Hunter: Preston Semple, Connor Semple
Camera: Matt Moore, Daniel Dawson
Dates: January 16-18th
Location: Louisville, AL
Outfitter: Jane High
Weather: Cold, Cold, Cold
Phase: Full Rut
Weapons: 25-06 with Nikon Monarch Scope
Strategies: Hunting hardwood ridges next to bedding areas.
After over 24,000 votes we finally had a winner for our 1st Annual Sweepstakes contest. All the hunters entered our sweepstakes by texting "DEER" to 30997. We gave away weekly prizes and the grand prize Alabama deer hunt was rewarded to 14 year old Preston Semple from Washington, PA. Preston, his older brother Conner, mom Renae and dad Ronnie all made the trip to Alabama.
This hunt actually started out last March at the SW Missouri Chapter banquet of Whitetails Unlimited. My good friend Eldon Skinner runs the chapter and he knew about the "school hunt" that the Dixie Academy puts on every year in Louisville, AL. This hunt is a fund raiser for the Academy. A lot of the local landowners simply donate their land for a weekend, then school parents, teachers and board members turn into guides for this weekend hunt. Currently the cost to hunt is $750.00 and all the proceeds go to the school. The academy donated a hunt to the SW Missouri W.U. Chapter and they turned it over to Closing the Distance for the sweepstakes giveaway.
After informing the Academy that our winner was a 14 year old from PA, the kindness from our hosts went into overdrive. The Dixie Academy, landowner Ms. Jane High & guide Daniel Dawson put the wheels in motion and invited the entire Semple family to come and hunt...at no charge!!! What an awesome show of kindness. Now not only was our winner Preston getting to hunt, his brother Conner was loading his gear too, not to mention dad.
Our first evening out was very, very cold to say the least. Preston and I stayed in the stand from 1:00pm to dark and only saw 1 doe. It was about 25 degrees - cold for Alabama. The next morning it was 19 degrees and thankfully Preston shot a doe about a hour after daylight. His brother Conner shot a big hog that morning too. That same evening the hunting was slow for Preston and I but Connor was able to shot a buck.
The next morning Preston and I woke early and was in the stand 30 minutes before daylight. About 5 minutes after daylight it started to rain, I quickly put my HD camera away, then the rained stopped. But within a few minutes the bottom feel out if you know what I mean. I whisphered to Preston that I needed to get down - I couldn't let the camera equipment get ruined. He turned and looked at me like he was ready to fight - Preston wanted a buck really bad and his hunt was over. I hated that Preston didn't harvest a buck but I know he had a great time. I made some life long friends with the Semple family, Ms. Jane and our guides Daniel and Jason. Thank you so much for the help with our hunt. For more information about SW Missouri Whitetails Unlimited contact Eldon Skinner email ESKINNER@amfam.com For more info on the Dixie Hunt contact Jay Fenn firstname.lastname@example.org