“Hunt hard, have fun, respect the game. That’s the BIG DEER way.”—Mike Hanback
I was born and raised in Fauquier County, Virginia and started hunting with my dad when I was 6 years old. That’s how kids did it back then. My first bow was a Bear recurve. I killed my first buck with a .243.
I attended Fauquier High School and then graduated Cum Laude and with honors in English from Carson-Newman College in Tennessee a long time ago. I minored in hunting and partying and got As in those :)
My first real job was Assistant Editor for the NRA’s American Hunter magazine, then located in downtown Washington, D.C. It was the commute from hell, but it got me started. I moved up to Executive Editor and worked there for 10 years. What a dream! I got to travel all over North America and hunt and write about it. I shot some 15 species of game, including deer, elk, bears, wild sheep, caribou and even one wolf.
In the mid-1990s, I struck out on my own and started freelance writing. Those were fun years, but tough and lean, man. Outdoor magazines were paying $100 to $200 for feature stories--8 to 10 B&W photos and Kodachrome slides included--banged out on an electric typewriter. When I got an assignment for $300 I went wild; when I got a check for $1,000 from one of the “Big 3” (Sports Afield, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life) I screamed. My wife and I damn near starved.
For years I wrote for Outdoor Life and was the magazine’s Deer Hunting Editor. I continue to freelance a few stories to hunting publications each year. All told I have written thousands of columns and magazine articles, way too many to count. I have written and/or edited 6 books on hunting, but, sadly, the outdoor book market is dead.
That is largely because of the Internet. I saw that coming, and so for the last 6 years I have blogged like a wild man about deer hunting. During this span I have blogged more than 2,000 posts and counting on deer--that is a lot of work has to be a record!
In January 2008 I started the BIG DEER Blog, which I truly believe is “America’s Best Deer Hunting Blog,” and I continue to post on it daily.
I have combined my blogging with TV for the ultimate in multi-media deer hunting coverage. For 3 years I co-hosted Winchester Whitetail Revolution on the VERSUS channel (now NBC Sports). From 2008-2010, I hosted The Buck Stops Here with Mike Hanback on VERSUS. It was one of the top-rated shows on the network's Friday night deer-hunting block. Those were good times and we did some nice work. Versus RIP.
When I was looking for a new network for my latest show—BIG DEERTV-- there was only one option for me—Sportsman Channel. Sportsman is on the move, growing big time in both numbers and quality. I am proud to be a part of the Sportsman Channel family, and we are on a mission for the top of outdoor TV.
While I have hunted most everything that walks or flies in the last 30 years, these days it’s all about BIG DEER. I hunt whitetails and mule deer in 10 states and a couple of Canadian provinces each fall. Funny, I still have the same passion for the hunt as I did when I was a kid knocking around the Virginia woods. If that passion ever goes away, I suppose I will quit.
I am a Remington man and an Ambassador Pro-Staffer for Cabela's, and feel honored to represent such iconic American sporting companies. I am a Life Member of the NRA, and I will forever fight for our Second Amendment rights. I will do all I can to sustain and grow our blood sport and lifestyle until I walk the deer woods no longer.