DSS - The Bowhunting Fiend Greg Litzinger

Show Notes

On this week's Deer Season Special bonus episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman, Mitch was joined by New Jersey bowhunter, Greg Litzinger.  Greg is a well-known public land bowhunter who loves hunting the mountains targeting mature bucks.  Throughout the many episodes Greg has recorded on other shows, he has discussed various tactics including buck beds and bed hunting.  While you may pick up on a few tactics and tricks, this conversation goes down a different path.

Greg and Mitch converse over numerous deer hunting stories and experiences.  Greg shares with us a hunt for a buck that took him into firearm season, and when faced with the opportunity to harvest the buck with a gun, chose to let him walk.  This was when he realized that bowhunting was truly at his core.  Greg talks about the various habitat and terrain types he has hunted.  While his heart is hunting in the mountains, Greg shares that one of his more recent challenges is hunting big bucks in the Pine Barrens.  When you spend as much time on public land as Greg, you also can have some unique encounters with people.  Greg has some bizarre interactions with the non-hunting community he shares.  

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Show Transcript

Mitchell Shirk: [00:00:00] You're listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast Deer Season Special. These bonus episodes revolve around deer hunting stories and experiences from a host of deer hunters. These whitetail hunting BS sessions will be launched every week during the 2023 hunting season, adding fuel to your fire in the deer woods.

Be entertained and hopefully learn something along the way. The title sponsor of the Deer Season Special Series is Vantage Point Archery, home to the toughest machined one piece broadheads made in the USA. VPA products are built to last, which is why they have a lifetime warranty. And if you're not completely satisfied, you can send it back, which I highly doubt will occur.

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The Pennsylvania [00:01:00] Woodsman is also brought to you by Radix Hunting, home of the M Core cell camera, stick and pick camera accessories, and much more. Also brought to you by Vitalize Seed, a one two planting system designed with diversity and biology in mind, making it the best food plot available. And lastly, By Huntworth Gear.

Quality hunting clothing at an affordable cost. Makers of Heat Boost Technology. This week's guest is the bow hunting fiend himself, Greg Lipsinger. Greg and I have a conversation about all the different types of habitats he's experienced over the years hunting in the state of New Jersey, as well as Pennsylvania and other parts of the country.

From hunting the swamps, to the pine barrens, to the mountains. And where his heart is truly hunting in the mountains. However, he has said that some of the biggest challenges he's faced is other habitat types and overcoming those habitat types has been the most fun for him to learn and pursue. We discussed the story of how Greg became the bow hunting fiend and how pursuing a buck that he did not [00:02:00] kill with the bow, following it into the firearms season, And having it within bow distance of a firearm in his hands, and having to choose to let the deer go just because it didn't feel right to kill it with a gun.

We talk about crazy encounters he's had on public land, not necessarily with game, but more or less people. And the last thing I want to say is this episode does have a little bit of explicit language in it. So anybody who's offended by that or has children in the car, I recommend waiting another time or turning this episode off.

With that, let's get to this episode.

So joining me today for this week's episode, uh, for another podcast, first time on this one though, from the Garden State, the bowhunting fiend, Mr. Greg Litzinger. Thanks for coming on. Hey man, thanks for having me. Yeah, I appreciate it. I, I enjoy these stuff and like we were talking earlier in All Fair, we were talking about the podcasting world and how, you know, you've been on so many podcasts and you're well known in the [00:03:00] podcasting world and you're, and you were kind of like, why?

It's like, because you're fun to talk to. You like the deer hunt and you're good at it.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, it's still, still, I guess it always, always be foreign to me, you know. I don't, I just, uh, I think there's way better hunters, uh, and outdoorsmen out there than myself, but. You know, I just happen to be at the right place at the right time, I guess.

Mitchell Shirk: Well, let me ask you this. So in all the connections you've made over the years throughout the hunting industry, how many friends do you think you've acquired through that?

Greg Litzinger: A lot. And what's great about social media is if you play it right, I guess it's because I guess social media is really like a game at this point, you know, you can eliminate a lot of people, you know, like I meant like Johnny Stewart, though, I'd like to break up in Long Island, you know, I mean, Adam Miller, Michigan, you know, like Clint through all the stuff that I have some really genuine dudes, uh, and some [00:04:00] girls, you know, some women that, yeah.

They're just nice people because we are about the same, you know, we're in the same lane going in the same space going the same direction, you know, and it's like, there's some people egos, as you know, in this, you know, hunting space, but it's been, it's refreshing, you know, because like I was telling you earlier, like a lot of my friends, they're not really hunting like they used to, like we used to hunt all the time.

I'm pretty much like a loner now anymore. You know, so it's like, my buddy Todd, he lives here in Jersey, we hunt Delaware every year now, and it's like, the connections are pretty solid connections, you know, because you can, we're in different places in life, but hunting, we're at the same place in hunting, you know, and it's like hunting and fishing, there's just that.

Camaraderie that I don't think you get in too many places, you know, like I, I used to do a lot of car shows when I was a kid with my friends. It's like the same type of vibe. Like, you go to a car show, just two nice cars and next thing you know, like you're just talking [00:05:00] cars and you're like instant connection with friends like hunting.

You know, like podcasting and YouTube, it's like the same thing, Instagram, it's very, uh, it's nice, you know, it's almost like online dating because you can just eliminate all the people like, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, yes, yes, yes, you know, a lot of similar traits, because I hunt a specific way, you know, and I don't really hunt a lot of private, hardly any private, and like, box blinds, like, not that I have anything against it, but it's hard for me to connect with people like that, yeah, like, we hunt.

Yeah. They hunt, you know, and I hunt, but it's like, yeah, I don't have a electric bike, I ride to my box blind, you know, and it's like, so, it's nice meeting like minded individuals, you know, idiots like myself, you know, that we, uh, Like I said, on the same course and same path through this, you know, hunting

Mitchell Shirk: space.

Yeah, and I think that right there for that camaraderie aspect that you brought up, I [00:06:00] think that's why it's so cool because you, you network with people, you want to have conversations, you want to pick people's brain. And like, for me, where I'm at in my hunting world, like I grew up private land hunting, I grew up hunting on food plots and, and, you know, managing properties and that's where I've come from.

Um, but, um, I still love that. Like, I love science behind whitetails. I love the biology and, and like, I, you know, I do things with plants for a living. I love that stuff, but, um, I've rekindled new interest, uh, hunting at my cabin and hunting big woods and learning that. So, you know, it's kind of like fresh to me to just pick people's brains and just get a different perspective on, on woods like that.

And it's, it's just. Again, it's just enjoyable.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, it's, uh, yeah, it's, I've been fortunate, you know, to be in this position I am now, you know, working with a few companies here and there, and, like, getting input on, [00:07:00] you know, I feel that people value my words and my input on things, so that's always nice. You know, like I've been hunting since I've been 14, I'll be 46 this year.

So is that 32 years? Like that's depressing when I say it.

Mitchell Shirk: That's just a number. There's good things to come. Well, let me, let me ask you this, Greg. So, I mean, you've probably done a hundred times on different podcasts. People ask you, you know, how'd you get started? You know, the talk about the progression of hunting.

So I want to skip forward to that. To all through all that, because you've done it so much and people can hear it on other shows, I want to know right now, where's Greg at right now, if you're, if you're 46 this year and you know, 32 years of hunting, you've, you've come to a certain point in your hunting career that you've probably had different mindset shifts, you've probably had some new goals, different goals, changes, stuff.

And I kind of want to dive into that a little bit with you. Like what are some of the things that you're looking forward to in the, in the season? You know. This [00:08:00] season, the seasons to come from, you know, locations or deer or whatever.

Greg Litzinger: It's, um, it was very, you know, you come to a point where you're hunting so long, you know, and I was a deer killer became, you know, uh, targeting bigger bucks.

And now, like I said, I got like a wife and kids. So it's like my, my priorities haven't changed, but the amount of time I can actually be gone, you know, because when I was really killing some nice deer every year, like. I was in the woods every day. Like, that's all I did. I was working woods. Didn't, you know, I wasn't competing, you know, archery.

I was in the woods scouting for deer. Like, I was 24 7, 365. So, I spent like a decade. That was my life. That's all I did. Now I got a wife and kids and it's like, I have more vacation time, but I feel guilty sometimes. Like, always not being here. Because, my daughter's five. Like, she's not gonna be this age forever.

So, I'm like, I'm kind of [00:09:00] pausing, you know, the, like the long trips, you know, like the five, six, seven day hunts away and focusing on just go away for three days, four days, you know, and keep it, keep the hunt small on timeframe because I don't want to miss anything in, at my house, you know, like I want to, I'd rather be known as a good dad, you know, and a good husband than a good deer hunter in my, in my current, uh, space.

