Major League Sportsmen

The world of professional sports is overrun with guys who love to hunt just as much as we do. So we asked nine of them about their biggest bucks, their favorite camp breakfasts, and how hunting helps their game. Here's what they had to say about the other sport in their lives

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.Field & Stream Online Editors

Josh Beckett | Pitcher, Florida marlins

Age: 25

Hometown: Spring, Texas

Favorite Game: Whitetail deer

Where he hunts: The Hill Country and his South Texas ranch, the Herra Dura

First blood. My dad is a big believer in your first deer being a spike so that you have something to work up to. But I kept missing the spikes, so he finally let me shoot a doe. I was 9 years old.

**Hunting as an obsession. **It's pretty much all I think about when I'm not pitching. It's something that's just gotten into my blood. I'm the biggest fanatic. I've never met anybody who's as big a fanatic as I am.

His best deer. I'd say the deer I shot for the Muy Grande [BRACKET "Beckett won the 2002 all-around Muy Grande Award, given for the largest deer shot in the Texas hunting season"]. I was sitting in a box blind, and we had burlap on the back so the deer couldn't see through. And then my guide lifted up the burlap and said, "Oh, s---. He's behind us." We had to move stuff around. I hit him, and he went about 15 yards and laid down in the road. He ended up weighing about 245 pounds on the hoof.

Hunting and baseball. Winning the World Series and shooting a big old buck are the same kind of feeling. They're such a huge rush. There's nothing else that's given me that kind of feeling in my life.

Who he'd like to hunt with. Ted Nugent would be pretty cool. I watch his show all the time. He's kind of out there, so he'd be fun.

The future of hunting. Game management is a big part. If we didn't manage the herds, you'd be hitting them in cars, they'd be in people's flowers. I love managing my ranch as much as I like shooting a 180-class deer.

Wearing the apron I make the best breakfast. That's usually my job. I cook the camper's breakfast: Just get some Jimmy Dean sausage on, brown it, warm up some flour or corn tortillas, throw in a couple of eggs, and it's one of the best meals you've ever had.

[NEXT "CHIPPER JONES click here"] Chipper Jones | Third Baseman, Atlanta Braves

Age: 33

Hometown: Deland, Florida

Favorite Game: Whitetail deer

Where He Hunts: Central Florida, and on his 9,000-acre ranch, the Double Dime, in South Texas

First blood. My dad came up to me one day, I was probably 11, and he had a little .22 magnum open-sided rifle. That was the gun he taught me to shoot with. He had a spike located-it was coming out to feed every day-and when we went out there it came out on cue and I shot him at 112 steps.

His best day in the field. That was last year when we had a bunch of the Atlanta Falcons down. Keith Brooking killed a 181 on the Boone and Crockett scale, a 12-point. I killed a 175 with 14 inches of drop tines. Doug Johnson killed a 166 10-point. And Chris Mohr killed a 163 9-point. We did this all about 24 hours.

**How hunting helps his game. **It allows me to get away from the spotlight and recharge. That's important to getting yourself prepared for spring training. You've also got to be in very good shape to deer hunt. You're not always going to make a perfect shot. You have to track.

His best partner. I like hunting with my buddies, but my dad is the one guy I enjoy hunting with the most. If I go hunting and my dad's not with me, there's something missing.

**Life beyond whitetails. **One of these days I'd like to go harvest an elk or a mule deer. I did pull back a bow on a 30-inch mule deer about 10 years ago out in Colorado, but I missed a shot at 50 yards.

Coldest hunt. It was in Canada, and it was 30 below, and I was out in the open one morning and my nostrils froze up. So I found the guy that dropped me off. He was only about a mile away, but by the time I got there, I almost passed out because I couldn't breathe. So he took me to a deer stand with four sides on it.

Neighborhood plans. I'd love to have a celebrity hunt and raise some money for a good cause. There are so many ballplayers who have ranches within a few hours of mine, like Josh Beckett, Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte, Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent, Nolan Ryan, Cincinnati catcher Jason LaRue, and former pitcher Dennis Cook.

[NEXT "MARK BUEHRLE click here"] **Mark Buehrle | Pitcher, Chicago White Sox **

Age: 26

Hometown: St. Charles, Missouri

Favorite Game: Mostly deer and turkeys, some ducks and geese

Where He Hunts: His 1,200 acres near Bowling Green, Missouri

**First blood. **My first animal was a doe I shot with my brother when I was 14 or 15. As far as who taught me, I kind of got raised in it. My dad, uncles, my grandma and grandpa-everybody in my family hunts.

