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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

OUTDOOR TRUTHS: Getting Ready For Last Deer Hunt

By Gary Miller

As I type this, I’m also getting ready for my last deer hunt of the year. The South Alabama bucks are just now in the pre-rut phase, with the rut only a few days away. This sounds strange to most of the rest of the hunting world, because in most places even the secondary rut is over. But it’s true. Alabama is just getting started. For years, I made an annual trip there in January. I looked forward to it each year. The license was cheap. The deer were plentiful. And the harvest limits were the best in the nation. I’ve hunted that state from the rolling hills of the north to the hot and sandy farms near the beach. I’ve taken the trip alone and with friends. Most of the time I came home empty-handed.

But I never came home without a unique story that made each trip memorable. I’ve dodged alligators, ran up on old marijuana gardens, and have been kicked out of camp before daylight. I’ve hunted both public and private property and have met some of the best and worst people in the world. As I look back, the reason my experiences are so varied is simple. I couldn’t afford a guided hunt, so I had to depend on others for opportunities. Sometimes those opportunities were better than I could have imagined, and other times – most of the time- they were unpredictable and difficult. But regardless of the circumstances, I always arrived with overflowing anticipation and expectation.

And most of the time I left with only great stories. Which as I look back now, were the real and timeless trophies. It’s true. My first hunt in Alabama was well over twenty years ago. I was young and willing to endure hotel floors and subzero temperatures. I was willing to go into the unknown for the sake of the unknown. But it was my only option unless I wanted to stay at home – and that was not an option. As an older guy now (I’m 39, plus shipping and handling) I don’t want uncertainty and the unknown. I prefer an itinerary with a well-thought-out plan b. I want to know what I’m going into before I get there. And now I can decide whether I want to stay home or not. There’s only one problem with a predictable life. You run out of stories. The best ones anyway. And when you run out of stories, you run out of trophy laughs. And when you run out of trophy laughs, all you have left to show are dusty heads of deer on a wall.

Gary Miller can be reached via email at


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