Mathews Inc.
Discuss our Q&A with Don Higgins
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Pat Lefemine 27-Oct-22
midwest 27-Oct-22
Thornton 27-Oct-22
Bou'bound 27-Oct-22
APauls 27-Oct-22
BC 27-Oct-22
Hancock West 27-Oct-22
Pat Lefemine 27-Oct-22
Bake 27-Oct-22
t-roy 28-Oct-22
Thornton 28-Oct-22
pav 28-Oct-22
midwest 28-Oct-22
Bou'bound 28-Oct-22
Hancock West 28-Oct-22
scentman 28-Oct-22
M.Pauls 28-Oct-22
Cazador 28-Oct-22
Nick Muche 28-Oct-22
deerhunter72 28-Oct-22
Inshart 28-Oct-22
GhostBird 28-Oct-22
TMac 28-Oct-22
buckhammer 28-Oct-22
PECO2 28-Oct-22
RK 28-Oct-22
redquebec 28-Oct-22
Bou'bound 28-Oct-22
Kodiak 28-Oct-22
Cazador 28-Oct-22
M.Pauls 28-Oct-22
ROUGHCOUNTRY 28-Oct-22
Groundhunter 28-Oct-22
Jrhendricks 28-Oct-22
Grunter 28-Oct-22
buckhammer 28-Oct-22
Iowa_Archer 28-Oct-22
Lee 28-Oct-22
Old School 28-Oct-22
Genesis 28-Oct-22
Rocky D 28-Oct-22
Rocky D 28-Oct-22
Bowfinatic 28-Oct-22
Bou'bound 28-Oct-22
Thornton 28-Oct-22
Rocky D 28-Oct-22
Rocky D 28-Oct-22
Thornton 28-Oct-22
Rocky D 28-Oct-22
Thornton 28-Oct-22
Mike Ukrainetz 28-Oct-22
t-roy 28-Oct-22
Thornton 28-Oct-22
Rocky D 29-Oct-22
Old School 29-Oct-22
Rocky D 29-Oct-22
Mike Ukrainetz 29-Oct-22
Iowa booner hunter 29-Oct-22
Rocky D 29-Oct-22
Grey Ghost 29-Oct-22
Rocky D 29-Oct-22
Rocky D 29-Oct-22
Mike Ukrainetz 29-Oct-22
Thornton 29-Oct-22
Julius Koenig 29-Oct-22
Rocky D 29-Oct-22
Rocky D 29-Oct-22
Thornton 29-Oct-22
JohnMC 29-Oct-22
Thornton 29-Oct-22
Pat Lefemine 29-Oct-22
Thornton 30-Oct-22
deerhunter72 30-Oct-22
KSflatlander 30-Oct-22
APauls 31-Oct-22
SaddleReaper 31-Oct-22
nehunter 31-Oct-22
Cazador 31-Oct-22
Bou’bound 31-Oct-22
Tall 1 09-Nov-22
Jeff Holchin 09-Nov-22
From: Pat Lefemine
27-Oct-22

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Don shares in-depth expertise on bowhunting big whitetails
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Don shares in-depth expertise on bowhunting big whitetails

Pat Lefemine's Link
Perhaps one of the most successful, and committed whitetail bowhunters discusses his strategy, thoughts on access, best week to hunt, and his opinion on scent control in this in-depth Q&A

From: midwest
27-Oct-22
Haven't listened to it yet but I have the utmost respect and admiration for guys who made it a priority and were successful in owning and developing their own whitetail hunting paradise. I have had the honor of being invited to come hunt on a couple of them and even though I was given the green light to shoot a giant if one came by, I had no desire to kill one of 'their' deer other than a management doe. It is so fun just to sit and watch the rut in a well managed herd.

From: Thornton
27-Oct-22

Thornton's embedded Photo
Thornton's embedded Photo
I would find it interesting if he were able to kill these bucks on public, or privately owned land that was hunted by others. Killing big bucks over exclusive private land with no pressure, out of scent proof/sound proof towers, over bait or lush plots really isn't that big of a deal. I did find his thoughts on scent control to be the same thing I've experienced.