So for me, it's, I want to shoot, you know, here in New Jersey. I've targeted deer in every, New Jersey is a pretty cool state to hunt, um, terrain wise. We have a little bit of everything, we got some mountains, we got big woods, you know, we have ag, swamps, salt marshes. I've killed a big buck in every one of them, except the pine barrens.

It's one deer I've yet to kill, a mature deer in the pines. I've killed bucks in the pines, but never... Like a two or three year old. So, my focus these last couple of years has been on the pines. [00:10:00] Um, off and on, like I want to, I want to be able to wrap my hands around a, a piney buck. You know, and anybody that doesn't know what a piney buck is, they're no ag.

You know, it's pretty much they just live on sticks and twigs and acorns and brows, you know. So the bodies don't get big and they got funky looking racks. They'll get big, but there's just a unique deer. You know, they'll kill 160 of this deer in the pine sometimes. And it's just, it's just a crazy rack.

There's really no mass to them. It's just like, just chaos. Yeah. I'm like, I, I, I need one of those. I haven't missed this too. When I was in my early twenties and it's like, it's. Like haunting me because it's like I got swamps here, you know, like that's 20 minutes, 30 minutes from the salt marsh, you know, and it's like I've killed bucks in the mountains, but it's like I really want a pine deer.

So that's kind of where I'm at. Like, I want, it doesn't need to be 120 inches. It could be 100 inches. I don't care. Like, it's, it's got to have a [00:11:00] nice body on, you know, a big body, you know? Yeah. So I'm not a big inches guy anyway. You know, I just, I want to shoot a deer or see a deer that gets me excited and a.

Challenges as hard as as hard as I can make it like that's what I'm into right now Like I don't want to you know, nothing against you know, I've stated this before another podcast So nothing against the midwest and Iowa, Kansas. I'll probably never hunt those states. I care less It's cool there's a big deer, uh, it doesn't, doesn't do, it doesn't make my heart beat, like, oh man, I got to do this, like, I want to shoot a four or five year old deer in a place nobody can, you know,

Mitchell Shirk: and it's, I like that, you know what I'm saying, to piggyback what you were saying earlier with about the family aspect, I've I've talked about that so much and I really appreciate that because when you're dead, the things people are going to remember are not going to be your deer you killed and the deer on the wall.

Everybody forgets those. You know, I [00:12:00] killed a big one a couple of years ago. Nobody knows it anymore. It doesn't matter. Nobody cares about the one big buck that I killed two or three years ago.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, I was talking to Kevin, podcast.

He was, we were echoing the same thing. It's like, it's cool to be like the guy he is, but I want to be the guy in my daughter's eyes. You know, like I was, I, like we were riding bikes, you know, she just learned how to ride a bike without training wheels and everything. So we're riding and she turned around and I, I put up next to her.

She's like, dad, you're my hero. You're my protector. And it's like that there, that little moment there, like will trump any deer I'll ever kill. You know, I can kill the world, right? I can kill five, two hundred deer. It'll never trump those little moments that she's at right now. So it's like, for me, it's like, that's, I want to be present for my daughter and my wife, you know?

And, I said, I don't hunt for a living, so it's not like I'm, this is like my job, you know? So it's like, I hunt [00:13:00] still for fun. You know, so it's

Mitchell Shirk: your hobby and it's a balancing act. It's a tough balancing act. And I, I tell you what, the balancing part of it, I have not figured out. So if you have any tips and advice for me, I would love to hear

Greg Litzinger: it.

I'm like, I have a lot of time off. I've been at my job forever, so. And it seems like the more vacation I get, the less I actually hunt. Cause it's like, wow, we're going here, we're doing this. It's like, I'm in that, like, full blown family mode, you know. And I know in, you know, five years, like, my daughter's ten, like, things will be different.

You know, she'll be, she'll have her own, she'll probably have new heroes, like, new, new people in her life that take the attention of her. Like, cause I got, my stepdaughter, she'll be twelve. And she's in that mode where it's like, she spends more time alone than with us, so it's like, I know, like, my daughter's gonna get there eventually, so probably for the next five years, I'll be struggling to find...

The balance between woods, family, and, um, and [00:14:00] hopefully, who knows, maybe my daughter will come into the woods, you know, with me. She always says she wants to hunt. She's like, Dad, I gotta be ten and I can go hunting. I'm like, yeah. She goes, five more years. I'm like, yeah. You know, but she likes guns more than bows, so I gotta work on her.

I got to

Mitchell Shirk: work on that. You got time for that. You got time for that. Yeah. You don't do any more gun hunting at all, or did you ever do any gun hunting?

Greg Litzinger: Like, I, I gun hunted a lot. You know, I did, I did it in the Pine Barrens, um, with a club in my late teens, early 20s. And then when I got sort of working for UPS, like, we can't really take time off from the week before Thanksgiving until Christmas.

And New Jersey's gun season is in December. So pretty much December, for the last 20 years, I just work. So it's like my one day off, it's a Sunday usually, and it's like, well, you can't gun hunt on Sunday in New Jersey, so it's like, I just, I mean the last deer I killed was a gun with a muzzleloader, um, it was like a nice 8 pointer.[00:15:00]

I had zero connection with the deer. Deer popped up, I was in the stand for like 15 minutes, my climber climbed up, that deer popped up in the overgrown field, I put the muzzleloader up on the scope, you know, dialed in, shot, I felt zero emotions. I wasn't excited, and I was like, yeah, maybe this gun thing's not for me anymore.

Like I felt, uh, I felt bad because I was like with the bell, you get like super excited. At least I do. But with that gun, the last two gun kills were like, eh, eh, like it was, I wasn't in the moment. So I'm like, yeah, I don't need to be here.

Mitchell Shirk: I've noticed that trend so many times, Greg, with people like, and I, when I say trend, I say, I'm saying people that are two generations ahead of me, where they get somewhere between their 15.

These and their seventies and they lose all interest. And I have a very good friend of mine. He's in his early seventies who, um, had very successful, um, self employed man, um, and has hunted all over the [00:16:00] country and parts of the world. But he told me, he said, I, he goes, I was a late onset archery hunter. I didn't start archery hunting until I was in my.

50s. He said, and that all stemmed from, he went on an elk hunt and he was on multiple big game hunts and shot an elk with a rifle. He said, I got up to it. He said, I not, he said a six by six beautiful bull elk. One of them hunts that you dream of. He said, I was not. at all excited. He said, and then when I took up bow hunting, he goes, it was like I was a little kid.

He goes, I couldn't believe what the first time I went and they called a bull in for me. He goes, I was shaken so bad I couldn't pull the bow back. And it's like, that's one thing bow hunting does that is different than gun hunting. I still love gun hunting. I'm not bashing it, but I do think you get to a point where it becomes a little mundane.

Greg Litzinger: Well, I know in the, the only chance I, you know, I knew gun hunting was kind of in my early twenties. I'll never forget. I was hunting this nine pointer during both seasons of Pine Barrens. [00:17:00] I mean, it was a big nine pointer and shotgun season rolled around. And back then I took off the whole week with the club and I'll never forget.

It was cold, extremely cold Monday morning, Monday or Tuesday morning, beginning of the season. This doe come in, this nine pointer is right in tow. I had this deer at 18 yards. The gun never left my lap, but I was like, I've been hunting this deer and I was like, and it was the first big deer that's been in like, right?

Like a huge, like, I mean, it's huge outside of any standards, you know, even outside of the Pine Barrens and I'm like, I don't want my first big deer to be with a gun. So it was like, and I watched this deer, I watched, I watched, you know, he bred or something. I was like. I, I just, I don't want my first deer, you know, big buck, you know, I've shot bucks before, we're all little dinkers, but I'm like, I worked so hard to shoot a deer with a bow, like big buck with a bow, and I'm like, I can't shoot you.

And then he goes on down, you know, guy in the club actually shot him in the next drive, you know, and I'm like, I go up to him and I'm like, man, I had a deer at [00:18:00] 20 yards. And he was like, no way, and I was like, yeah, I had him at 20 yards with a doe. I was like, I was like, yeah, watch them go in there. I was like, I had him at 20 yards.

He was breeding her. He was, he was tending her. Why did you shoot him? I'm like, I don't, I want to shoot one with a belt that big. I don't want my first one. It's like, I tell people that story. You're like, you're insane. You're not a deer hunter. I'm like, I'm a belt hunter, I guess. I don't know. Like, I, and I'm not mad.

You know, like, that's not one of those things where I get like upset over it. Like, I cry over it. It's like, well, give it to the other hunter. You know, and it's like, so, that's where I, you know, I probably, I got the muzzleloader. You know, if I lived in PA, I'd probably be down with the flintlock. You know, something like that, because the challenge that goes along with it.

You know, but we don't have any of that stuff here in New Jersey. Well, you can still

Mitchell Shirk: use it in Jersey. Yeah.

