the 30s, and I've never heard.

I've hunted in some cold conditions, but not out west. There was a day where there was a morning in Colorado where I was it was like 20 degrees in the morning. And there were a couple hunts in South Dakota previous years where it was, 20. 25 degrees, but this particular cold front, it's going to get down into the teens and it's going to be [00:06:00] highs in like low thirties, if not high twenties.

And so I've never had to deal with this before. Packing the right amount of clothes and the right amount of layers is going to be very important for me. So I got to play all that out here in the next couple of days as I prepare for this hunt. As far as my gear is concerned, I have it all in one little single area.

I just need to sort it out and get organized before I leave on Sunday. So that's what's going on for me. Awesome episode, awesome story here. Good luck to all of you in the upcoming weeks and we're going to do a commercials here right now and I'm just going to run through them because I've been talking a lot already.

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With a company out of the Czech Republic right now that makes death metal t shirts for bands like death metal bands. And so I thought it would be cool to see what they could do in putting some [00:11:00] artwork together for some kind of death metal whitetail shirt. And so I'll keep you guys posted and and I'll eventually launch it on FullSneakGear.

com. Go check that out. And that's it, man. Let's let's get back into this episode with Brock Wingo. Three, two, one. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. That sounded so stupid Anyway, welcome back to the nine finger chronicles, podcast. My name is dan I'm your host and today we are joined by brock wingo from michigan, dude.

How you doing, man? Good. How are you? I'm doing good brock wingo you sound, your name sounds like a Western gunfighter from way back in the 1800s. 

[00:11:51] Brock Wingo: I've never heard that before. That's 

[00:11:52] Dan Johnson: a badass name, dude. I'm not joking. You're the best. You're like the most wanted criminal who robs trains and [00:12:00] stagecoaches.

From the 1800s. 

[00:12:03] Brock Wingo: I've never heard that one. Most people just tell me. Most people just say, oh, like Brock Lesnar. Oh, 

[00:12:08] Dan Johnson: okay. Alright, I was thinking that guy from Tombstone, Wingo. He's the, he's one of the bad guys. I think his last, I think it's Wingo, or Ringo. Yeah, Ringo. Okay. Anyway Dude, how you been? I'm alright.

Yeah. Alright, I guess for the people who are watching this on YouTube. You can see I have a bandage that is running across my chest and it's what it's doing is it's holding ice on my shoulder. So I'm I'm holding a I'm trying to hold my bow back. I'm trying to shoot my bow. I should I'm shooting my bow now the bare minimum and it is it's I'm in a lot of pain and I I've stopped working out because it hurts, it hurts pretty much everything I do, whether it's a back exercise or anything that uses my shoulder, it [00:13:00] flares up.

And then it, for the next 24 hours, it's painful. And now it's starting to hurt all the time. And we're coming up on me leaving for South Dakota for eight days. And so I am, I have a little bit of a dilemma here. I'm. I'm thinking I need to go to a doctor and basically get some pain pills to just mask the pain long enough for me to finish this hunt.

And so what would Brock Wingo do in this scenario? Would you get a crossbow? Would you go to a doctor not hunt? What would you do? 

[00:13:37] Brock Wingo: I'd probably see my fiance has a crossbow. That's what she uses when I take her out to hunt. I just I just don't want to use one and I would probably do the same thing you're doing and just try to man it out.

[00:13:50] Dan Johnson: Yeah, exactly. I think that's what I'm going to do is I'm going to man it out for for at least this hunting season and then as soon as it's over, go in, get an MRI. What [00:14:00] would be awesome is if I could go kill a mule deer in South Dakota, come home, kill my buck before the rut starts and then just chill until I get to until I get to the late season, which I don't know, man, I, cause I want to go to a different state and hunt hunt the rut to go to Oklahoma or Missouri or something like that.

But. I don't know, man. It sucks. I've never had, I've never had to experience this before in my life where some kind of pain, like I've had knee pain ever since I've had my knee surgeries, but I've never experienced something that is preventing me from drawing my bow back. And maybe, I could probably turn the poundage down and it's just I can draw it back.

I can get it drawn back. But if it's anything longer than like 10 seconds, me holding it for 10 seconds, forget about it. I got to come down off of it. So hopefully if it happens quick. 

[00:14:56] Brock Wingo: I was just thinking have you ever seen when [00:15:00] Remy Warren, you know who that is? Oh, he 

[00:15:03] Dan Johnson: used his mouth? Yeah.

[00:15:05] Brock Wingo: Yeah. You could always try that if it gets too 

[00:15:08] Dan Johnson: bad. But see, this shoulder is my bow shoulder. So my draw shoulder is fine. It's the stabilizer shoulder, that I hold the bow with. That's the one that hurts. So I would have to get a right handed bow and use my mouth. Dude, I would just be Texas heart shooting deer.

Every, every attempt. So yeah, I got, I'm going to, I think I'm going to go to the doctor and get it figured out. Try to get some pain pills today. I know there's probably some guys listening to this who are actual medical professionals. So if you are a medical professional, DM me what you would do, through Instagram and whatnot.

But Hey, what do you do for a living, man? 

