Iowa Hunting Expectations

Show Notes

After waiting seven years, John finally drew a coveted Iowa bow tag. Now what?? This week on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast, John is joined by the Sportsmens Empire Emperor himself, Mr Dan Johnson. Being born and raised in Iowa, Dan knows a thing or two about the big bodied big racked bucks that call the Hawkeye state home. This episode is not as much about hunting strategy as it is Iowa specific details that an out of state hunter like John should know. After waiting years to accumulate enough points to draw one of the state's best units, John wants to make sure he stacks as many advantages as he can.

One of the main topics the guys cover is simply what caliber of buck John should expect to encounter. While most think there is a 200" deer behind every tree in Iowa, Dan makes it clear that that is not the case. There is however, on average a much higher caliber of deer and especially if you are on private land which John hopes to be hunting. The guys also cover expected weather conditions, if a saddle is worth it, terrain features vs deer sign, and much more. If you have ever hunted Iowa, or plan to one day do it, be sure to listen to this episode.

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

Show Transcript

John Hudspeth: [00:00:00] Hey guys and gals, welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast, brought to you by Arrowhead Land Company. Here you'll be educated, entertained, and equipped to get more out of your outdoor experience. So hold on tight because here we go.

All right, let's do this. Welcome everybody to the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. I am your host. John Hudspeth and Happy 4th of July. I think this episode actually drops on the third, but more than likely you've already started celebrating, or maybe you have the day off. I swear like three out of every five people I've talked to this week are going on vacation this week.

And so if that's you, I hope you're having fun on the beach or climbing a mountain lake, wherever it is that you are. I just hope that you're having a great time. Thank you also for listening to this [00:01:00] show. And also wanted just take a little time to, to just say, Thank you to anybody who is military, ex-military, first responder, hospital worker, just anybody who helps make this country what it is today and gives us the freedom that we have and allows us to do the things that we love.

So thank you to all you guys. We really appreciate it. Yeah, not a ton to cover in this intro. This last week and this last weekend, I was basically just babysitting and helping my wife. She's essentially running our church's church camp this week for the youth. And so she has just been running 120 miles per hour.

And so I've been doing a little extra dad duty with the baby, been trying to help her, take her food, run err and stuff like that. And so I haven't got to do a whole lot of, outdoorsy type stuff or anything like that. But this coming weekend I am headed to the ranch. My goals for the weekend are to fill my protein feeders with something.

I've yet to figure out what that is, whether I'm gonna [00:02:00] make my own feed again, whether I'm gonna bite the bullet and buy some kind of cheap protein. I just wanna get something in those feeders to get some deer, on my property, staying on my PR property, conditioned to coming to my property and and try to get some off the neighbors.

And that is by far and away the main goal. The other goal is to run an electric fence to protect my amazing soybeans that I keep bragging on. Basically there's one pasture where the cows, like the soybeans are mostly fenced. But there's a really deep creek. And if the cows run low on grass and then the water's down kinda like it is right now the cows can get down in the creek, go under the fence and then pop out and eventually get into the soybeans.

And so my plan, I, when I was mowing a couple weeks ago, I went ahead and went down there and mowed the strip through the grass. So it's nice and short. Won't get up into the wire or anything. And and I wanna run an electric fence along that creek bank so that if cows come out, they can't just go willy-nilly and get into my soybeans.

So yeah, those are the two main goals. I need to do a [00:03:00] little bit of like changing out straps on some tree stands and ladders. I need to level some blinds that got pushed off last year. Some smaller stuff like that. I don't know if I'll get to it this weekend. Just cuz we also have, family plans and stuff like that.

But yeah, getting the feeders filled and probably getting some cameras out are the main goal. It's July now. This is the time of year where you can start telling what bucks or what, it's getting easier to identify 'em. You can start to tell who's around where they're at now.

Again a word of warning, most likely those bucks will shift. But it's still fun to see, who's around, who made it through last season. And basically just get those daydreams, start rolling, get that get the mind start working. Where's that buck? Where was he last year?

What can I do to put things into my advantage? And yeah I'm not gonna lie, guys, I've been thinking a lot a about old Mr 2% which I hate because the reason I call him 2% is because I give myself a 2% chance of killing him every year. It used to be 1%. I a year or two ago, I bumped it up to 2%.[00:04:00]

This last year I probably should have moved it back down to 1%, although I did actually have an encounter with him. But but man, I just I don't have a lot of. Other bucks that I'm like looking forward to this year. And so he's he's always in the back of my mind, but he's moved a little bit closer to the front.

And so I don't know what else I can do to try to attract him. Like I said, last year I did move one of my setups and that's where I had the encounter with him. He was in one of my food plots a few times last year. That's where I have actually the soybean plot that I was just talking about that I wanna protect from the cows.

He was in that a few times. And those are, that, that plot is by far the best right now. Those beans are looking amazing. So yeah, I'd like to get some cameras up, start tracking that guy down. I don't know what else I can do. I'm gonna be honest. The area where he really likes to hang out, that's one of our main cow areas.

So I can't go in there and, plow under three acres of pasture and put a nice food plot like I would like to do. Just can't do that to the ranch. So I'm stuck with feeders and just trying to play it [00:05:00] safe, be patient and draw 'em out. And so yeah, that's where I'm at with that.

It'd be nice to have a few other bucks show up, it seems. I don't know why, but it seems like with this property, it seems every year just one. Pretty good. Random buck shows up that I've never seen before. The buck that I killed with my muzzle loader last year, I had zero history with him.

Two years ago. The buck that I killed with my rifle, he was not there the previous year, but he had been there like the year before that. And so I don't know where these deer go. I don't know what their plan is, but it kinda works out in my favor cuz you know they go away. Apparently they're not getting killed.

But they don't learn my, they don't learn any of my stands or any of my stuff. And then they come back and it's just kinda like hunting a fresh, awesome deer. So crossing my fingers that happens again. It's a, it's an awesome problem to have. And other than that's about all I got for you guys in this intro.

