Clint Bailey is 37 years old, works at one of the most iconic businesses in America and has a deep passion for hunting white-tailed deer whenever he gets the opportunity.
Bailey lives in Lynchburg, Tenn., and works as the warehousing supervisor for Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee sour mash whiskey. He’s in charge of the massive barrel storehouses where the huge barrels are kept while they age the beverage. Bailey has worked at the distillery for more than a dozen years.
He’s been hunting for almost three decades, though, going with his father and friends in the gorgeous hills and hollers of south-central Tennessee. Deer, turkeys, small game, fish … whatever was going on, Bailey loved it. But deer hunting and big bucks are his primary focus now in the woods.
He spoke with DDH recently for our “I’m a Deer Hunter” feature:
What do you do at Jack Daniel’s?
“My job title is warehousing supervisor. Im the barrel business. We take the new whiskey off the stills right after it’s charcoal mellowed and put (it) in the new white oak barrels, put in until it’s aged to maturity, then make sure everything’s right, and then it goes to the processing department.”
So if someone said “Oooo, that’s good,” then it’s because you’re the man?
“I’m just one of a small part. I just try to do my job and my guys do a fantastic job. My department, it’s a little over 80. We’re the second-largest department. The warehouses, or barrel houses, are what you see around here when you’re driving through some of the prettiest country around.
“I ride around pretty frequently and we have a big flock of turkeys around here. A ton of deer including a few good ones … and they’re all well within in the safe zone here around the distillery.”
When did you get started hunting?
“My father took me when I was young and we squirrel hunted quite a bit. I went on several dove hunts, a few deer hunts, things like that. He taught me some of the very basics. Once I got up into high school I started hunting a little more, not seriously but I would go more often.
“After college I started taking trips out of state and started to study deer … I guess I’m in the stage where I’m a trophy hunter. First rule of killing a big buck is to hunt where one’s living. I make a few trips out of state each year. I have three on the wall that are Pope & Young.”
Bow, gun, muzzleloader?
“I primarily bow hunt. The majority of my out-of-state hunts are bowhunts and three of the four on my wall are bowhunts. But last year I had a custom smokeless muzzleloader built for me. I was (bow) hunting in Indiana in 2012 and had a really great buck at about 80 yards. I threw everything possible at him that I could and never could get him to come any closer. That just about tore me up. The next day I went and rattled in a young buck that came to me on a rope, but I didn’t see the big one again.”
How’d you end up at Jack Daniel’s?
“I’m from Lynchburg, born and bred. I went off to college and was planning on one career path; I started law school, actually. I went for a year and decided that was not my forte. I had been away for about five years and Lynchburg was always home. I was fortunate enough to get a job at the distillery. This is my fourth position and I was fortunate to work my way up. I’ve been very, very blessed to have what I think is my dream job.
“I grew up around here. I’m proud of the product, proud of the story. Growing up, I knew people who worked here and now I’m blessed to be here, too. I bought the house that I grew up in, and my wife and I live here.”
What’s the best thing about Jack Daniel’s?
“My favorite thing is the history and the people who make it, and knowing there’s a pride that goes into the product that has been going on for generations and shows no signs of slowing down.
“Not much has changed around the square in Lynchburg, which is nice. Miss Mary Bobo’s still has a great dinner and people come from all over to visit the town and distillery. We have a Subway and Dollar General there now. We still have one red light and probably don’t need that, either. It’s a good place to live.”
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