Reprinted Courtesy of HuntingLife.com
From humble beginnings as a schoolboy trapper, Tom Miranda has taken his love of the outdoors and turned it into the career of a lifetime.
Running trap lines near his hometown of suburban Columbus, Ohio… Tom learned the ways of the wilds. Catching muskrats, mink and raccoon…Tom learned to love nature in these early years, to respect and cherish it.
After high school, when many graduates went off to college, Tom was off to the wilds of Michigan’s Upper peninsula……. to build his own log cabin and launch his professional trapping career.
Several years later, Tom found himself in South Dakota, working as a government trapper and hunter.. Mastering the art of trapping and honing his skills. These bold steps have since led to authoring 7 books, over 60 how to trapping and hunting videos and eventually the chance to host his own outdoor television show.
In 1992, Tom became the Adventurous Saturday morning bowhunter on ESPN. The “Outdoor Adventure Magazine” TV series took Tom around the globe on exciting expeditions, and his viewers followed. Hunting whitetails one week, ducks the next…Tom added his own twist of adrenaline excitement with bungie jumping, skydiving, top gun school. If it was exciting and dangerous… Tom Miranda was doing it.
An accomplished TV bowhunter, Miranda has taken sixty plus whitetails on video and the Super Slam® North American Big Game animals with archery tackle. If it’s big game bowhunting… Miranda likely has done it, including arrowing Africa’s Big Six, 15 SCI Slams and is nearing SCI’s World Hunting Award with bow & arrow. Miranda has worn Realtree as a TV bowhunter since 1990.
As an outdoor television producer, Miranda is known as one of the best. His award winning series have appeared on ESPN for 20 consecutive seasons as well as on NBC Sports, Sportsman Channel and appears now exclusively on Outdoor Channel. Using creative storytelling supported by dramatic footage and creative editing, Tom Miranda’s series continue to sit atop the Nielsen Television ratings at each network his series appear.
Tom’s latest venture is his Adventure Bowhunter DVD and book series, which chronicles his pursuit of the Super Slam® of North American big game.
Super Slam® is a registered Trademark of Grand Slam Club OVIS used with permission
What’s one rookie mistake you’ve made hunting?
One mistake that I have made….. more than once.. is not settling my sight pin before releasing the arrow. Often in the heat of battle it’s easy to aim and shoot- rather than think the shot through. The excitement in the moment of truth can push a hunter to rush the shot rather than relax and make a lethal shot.
The quicker you learn this, the more successful you’ll be.
What’s the hardest lesson you have learned while hunting?
Lessons are found along every trail in wild places. In fact if a hunter isn’t learning something every time he or she goes afield, likely their mind is on things other than their surroundings and the hunt. Slowing down and being careful was my biggest lesson.
One year I was beaver trapping in Michigan’s upper peninsular region. It was winter and I was trapping through thick ice. I had a 330 conibear set in a feed pile and inspection of the clear ice above the trap showed bubbles trapped in the ice. Likely I had nailed a big beaver. I chopped out the ice, slipped on a long “gauntlet glove” to stay dry… laid down on the ice and reached into the icy water to pull out the catch. SNAP! There was no beaver… the trap clamped on my hand. I wrenched with pain… and went to pull my hand and trap up through the hole, however I hadn’t chopped out enough ice.. I was trapped and lying prone on the ice.. minus 30… in the wilderness.
It took several hours to wiggle my hand out of the trap. I had broken my thumb and was succumbing to hypothermia. My snowmobile and I were 20 miles from my cabin. Well, it was a near death experience and I learned from it. Danger lurks in wild places, and when your alone you must take precautions and be careful.
What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?
No doubt the skill would be long distance accuracy. The fact is that just gaining 10 yards of accurate shooting range can increase bowhunting success
exponentially. Tight groups and confidence at sixty yards is definitely a goal.
Who do you admire most in the hunting and conservation world and Why?
I admire hunters who give back; hunters who join the non-profit species organization of their choice and attend to the conventions. Those who spend time, money and more than their fare share to support hunting and conservation are who I most admire.
How were you introduced to hunting?
I started in the outdoors as a trapper. The clang and rattle of a trap chain echoing from the darkness is a sound I’ll never forget. The first time I heard it, I knew that I wanted to hear it again. Splashing along the waters edge in hip waders, I struggled to switch on my flashlight. As its light illuminated the bank, I could see a disturbance, a small brown animal frantic to escape. The glowing eyes of a raccoon peered from the darkness his eyes gazing on one proud trapper. It was five AM, on a November school morning. I was eleven years old- bright eyed, bushy tailed and hopelessly addicted to trapping.