We have an awesome podcast, one that I've been looking forward to literally for years. For the first time ever I'm having Mr. Emperor [00:06:00] himself, Dan Johnson, on my podcast. I have been on his several times, but this is the first time Dan has actually come on my podcast and we are talking about hunting white-tailed deer in Iowa.

So I drew the tag. I officially drew the tag. Dan is from Iowa. That's where he grew up hunting and everything. So we just have a really good conversation. And really the main thing I wanted out of this is, Expectations. What can I expect realistically going to Iowa? And that's one of the reasons that I chose Dan, because Dan, I'll, if you guys haven't heard his podcast or anything, he's one of the straightest shooters I've ever seen.

He's not going to give you rainbows and sunshine unless it's deserved. He's just gonna tell you. Honestly the way it is. And everybody, or I think a lot of people at least dream of hunting Iowa, they see the stuff on tv. But, a lot of that stuff is just not realistic for the common person, especially an out-of-state person like myself, going in basically completely blind.[00:07:00]

And so we cover man, we cover expectations, we cover terrain, we cover saddle hunting versus stand hunting. What kind of caliber of bucks should I expect? Just the whole gambit. And so if you have hunted Iowa dream of hunting, Iowa, maybe you're, getting points like I've been doing for the last seven years and you're on your way.

I think this is a really awesome conversation. And if you're just, if you just enjoyed deer hunting, I think there's some good stuff in here too. Cause we just talked about deer behavior. We go into a little bit of strategy not a ton but it's just a really cool conversation.

And and I should also warn you, you're never gonna talk to Dan without getting some kind of parental advice. And so that's how we start things off. And so anyway I'll quit talking. We'll just get into the episode. I'm gonna do a quick little commercial here for our partners, and then we will get into the episode right after this.

There is truly no place like the great outdoors in Oklahoma. When you're out in the wild, you want your wireless devices to [00:08:00] work unlike other carriers. Bravado Wireless believes that coverage in rural areas is important so that you stay connected with competitively priced plans and coverage where you need it.

The mission of Bravado Wireless is to keep you connected no matter where you are. Visit bravado or check them out at one of their retail locations. Bravado Wire Wireless, the power of connection. Hey everybody. Welcome to today's show. Today we have the emperor himself, Mr. Dan Johnson. How you doing, Dan?


Dan Johnson: I don't know what I'm the emperor of, but

John Hudspeth: Sportsman's Empire baby. Sportsman's

Dan Johnson: empire. The emperor of dirty clothes and the emperor of cleaning the kitchen. And the emperor of building a deck like Uhhuh. That's that. And being a baseball coach. That is my life

John Hudspeth: right now.

Nice. Nice. Very nice. Very nice. I got, I do have to make a a quick confession real quick before we get going. Every time I type nine Finger Chronicles, I gotta Google Chronicles to figure out [00:09:00] how to spell it every time. Still haven't learned. Hey dude.

Dan Johnson: It took me, when I decided that was gonna be the name, long time ago, I had to this is no joke.

I had to practice spelling Chronicles so many times. That now, I do it so many times. When I write my writeups for the episodes that I put out, it's like on this episode of The Nine Finger Chronicles, and it took me like a year to get to not have to have auto Correct.

Correct it for

John Hudspeth: me. Yep. Yep. Part of it, man, part of it. But anyway, man, I'm glad to have you here. Thanks for jumping on. And real quick, I better let you introduce your, cause I'm pretty sure this is the first time you've actually been on my show. I've been on your show several times. Oh wow.

But I don't think I've actually had you on my show, so just in case somebody's been listening to my feed. Want don't you to introduce yourself real quick.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. Dan Johnson. Nine Fingers, three Kids Married 11 years. I own the Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network, which John is on. I host the Nine Finger [00:10:00] Chronicles podcast, the Hunting Gear Podcast.

I like to deer hunt, and That's really, I'm a parent and I'm a chauffeur and I am sometimes, depending on how annoying my kids make me, I'm also a dictator so I

John Hudspeth: was, I was gonna say, you're always very willing to give parental advice man, man to us guys who, are not quite as far along in our parenting careers.

You you love it. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: How is your little one

John Hudspeth: man? She's o she turns one in three weeks, so she is almost one. I know. That's

Dan Johnson: awesome, man. Yep. Hey, at least the birthday comes before the hunting season. That's right. That was the most, that's the

John Hudspeth: most important thing. It was, and man, speaking of birthday, sorry, I don't whatever, people love this stuff too.

So like before while my wife was pregnant, before the baby was born, my wife was like, I don't understand why people go so all out with the one year birthday. Oh yeah, I don't think we're gonna, yeah. I don't think we're gonna, blah, blah, blah. I don't think we'll do anything.

And then when the baby was like two or three months old, she's maybe we'll have a [00:11:00] family party, for the grandparents and stuff like that. Yeah, dude, she has rented a water slide. She is trying to get one of our friends to bring their goats for a petting zoo.

I don't know what, I don't know what the guest list is at now, but Yes. 500 people. Yeah. It went from let's not do anything to a huge ordeal. And so yeah, you're

Dan Johnson: gonna have to take out refinance your I know home to

John Hudspeth: fund this thing. Yep. I finally had to cut her off and give her a budget.

So that's how things are

Dan Johnson: going with kids. And that's life, man. Once I'll say it, once a woman gets something in their head, it's very hard to talk them out of it. And especially like right now, I. My wife is almost dead set on buying a pontoon boat. Oh. And doesn't really care about any of the logistics that come with owning a boat.

Hey, you gotta put gas in it, and you have to store it in the wintertime, and you have to register it and you have to make sure all of the life jackets and things are there. All she [00:12:00] envisions is cruising down the lake with a drink in her hand. And I unfortunately, am the logical one that is reigns on everybody's parade.

And I'm just like did you know? And then I say something like, like real, like reality. And then you know how it is though, and it doesn't work out. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It's I want to be on a boat. Okay. Yep. Okay. Okay. So I'll probably buy a boat.

John Hudspeth: Nice. Nice. Cool man. Let's jump into it.