From: Bou'bound
27-Oct-22
I find it interesting as presented. Guy is amazing.

From: APauls
27-Oct-22
Thornton I think you missed the point. Not sure if you listened to all of the questions or not, but he hunts permission properties as well as his own farm, and has shot a number of the bucks off permission properties. Sure the guy owns his own land and works it just like many do here as well. The thing about Don, is besides faith and family he is 100% whitetails. He hasn't fished in 20 years, never turkey hunted, doesn't do any other big game, no sports, just whitetails whitetails whitetails. Every spare moment is dedicated to whitetails. It isn't the life I'd choose for myself, but it will certainly make you a good whitetail hunter if you have half a brain.

I have a highway drive to work, so I listen to some podcasts and have listened to every one of Don Higgins' podcasts. They are good. The earlier ones were a lot more focused on deer strategy but I guess after a while you've covered the best stuff already. You can only say "Don't pressure the bucks" so many times before either a guy understands it or not. I wouldn't say I'm a fan but then again I couldn't say I'm a fan of any person. He is a guy I listen to and respect. He has already spent more time deer hunting than I prob will in my entire life and he thinks strategically while doing it, so you'd be an idiot not to listen to him. Obviously not everything he says applies globally and he'll be the first to tell you that.

Pat I found the baiting question interesting because obviously you've shot a few giants over bait so why would someone say it's impossible? If anyone has ever watched Cody Robbins, or Canadian Whitetail they alone shoot many giants over bait. Key there again....unpressured deer.

Is Don going to go try and prove a point and hunt a property that 5 other guys are hunting to try and kill a huge buck on it? Absolutely not. Cause he knows it's fruitless. I've dropped a number of permission properties because more guys get permission and it just won't be fruitful any longer. So if you're saying "I'd like to see him shoot a deer on a property like that" then why don't you just ask a guy to kill a 200" in Florida. Rule number one to kill a big deer is hunting them where they exist.

From: BC
27-Oct-22
Very good Pat. The scent control topic was dead on. Wind direction will make or break in most cases. Most of the other topics don't apply to suburban hunting in the North East but still very interesting.

From: Hancock West
27-Oct-22
Ive been following him now for a couple years. He make alot of good points and takes hunting more serious than anyone i know or listen too. We planted his clover & chicory blends this year and the deer love it. You cant just say he's killed 5deer averaging over 200" because hes hunting private land deer that arent pressured. He only has 120acres.

From: Pat Lefemine
27-Oct-22
Thornton, you obviously didn't listen. The giant buck he's hunting this year is on Public ground. I suggest you listen to the clip on what buck he's after in '22. And all of his buck were killed on Illinois, where baiting is not legal. I'm sure it's more satisfying for you to berate him, even when you have no idea what you're talking about.

The million dollar line in the entire 40 minute Q&A is this one he credited to Roger Rothaar:

"To kill a big buck, the wind should be mostly wrong for you, and mostly right for the buck."

That phrase is spot on!

From: Bake
27-Oct-22
I like his stuff. I’ve been reading and listening to him since his first book. He was an active poster in the QDMA forums before they shut them down. I haven’t listened yet but I definitely will. If I ever get to a point that I think I know it all . . . Someone slap me!

From: t-roy
28-Oct-22
Dang! Only 3 posts in, Thornton! Once again, you’ve shown you have no friggen clue what your talking about. You’re nothing, if not consistent, though!

I’ve spoken with Don a couple of times at our Deer Classic. He’s definitely a wealth of knowledge on several different aspects on topics of particular interest to me. I like the fact that he credits other individuals, like the Wensels, Roger Rothaar, etc. for helping him in learning some of knowledge that he’s gleaned through the years. He’s taken some of those things to the next level, for sure.