Greg Litzinger: But I mean like, like I said with the December thing, you know, like I'm always working. [00:19:00] So it's like, I'm not gonna buy a, because they permit you to death in New Jersey. Oh, you want to hunt this?

There's a permit. You want to breathe air? There's a permit. There's a permit. It's like, I'm already spending enough because I hunt four zones for 30 bucks a pop. And they gotta buy the permit bow license. It was like I'm spending damn near $200

Mitchell Shirk: on my home state, and this is one thing I can't understand as this is gonna sound terrible.

I'm gonna say it anyway. As money hungry as it comes across with the state of New Jersey with your hunting license, I cannot fathom the fact that it is $2 to buy a permit for a bear. Yeah,

Greg Litzinger: now, with archery, we have zones, so it's like, if I want to hunt zone, like, where I live, I'm in zone 27, let's say I want to hunt the, the water gap, zone 5, up in North Jersey, I gotta buy another permit, even if I'm only going to hunt one time, but I'm like, because the zones don't, you can't, like, I'm going to buy a permit, let me put three zones on this tag, up New Jersey, up [00:20:00] yours, Taxman's fuckin callin and you're gonna fuckin pay to hunt everything, cuz, I mean, that one year, I mean, I hunt three different zones, three or four different zones, so it's like, come to permit, it's like, alright, am I really gonna get down there to hunt, or up there to hunt, so it's like, I gotta pick and choose, it's like, and I'll, I'll put a camera up in like zone five, and I'll go check it, and I'm like, shit went up there in November, you know, it's like, that second week of November, it was on fire, but I'm like, I'm not driving up there and buying a permit for three days, like, but it's like, bye.

Cool, like, I wish we could bundle zones together. Yeah. You know, that would be, cause I know it scares a lot of people off, especially like out of state. Like my buddy from Delaware, cause Delaware's gun season is like during the rut. Yep. You know, during November. So, he wants to go hunt New Jersey, but he's like, I can't afford to buy an out of state tag in like three zones.

I'll come hunt with me. He's like, well, I'll just go hunt the one zone. He buys 63 in [00:21:00] Pennsville, you know, cause it's like, it's right over a bridge for him. And there's a few spots to hunt. And I'm like, yeah, that does suck. You know, if you're out of state, you want to hunt with me, he'd have to buy, like, his buddy lives in Pennsville.

So if he wants to hunt with both of us, he'll buy two permits. He's like, I want to go hunt together one time. I got to spend 30 to hunt. My buddy one time and I'm like, I live here, man. I know. Yeah.

Mitchell Shirk: It's a, it can be a money racket. I mean, that's the world that we're in, but I want to go back a little bit. So you were talking about the, all the different places you've hunted deer.

You've killed deer, big woods and swamps and ag and yada, yada, yada. Um, I'm curious from your perspective, you know, a mature deer, from my point of view, a mature deer is a mature deer regardless, but the, the playing field they're on is always different. So was there any playing fields? Terrain types that was a little bit harder for you to dive into.

Or once you got into a system of how you hunted deer, it all applied to those, those setups.

Greg Litzinger: Um, [00:22:00] I said that the hardest would be, you know, the flat pines. Um, you got swamp edges and that's pretty much it, you know, and New Jersey has baiting, which adds another wrinkle to the mix, you know, and it's a state where you can kill technically kill five bucks a season if you buy all your tags and licenses.

So, the Pine Barrens is a tough, just because it's flat and it's like the same thing. There's not a lot of diversity. Like, have that diversity. You know, when you do find it, usually it's just hammered with people. Like, they'll, they'll do some controlled burns and they'll do some light logging stuff up there.

You know, but everybody focuses in on it. So you have to... Literally just walk and walk and like, this is where cameras come into play because it gives you the ability to, you know, let cameras soak, you know, because Pine Barrens or any flatwoods, they're in like three to five day cycle, much like the MPA in the [00:23:00] mountains, you know, they're, they're never here in an area for more than a day or two and then they're gone, you know, and then it might be a week before they come back.

So cameras have definitely helped me narrow down some spots. It's the most challenging, I think, for me, is the flat, monotonous terrain. It could be, I mean, just even like the big woods, like the flat, big woods is tough. You know, without any, you start adding some terrain, and you know, some diverse habitat, it gets a little easier.

You know, because you're going to narrow down some, uh, your choices, scouting wise and hunting wise. But monotonous flat terrain is, for me, is the most difficult. It's like, to get mature deer. You know, there's deer, and then there's mature deer. Like, mature deer are definitely, uh, A different animal, especially in high pressure areas, as you know, you're from,

Mitchell Shirk: you know, certainly and terrain, even when it's monotonous, like there's so much monotonous ground in Pennsylvania, but terrain does wonders when it comes to getting near to the next age class, [00:24:00] because I think it's a barrier for people and there's so many ways you can hide it and the things it does with your scent and your thermals, uh, people get busted by deer and they don't even know it all the time in the mountains.

Greg Litzinger: And you got, I mean, you guys, I mean, I've been hiking in PA, like, even certain spots in New Jersey, like the Mount Laurel. If nobody's ever really hunted that six foot wall of Mount Laurel that just goes for hundreds of yards, like, it's a jungle. Like, if you've never been in there trying to drag a deer out of a wall and throw it, like, it is a, it is something to see, man.

Because briars, it's one thing, cattails, but... Mount Laurel is, it's tough. It's really

Mitchell Shirk: tough. It is, and like, I get into that more with bear than I do with deer, but I'll never forget, there was a couple years ago, my, my best friend from college shot his first bear, and I was, I was the person, it was just the two of us carrying this bear out, and we, we got it to a certain point, and I said to him, I'm like, I know where I'm at, but I don't know the best way to get back to the truck.

So [00:25:00] we like dropped the, the bear dropped and we just took the guns and I said, let, let's go figure out our, our path. And I am so glad I did because the direction I headed to go to the truck without the bear was just a sea of Mount Laurel and it took forever to get through. I'm like, I'm so glad. And then on the way back, I got to reroute the way we wanted to go and it was way more efficient.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, that's we, one year we went up to the mountains. I shot a buck, I shot three deer, uh, all in the same morning, and I shot a pretty good sized buck, another buck was killed in a doe, all in different mountains. So it's like, we'll, we'll drag them up to the same point. Then it's like... It's the middle of October, so it got really warm that day, and I'm like, man, we gotta cool these animals down, because we are far from where the truck is, you know, like, we, we had a good 45, 50 minute hike in, and my dad was up there, he's not in the best, you know, he has emphysema, so his level, his outbursts are short, his energy wise, so my buddy Tony, he fell in a hole, twisted his [00:26:00] knee.

You know, like, at the time, like, my knees were in really bad shape, um, so it was like, we had, like, three busted up people and three geared down, and it was like, my buddy actually drove from down here up to help us, because my dad, he just, he couldn't do it, and, you know, like, me and Tony, it was just So, I mean, we had probably, I mean, Adele was big, I think she dressed in like 110.

Buck I shot was like 170 it was like 150 on the other buck, so we had a lot of meat to drag. And I didn't, I didn't have a quarter of a deer, you know, like I have a quarter one up now, but back then I didn't have a frame pack or anything, you know, so it was like, you know, using a hang on and a small backpack, so it was like, we literally had to physically drag this deer down.

It was like the worst, like. I hurt for weeks after that trip, because every muscle in my body was like, why do you hate me, because we were dragging in, I'm like, man, we should really just walk down to the truck, probably drive around to this other trailhead. Now, it's [00:27:00] downhill, we'll be good. We'll end up going down in the wrong valley.

So we gotta drag it up through this, and it was like, we're gonna die out here. We're no water, like, 9am.

We got to the truck. It was like 10 p. m. And it was like because we're doing like one at a time, you know It's like and then my dad had to go get his truck drive around to where we ended up Where we thought we were going it wasn't like what we had and we were nowhere near where we thought we're gonna be You know, it was like pre onyx days.

They had that like the Garmin green screen GPS. I'm like, well, there's Something there's a trailhead this way. You got like a marker, but you don't, there's no picture or anything. So it was like, one of the things was like, man, thank goodness for technology because you can see where you're going in real time back then it was just like, we're retarded,

Mitchell Shirk: man.

Yeah. It's one of those, I was like, so this is how it ends now. I've had a couple of those too. It's, I shared a story with a buck, [00:28:00] uh, that I killed a few years ago into big woods and same thing. I shot it like nine or 10 in the morning and I didn't get it out. Back to camp to like 9, 10 at night because I took it the wrong way and it was a nightmare.

You know,

Greg Litzinger: and like that day I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. So we're on high alert because it got really warm that day. So we're, we're, we're dragging through that blueberry bush. I call it blueberry bush. I don't know if that's what it is, but it's like snakes were out all over the place. So it's like, we're dragging this deal through the stuff.