One thing you didn't mention is that you are from the great state of Iowa. And and that's what we're here to talk to about today because I've already mentioned it on my show and Instagram. Cause I was so excited. But I drew an Iowa archery tag and so yeah, buddy, this it's been a seven year process, so I had five, five points.

So one year, one point per year for five years. I missed a year cuz I was a dummy. And then this year to actually draw it, so this has been a seven year process. I'm not afraid to say it cuz nobody, it's not like [00:13:00] somebody can just show up and hunt it. Anyway, I am hunting zone five, which is South Central Iowa.

And man, I premier. Yes. Premier,

Dan Johnson: yes. Like it's one of the premier zones. Yep.

John Hudspeth: Yes. So I figured if I'm gonna do it, gonna do it big. And so I'm ready. I'm excited, but I just figured might as well, since I have you as a resource, have you on I know there's other people out there listening who maybe drew this year maybe gonna draw in the future.

So I just figured this would be a really cool conversation to have.

Dan Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. Alright, so you drew, right? I drew. And so when you opened up the email and it said successful did you get fired up a bit?

John Hudspeth: Oh so let me tell you the whole story real quick so I Okay. Yes. Do it. Do it. I was out at the ranch and this year I planted, for the first time ever, I really tried to plant spring food plots.

Okay. And so it had been a while since I'd been there and planted 'em everything. And so I like turned the corner and I see just the most beautiful, glorious soybean spring food plot that I could [00:14:00] ever envision and imagine. And it's mine. Yeah. Like I did that. Yeah. And for some reason that like triggered cuz the they posted the results on a Saturday and that's when I was there and I was like, oh, I can check to see if I drew.

And so I sign in and so I'm literally standing in my amazing spring food plot, check the email, and found out that I drew the Iowa tag. And so I was just like, in this euphoria, whoa. Yeah. I was just in this euphoria of I don't deserve this. This is the best thing ever. And yeah, it was, yeah, like I said, long time coming.

I was fairly positive I was gonna draw but it was, yeah it was absolutely, it was amazing. So

Dan Johnson: That's awesome, dude. Yeah, man I'm happy for you. And so I almost want to ask you a whole bunch of questions. Yeah. Go for it. So you're gonna draw, right? Or are you gonna do the public thing?

You gonna do the outfitting thing? You gonna lease some ground? You you got some permission lined up? What's,

John Hudspeth: what's the deal, man? So I've been exploring all those options. I met a guy [00:15:00] at the a t a show two years ago from Iowa. And he, and I just hit it off. He's been on my show. His uncle has actually come down and been hog hunting on our place.

Yeah. And so he's been telling me all along Hey, when you draw, gimme a call. When you draw, gimme a call. And I drew, I called him it's funny, he answered the phone. This was something I wanted to talk to you about. He answered the phone and he's man, have y'all been as dry as we've been?

And I was like, we've been dry, but not too bad. And he's just oh man. This is terrible. We're in a huge drought and going on and on. And I was like, so what you're telling me is it's a terrible year to draw an Iowa tag. And he kinda paused for a second. He's Did you draw?

I was like, yeah. He's Aw man.

Dan Johnson: It's, we've gotten a lot of rain right here. Oh yeah. I I don't say I wanna say a lot in the last week, but not a lot over the past three months, so it was a dry spring. It was a dry, it's been a dry summer so far. We got corn curl going on the leaves real bad.

We got stunted [00:16:00] growth on soybeans and corn, and so it's not the best. Yeah. But here's what I will say. I've seen worse. Yeah. Okay. I think it was a handful of years ago, we went 63 days without rain. Here in Iowa, and it was hot as balls. And so the corn wa, the yield was way down in certain parts of the state especially out in the western part of the state.

But zone five this year, I would say, we've gotten Okay. Rain and it's got made up for in the last handful of Handful of days. But is it back to normal? Absolutely not. Yeah. But as far as, crops are concerned and deer are concerned, I think you'll be surprised at what potential potentially

John Hudspeth: pops up.

Good. That's encouraging. Cause I was getting a little worried, but back to the original question. So yes, I do have him as a resource. He's pretty much said between him and buddies and stuff, he thinks he can probably get me on a deer. I have still been doing a ton of scouting on public land, just in [00:17:00] case.

Yep. Just in case something happens with him or, his place does get hit with E H D. So I've been on Onyx a ton. I did think about the outfitter route and I had multiple people reach out to me about that. But if I'm being completely honest, I just don't know if I can bring myself to pay somebody.

To put me on a whitetail deer, I just, that's my bread and butter. And this is gonna be something very different for me, but I've just, I've been successful. I've killed some big deer, so I just don't see myself paying for it. So most likely it's gonna be the buddy per on private or public.

Dan Johnson: Hey dude I'll tell you what, ma'am, you're gonna have a great time regardless. Depending on where you go and when you come, I think there, there's, especially in that zone, there is always the opportunity, or I shouldn't say the opportunity, there's always a chance that something giant comes through, that some dough pulls some buck from two miles away into, there's always that could [00:18:00] possibly happen. On top of that, depending on how many days you're gonna commit to this hunt, sounds like once every seven years you're gonna wanna commit a lot of time to it.

Oh, yeah. But, or maybe even multiple trips throughout the year. But I'm gonna tell you this, man, you hunt hard. I really do believe that if you hunt hard and you hunt smart, a one 50 is not out of the question.

John Hudspeth: Yep, yep. And that's first thing I wanted talk about was expectations with that. Yeah. And my first question is, this is Iowa, so which tree do I need to sit in to kill a 200 inch deer?

Because I know that, I'm sure you have 20 or so that you know of. Yeah. Now that's I, I feel like, and I think I might've talked to you about this before I'm in a pretty unique situation where I drew this tag. I'm going to Iowa, but I know realistically I'm probably not going to kill the biggest deer my entire life.

That being said, I think there is a chance I could kill the biggest archery buck of [00:19:00] my life. Yep. But, Oklahoma has tiny little deer non, small antlers and stuff, but I've been pretty fortunate and and so yeah, so I, that's my goal is to yeah. Maybe kill my biggest archery buck.

