By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
This past weekend marked the 33rd annual Wilcox Academy Hunt in Camden, AL and what a weekend it was! Hunters came from near and far to get a shot at the infamous Alabama whitetail and also to partake in some good ole southern cooking and maybe learn a few tricks and tips they didn’t already know! Hunting is a sport full of learning and teaching; without each component, the hunting community would not be nearly as close-knit as they are today.
If you were in Alabama this past weekend, you know how frigid the temperatures were, especially if you were huddled up in a deer stand. But, as we all know, the colder the weather, the higher the chances are at knocking down a big one. This year was my first year experiencing the Wilcox Academy Hunt as I have only been in the area for a few years now, but what an experience! I met some great people from all over this nation and was truly amazed at just how many people get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Some hunters there were 2nd and 3rd generations that have been attending this event since it started 33 years ago and the wisdom that is passed down from generation to generation is utterly amazing. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to share some of my DIY knowledge for aging deer by the jawbone and the importance of growing mature deer. It was exciting (for a wildlife management junky like me) to show people the jawbone of a 2.5 year old versus that of a mature 4.5 year old. It also brought about the subject of knowing whether or not a deer is a “cull buck” or if he has had some sort of antler injury while still in velvet. The best part of the whole weekend was the teaching opportunities that presented themselves, and the hunters that were thankful and appreciative of the new knowledge. I think that seasoned hunters can teach you much more than a textbook ever could and it is important to learn from their mistakes or mishaps. Some hunters, like me, were there just to take it all in and admire the great bucks that were harvested. And of course lend an ear to the amazing stories that were tied to each deer!
This weekend proved that the hunting community is one of the closest communities out there. Everyone shared in the excitement whether it was a trophy buck or someone’s first deer, and that’s what it’s all about! Whether it was the hunter’s first deer, or their 99th, everybody was feeling the excitement. Many kids got their first dose of hunting this weekend, and I think it’s safe to say that they are all addicted- who wouldn’t be?
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