Talking With The Turkey God Himself, Dan Johnson

Show Notes

We are in for a treat in this week's episode of the Missouri Woods & Water podcast.  Nate gets a chance to talk with Dan Johnson, host of the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast among others and owner of the Sportmen's Empire Podcast Network about his short but effective turkey season this year.  Dan gets into his story from this year and his history with turkey hunting overall.  We then get into some of the issues both of us have this time of year being able to turkey hunt with all of our commitments and busy schedules.  We also talk about our upcoming deer seasons and how both of us get amped up about this time for deer as spring breaks totally through and whitetails start taking over our thoughts again.  Thanks for listening!

Check out the MWW Website for shows, partner discounts, and more!!!

Show Transcript

Nate Thomas: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast. I'm your host, Nate Thomas, flying solo today. Got lucky enough to finally have Dan Johnson, nine Finger Chronicles the the owner of Sportsman's Empire Network on with me. Actually we joke about it in the show. It's the first time Dan's ever been on our show for some reason, but we did finally get together and talk about some turkeys.

Really. It's a little bit of a BS session not too much. We talk mostly about turkeys. Dan. Basically just washed out in the woods and killed himself Turkey. He's the best Turkey hunter of all time apparently. So we talk about that [00:01:00] story talk about the pull in both of our lives this time of year where we get pulled in a bunch of different directions with family spring white tail turkeys, coyotes for myself, all these different ways we're getting pulled and how Turkey hunting sometimes gets, put on the back burner for a lot of us especially me, Dan's had that happen to him.

So we talk about the balance there and then we get a little bit into whitetail hunting also, which is really what I start thinking about. Basically as soon as grass starts growing, I start thinking about antler growth and that sort of stuff. So we talk about that sort of stuff too. And we even talk about having a shitty knee.

Dan and I both. Suffer from horrible knees and he's talking about a knee replacement and we get into that even. So it's a good about 45, 50 minute long episode with Dan. And it's a good time and I enjoy talking with him. So I appreciate, wanna thank Dan for coming on and doing what he [00:02:00] does for our podcast as well as all the podcasts on the network.

Let's get into some sponsors before we hop into today's show, talking about Antler growth. So you're gonna want to put out your Lucky Buck Mineral. I already dropped mine in the beginning of April. Got another one coming. Actually, by the time y'all hear this show, it'll probably already be out. So make sure you check out lucky buck

It's really an affordable way. We've talked about it in our show before. We used to mix our own stuff and do all this, stuff. Six bucks, five to six buckets of Lucky Buck a year. We'll suck a your deer. All year. So it's an easier way to go now, man, I just, I stop by the store and I get myself a bucket and move on.

So check 'em out. Lucky buck Rivers, edge tree stands, use the code Missouri, 10 for 10% off, plus free shipping on hang ons or ladders, which is a huge savings by the way, in shipping [00:03:00] I just got a shipment last week. Micah took a picture. I don't know what he did with it. He helped me unload everything.

I've got four double ladder stands to put together this year so that I can get the boys out in more places. This year is my goal right now, I've only got one, two man, and then one like double hang on, set up that they can go hunting in and it just makes it to where they don't get to go with me as much as I'd like.

Bought some doubles and I gotta put the damn things together. That's the only bad thing about buying tree stands is putting 'em together. So check 'em out though. Rivers edge tree stands got a lot of options for comfort, that's for sure. Athlon optics, really good optics. I'm not gonna say the word and really good prices.

You can't really go wrong with any of their stuff. I personally run the Midas Tack and the Aries E t r e H D. Those are the two I would run right now, but I would put any of their scopes on one of my guns. I like their higher end stuff just because it [00:04:00] isn't that expensive in the first place. That's the best part.

Even their higher end stuff is a affordable price. So check out Athlon optics. Athlon optics. Find a dealer near you. If you don't know one, get ahold of us. We'll help you find a good one. Weber Outfitters. Speaking of Athlon dealers, they're one Weber Outfitters is a a bow and gun shop out in Hawk Point, Missouri.

They carry pretty much everything. I would guess. In the next few weeks you're gonna be hearing a show with them. We still haven't figured out when we're gonna go out there, but like I've talked about, I'm gonna be getting a new bow for the first time in, I would say at least seven years without actually doing the math.

I've been shooting a 2011 bot tech assassin for a long time. Love that bow, but I'm trying to spread my wings and find something new. Weber Outfitters is gonna help me with that. They carry pretty much every bow brand you can think of. All the big boys that are [00:05:00] out there for the most part, they carry.

And they also got a gun shop if you're looking for that and all kinds of different archery stuff. They've got a full archery staff that know what they're doing to help you out with your bows as well as an indoor range. And I think an outdoor range might be coming at some point.

Sounds like maybe. So check 'em out. Weber Outfitters, Merell Targets. Don't know what else to say. If you don't know who Merrell targets are, you're probably living under rock. They make some awesome targets. They've got, for me the rollers, the high roller targets are my favorite. You can throw 'em in the back of a truck when you're going out to Colorado anywhere in the backyard.

And what I like about having that dice set up is you can just throw it and let it roll and where it. Where it lands is where you shoot. I've done that game before with myself and it's a pretty cool setup. So check out Merl targets, merl and I would say it's probably time to be, having those out there and shooting your bow.

So check 'em out. Who [00:06:00] else I got here? Midwest Gun Works. Use our code Woods Water for 5% off. Put the guns away a little bit, actually over the last few months after all the cow hunting we've been doing, which is fine. But. It's about that time. I wanna go Kyle hunting again already.

I've talked about it with pups sitting the ground. It's gonna be about time to do stuff. I think Tory Cook is gonna be on our show pretty soon. He's probably gonna get me all fired up and within a few days after talking to him, I'll probably be back out trying to get some some coyotes with pups on the ground to get pissed off.

So check out Midwest Gun Works, guns, parts. You name it, it's out there. That code is good for anything on their site, including ammo. So check 'em out. Midwest Gun OnX, use the code M WW 20 for 20% off. That's the number one hunting app out there for a reason. Use it. I use it almost all the time.

