This weeks In The Deer Woods column is with Patrick Hogan, editor of North American Whitetail magazine and NAW TV team member
NAW: What's your earliest memory of whitetail hunting?
PH: My earliest memory associated with whitetail hunting can be attributed to a buck that I named "Moe." I was probably 6 or 7 years old when my dad pulled his Navy blue Buick into the garage after a long weekend in the whitetail woods. Dad popped the trunk, and lo and behold, there was a nice — albeit dead — buck in there! I was given the honor of naming the tall-tined 8-pointer, thus the moniker "Moe." That deer was, for me, a porthole into the world of big game hunting, and it sparked an imagination within me of what could be possible, somewhere, out there. Soon after my Dad brought Moe home, he let me accompany him into the woods near our home for the first time. We hunted deer — with a camera and binoculars, at first — and I learned the essential traits of a whitetail hunter: patience, woodmanship and, above all else, respect for God's creation.
NAW: Where's your favorite place to chase whitetails?
PH: There's a special place in my heart for the whitetails that inhabit my "home state" of Kentucky. Over the course of my relatively short career in the hunting industry, I've been blessed with the opportunity to chase whitetails and other game species in a lot of superb locations, but when I close my eyes and imagine my next encounter with a mature whitetail buck, the location usually resembles the Kentucky countryside. From beginning to end, Kentucky's deer season offers the opportunity to hunt in three distinctly different seasons on some of the most beautiful ground in the world. Whether you're hunting some of the riverside counties that border the Ohio near Louisville or the agriculturally rich ground of western Kentucky, you simply never know how big the next buck will be.
NAW: If you could use only one technique for hunting whitetails from now on, what would it be?
PH: I enjoy hunting whitetails with just about any legal and ethical implement, but if I was limited to one discipline for the rest of my hunting career, the answer, for me, is a no-brainer. I would pick bowhunting seven days a week and twice on Sunday. The reason is pretty simple: bowhunters enjoy the most liberal, longest seasons of any whitetail hunting discipline, meaning I can spend more time in the woods if I hunt with a bow than I can if I use any other single hunting tool. The intensely personal experience of closing the distance between yourself and your prey to just 30 or 40 yards, of knowing that there is, quite literally, no room for error and that your success relies upon your physical and mental preparation are huge reasons for why I bowhunt.
NAW: What's your favorite part about editing North American Whitetail magazine?
PH: Perhaps it goes without saying that as the editor of a deer hunting magazine, it's "all deer, all the time" for me, and that's pretty cool. Every buck that we cover has its own story and its own "personality," so to speak, but as much as I enjoy reading and writing about deer, I'm equally fascinated by the hunters whom I have the opportunity to meet. In an era when a lot of folks are talking about the decline in hunter recruitment, it's refreshing to see the hunting spirit thriving in so many people, to see so many parents enthusiastically passing the tradition on to their children. It makes me proud to be part of the hunting culture.
NAW: When you're not chasing whitetails, what are you doing for fun?
PH: Well, that cuts out about half of the year for me, but believe it or not, I do have other hobbies. I'm proud to say I'm one of a rare "hybrid" breed of hunter that is passionate about both waterfowl and deer. I know, I know, a lot of people don't think we exist, but even my boss will tell you that I take a week off of work every year just to go shoot ducks! Aside from hunting, I love to compete in triathlons and other endurance races, I enjoy fishing and playing golf, and I like to do missionary work for my church with my wife, Lindsay.
FOLLOW UP SHOT: If you had one last hunt, who would it be with and where?
PH: Only one more hunt! Now that's not a particularly appealing thought, but it's also pretty easy to answer. I'd spend my last hunt with my Dad, my brother, Mike, and my wife's step-dad, Robert. All three of those guys have played a big part in my life, and if it were my last day in the woods, I'd want them to be with me. The "where" doesn't really matter, does it?