From: Thornton
28-Oct-22
This is a discussion, and I stand by my statements and there was no berating. He described himself, his 120 acres is in the midst of ag fields, and bucks cross a mile of open ground, often at night, to reside on his exclusive, buck magnet property. I've hunted a 1 acre grove of trees on a hilltop for the last 25 years. If there is a buck in 4 Sq miles, he will end up in that small grove of trees. Imagine if you had 120 isolated, prime acres in a similar circumstance. He also stated this giant of a public land buck will probably not give him a chance, but is now residing on property nobody can hunt. These are perfect conditions for either the hunter to kill, or the buck to grow big. T-roy, you've killed some good ones, but you couldn't where my farm is, nor could you on the public I hunt. My question still stands, how many of these were killed on public? One of our very own bowsiters that rarely posts, killed several booners back in the 1970's and 80's on public, with a recurve. Not saying anything other than this guy is persistent, and has the perfect spot that he can pass up giants so they grow bigger. All that being said, I agree with 100% of everything Mr. Higgins answered and I think he has some uncommonly good hunting grounds.

From: pav
28-Oct-22
Thornton - "T-roy, you've killed some good ones, but you couldn't where my farm is, nor could you on the public I hunt."

Wow, that statement is enlightening. Might as well have said..."If I can't do it, nobody can!" Dude...get a life.

From: midwest
28-Oct-22
Thornton, you own your own hunting land, right? Maybe you should have bought a piece exactly as you described.

From: Bou'bound
28-Oct-22
Looks like pat’s next interview should be with mr Thornton so he can share his approach with others. We could Then compare the two With facts and figures.

From: Hancock West
28-Oct-22
Who cares if he does it on public or private. He has obviously built a property that holds deer and he capitalizes on it.

From: scentman
28-Oct-22
Just lost the blood trail on this thread... darn, had such high hopes.

From: M.Pauls
28-Oct-22
Thornton, what in the heck is the point you’re trying to make? I can’t follow, but I’ll give it a shot.

1.)If you shoot big bucks, you’re hunting where big bucks are, and even if they’re on public, you’re not that cool, cause you’re hunting where he lives, so it’s easy.

2.)people should hunt crappier spots and…I can’t complete this point, not sure where it leads.

3.)I hunt a 1 acre grove where all the deer end up, baited or not, when it’s me, this isn’t cheating like when Don has a good spot.

From: Cazador
28-Oct-22
Never heard of him, but wow, crushers!

Big bucks aside he’s holding it together when it’s most important and arrowing treMendous deer.

From: Nick Muche
28-Oct-22
Jeeeeze Thornton. Well, you might as well tell us… how big is it?

From: deerhunter72
28-Oct-22
Don Higgins is a standup Christian, tells it like it is and is consistent big buck killer. He’s also very humble. That puts him high on my list of quality people. And he’s not some hermit that doesn’t share any of “trade” secrets.

Thornton, Don and t-roy don’t need any help, advice or criticism from you. Killing mature deer year after year doesn’t happen by accident. A lot of us would struggle do it consistently even if we were able to hunt where they do. Your posts smack of arrogance and jealousy.

From: Inshart
28-Oct-22
Don is truly a very dedicated deer hunter - his success proves his strategy is working.

Sounds to me like Lou is no longer the "junk king".

"I've hunted a 1 acre grove of trees on a hilltop for the last 25 years. If there is a buck in 4 Sq miles, he will end up in that small grove of trees." .............................................. So then lets see all those monsters you must be killing out of that 1 acre.

From: GhostBird
28-Oct-22
Wow... I think I clicked on the wrong discussion.

From: TMac
28-Oct-22
A big takeaway for me is that he is passionate with his research in locating big bucks and disciplined in knowing where/when to sit to give him his best percentage of killing a particular buck. For me I know I make many mistakes ie stand entry,wind etc but I just want to get out and sit. He will not risk and wait for another day. Great interview thanks Don and Pat.

From: buckhammer
28-Oct-22
And for his final presentation Thorton will soon be appearing on the Chuck Adam's thread criticizing Chuck for shooting world record bucks that are trapped on an island.

From: PECO2
28-Oct-22
I listened to a a few of the questions, I like his short to the point answers.

From: RK
28-Oct-22
Great interview. Enjoyed it Thanks

From: redquebec
28-Oct-22
I remember a line that Dan Infalt, the hunting beast, had on a podcast where he said "Hunting a mature whitetail bucks is so different from hunting does and young bucks that mature bucks should be considered a completely different species."