Like Micah says, he uses it every day for work. Hop on their website, use that code, save 20% [00:07:00] off and then you can, have every state out there if you'd like, or just Missouri, whatever state you're in. And then finally, black Ovis and Camo Fire. Use our code Mww 10 on black for 10% off.

They sell pretty much everything. I've got a lot of stuff on my wishlist that I'm probably gonna be looking at getting at some point. I always procrastinate Pussy foot around and then I wish I'd already bought it. So I'm trying this year to figure out what it is I want and go ahead and do it, which I probably still won't do, but that's the hope.

And then Camel Fire, you know what it is? Flash sale daily stuff. Resets every single day, every 24 hours, you got new deals. I'm not gonna get on the website today and go through it, but it's on there. We talked about some cool sunglasses on there last week. If you're looking to save some money and you're not really positive how much something cost or if you don't even really know what you want, that's what Camou Fire does to me.

Dude, I'll get on there and [00:08:00] I'll be scrolling. I'll be like, oh, that's cool. That's what I like about it because it's not that much stuff. Each day. I don't know how many items are on there, but it can't be more than like 30 every day. And so it, it's not overwhelming. You scroll through it, you check out what it is you might like and you move on.

You buy some stuff, you might not. And that's what I love about Cam Fire. So check 'em out. And that's our sponsors appreciate them all for doing what they do for us. And then before we get in, make sure you check out our new website, Missouri Woods and Just launched last week or the week before, maybe three weeks ago.

I don't know. Somewhere in there. And the biggest thing we're trying to do is have one spot for everybody to go check us out. You can check out our podcast there. Learn more about us. Our gearbox page is gonna be pretty cool. We're gonna, each one of us is gonna tell basically everybody what it is we use from.

I don't know, boots to [00:09:00] arrows to the bow. We use broadheads, we like I'm probably even gonna build out like broadheads I, like I use now and other broadheads I have used in the past and liked. Because it doesn't necessarily mean that a broadhead I'm not using anymore isn't one that I didn't like, so I might even include that in my gearbox too.

So it's gonna be something where you can do some extra research on if you're looking for new stuff. So check it out. And then eventually we're gonna have links to our YouTube channel that'll have reviews of each of those items. But that's gonna take time and I don't have that much of it, but it will eventually happen.

So check out our website. Appreciate everybody for listening. Let's hop into today's show with Dan Johnson, the Turkey. God. This is the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast.

Okay. With me today is the Emperor himself. We'll talk about that name in a second. Dan Johnson with the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast among [00:10:00] others. How's it going buddy?

Dan Johnson: Going good. It's always good to talk to you, Nate, you you brighten my day every time we talk.

Nate Thomas: That makes me sad for you.

What do you think about the term, the emperor term that you've been given?

Dan Johnson: I, it is what it is. It's better than dumb ass, right? It's true. It's true. Or asshole, or, I could just keep going and list a whole bunch of names that, that is better than, yeah. But yeah, I don't know who started it, but I guess it, it doesn't suck.

Nate Thomas: I would either blame Josh Rayley or Andrew Muntz on that. I don't know Andrew for sure. But it sounds like one of them twos would've been the one that started that term. That's what I'm, that's what I'm gonna go with. But who knows? Could have been Nick Otto, you knows. Could have been Nick.

He's a real dick. Could've been Nick. He's a real dick.

Dan Johnson: Oh yeah. Yeah. I betcha he's never been called that

Nate Thomas: before. Never in his life. Never. Or just now. Never in his life. And

Dan Johnson: it was ingest Nick. He's dude, he is literally that guy, man. There, there was a movie once where the guy, like [00:11:00] he, the guy the main character was a big asshole.

And then he moved next door to, in this new community. And the neighbor was just this friendly, really nice guy. And so the asshole kept taking advantage of him, but the neighbor was still kind and nice and generous to him all the time. And and that reminds me of Nick just sounds about right.

Like a dude who was like, dude, I got a major sunburn. Can I get your shirt? Oh yeah. Here, take my shirt.

Nate Thomas: Yeah. Like when you get angry and yell at somebody, if you're in the presence of Nick, you feel worse about yourself because he would not have done that.

Dan Johnson: Exactly. Yeah.

He is who I'm trying to be.

Nate Thomas: I'm not, because I know I'll never make it there.

Dan Johnson: You just given up. Yep. You've just given up. I don't need to try. It's

Nate Thomas: not gonna work. Shout out Nick Otto, by the way. Yeah. The Hunter War podcast. The Hunter War podcast. Yeah. Another thing I just, before we get into today's topic, another thing I noticed was this will be episode number 1 57 for the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast.

[00:12:00] Okay. And the first time we've had Dan Johnson on our show. Really? I wasn't on before. Never. I've been on your show. This is what you're probably thinking. I've been on your show several times. Okay. And I keep, like when that happens, I'm like, oh, cool. I was, I had, Dan and I have talked, I went back and looked.

You have never been on our show one time. Okay.

Dan Johnson: So I'm making a note right here. Yeah. That I'm, go ahead. I'm gonna kick you off the network. Do that because lack of. Lack of exposure

Nate Thomas: for me, lack of communication, lack of, exactly.

Dan Johnson: Yep. I'm the emperor dude. I should be on, I should have a guest slot on every one of your podcasts.

Every other week. Should be Dan Johnson

Nate Thomas: every other week. Yeah. Yeah. Jesus. People don't want that. I did look at so I, before shows, I go through and I'll look at previous shows and tell people, Hey, this person was on episode 56 for this. Yeah. I went through our entire list. I'm like, where the f is my show with Dan?

So then I went back through your list and they're all [00:13:00] on your show. It was all Okay. Yeah. It's interesting, but yeah, so sorry about Mr. Emperor. Don't don't decapitate me with a no,

Dan Johnson: you're good. You're good. I'll just probably steal your children. That's all

Nate Thomas: right. You can have 'em.

