Meeting Up with Kansas’ Famed Whitetail Man, Tom McMillan

A busy family man, rancher, outfitter and host of "MCMILLAN" on Sportsman Channel, Tom McMillan doesn’t have much downtime, but this year he's making the time to serve with Michael Waddell as co-host of "Deer Week"

By: Lynn Burkhead

Tom McMillan, host of “McMillan,” will host OSG’s “Deer Week” on Sportsman Channel October 15 – 21. (Photo courtesy of TheSportsmanChannel.com)

Tom McMillan, host of “McMillan,” will host OSG’s “Deer Week” on Sportsman Channel October 15 – 21. (Photo courtesy of TheSportsmanChannel.com)

 

To say that Tom McMillan stays busy is an understatement, and then some.

After all, McMillan, now in his mid-40s, wears many hats around the west-central Kansas house and ranch that he shares with wife, Jacque, and son, Gatlin.

Those hats include, among other things, family duties, ranching chores, running one of the country’s most popular deer hunting guide operations, and oh yes, filming one of the most popular deer hunting shows on the Sportsman Channel, a show known as MCMILLAN.

And this year, McMillan – who also finds time to serve as co-host of the Outdoors Sportsman Group’s annual television awards show at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas – is also co-host of OSG’s Deer Week, October 15 – 21, along with his longtime client, pal, and television sidekick, Michael Waddell.

If you aren’t familiar with McMillan, consider these facts that a quick Internet search gleans about the life of this real life cowboy and deer hunter:

  • McMillan went to college on a rodeo scholarship.
  • His various jobs over the years have included such things as feeding cattle; training horses; horseshoeing those horses; carpentry work; and recreational real estate.
  • He opened his McMillan Outfitting, Inc. guide service in 2000, quickly leading such industry personalities as Blake Shelton, Michael Waddell, Travis “T-Bone” Turner, Nick Mundt, David Blanton, and others to huge whitetail bucks.
  • He started his outdoors television career in 2009, eventually hosting the show MCMILLAN for the past five years.
  • His guide operation in west-central Kansas is comprised of more than 8,000-acres.
  • Thanks to high quality habitat, genetics and carefully managed hunting pressure, McMillan Outfitting has numerous record book whitetails – some edging into world class status – taken each year by clients.
  • McMillan Outfitting has a 3,000-square foot lodge and a 2,500-square-foot “Rut Hut” that features all kinds of deer mounts and other things to keep clients entertained at night.
  • Besides his marriage and parenting, chasing big Kansas whitetails, putting clients on big bucks, running a ranch, and filming a TV show, McMillan is also into such things as roping, fishing, training horses, and raising Corrientes cattle.
  • His business card carries the phrase “Dirt Cleans Thy Soul,” a very appropriate statement for a man so closely connected to the land that he calls home.

 

Interested in deer hunting since he was a child tagging along on his father’s hunts, McMillan has had the good fortune to grow up on some of the country’s best deer hunting ground.

Over the years, as Kansas moved from having few whitetails to becoming one of the sport’s antlered treasures, the Sunflower State has become a virtual epicenter for huge record book sized bucks, some of the biggest that the nation produces each year.

Ironically enough, while McMillan lives at virtual ground zero of such hunting ground – where he took his first buck with a bow during his teenage years – he isn’t always impressed by high scoring bucks.

“I’ve shot eight bucks that would break the minimum for Boone and Crockett, but I never registered them,” McMillan said in a 2014 interview and subsequent story with outdoor writer Brent Frazee of the Kansas City Star.

“To me, trophy is a relative term,” he continued to Frazee in that interview. “The score of the deer’s antlers isn’t what motivates me. It’s the challenge of hunting that specific animal that I have set my sights on.”

Viewers of McMillan’s popular TV show can vouch for that, thanks to the reality nature of the production that provides an honest – and at times, humorous – look into the life of a family man, rancher, hunter, guide and TV show host.

As season five of MCMILLAN unfolds on Sportsman Channel, McMillan has some interesting episodes in the works including the challenge of learning to be a cameraman, traveling with Waddell for some out-of-state hunting, guiding clients, and oh yes, maybe even climbing into a treestand himself.

Because at the end of the day, Tom McMillan might be a busy man, but he’s a relatively simple one none the less.

Give him his family to love on, some land to cultivate, a few horses and cattle to work in the Kansas dust, some clients to guide each fall, and some time to pick up his bow, climb into a stand, and pursue a targeted big buck, and McMillan is one happy man.

And as one of the nation’s top whitetail guides and television personalities to boot, why wouldn’t he be?

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