July 06, 2022
By Paul Annear
Greg Glesinger no longer is an unknown name in the hunting industry. That’s largely because Greg killed a 203-inch whitetail buck in 2017, a 239-inch buck in 2018, 175- and 194-inch bucks in 2019 and capped off this amazing run with a whopping 233-inch monarch in the fall of 2020 — all with archery tackle.
However, yearly smackdowns on giant whitetails weren’t always a recurring theme for Greg. He says it all clicked for him one day in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Deer and Turkey Expo some 20 years ago. There Greg attended a seminar by Ralph Cianciarulo of Archer’s Choice. Since that day, Greg’s pursuit of whitetails has never been the same.
After feverishly taking hand-written notes, Greg followed Ralph out of the seminar and asked, “Ralph, you wouldn’t happen to be getting lunch, would you?” Ralph replied, “As a matter of fact, I am.” Greg now swears that buying Ralph’s lunch was the best $8 he ever spent.
What was the big secret Ralph told Greg? Ralph said, “Greg, I see you’re after big deer. I’ll tell you the biggest secret yet: You can’t hunt something that’s not there.” That simple statement was the “ah-ha” moment Greg was waiting on. And from that day forward, Greg became a land steward first and a deer hunter second, knowing he needed to grow big deer before he could kill big deer. Greg realized whitetail management needed to be a 365-day-a-year endeavor to reach the level of deer hunting success he was dreaming about.
Greg started taking days off from work to leave home early in the morning to attend deer hunting shows. He would take pages of notes and bounce from one hunting seminar to the next, absorbing all the information he possibly could.
Greg joined the Drury Outdoors team 13 years ago, and since then he’s experienced incredible hunting success. Greg remembers his first discussions with Mark and Terry Drury in deer camp. Greg recalls, “Mark would always tell me: ‘You know, you don’t say much, Greg.’” Greg’s reply was simple: “You’re right, Mark. I want to learn as much as possible, so I’m just listening.”
Greg wasn’t out to compete with the Drury brothers. Instead, he wanted to learn from them. Greg explains, “I became the ultimate student. I learned very quickly that if you aren’t the expert in the room, be the student — and be a dang good one.”
Embracing the Process
Most deer hunters experience different stages as they progress through the years. Like many others, Greg’s approach to deer hunting was a process that took time to develop. “I wasted about 10 years hunting the traditional way of looking for funnels, staring at aerials and making food plots based only on what the land was giving me,” says Greg. “Now I take the whole farm and ask myself how I can give deer every reason not to leave.”
Greg says his biggest in-field teaching moments came during his four-year quest for the 2017 buck he named “Major League.” “For four years I chased him, and he forced me to learn so much about whitetail habitat,” says Greg. “I learned when to lay off and when to be aggressive. I learned a lot about specific buck behavior. Just like people, there are some bucks that are aggressive, and some who are passive.”
Greg explains that his chase for the 7 1/2-year-old buck was particularly draining, because the buck was very timid and nocturnal. Despite the massive headgear the buck produced over the years, Major League never once broke an antler tine, leading Greg to air on the side of caution when it came to aggressive calling tactics. Despite odds stacked against Greg, he was bound and determined to meet up with this buck in the autumn woods.
Mark Drury called Greg in the summer of 2017 and asked the rising Drury Outdoors Team member what his plan was for the year. Greg told Mark, “I hate to break the news to you, Mark, but either I’m killing Major League or I’m not going to kill one at all.”
The learning process is continual for Greg, whether it’s in life, business or 20-feet up a tree chasing monster deer across the Midwest. “If you’re not taking yourself out of your comfort zone, you’re probably not going to grow,” he says. “Every time you push yourself, even if you fail, you learn something. The hardest lessons are learned when you lose, not when you win.”
Greg believes a lot can be learned from chasing specific deer, but it certainly takes patience, time and motivation. “When I started hunting with a purpose, that’s when I got better,” the bowhunter explains. “Now I observe more, hunt less, but kill at a higher rate. Often, people hunt way too much.
“If you’re pushing the winds, all you’re doing is educating them; you’re pressuring them, and they will go nocturnal. I can guarantee you that,” Greg continues. “A lot of guys hunt when they have a week off and push it on iffy weather days, but in reality, they shouldn’t be forcing the situation.”
Most hunters can recall some information about their hunts, but Greg and his farm manager, Kasey Morgan, take things to the next level. As Greg explains: “We are always plugging in notes on our phones while in the tree stand. That way, if we don’t harvest something, at least we are harvesting information.”
The Surgical Approach
While speaking to Greg a few times over the last year, I found it very clear that he and Kasey have a passion for land management that runs deep. They do nothing without careful thought and planning, and every move gets analyzed under a microscope.
“Everything in land management has a purpose,” says Greg. “We are so dialed in on food plot set ups. I have Kasey measure food plot widths and lengths to the exact yard, so when the moment of truth comes, all I have to do is focus on the shot.” Much of that detailed approach has translated into the tree stand as well. In the last three seasons, Greg killed his 239-inch, 233-inch and 194-inch bucks on the first sit in the stand.
