A Journey Into The Secretive Life Of The White-tailed Deer

Posted on July 5, 2011

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“I’d hate to think what my
life would have been like without the white-tailed deer.”

–        Charles J. Alsheimer

Over the span of my career as both a hunter and communicator I have, on
countless occasions conveyed this sage old adage to thousands of my fellow deer
hunters, ‘If you want to become more successful as a deer hunter, learn and
understand whitetails behaviorally.’ Is it really that simple, some will
question, and in reality it is, but not without time, patience and an
inquisitive mind.

Because of my job as both an outdoor writer and nature photographer I’ve
had the enviable opportunity of spending limitless time in the deer woods
observing whitetails and photographing their every behavior, a luxury that many
simply cannot realize due to work, family and responsibilities. Beyond hunting
time and a few interactions with deer throughout the year, much of what is
learned behaviorally about whitetails comes from videos, magazines and books.
And until now, no book has been dedicated exclusively to documenting the life
of whitetails for an entire year.

Whitetails, A Photographic Journey Through The Seasons chronicles the
lives of six deer (a mature buck, a yearling buck, an adult doe, the doe’s two fawns
and a yearling doe) month by month for an entire calendar year.

 

Written by the one person that may well be the foremost authority on
white-tailed deer behavior, Charles J. Alsheimer; a man who has spent a
lifetime studying, researching, documenting and photographing this magnificent
creature. Through countless hours, rolls of film, sweat, toil, sacrifice and
personal inquisitiveness, Charlie has provided deer hunters across the country
with a greater understanding of the animal they pursue.  His thirst for answers to mysteries
surrounding the whitetail remain unquenched as he writes,

 “I still love to hunt, but during the past ten
years my focus has changed from the hunt and the kill to understanding the
whitetail’s many mysteries. This quest for knowledge has taken me down many
side roads and, for the most part, all have been fascinating. Some have turned
out to be dead ends, and some just faded into the forest.”

As testament to Charlie’s depth
of insight into the whitetail’s world is his incredibly stunning photography
that vividly illustrates the text. Actually, the imagery that he has been able
to capture is really the genesis that has led to a lifetime spent with the
white-tailed deer,

 “Nature photography has added
greater meaning to my life. My quest to get one more photo has often kept me in
the bush when I should have called it a day. Through nature photography, I’ve
come to truly appreciate God’s incredible creation. I firmly believe that my
mission in life is to photograph the wonders of God’s handiwork and share them
with others. Largely, this is why I do what I do. The other part is that I love
it so much. I owe my career and knowledge of nature to photography.”

Unlike any other whitetail book,
this title delves into the inner life of six white-tailed deer; (Bucky – 6-year
old buck, Skipper – A yearling buck, Buttercup – An 8-year old
doe, Daisy – Buttercup’s yearling daughter, Buttons – Buttercup’s
buck fawn, Princess – Buttercup’s doe fawn) what they encounter in the
wild, their reaction and how they survive. For example during November,

“Bucky was alerted to leaves
rustling just as he dozed off. The buck spotted movement in front of him.
Several does and fawns were moving through the woods, feeding on acorns.
Overwhelmed by the urge to breed, the big buck sprang to his feet and stood
motionless, surveying the situation before moving toward the does and
fawns.”  In the meantime, a mature
8-pointer appeared on the scene as Alsheimer continues.

“The does and fawns trotted
through the woods as the bucks approached each other. Bucky took the initiative
by lowering his head, dropping his ears and bristling his coat like a pin
cushion. The 8-point slowly eased around Bucky before dropping his ears and
bristling his fur. Each buck rolled his eyes and cocked his head. The rut’s
fury was about to explode in the oak flat.

With the does and fawns watching
from a distance, the bucks came together with all the energy their bodies could
muster. The sounds of breaking branches, rustling leaves and clashing of antler
tines was deafening. With their antlers locked, Bucky drove the 8-pointer into
a small hemlock sapling, making the smaller buck lose his balance. Furiously,
Bucky bulldozed the stumbling buck backward for several yards across the forest
floor. With the 8-pointer’s side exposed, Bucky rammed his antlers into the
smaller buck’s flank. Hair flew as one of his antler tines penetrated the
8-pointer’s flesh, drawing blood. With adrenalin flowing full throttle, the
8-pointer struggled to his feet just as Bucky was about to move in for the
kill. Despite his injury, the 8-pointer bolted through the woods with Bucky on
his tail.”

The setting for the book takes
place in the northeastern United
States, which is home to the northern
woodland subspecies of whitetail. A location where hunting deer during the
autumn months is very much a tradition as Charlie documents.

“Skipper thought he heard a
branch snap at the edge of the swamp. The freshly fallen snow had begun
accumulating…making it difficult to see far. When a second branch broke, the
bucks heard the sound and immediately trained their eyes toward it. Something
was coming.

Skipper, who was closest to the
sound, stood. A man was coming. Skipper snorted and began running toward an
opening in the swamp that led to an open field. Quickly, Bucky and the other
two bucks bolted from their beds and followed. After maneuvering his huge
antlers through the thick alders, Bucky broke into the open and began bounding
across a narrow field. He saw Skipper and the other bucks running ahead of him.
Boom! Boom! Boom! When the second boom from the hunter’s rifle rang out, the
8-pointer ahead of Skipper fell, so Bucky and Skipper quickly changed course.
Within seconds, they crossed the field and bounded into a standing cornfield.
The bucks were safe for the moment but had to distance themselves from the
hunters…”

 

A Photographic Journey Through
The Seasons is an 8 1/2 x 11 hardcover, coffee table edition with over 200
stunning, full-color photos. It is in essence a compilation of Charlie
Alsheimer’s life journey having lived with the whitetail for over 50-years.
According to Charlie, “It’s been a special trip. But the beauty of the trip has
been this: Though goals might be the No. 1 end game for some, they aren’t to
me. I’ve realized that life’s journey is the true destination. That’s what has
made my life so special.”

To obtain an autographed copy
simply visit, www.CharlesAlsheimer.com
or send check or money order in the amount of $35.99 (includes S&H) to:
Charles J. Alsheimer, 4730 Route 70A, Bath, New York 14810

All images on this site are copyright protected and the property of R.G. Bernier.

© 2011 R.G. Bernier Nature Photography – All rights reserved.

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