That stuck with me.

Anytime you have a hunter that routinely kills mature bucks, you should give him a listen. You might disagree with some stuff, you might already know most of what was said, you might differ in your hunting philosophy. But anytime I listen to a hunter that routinely kills record book bucks, in numerous states every year, on private and public land...I always learn SOMETHING.

In the end, what is a master but a master student. These highly accomplished hunters state that they are always learning and always willing to learn, that's part of what makes them who they are.

Thank you for providing educational content.

From: Bou'bound
28-Oct-22
We need more of this type of content. Works for everyone. Who would want to spend time With pat to get their name and info out there and we benefit with good hunting content. Love it

Some may prefer hearing from guys shooting spikes and four pointers on public land every 3 years since that is more in keeping with what the average guy had access too. Not me

From: Kodiak
28-Oct-22
Oh c'mon now, a guy that's killing 200" deer with regularity is hunting where there are 200" deer. 99% of us can't say the same.

No offense meant.

From: Cazador
28-Oct-22
No BS, I think I have a "photographic memory" or maybe I should say selective memory on many things. Sadly, it never applied to school subjects, but I'm ok with that. Where am I going with that? A lot of these "new terms" we're hearing above were mentioned many years ago by the likes of Myles Keller and the Wensels and others. Give "Come November" a read, or watch some of those old videos if you can find them with Myles with his face painted pitch black, (that would make Trudeau proud) These guys were way ahead of their time and many of the common tools and tricks we use today were passed down from them. Different species, wind almost better for the buck....... if these guys were in college they'd get murdered for modern day plagiarism.

Where am I going with this? To quote the late great Fletcher, "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining"

From: M.Pauls
28-Oct-22
Gave it a listen. Awesome job Pat. Not everyone can be a good interviewer but you did a great job. Of course your choice in guest made it, and I found the Q&As both very interesting

From: ROUGHCOUNTRY
28-Oct-22
Great interview and I learned and was reminded of some stuff. When I lived in Kansas, I was much more focused on whitetails and specifically tree stand hunting. Living back in Montana and chasing multiple species, I don't have the pure whitetail focus and tend to bounce around spot and stalking more and calling etc.......

The nuances of wind and thermals is surely "next level" hunting knowledge.

From: Groundhunter
28-Oct-22
Never heard of him? You must live on Mars if your into midwest.deer hunting.

He is a wealth.of information, willing to share.

Thanks Don....

From: Jrhendricks
28-Oct-22
Enjoyed the interview. 200" deer are exciting and I'm willing to listen to those who have success on them. Was surprised to hear his best week to hunt, although it makes sense.

From: Grunter
28-Oct-22
I remember reading about Don's giant bucks many years ago. Many people dont realize what it takes to pass up these bucks so they can grow bigger. Heck my neighbors cant even pass 130's when they know theres bigger ones around. You'll never shoot giants if you're always shooting medicore bucks. I like Don's style and hope to meet him some day.

From: buckhammer
28-Oct-22
Don has written many articles over the years for North American Whitetail magazine. His in depth pieces were the reason I kept my subscription for as long as I did. When I got the magazine in the mail his articles were the first ones I would read and sometimes the only ones.

From: Iowa_Archer
28-Oct-22
Most commenting here have an understanding of Don's actual situation. A couple posters apparently do not though and conveniently "fill in the blanks" with their opinions and supposition. I attended one of Don's Master Classes this past spring. His property is quite unremarkable frankly...except that the way he manages it creates a sanctuary in effect that he is then wise enough to hunt it correctly so as to maximize his successes.

I believe only 2 of his 200"+ deer came from his own farm...the other three came from permission farms AND his relentless scouting, dedication, hunting skill, preparation and trail camera reconnaissance work. Something that anyone reading this thread could also choose to do.

Don't assume and then make baseless statements. Read up on him, listen to his podcasts, etc, I don't know anyone right off that operates at as high of a level as he does AND also shares so much insight and advice...advice that I find to be spot on and often revelatory. I am annoyed when people denigrate others with false assumptions, etc. Be better.

