What every deer hunter can learn about the ones that get away

Tom McMillan, outfitter and Sportsman Channel personality, has bagged some impressive bucks in his time, but he still remembers the one(s) that eluded him.

“I wish there was only one that got away,” he tells Fox News. “There’s probably about three I can recall.”

McMillan is currently hosting Deer Week alongside “Bone Collector” star Michael Waddell. But just because the two are experienced, veteran outdoorsmen, it doesn’t mean they’ve never come home from a hunt empty-handed.

On the contrary; they say they know the feeling all too well.

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“There were just those bucks that, there was no luck about it,” McMillan says. “They were just so old and so smart, and they had learned so well the art of surviving. They were the ones that, if every [other deer] was going to the field to feed, they were staying in the shadows.”

“I would say most of them DO get away,” adds Waddell. “You’re in their world. They have the advantage. You’re kind of invading.”

“Sometimes, it’s like they fall off the face of the earth.”

McMillan, however, tells Fox News he doesn’t let it get to him, but rather that he treats each instance as a learning experience.

“I learned more from the three that got away than from any that I’ve been lucky enough to harvest … I guess in that way, it’s a love-hate relationship,” he says.

"I learned more from the three that got away from any that I’ve been lucky enough to harvest."

- Tom McMillan

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Waddell, too, tends to look on the bright side of a fruitless hunt — and not just because each one is a learning experience.

“Talking with other hunters [after a hunt] is the only place, period, that you can sit around a campfire and exaggerate,” says Waddell, who admits to making up a “little white lie” to explain why he missed out on an especially agile, majestic buck.

“You don’t have the let the truth stand in the way of a great story.”

McMillan and Waddell are currently hosting Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel’s first-ever Deer Week, featuring all-new and classic episodes of deer-related programming each night through Oct. 26.