Which, and what

Dan Johnson: would that be, what would it take to do that? Just

John Hudspeth: over one 40, basically. Oh, yes.

Dan Johnson: Yeah, man, I'm telling you right now, you are, you're gonna run into 140 if you're hunting private ground. If you get on this ground, depending on what kind of pressure, there's a whole bunch of things that could happen.

But I'm just assuming it's gonna be a timber ag mix in zone five, which means that people who own the properties, Are knowledgeable about whitetails, they know they know that they're not gonna be shooting two and three year olds on these farms unless it's like a heavy shotgun drive farm, which could or couldn't, you know?

But might or not, might not be. But what I'm getting at here is I pass, and this sounds like I'm being [00:20:00] cocky, but I pass several three year old one 40 s every single year. Several. Yeah. And so you're gonna have an opportunity, even if it's the last day of your hunt and you haven't had the time, and all of a sudden this one 40 class, three year old walks in 1 45, 10 pointer, man, shoot it.

John Hudspeth: Yep. And that's kinda, I don't know, something I've been battling with myself also is I'm not on my own land. Granted, I will be on somebody else's land, which I feel like I do need to respect their wishes and their goals. I definitely don't see myself killing a two year old, 1 45, 3 year old walks by.

That's gonna be really hard to pass. That's something I could pass on my own land. Yeah. As you mentioned, every seven years, that's gonna be something really hard to pass.

Dan Johnson: And the fact, all this has to be a conversation with the landowner. Hey, what are your expectations?

What can I shoot? It sounds to me like this guy's just gonna let you do whatever you want. If I had to guess, he's gonna be like, Hey man, you go out and you do your hunt. You ha you shoot, whatever makes you happy. Most people are gonna say that [00:21:00] unless you're going to a farm that is already strictly managed for age class.

And then even then, if he says, and we're not shooting three-year-olds, you're definitely gonna get a crack at a four year old. Yeah. If it's managed properly. And Are these guys farmers or are they deer? They're

John Hudspeth: actually ranch deer ranchers. They're actually ranchers and they do some they hunt some, but I don't, I wouldn't say they're super hardcore.

And he sent me some trail cameras, trail camera photos last year of some of amazing bucks,

Dan Johnson: Oh, then, yeah, it sounds to me like if they're not serious hunters, maybe they're shotgun guys, maybe they're late season guys, I don't know. You're gonna get an opportunity at

John Hudspeth: something.

Yeah. That's the hope. That's the hope. Yep. Yep. So I I, again, several questions here. I do, I want, I wanted your opinion on timing, when I should go and I do, you mentioned, not this, I don't get this opportunity every day, so I do plan on taking full week, weekend on each side.

Nine, 10 days is the plan But when to do that. And I'm also [00:22:00] fortunate in this way with my job, I can be fairly flexible. Like I don't have to give my boss a set week, right now. And can't move it, or anything like that. And so my hope is to basically give my boss a date range, be like, Hey, sometime in this, three weeks I'm gonna be gone for a week and kind of, check the weather and play it like that.

That's my hope. I'm not positive, but yeah. I keep having a battle with myself cuz, anytime you watch any of the big hunting celebrity guys, they're all in Iowa and stuff, they always talk about that November 7th that's the magic day. Yep. But I've also heard people, non-residents like myself who are going in there and they're like, man, I avoid that day because everybody goes November 7th.

And so I've had the thought of maybe going a little later letting that first rush go. And, I don't, I know a lot of times the bigger bucks are a little bit more active, maybe the tail end of the rut. I've thought about maybe going a little earlier just the way the year lays out this year.

I think [00:23:00] Halloween's like a Tuesday or something. So I thought about maybe leaving that weekend before and hunting the last couple days of October into the first couple days of November. I, if I truly am on private, maybe I don't have to worry about pressure. And I do go that no, November 7th, no.


Dan Johnson: Yep. It's, it is good for a reason because, and everybody that you're talking to is private land hunting. And so the pressure, especially if it's not a free for all, like I hunt a couple free for all properties and. And so it the, those are the examples of what you're talking about.

Let everybody go in and ruin it basically. Let it recover for a couple days and then go in, in and hunt that later the mid to late November. So here's what I'll say is depending on the pressure situation on this farm and I don't, I mean hunting pressure because in Iowa farming and ranching PR pressure, that doesn't mean anything to me because they're out there all the time.

It's not a [00:24:00] threat to the deer unless they're going in to the timber and chainsawing stuff. And I don't know, just basically look like just taking a four-wheeler in, joy riding in, but most people aren't doing that, if I had to guess. And so I would honestly say that the rut, in my opinion, doesn't kick off until that fifth, sixth, and seventh.

Timeframe for me, and I think what makes the seventh, so a lot of people just assume that the rut starts on November 1st because it's November 1st, right? Everything that I've seen in is that my dough groups aren't coming into heat until the seventh to the 14th timeframe. And so you have the, pretty much the first seven days of November as the pre rut, meaning these bucks are easily callable.

Especially if you see 'em and you can ground them in the dough groups are [00:25:00] still in a non, they're not getting harassed really. They might be getting harassed by some two or three year olds, but that's nothing compared to what they're gonna get a week from then. When every deer in the area is gonna be downwind of them or sent checking them throughout, they're gonna be scattered.

They're gonna start the chaos of the rut, and so that's why I really like the, I personally like the first week of November because of the pre rut feel that I get with it. It's still pre rut and I feel like late October. They're just starting to, they're just starting to get a little fired up.

Unless you know a dough group, but you don't like, you don't know that what the dos are doing on this farm, which I would also suggest that you need to make a a trip up here in, in August or September. Get some cameras out get some scouting done, get in there, [00:26:00] maybe hang a a tree, stand in, in, in a spot so that when you walk in your first day, you can go right into a spot and feel like you're ready for it and not like after running gun the whole time.


