Bill Miller grew up a small town farm boy with big outdoor dreams. At an early age he decided he wanted to pursue a career in outdoor writing. So he did! His dreams soon found him the editor of North American Hunter magazine and host of several shows that aired on networks such as ESPN, ESPN 2, The Outdoor Channel, Versus, Fox Sports, and NBC Sports, and is currently the host for the Outfittersrating.com Television Show. Thats quite a feat for a small town kid. Bill is now the owner and operator of Bill Miller Outdoors, a company that offers Consulting Services, TV/Video Services, Print/ ePublishing Services, and more! Check it out for all of your multimedia and outdoor needs!
Of all the outdoor personalities there are today, there aren’t many that have a resume that runs as deep as Bill Miller’s. Hosting several Outdoor Television shows across more than 5 networks is some feat. His passion for the outdoors has driven him to become the professional outdoor content creator and media/marketing consultant he is today. Follow along as we learn more about Bill, his history in the field, outdoor television production, and more!
How did you get into the outdoor field?Since age 11 I knew I wanted to be an outdoor writer. It's all I've ever wanted to be. I planned my education starting in middle school then through high school and college to pursue this dream. There have been some fortunate, unexpected turns in the trail that have helped me advance my career, but mostly it has relied on focus and hard work. It has also taken patience. It just didn't happen overnight.
What are some of the biggest difficulties when trying to film a hunt?
The most difficult thing about making good hunting television is that so much of what happens in the field is out of your control. Weather, animals, terrain, conditions and more are pretty much left to chance. In movie making and even in TV news — EVERYTHING is under the producer and/or director's control. It's this element that makes producing quality outdoor television so difficult, but also rewarding.
What aspects of video production do you think most people don’t understand or know much about?When it comes to hunting television, most people think you just go hunting with a camera tagging along behind you. That's not the way it works. Hunting for TV is far different than hunting for yourself. When you're in the field for TV the producer/cameraman is in charge! You don't pull the trigger until he/she tells you to pull it. If you shoot an animal of which their isn't ample, quality footage then you've wasted everyone's time and resources (that means money)! Hunting for yourself is (or should be) a relaxing pursuit of pure fun and enjoyment. Hunting for TV is high pressure every time an animal shows up. You have to weigh the consequences of taking this particular animal versus letting it walk and waiting for another one in consideration of what it's going to take to make good television.
If you weren’t working in the field you are in, what do you think you would be doing?
Probably some other kind of writing/communication. Though recently I've found a passion for cooking, so maybe I'd be a chef. I also enjoy real estate investing and property management, so maybe those.
If you could hunt with anyone, past or present, who would it be?I'd give up a lot just to hunt one more day with my dad. He suffered a debilitating stroke at the point in my career when I was just able to start "paying him back" for all the hunts he took me on. Then he passed away. I'd love to hunt grouse or pheasants one more time with him over his old dog Bingo. If you mean someone famous, I'd probably pick Teddy Roosevelt.
What do you think is the best way to introduce youth and new hunters to the sport?
What my parents did was make me earn it. I literally worked for a week's allowance of shotgun shells. Then on the weekend, my dad and I would haul the clay target thrower out to the pasture and I'd get to shoot the shells I earned that week. I was just hunting/shooting crazy from little on up. However, I don't know if this would work for today's youth. They have so many other interests and in general seem to have so little PASSION for anything. If you make them work for something, it seems they'll often move on to something else that's easier. However, I still believe that if you just give them everything or, in this case, make the outdoors too easy for them, they won't appreciate how precious it is.
What do you think needs to be changed or remain the same in our country to manage our wildlife and natural resources?The strongest voice for resource management needs to be from those who are most directly impacted by decisions. Take wolf reintroduction for example. It's the people on whose land wolves will roam that should have the final say. Same with drilling for oil. The local people should have the final say.
You’ve been in the industry for quite some time now, so where do you go from here in this journey?
One of my mentors told me some years ago that I wouldn't be able to finish my career in this industry or at least finish it the way it started. This is proving to be true. I lament the demise of the print magazine. While they never will go away completely, the ability just isn't there to make a livelihood primarily off of print. At the same time, digital magazines certainly haven't filled the gap the way some thought they might. Rather than outdoor writers, today we have to be "content creators" who can tailor our work to all kinds of digital media and make the content interesting to a less-engaged, but more tech-savvy audience. I would also like to be part of a marketing team somewhere who recognizes the needs and the importance of older customers — say 45 and up! So many, many companies are missing the boat when it comes to marketing to this audience — these are the people with the money and the free time. They are great, loyal customers, but are overlooked more and more in this pursuit of youth.
Anyone who looks at your website knows that you are a very busy man. How do you find the time to do it all?I wonder that myself sometimes. What gets me through is that I'm a man who puts top priority on living up to the commitments I make. If I agree to do something for someone, I will figure out a way to get it done. Sometimes that comes at the cost of some sleep or my friends and family, but I live up to my commitments.
Is there any game you haven’t pursued, but someday hope to?
I've hunted grizzly bear once, but unsuccessfully so a griz or brown bear is on my bucket list, but more than a species are places to hunt. I'm passionate about hunting ducks and geese in the historic, famous places across North America. My dream would be to start somewhere in the far north and follow the migration south through a season hunting all the famous places. Then when it runs out in January or February, skip to South America and start hunting ducks and geese there.
Bill has without a doubt been a major influence in where outdoor industry is today. The veteran hunter , family man, and multimedia guru will continue to spread his creativity across all formats of outdoor media.
For more information on Bill or the work he does, go to billmilleroutdoors.com.