Hey I've met your, I've met your kids. And if your kids and my kids got together, you would want to kill yourself in a

Dan Johnson: matter of Yeah, I'd be, there'd be problems there. There would be like something either really cool would happen, like something amazing would've been built in the backyard.

Hey, look at, we made an extension in the tree house or a garage would start on fire, the ladder. Those are two, two things.

Nate Thomas: Yeah. The ladder more likely. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. You're, I think it's your youngest son and my middle son Chase would cause issues I think. Okay. Yeah. They look like they're both just mischievous little dudes.

Dan Johnson: We may have to get them

Nate Thomas: together at some point. Oh, it would be fun. It would be fun. All right. Mr. Turkey Killer himself. This is gonna come out [00:14:00] sometime early May, so it's gonna be in, in the middle towards the end of our Turkey season in Missouri. I don't know what the hell it's like up in Iowa, but You just said, I'm gonna go kill a Turkey.

And then you made it sounds like. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: Yep. Yep. When you're when you're as good as me and you have the woodsmanship that I have, and you have the skills that I have the intuition that I have are there any other words that I need to put in there? Douchiness. Douchiness, yes, that's a big one.

You have the douch. The douchiness that I have. You can go out and you can be successful. Especially during the Turkey season. It's so easy. Anybody can do it. If I can do it, anybody can.

Nate Thomas: So does that mean I'm a loser since I haven't done it?

Dan Johnson: Yeah, I did. Duh

Nate Thomas: I guess you have to, you gotta go Turkey hunting for it to happen, but

Dan Johnson: Exactly.

I went Turkey hunting for about 15 minutes and it took me longer to walk out and walk back to my truck, the 300 [00:15:00] yards. Than it did for the actual hunt to unfold.

Nate Thomas: That's funny. Did you do any scouting or anything the night before you went? Or you were just like, Hey, this is my farm. It's 30 minutes from the house or whatever, and I'm gonna go Turkey hunt and see what happens.

Dan Johnson: Here's the thought process that I had going into the, this hunt last year. I saw a Turkey in this field, therefore, I will go to this field again. And that is all, that's the only thinking that I did, as far as strategy for leading up to that hunt. It was like my brain was shut off, right?

It was like I got up at four in the morning. I got out there, I started Dr. I, I rolled the windows down. It was nice out. The weather was beautiful. I had the windows down. I was drinking my coffee. I was watching the sun come up just a little bit, and I said I better get better. Start walking.

And I was in, I was at the [00:16:00] farmhouse, shut my door, had rolled my windows up, shut my door, hadn't my gun, leaning against the truck. And I heard a gobble, and I heard this gobble eventually back where I was planning on going where I ultimately killed this bird at. But the crazy part was, it was the earliest I had ever heard a gobble.

The sun was the, it was just barely light in to the east, and it was, I was like, man, that's strange. I didn't like slam my door so hard that there was a shock, like a shot gobble. And you just, like when it was, even before the songbird started chirping there's this one bird that sounds like.

Do you know what bird I'm talking about?

Nate Thomas: I don't know why that sound didn't come through the speaker. I'm gonna, okay. Yeah. I wish I could hear, I'm gonna try,

Dan Johnson: I'm gonna try it one more time.

Nate Thomas: Okay.

I'm really pissed off that my speaker's not picking that up. Oh

Dan Johnson: man. It's but [00:17:00] it's less like a motorcycle and more like a bird, if that makes sense. Yeah. So anyway, this was way before that guy. Those birds even start to, to sound off. Like there was maybe one or two owl hoots, but that was it. And so he gobbled that located him for me, and I was still standing at my truck.

And then, so I started walking down this field edge. And the sun's starting to come up a little bit, right? It's starting to get a little lighter. We're in this, we're in the gray light period. And so I stop, set my gun down, get my calls out, and I'm just kinda waiting. Usually I wait for at least the songbirds to start.

Songbirds started to chirp a little bit. I heard an owl hoot in the distance, so I'm like, ah, I'm just gonna start soft calling these. He like with on my slate call. And instantly no gobbles, but another hen responded right away back to me. And every time that I called, she would respond, call respond, call, respond.[00:18:00]

And then another hen would chirp up and call respond. But n there was no gobbles. And so I had a like a full strut decoy that I brought with me and I said I'm gonna walk down this two track to this other field. It's like this secluded, hidden field. Walked down this two track and I started calling a little bit again.

That hen responded, but there was no gobbles. So I'm like it's just a couple hens back here. I'm gonna, I'm gonna go a different direction, down a different path and head to the same field, but from a different direction and set up way, way back there. And I know more than took a step backwards and turned around to walk back up the hill.

And two Toms sounded two, two gobbles from the same area. These hens rat, but just like a little further back. And so I literally walked 15 yards further down that two track. I put my bol strut decoy [00:19:00] right in the center, and it was like a, it's a mini, it's like it's, the decoy is shrunk down. It's not, doesn't look like a full blown Turkey.

It's like a mini Turkey. And so I put it right in the middle of the two track. I sat behind a multifier rosebush with on my, with my Turkey vest that kind of has a chair built into it. Yeah. So I can lean back and I sat there and I started calling a little bit really like just soft calling.

And every once in a while this Tom would respond and it was like, you know how you can tell it? It's a Jake they, it's like they're coughing almost to get their,

Nate Thomas: it's like they're trying their hardest to get it out. Exactly.

Dan Johnson: Versus a mature tom that's just, like ripping 'em off. And so I knew this guy.

I, I knew there was one mature Tom in there and I knew there was probably one Jake back there based off of just the two gobbles that I heard. Anyway one hand in a tree sees me and she's she starts to get nervous, but she doesn't start [00:20:00] plucking. And so I sit down and I think what happened was I sat down.

And calmed. She calmed down cuz she was still in the tree and I stopped moving. And so the other two hens that were further to the east of me, they were really they were going crazy. These hens were, they did not like the fact that I was there. Every time I started calling, they were just on me.