[00:15:51] Brock Wingo: I work. I've been waiting for you to ask me this. I've been thinking about it for weeks now. I work for my fiance's [00:16:00] dad at a port a potty company. That's 

[00:16:02] Dan Johnson: unique. That's unique. So you could just say business is shit. Yeah. Hey, dude, I'll tell you what, man.

That's that's awesome because everywhere I look there's a port a potty. Baseball fields construction sites, like downtown farmers markets. And I, man, and everybody uses them. So it's I don't know, dude that's cool. What do you, so do you go and put them out, you clean them and you, and then you also remove them and take them to the next place.

[00:16:33] Brock Wingo: Yeah, okay. Mondays and Fridays. Fridays we deliver like weekend parties and stuff. Yep. Monday I go and pick all those up. Yep. And then Tuesday through Thursday I just have like parks and construction site cleaning routes that I do. 

[00:16:50] Dan Johnson: Oh dude, that's awesome. Hey. That's that's a cool job man. It's unique at least it's just so what do you do for a living?

I sit in a cubicle and I type [00:17:00] on a computer that shits boring. I've been there but at least your job you're outside you're moving around a lot and How much actually how much does a porta potty weigh? 

[00:17:12] Brock Wingo: We have some older ones that are about 200 pounds, but the newer style ones are Like made cheap and light.

So they're only about 150. They're pretty easy to move on 

[00:17:22] Dan Johnson: That's what I that's what I think so it just takes one guy to unload them off a trailer 

[00:17:27] Brock Wingo: Yeah, other than you've ever seen those huge 

[00:17:29] Dan Johnson: handicap. Oh, yeah, I've seen those Yeah, 

[00:17:33] Brock Wingo: when we deliver those either my fiance or my future brother in law He also works here.

One of them has we have to go together to do the big handicap ones 

[00:17:44] Dan Johnson: Yeah, so Is there, you know how for vehicles you can get the most basic model and then you can get like the fully loaded luxury type model. Is there a port a potty out there that is just dare [00:18:00] I say, luxurious? Yes. There are?

Okay. What's inside a very luxurious port a potty? 

[00:18:07] Brock Wingo: So we have three luxury restroom trailers. It's just like about the size of a camper. Okay. It's got three stalls that have like actual flushing toilets and sinks and a urinal in it. And it has a radio with bluetooth built into it and air conditioning and heat.

So they're pretty badass, 

[00:18:31] Dan Johnson: dude I wish I had one of those that I could pull to South Dakota with me and take a shower And you know sit, you know instead of having to hover over some hole in the wilderness I can just head over to what it who gets those like fancy 

[00:18:48] Brock Wingo: weddings Yeah, usually like rich people that are putting a lot of money into weddings or into their It's graduation parties.

[00:18:57] Dan Johnson: I gotcha. That's cool, man. [00:19:00] Very unique job. But here's what we're talking about today. You and it was your brother in law, right? You and your brother in law you guys drew a wildlife preserve tag in Michigan there. Talk to us a little bit about how you had, like, how you had to apply for these tags and what, like, how big the acreage is and what are the draw odds if you knew those.

[00:19:28] Brock Wingo: Okay the draw odds, it's completely random, so there's no point system, and I personally know people who, so there's a opening week, which is October 1st here in Michigan, so the first week of season there's a hunt in the refuge, and then at the end of October, in like the pre rut, It's usually a five day hunt.

There's that one, and then there's one around the [00:20:00] 15th of November for three days, which is a gun season hunt. And then, I don't know the exact dates, but there's three different seasons in December. There's a late doe season out there, which I also have a tag for. And then there's a muzzleloader season one, and just a late archery one.

But, I know, like a lot of people that I've met have been applying for it, like their entire lives. And they're like 40, 50 years old and never been drawn. Yeah. My brother in law and I applied this year as a group for our first year and just so happened to draw the Opening week one. So we thought that was pretty sick.


[00:20:42] Dan Johnson: man. That's crazy how those lotteries work. I know I was talking to a guy. I think it was either Montana or New Mexico It might have been New Mexico this I think he was like 21 year old guy. He [00:21:00] drew this very coveted elk tag two years in a row and there's other guys that I've talked to who tried to hunt the same unit who have been applying for 15 years and have never drawn and this guy goes back to back years.

And so that's absolutely. That's absolutely bananas how those lotteries work, especially for the guys who have been man Just waiting and waiting and so it's less of a preference point deal and it's more of just a full blown Random lottery. Okay. So do you know how many? How many actual tags are given out throughout the course of a year for this for this 

[00:21:40] Brock Wingo: property?

I think it's about, don't quote me on this because I haven't read it since August when we applied. But I know the opening week season we just did only gives out 50 tags. Okay. And the rut one I think is somewhere around 75 or 80. [00:22:00] And then the gun season one is very low. It's 15 tags, and the late doe one is just unlimited, just because there's does like crazy in there.

Give those out. 

[00:22:13] Dan Johnson: And do you have to shoot a, do you have to shoot like a doe first? Is there any restrictions like that? You have to shoot a doe first, or you have to you can shoot whatever you want, doe or buck? 

[00:22:25] Brock Wingo: Yeah, you can apply for just a doe for any of the seasons I listed, or you can apply for the any deer so that you can shoot a doe or a buck, which that's what 

[00:22:35] Dan Johnson: we do.

How many tags do you actually get in that course that you've, in that period of time that you've been drawn for? 

