Our final Q&A session comes from Brady Miller. Brady is an avid bowhunter who spends an average of 150 days in the backcountry each year. He is definitely someone who knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in the backcountry. In my book, anyone who can take a mountain goat and a moose with a bow is worth listening to. In case you are not familiar with who Brady Miller is, here is a quick rundown from Brady:
I currently live in Nevada, where I work for goHUNT.com as the Digital Content Manager. I oversee all of goHUNT’s editorial content and social media pages. I fell in love with bowhunting at a very early age while growing up in Minnesota, and have met a lot of lifelong friends through hunting. I have a Wildlife Biology degree with an emphasis in Fisheries Biology from the University of Montana. I lived in Montana for 10 years before moving to Nevada, and have been very fortunate to explore and hunt in a lot of Western states, and also have hunted in British Columbia and Mexico.
I feel my hunting passion pushes me forward each day, and it is through these experiences that I fell in love with photography and writing as a means to share what I see with others while bowhunting. There is always a story to share on the return of a hunt, and I love to express my passion of hunting with photographs and piecing together the trials and tribulations on paper for others to read.
When did you first get started hunting? When did you first realize that you loved hunting?
My dad and grandfather introduced me to hunting at a very young age. I started off duck hunting, and then moved to bowhunting big game when I was old enough to apply for tags. I still remember my first whitetail buck I arrowed when I was 14. Since hunting with my dad at a young age, loving the outdoors and hunting was something that I felt very strongly about early on. My love for the outdoors has grown more and more each year, taking me to gorgeous places along the way.
What are the primary reasons for why you hunt?
Not to sound too cliché, but because I was born into a strong hunting background, I really feel like I was born to hunt. Growing up it was all I thought about. I wasn’t the typical young teenager who chased girls around in school. I hunted before and after school each day, and every weekend I looked forward to another hunting trip with my dad. I think about hunting everyday and am always looking for ways to better myself as a hunter.
I mainly hunt for the enjoyment of being outdoors and testing my skills against nature. Plus, I love filling my freezer with quality wild game meat each season. I have now evolved to what some might consider a trophy hunter, but only because I enjoy pursuing older and more mature animals.
What role does fitness play in your hunting preparation?
I am addicted to hunting the mountains in Western states, so fitness is everything. I try to look at my fitness in terms of a necessity for success. Every day mule deer are in the mountains surviving and getting stronger … so I need to attempt to get on their level if I want to hunt in their backyard and be successful on each hunt.
How do you train for your upcoming hunts?
For me, it all starts in the gym and ends with solid nutrition. I do a lot of weight lifting with heavy emphasis on legs. I’m the odd guy who looks forward to leg day at the gym. I also do a lot of running and play basketball multiple times a week. During the summer, it is all about getting into the mountains and hiking with a heavy backpack on while scouting. I really don’t feel that a gym can prepare you for the mountains, so getting out and hitting the trails is the true way to be mountain fit.
What is the greatest asset you have with regard to hunting?
My mental game in the mountains is my greatest asset. I have a never-give-up attitude and I know that I cannot have any regrets on my hunting trips. I know that when the time comes I will do whatever it takes to push myself to hike into the next basin or work harder than someone else who might be hunting the same area as me. I may not be successful on every hunt, but when I get out of the mountains I know that I gave it 110%. My dad always says, “Work hard, play hard and hunt even harder.” I feel that quote describes the mental attitude you need to have when hunting.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who is new to hunting?
Stop worrying about trophy animals and just hunt for the fun of it. With the power of social media nowadays, it seems like too many people are scared to shoot an animal unless it is a giant buck for fear of not being accepted by so called “professional hunters.” If you are just getting into hunting and constantly pass up opportunities to take an animal because you want to be accepted by peers at a local hunting shop as someone who shot a giant animal, then you are missing out on all of the chances to become a better hunter. You need those experiences if you want to learn as a hunter. Stop focusing on the trophy, and start becoming a better hunter by going through the rollercoaster ride that every hunter has experienced at a young age. If you pass up those chances, you will not know the skills needed to finally gain your composure when that trophy of a lifetime walks out in front of you. It is just hunting … so have fun, enjoy it and take pride in every animal you take because that is the true trophy.
If you want to follow Brady, check him out on social media:
Twitter – @Brady_J_Miller
Instagram – @Brady_J_Miller
Facebook – Brady Miller