**What he shoots. **I just started getting into black powder. Also bowhunting. I'm not as patient with a bow as I am with a rifle. I don't like when they're 50 yards away and you can't get a shot.

Hunting at his place. It's a thrill to get up and watch all my family and friends get ready, and see how happy they are that I can provide some land and give them the opportunity to get a big animal. For bucks, we have a rule: If you shoot it, you mount it. That way we can manage the property and get some enormous bucks.

Study time. When I'm at home, I TiVo some hunting shows on the hunting channel and burn them onto a DVD. Then I'll watch them when we're on the road.

Who he'd like to hunt with. I did a day with Red Sox pitcher David Wells and retired outfielder Kirk Gibson, but we didn't get to hunt. I went up to David's property with them in northern Michigan. You'd see 10 deer and nine of them were enormous bucks. So I'd like to go with them and just learn from them about baseball and hunting.

His best friends. I've got two vizslas, Diesel and Drake. They're Hungarian bird dogs. The oldest one's just over a year and the other one's only about 7 months. They love to stalk tennis balls.

[NEXT "TREY TEAGUE click here"] Trey Teague | Center, Buffalo Bills

Age: 30

Hometown: Jackson, Tennessee

Favorite game: Mostly turkeys but "whatever's in season"

Where he hunts: Near Jackson

**How he got started. **I got into turkey hunting after college and learned from a friend named Ronnie Ballinger, who lives up the Tennessee River.

Hunting and football. Well, the reason I like hunting so much is that it's so different from what I do. But in both sports, you do have to be persistent. In football, you get knocked down and you get back up. In hunting, a lot of times you think that you'll never get a turkey. But like football, it's not how you start, it's how you finish.

His best day in the field. I tore my ACL in 2000 when I was with Denver. I had just been cleared to walk on crutches, and I was back home on a bye week. I hobbled out into the stand and somehow climbed up. I got this little buck, nothing special, but to me it was great. I had to call some friends to help me with it. It's hard to find someone at 7 A.M. to come help you drag a deer out of the woods.

How he finds time to hunt. I hunt during the season. We have Tuesdays off, so I go deer hunting in western New York. And Peyton Manning [BRACKET "former teammate at the University of Tennessee"] and I go hunting together sometimes after the season.

The future of hunting. We have to get young people involved. I run a charity turkey hunt in Tennessee, where we auction off a hunt for a kid for the National Wild Turkey Federation. I also have a degree in wildlife and fisheries. We have to educate the public about how hunting can be beneficial to wildlife.

[NEXT "HANK FRALEY click here"] Hank Fraley | Center, Philadelphia Eagles

Age: 27

Hometown: Gaithersburg, Maryland

Favorite game: Deer and turkeys

Where he hunts: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Scooba, Mississippi

**First blood. **That was probably a squirrel. I killed my first dimg src='http://www2.worldpub.net/images/fieldstream/images/subcategory/blue_square.gif' width='5' height='5'> Hometown: Jackson, Tennessee

Favorite game: Mostly turkeys but "whatever's in season"

Where he hunts: Near Jackson

**How he got started. **I got into turkey hunting after college and learned from a friend named Ronnie Ballinger, who lives up the Tennessee River.

Hunting and football. Well, the reason I like hunting so much is that it's so different from what I do. But in both sports, you do have to be persistent. In football, you get knocked down and you get back up. In hunting, a lot of times you think that you'll never get a turkey. But like football, it's not how you start, it's how you finish.

His best day in the field. I tore my ACL in 2000 when I was with Denver. I had just been cleared to walk on crutches, and I was back home on a bye week. I hobbled out into the stand and somehow climbed up. I got this little buck, nothing special, but to me it was great. I had to call some friends to help me with it. It's hard to find someone at 7 A.M. to come help you drag a deer out of the woods.

How he finds time to hunt. I hunt during the season. We have Tuesdays off, so I go deer hunting in western New York. And Peyton Manning [BRACKET "former teammate at the University of Tennessee"] and I go hunting together sometimes after the season.

The future of hunting. We have to get young people involved. I run a charity turkey hunt in Tennessee, where we auction off a hunt for a kid for the National Wild Turkey Federation. I also have a degree in wildlife and fisheries. We have to educate the public about how hunting can be beneficial to wildlife.

[NEXT "HANK FRALEY click here"] Hank Fraley | Center, Philadelphia Eagles

Age: 27

Hometown: Gaithersburg, Maryland

Favorite game: Deer and turkeys

Where he hunts: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Scooba, Mississippi

**First blood. **That was probably a squirrel. I killed my first d