When Greg killed the buck he named “Extra Innings” on the first sit, people may have chalked it up to luck. However, now that he has gone three for three on target bucks the last three seasons, Greg has proved that luck has nothing to do with it.
Many hunters misinterpret opportunities on when they should or shouldn’t go hunting. Often hunters don’t pay close enough attention to weather patterns. Greg addresses the subject by saying, “Because we study the barometric pressure, wind and other factors, we stack the odds as much as possible.”
Although Major League was very timid and not daylight active, a buck Greg harvested in 2019, nicknamed “Wide Load,” was very aggressive and had a dominant attitude. On the first sit for this 175-inch monarch, Greg had the buck at 60 yards. But the giant didn’t wander into the scrape near Greg and Kasey’s set up. Greg and Kasey agreed they should get aggressive and try a decoy for the next sit.
“We brought the decoy with us three days later,” says Greg. “And we killed him that afternoon. We observed his personality and adjusted.” Greg and Kasey not only make aggressive in-field adjustments, but they also dissect properties as if it’s scientific research.
When I asked Greg some probing questions about the importance of bedding and food, it was clear you cannot have just one if you want to create a deer mecca. Greg explains: “If I have bedding, I can do timber stand improvement to make it even better, but that’s not going to give me year-round forage. Deer browse, and they’re the ultimate buffet eaters. That’s why most of our food plots have more than one type of forage. Deer don’t like to gorge themselves on only one particular food source.”
Greg caters his food plots for the specific time of year he will be hunting a given property. “On my Wisconsin property, I don’t touch that farm until late December or January,” he says. “We plant accordingly with beans and corn. When we buy back corn from the farmer, we broadcast brassicas or clover right into the corn when it gets to about knee high or so.”
Greg admits he was short-sighted in his approach to food plot and habitat management early in his hunting career. “Early on, I didn’t do TSI,” he explains. “I didn’t plant warm season grasses, and I wasn’t making sure whitetails had no reason to leave the property. Now, if I was a whitetail and I came to my farm, I wouldn’t want to leave. That’s because I would have everything — food, water, cover and extremely low hunting pressure.”
For Greg, no habitat improvement is done without a specific purpose. He says, “When we set up TSI cutting, we do it with the wind direction in mind. That way, when it comes time to dive in and go for a kill, the bedding we created is in our favor with the wind required to hunt the area. We just don’t nonchalantly do TSI; we do timber cuts in unison with our blind and tree stand spots.”
Any hunter can complete TSI projects using Greg’s approach. If your cuttings are complimenting the natural flow of deer movement, any amount of TSI will be beneficial. Greg stressed to me the importance of finding a trusted resource to learn from before taking on any TSI project. “We cut a lot of non-timber value trees, such as box elder,” he explains. “It’s important to spend money and time to educate yourself before cutting.”
Greg likes to kill deer in their natural movement, and sometimes he does so without mouth grunting to stop a whitetail in its tracks prior to the shot. “My whole thing is, if you can kill a deer without him knowing you’re there, there is a higher probability of him not jumping the string,” Greg explains. “The minute you attempt to stop a deer with a mouth grunt, they’re at full alert, and you have to do everything perfect with the shot.”
Greg also has opinions about arrow weight for bowhunting whitetails, and he favors lighter, faster arrows over heavier options. “I would rather have a lighter arrow going 310-320 fps, than a heavier arrow going 270-280 fps,” he says. “Regardless of if a heavier arrow has more kinetic energy, if it doesn’t hit the spot, it doesn’t matter. Whitetails move so dang fast, and they can jump the string. I want my arrow to get there as fast as possible, within a reasonable arrow weight.”
Greg is very passionate about his archery setup, and he adjusts things immediately when they don’t feel right. He knows that his bow, shooting 310 FPS, allows him to use one sight pin out to 30 yards. Plus, he no longer uses wraps on his arrows, due to the imbalance they create in arrow weight. Greg prefers to be at 13-15 percent Front of Center (FOC) weight for each arrow. Any unnecessary additions to his set up won’t make the cut.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Greg struck a chord with me when he said, “I haven’t met a single big buck killer that doesn’t have patience. When you talk to mature buck hunters, there’s a demeanor to them. They don’t quit. Always watch the deer movement, because they’re giving you the playbook. You just have to beat them at their own game. Patience is key.”
During my time chatting with Greg, I quickly realized how goal oriented he is with not only outdoor pursuits, but also in life and his career. Greg says, “The more time you put into something, and the more passion you have, the more likely you’ll find success.”
Greg gives land manager Kasey much credit for his behind-the-scenes work. Greg states: “There’s always someone behind someone, helping along the way. For me, that’s Kasey.”
When Greg started filming his hunts 13 years ago, he fell in love with it. He explains, “It wasn’t the filming that was so exciting — it was me being able to share the hunt with others. We’re part-time hunters chasing full-time deer, and it’s the ultimate chess match.” For the time being, Greg is dominating the sport he reveres and respects so much.