Oftentimes, the directions we take during the course of our lives are influenced by someone close to us, who recognizes a talent that we possess but shrug aside. Greg Miller of Bloomer, Wisconsin, is a perfect example. His good friend Pat Durkin knew Miller well for his prowess as a big woods buck hunter. Durkin, a former Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine editor, suggested to Miller that he should consider writing a book focused entirely on bow hunting whitetails in forests and deep woods. And so…he did!
When Miller’s book finally came off the press with a 2004 copyright, Durkin told Miller, “There’s a lot of good stuff in this book, Greg.” While Durkin’s analysis of the 240-page hardcover may sound a bit ordinary, that “good stuff” was penned by an extraordinary deer hunter who had devoted a huge part of his life attempting to conquer the extreme challenges associated with hunting deep woods bucks…primarily with a bow.
Before you even crack open the cover of Bow Hunting Forests & Deep Woods, I’m telling you right now you’re going to want some tools at your disposal—such as a highlighter, or a pen and a plain piece of paper for a bookmark. That’s because each chapter of this book is at full draw with tips and take-home messages, so neon ink to light up sentences or a piece of paper to jot down notes and page numbers will save the “good stuff” for easy reference.
What I loved most about Miller’s book was the mellow way he combined personal experiences with discoveries exposed through sheer determination. Miller inserted those experiences in the right place at the right time throughout the inside spread of each chapter. Unlike some deer stands that I’ve occupied over the years, there are no dull moments in the chapters of this unique book.
While I’ve had the opportunity to hunt big woods bucks in states other than Pennsylvania, most of my forty-plus years of deer hunting have been limited to farmland deer. However, in this neck of the northeast, one would not have to travel far at all to hunt a state forest or sizeable state game land that represents a mirror image of what Miller describes as deep woods.
But don’t let the habitat that forms the basis of this book scare you from reading it. Miller points out in the introduction that the challenges associated with hunting this type of country “ain’t for everyone.” However, I sincerely believe that the insights you gather from the text will encourage you to work harder at your own style of deer hunting…whatever it may be.
Many of us have our own preferred strategies that we deploy in the deer woods to up the odds of tagging the best buck possible. Whether it’s rattling, grunting, decoying, hunting thick cover, rub lines or trails, Miller discusses these subjects and more.
We all know how valuable experience is in shaping our lives. Success oftentimes comes from experiencing failures whether great or small, and Miller isn’t bashful about relating such episodes to encourage hunters to pick themselves up and keep going.
After reading Miller’s book, it’s obvious that his relentless scouting and deep understanding of forest and deep woods whitetails have been his key to tagging many mature specimens. But, he’s quick to acknowledge the close family members and friends whose skills helped shape his life not only as a deer hunter, but as an archer and whitetail educator as well.
If you like deer hunting books, you’ll want to add this to your bookshelf, coffee table, or deer camp. What’s more, your purchase of the book supports the Bow Hunting Preservation Alliance—a strong advocate of the bow hunting industry, bow hunting organizations, and conservation.