John's Journal...

Deer Hunting with Greg Miller

The Highway 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 enlargeOne of the weirdest places I’d ever taken a buck was close to a highway – so close I could read the tags on the backs of the cars, but not close enough to read the numbers. I hunted this big buck for 2 years and really wanted to take him with a bow. I had him at 12 yards on one occasion and at 15 yards another time. Because of the way he was positioned and the cover he was in, I never could get off a shot. I found the deer as I was hunting, not expecting to see a really-big buck. This big deer came close to my stand but stayed just out of bow range while he ate maple leaves after leaving his bedding area. I spotted this big buck in October. I decided that during the rut I’d spend a lot of time in this area trying to take him. While he was living in some big woods, I saw him six different times the first year I hunted him. Then the first time I had a chance to shoot, I rattled him in to within 12 yards. However, he was in thick brush, and I couldn’t get him to step out where I could get a good shot. I eventually walked away. The second time I saw the buck, he froze me out. I was hunting the last day of archery season in extremely-cold weather. I’d taken my gloves off and was holding my bow while the buck stood behind a tree. He stayed there for so long that my hands went almost completely numb. I knew I couldn’t pull my bow back, and I was very concerned about having enough feeling in my hands to climb out of the tree. I hollered at the buck, “You won,” and spooked him so I could get my hands warm. The next year I caught a few glimpses of the 10 point during archery season, and I finally rattled him in to about 50 yards. The buck had grown from a 10 point to an 11 point, his horns had darkened, and his body had beefed-up. My brother saw him running across the road one morning with his tongue hanging out. Click to enlarge


Another time I nearly hit him going to a restaurant one night for a fish fry. I finally decided, “If this buck doesn’t stay off the road, we’ll find him dead, and nobody will get to take him.” I also realized that the buck was living in the area close to the road and not staying back in the deep woods where I’d been hunting him. I thought he might have moved close to the highway because of less hunting pressure there. On the third day of deer-gun season, I was sitting right on the edge of the 11 point’s bedding area in 3 inches of snow from the night before. At 10:00 a.m. the woods were deadly quiet. I turned, looked over my left shoulder and spotted this huge buck. I could tell by the trail in the snow he’d left that he’d walked within 15 yards of me. However, now he was walking away but still had to go through a small opening. I aimed at the opening, and he stepped into it and quartered-away from me. I finally took the shot. The buck was only 65-yards away. As he ran away, he turned around and came back by my stand. He crashed into a tangled thicket of alders. I came down my tree and tracked him about 200 yards before I found him. This buck grossed about 140 B&C. This Highway PhD Buck has taught me that:

Click to enlarge* many times big bucks will live close to major highways because most hunters don’t like to hear or see road traffic while they’re hunting;

* most hunters will walk past the area where a buck’s living to get into the deep woods;

* you can hunt the same deer and encounter him several times without spooking him, if you’re the only hunter that the deer ever sees; and

* you never give up on a big buck. If you don’t take him one season, stay after him until you do.


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

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 5