From: Lee
28-Oct-22
I know Don and have for quite some time. Guy is next level. Many, many of his good ones have not come from his property. If it was as easy as some allude to all the hunters in his neck of the woods would have a wall that looked like his, which is just not the case. One word comes to mind when I think of Don - Disciplined! He bides his time til it’s right and then gets it done when the opportunity presents itself. Don hunts some public as well and has a good one or two to show for it. I always tell my kids that when they are around someone that is more successful than you keep your mouth shut and listen - you’ll learn something!

From: Old School
28-Oct-22
Have emailed back and forth with Don on occasion and he is humble, professional and helpful.

Envy and jealousy sure are ugly.

From: Genesis
28-Oct-22
Thornton has found a way to sleep better and I applaud that.

From: Rocky D
28-Oct-22

Rocky D's embedded Photo
Rocky D's embedded Photo
Thornton’s mystic is his overwhelming awesomeness!

This guy may even fall short of his criteria!

From: Rocky D
28-Oct-22

Rocky D's embedded Photo
Rocky D's embedded Photo

28-Oct-22
Really enjoyed the listen. Don is a master at his craft and generous with imparting knowledge to others

From: Bou'bound
28-Oct-22
Does he only bowhunt

From: Thornton
28-Oct-22
Kodiak said it perfectly and is exactly what I meant. I'm sorry I over-explained my discussion for some of the more emotional. Not a damn thing I said degraded the discussion but I did put emphasis on whatever land/crops he is hunting. I've already made two of the mistakes on my target buck that he described.

From: Rocky D
28-Oct-22
“ Was surprised to hear his best week to hunt, although it makes sense.”

Don knows that he needs all of the advantages in his favor hunting monsters.

I’ve seen to many videos of huge bucks being taken during this period of time.

If I remember Charlie used kill some nice deer in late winter.

From: Rocky D
28-Oct-22
120 acres doesn’t lock a big cruising buck down.

Actually, I feel inhibited on small parcels since I normally hunt big woods.

No, my deer are not smarter no matter how hard they try!

Big bucks are always tough and huge bucks are just a different critter! About six years ago I had an encounter with a deer that someone killed that scored 195ish net and the encounter would be best described as surreal and spiritual to be [email protected] yards from such animal!

Thornton, in closing it reminds me of the saying that it is incredibly humbling to meet the man that you could have been!

You have lived your whole life in Kansas and you are complaining?

These super successful hunters all follow the same script, extreme dedication, enormous discipline to hold out for true giants, and loneliness! Very much like the he animals that they hunt.

It is not a social event!

I appreciate their desire to go big or go home attitude.

Unfortunately, some of his comments don’t apply to me since I don’t hunt much agricultural but big buck behavior seems to run consistent across the board!

"To kill a big buck, the wind should be mostly wrong for you, and mostly right for the buck“

Absolutely profound, reminds of Gene Wensel talking about the wind in his classic Hunting Rutting Whitetails. I think that I read two paragraphs something like twelve times!

I really read a lot of his earlier stuff and it always seemed like he was the real deal. As Paul Harvey would say “now you know the rest of the story”!

From: Thornton
28-Oct-22
Rocky- your PMs in the "40 Yard" spat were not humble.

I have not complained once in this thread. Feel free to look at how many 200" bucks have been killed in Butler or Greenwood Counties in the last 25 years.

Such a ridiculous statement "120 acres does not lock a big buck down". The does lock him down, not the real estate, and yes, I've seen bucks locked down under a single tree in a pasture for an entire day.

From: Rocky D
28-Oct-22
“Butler or Greenwood Counties”

Travel a little!

“ Rocky- your PMs in the "40 Yard" spat were not humble.”

You are correct but I just couldn’t believe your comment but after that one’s above nothing will surprise!

Go create the legend that you desire instead of minimizing greatness!

From: Thornton
28-Oct-22

Thornton's embedded Photo
Thornton's embedded Photo
After your comment, I'm trying to decide if this tree locked the buck down, or the doe behind it.