I, again, they would respond and then that would made, and they're still in the roost at that time? Yep. Everybody's still on the roost at this time. Sun starts coming up and the hand, the first hand that I saw, the one that didn't respond at all, the one that saw me, she flew down and was walking parallel to me.

And then sh she walked a complete opposite direction and I said, ah, those Toms are gonna fly down and they're gonna follow her. Meanwhile, the other two hens are in the tree. They continue to go. They fly down and they're talking the whole [00:21:00] time. They're chirping back and forth with each other.

And so I just calmed down just a little bit on my calling and they eventually started walking away. Now the thing that I think saved me in this instance, and so the Toms weren't following those hens and they came to my call, is that this particular property, four foot and up four or four foot and down is thick, nasty, wallflower rose, old cattle pasture, just like high stem count, thorny.

You can't see very yeah. You're just really if you get on your knees, you can't see shit. And so I think that's what actually saved me because they worked their way out. Then the Toms flew down, he gobbled once in the valley. In this big drainage and they, once they fly down, they sound like they're further away cuz there's a whole bunch of land and you can hear the [00:22:00] echo from the different ridges and things like that.

And so the, then the hens shut up. I started calling again and I think what happened is he just thought I was them. And so he gobbled once in the bottom, I called. Nothing happened. I called again. Nothing happened. He closed probably a hundred yards really quick and gobbled one more time, right inside the timber.

I called. I called one more time. He gobbled one more time. And this time I knew he was facing me cuz you could hear every little detail. You could feel it detail, you could feel it. Yeah, I mean he was close. He was probably 60 yards. And I was sitting on the corner of a two track that kind of took a 90 degree turn.

And I knew he was coming my way, so I stopped and all of a sudden I see this lone Tom just puff up, go down, take five steps, puff up, [00:23:00] come down, take five steps, puff up, come down. And he gobbled one more time facing right at me. And then he came outta strut, walked maybe five more feet and I just, I hit him with everything.

I, he was he was probably at 20 yard, 25 or 30 yards. And I, he took, I feel like he took every single bullet I had in my, like he just took it and he went straight down. He didn't even flop. It was over for him. I looked at my phone and it was six twenty five in the morning. It was almost to the point where like he had a white head.

And so the white head was in, in this gray light, in this really low light condition. It was legal shooting light, but we're still in this thick timber in between two fields. Yep. So there's still a lot of shadows and things like that. And so it was his white head that was the perfect target in all that darkness.

And I smoked him and [00:24:00] man, I got back to my truck and my coffee was still hot. And that, that, that's that is, that's the ba that is literally the best, is when you can walk out on day one or in the first hunt of the season, get the job done. And then now my, now I'm not even thinking about turkeys anymore, I just wanna go shoot a deer.

Nate Thomas: Yeah. So that's, first off, congrats. And I, I think a lot of that was when he flew down. Maybe he didn't see the hens that, went the opposite direction. So when you called. If they didn't call back, that might've saved you just as much. Because he thought they were where you were, which is where they were roosted.

Yep, yep. You know what I'm saying? That's where they were roosted at. That would make sense that he thought they were there, but he, they weren't. It was you. Yep.

Dan Johnson: Yep. The cool part, the, and I, this is the first time I've ever seen this happen in my God, however many years I've been a tricky hunter.

I dropped this Tom, and then, I don't remember if it was three or four. Jakes came over to [00:25:00] him and started jumping on his head and pecking at him and beating him up and I wish my wife would've been there or I would've been there and I could've taken the, taken the gun and, or, two of us could've been there and tagged out.

But it was cool to see, that, and they heard the gun go off, but there's, it's crazy how there's that. Reaction in those animals to disregard everything and then go and try to defeat the injured bird. Yeah. It blows my mind. Defeat

Nate Thomas: The hierarchy. Yeah. I really

Dan Johnson: take over and be the dominant, the dominant breeder.


Nate Thomas: We'll get into this guy in a minute, Paul Campbell, but he, they were on our show and he was talking about turkeys a while ago, and the topic of reaping came up, which I don't wanna talk about. Oh yeah. But the topic of reaping came up and he's a against it, and Yep. One of the reasons he says is you get these four, five year old birds [00:26:00] that are impossible to kill otherwise, and you kill 'em.

Because they just, they have to come beat up what you're attempting to be. And if they're the, let's say there's 10 males in this area and you kill the top male, it takes time to reset that hierarchy. Who's gonna be the number one male? And during that time, breeding's not happening. And so that, that could actually negatively affect the population more than anything, right?

So it, when that number one bird gets killed, or a bird that's higher up on the food chain than those Jakes were, it's almost like they have to say, oh, I can beat him now. They don't realize he's dead, probably. They just think he's beatable at the moment. And they don't give a shit that there's a 6 2, 250 pound dude standing in front of him, with a gun.

They're just like, I'm gonna beat this guy up. Which you do have to tip your hat to him, they got, at least I got the desire to win. Yeah, for sure.

Dan Johnson: But for

Nate Thomas: sure. [00:27:00] So to the listeners, and they know this on my show, I haven't been Turkey hunting. Okay. Two reasons. I don't have turkeys where I'm at and, okay.

I don't know if I should feel guilty about this. I feel like you are a similar mindset as me, but man, I just, I feel guilty that I don't give a shit about Turkey hunting as much as other people do. I'm not saying I don't like it, but right around this time of year, I start thinking about the second animal you just brought up two minutes ago.

Yeah. Which is whitetails. Yeah. How do you handle that in your life? There's some people that, like Paul Campbell, my gosh, man, that's all he thinks about is turkeys. Yeah, it is. Yep. Prime season. Like it's go time right now. There's, it's his rut and it's his rut. And I'm just like, yeah. If a Turkey showed up at the farm I'm at, I might go hunt 'em.