What advice would you give someone just getting into hunting?
Try it, you’ll like it! Really just get with someone who knows the ropes in the outdoors. Every outing will be like a year in school and the appreciation you’ll learn from someone who is knowledgeable will endear you to the wild places and the treasures found outside.
What species would you most like to hunt?
Wow. How can you beat a bugling bull elk in the rut? Unless it’s bull moose in the rut…or an ocean of caribou migrating by at 20 yards with huge velvet antlers. Follow a bull elephant for 15 kilometers before getting a glimpse, or sit in a leopard blind and hear the stealthy cat claw up the tree and onto the bait. It’s all fantastic and incredibly exciting. I love adventure bowhunting, traveling to a place I’ve never been and hunting an animal I’ve never hunted.
I guess if I had to pick a species, it would be dangerous bears. Stalk Alaska’s brown bear or a mountain grizzly… it doesn’t get more exciting..
On the ground…. eye to eye… gulp!
What is your most memorable hunt?
When you’ve done as many big game bowhunts as I have, you have a lot of memorable hunts. My toughest hunt was in Canmore, Alberta bowhunting bighorn sheep. Canmore is in the Canadian Rockies, the season is the month of November and the hunt above 10,000 feet. Picture two feet of snow, mountains and minus 20 degrees in a tent camp for two weeks… pretty memorable.
What is your favorite archery and arrow set up?
I shoot Mathews and have since 2002. My draw length is 28 and I pull 72 pounds. My arrow and broadhead combo averages about 420 grains. Currently I an shooting a Mathews NoCam HTR, Rage 2 blade extreme, IQ bow-sight and QAD rest.
What conservation organizations do you support with your time and money?
I support Safari Club International, Grand Slam Club / Ovis, Pope & Young Club, National Trappers Association, Fur Takers of America, National Rifle Association and the Weatherby Foundation.
What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Spring Gobbler Season?
- Hunt late morning. Gobblers often roost with hens and are with them early.. Later in the morning, long beards are more susceptible to calling.
- Use a decoy where legal- especially when bowhunting.
- Don’t call too much. Imitate the real hen sound you hear.
What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Deer Archery Season?
- Understand that the best time to kill a giant buck is early season on food or post rut on food. Scout the biggest buck you can find in your home area and kill him early or late. Travel during the rut and hunt other states when big bucks are on their feet in daylight.
- Match your hunt strategy to the season. Where legal, use rattling and decoys to your advantage.
- Hunt smart. Hunt the new moon week.
In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?
Don’t give up. Hard work and persistence wins in the end. Good luck is great…. but no matter how tough a hunt gets.. if you work hard and stay persistent, eventually the table will turn your way. Don’t quit!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Where and when can folks tune in to catch your show?
Mathews Territories Wild with Tom Miranda airs exclusively on Outdoor Channel. January through June the series can be seen Mondays at 9:30pm eastern. July through December tune in Sundays 10:00am eastern.
When youngsters and their parents come up to meet you for a quick photo or autograph, what message do you hope to convey?
My goal is to represent myself as polite, courteous and a proud, dedicated professional. It’s important to make a good first impression and when young and old look up to you and your accomplishments…. it’s essential to make those first moments a quality and lasting impression.
Have you been personally been attacked by anti-hunters and how has this influenced you? Where do you believe such hate comes from and why do you think it is aimed at you in particular? What do you feel is the most appropriate response to such personal attacks?
I have been harassed and threatened by activists for over 30 years. As a professional trapper and high profile big game hunter, being targeted is expected.
Much of the slander and mean statements are from people who don’t have a clue about nature, nor do they have the common sense to realize that management of wildlife includes killing surplus animals so the majority can thrive in the habitat that’s available. Human populations are encroaching into wild places and it’s our responsibility to care for and proliferate wild animals.
When harassed, always take the high road and stick to the facts. You won’t change the mind of an activist, but stooping to their tactics degrades your position.
What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter?
My hope is that both hunters and non-hunters would know at me as an honest, sincere man who dearly loves the outdoors, wild places and all the wild creatures. My entire adult life has been more of a tribute to conservation and adventures in the wild.