“Don’t move…. He’s right behind the blood-red sumac, looking in our direction!” I hissed to the hunter who stood frozen in half-stride right behind me. By the way the buck was looking in our direction I was pretty sure he hadn’t made out exactly what we were. We were back in the shadows with a dark background behind us. Both my hunter and I were wearing red and green plaid shirts, and green pants. From what I had seen of hunting deer for several decades, I felt pretty sure the buck had not yet really seen us. Even though he was looking in our direction he was not intently staring at us. He wiggled his ears, then turned to look behind him. I let out a deep breath and then took two steps forward where we would be hidden behind the trunk of a giant oak tree. My hunter followed.
Was a time several years ago I frequently hunted whitetails in Alabama. And it seemed just about every time I did, it rained!
Now there are those who will tell you, primarily old experienced hunters from the Black Belt, who will tell you whitetails in Alabama do not move when it’s raining. Generally I’m a firm believer in listening to those with much experience in the area I’m currently hunting. But, as it was back then, like now, I’ve got deadlines. Back then it was as a field editor of DEER & DEER HUNTING and the Whitetail Columnist for NORTH AMERICAN HUNTER as well as other publications. I’d get to an area or state and had to hunt regardless of the weather, hot or cold, wet or dry because I was only going to be there for a very few days. So, regardless I had to try to make it happen. These days, as the host of my DSC’s TRAILING THE HUNTER’S MOON television show on the Sportsman Channel it’s really not all that different. Schedules for hunts are often set up at least a year in advance. And there’s no way to know what the weather will be like when the hunt actually happens
Growing up in the Zimmerscheidt Community just north of Columbus in the southern part of Texas the fall whitetail hunting season was a huge event. We looked forward to opening day with great anticipation. Numerous families in our area including the Warschak and Ruhmann families had their own hunting camps, mostly single room buildings with a big cast iron wood stove, a big table, several bunks or beds and a built in kitchen, although much of the real cooking was done outside. Families stayed together, beds separated by “curtains”. Duration of stay depended, but sometimes families returned to their regular homes for a while then again headed en mass to hunting camp throughout the season. We often stayed in our camp three to four days at a time, then went back home, and returned a week later for another stay, this occurred throughout the hunting season. In my family’s instance our group consisted of my Mom and Dad, my younger brother Glenn and me, as well occasionally my maternal grandmother. We continued the tradition well into the first years my wife and I got married. She too had grown up going to her family’s hunting camp near a little town known as Ramsey, about 20 miles from where I grew up.
We built our camp when I was about 11 or so and I looked forward to our annual move to hunting camp, generally two or so days before the traditional (back then) November 16 opener with great anticipation. Our deer hunting camp was only about a quarter mile or so behind our home. But weeks before my mother would start preparation for staying in our hunting camps. All sorts of pastries were baked, food of all sorts was prepared well in advance.