John's Journal...

Deer Hunting with Greg Miller

The UPS PhD Buck


Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Greg Miller of Bloomer, Wisconsin, outdoor writer, seminar speaker, television host and one of the most-widely-recognized deer hunters in the nation, has used Hunter’s Specialties’ products for many years and has taken many trophy deer in his lifetime. According to Miller, “In my family, deer hunting is a tradition that’s as rich and as important as the blood that runs through the veins in the men of the Miller family. I’ve been hunting whitetails for about 42 years. Although I hunt deer with a wide variety of weapons, bowhunting is my favorite way.” This week we’re going to talk with Greg about some of his most-memorable bucks he has taken and tells about in John E. Phillips’ latest book, “PhD Whitetails.” To learn more, click here.


Click to enlargeMy friend Pat Reeve and I were hunting in Iowa while filming for the video “Primetime Bucks 5” for Hunter’s Specialties. I’d hunted this alfalfa field planted in clover the previous year. This first afternoon of our hunt before dark, does began to pour into the field like water out of a boot when you’d stepped into a high stream. A little snow was falling. Through my binoculars, I could see the does feeding on the alfalfa and the clover. When I saw the buck step out of the wood line and into the field, I whispered to Pat, “That’s the buck we want to take.” The buck stood up on his hind legs and licked a branch on the edge of a field. I started getting very excited because I knew Pat was getting all this buck action on film for “Primetime Bucks 5.” We let the buck continue to come into the field until he was 100-yards away. I wasn’t in a hurry to shoot him because I wanted Pat to get as much footage as possible. The deer were out in the field a good 10 minutes before they stopped feeding and jerked their heads up in an alarmed posture. All the 145 B&C 8-point buck had to do was clear a little patch of grass, and I could take the shot while Pat filmed it. When the deer went on alert, he was still behind the grass, which prevented me from getting the shot. I could have taken the shot 10-minutes earlier, but I hadn’t. Now all the deer were at full alert and quickly ran out of the field.


Click to enlargeWe spent five more days hunting that farm but never saw the buck again. I finally took a buck that scored 135 B&C, but we both kicked ourselves all week long for waiting too long to take the PhD buck. We told the landowner what happened and asked if we could return the next year to hunt. The landowner agreed. So, the following year we went back to film the video “Primetime Bucks 6.” When we arrived at the farm, the landowner said, “Look what I have.” He showed me the sheds from the buck we’d seen the year before. “I think this buck is the one that got away from you last year, and I’ve already seen him this year. He’s a big 9 point now, and I believe he’ll score about 160 B&C.” Pat and I split our hunting time between the clover field and a corn field on top of a mountain where the landowner had seen and videoed the buck earlier in the season in the fog. The fourth afternoon of our hunt, we decided that the wind was right to hunt the corn field. Each day, we’d let the wind direction dictate which field we hunted. We needed a specific wind to hunt the corn field on top of the mountain and a different wind to hunt the alfalfa field down in the bottom. Just before dark, we spotted several deer feeding out in the corn field. Then from out of nowhere, a buck appeared on the horizon and came over the lip of the hill approximately 160-yards away. Light was fading quickly as the deer started walking to us.


Click to enlargePat Reeve, who was filming the hunt with me, whispered, “Greg, you need to make a decision soon on whether or not you’re going to shoot him. We’re almost to the point where we won’t have good light, and I’m going to have to set my camera on gain mode, which really doesn’t make a good video.” I picked up my range finder and learned the buck was at 137 yards. I knew that my Thompson/Center .50 caliber black-powder rifle could put the buck down at that range. I told Pat that I’d take the shot. I was shooting three, 50-grain Pyrodex pellets with 250-grain bullets. As soon as I fired, the buck dropped. When Pat and I finally reached him, two things made a dramatic impression on us. The buck had a huge 160-class rack and a big body, however, he was extremely skinny and only weighed about 200 pounds. When we aged the deer, he was about 5-1/2-years old. Tomorrow I’ll explain why we called him the UPS buck.


To learn more about “PhD Whitetails,” click here.


Tomorrow: What Miller Learned From This UPS PhD Buck

Check back each day this week for more about "Deer Hunting with Greg Miller "

Day 1: The Hungry PhD Buck
Day 2: The UPS PhD Buck
Day 3: What Miller Learned From This UPS PhD Buck
Day 4: The High-Noon PhD Buck
Day 5: The Highway PhD Buck


Entry 371, Day 1