Per Tom McMillan, Don't Forget to Have Fun in the Whitetail Woods
By: Lynn Burkhead
Kansas' Tom McMillan is known for his intense pursuit of chasing big whitetails, but as one of the country's more humorous TV show personalities, the Sportsman Channel host also is known for his laughter and big smiles
Ask Tom McMillan for his favorite deer hunting tips, and there is sure to be a list that includes such things as the best arrow and broadhead to use to the best camouflage pattern to the proper usage of a grunt call and rattling horns.
After all, the Kansas big buck hunting outfitter is known far and wide as one of the country's top deer hunting gurus.
So it's little reason that McMillan is one of the co-hosts for the #DeerWeek campaign, a celebration of the nation's number one big game animal and its annual autumn pursuit.
But talk to McMillan long enough around the campfire and you might just get one hunting tip that you didn't bargain for from a man who guides clients to big, old bruiser bucks.
Don't forget to smile and have fun says McMillan.
"I've got a motto, a saying that I try to keep on everybody's mind, whether it's around hunting camp or when I'm on a hunt somewhere else," he said. "It's 'Hunt hard and have fun!'"
Why such a thought?
"A lot of times, we can lose sight about how important it is to have fun (deer hunting)," said McMillan of an age of quality deer management, food plot plantings and year round scouting.
But such things are probably not the reason that most of us got into deer hunting in the first place.
"It's (really) not about the guy who has shot the biggest, oldest buck that has ever walked or shooting one that's bigger than our buddy's," said McMillan.
"The very fact (of the matter) is that it (deer hunting) is such a precious gift of God's outdoors," he continued.
"The tradition of hunting, we can't forget what a gift it is."
That's especially true in light of the fact that sometimes, a hunt doesn't go off the way we dream that it will, the way that a television show portrays it to be.
"Sometimes, hunts don't go as planned," said McMillan. "Sometimes the (wrong) weather kicks in. Sometimes, luck just isn't on your side. Sometimes, you miss a shot or whatever."
What should a deer hunter do in such a bitter and/or disappointing moment in the whitetail woods?
Relax, smile, laugh and have a little fun says McMillan.
"That's when you really have to fall back on (the idea) that it's (supposed to be) fun," he said with a smile.
In fact, that's one way that McMillan hopes to be remembered someday when his run on this earth is through.
"I want to be remembered for being fun to be around, for being light hearted and for keeping sight of what's important," said the Sportsman Channel show host.
That doesn't mean that McMillan - who can be as intense about his hunting passion as anyone else out there - plans to fail.
"When it comes down to it, get the job done," he said. "And (when you do), make sure you pay your respects to God's outdoors (world)."
Having a little deer hunting fun along the way, enjoying the woodsy journey with a smile and a laugh.
And who knows, maybe with a little luck, perhaps even a punched deer tag wrapped around a buck's antlers.
Something that's pure gravy for a deer hunter like McMillan who is simply happy enough to be in the woods chasing the wily whitetail around.