Big Woods Lessons Create Highly Successful Mid West Hunters

Chad & Martin Dollard


The successes of the Dollard duo haven’t gone unnoticed. Their success in the Quest tournaments the past three years has placed a high bar for everyone. Even beyond the years of being in Quest, Chad has built a reputation for consistent big-buck success and even turned that knowledge into a side business where he works with hunters to teach them his strategies for how to approach a landscape. The backstory to their success might surprise you.  Chad is from Upstate New York.  When you think of New York you do not think of big bucks. Instead of the Boon & Crocket club, Betty Crocker and Steve Rinella just stand outside Bass Pro stores and hand out cook books for the Boom & Crockpot club.

There is far more timber and less congregation of deer.  The winters are harder, increasing the stress deer have on their bodies. And depending on where you are, the soil doesn’t help yield consistent big bucks.  As an editor’s note, I grew up, lived and hunted not far from where Chad did. We came to this conclusion, hunting the big woods of the North East makes you highly proficient when shifting landscapes to the midwest.  Chad also grew up as a trapper, something you don’t see much of anymore.  The best hunters out there often are old trappers.  If you can get a coyote to step on a two inch steel plate, imagine how much easier it might feel to just get a buck in bow range. 

Chad broke down the pursuit of big bucks to a few key points.  First, he gets aggressive. Not only will he cover a near 200 mile radius to locate a big deer, when he finds one he goes right after it.  In modern outdoor media  you’ll have most people tell you to not hunt bedding areas aggressively.  It’s like blitzing in football, you live and die by it at times. Chad shared that he is willing to hunt a big buck in his bed early and often and not “get cute” hunting the fringes of the core area.  Secondly, Chad spends his time narrowing down a big bucks core area by a constant moving of cameras.  In our collective home state of New York, let me tell you how difficult this might be with the amount of acreage available. The differing terrain the Midwest has to offer allows for the pinpointing of a mature buck’s core area in ways that are much more efficient. Third, Chad has all of his stands set early in the year based on winter scouting. This allows for him to maximize stealth when the time is right. Fourth, Chad uses the Nose Jammer product with regularity.  His father’s 195 inch Kansas giant from a few years ago was tagged because of the regular use of Nose Jammer during scouting leading up to opening day.  Chad reported that the wind was atrocious, but the timing and surrounding pressure from other potential hunters led them to bank on scent control as a strategy.  And it worked.

I asked Chad what he loved about participating in the Quest competitions and he brought up a good point. “Growing up there was always a big buck contest at the local sporting goods shop.  It feels nice to have some of that old tradition to look forward to again.”

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Big Woods Lessons Create Highly Successful Mid West Hunters

The Dollard duo’s remarkable success in Quest tournaments has set a high standard for all hunters. Chad, hailing from Upstate New York, defies the stereotype of his region. In the land of harsh winters and sparse congregation of deer, he’s earned a reputation for consistent big-buck success. Chad, drawing from his trapping background, approaches hunting with a unique perspective. He’s not afraid to be aggressive, hunting bedding areas early and often, setting stands based on winter scouting, and employing scent control strategies like Nose Jammer. For him, participating in Quest competitions brings back the nostalgia of the old local big buck contests at sporting goods shops, a cherished tradition.

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