It's like the threat of death is looming over us because it's like rattlesnakes are everywhere. And I'm like, And like I said, this is where it ends. Like, this is where we die. And it was like, awesome. It was like, we're just trying to find like a, like, I know there's a cart road over here or like a trailhead.

No, no, that didn't trail. Like, we're just making our own trail. It was like, but yeah, my buddy came up. He's like, I'm at the trailhead. Like, and our phones are dying because nobody had battery backup. So it's like, we're real conserved with calling on their phone and everything. So I'm like, man, we are not, we are not prepared for that whatsoever.

And to get done, like, our camp ground was [00:29:00] like 20 minutes away. Like we had to go. And, um, like, back after all that, you know, we get stopped by the state park, or K 1 ranger, or whatever he was, answers all these questions, like, we looked like, we just, like, smuggled something across the border, like, we all looked like death, had no food, no water, and this ranger was asking us questions, and it was like, man, today's not the day, man, like, we just need to eat, like, we're starving, like, we need water, and he says, you Where'd you shoot that deer at?

Oh, that reminds me. And he's gone from this whole long story, like 20 years ago. And I'm like, Ranger, Ranger, it's not the time. Today's not the day, man.

Mitchell Shirk: So, um, of all of those different places, you said that the pines are the toughest. But everything else that you've hunted, do you have a personal favorite or something that's just like this, this is kind of home for me, or this one, this one, this one kind of hits well at home here as far as the place you hunt?

Greg Litzinger: Up north, the northwest corner of [00:30:00] New Jersey, the mountains, um, I'm a, I'm a mountain man by, in my heart, like, I prefer, uh, mountains over anything cold, you know. The height, you know, I, I love hiking and stuff like that, but I got into mountain hunting because I wanted a challenge and they said it took me six years to kill a buck in the mountains, you know, like that's when I was like my life revolved around deer and I shot a doe three years in and it was like one of the coolest experiences I was by myself deep, you know, I shot this doe, ran last light and I had to let her lay.

Cause, uh, well, bears, you know, I seen a few bears that night, so I was like, I'm by myself, I'm just going back to the campsite, you know, and I'll be here in the morning. So I was back in there in the morning, she was right there, but I remember dragging her out, you know, it might have been about a mile and a half.

And it was like, this is, this [00:31:00] is where it's at, you know, like, I just felt at home and at peace. You know, like the whole experience is, you know, and it's, uh, if I had to pick one place. Type of terrain I could hunt for the rest of my life. It would be the mountains. I, I,

Mitchell Shirk: I, I feel bad for Midwest people who never get to experience

Greg Litzinger: that, you know?

And like when I went out was, you know, like my daughter's first born, I was going out hunting with Johnny and Bell and all those guys out there, and it's this big, vast open timber. And it was like. It was like the learning curve was so short because it's like, well, I did it up north, you know, like I got to drive three hours up the mountains, three hours, six hours, like I'm not fortunate enough to be close to the mountains.

I'd probably never leave it, you know, but it's a, it's a toss up actually, you know, like I love the salt marsh. I love the smell of the salt marsh, you know, as much as I say I would leave New Jersey. I don't know if I [00:32:00] ever can, you know, like because it has the marsh, you know, it's got the mountains, you know, it's got a little bit of everything, you know, it'd be really hard for me to move to a state that don't have same things that

Mitchell Shirk: New Jersey has.

Yeah, it's part of, it's part of home. I mean, the only thing I can say, I mean, we don't have salt marshes, but we got everything else over here in PA and it's a, it's a great state to hunt deer too.

Greg Litzinger: Tell me. Yeah. See, like, I know, like, with my dog and all that, I'll probably get back into fishing. I used to fish a lot, like, go out in the, in December, came in May and got the stripers.

You know, see, like, that's a whole, just, Cool area down there, you know, short towns are always like small, old school, like Cape May is an old, old short town. There's just something to it, you know, and it's just neat to see the house, the architecture, the people. You know, when it's not busy season, it's a, it'd be hard to not have that close.

You know, I'm, I can be 40 minutes, I'm at the beach, basically. You know, so it's like, it'd [00:33:00] really be hard to move to just. Say Virginia mountains or something because it's like I would lose the ability to have stripers You know and I have certain things that way that I have now But I don't know I could get taxed out or I could get taxed out of here real quick

Mitchell Shirk: I hope that doesn't happen for your sake.

So let's go back to the mountain thing You said it took you six years for the for till you killed the buck was Was that first one of a big light switch moment? I mean, if I take you down memory lane, is that one that really resonates compared to a lot of them? Was there other, a couple other mountain bucks that really just kind of just, Oh man, that one really gets

Greg Litzinger: me.

Yeah, that was probably the first one. Cause I was working two jobs. I was working at UPS in an orchard shop and it was Friday night and I'm fixing a couple of those and this guy worked for John. I was like, man, I'm going to shoot a buck tomorrow. I was like, I'm gonna work Sunday. I was like, I'm going up to the [00:34:00] mountains.

And he was like, what? I was like, I'm gonna go shoot a buck tomorrow. I just knew it was like October 20th, like, seems to be like my day. And I called my other buddy up. I was like, hey, you wanna go hunting tomorrow? He was like, sure. I was like, we gotta leave at one. It was a three hour drive and we were, the spot I wanted to get to, we had to, so we ended up leaving, you know, like 1 30 in the morning or something.

Drove three hours, hiked close to, you know, an hour and a half in. Um, I didn't want to spook the deer, so we had to take the long way in. And I set him up overlooking, like, a little laurel patch with some beds, and it started daybreakin and I'm like, fuck. So I remember just sprinting up this hill, you know, just going as fast as I can.

And I get to a tree, and I'm like, man, where's my tree? And, like, back then it was the old green GPS, you know, like, I got a tree around here. And I was like, It's got to be around. It's like a small little saddle and I was like, you know, I'm walking all around. I'm like, actually I get in the tree. So I [00:35:00] remember just climbing up and by now it's like seven o'clock the video.

I got the video on YouTube, you know, it's it's and sitting there and I like, I remember like looking up and I can just see it. He's just come right at me. I'm like, Oh my goodness. This, this is it. Like, I knew in my heart night four I was going to shoot him. You know, shoot a deer. You know, one of us is going to shoot a deer.

Like, we're in the spot, you know, and that deer came in, left, came in, left, and I was really on top of my game shooting wise back then. So I'm like, dude, you give me a shot at 45, I'm shooting you. You know, 50, I'm taking the shot no matter what. And he left and he came back and I remember just shooting him in a heart shot and he popped, took off and he ran 50, 60 yards and did the old back flip.

He actually broke two tips of his, uh, his antlers off. And I remember just being like, so excited. Like I almost fell out of a tree, you know, it was like, even with the harness on, like I was [00:36:00] literally like fell out of a tree and I remember getting down and running to my, running over to the theater. You know, this is that's the coolest thing.

It was like six years of like Work when I say we're like some i'm three hours from the mountains and I would scout I would log eight days up there scouting. So that's just weekends because I have one day off So my life was in the mountains basically, you know For a closed section, it's just mountains.

Mountains. Camping up there. Just learning everything about the mountains, you know? Learn how to use a top of map and a compass, you know? Back before GPSs, you know? It's like, I had a nice, cool, uh, experience. But that, that deer was a, was definitely a light switch, because... Everything I thought Deer would have did, like, it did.

Like, he was coming back to bed. I was just off some bedding, you know, like a lone bed I found. I'm like, he was coming right into that bed. So, it was like, as it happened, it's how I pictured it was gonna happen. You know, and it was weird, like, [00:37:00] the tree I was in was actually the tree I was supposed to be in.

So, it was like, the odds of finding the tree you're supposed to be in, you know, it was like, very difficult. You know, even with the conversation. Yeah, even now with everything, it's still hard to get the exact tree, especially without eyeshine or anything. And for me to be in that tree and have everything play out like I thought it was going to play out was like...

Alright, there's, I, I got this. You know, that was my second, uh, second or third nice deer. Might have been my second deer. I think it killed one the year before, like in the marsh. So, um, might have been, yeah, second or third big deer, but it's like, all these things were like, playing it like in the confidence levels, like, alright, I got this.

I know what these deer are doing. You know, and then, every year I go up to the mountains, one of us would kill. Whoever took up, you know, it was like, I won't say it got easy, but I knew that wood so well. And for that time frame, like for mid October, if I went with three [00:38:00] people, somebody's killing a buck. Or I was going to see someone really close to killing a buck.

So it wasn't like we're seeing deer, like, I spent so much time up there, like I knew exactly what these deer were. Now, no trail cameras, that was just straight woodsmanship. You know, just spending years and hours and hours up there. like, man, there's something to this. You know, and you, you can see it unfolding in your brain.

