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Sports Talk: Former teacher enjoys hunting and retirement

My friend Otis Freeman retired from teaching at Thomson Middle School a couple of years ago into a life of leisure.

Other than tending to grandchildren Alex and Josh Rimmer and Olivia Dunaway, Otis now spends much of his time on hunting-related activities.

Otis and I have had several discussions about hunting. It is one of the few topics of conversation in which I have nothing to offer. I hunted a little with my grandfather when I was young but only killed time.

"A neighbor had some squirrel dogs and got me started hunting when I was 11," said Otis.

Hunting mostly from a spot of land that he owns in Lincoln County, Freeman figures that he has killed 75-100 deer in his lifetime.

"Not many," he quips.

I kid Otis that Georgia wouldn't suffer from an overabundance of deer if he admitted to how many he has really killed. I'd bet the count would drop by the thousands.

One of Otis' major hobbies is teaching Georgia's Hunter Safety course from August through December.

"I used to work with Monroe Matherly before he retired as game warden and now Leroy Ficklin is the ranger in charge of the safety program," he said.

The course is required for youngsters in Georgia to receive their initial hunting license. It is also available over the Internet so that a child only has to attend the final session of the course in person.

"A kid having his registration number assigned over the website is very helpful," said Freeman. "If he loses his card he can go to the site to retrieve his number."

Otis is really enjoying his retirement.

"I love the freedom, especially when it takes me into the woods to hunt," he said.

Web posted on Thursday, January 15, 2004

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