28-Oct-22
Higgins has one 120 acre property and hunts a few other other knock on the door permission properties, yet he has killed 5 bucks that average over 200 and numerous other giant bucks. Who else has done this in his area, has similar advantages? Maybe no one else has done it? Give credit where credit is due and learn from the guy!

From: t-roy
28-Oct-22
Being able to lay off the three and four year old 150-180+ bucks is one of the key factors to the getting them to 200” (if the genetic potential is there) A hard thing to do.

From: Thornton
28-Oct-22
He said that himself in the interview. "I got pretty good at killing 4 year olds, then I got good at 5 year olds"..

From: Rocky D
29-Oct-22

From: Old School
29-Oct-22
My thoughts exactly Mike. If Don is just one of the “lucky” guys that live where 200” deer roam, well then I imagine most every bowhunter in the vicinity has multiple 200” deer on their wall.

All you Illinois deer hunters - help me with this thought and please start posting pics of your 4-5 200” deer that are on your wall. Because we know Dons success is simply a result of his location……..

From: Rocky D
29-Oct-22
Just about every county in the state has produced at least one P&Y buck. Many have produced dozens. The counties with the most all-time entries include Butler (129), Barber (107), Comanche (87), Greenwood (74) and Sumner (73).

“ Give credit where credit is due and learn from the guy!”

Damn right!!!

Thornton, you do live in a deer mecca that has historically produced several 200 inch deer!

“ Just about every county in the state has produced at least one P&Y buck. Many have produced dozens. The counties with the most all-time entries include Butler (129), Barber (107), Comanche (87), Greenwood (74) and Sumner (73).” North American Whiptail.

Don Higgins is a BAD ASS at killing huge bucks!

Probably his greatest attribute is something called single mindness of purpose!

We have seen this in sports with guys named Bird, Jordan, Brady, Adams, Bear, and now Higgins!

29-Oct-22
I do think that some of his thoughts on big bucks are pretty specific to the habitat in his area though. He says that a mature buck will almost never travel in daylight without the wind blowing in his face or at least quartering towards it. He believes it’s ridiculous to hunt a deer thinking he will travel without that wind advantage.

In my big bush areas with no destination food source and predators around, I often get mature bucks on camera, and see them, travelling with the wind at their backs. I believe it’s safer for them to know if say a cougar is following them or not and they use their eyes and ears to detect danger up ahead. Even some of my farmland big bucks will enter a field with the wind at their backs, they are cautious about a pick truck in the field with a rifle, much much less about a bowhunter in a tree stand, and again a cougar or wolf or even just a coyote coming from behind and jumping on them.

In any area that has a consistent prevailing wind from one direction how does a buck ever travel the opposite direction? Only at night? What have you found on mature buck travel and wind direction?

29-Oct-22
Very few people have shot multiple 200” deer. In the area that Don hunts he is the only one that has done that and he has plenty of other hunters in every piece of timber and now out in ag fields with crossbows. If it was easy someone else in that area would also have multiple 200”s.

From: Rocky D
29-Oct-22
“ I often get mature bucks on camera, and see them, travelling with the wind at their backs. I believe it’s safer for them to know if say a cougar is following them or not and they use their eyes and ears to detect danger up ahead.”

Gene Wensel said big bucks did this often going to their bedding area.

I find deer quarter into or away from the wind.

From: Grey Ghost
29-Oct-22
I don't know who Don Higgins is, either, but I live under a rock in the west.

It does sound like he's figured out the recipe for killing big bucks in his area. Good for him. I just can't listen to a 40 minute interview. Will there be a readable form of the interview, Pat?

Matt

From: Rocky D
29-Oct-22
“ Such a ridiculous statement "120 acres does not lock a big buck down". The does lock him down, not the real estate, and yes, I've seen bucks locked down under a single tree in a pasture for an entire day.”

“ A home range is the entire area that a deer lives in. On average, these are generally about 650 acres or one square mile. But remember, the home ranges aren’t square. As for the core area, this is the location that most the deer will spend the vast majority of their time. In fact, core areas are approximately 50 to 75 acres and deer will spend 75 to 80 percent of their time within that location.”