John Hudspeth: I like that. I like that. Yeah. Yeah, another thing I meant to mention this earlier with kind of in the expectation things is trying to like, where do I prioritize this trip with the stuff that I have here? Yeah. So like that last weekend of October, Is part of Oklahoma's muzzle loader season.

And traditionally I've had really good luck there. Now, again, it's almost to my benefit as far as this trip is that weekend's a little earlier in October. I think that's like the 27th and eighth or something like that. But then the next weekend is opening of Texas rifle season, and me and my buddies always go to my buddy's lease.

It's like our big deer camp type thing. And so part of me hates to miss that, but again, we keep going back to the every seven year thing. Yeah I do think this is going to take priority. At first I was like, if I [00:27:00] could work around that late, that's where, that maybe later November came in.

Originally it was like I could, have my really good time in Oklahoma or my really good time in Texas and then go to Iowa. But even in this conversation, I'm getting so jazzed up. I'm like, dude, screw that stuff. Let's just

Dan Johnson: go. So the other thing here then is minus the pre-req. Okay. So the pre-req runs into November.

Yeah. November 7th is when it's really in my opinion, starts to heat up. That's when you're seeing the chasing and all that stuff. But there's something that happens, I don't know if you wanna call it post ru or the second half of the ru let's say the 14th to the 20th or the 25th.

Let's just say when you're starting to, you're buttoned up against this Thanksgiving timeframe is. My trail camera picture. My trail cameras have historically seen the biggest bucks on their feet, and this is random deer, including the homebody deer that I [00:28:00] know are cruising at this point. And they're putting on miles.

They're walking around all day long. They may bed down for a little bit and catch your breath, but this is when I'm seeing the big, like the big random deer mature bucks on their feet. And so keep that in the back of your mind as well. Yeah. If you run into a scenario where you decide to do that and nobody else, or that other farm has very little pressure on it from an archery standpoint, that's what I, that's what I would talk with a guy about.

Okay, how many ar, how many acres is it,

John Hudspeth: do you know? I don't know off the top of my head,

Dan Johnson: no. Okay. More than a hundred? Yes. Okay.

John Hudspeth: 500, I wanna say it's around 400 acres. Okay.

Dan Johnson: 400 acres. Okay. How many archery hunters do you currently are gonna be running around on it? Maybe two. Okay, so two including you or just,

John Hudspeth: I, so like the guy hunts it [00:29:00] a little bit and then I think he has a brother who hunts it a little

Dan Johnson: bit.

Okay. Alright. So weekend warrior type type guys. Okay. So on 400 acres, two guys. All right. If, especially I'm guessing if they're not serious, they have field edge stands, they're not going into the timber as much. They might. But it's very limited. And so from that point on, then I would say That, that's no pressure.

And so then you ha the only thing you really have to worry about is first season muzzle loader, which I wouldn't say is a big deal. There and then does he have any ag or is it

John Hudspeth: all cattle? I'm pretty sure they have some ag too. A little bit. Okay.

Dan Johnson: Alright.

And so this might be an opportunity for you to say Hey man, I'll pay I'll pay you $2,000 to leave X amount of crops in. And then you have a backup plan at, for a go to the food and you can hunt [00:30:00] all the way. And they let it slide during the gun season. All the deer come in to this area.

This is just me thinking out loud, I don't know. I don't know the area. I don't know how pressured it gets, how the surrounding farms, but you're in zone five depending on what county it's in. It's like the surrounding guys are gonna be serious deer hunters too,

John Hudspeth: yeah. Yeah. No, for sure. I think they are Yeah, man, I'm getting so jacked.

Just thinking about it, talking about it. I'm gonna, I'm gonna end up going like the first week of October, just cuz I'm too right? You're

Dan Johnson: gonna go opening day and just blow everything

John Hudspeth: out. Uhhuh No. No. You have the right to the best wireless service. Bravado Wireless provides the best mobile, wireless, high speed internet, latest devices and customer service at prices You feel good about Bravado Wireless strives to put these values first and offer you the best wireless service available.

See what they have to or one of their retail [00:31:00] locations in eastern Oklahoma. Let Bravado Wireless connect you to your family, friends, and business partners all over the world. Bravado, wireless, the power of connection. I also wanted to talk about. Because, again, I'll be going in somewhat blind, I'm sure the guy will help me out.

Tell me historically good places I do, I really want to try to make it up there sometime this summer. Not sure if that's going to happen or not. I'm going to Nebraska for opening day September 1st, and so my kind of hope is that I, have some success there early and then maybe just run over.

I know it sounds like it's not that far when you're all things considered, run over to Iowa for a day or two to drive around maybe look at the property if possible. So yeah I hope to have a chance, but I may not. Yeah. And so my next question is, I had a really good talk just two or three weeks ago.

I had a guy on the podcast he's one of my brother's friends, and he's by far in a way, the best public land hunter that I've ever. Met, talked to or anything. [00:32:00] And and I love learning from public land guys, even though I'm mostly a private land guy, because those guys just, they really have to hunt, like they really know what they're doing.

And so listening to him talk, one thing that he said that I wouldn't say it blew my mind, but it's just different than what you hear from a lot of people, especially public land hunters, is he really does not pay that much attention to sign as far as rubs, scrapes and everything, he's all about terrain.

There's so many studies and people studying how deer use the landscape, saddles, pinch points, and that type of stuff. And he basically just relies on that. And he's sure there could be a scrape there, there could not. The deer could hit that scrape. They could not. Most of that's at night anyway.

And so his deal is I just find a spot that I know is good terrain, that deer probably gonna come through, and that's where he hunts. Oh yeah. Would you agree with that? Even in a hundred percent a state like Iowa? Yeah, a hundred percent.

Dan Johnson: A hundred, 100%. Man, I,[00:33:00] usually there's crossover there, right?

There's gonna be sign where deer move through, right? Whether that's a field edge, whether that's a pinch point, whether that's like a ridge or some kind of a bedding area, thick betting area meets open timber edge is where you're gonna find it. Betting areas obviously is where you're gonna find it.