You know, and then have a buddy kill a deer, same thing. I think they're going to do this. Sure enough, they do that. You know, and it's like, I killed another one. Just, I imagine it's going to happen, you know, and then, well, my other buddy killed one, so it's, it's like, like I said, that light switch moment where it's like, you, I put the time in, and my brain can take that data that I'm seeing and formulate a plan.

Not just to see deer but actually kill deer. Yeah, I think I've lost that

Mitchell Shirk: Well, let me ask you this when you say about losing that because you brought up a good point I was thinking about do you feel now that it is harder for younger hunters? Or, or, [00:39:00] people in general, if they're newer to it, do you think it's harder to become a woodsman now than it was years ago because of the technology, because we've got trail cameras, because we've got apps on our phone with maps and stuff like that?

Do you think it's actually harder to become a woodsman, or is it just the person themself?

Greg Litzinger: I think it's a combination of both. It can be hard, because you can be, I mean, I always, I always use the phrase, you can deity yourself to death. Like, you can have all the data in the world, um, but you can't actually put it to use, that data's useless.

So, you still gotta be able to interpret things in real time, as it's happening. And you can be able to form a plan, like, you can run a hundred, a hundred, like, I know guys that run dozens upon dozens of cameras, they never kill shit. Mm hmm. They're just so worried about the cameras and the data, that it's like, dude, at some point in time, you gotta kill something.

Like, no one cares about your data. Like, no, like, you're not a scientist. You know, like, you, you, you spend all this time in the woods and you're very knowledgeable about [00:40:00] deer, but you're not a killer. You know, like, becoming a killer is, especially a mature deer, it's different than, um, being a deer, you know, a hunter.

You know, like, being a mature buck killer, you're not shooting, you're not targeting does usually, you know, you, you know where does are and everything, but you're just wired differently. And it's, It's not, not everybody's going to get to that point, you know, that's shallow saying that,

Mitchell Shirk: but no, it, but it's true though.

And like what you're talking about, one thing that comes to my mind in anything in life, you're talking about practitioners, like, you know, my job, um, in agriculture, some of the most interesting people to learn from are farmers who have worked their entire life as a practitioner. And you can learn so much from them, even though I've got a lot of knowledge from the science end of it.

You know, you know, as an agronomist and working with different people and learning with all these different universities and stuff like that, that is all great information, but putting it in practice, man, you learn as much, [00:41:00] if not more from that. And I bring that up because I think it's all walks of life.

And you put that into the deer hunting world, a practitioner like yourself and some of those people that you've become friends with the names that we could drop on this podcast that are just great hunters. They're practitioners. They've done it for years and it's good. So like, I think about it now from my shoes, like I came up hunting when I started hunting, um, I was doing things hunting before I was 12 years old, 12 years old to cut off in Pennsylvania.

But my first year hunting. We had trail cameras, even though they were like the, you know, back in the, the good old days they were those like big Wildlifes from Jersey the Drews used to run. We still had 'em at places. And then we went into the, you know, the really old clunky mul trees and stuff like that.

And my entire hunting career has had that. And, uh. You know, uh, again, where I come from, we're, we're a lot different in where we started because you grounded out public land and I started private land. And [00:42:00] one thing I'm noticing is while I'm not, I don't feel like I'm a dummy. I'm not a spring chicken in the woods, but you take some of that stuff away from me.

I feel like I've got a couple more leaps to get up when I'm back up in the big woods and I'm, I'm catching up and I'm learning stuff, but it's that, that woodsman ship gap is just, it's just different.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, I, I think with, you know, I call them like Phenoms, you know, like kids, younger kids or adult onset because there's so much, so much information out there now, if you can watch a video and understand what people are doing, the YouTube videos, because back when, you know, when I was 10 years old, there was, there's videos out, like, I'm actually looking, I got the Boat Hunting October Whitetails DVD over here, like, I remember that was like the coolest video in the world because it shows you like real world, they're shooting, you know, and they're scouting, they're telling you like, You know, stuff to do to kill deer.

And like, the deer they were shooting on the video, they weren't big deer by any means. They were nice deer, you know, but it wasn't what you're seeing, like, people shooting now. Like, the other [00:43:00] videos I have were very rudimentary. Now they're, like, the dead end vault. People like that, that put out all this information out there, that we've all consumed.

The learning curve is ramped up. You know, if you can take that, with a little bit of boots on the ground, like, you might start killing deer in five years. You know, or versus, you know, or three or five years. You know, first me, it took me 19 years to shoot a pope and young deer, like 19 years. So it's like I paid my dues and then some before I killed my first big.

I was never like, I'm not a lucky hunter by any means, but I think how my brain works for me, I can u use, uh, the woodsmanship with the camera data to make a good decision. Mm-Hmm. There's a, a generation there or even like a lot of adults are, are guilty of it. If it's not on camera, it doesn't exist. Man, you gotta, you gotta be able to, a camera is just a tool, it's like a bell, it's not gonna make you kill a deer, by any means, like, you put it out there, like, if you put it facing the wrong [00:44:00] direction, that deer could be five feet to the right, every day, oh, there's nothing there, I'm not hunting it, you still have to be able to interpret something, you know, you still gotta be able to, like, alright, that rub's fresh, those droppings are fresh, that's a fresh track, like, the people that can take camera data mixed with woodsmanship, I feel that they can have a better, um, understanding of whitetail movement, Thank you.

Faster than say I did it in my upbringing my

Mitchell Shirk: first Experience with what you just said there. I'll never forget. I think it was a few years ago I still had my my PA tag and I was hunting late season I didn't kill a buck through archery and rifle season I was trying to kill one with a flintlock and there was one buck in particular that I would have loved to have shot But we had decided we didn't want to shoot him with you know, he made it through gun season Let's see what he does next year but that deer was just it was Just a distinguishable deer.

And it was intriguing and I would have loved to have shot him. But anyway, he was not doing anything, [00:45:00] uh, in daylight on any camera we had. It was, there was no daylight movement. There was nothing that really got you excited. Like, Oh, I would have a chance to kill this deer, see this deer. And I'll never forget, like.

Early the first week of flintlock season. I I laid eyes on that deer. He came out and I watched him He's a beautiful buck and I left him go because like I said, we talked that we weren't going to shoot him and I I honored that Um, but when he came out there was a camera near that location He never came anywhere near and he left and never came anywhere near and that was so many cases and it's like That was a perfect example of cameras do not tell you everything.

It told me that deer was still around, but I mean, every picture was nighttime and there was nothing on a single camera that was daylight active. And that was, that was a big eye opener. So you've, I fast forward to some of the hunting I'm doing now and how I think about that, like getting a picture of where a deer is, even if it's in the middle of the night, but knowing the direction he's coming from, I think that.

That helps me put the rest of the pieces of the puzzle together, [00:46:00] like you were just saying, with adding on with sign and history and everything

Greg Litzinger: else. Yeah, it's, uh, one thing I've been doing now, especially in the flat stuff, you know, there's really nothing forcing deer movement, like, monotonous just pines, the deer just kind of roam, like, I do double camera setups.

I take my cameras, take them ten yards apart, 180 degrees. And.

Some days the deer are over here, some days, you know, when I check the camera, they're on the right camera, but if I only just have one camera, I'm getting deer every three days, but he's literally been coming through that area every day, but that camera just hits that small little window. If they don't trip it, you know, that 20 yards from the camera, you know, like the deer is 40 yards out, you know, is there a deer in that picture?

Like, I don't know, you know, because it's like something tripped that sensor, but you don't see a deer. Well, he might have. But through too fast, you know, or something. So it's like cameras are only giving you, you know, an eighth of [00:47:00] what's actually happening in the woods, you know, and it's like, so what would you

Mitchell Shirk: do, like for, what would you say for new people, young people that.

are going into this with the, the sea of media and content out there. And of course it all revolves around technology. What would your, your thought be when it comes to being a woodsman? Like this is what you, this is, this is the, the foundation in which I want to establish for the type of hunting places that you and I know as home in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and anywhere for that matter, but just that, that specific monotonous terrain type.

Greg Litzinger: Have to understand. Tracks, um, and like, look at tracks, you know, direction of travel, um, and droppings, you know, and you see a track, it's like, alright, like, at least for me, you know, like, back in the day, it's like, you would just scout the woods until you find a fresh sign, then you sat up on it, you know, either sat on the ground back in the day, I was so little when I [00:48:00] first started hunting, I couldn't even climb a tree stand, like, I ground hunted, because, I look, I was probably like 20 pounds, you know, I can barely pull back 35 pounds, so I did a lot of ground hunting, you know, and you just, I've killed deer by being mobile on the ground, like being, having the ability to move, um, being mobile, you know, is, is the word everybody's using now, you know, just staying mobile as much as possible, if you're a new hunter or first couple years in, spend a lot of time pounding the boot leather, you know, because you're going to learn the woods, how they're moving, because you could, if you, Um, In the dark, you know, you go to a tree, you climb up, and you get down, and especially you hunt the same if you got the hang on or ladder stands, you're hunting that same thing day in, day out.