Yeah. I don't know,

Dan Johnson: man. It's, it's one of those people just have preferences for [00:28:00] certain things. Like some guys like butts, some guys like boobs, some guys like deer, some guys like turkeys. Man I don't know. It's it's just preference and people get their kicks in different ways.

And this year though, I will say, talking with some of the people that I've talked to, talking with Paul, talking with Parker a little bit. Yeah. Talking with Josh and just listening to them talk about Turkey hunting, it got me fired up a little bit to go. And the fact that I took my daughter out during youth season, and man, we were this close, all he needed to do was step out behind this tree.

And he was, if she would've made the shot, he would've been a, he would've been toast. Yeah. Outside of that, I was like, you know what? I'm gonna give it a try this year. I know I'm not gonna be able to go down to my main farm that I've hunted for all these years, but I will, I still the farm that I'm in, the process of losing hasn't been sold yet, and the landowner said I can hunt it until it's sold.

And so actually later today, [00:29:00] I'm getting ready to go out there and go look for some mushrooms. But but so it was, it's, it was just the opening day. I didn't go out because I had stuff to do the next morning. I actually, I had to be back here for a phone call at 10 o'clock that morning.

So it, it wasn't like, I hadn't planned anything huge. It was go till nine and then go back home. And then the next morning I was gonna do the same thing, and that was gonna be my Turkey season, right? For 28 50 here in Iowa. The resident, my resident, Turkey tag, shotgun tag. I felt Hey, I might as well just go buy it.

Give it a shot, go do it. Yeah, give it a shot. 15 minutes from my house. And luckily it all worked out. And now I can say I'm the best Turkey hunter in the world because of what I've accomplished and shut that part of my brain off and go into whitetail mode, man, per

Nate Thomas: capita. That might be true.

You probably spent the [00:30:00] least amount of times in the woods. Yep. And you have a time to show for it. So I guess that could be, that'd be, could be correct. And don't get me wrong, dude, if the farms I hunt had turkeys on 'em the sun would change everything. Yeah. If, because he's asked me during our youth season, he even, he asked, do we, is there any turkeys?

We can go hunt? And, I was like, dude, there's nothing there. We can go if you want, but you're not west Central Missouri. Yeah, west Central. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: Okay. West central Missouri. Man, I thought for some reason, Missouri was a Turkey state. It has been Turkey like. Yeah. And so you guys are, all right.

So in Iowa, the past, I'm gonna say seven years, five to seven years, Turkey hunting, in my opinion, has been way down. The number of birds that I've heard and seen has been way down This year has been the first year [00:31:00] where I feel like the animal has taken a turn for I can remember this. Man, it was one morning I got up and I drove around and I saw six strutting toms out in the fields.

And then when I went with my daughter, man, we heard turkeys gobbling all over the place. And then when I went, I heard turkeys in several in several areas sounding off, not on the farm that I was at, but on different farms. And so I was like, man, I felt good about the direction. Maybe they're making a bit of a rebound now.

But I also thought that Missouri was one of the top states in the nation as far as Turkey was concerned. Like you guys in Tennessee? Yeah. Were the two top Turkey hunting states in the nation. I would say

Nate Thomas: it still is. You gotta take what I just said with context too. Because when we're coyote hunting, And, a lot of times in those very early mornings where we're set up right at that first light when you let out a coyote, how you'll get a [00:32:00] lot of gobbles outta trees.

Okay. Because it's just like that sh just like a hoot. An hoot or whatever. Yep. The context that I have to give is, there's plenty of turkeys around me. Yeah. The two farms that I hunt just are the worst setups for a Turkey. And one of 'em actually just got worse. You were talking about losing your farm.

I feel like I'm about to lose my farm that I've been hunting on forever. The two farms to the south of that farm were just purchased and I don't know, a month and a half after those farms were pur purchased, every single tree that was on those farms disappeared. Oh, they logged it right away.

They didn't even log it. They logged it. Sure. But then they also just bulldozed everything and now it's gonna be, more crops. So not only did that kill the Turkey possibilities I think it's gonna really hurt my deer hunting just because the farm I actually hunt, doesn't have that much timber.

I'm actually [00:33:00] hunting those farms, waiting for the deer to make a mistake and come on to me almost. Yeah. And then the other farm I hunt is so close to the city, it just, they never have really been there. They did show back up a few years ago and that's where my son almost killed his first Turkey.

Just like I was you were saying with your daughter and they then they like, they show up as soon as the winter flock breaks up. They'll all of a sudden beads just like a handful of these turkeys. And they're there for a few weeks and then gone again. And this year they just really didn't do that for whatever reason, which could be a good thing for them.

But, so I just, don't have the best setups for turkeys and in this year it played out that way. I don't think Missouri is in essence that way. Our area is very crop heavy. Gotcha. And as agriculture becomes more and more efficient. You lose that buffer strip a lot of times in between timber and cornfield.

[00:34:00] And there's just a lot less timber in our area than there used to be. Just like I told you. That happens a lot. Yeah. It doesn't mean that the Turkey population's hurting. I think we're probably doing better this year than we were two or three years ago. But me specifically, not a single bird on inside.

Yeah. I haven't even bought a tag yet. I don't Well, don't waste a 17 minutes. Go find

Dan Johnson: what you got. Some public, you can go hop on or

Nate Thomas: something. So this is where I feel bad. Yes, I do. I just don't care about turkeys enough to really, I take it up early

Dan Johnson: enough. Yeah.

Nate Thomas: I got some public about 45 minutes to an hour away that I think probably carries them.

They would Yeah. Do well, but there's a few things. Number one, do I really care that much about the Turkey? Not really. And then number two, I don't know that I want to be in the woods with a bunch of other dudes with shotguns. Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: I'll say this, my daughter if it wasn't for her interest this year, I wouldn't have went.[00:35:00]

She's the reason why I got all my stuff ready. She's the reason why I. You know, I got out and did what I did in hopes of getting her a bird. And the only reason I bought a tag for myself is cause I bought one for her. And I said might as well. And then listening to a couple other guys talk about it re reli the flame for me because, man, back in the day, 2000 and 2001, I believe is when I shot my first ever Turkey.