But I'm gonna tell you right now, man, I don't, I like. I don't get as excited about a big rub other than, holy cow, that's a big rub. Something in the area. Did that. I get fired up about that, but I don't usually make a decision of where I'm gonna place a tree stand based off of based off of that particular sign.

Now, if I'm on a field edge that's just destroyed by scrapes cause I've run into a couple scenarios over the years where I walk into the farm and [00:34:00] every branch that hangs over the field has a scrape underneath of it. I'm talking ev and it, every one of them's active. And so I say to myself, okay, I know that studies show that like a majority of the sign is laid at night, scrapes and rubs.

It's done in the dark. So that means nothing to me as a hunter because I can't hunt at night. So I'm moving into the timber off a main trail, off a terrain feature. And so I get more excited about something like a crit crossing, let's say a really well used crit crossing or a or a really heavily used trail leading into where there's some edge of some sort.

Okay. But then you also have to remember that can be misleading because a deer has a deer has four, four legs. And that's four, four prints that walk up and down. And so you take that, times two deer, and now you're talking [00:35:00] about, it's just only two deer, but it looks like there's just a herd coming through there.

And if they're doing that multiple days a week, it could only be, it's only two deer. Yeah. But.

John Hudspeth: I don't know. So I've never thought about that. Deer have four feet when you're looking at tracks, and That's a good point. Yep.

Dan Johnson: Interesting. So it could look like there's a ton there, especially if the same deer are doing it over and over.

But usually heavy trails, crossings, some kind of staging area, like 50 to a hundred yards off of a field edge is where you're gonna find me,

John Hudspeth: man. Yeah. Let's say I find a spot like that, and I know this is the complete opposite of what you like to do, but let's say I find this amazing creek crossing or fall in log that's funneling deer, whatever it might be, pinch point I know this isn't you, but if you're in my situation where I'm coming for a week or whatever, are you gonna set a standup on that feature and just sit there over and over again? A lot of it has

Dan Johnson: to do with [00:36:00] time. A lot of it has to do with what I'm seeing.

You gotta go somewhere to start, right? And if you have eight days, depending on where, like I would almost suggest it if you have not scouted it, if you have no trail camera intel, if you are basically just shooting from the hip, I would, I start out, get an observation, sit in, see where deer are coming out, take a truck, drive the field edges or an ATV or something like that.

Drive the field edges. Look for. Scrapes, look for rubs and then go in from there. And then you look on the topple map and then you say, okay, where are, where's the terrain feature here? And then you have to say, okay, what wind direction can I get away with from an access route? And so you really, what you're doing is you're taking backwards steps to the tree stand that you, you wanna sit because you have to, once you find the tree, [00:37:00] like the area that you need to be, then you have to go, okay, how do I get to it?

Without blowing deer.

John Hudspeth: So Yeah. Yeah, absolutely him. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: So to answer your, yeah. To answer your question, I would do a couple observation sets. Then start getting into the timber based off of what where the deer are

John Hudspeth: coming out. Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, it's gonna be interesting cuz I, I've done a lot of deer hunting, but I've never I've never done a cation, I've never taken a week long whitetail trip.

Like I've never deer hunted eight days in a row, ever. And so I'm really excited cause I'm, I've never been able to do that where I like pick it apart and slowly work my way in and figure things out. It's always two or three days and then I'm gone for five days. And in that five days things usually change, it's, you're either getting closer to the rut or you're getting further away from it.

Yeah. And so I'm really excited about that part. With that two, two things. I do not own a saddle. I've never used a saddle. And this year between going to Nebraska and Iowa, [00:38:00] maybe hunting a little bit more public land here in Oklahoma, I've thought about picking up a saddle. Do you think that'd be smart?

I know you're a tree stand guy. I've always been a tree stand guy. Yeah. Is, would you think it's

Dan Johnson: worth it? I think it's worth it. I think it's another tool. So I would say have your tree stands ready. Also, have your saddles ready. And what I mean by that is if you need to make a move right now, a saddle weighs nothing.

Keep it in your path. Drop down, get up. It get, get set. So the footprint you're leaving behind isn't isn't much. So here's what I would say. If I was you, here's what I would do type of scenario. I would get to this farm in August with about three tree stands, three or four tree stands that you feel, Hey man, these are awesome pinch points.

This is an awesome staging area. And of course August is gonna look a lot different than November. But at least you have something to go to. Then from [00:39:00] there, where the saddle kicks in is, okay, I need to be a 50 yards this way. Grab some more climbing sticks. You get up and with your platform, and if you need to, you can keep those climbing sticks in the tree.

Depending on how much, how many you have. And then just take the platform down and the saddle down every night. And that way the next time you, unless you need to adjust, you can go back to that same tree, hook your saddle up, and then you're in it right away. Yeah. And so I would say each has its place now I'm not the expert saddle hunter yet because I only hunted a couple times last year.

In it. This year I'll definitely be hunting more in it just from the mobility standpoint. And yeah, I'm really looking forward to seeing the benefits from it.

John Hudspeth: Yeah. Okay. I definitely see the benefits. I have a good buddy that has one. Actually I did get in his one time like three feet off the ground, just played around with it.

And so yeah I probably do need to pick one up. Along those same lines, you might laugh. I don't know. Maybe you laugh, maybe [00:40:00] not. I have never in my entire life done an all day sit. Never neither.

Dan Johnson: I, oh, I have, I've done all day sits and they suck. Dude. I hate all day sits.

Yep. I do not like 'em. I, in my experience, like everybody says, oh man, this is what I hear a lot. You're getting out of the woods, man. You're missing so many hours a day. And here's what I'm saying, I've found my success in the pre rut, right? The pre rut is not the rut. The pre rut deer are not.

This is just my experiences on the farms that I hunt. Deer are not on their feet from 11 to two. Yeah. They're just not, unless a storm comes through a coyote, bumps 'em a another human comes in and bumps 'em, farming, whatever. But in the first five days of November yeah, sometimes maybe.