Thornton, you are lost in the sauce. You have not dedicated yourself to kill monster bucks but want to give excuses as to why you are not killing them.

Again, this goes back to your statement about the the kid and the forty yard shot!

You focus on the end result not all of the micro functions that lead to success.

It may be better to focus on the effort it takes to kill the giants versus the animal.

This is why on college draft day all the draftees are saying that they are just going to focus on the work and let actions speak for their effort.

Bottom line is that you have pissed away better opportunities within your own state while others travel thousands of miles to have a chance at a giant.

This reminds of an old first sergeant that said that if you want to fix something start within the first 3 feet of your own position!

Don Higgins is committed to taking huge bucks.

I don’t see the young guns like Nick, Hunt, and Ermine constantly yacking on this forum.

You want to know why?

It’s because they are out there making it happen!

They are charting their reality instead of living in that space between their ears!

From: Rocky D
29-Oct-22

29-Oct-22
The “40 minute” interview is nicely broken up into 1 to 5 minute sections. You can just click on the ones you want to listen to. I wish it was twice as long, lots to learn from Don. His food plot knowledge is really extensive too along with his lessons from a captive deer herd that he owned. Chasing Giants is an excellent free podcast that puts out.

From: Thornton
29-Oct-22
Rocky- you're a typical Georgia hunter. You think there's a 200" on every midwest farm. I've killed a P&Y every year i stuck with a bow. I specificallysaid look up 200" bucks., "If you're not hunting where a big buck beds, chances of killing him go down to 10%"

29-Oct-22
I met Don briefly here in Maine at a seminar he was doing this past summer. He has complete focus on deer. He basically said he hasn’t gone fishing in 30 years, doesn’t golf, doesn’t do anything but work and deer hunt/scout and manage his land.

I think most of here would have a hard time putting that much focus into one thing. I can’t imagine giving fishing remote wilderness brook trout ponds, hunting other species, wood working, and growing my own food. He has great results because he is willing to do what most are not

From: Rocky D
29-Oct-22

Rocky D's embedded Photo
Rocky D's embedded Photo
“ Rocky- you're a typical Georgia hunter. You think there's a 200" on every midwest farm. I've killed a P&Y every year i stuck with a bow. I specificallysaid look up 200" bucks., "If you're not hunting where a big buck beds, chances of killing him go down to 10%”

Thornton, 1000% better chance then Georgia! That why I travel to Ohio.

Here’s a public link Kansas deer!

From: Rocky D
29-Oct-22

From: Thornton
29-Oct-22
And....here's a Georgia deer, killed last week by an acquaintance.. note the straight pines in the background. If you're still confused, I can refer you to his social media page. I've killed several bucks the size of your public land photo, including a bigger one, on public. What you fail to understand is our public lands are usually not very big, and if they are, very narrow or fragmented. After all, public in Kansas is less than 2% for the entire state. Most of these public land bucks spend much if their time on neighboring private. The 7x7 I got a photo of in 2015 was found almost 2 miles away on a private ranch a month later. There are lots of excellent hunters on this site, including the owner that have hunted Kansas for decades and never killed anything remotely close to 200".

From: JohnMC
29-Oct-22
I am confused. Thornton just posted a picture that is not incredible blurry?

From: Thornton
29-Oct-22

Thornton's embedded Photo
Thornton's embedded Photo
Sorry man. I spent all my $ on guns instead of photography gear. I posted more blurry photos of my hunt this evening in Kansas. Page after page of giant bucks from Georgia...

From: Pat Lefemine
29-Oct-22
Thornton, Please stop. Not everything is about you.

From: Thornton
30-Oct-22
I'll stop, but my comments about anything Ive done have always been in response to some assumptions that Rocky spouts. Review his comments for the duration of summer til now.

From: deerhunter72
30-Oct-22

deerhunter72's Link
Finished the interview and thought it was great. Thanks Pat, very good material for all of us . I remember Don posting on the Illinois forum back when it was extremely active.

I’m posting a link to a great video of Don and Wayne Lapratt debating how they set up properties. It’s lengthy but has a lot of good information.