[00:22:43] Brock Wingo: In the Refuge, you don't get, you don't draw like a special tag for it, you just draw like an access permit to be able to go in there for that week and you have to use one of your regular Michigan buck tags.

Yep. Yeah, that's all it is you just get a, you [00:23:00] just get one access permit. 

[00:23:01] Dan Johnson: Okay and then... Does that also count as your Michigan wide tag as well? Or is this in addition to any tags that you could get through the state? 

[00:23:13] Brock Wingo: Yeah, that takes up one of your Michigan wide tags. So if I would have shot one in there, I'd only have one buck tag for the rest of the year.

[00:23:21] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. There are some places out there where you can get. So you get additional like an additional tag. If you draw this tag, it doesn't count towards your statewide tag. And so I, that's pretty like for the people who get those types of tags, that's pretty cool because they can do extra hunting. You know what I mean?

So how many acres is this refuge? 

[00:23:44] Brock Wingo: It's broken up into a couple of chunks on X, but I think if I remember correctly, it was around 4000 acres was the Federal side and the state side is Roughly the same. I think it's four maybe 4, 

[00:23:58] Dan Johnson: 500 Okay, [00:24:00] and so 50 Let's just say 4, 500 It's all encompassing all of this property and There's 50 early season tags that you, that are distributed.

How, and that's an early season. So what are the dates that you could hunt? I hunted 

[00:24:22] Brock Wingo: October 1st through the 

[00:24:23] Dan Johnson: 7th. Okay. So it's only a seven day window. Yeah. Okay. Seven day window. All right. So when did you find out that you got access to this or you drew this tag? 

[00:24:36] Brock Wingo: It was mid August. I got a text from the DNR website saying to check your results and I looked at it and I was like, Oh, it's probably going to be a no.

And so I was on my app scrolling through and I saw a bear, no elk, no. And I got down and it said the Michigan reserve hunt and it said successful. And I was like, No way. And so I was [00:25:00] stoked because like I said, it was our first year. We didn't even think we're going to draw. 

[00:25:04] Dan Johnson: Yeah. All right. So had you guys ever been in there before that to do any scouting or shed hunting, anything like that?

[00:25:16] Brock Wingo: Throughout the year, the only thing that you can do in there is go on the hiking and bike trails, and then there's like a viewing road where you can drive cars through it, and they only set aside two weekends in September to be able to leave those trails and scout it, but My brother in law did have a relative who early, he hunts the late doe season almost every year.

Yeah. So he was able to give us a little bit of intel that helped us out. Okay. 

[00:25:47] Dan Johnson: And so talk to us a little bit about what this 45 100 acres encompasses. Talk to us about the terrain. If there's any ag involved in it, is there, does the state put food plots in there for the wildlife?

Break it down for us.[00:26:00] 

[00:26:00] Brock Wingo: It's mostly river bottom type stuff, but it's completely flat, so you'll just be walking on flat ground, and your elevation will go down maybe like six inches, and it'll go from hard oak and maple hardwoods down to just marsh, it's just like catnips and tall marsh grass, but it's I'd say most of it is river bottom and then probably about another third of it is crp that they used to farm But five years ago, they stopped farming.

So now it's just all crp. 

[00:26:38] Dan Johnson: Okay and so there's not much ag in the area 

[00:26:43] Brock Wingo: Surrounding it. There's a lot But not 

[00:26:47] Dan Johnson: in it. No, there's none in it. Okay. All right. So as you start to, once, once you found out that you've, that you drew this tag, what steps did you take [00:27:00] to prepare for hunting that piece of property?

[00:27:03] Brock Wingo: I basically just made sure all my mobile hunting gear was in order and my brother in law, he was going to be gone at his friend's wedding. One of the scouting weekends in September. And I had to work the other weekend. So he scouted at the first weekend and I scouted at the second weekend. And I went and scouted a chunk of private.

I have permission at first, just cause I wanted to see if bucks were like. Starting to rub heavy at all or starting to really make scrapes heavy at all And I had scouted that chunk of private and found a whole mess of rubs So I was going in there looking for a spot that looked like bedding and trying to find rub lines Was how I was going about it.


[00:27:52] Dan Johnson: Did you guys throw any trail cameras out? Okay, so no trail cameras so you had to do it the old fashioned way [00:28:00] 

[00:28:01] Brock Wingo: Which was 

[00:28:01] Dan Johnson: Really fun. I believe it, man. I always think about that. I've had this conversation with several people where it's let's say they took away trail cameras and you are no longer allowed to use trail cameras in any public, private, anything like that.

I think the dynamic of hunting would change as a whole, but also I think my, my, I probably would have tagged out this year already. Yeah, I probably would have taken a shot at a deer if I didn't know that there were bigger deer running around You know what? And so I don't know. I think that's cool What in your opinion what makes that fun not having to use trail cameras?

[00:28:40] Brock Wingo: Just because Like I'll use last night when I was hunting for example. I was hunting that same chunk of private. I was talking about And oh this one buck. I've had on camera a few times. He's probably like a 115 ish inch nine point which for me is pretty big because I haven't shot Very many big bucks yet.