I was 21 years old and I went out and I shot it with my uncles. And man, I had so much fun the next handful of years because we made it an annual thing where we would go to this big piece of public land. My uncle lived clo, my uncles lived close to it. They knew where the birds were at. We even had a real little cabin that we would stay in and and basically stomp around these, this thousand plus acres of public.

And call and work [00:36:00] birds and we even had some access through some private to get to this. It wasn't landlocked, but it went up a river. The land went up the river, so the only way to get there was the long way. And man, we had, and we had so much fun doing that. It just thank into me.

And then for the next 10 years, that's all I did was, I deer hunted too. But between 2000 and I would say that between 2001 and 2016, I killed more turkeys than I did deer. That's for sure. That's cool. And and then in 2007 or six when I started, I still Turkey hunted, but my main focus was deer at that point.

And then somewhere around I, man, I don't even remember I took my wife out like five years in a row or it was more than that and she shot five, five. Toms and I just became interested in calling for my wife and calling for my stepdad and that was it, man, I didn't even care if I got a bird any anymore.

And [00:37:00] then that slowly just faded away. And now here I am this year again, thinking next year I want to make plans to go on and out-of-state Turkey hunt, like to Missouri or somewhere or maybe Western Illinois cuz it's close or go try to shoot a Miriam or a Rio or something like

Nate Thomas: that, which is cool.

And it's probably all because of your daughter? Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And that's the only reason I got into it a few years ago was my son, when Turkey showed up to the farm, he got all excited. And we took him. Yep. And I, that was some of the best times I've had in my life, with him, because Turkey hunting is a little more I was with him when he killed his first buck.

But Turkey hunting's, just different than deer hunting. A little more fast paced. We were moving more and, then it hits you like a, a lightning boat. Oh my God. There's a tom. And just all this stuff happens and, he didn't kill the deer much like your daughter was, or the Turkey, much like your situation with your daughter.

This year sounds like, but it did give that fire to me. But then, yeah, dude I don't get me wrong. If there were [00:38:00] turkeys where I hunt, I would be out there with the boys for myself though. Yeah. I don't know. It's, I think you have used this term with your family life, just I feel is applicable to me, the whole banking time, right?

I hunt the shit out of deer. I go on an out-of-state hunt every year, and I hunt the shit out of coyotes. Yeah. I feel like my wife would leave me if I got ate up with

Dan Johnson: Turkey. Yeah. Yeah. And that's probably the reason why I'm not doing other stuff throughout the year. I I love fishing too, but I only do it like twice a year a because if I got a boat and there's several places around here where I could, go, I could go up to the better pools of the Mississippi and Northeast Iowa that are like two, two or three hours from here.

Yeah. I would just end up, I don't know, getting divorced or Yeah. But instead I've decided, this spring I'm a baseball coach. I'm a football coach. I'm a chauffeur take my daughter [00:39:00] to dance. Actually, I. Fridays, we don't have anything going on. There's nothing going on Fridays.

We have soccer games on Saturday, football games and soccer games on Sunday. And then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then as soon as football's over here, then we get back into wrestling. And so it just, it never ends, man. It never ends. No.

Nate Thomas: And that's the thing with families that, when you're an outdoorsman, there is a balancing game, because Yeah.

The outdoorsman in me just wants to go cow hunting all the time right now. Pups, oh yeah. Pups are hitting the ground. This would be a time to be out there, although technically you can't hunt him with a rifle during the day until May 8th. But anyways, that's a different story. Yeah. But the father and, family guy in me knows that this time of the year, April, may.

Are probably the two busiest months in my family's life. The entire year. Yeah. Because you've got, just, like you said, my daughter's on [00:40:00] a high school track right now. She's playing competitive softball. I've got two boys playing baseball and wrestling like it is every night of our life is spoken for.

And then probably every weekend it's Friday, you and I are recording on a Friday after you got you and I get done recording, I'm gonna go eat some lunch and head to my daughter's track meet. Yeah. It's just, it's nonstop. And if I had turkeys, I would give it an effort, but I feel like it'd be about a half-assed effort, you know what I'm saying?

I'd go in the morning Yeah. And if I didn't see anything by 8 30, 9 o'clock, I'd be gone and I might try it again. And then that would be that. Yep. And I almost feel. Dirty almost feel bad that I don't give a shit like others. Yeah. And I love turkeys and I love Turkey hunting, but it's just like this time of the year with everything I've put my family through all through the winter, I think it's my wife's turn for me to just be present that present person that is.

And I'm just like you I'm coaching softball and helping out with that too. When I find myself [00:41:00] outdoors, I find myself even right now during Turkey season, I find myself thinking about deer. Yeah. How, what? And I feel like you're in a similar boat that, yeah. You got a re you got reinvigorated with turkeys, but what about deer hunting this time of year?

What are you starting to think about? Yeah.

Dan Johnson: Mostly. Okay, I had to apply for Kansas and I had to apply for South Dakota. This year they've, cha like South Dakota changed from a automatic draw to a a limited draw. So now I am, I had to apply and we'll see if I draw or not. I have, I had one point for Kansas, so basically I'm going to apply for ca.

I already applied for Kansas this year, hoping that I'll get in there. And so I've really just been thinking about Whitetails a lot because of this op this first time[00:42:00] I'm ever actually heading out specifically for Whitetails down to Kansas. And this is my first out-of-state hunt specifically for Whitetails.

When I go to Nebraska and when I go to South Dakota, man I'm going for, Hopefully mule deer. But there's some, there's some carriers. Mixture. Yeah. Some mix there. But this is I'm really thinking about I'm looking at a lot of public land in the zones that I picked.

I'm looking for access routes on those pieces of public. Do I need to maybe think about getting a boat, because some of this public is around a lake. Just things like, the things that we always think about just on new pieces of property in different states, so just the standard ees scouting is really what I'm doing this time of year.

