By Andy May
If you’re a diehard whitetail hunter on Instagram or Youtube, you’ve likely heard of @bowhunting_fiend Greg Litzinger. Greg is a hardcore New Jersey bow hunter that focuses primarily on public lands and who’s had incredible success in recent years.
When I first started showcasing successful DIY hunters, the name Greg Litzinger was recommended repeatedly. I took the advice of the readers and I’m glad I did. What I found was a passionate bow hunter who gets it done in a very tough area. He’s a young guy and I expect great things from Greg in the future. In fact, he has joined up with another DIY Profiler Curtis Zabel and “Behind the Bow” for the upcoming season. You can follow these fantastic DIY hunters on Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook at “Behind the Bow.”
Q: Tell me about the areas you hunt?
A: I hunt in some very highly pressured areas all over New Jersey. Habitat ranges from salt marshes, small woodlots, some ag fields, swamps, big woodlots, all the way to the mountains in the NW part of the state. I basically like to hunt as many different types of terrain as possible, as I feel it makes me a more well-rounded hunter. Most areas I hunt are heavily baited except for the mountains, which is probably why I enjoy hunting up there the most. It’s as real and natural a way of hunting as you are going to find here in NJ on public land anymore.
Q: After watching your videos/podcast it is apparent you are a very knowledgeable hunter especially in pressured areas. Can you explain your journey of hunting from where you began to where you are now?
A: I grew up with a father who was a hunter and I remember when he would bring home a deer I would be so excited. I knew one day I would be tagging along with my pops with a bow in hand. When the time came at the ripe age of 14, I took my bow hunting test (which I failed the first time by the way) and got my license. From the very first day I stepped into the woods I’ve been hunting public land. My father and I chased those crafty creatures wherever we could every Saturday and even before and after school sometimes. I was primarily a meat hunter in my early years and it was all about numbers for bragging rights among your friends. I moved around the state a lot so I was fortunate to be able to hunt many different types of terrain which has served me well.
The meat hunter trend continued into my mid 20’s as I basically lived off deer meat for 6-8 months out of the year. I killed some nice bucks from time to time but I also lost a couple really big ones which still haunt me to this very day. It wasn’t until after my 3rd knee surgery at 29 yrs old (snowboarding related) that I started to take bow hunting more serious. I spent more time reading and learning as much as I could. Scouting in the months of January-April really was a game changer. I didn’t shoot a buck for three years during that “transition” phase from a deer hunter to mature buck hunter. I was pleasantly rewarded with my first big buck that following season. After 19 yrs of trying, I finally wrapped my hands around my first mature public land whitetail. I had built up all this pressure over the years and to finally seal the deal was absolutely AWESOME! It was like a weight lifted off my chest. The rest they say is history. I’ve been fortunate enough to put my tags on a few more bucks over these past few years.
Q: In your opinion why do most hunters fail at shooting big bucks?
A: I could go on and on about this one but in my honest opinion…..pure laziness. Everyone wants to kill mature bucks but many aren’t willing to put in the work necessary. From scouting to shooting your bow/gun, if you put in half assed efforts expect half assed results.
Q: What is your biggest strength and weakness as a hunter?
A: Strength – I’m stubborn! I can and will wait it out…weeks, months, even years.
Weakness – I’m stubborn, I can and will wait it out…weeks, months, even years.
I’ve been working on both of those but old habits die hard… haha
Q: How do you avoid the crowds when hunting high pressured ground?
A: If I’m avoiding them I usually hike further or use some type of water as a buffer, but sometimes it’s not about avoiding the crowds but knowing how to use the crowds to your advantage. I’ve had success hunting off other hunters, not necessarily that far from them.
Q: I noticed you are an accomplished archer, how has this helped with hunting?
A: I would have to say it’s something my archery coach told me years ago and it relates to hunting as it does archery.
“The only thing we have control over is the 6” between our ears.”
I can’t control the weather on the course, the footing, or the mechanical failures when I’m competing. I can only control my thoughts and actions. If I allow outside forces to dictate my thoughts and actions it’s going to make for a long day competing. That transcends into hunting as it keeps me from getting worked up over other hunters’ actions, horrible weather or whatever it may be. It allows me to stay focused on what I should be doing. It also allows me to respond instead of react to situations on the fly in the woods much like deer do. When we respond to something it usually has a positive outcome and when we react to something it usually has a negative effect on the outcome in my opinion. Moral of the story kids….stay positive and enjoy the moment.
Q: You mentioned buck bedding. Where did you come up with this technique?
A: I wouldn’t say it’s relatively new exactly. I’ve been fascinated by buck bedding and deer bedding in general since the mid 90’s Roger Raglin invading big buck bedding areas VHS tape. I watched that thing a dozen times and that’s what got me interested in hunting bedding areas. I’ve always hunted bedding areas more than anything else really. I had mixed success doing it but still success none the less. It wasn’t till I stared reading about Andre D’Acquisto and Dan Infalt and how they targeted specific buck beds that my scouting took on a whole new meaning. It kind of validated that what I was doing was right, but I just needed to tweak my approach to things.
Q: Do you use any call or scents?
A: Calls – I’ve never had much luck luring in a mature buck with calls.
Scents – YES! I use some form calming/deer herd scent year round and love to use tarsal gland during the pre-rut and rut.
Q: What equipment do you depend for your style and success?
A: Bows come and go, camo patterns fade, and arrows get lost but the one thing that has been with me for 15+yrs has been my Lone Wolf stands. Andre knew what he was doing when he designed that thing! It truly was a game changer.
Q: Give one tip to the readers to improve their success on mature bucks in pressured areas?
A: This question reminds of a saying I once read somewhere. I don’t know the author or where I read it.
-What is the difference between a fool and a wise man….A fool doesn’t learn from his mistakes-
This statement holds so much weight in my opinion as mature bucks are always learning from their past mistakes/close encounters and rarely will they make the same mistake twice. For some reason a lot of people continue to make the same type of mistakes over and over. I guess that’s what separates the 5% of the guys who consistently kill 95% of the mature bucks.
Q: What’s next for you in your hunting journey?
A: I’ll continue to hone my craft; learning and evolving my hunting and archery skill sets.
As far as my hunting career goes, my heart will always belong to whitetails as that’s what I’ve chased for the past 25yrs. They have taught me patience, the value of hard work, lots of humility and respect and for that they will always have the top spot. My ultimate hunting goal is to be able to chase after mountain goats, sheep and the mighty Ibex. Just something about those animals that calls to me on a deep emotional level, maybe it’s just a fantasy or maybe it’s something much more? Whatever it may be I hope to one day find out.