From: KSflatlander
30-Oct-22

From: APauls
31-Oct-22
When I started to listen to Don's podcasts one thing that hit me is that he is essentially learning and planning to hunt every single buck from 2.5 years old and older that he thinks has a chance to make it to that near 200 category. The level of planning that it takes to follow all those older deer is immense. I am likely to (when I find a big deer) look back in my photos if I don't immediately recognize him in hopes of gaining some knowledge on the buck, but by no means am I planning years in advance.

Would I like to? Sure, but I don't because that takes time and I do not have the dedication to solely whitetails that Don has. Because he does, and you can tell he is a logical thinker, you'd be an idiot not to listen to him and apply what can be applied to your own personal situation. I highly doubt there is another on this site that puts the emphasis on whitetails he does. Would I go to him for fishing advice? Heck no, but whitetails? He'd be top of the list.

He credits the Wensels, Rathaar and many others for his knowledge. He doesn't claim to have made everything up, and because he credits them he would not be eligible for the plagiarism comment made above. Much he has learned from personal observation obviously. But like any whitetail nut he read everything he could get his hands on.

From: SaddleReaper
31-Oct-22
The guy is a wealth of knowledge!

I've also seen mature bucks move with a tail wind, I mean how could they not at some point in a given day, even when approaching a food source...

I think we often put a scientific explanation behind a deer's every move, but then frequently see examples that would suggest they don't follow the science we have applied to them.

On another note: If any of you would have listened to that cringe-fest, joke of a podcast HUNTR #93, with John Eberhart on, you'd know guys like Don don't have skill! He couldn't kill a mature buck on MI public if he tried....and surely not without scentlok ;-)

Gotta laugh at these new age (not just John- besides the fact he's an old fart) public land chest thumpers stoking this notion that private land guys don't have the skills to do it on public. Not everyone wants to waste their time competing with others on the most heavily pressured public in the US for an immature buck, when with a little bit of effort you could likely land some private access? Ironically I'd also bet there are oodles of public tracts that receive FAR less pressure than areas of private surrounded by private. Take PA for example. I've been on tracts that were 10s of thousands of acres... and during bow season have gone days without seeing another human.

From: nehunter
31-Oct-22
I can remember Don on Bowsite in the late 1990's, he was basically doing the same thing way back then. His occupation I believe was an arborist, planting trees and creating Deer habitat.

He was very verbal with guys who boasted about killing 2-4 Year old Bucks way back then. (he got booted off a few times because of it too LOL) .

I think his Illinois home/hunting ground was in a County that was almost all AG fields and he always shot huge Buck's in the small strips of woods.

I can never understand why some "keyboard big buck hunters" always have to berate someone who's very successful, why not just move on and read something else?

Great interview Pat, I enjoyed it.

From: Cazador
31-Oct-22
@Apauls, my comments were not directed towards Don in any way. They were directed at the post above with "Dan infalt" which is straight from Gene's book. Until this thread, I had never even heard of Don, but since, I've listened to a few of his videos/podcasts and there is no doubting this guy. Also, lets not forget, this guy finds them, hunts them at the right time, and then kills them, and with a bow, what's not to like. Arrowing anything is far from certain. This guy is doing it, and that there deserves some respect.

Just a couple podcasts I've listened to I can see a couple ways I can improve my sets without a doubt.

From: Bou’bound
31-Oct-22
Could any sane deer hunter not appreciate and learn from Higgins?

From: Tall 1
09-Nov-22
I most, thanks for taking the time to chat with Don and share it with us. I think he’s a tremendous big buck hunter and has developed the disciplines needed to consistently put big bucks down. He stays out until his cameras tell him when to go, he hunts smart with minimal disturbance, passes great deer and makes the clutch shots under pressure. It’s hard not to admire him and learn from one of the greats.

From: Jeff Holchin
09-Nov-22
I like Don a lot. He’s got two good books for sale; both great but the one about whitetail legends is very interesting. I finally learned the story of how Roger Rothhaar bought and managed his property in Iowa ( and all the associated challenges with the local poachers). Great gift ideas for Christmas if you like books

  • Sitka Gear