Trying to put the schedule together. Like I'm looking at a whiteboard right now that I have to start over cuz it had all of my 2022 hunts. Written down and the dates that I had was [00:43:00] going. And so now I gotta start to figure out what dates do I want to go to potentially Nebraska or South Dakota. I might hunt Kansas this year.

If I hunt Kansas, man, I'm gonna be close to Oklahoma, so I might give Oklahoma a shot. And it's just really trying to plan and prep and schedule all of this. Now on top of all of that boring stuff, the Deer man, I have one cell came out right now and it is sending me pictures of.

This, like every day there's this I'm gonna guess him to be maybe a three-year-old, but he is got nubs on him. They, everything looks big right now. Yeah, I don't know, whatever the, whatever size this is, the nub, the bases look like this right now. And they're probably about an inch, two inches tall.

And so I'm just like, oh, buddy. And then you're just like, who could this guy be? And I start digging through all the trail camera pictures and I'm looking for indicators like a split ear or a scar on his face, or he is got one in good eye or [00:44:00] whatever it is. And just going, Ooh, if this is him, he's gonna be a good one.

And it was two weeks ago and it was actually during youth season I ended up pulling all my trail cameras off my main farm. All but a couple. And I went through all that data. I. And man, I, my, my number one target buck on my main farm made it through the season this year, I think early March or late February is when I got my last picture of him.

He was a giant eight with junk this year. And if he takes that next step, man, he'll be a gorgeous deer five year old, six year old type deer. And so I'm really looking forward to seeing if he he makes it back out to the farm this year.

Nate Thomas: See, like that five seconds you just talked about these deer.

I, it got me more excited than I've gotten any other time, this spring and that, that's all I'm thinking about. It's just what's coming? I started now we can do that in Missouri. You can't I put, started putting mineral out 1st of April and I know Deer got, I [00:45:00] know Deer and Hammer.

We can put mineral.

Dan Johnson: Oh, okay. We can put mineral out. Nile, we just can't hunt or over it or bait, like we can't bait or hunt over the mineral or close to the mineral or Gotcha. So we have to, so all my mineral stations are in, like locations that I don't hunt. Gotcha.

Nate Thomas: Okay. So in Missouri it's a little different.

You can hunt over salt, but you can't hunt over any type of, like grain or anything like that. So there's the difference, and it depends on what county you're in too with C W D, but Yeah. Yeah. Anyways, last year was a rough year deer wise for me. I just didn't have the deer. We had a pretty bad drought in the summer.

I think that might've caused some problems. And we talked, I think we talked about it on your show. I passed on some three year olds possibly even two year olds, but. Now I'm just like, is it gonna change? Is this year gonna be different? I just told you about the one farm that I had this huge change in the landscape.

So now I'm really looking forward to what are the trail cams gonna say? Are they gonna disappear? Are they gonna show up at my farm even more? [00:46:00] What's gonna go on there? And I'm there, and that's all I can think about. So really, like anytime I have some time I've been out dumping mineral. I really wanna put cameras out all, which would be really early for me.

And I also have a possibility of Kansas. I, yep. It would be a piece of private. But I actually need to start doing my research on when do I have to apply by I'm already missed that.

Dan Johnson: Right now. You better

Nate Thomas: apply right now today. Like today.

Dan Johnson: Like today. Okay. I'm, what's the date today?

Today is the, I think April 28th. A no joke is the last day that you can apply. All right. I'll do some work. Yeah. You gotta do

Nate Thomas: that. Yeah. But I don't have any points in Kansas, obviously. I don't even know how to apply there yet. Yeah. Been doing all my elk applications. I think I applied to Wyoming New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado this year.

I already know I did not draw for New Mexico and haven't heard from the other states. I know I'm not gonna draw Arizona. It's more just trying to build points for if I ever get lucky enough. [00:47:00] But our unit in Colorado that we've always hunted is now a draw only unit. Oh, okay. So we had to put in for it and if we don't get it, we gotta look at backup plans and things like that.

So my brain has just been CVID related. Elk whitetail. Yeah. And, if there were turkeys. Turkeys would show up and then I hear this story, this freaking guy, Dan Johnson, just waltz is out into the timber and says, hi, ho. Hi home. I'm here to kill a Turkey. And just does it. It's easy.

Dan Johnson: Yeah it's pretty easy. It was easy. So easy. A caveman could do it. I'm a caveman too, man. It was easy. I'm not gonna lie. It was easy. Yeah man, I gotta start putting together. Okay, so here's my issue. I was told I need a knee replacement. My knees junk. And so they gave me a shot.

It feels better now. Yeah, it feels real good. But that those shots are only gonna last so long until this knee just eventually gives out. It's cuz it's garbage and it it's, and even though I'm only [00:48:00] 42, the doctor said I qualify for one. So I'm thinking in the next couple years, I want to get a, I'm gonna get a knee replacement.

That's not the best year to try to draw an elk tag in Wyoming. So I don't know if I'm going to, if I wanna get the knee replacement first, give it a couple years, build the leg back up and then go, then go out to Wyoming. Or do I do Wyoming first after a good shot and then get the knee surgery after

Nate Thomas: that season?

Dude, you're preaching to the choir. I'm the same situation as you. I've had five knee surgeries on one of my knees. I'm just behind you on age, so we're pretty close. And the doctor has the same conversation with me. I go get a shot about two weeks before we leave for Colorado every year. Yeah. And then I get a shot usually about six months after that.

And you're right, yeah, the shot helps for a while. It helps with keeping it,[00:49:00] not so swollen after working it or whatever. And the last time I was with him, he says, what what do you do? What are the, what do you like to do? I go out to Colorado every year, chase elk, and I try to play basketball to stay in shape here and there and like to wrestle around with the boys and he goes, I would replace your knee tomorrow, but you're gonna ruin it too quickly by being this active.

So him and I made a joke that I'm just gonna trash this knee to the point of no return before he replaces it. I feel your pain, man. I definitely feel your pain. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: My doctor almost went the opposite direction. He said get one now and then get one again when you're 65 or 70. So you'll just have two on the same knee.

