Q: What time of the year do you do your scouting?
A: I like to scout in the post season around February and March. I look for antler sheds, past season’s rubs and scrape lines. The nice thing about this time of year is you can enter areas that you normally would not, even bedding areas. If you bump deer, you won’t have to worry about pushing them out of the area or educating them of your presence. The pressures of hunting season are gone, and they have plenty of time to get over the intrusion. I also scout in the late summer around August and September, but I do this mainly with trail cameras and glassing fields.
Q: Do you use trail cameras to help you scout?
A: Most definitely. They are one of the most useful tools you can own. You can watch deer development, learn their travel patterns and learn what food sources deer are using. Sometimes you even get shots of things that you never knew were there or people that shouldn’t be if you use a quality camera like Covert!
Q: Do you use food plots or other food type attractants?
A: I don’t have land to do big food plots so I do micro plots using Mossy Oak Bio-Logic Hot Spot. All I have to do is clear the ground, rough it up with a heavy steel rake, scatter the seed by hand then walk around on it with my boots to help push the seed into the soft soil. It grows very well and really works. For attractants, I prefer to use minerals because they are good for deer and not some candy product. I like to use Mossy Oak Bio-Logic Bio Rock and I’m trying out the new Primos Red Spot. I don’t hunt over them; I like to put my trail cameras over them to help get better pictures because they hold the deer there longer.
Q: How do you hunt big bucks before the rut and early in the bow season?
A: I try to hunt them at the start of the season while they are still in their bachelor groups, on reliable feeding patterns and not being pressured by other hunters turning them nocturnal. Right before the rut, I play around with rattling and buck decoys to try to get them worked up thinking they have an intruder.
Q: How do you hunt scrapes during the pre-rut?
A: First you need to find the right one. You are looking for primary scrapes that are deeper in the woods where several runs cross and also near doe bedding areas. The ones out on the open field edges, paths or just inside the edge of the woods are all secondary scrapes. They are most likely being done at night. A young buck will make some during daylight hours, but mature bucks are all doing it at night. So try not to get sucked into setting up over an open area scrape unless it is an extremely isolated area.
Q: Do you use scent control products?
A: Absolutely! It all starts at home with the washing and proper storage of your clothes. From there it’s on to washing yourself. For all my home care I use Primos products. I always wear some kind of antimicrobial base layer in the woods. When it’s real warm out, I’ll only wear antimicrobial clothing like Metalist, Under Armour, Rocky, Mossy Oak APX and First Lite because it is much lighter. Carbon is just too hot for me in early season. Once things start to cool down, then I will keep wearing the antimicrobial base layer then put a carbon based product on over it like ScentBlocker or Scent-Lok. Once at the woods, I always put on and take off my outer layer at the truck. I also spray down my outer layer and equipment going in the woods with me with Primos scent eliminator.
Q: How important is wind direction when deciding where to hunt?
A: I don’t feel it is as important as it use to be with today’s technical advances in scent eliminating products and clothing. That is if you’re diligent about using what I like to call a “scent eliminating system” or routine. If you’re not committed to the system then you better play the wind. I still set up when I can, keeping the wind to my advantage. I don’t always have that ability because I do a fair amount of hunting out of a climber. So at times I just have to take what I can get when it comes to the tree I use.
Q: Do you use attractant scents?
A: Every year! I like to use scents like acorn or apple. I don’t use corn so much because where I hunt at corn is everywhere. You need to be smart when using food source attractants though. Don’t go using acorn scent in the middle of a pine forest or apple in the middle of a swamp. Think about it, that’s not natural or realistic. Yes it may catch a young deer’s curiosity, but a mature animal knows better. You need to use the scent where it already exists, just not a lot of it. If you’re hunting an apple orchard, the apple scent might be a good choice for a cover scent but not an attractant because it’s everywhere. I also like using sexual attractants during the last stages of the pre-rut and rut. I prefer to use synthetic scents like Primos truth serum; they don’t require the maintenance that animal urine based scents do. Once you open a bottle of urine based scent, bacteria will start to grow slowly altering the smell. The warmer it is the faster bacteria will grow, so it needs to be stored in a refrigerator after every hunt if you want it to last for at least a week.
Q: Do you use calls? If so, which ones and how much?
A: I’m a big fan of Primos calls. I like any of their doe-in-estrus call cans, hands free call, the little roar, up roar, buck roar and the rattle bag. You will always find these calls in my pack because I can rely on them. Now I’ll be the first to admit that calling does not always work. It’s not like waving a magic wand and the deer appear. I’ve had deer come on a rope to my calls and other times completely ignore them. When things are slow in the woods, I like to go “fishing” or blind call. Every 15-20 minutes I’ll give out a series of about three doe grunts for early season, more aggressive buck grunts for pre-rut and doe-in-estrus bleats for the rut. If you are targeting does in early season, a great call sequence is a fawn-in-distress. I’ve had does come on a dead run on several occasions by doing this. There is an extra bonus about doing this, if a doe doesn’t respond a coyote might very well. There is nothing wrong with having one less coyote in the woods; you’re doing the deer heard a service. Just make sure you have the proper license on hand.
Q: What is your favorite time of the hunting season to hunt?
A: Third, opening week when deer are on a solid and predictable feeding pattern. Second, pre-rut when bucks are making lots of rubs, scrapes and sparing. And my favorite time to hunt is the rut! Anything can happen at any time. Try hunting 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.! Bucks will be moving a lot more than you think. There is no such thing as bed time for them during the rut. As much as these guys travel, there is a good chance you will see bucks that you never even knew were in the area.
The Mossy Oak ProStaff is a group of top outdoors men and women from across the country that act as spokespersons for the Brand. Members of the Elite ProStaff are people the hunting community will recognize from their hunting expertise and accomplishments, videos, TV and magazine articles. Our Regional ProStaff is a group of accomplished hunters who promote Mossy Oak in various regions across the U.S. They also manage a more localized Field Staff in their regions. From event support to retail store grand openings to radio and TV appearances, our ProStaff adds value to the Mossy Oak Brand nationally, regionally and locally.
Greg Miller resides in Plainwell, Michigan. As a young boy he wasn’t exposed much to hunting so almost everything he learned about hunting he did on his own.
Bowhunting with a compound bow is Greg’s favorite type of hunting and he enjoys pursuing elk, mule deer, antelope and black bear but his main focus is whitetail deer and turkeys.
Greg is an instructor for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and has been through the George Chapman’s Archery and Technical School and Shooters School, and is a lifetime member of the North American Hunting Club.
Greg enjoys 3-D archery and hunting with his daughter. “The time we spend together whether on the range or in the woods is simply priceless,” says Greg. “If it weren’t for the love and support of my wife and daughter, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do today. For me Mossy Oak isn’t just a product name, it is a way of life.”