[00:29:00] And he's a two year old that's pretty good for my area. And I saw him last night, but if I didn't know that there's three other bucks that were mature and huge in the area for my trail cameras. Yeah. Would have gotten a lot more excited to see that buck last night than I 

[00:29:18] Dan Johnson: did. Yeah, that makes that's a good point That's a good point.

All right, so You what did that connection tell you? Was you say it was your brother in law's friend who had experience in there? What kind of advice or intel did he share with you guys? 

[00:29:36] Brock Wingo: He just sent us a couple onyx pins of Where he hunted in December, and there's a couple spots where he said that he hunted saw more bucks than doughs.

So we checked those places out, but it was a little bit helpful, but not entirely, just because December is a whole lot different than the first week of, there's acorns dropping everywhere and there's a lot more [00:30:00] cover. So yeah, it was helpful. The spots that we went to that he sent the pins for weren't like hot.

[00:30:07] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. And when Remind us again when you're when you first stepped foot on that property. 

[00:30:14] Brock Wingo: It was September 24th, 

[00:30:18] Dan Johnson: okay And that's when you were look that's when you found that bedding area and then that's when you found the rub line, right? What was your access like into some of these places? 

[00:30:31] Brock Wingo: It's different in a couple spots, but for the most part there's just gates right up next to main roads that have parking areas.

And then the gate is access road for the DNR to use when they're doing work in there and stuff. But going, it's just pretty easy since it's so flat you just walk down those roads as far back as you want. There's a couple spots. There's one spot when I scouted, we walked like a [00:31:00] mile and a half back in a straight line and found a pretty decent buck, but access was pretty easy.

[00:31:08] Dan Johnson: Yeah, access was easy. All right. And then talk to us a little bit about what your game plan was. As far as... your access routes. Did you have a backup plan if that particular bedding area and rub line didn't work out? Walk us through what your goal was before you started before you started hunting there.

Okay, so 

[00:31:34] Brock Wingo: going into the seat, going into the A few days leading up to the season, I was thinking about the one rub line I found that was really good and Thinking about how I was gonna approach it. So my plan was the first night I was gonna go out and just try to do an observation sit over in the marsh There was this one water hole that was probably like 12 feet wide That had a whole bunch of deer tracks in it and I could tell [00:32:00] that they were Just hitting that before they crossed over into the private to go eat in the ag So my plan was just to sit 50 yards away from that waterhole and see if I couldn't get eyes on a buck and see where he was coming from and Then if I didn't see anything or if I blew it out, I was gonna go to A spot where when we were scouting, we got eyes on a really big buck.

What's really big for me is like 125, but we got eyes on him and he was really far back. So that was my backup plan. Driving past that spot on opening day, there's six vehicles at the park for my backup plan. No boy. I had to come up with another backup plan while I was sitting and it was just to, I couldn't think of any other spots that looked promising enough to set up and sit on.

So my plan C was just to still hunt and try to walk and find sign and then [00:33:00] creep into the woods and see if I couldn't shoot something. Okay. 

[00:33:02] Dan Johnson: So you said you, you, was it while you were scouting, you kicked up a good buck? Okay. All right. So that let you know that there was something in there that, that was worth shooting and that you should put some sort of time into that area.

Yeah, okay. All right. And so as you start messing, as you start messing around in with this hunt, what, what did you see while you were actually hunting? 

[00:33:29] Brock Wingo: So the very first night my fiance and I were going to mobile hunt with a really light hang on I have that I got from a garage sale and then another heavier one that I had.

And We got in there and it was just a train wreck. We walked in and there was only two other vehicles at the parking spot and I was like, oh, we'll be fine. The spot we're going to is way back there. Sure enough, I get to 80 yards away from the spot and there's a dude up in a saddle and I'm like, [00:34:00] oh, come on.

I just kinda skirted around him and wasn't quite to where I wanted to be yet, so went past him and went probably a hundred yards away so that I could still have that waterhole spot in my sight, but I wouldn't be hunting right on top of the guy. Yeah. And that night was a train wreck. We saw that dude, and then setting up, I had one spot on my stand that I hadn't...

Taped to make it quiet. And I banged the hook for the strap off of that so loud so many times. , I was like, I was hanging it and then I just hear it. It's like someone hit a gong out in the woods, . It's like this metallic echo. And I'm like, come on man, I'm not gonna see shit tonight. I 

[00:34:48] Dan Johnson: know, dude. I'll tell you this, man.

I've done that so many times in the last, 20 years where it's like, For me, it was this, [00:35:00] I put all of my sticks up dead quiet, right? I'm getting, I'm pulling my stand up, get it to the tree. And as I'm trying to, as I'm trying to wrap around the tree, it slips and it smashes the base of the stand.

It's just like a boom throughout the entire timber. I was like all of a sudden, the wind stopped. And all the noise in the woods stopped just so that this noise could be amplified. And of course, on, on days like that, when you're, it's dude, I'm going into a bedding area. I'm jacked up.

It's going to be awesome. And then you do something like that. And you're just like wanting to shoot yourself right out of the tree. 

[00:35:38] Brock Wingo: Oh yeah, I was just thinking about unhooking that lineman rope and falling backwards. 

[00:35:44] Dan Johnson: I ain't seeing shit tonight. Was your your fiancee she... She had did she get a tag too or she just was coming with you.

