Bill was born and raised in the farm country of eastern Wisconsin. The family’s small farm abutted the Kettle Moraine State Forest, so Bill had the run of a 40,000-acre “backyard” full of game animals and birds.
At age five, Bill began tagging along on local hunts with his dad sometimes ending a long pheasant hunt riding on Pa’s shoulders while a couple of Spring Spaniels led the way. Encouraged by these experiences and his parents, Bill knew by the time he was in sixth grade that he wanted to be an outdoor writer like his heroes Mel Ellis, Gordon MacQuarrie and Jim Kjelgaard. One subplot in one book in particular charted the course. In “Run, Rainey, Run” Ellis recounted packing up his hunting gear and his dogs in his station wagon and heading north into Canada to follow the waterfowl migration south and file reports along the way for the Milwaukee Journal newspaper.
The first time Bill read that account was a long school bus ride home. He ran up the driveway, burst through the door to encounter his dad pulling on his boots for nightly barn chores. Eleven year old Billy pointed to the paragraphs in the book and nearly shouted at his dad, “This is what I want to do!”
His dad read the page, looked up at his son and said, “Okay. Then do it.”
From that day on in grade school, through high school and college Bill geared his education toward being an outdoor communicator, but hunting and shooting always stayed Number One. As Bill packed for his first year in college at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, his mom questioned him about the bow and the shotgun on top of the pile in the station wagon. “What do you need those for?” Bill’s response: “If I can’t go hunting, I’m not going”.
It all worked out; Bill graduated four years later with a degree in broadcast journalism and a topical minor in environmental communications. Part of his course work included hosting and producing “Chippewa Valley Outdoors” for the local cable network.
Bill figured he’d pay his dues as a general assignment reporter before finding a job in outdoor journalism, but an ad showed up in the Minneapolis paper for an associate editor on a magazine called North American Hunter, the official publication of the North American Hunting Club. The NAHC at the time had just 75,000 members.
That was nearly 28 years ago. At it’s peak the NAHC grew to more than 850,000 members and the company – by then called North American Membership Group, Inc. — added 11 additional lifestyle interest clubs. The editorial, art and production teams for all 12 magazine titles reported to Bill as well as NAMG’s television production division that produced television shows as well as videos in all the lifestyle interest categories.
He served as North American Hunter magazine editor and NAHC executive director for 18 years as well as host of the NAHC’s ESPN television shows starting in 1992! He rose to Vice President of Media Development & Production and Executive Producer of the Club’s television and video products. He authored two books along the way: Modern Bird Hunting and Extreme Waterfowling. He’s also contributed to many books on subjects as varied as hunting, cabin building, real estate investing, land management and even a young adult historical novel based on events in the Revolutionary War.
He hosted “The Shooting Sports” on ESPN as well as the acclaimed “Shoot More, Shoot More Often” vignettes for 13 seasons. He hosted “North American Outdoors,” “North American Hunter” and “Tales of the Hunt” on ESPN, espn2, The Outdoor Channel, Versus Network, NBC Sports and Fox Sports networks. During that time he also made frequent guest appearances on other outdoor television series around the dial. In a round-about way, he wrote the “View from Here” column in North American Hunter magazine for nearly 30 years – first ghost-writing it for the company founder and his predecessor before writing over his own byline. His work also included frequent feature articles in North American Hunter and expert Q&A contributions. His writing has also appeared in numerous other publications in the hunting and shooting arena as well as outside of it under his pseudonym “Wade North.”
In an average year, Bill spends about 100 days in the field. He has hunted and/or shot competitively in 40 states, all Canadian provinces and territories and Mexico.
In his “spare” time Bill enjoys hunting, shooting competitively, real estate investing, fishing and operating Northwings Kennel – home of fine retrievers. He lives with his incredibly understanding wife Laurel in their home near Cologne, Minnesota.
Bill is a founding member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and served on its board of directors, as its president and as Chairman of the Board. He has been on the board of Wildlife Forever, the Hunting Heritage Trust, and NSSF Hunting Heritage Team. He has been selected to participate in the first ever “Outdoor Legends Tour” of military bases in Southwest Asia by the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Armed Forces Entertainment Division.
His most recent and, potentially most exciting challenge is the entrepreneurial launch of Bill Miller Outdoors and full-service outdoor communications, media and marketing venture … and adventure!
Bill Miller – Vital Stats
Married: Yes – 28 years Kids: none
Hunting Experience: 40+ years
Hunting Methods: shotgun, modern rifle, muzzleloader, handgun, bow
Avg. days hunting/yr: 109
Dogs: Labrador Retrievers Huck & Callie
“Home” hunting turf: Black Hills, SD; Marinette Cty, WI; Pope Cty, MN
Best trophies: 182-inch whitetail; 55 ½-inch Greater Kudu; two 7-foot black bear
Greatest Hunting Influences: Ted Miller (father) and “The Waldo Gang Camp”
Mentors: J. Wayne Fears, Larry Weishuhn, Steve Burke (founder North American Hunting Club)
Greatest Writing Influences: Mel Ellis, Gordon MacQuarrie, Jim Kjelgaard