Alabama Produces Late-Season Fireworks

By Brian Lovett

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I’ll admit it: I was praying for cold weather the final week of January.
Now, before my fellow Northerners jump through their monitor screens to
strangle me, let me explain. Like you, I’m sick of the brutal winter of
2008-2009 in my home state of Wisconsin. But during the last week of
January, I was in southern Alabama to hunt deer with the good folks at the
Whitetail Institute of North America. So in that case, “cold” meant lows in
the 30s or 40s and highs in the 50s or 60s; conditions that get rutting
Alabama deer on their feet yet provide a nice break for winter-weary
Yankees.

For once, the weatherman actually obliged, and the deer followed suit.
Hunting over lush Imperial Whitetail Clover fields for five days, my friends
and I saw loads of feeding does and cruising bucks. Double-digit deer
sightings were common during mornings and evenings, and one member of our
group even saw a true Alabama monster cruising through thick pines 200-some
steps from his stand.

Apparently, I drew the horseshoe stand the first morning, as a high-racked
8-pointer appeared from over a hill at about 9:30 a.m. to check my food plot
for does. I had to wait a few tense moments to get a clear shot, but when
the buck turned broadside at about 150 steps, I took a deep breath, exhaled
slowly and ended the hunt.

The next morning, I watched another shooter buck make a scrape 100 steps
away and then check the field for does. Meanwhile, a friend hunting just
across the road watched two bucks chase a doe full-bore through his food
plot.

Though we never shot another buck, the hot action continued through our
final morning. And when we left for the airport that afternoon, the mercury
read 76 degrees. I think everyone agreed that we could rearrange our
schedules to stay a few more days.

Reality hit hard when I arrived home: 9 degrees. Sigh. Well, as I struggle
through the remaining months of this winter, I can always think back to
Alabama … and the memory of deer that weren’t buried up to their necks in
snow.

— Brian Lovett is the editor of Turkey & Turkey Hunting.