[00:35:53] Brock Wingo: No, you can bring one person with you So I started YouTube this year. So she was gonna come film [00:36:00] for 

[00:36:00] Dan Johnson: me. Okay. All right, that's cool and so as You had a first day train wreck basically was it was this a morning hunt or was this an evening hunt? It 

[00:36:11] Brock Wingo: was an evening hunt. So we make all that noise and I timed myself because of making the noise.

I started working really slow and it took me like an hour to set up and by the time I got everything set up, there's only like probably an hour, maybe an hour 15 till legal shooting light was over. Yeah. And so I'm expecting to not see anything and then we go and we've only got seven minutes till legal shooting lights over.

And all I've seen is a five point and he was like 300 yards way out in the marsh. So he was not even in the question of trying to shoot if I got desperate. So yeah. We had just a few minutes left, and then we see two does come in, they come in at 15 yards, and my fiance is blonde, [00:37:00] and so she was turning her head to see them, and they caught the movement because her hair was so light, and then they took off running, and I watched them go all the way back to a big island of mature trees that's out in the marsh that I figured they were bedding at, they went all the way back there, and I was like, great, Made all this noise setting up, and then we just spooked the first deer we saw.

There's nothing that's going to come by. And then before I can even get that thought out of my head, they're walking back already. And they come right back through at 15 yards on the exact same trail. And don't even bat an eye the second time. And they just move through. And as soon as they move through, I see a huge body coming out of the marsh.

And I'm like, that's either a huge doe or that's a buck. And, it was, when we saw that one, there's now only three minutes left of legal shooting light. And, because of the marsh, I couldn't see his antlers at first, but then he put his head down into that water hole. So he had a black background, and he [00:38:00] was huge.

Really big, non typical buck. And I'm like, oh, shit. This is starting to get real. And, so that night, because of the stand situation, The one that was loud also ended up breaking when I set it up. One of the teeth that hook, that latches it into the tree bent up. So every time I tried to step in it, it was twisting and wanting to make me fall out of the tree.

So I... Use my lineman belt and wrapped it around the tree and stood at the top of my sticks and leaned off of them Kind of like a saddle. Yeah, but because I saw the spot I thought the deer were gonna come to and then walk straight to the tree I wanted to set up at the sticks were on the front side of the tree So I'm facing directly away from where I expected everything to come through And I knew it was probably gonna come to bite me in the ass And so because it's not a saddle I can only twist like a little bit to try to shoot behind But it, I [00:39:00] can't pull it off if it's straight behind me.

And he's about to come down a trail that goes in front of me at 5 or 5 to 10 yards. It would be a perfect quartering away shot. He's coming down that trail. So I have my bow in my hand and I'm ready for him to come down there. And he just makes a hard 90 and takes the same trail the does took behind us.

And I just couldn't get a shot at him. I think I ranged the trail afterwards at 18 yards. It would have been a chip shot. 

[00:39:31] Dan Johnson: But because you were out of position due to a faulty stand you didn't get the shot. Nope. Dude, that sucks man. And was the stand making noise? A lot of noise? Or was it just unbalanced?

[00:39:48] Brock Wingo: It was, because one of the teeth was bent to, for it to bite into the tree, it just wouldn't sit. I couldn't get the strap to hold it tight enough to where it wouldn't twist every time and [00:40:00] wanna dump you sideways out of the tree. Yeah. 

[00:40:04] Dan Johnson: Oh, that sucks, man. But the good news is that you located a group of deer, one of them an obvious shooter, right?

Yeah. Okay. And best guess. What did you think that this big deer that walked by you was as far as age or antler size? So he 

[00:40:25] Brock Wingo: was a weird. Non typical. It looked like he'd probably been injured. And that night, because it was getting so dark, I could only see his big side clearly. I didn't know he was a non typical yet, but...

If he had both sides clean, he'd probably be like in the 130 range, 

[00:40:44] Dan Johnson: but 

[00:40:45] Brock Wingo: I ended up seeing him again and learned that his other side, he only had three points on the other side. It was like a double main beam with a brow tine and that was it. So he probably wouldn't have scored much over like 115, but his frame was huge [00:41:00] from his good.

[00:41:01] Dan Johnson: That's awesome, man. Nonetheless, shooter in your eyes, right? Yeah. Okay. So you located this spot. Did you when you got out of the tree and walked back that night, did you say to yourself, Hey dude, I got to do a gear check and get a better stand? 

[00:41:19] Brock Wingo: Actually no, we just ditched the stands the rest of the week and hunted on 

[00:41:23] Dan Johnson: the ground.

Okay. And you thought that would have been your best bet? Yeah. Okay. 

[00:41:30] Brock Wingo: Cause I'll explain why, because the area he was coming from. Unless I walked all the way to that. Island of mature trees. Those were the only live trees I could set a stand in. Okay. All the next to the trail that he was coming down were dead because they're out in the marsh.

So I didn't want to risk putting a stand in a dead tree. So we just ground hunted from 

[00:41:55] Dan Johnson: then on. Okay, let me ask you a question about that. Then it is [00:42:00] was it drier than normal there where the marsh had evaporated or receded to allow you to get closer to that island. 

[00:42:12] Brock Wingo: I think it was lower this year compared to how it usually is.