Yep. And then that way you'll be able to live, you'll be able to be as active as humanly possible. It's not gonna stop you from doing anything. Now it's just, I think they said 12 to 20 weeks [00:50:00] is the rehab just to not necessarily build all the muscle back up around it, but get the strength to walk without a walker Yeah.

Or crutches or something like that. And that means that I gotta time it so I'll get my knee surgery in probably January, once the season's over, schedule it for January, March. No, shed hunting that year. Probably no Turkey hunting that year. And then hopefully that following year, it's just maybe a really light whitetail year.

Just a bunch of tree stand sitting. And I can use my e-bike or whatever to, get. Get to places, but then outside of that, then I'll have another whole year under my belt to, to rehab it and then get back into the swing of things. But man, it makes me a little nervous because it's I am so active.

I don't want that knee surgery to all of a sudden be an anchor for me. Yeah.

Nate Thomas: That's the whole reason I haven't done it [00:51:00] right there. You just, you laid it out perfectly and make no mistake. Yeah. If you go ahead and get yours before me, I will make fun of you when you're walking around on with a walker,

Dan Johnson: you sissy.

Yeah. Like

Nate Thomas: you got tennis balls on the back of your walker, like you're 95 years old. It's gonna be great. Yep. I will make fun. I'm gonna

Dan Johnson: eat ice cream. Yeah. I don't, that probably has nothing to do with it. I'll just eat ice cream. Yeah.

Nate Thomas: Tell the kids to get off your lawn. Yep. Yeah, that'll be great.

But it's, it is what it is. You're gonna have to do it at some point, but. I'm putting it off as long as I can, but maybe I should go your route. I don't know.

Dan Johnson: I don't know. Yeah, we'll see. We'll see how much pain I'm in before my next shot. Cause what is it, three or four months?

You can only get three of 'em a year. I, my

Nate Thomas: doctor wants me no more than once a every six months or so. So if I come after, if I have one and then five months later I'm in there, he's gonna be okay with it. But he really doesn't want me doing it too much more than that. But I don't know what actually supposed to be.

It could be [00:52:00] every quarter. He just doesn't wanna see me. I don't know. Yeah, maybe you're just a dick. It's true. But man, congratulations on the freaking Turkey. Just Wal out there and taking care of business. I had to talk with, I think I'm even gonna name this episode. Dan Johnson, the Turkey Master or something like that.

You should

Dan Johnson: name this episode. Dan Johnson is a better Turkey hunter than Paul Campbell episode.

Nate Thomas: Ooh, my gosh. Those are fighting words

Dan Johnson: right there. I know. But it's probably true. How many he's killed a couple birds this year though. Yeah, he's, he went down to what,

Nate Thomas: Florida right off the bat. And yeah.

He got, took care of business, I think. I'm gonna tell you this much. I will never love Turkey hunting enough to go chase turkeys where there's freaking big ass snakes and alligators walking around with me too. Pythons

Dan Johnson: and all that stuff. Nah,

Nate Thomas: I'll you just keep those turkeys there, but yeah.

Congratulations to him on that. I saw that. But So what do you got in the hopper? What's coming down for Nine Finger Chronicles? And talk about how people can check you

Dan Johnson: out. Yeah, [00:53:00] man. Just the same old stuff. J I'll just be really, actually what I'd like to take this time to do is talk about a new podcast that we're introducing to the network.

By the time this launch, this one launches, we are gonna be, we're going to have the official podcast of Vapor Trail. The, everybody knows the Vapor Trail bow hunting accessories and things like that. And They're putting together a podcast and it's going to be on the Sportsman's Empire.

On top of all the other great content that we have, I'm just gonna, I'm gonna do a real quick Homan xp, Oklahoma, the Vapor Trail podcast, which it will be called The Range. Go Wa The Go Wild Podcast uncensored by Go Wild Missouri Woods and Water, Whitetail Landscapes, Wisconsin sportsman, Western Rookie.

How to Hunt Turkey, Ohio. The Nine Finger Chronicles antler up the average conservationist, the nomadic outdoorsman, the hunt of war how to Hunt. Deer Podcast DIY Sportsman, the [00:54:00] Whitetail Experience, the Southern Ground podcast, the Limb Hanger Podcast, the Hunting Gear Podcast, the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast.

We're stacked. Dude. We got an All-star team and we're putting out some killer content every single day on the network. And I just I just wish more people would go and check it out and just take a look at some of the people that we have putting out this content. A lot of these people are experts in their field and I'm just pumped for that.

Nate Thomas: The Emperor is taking over new territories.

Dan Johnson: I hope so. Yeah,

Nate Thomas: I hope so. And when you say the podcast are stacked, that is even with us listed in there. So we've got a lot of people, we've got a lot of people bringing us up, which we

Dan Johnson: certainly appreciate. You guys are obviously at the bottom as far as

Nate Thomas: No doubt.

Yeah. That day we come out from the last slot will be a great day for us, no doubt. There you go. Yeah.

Dan Johnson: So you'll be like 23rd place instead of 24th place. Yeah. The day

Nate Thomas: We come out at 23rd to [00:55:00] take over nine finger Chronicles for 22nd is gonna be a terrific day.

That's a fact. All right. That's a fact. Dan Johnson, thanks for coming on talking a little bit of Turkey and whitetail with me today. Appreciate your time buddy.

Dan Johnson: Good BS session, man. Thanks you, thanks to you and man I really appreciate what you guys do at Missouri with the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast.

And keep doing what you're doing, man. You guys have created something special here and go buy a Turkey. Just do it. Go buy a Turkey tag, drive the 45 minutes and at least give it one morning.

Nate Thomas: I'll try. Or I might just go cayo hunting, we'll see.

Dan Johnson: Or go cayo hunting and save a Turkey.

There you go. There you go. There you

Nate Thomas: go. There you go. All right, Dan. Thanks for coming on, buddy.