You're not necessarily growing as a hunter. You know, you're, you're, you're relying on a little bit of luck. You might be in the right area, you know, but, you know, you're hopefully, you're, you're wishing that deer comes through there, you know, but if you're, you know, scouting your [00:49:00] way in and, and hunt over here and like try to learn, try to do different things, like ground hunting is severely underrated, you know, anybody that watches the hunting public, you know, like I always use reference Zach because he hunts the ground a lot, that those guys hunt the ground a lot, you know, and they I wouldn't say a popper, but they made it popular because a lot of people hunt the ground, but you can learn a lot by hunting the ground.

Early season, the rut, late season, because you're constantly, if you're bumping deer, you know you're moving too fast, it forces you to slow down. You know, and like when you, when you move slow, you can see a sign that you might have not seen if you were in a hurry. I got to hurry up and get to my tree, you know, before four o'clock.

But if you just slowly inch your way to that area where that tree is, as long as the wind's good, you can hunt the ground. You know, there's really no difference between being in a tree or the ground. So, I always tell like new people, spend some time on the ground. Like, and spend most of your time scouting.

And you get to a spot, you know, the last... Here in New Jersey, [00:50:00] Magic Hour, it's like PA, it's still the first hour of light and the last hour of light. So you can, you can still hunt your way into an area to sit motionless the last hour of light. You know, and it gets dark, you know, and the next day do it all over again.

Mitchell Shirk: I like that, and I think it's probably, for me, I know, I mean, I love being in the tree. There's something about when you get in in the sunrises, you just watch the sunset. Yeah. From a tree. I, I get that. So there's probably like this allure or nostalgia or something with a guy that get to my tree and stuff.

But yeah, I would agree with that. And it's been part of my upbringing in the hunting I was around, it was almost like. Ground hunting was taboo for different reasons. Not that it can't be done because I have, you know, one of the people, one of my biggest hunting mentors, I mean, he went in his younger years, like he tells stories of some crazy ground hunts and dearies killed on the ground and stuff, but I never did that because the way we hunted when I was growing up, that was never something I learned to do.

So that, that's [00:51:00] another thing, like the past probably three years, I've dabbled with it a little bit, and that's just a. Different way of thing. It's just a mindset because you're absolutely right. It can be done. It's hunting, but it's just the way you approach it is, is a

Greg Litzinger: mindset. Yeah, I mean, I mean, look at the white tailed drumming guys, what they do on the ground.

True. No, so it's like, it can be done everywhere. Like, I know some old timers that longbow hunt. They feel that. I run into them every now and again. It's two older guys. They feel tree stand gives you an advantage over the deer, so they want to be ground level. Like, that's where they're at in their, in their hunting career.

Tree stands, in their minds, are cheating. They don't use cameras, they don't do anything, they just, they're still hunting ground hunt. And they kill some big deer every few years, like, You run into him like, oh, look at this one, and you're like, holy smokes, like, that's a monster. But he's like, you know, on the ground, you know, with a longbow, 17 yards and under, like, that's some cool shit, man, like, that's pretty crazy.


Mitchell Shirk: uh, that's something that, like, [00:52:00] I admire greatly, like, that's, the hat's off to you. Yeah,

Greg Litzinger: I mean, like, my best seasons, I was hunting from the ground. You know, like, I mean, I've, I've killed any season where I've tagged out with the bow, you know, both, you know, permit and wrangler, like, I, it was all ground hunting, on bucks.

You know, I've shot a buck at three feet on the ground. Oh my

Mitchell Shirk: gosh, tell me about that. That had to be crazy.

Greg Litzinger: It was, uh, it was November. It was during the rut. It was the first buck I killed in the rut. I was probably, what, 27? And we're hunting these beans, and they were cutting the beans down, so my buddy's like, Hey, they're cutting the beans down, so they're probably going to push the deer in the back, coming out to the, the beans.

I'm like, alright, the does, everything's probably going to go into this backfield. So he had access, he knew the farmer, so we could, it was public behind his house, we had to get through the fields, and the farmer's like, yeah, go, go. So, we're set up, and he, we set up, we, we hunt relatively close. He might have been like 80 yards from me.

So I'm sitting. On [00:53:00] a stool, this big old red oak, I think it was, I'm sitting there, and I'm kind of looking, I can see the beans, and I hear, brrrr, and I'm like, and I got this big ass tree, so I'm like, I can't move, so I'm like, I'm just leaning into the tree, and all of a sudden this doe, she walks right in front of me, I mean like, I could have poked her in the eyes.

And she kind of skidded off a little bit. And I hear, brrr. And I'm like, and I can see a deer nose and I see antlers. So I remember just like, leaning back, and he turns and looks at the beans cause the doe kind of, I remember just pulling back, you know, and getting the full draw all discombobulated, and the deer turns and was kind of coming right at me.

I literally just shot him right in the throat. I look right down the arrow and I'm like, And like the bows cocked, like I was shooting the compound, but I'm holding like a recurve, so I'm pulling back, and I'm like, this deer's gonna run me over, like, I had just seen Antler, like it was kind of, he had a nice sweep, it was a nice 8 pointer, like, nothing major, but, uh, beautiful [00:54:00] deer, but, uh, I shot that deer right in the throat, you know, looking right at me, and it came out, you know, and that deer, I mean, I hit him, I mean, hard, blew right through him, I was shooting the, you know.

Oh, I'll never forget a rocket ultimate steel. I think

Mitchell Shirk: they don't make those anymore. I don't think

Greg Litzinger: Three blade one inch but the blades are so steep on those things They made a huge hole, you know an entrance hole. That was I mean, I remember an arrow hit and I could see blood I'm, like man that tears He Robinson Field, that deer ran like 400 yards.

Really? I mean like pouring blood everywhere. And we're like, fuck is like, we went in the field like combine's going and my bike stops the combine, you know? And uh, the deer ran off, you know, to the, uh, field. We didn't have permission to go on. It was a different farmer. And we go up to the federal, like the blood's right there.

You know, I was like, he's in this other field. And the other farmer [00:55:00] wasn't very nice. And the guy with the combine was like, Just go, man. He didn't make it very far. I seen him run across the field, and sure enough, He was just on the other side of the ditch, so he went there and pulled it out. That was like, so cool.

It was like, Late hunt, like after work, It was like, let's just go hunting real fast. And it just happened, like so fast, but That was, you know, That year I killed, I think, four or five deer All on the ground. Yeah. It was like, but every deer, outside of that buck, every deer I killed that year, I made a move on that deer to get the shot.

I seen him, and I made a move to go kill him. They didn't really come to me, it's like, being hunted from the ground, like I said, it gives you the ability to make decisions, like on the fly.

Mitchell Shirk: Do you remember the first time you tried to do that? Because, like, I would think, like, for me, I haven't done that very much.

The first time trying that, I would be like, is this gonna really work? And then it does, and it's like, oh, I'm gonna keep trying this. Well,

Greg Litzinger: let's, uh, fast forward, uh, you know, 20 years after that one, or [00:56:00] 15 years, I was up in the mountains, my buddy's coming up. Super windy. I'm hunting like two days. I shouldn't even have been in a tree.

It was so windy. I'm like, I'm gonna fall out of this tree. So I'm just climbing down and I'm near the road, you know, coming along this little side of a hill. So I'm buying a phone. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, I end up finding an old Lou Romero Thunderhead. Broke off, all faded out. I'm like, man, this is cool.

So I put it on my quiver, and I was like, man, someone shot a deer. You know, with his arrow, because it broke off, like, in the deer, you know. So I'm like, someone killed a deer with his arrow. I was like, that's pretty f ing cool. I was like, I'm gonna keep this. And I'm talking to my wife on the phone, I'm like, there's a buck standing right at me.

And it's so windy, and I mean, it's going this way, like, leaves are falling. You know, it's mid October, October 21st. And, uh, he's like, shoot it, I was like, alright, so he's still on the phone, I literally just put the phone in my pocket, and I pulled back, and I'm like, at the time I was competing, so like, I didn't need my range finder, I was like, I think that deer's [00:57:00] 35 yards, and the deer's like, looking at me, looking all around, I don't know why he got up out of that bed, but I literally You know, kick him up out of bed, you know, and I shot that deer and pinwheeled him at like 35 yards and I pulled the phone.