Cause when I was e scouting it, I have hunt wise too, and that has leaves off imaging and I was scouting it on hunt wise, almost the entire place was underwater. So I was nervous getting ready to scout it, but then scouted it and there was no water anywhere, but the rivers so okay Yeah, I'm pretty sure the water levels were low 

[00:42:36] Dan Johnson: this year.

Gotcha. All right, which makes sense and Gives you an opportunity to get closer to that island. I guess if you need if you needed to write Yeah. Okay. All right. All right. So you ditched the stands. What did the next couple of days look like for you out there? So 

[00:42:57] Brock Wingo: the next day to me looked like work [00:43:00] and I was a little bit pissed about it cause I was about, I was on track to get out early enough to go out there again.

And I'm at my last place for the day in the work truck and on my back passenger side, I just hear boom and it sends the truck. The ass end of the truck over there flying up in the air and I had my tires explode So then I got to hang out at the tire shop for the next three hours and did not hunt that night 

[00:43:26] Dan Johnson: So you had a both back tires exploded Yeah, it's a dually.

Oh, a dually. Okay on one side, both of them blew up. Yeah. What'd you hit? 

[00:43:37] Brock Wingo: Nothing. Tires were just getting old and dry rotted and I'd been telling my boss since July, hey, truck needs new tires and I told my brother in law, I was like, it's gonna be, one of these tires is gonna explode before he gets this thing in the shop and sure enough, that's exactly what happened.

[00:43:55] Dan Johnson: So you had to get it towed? Because you were going to be riding on rims.[00:44:00] 

[00:44:00] Brock Wingo: No, I was close enough to the tire shop to where I limped it going 15 

[00:44:04] Dan Johnson: miles an hour. I gotcha. I gotcha. Okay. Did you, were you pulling porta potties 

[00:44:09] Brock Wingo: at the time? I had a trailer, but it was empty and it was our trailer. We have I can pick up the trailer and walk it around on my own.

So it was a 

[00:44:18] Dan Johnson: small one. Okay. I gotcha. All right. So three hours in a tire shop on day two and You know the thing about this that like for me, I don't need necessarily need to take any risks Like when I go to south dakota, i'll be taking risks, right? i'll be being way aggressive but in iowa, right?

I know i'm gonna have more hunting time outside of just certain windows So I don't I will be aggressive when the time is right, but I don't need to be aggressive if I don't want to how did this? damper the trip knowing that Okay. I went from having six days left to having now five days left.[00:45:00] 

[00:45:00] Brock Wingo: Yeah, so because the dude in the saddle was so close, and when that buck left the area that I was in the night before, he was heading that way, and it was still a little bit light out, but barely. So I was really hoping that the dude in the saddle didn't see him when he rounded the corner of the woods right there.

Yeah. And so that whole day in the tire shop, I'm sitting there and I'm like, he's going to get shot tonight. There's no way he's not got by that dude, but I guess the guy didn't see him because he was, we saw him again a few days later, but yeah, I was just worried the whole time that he was going to get shot by 

[00:45:37] Dan Johnson: someone else.

Okay. All right. So day three comes along of the hunt and did you guys hunt?

[00:45:49] Brock Wingo: We only hunted evenings just because that's because of work and I tend to try to not hunt mornings in the early season, [00:46:00] but if that's the only time I can get out, I do 

[00:46:02] Dan Johnson: it. Yep. Makes sense. All right. So now we have three days left the evening hunt of the third day. Were you guys heading back into that same area?

[00:46:13] Brock Wingo: Yeah, we were going back in there. We were gonna, there's a really big dead willow tree that was about five to ten yards away from that waterhole I was telling you about. Yeah. And it set up nice to where it had a little dome of branches going off the bottom of it into the marsh grass, and I would have a nice window at that waterhole.

And then a couple small windows at 15 yards to the trail he came in on, so we're just gonna go sit at that the next night and see if he came to the waterhole 

[00:46:42] Dan Johnson: again. Okay. Same access, good wind, everything like that? Alright. What'd you end up seeing that night? 

[00:46:49] Brock Wingo: That night we bumped a fawn on the way in, and then right before last light, cause mind you...

Opening week, it was 85 [00:47:00] degrees all week until like Thursday, so I, they weren't getting on their feet very early at all. Gotcha, okay. It was starting to get late to when I thought he'd get up, and on the other side of this bedding area, I could hear a doe blowing at another person that must have been hunting over there.

And so I was thinking to myself even though she's over there, and he might want to come over here, He might not get up just because he hears that so yeah, I was worried about that and we ended up only seeing that fawn on the way in 

[00:47:32] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. All right, so a pretty uneventful night I had a doe blow at me last night, man And if I if the crops were out, I would have shot her because I could have driven my truck back I didn't feel like you know dragging a deer a thousand yards because that's what I would have had to do and so And so there's nothing more defeating [00:48:00] than being, and I know they weren't blowing at you, but like it's prime time.

And then it's just, and they start blowing and shit and you're just like, game over, damn it. Like all that time. And then you get blown at. And yeah. Day four. What happened in day four? 

[00:48:19] Brock Wingo: Day 4 I told myself, so day 4 was Wednesday, yeah, it was Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday I knew that I wasn't going to be able to hunt because I had to work so much those two days.

