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Titans Lineman's Hunting Venture Bags Deer, Warning

Thursday, 11/06/03

Titans offensive lineman Fred Miller bagged a 12-point buck with a hunting bow and arrow last week, but not exactly by the book.

He was hunting on private property where he did not have permission to be and his hunting license had expired.

''It was a big mixup,'' Miller said yesterday. ''We actually thought we were on the spot we had permission to hunt, but we weren't.''

He and a friend were on land adjacent to property where they had been allowed to hunt, he said.

Both properties are next to Radnor Lake State Natural Area. Rangers there keep a close watch on that part of the park since poachers sometimes slip in.

The park is a haven for deer, including large bucks like the one Miller bagged. The points refer to the tips of a deer's antlers the more tips, the larger the deer.

Parks officials determined that Miller was not on park property, said Mike Carlton, state director of parks operations. The Radnor manager called the property owner, who had not given Miller and a friend permission to hunt there. The property owner did not press charges.

Once Miller and his companion cleared that hurdle, it was too late to register the deer at a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency check-in station, the football player said yesterday.

He called Cape Taylor, TWRA's enforcement supervisor for 10 Middle Tennessee counties, the next morning, on Oct. 28, to find the nearest station. Taylor directed him to a market on Ashland City Highway in the western part of Davidson County.

TWRA then got a call from the market that a man whose license had expired had come to check in a deer, Taylor said.

''I said, 'Do you not have another license?' '' Taylor said. ''And he said, 'I've got this and it says 2003 on it.' I told him, 'They expire in March.' ''

Taylor said he advised the two TWRA officers dealing with Miller to issue a warning citation but said they should use their own judgment. Miller could have been cited to appear in court.

If Miller was trying to fool authorities, Taylor said, it is unlikely that he would have checked in a deer if he knew his license had run out. He also had time to get a current one.

''I'm not going to treat him different because he is a football player,'' Taylor said. He said other hunters have been given warnings instead of citations in the past.

Miller, who has bought a nonresident license for the past three years, said the time frame for a hunting license is different in Texas where he had been used to hunting. He said he felt bad about what happened.

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