But that's just, those are all exceptions. What I've seen is I [00:41:00] the first, from daybreak to about maybe 9 30, 10 o'clock, and then from about two 30, maybe three o'clock all the way to Dark are the best times to be in. And so if I have I, if I have lock tight access routes, I can feel comfortable getting in out of a tree standing, especially if I'm going back to the same one.

And going to the truck. And what this allows me to do is it allows me to not burn myself out on these hunts. Now, if I have trail camera intel that shows a buck coming through at noon, multiple days in a row, you best believe that at noon I'm gonna be in that tree stand if the, if there's information that points to it.

But there's never, for me, there's never information that points to it. And usually I, knock on wood, I'm tagged out by November 7th anyway. And I don't know, man I, it's always a good backup, but [00:42:00] I'm not,

John Hudspeth: I'm not worried about it. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like for me, one, I'm pretty fidgety person. Oh, same here.

And my back gets tight very easily, and so I just I almost feel like I would be doing more harm than good because I know I'd be having to stand up and stretch and move my arms and I just know I'd be, up flailing when that buck did come by, if it came by. And also I really enjoy midday scouting.

Like Nebraska last year, it's a very similar thing. I had never stepped foot on the property. So yeah, I would hunt in the morning, even though it was September, and then I'd get down, walk around, find sign, and I learned so much from that midday intel. And then it, set up again in the evening.

And again, I only got to hunt two days last year. But yeah. I just see myself being more in that mode. Yeah. I just honestly don't know if I can bring myself to sit in the stand from six to six or whatever it is.

Dan Johnson: I got stuff to do too. I got work to do. I don't wanna bring a laptop in the tree because that just defeats the purpose of [00:43:00] what I'm trying to, what I'm doing.

And that's, I had a really good conversation with a guy yesterday about this. Dude, I, you boil it down. I'm really not even interested in like the hunting aspect of it. I'm just interested in sitting in a tree and watching nature. That is the biggest stress relief for me. And so the strategies fun.

The mature bucks is fun. But when I, when you boil it all down to the most common denominator, man, I'm there to just relax and

John Hudspeth: unwind. Yeah. I love it. And that's, I've been saying all along kinda like I said at the beginning I'm going knowing the, there is a chance I could kill the biggest buck of my life there is.

But I'm going knowing that's probably not going to be the case. I am super excited to just experience in Iowa Rut. Oh yeah, the big bucks, the buck todo ratio, deer everywhere. That's what I'm excited for. I'm ready to see bucks, fight and chase and run all over the place.

Cause I just don't get to experience that here that much.

Dan Johnson: Just [00:44:00] manage those expectations because I've seen two buck fights in 20 years of bow hunting. Okay. So that they just don't do it. Usually the dominant buck steps in, puts his ears back and then the other ones walk away. I don't like the, depending on what county you're in, you I'm not.

I used to, back in the late nineties, early two thousands, I can remember seeing 25, 30 deer a night. I don't see that anymore. Even on late in the late season hunt last year, I did, I saw 70 deer all stacked in too. But that was, that's a unique scenario. But outside of that, you're I'm seeing maybe five to 10 deer and night now.

And they're not running all over the place. You will get some young bucks has and some dos, but just manage those expectations. Like it's, you're, you have the potential to see something big and mature, but [00:45:00] still doing what deer do in all states. Walking around on, in, in the landscape.

It's just that it's gonna be le they're gonna be less pressured and they're gonna, you're gonna have a potential for an higher, a higher aid

John Hudspeth: structure. Gotcha. Gotcha. All right. Thank you for the warning. Thank you for the warning.

Dan Johnson: That's. People have these, this vision of what Iowa is supposed to be.

And unless you're hunting the Dre or Koski or the Kiski or the Lindsey Farms yeah. You're gonna see that crazy shit. But you won't, like I hunt in a primo county in a primo neighborhood, and I still don't see that. Like it's way more than the other farm that I hunted in in my main farm that I've been hunting for the most.

But even this new farm last year, it, they weren't just, they were there and I could see 'em, but they weren't going crazy like what on these other farms.

John Hudspeth: Yeah. Okay. All right. I know I don't wanna keep you too long, but I do have one more question for you. An important question for [00:46:00] me.

Yep. Being a a warm weather boy. Yep. Yep. What should I expect weather-wise, temperature-wise? And I know that's gonna vary a little bit year to year, but generally across the board. What should I expect?

Dan Johnson: Here's what you want. Here's what I'll tell you. You want a gigantic 24 Whenever you decide to come, here's what you hope happens.

You want a week of like high sixties, low seventies to happen, then you want a, like a 24 to 48 hour, I'm gonna say, I'm gonna say 48 hour rain event to happen where it just rains for two days straight, shitty, windy, bad weather. And then you want it to break. And the second that, that last raindrop hits and hopefully the high that day is gonna be like, 35 to 40 degrees bright sunny day, you want to be in [00:47:00] a tree stand.

The, that within the first 24 hours outside of that deer are on their feet. They're moving back and forth. They've been bedded down for two straight days. They may get up and move a little bit, but they're not stretching their legs. They're not comfortable. And man, if you like the, what you want is to have that 40 degree.

But one of the biggest bucks I've ever saw, I've ever seen while in a tree stand, it was 75 degrees on November 5th or four fourth or fifth or something like that. Yeah. And so he was coming through in a pinch point a at three 30 in the afternoon. And he got down wind to me and jimmied on me.

But but yeah, man, you want. You, it can I wish I could tell you what, what to expect as far as weather's concerned. But here's what you could expect. You could expect it to be 80, or you could expect it to be negative 12. Yeah. I've hunted the rut when it's been in the seventies and eighties.

I've hunted ruts where it was the high was negative 12

John Hudspeth: [00:48:00] So that's the part I was curious about. Yeah. Cause down here, same thing. Bring everything. Yeah, exactly. Last time I brought everything on a hunting trip, I got my truck stolen, but I'm gonna do it again.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. We don't have we got stuff like that, but you're not gonna run into too many Yeah.