Going in on Wednesday, I was like, I only have tonight and then the last day to get it done. So tonight, I'm getting ultra aggressive, I'm walking his trail that he takes to go back to that bedding area. And if I bump him. And if I shoot him. I'll go figure something out for the last day.

And I was walking in there. And I was starting to [00:49:00] get close, and I'm like, okay, this is probably where he was coming from, and then up ahead of me I could see two big rubs. I was like, okay, nice, we're getting into it now. And I walk up to those two rubs, and next to them is like a six foot, ten foot wide circle of just packed down marsh grass under this willow.

So I could tell something was bedding there, and I was pretty sure it was probably him. Then on the other side of it, right on the edge, there's two more big rubs. So I was like, okay, this is probably where he's been bedding. But the wind was different this time, so I knew he'd be in the area, but not in the exact same spot.

And I was gonna back up and set up and try to have him come to me. But back behind me, the marsh grass was like six and seven foot tall, and the only way... I'd be able to get a shot from the ground as if I was like in the trail and tried to shoot him frontal coming at me and I wasn't going to do that so I was like I'll just walk right past this there's a nice [00:50:00] spot with some grass that's laid down from the wind and stuff and I'll be able to see about 15 yards and set up and hopefully get a shot at him and so my fiance and I go over to this tree to sit down at it and like I said I'm trying to film hunts this year so yeah We sit down at this tree and there's no branches on it, and she says, Where are you gonna put your GoPro?

And it's, we weren't talking before, so as soon as she said that, he must have heard us. And, he's on the other side of the trail, and jumps up. And, where he was bedded, he's probably like 15 yards from us at first. And so I'm like, Did 

[00:50:38] Dan Johnson: you have the wind? Yeah, the wind was in your favor. Yeah, it was. Yeah, okay, alright.

[00:50:45] Brock Wingo: He just heard us. He didn't smell us, didn't see us because of the marsh grass. He was able to get down and I hid behind the tree that was in front of me. And he jumped up from there and I saw him. They must [00:51:00] not like walking through that tall grass. I don't know if it just makes them feel like too concealed or something.

They can't see anything because he wasn't like busting out of there. But he kept jumping over the top of it. And then he stood at a spot and it was completely open from me to him, but right in front of him, there's a whole bunch of grass and a couple branches from this one bush. And I'm like, every time, there's just every time they stand in a spot to where that's the only spot you can't get a shot at.

If he took two more steps in front of him, I'd have a shot at 30 yards. If he would have stopped soon, I'd have a shot at him at 30 yards. And he just stood there looking around for a couple minutes. And I had my bow up, and I was not drawn back, but I had tension on the string. I was ready to draw. And he just stood there for a couple minutes looking around, and I was hoping he would just bed down again, but he ended up [00:52:00] walking away, and then I kept seeing him jump over that marsh grass again, about 150 yards, and I couldn't see him anymore.

That really sucked that night because I knew I blew him out, but I didn't spook him too bad So I was hoping later in the night. He might come back or a couple days from now. He might come back Yeah, and so we didn't have enough time left now to go and hunt another spot that night So we just went and sat right next to where he was bedded and hoped that he'd come back that night and shoot him on His way back, but yeah After that, we didn't see anything 

[00:52:36] Dan Johnson: that night.

Yeah, man, that's frustrating, especially when you're that close. And this was this the same non typical that you had seen for, okay. So you're on them. Yeah, you're on them. And then did you blame your girlfriend for that? Were you like, you're talking too loud? 

[00:52:54] Brock Wingo: No, I didn't. Because I knew that I probably should have just sat down right [00:53:00] in his bed or something that he wasn't in and stop sooner figured something out.

Yeah. Before his bed, but 

[00:53:08] Dan Johnson: Do you think that you would have had a shot at him? if you just didn't go in as far and sat down next to a tree and Maybe just played it a little less aggressive as far as how far you were going in 

[00:53:24] Brock Wingo: yeah, I think I would have because That was the first day of that.

Early season cold front. Everyone was going crazy about that day. It was like 70 instead of 85. So I had a feeling they'd be on their feet a little bit sooner. And if I would have just sat down right next to or right in that bed he had made with the rubs that I saw, I'd probably shot at 

[00:53:48] Dan Johnson: him. Okay dang.

And then the next two days are a wash, right? Yeah, the next two days I was just working. Yep, working. And then so you had Saturday. [00:54:00] Saturday was the last day then, right? . . Okay. So talk to us a little bit about what went down on Saturday. 

[00:54:06] Brock Wingo: Monday is when my brother-in-law went in and shot his butt.

And when he shot his butt it came, he was sitting on the ground facing one way and it came in directly behind him. So he twisted his upper body like a complete 180 to shoot at him. Yeah. And when he released, he, his body relaxed as he released, so he pulled it a lot and hit way back in the intestines from the hip.

Yep. And so That night he got a, no not that night, the next night, the Tuesday that I didn't see anything, he got a dog tracker out and they couldn't find it and the guy said that it's probably going to live a few days but then die in that same area and he said on the last day or the couple days from now just check the river and he'll probably be in there so Saturday since it was the last day and we knew we wouldn't be able to shed [00:55:00] hunt it to try to find him in the winter We went to where he shot his buck to try to look for it, and he got there about an hour before I did, and he went down, since he had to wait on me, he was gonna try to find sign and try to still hunt, and see if he could find a buck for me to get on when I got there, and so he had found a spot and was set up near it so that I could meet up with him, and he said Don't take the road in the CRP take the edge of the creek to come to me and I was like, okay And I get 60 yards down the creek from the bridge and I see a log that looks funny And so I glass it up and I see an antler sticking up and I'm like, there's no way that I just found his deer And so I looked at it and sure enough the entry was right in front of the hip like he thought in it He had taken a video of it before he shot it.