I was like, yeah, he's dead. He's like, did you just shoot that deer? I was like, yeah, he told me to, you know, I was a big bar. I think it was, are you serious? I was like, yeah, it was a great shot. And I was like, and then like, then it hit me. I'm like, holy shit, I just shot that buck. You know, it's like, it happened.

I was like, I had that weird thing, like disconnect from the moment. Then like all the adrenaline, I'm like, yeah. Wow, I go up levels everywhere. I find my arrow on my, and then he went like 60 yards, but I was like, oh, that's cool. You know, and I remember dragging him to the road and I mean, shit, you know what, ten minutes later, my buddies come up the road.

Oh, throw him in there, you know, and it's like, well, we're here for another four days. I had to find a butcher who would let me hang him. I was like, I don't need a butcher. I just, [00:58:00] I just want someone to hang it in the cooler. And the guy was like, yeah, sure. And so I shot him from the ground and the next night I ended up shooting Adele.

And then my buddy shot a big ol hammer. So it was like, in a matter of like a 30 hour span, you know, we killed, you know, a truckload of deer. I was like, oh, time to go

Mitchell Shirk: home. That's the way it should be. Do you have any other, like, what are some of the, the bucks? Like, let's, let's go into the, let's dive into a big buck or two.

Like, is there any buck that you have, whether it's, uh, big antlers or just a big story that just like, that's the one that like, just always gets me. Like one buck in particular or two or something like that. Well,

Greg Litzinger: that's, um, I said the one mountain buck, that was... That was pretty cool because like the, the, the experience and like that was a, we had like a two mile drag out.

But we're dragging down the Appalachian Trail. Mm hmm. And anybody's ever hunted the Appalachian, or hiked the Appalachian Trail, like it gets crowded sometimes. [00:59:00] And there was these women from Iran. So, I got probably two dozen pictures with like, women, like, full face coverings from Iran. Some had full face coverings, some didn't.

Taking pictures of me and my deer, because they'd never seen a whitetail. Really? Like, they never, yeah, they never, they didn't know what a deer was. They couldn't, they were like, what, what are you dragging out? You know, and they had like, broken English, and it was like, it's a whitetail. You know, and that language barrier, but it's like you see some of them like they're touching it, like never seen a whitetail.

So like I had all these people from Iran and like those people from China, like straight off boat that spoke no English that were, you know, that, that deer there, my first mountain buck, he's all over the world because I had so many pictures taken of him on that day, like dragging out so many pictures, so many people took pictures of me and that deer and them holding the deer, you know, and the people are giving like thumbs up and everything.

So like that, me and that deer. All over the world. I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's, I know [01:00:00] me and that deer are, we're in Iran right now. There's a picture of me for some reason in Iran. Uh, there again, I don't know if that's good or bad.

Mitchell Shirk: I don't, I don't think I've ever heard a hunter in any capacity say those words in a sentence.

So that's

Greg Litzinger: unique. He's like, wow, they're really like taking lots of pictures. I'm like, dude, they've never seen a white tail. And it was so cool because the, the people that were From my friend living here now, like, we're having a conversation and they're relaying what hunting is about. Like, we eat it because they were asking questions.

Do you eat it? Yeah, we eat it. We, you know, and we show pictures of mounts and stuff like that. So these people that. Cause there's hunting on a ram, but it's like sheep hunting. It's not white tail. So it's like for them to see that and be a part of that's pretty cool. You know,

Mitchell Shirk: that is cool. That's unique. I was not expecting it to take that turn.

That's really cool. Yeah.

Greg Litzinger: And like, and some, you know, they look at it as, you know, like the Chinese couple of Chinese ladies, [01:01:00] they were so excited. They were talking like at a rate that I don't know, like they were speaking Chinese, but they were so amped up. Excited for that deer, and what we were doing, what we were doing, whoa cat, come on, yeah, sorry about that.

You're good. Almost took the runner with my glass off. But uh, they were so excited for that deer, and they were like, speaking, I don't know what they were saying, but they were like, looking at deer, picking it up, like looking at it, and standing behind, you know, taking pictures, and I'm like, man that's pretty, like, never would have thought, because I've had some bad experiences on Appalachian Trail dragging up deer.

Okay. People call me killer, like. Murderer, killer, but someone from another country that don't know anything about hunting, I guess. They were more into it than actually people that are from here. So it was like, it was a pretty cool experience because, like I said, I've had bad experiences. Near an Appalachian trail with dragging out a deer.

Mitchell Shirk: [01:02:00] I believe that. Like when I was in college and some of the people that I would have Interacted with From an international standpoint, like have a class with Or, you know, club with or eat lunch with Or whatever. And they start asking Hobbies about each other and of course the first Thing out of my mouth is I'm a deer Hunter, I love hunting And I've never met somebody outside Of States that had bad things to say like, Oh, that's cool.

And they'd ask a million questions. I feel like it's almost like, uh, elitist American thing with that negativity to, to hunting

Greg Litzinger: other countries that they don't have. I mean, some of these people, maybe that you're, you and I've had feelings with like on the international world, like they might not have supermarkets.

They can't go to Acme and buy their meat. Like they have a farm that they might, you know, have to kill. A goat to eat or something, you know, kill the chicken to eat that day, you know, or they might go without food. So like meat is like a, oh, well, meat's like good and I remember the one, uh, lady from Iran.

They [01:03:00] were like, does it taste good? I was like, yeah, it's very good. It's very healthy, very lean, not a lot of fat, you know, and like, it's like, I wish I could have gave them some deer meat, like to eat. They were like, they were like really like all about it and I was like, that's pretty cool, uh, experience, you know, like not a lot of people's going to get.

You know, especially because I've had the negative experience on that same trail. And it's like, to go from that, I was killed, I was, I was told by someone that was extremely overweight, her husband was overweight, um, I'm trying to be gentle here because people are sensitive now. Oh, don't

Mitchell Shirk: worry about that here.

Greg Litzinger: There were two kids, might have been ten years old, severely overweight. Like, they were like beach balls. You know, you can just go to McDonald's and get your food. You don't need to kill. And I'm like, yeah, and I'm like, I'm like, maybe you don't need to go to McDonald's. Like, I probably said some more mean things like that.

I don't know, but I was trying not to let them get to [01:04:00] me. But I mean, they were saying some pretty like stuff. I was like, I was like, Hmm. All right. Well, how do you think your burger? I get to McDonald's. How do you think that got there? Had to be killed by somebody. Right? You know, so

Mitchell Shirk: it's like, It's amazing the disconnect we have in this country.

Greg Litzinger: And it's like meat in order to eat meat something has to die. That's just the way it goes. It has to be cooked You know, it has to be butchered and cooked. Like there's no like this meat just magically arrives on my plate.

Mitchell Shirk: No But that's the mentality. That's the mentality and oh my gosh, this is a rabbit hole.

We shouldn't go down Yes, man, we would start complaining about it big time Yeah,

Greg Litzinger: like I grew up that like as a kid like you're hanging in the back yard My dad's a gun hunter, you know, like a spell hunter, you know, I remember there'd always be deer every Every couple of years or every other year, you know, we ate deer meat.

So it was like, we went fishing, we caught, we kept our fish and we ate them. Like, that was just a way of life. You know, my dad's an old farm boy. You know, like, you want chicken, you go [01:05:00] grab a chicken and you cut its head off and you pluck it. You know, it's like, that's what you did. You want to make, you know, those new supermarkets, you know, like, my grandmom, she's old.

You know, my mom's mom, she's a hillbilly basically, you know, like, you know, so you, you want me, you're usually killing it that day or the day prior.

Mitchell Shirk: Exactly. Exactly, man. Greg, this has been a lot of fun. I, uh, these are some awesome stories, awesome learning experiences from, from. You know, stuff that you've done over the years.

And I really appreciate talking, you know, the perspective of what you enjoy and the ground hunting and some of the deer you killed. And I would have never thought in my, my wildest dream that I'd be doing a podcast with somebody that was telling me about meeting people from another country, like that was, that is, that is really cool.

That was really cool. Yeah, it was weird. Like, cause it had to be uncomfortable to a sense,

Greg Litzinger: right? Well, the ones, there was like a big group, but they were kind of like, the same group, but they were kind of like separated, because you had the women that were [01:06:00] fully, uh, is it the burka? Is that what that's called?

I don't know. Yeah, but, uh, fully clothed except for the eyes. And it's like, they were taking pictures, like, with me, and I'm like, I don't, and it was kind of, I don't have much dealing with, You know, with that environment, you know, you know, because usually my, I want to see people's face. I can see their reaction, you know, I can see their, you know, you can tell a lot by someone's face expressions and like people that are like fully face covered, like they're talking to me, you know, and I'm like, I have a hard time reading your face.