Denvers in Iowa. Yeah. We do have a Denver, Iowa, and they have a from my understanding, they have a really good restaurant that has really good tender loins and tacos. Good to

John Hudspeth: know. Good to

Dan Johnson: know. No, you won't be anywhere around that place. Oh, okay. Just gotcha. In case you ever drive by it.

John Hudspeth: All right.

All right. But yeah, obviously it's the same everywhere. You never know what to expect. It's been hot, it's been cold, but, I wasn't sure if a cold day in early November was 20, or if it could be zero.

Dan Johnson: Yeah. It could be. Here's what I would, here's, if I could have every day be the same, I would want the overnight to go below freezing in the high twenties maybe even the high teens.

And then it gets to the 35, [00:49:00] the high of the day is 35 or 40, so the mornings are really cold. The, the afternoons you can go in like a hoodie maybe a jacket, and then by the end of the night you're bundled. Yeah, because that's those are what I love the most this year. This the sun was coming up, it was behind the clouds a little bit, but man, it was like the high that day was 45 when I the day

John Hudspeth: I shot my buck.

Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah, like I said, I was just curious, like if it hits zero here ever, that's a huge deal. Like I, I think I've seen negative temperatures maybe twice in my life down here at Yeah. And that time in November, if it gets below freezing, that's pretty cold for that time of year.

We, we normally don't get our super cold weather till January, February maybe even March. Yep. So I just, wasn't sure if I need to be prepared for 30 or for

Dan Johnson: zero. Just be prepared for everything.

John Hudspeth: All right. Yeah, I'll probably bring it all. So yeah, bring it all. Cool, man. Like I said, I wanna be [00:50:00] respectful of your time.

Anything I'm missing, any last minute tips? If you wanna send me some onyx points to those 200 inch deer, that'd be great. But anything I'm missing?

Dan Johnson: I'm trying to, I'm trying to think, 200 inches this magic number, right?

John Hudspeth: I'll tell you this, I'll tell you this. If I kill 150 inch deer, like I'm going to be ecstatic.

Dan Johnson: I'll help you come drag it out. Yeah. Okay. I'll help you come up. There's a chance I'm in the same because I hunt zone five, so just depending on what county it's in I'll be able to hop in my truck and come help you

John Hudspeth: out, man. That'd be awesome. That'd be awesome. I'd buy you one of those bush lights.

You mid Midwest are always drinking.

Dan Johnson: Oh, buddy. I will Water. What I guess, oh, 200. So I've seen, I'm trying to think. In my entire life, I've seen 1, 2, 3,

let's see. In the tree stand I've seen one, two. Three, [00:51:00] 200 inches and driving from the road, I've seen two more. So five total, 200 inches. And the one was a no doubter. In the early two thousands, I think it was when I was hunting, it was a no doubter. It was probably I'll just say it. I'm guessing it would compete with a world record whitetail.

It was typical whitetail. It was ridiculous. Yeah. And and that many, they just don't get that high. They just don't get that big, the, like the magic number. If you see a Boer, if you see a one 70 class, that's a gigantic animal. Oh yeah. Even one 50 s, man, I got a 1 54 downstairs on my wall.

He is, he's got, it's a nine pointer, great mass, gorgeous animal. And I have another one that's, I haven't measured him, but I'm guessing he's about one 50 low, one 50 s. He's got a 24 inch spread as an eight pointer. And he's gorgeous too. And I'm shooting those deer, those types of deer every single year unless something happens to where I can start managing my own properties.

But I'm [00:52:00] not gonna, I'm not passing one 50 s dude. Yeah.

John Hudspeth: Oh, me neither. And one thing that I know I'm gonna struggle with, not like I'm pretty good at scoring deer. I don't think I'd get too crazy excited. Anything but judging age I think is gonna be difficult for me because, I, in the area I'm in, we have, I would say bigger than average deer for Oklahoma, Texas, anywhere in the south.

Like our deer get pretty good body size, but I don't think we're getting Iowa big. And so I think that's gonna be something I struggle with is agent Deer, which again, I'm not too awful concerned about it because Yeah. It's not like I'm trying to manage the deer or anything, but but again, if I am on private land trying to be respectful I wanna be somewhat conscious of it.

But yeah I'm just excited.

Dan Johnson: Oh, I think as I think you should be, dude, it's gonna be fun. Make sure you stop at a Casey's, get some breakfast pizzas. I will get some tenderloins. You might actually put on weight on this hunting trip.

John Hudspeth: I don't need to do that anymore, but I no. I did I, I went to, oh gosh.

My, [00:53:00] my uncle was doing something in Indiana a couple years ago and he paid me like a thousand bucks to go to fly up there and just sit in a rental car in front of this building for two days. They just like, basically signed for deliveries and stuff like that. And I remember I passed a Casey's and I like flipped around U-turn, slammed on the brakes, locked it up like I gotta get some Casey's pizza.

Cause I hear about it all the time. Northern Oklahoma actually has Casey's. I just Oh really? Yeah. I just don't go up there very much. But yeah. So it's still special to me, man, I've taken up enough of your time. So I I wanna let you go here, but real quick before I let you go, if people want to listen to your podcast or learn more about the Sportsman's Empire, where do they need to go?


Dan Johnson: need to go to Nine Finger Chronicles or they need to go to Sportsman's Empire. And just Google it and it'll take you to wherever you need to

John Hudspeth: go. Awesome. Awesome. Cool, Dan, thank you very much. Go listen to Dan's show and until next time, we will talk to you later. Ladies and gentlemen, the [00:54:00] emperor himself.

Thank you Dan Johnson for coming on the show, talking a little Iowa with me. Great conversation. That's exactly what I was expecting and hoping to get out of it. I feel like some areas you were honest, maybe brought me down a peg or two, but then I also feel like other areas you encouraged me and brought me up, brought my excitement up a little bit.

And so I'm just ready, I'm so ready for dear season right around the corner. It's time to get those trail cameras out, like I said at the beginning and let's stinking go. So happy 4th of July. Everybody. Thank y'all for listening to this show, and until next time, I will see y'all right back here on.

The Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast.[00:55:00]