I'm just on his phone. Yeah And I looked at the antlers, and it was the exact same deer, so I called him up. And he came running [00:56:00] down, and we got his buck out of the water. And, weren't able to recover any meat, but we did recover the head so that he could at least get a gyro mount with it. And the plan was to go look for that, and then go hopefully set up in the same area that night.

Cause I was hoping that buck would be back there again. We found his buck and went to set up on the rubs that he had found that night and didn't see anything there, so we just ended up still hunting this area. With a bunch of CRP instead. And we found a bunch of really cool signs. There was like, a spot that was about 30 yards wide.

That was all packed down grass. It was almost, it reminded me of My uncle has a deer farm and when you're in the area that the deer bed in his pens, it just stinks almost like you're at like a zoo or something. Yeah. Yeah. And so just like that, I was like, man, it stinks right here. There's [00:57:00] deer all the time or something.

And so we got up high in glass to try to see if we could see antlers out in the CRP or something, but We didn't see anything, and the rest of that night, we were just finding sign and following it, and bumped a couple small bucks doing that. One of them I could have shot if I was paying a little bit more attention, but he wasn't that big anyways, so I wasn't too mad.

And then, at the very end of the night, there was a buck that was bigger than anything we'd seen all week, and I tried to put a stalk on him. But, there were some does that I knew that were in between him and I. And, if it got late enough, I was gonna try to shoot one of those does if I didn't think I could get to him, and I ended up not being able to get to him, and the does, the wind switched like one time, I felt it on the back of my head when I was about to shoot the doe, and then she winded me and took off, and so then I started [00:58:00] hauling to try to get to the big one, cause he was in this patch, and In between a creek and the tree line, there was just a little patch of really tall grass and there was an apple tree in the middle of it that him and a couple small bucks were eating on.

And on the creek bank, there was a ridge where they had dug it out and took all the dirt that they dug out and put it on the edge of the creek. So I was able to put that in between him and I, but he ended up smelling me or hearing me or something he took off to. Yeah, and that 

[00:58:33] Dan Johnson: was it. Yep, that was it.

Interesting. Definitely cool. And this is a place where it seems like this refuge is way more controlled than the rest of the state. You had an opportunity to hunt some bigger quality, bigger antlered, more mature whitetail. And if you could have done anything different.

If you could go back and change time and do something different, what would you have [00:59:00] done different in that, in, in those seven days? 

[00:59:04] Brock Wingo: I think I would have bounced around more instead of being stuck on that first buck. Cause I was thinking afterwards, I found that good spot and set up on it and had a buck close the first night.

And then if I would have done that with, cause the last day we found six different rub lines that all led to buck bedding areas. And, they're like all different sizes, so I think that if I would have bounced around and found more spots like that. That up on them that I probably would have had some success doing that.

[00:59:37] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. That's a pretty cool experience. You your brother in law found his his buck. You had some pretty close encounters from the sound of it is is this a tag that you will continue to apply for every year? Yeah, 

[00:59:51] Brock Wingo: because the early season hunt that we applied for we did some research to look at the Percentages of how easy it is to [01:00:00] draw and it's like a 33 percent Okay, chance to draw it.

So we should be able to hunt it every quite a few. 

[01:00:07] Dan Johnson: Yeah, absolutely cool, man. Awesome story it's too bad, you didn't find success as far as filling a tag is concerned, but One thing that I've known about going on hunts like that, or I will compare your hunt to going on an out of out of state hunt for a week or something like that, and that it's sometimes it takes more than a single season to learn Obviously a period and, or a piece of property.

And so the cool thing is that now you have all this intel for next year and, or the next time you're able to hunt it. And so as you continue to hunt it and hunt it more and more and draw more tags for it over the course of your life, you're just going to, you're going to gain that much knowledge of it and just put yourself in better positions.

[01:01:00] Yeah. Cool, man. Hey, Brock, man, I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to hop on and share this story with us and good luck the rest of the season up there in Michigan, man. 

[01:01:11] Brock Wingo: Yep. Good luck to you too. I'll be I'm going on two out of state trips this year. I'll be going to Ohio in mid November, and then I'll be going to Kentucky the first week of December.

[01:01:22] Dan Johnson: Nice, nice. So you got, you have a lot of hunting in your future this year. Yep. Alright man, good luck. 

[01:01:29] Brock Wingo: Thanks, you too.

[01:01:33] Dan Johnson: And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, another episode in the books, huge shout out to Brock, huge shout out to each and every one of you. Good luck this upcoming season. Be safe, wear your safety harness. Be sure to go to iTunes, leave a five star review. If you want to be on the podcast.

Hit me up via Instagram. If you want to be on the hunting gear podcast, hit me up via Instagram and we can go from there, man. So good vibes in good vibes out, and we'll talk to you next time.[01:02:00]