And for me, it's like, I don't, it's not like a trusting. I just, it was weird for me. It was new, you know, I'm like, it. Ah, cool, but some of them were, you know, definitely excited in that group, and some were, you know, you can tell by the eyes, not excited about it. So it's like, you don't know what you're getting, you know, because they can't see your, your facial expressions.


Mitchell Shirk: but I mean, to me, it just is another example of how can you, how can you not, [01:07:00] how can you not get excited about whitetails? It's just, um...

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, yeah, and it's like, it's, whitetails, one of those animals, especially in North America, is probably the... Animal in North America that most people recognize.

Absolutely. Um, it's the most popular game animal for sure. You know, outside of ducks, it's probably the most game, popular game animal. Uh, I, I don't, ducks might rival white tails. I don't know.

Mitchell Shirk: You could be right, I don't know. I never really thought about that. I guess I would have always thought like... Like wild turkeys are, are, are very popular hunting, but I, I, I would, I would have to think about that, like what my opinion, I, I don't, I'm kind of neutral, I don't know what, what to think, what would be next in line or right up there.

Greg Litzinger: Yeah, because I know, like I said, just from the, like, organization standpoint, like, ducks unlimited, like, there's a lot of duck organizations, especially around here, because, because we got the marsh and stuff like that, so there's a lot of, I grew up with a lot of duck hunters, you know, I used to duck hunt a lot in high school, that's one of those things, like, if you don't have a boat, duck hunting is awful.[01:08:00]

Mitchell Shirk: It's tough. Yeah, it's tough. And my thought with boat was that all that just stood for bust out another thousand. I was never, never really about that. And I've had too many horror stories. You go out on a boat and motors don't work and getting towed. And yeah, I just wasn't about that.

Greg Litzinger: Getting stuck in the dark, cold, dark.

Cause like, I remember like, you know, sure. Hunting birds, my buddy Keith in high school, he used to take his, uh, sneak box and everything out in the Avalon and go shoot buffalo heads and Branson. Nallard's, you know, and it's like, well, it's just like, you know, pretty cool, you know, it's like you can hunt ducks in a pond, you know, here and then drive an hour and you're hunting ducks in the ocean, basically, you know.

Like deer, you know, you very similar like deer are pretty much everywhere, you know It's a back on the deer thing But I think more people recognize white tailed deer than anything, you know And like I've been out hunting and it's pretty cool But [01:09:00] it's not one thing that like draws me like I need to do it every year like white tails like I think I missed one season of white tail because a shoulder problem and One bow season and all that time, but I'll still hunt woods, you know, like still scouting, you know Still being present in the moment, you know, but.

Yeah, I think whitetails, for me, is probably it, as far as animal species.

Mitchell Shirk: I'm right there with you. I think the close second for me has got to be black bear. And it's weird, like, early on when I was hunting, like, I've been really lucky when it comes to that. Like, I've killed two bears in Pennsylvania with a rifle.

One when I was 13 years old, one when I was in college. And, you know, I, I still, I've said this before, I'll say it again, I'm not a bear hunter. I, I went bear hunting and I got lucky and I've killed bears. But now, for whatever reason, I am just like... It's on my mind all the time, like, I just have it, I gotta kill one with the bow, and I wanna do it, I wanna do it no bait, I wanna do it man against beast, and like, [01:10:00] so that's, that's just my thing, but you, White Tails have always captivated me, and I mean, that's why there's a million shows and podcasts and articles and stuff like that, because people just, it's, it's an animal that just fascinates us.

And it, and

Greg Litzinger: it transcends, like, New Jersey. You talk to, uh, Die Hard, even, say, from the Midwest. There's still a lot of, like, you talk to a true, like, a public land grinder in, say, Illinois, it's like you, you're literally hunting the same type of deer, almost the same type of terrain, you know, some hill country there and, you know, and even in Indiana, like the mountains or Kentucky, like, you talk to, like, a true diehard, you know, those grinder type guys, like, yeah, I can, I can get behind that, like, I could meet up with those, you know, like, everybody I've met on social media that are public land guys, like, I can go hunt with them and I know exactly we're on the same page.

Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's like, you know, like Johnny Stewart, you know, he tells me, you're going to get through here, you're going to see this tree, you'll know exactly when you see [01:11:00] it, I know you'll find it, sure enough, I know, so I come through this little bend there, I'm like, there's that tree, you just know it, because the way he explains the tree, and it's like, you see I come through here, you can see it, you can read it, you're like, alright, that's the tree itself, I'm not sure enough, you know.

That is the tree that works, you know,

Mitchell Shirk: that's the woodsman communicating with woodsman is fine. I've been part of some camps with, with older guys that the same thing when you explain, like, I remember, uh, when I first started bear hunting and you'd go into some of these mountains and the guys that did it for years and knew the woods really, really well.

And they'd be like, you're going to go out this, this crest. And when you get out to this specific point, you can't go past too far. You got to drop down and like you, and when you get there and you see, it's like, wow, they explained it so well. And this is, this is cool. Yeah.

Greg Litzinger: And that's, uh, cool, like, with, uh, hunting camps.

I've been in fishing camps. It's a lot different. I did a lot of fishing camps in my teens. Smallmouth fishing, fly fishing. And it's a lot different. But, like, a hunting camp, it doesn't matter if it's New Jersey or PA. It's the same vibe, same energy. Like, [01:12:00] a good hunting camp. You know, like, people that have been together for a few years in a group of guys.

I mean, there's nothing like it. Yep. You know, at all. And I think some people, they don't, that's never been part of that. Like, it's a, it's something you need to experience. Absolutely. It really is. When I went, I shot my last buck in PA with, uh, those family's camp. It was grandpop or dad's, whatever, like, but Martinez hunting camp.

And it was like I've known these guys like my whole life. I've never seen half of them, I've never seen 90 percent of them, but it was like, boom, boom, boom, boom. They asked me what I, You know, how I killed that deer, and you know, and like, the moments that happened, and it was like, it was like, I was in, like, I was like, family, from that moment.

You roll into deer camp with a big, with a nice buff, or buff or deer in general, like, you're in. Doesn't matter if it's a spike, or it's a 14 pointer. Like, if that's a true hunting camp, like, You've proved your worth as people in that camp, and you are now part of that tribe, if you would. And

Mitchell Shirk: that's a great way to describe it, yeah.

Greg Litzinger: They [01:13:00] take you right in, it's like, wow, this is... Because I never really had, like, as a kid, I had camps here and there, but we, it was never, like, we never belonged to, like, a club. Like, my dad, like, we'd go hang out, people he knew had a club, but a bunch of guys drinking in a garage, you know? The guys are hunting together, but like a true hunting club, man, there's nothing like it.

Mitchell Shirk: Yeah, I just did, so it was neat, uh, this summer I did my 100th episode and I did that on that exact topic. I had my two grandfathers, 80 years old, talking about that exactly, how those camps got started and the traditions that started and like that's, that is like, that's very core to Pennsylvania. I know there's other states that have that, but Pennsylvania is one where that heritage and the way that deer camp, like that's, that's

Greg Litzinger: deep.

Yep. Yeah, it is. New Jersey, the culture has definitely changed, uh, because the baiting has changed hunting, um, community here in New Jersey because growing up we didn't have baiting. Baiting was relatively new for us. And [01:14:00] it definitely changed the hunting camp vibe. My buddy's got camp, I go to it and it's like, every story is like, 90 percent of the stories Somebody said never paid.

It's me. Like those stories are like no good in my opinion. Nothing against people that they

Mitchell Shirk: It's not Greg style,

Greg Litzinger: yeah, it's In my opinion no good hunting story. That's gonna do transcend time's gonna start with so there was hunting over a cool pop Like it just does it it doesn't have the same tone. It doesn't have the same Ring.

That's some old timer that's been, you know, pushing it for 20 or 30 years telling you how deer move and because that's what deer do, they move a certain way. Now it's like, truck, hammer, spade, pile. And like, that is how a lot of, uh, some of the clubs around here have become. And it's like, uh, I'm glad I'm not part of that, you know?

It'd be hard for me to be a part of that club because there's just nothing there

Mitchell Shirk: for me. Man, I could [01:15:00] probably bounce back and forth with you all night long, but I want to be mindful of your time and your family's time for sure. So thank you for joining me. on this show and, uh, anything you want to leave us with and, you know, make sure to follow the Bowhunting Fiend if you aren't

Greg Litzinger: already.

Yeah, uh, they said that the Mountain Balcony first one, there's, it's on YouTube, you can actually see that, you know, you see the post reaction shot, that was, uh, six years of... Emotions coming out in a 10 second span. So it's pretty cool. Absolutely. Yeah, you can search them on YouTube. There's some, you know, Instagram, YouTube.

Yep. No Facebook,

Mitchell Shirk: so. Gotcha. Good deal. Thanks again, Greg. Yeah,

Greg Litzinger: man. Thanks.