John Wootters

"Mr. Whitetail"


My thanks to Berit Aagaard Pace for helping me re-read and evaluate John's 40 years of writing. Jeanne McRae Wootters 2019

A Cautionary Tale

Jan 1, 2012

Originally Published In Leupold's Hunting Adventures

Be warned: This is not just a fond reminiscence about a long-ago hunt. It's a tale of success and failure. It began badly and ended badly. But, in between, oh, in between there was one unforgettable, shining moment when I steadied crosshairs on the shoulder of a splendid Stone ram and caressed the trigger.

Sayonara, South Texas

Nov 1, 2001

Originally Published In Hunting

Unlike Shangri-La, Los Cuernos wasn't a mythical paradise. It was a real place. But, sadly, the whitetail ranch near Laredo, Texas, familiar to many longtime HUNTING readers, is no more. Over the last 21 years, Los Cuernos Ranch inspired a hundred deer-related features for this magazine and a hundred more "Buck Sense" columns, plus occasional mentions by writers other than myself.

Cape Fear

Sep 1, 2001

Originally Published In Outdoor Life

We spotted the nyati early, before the sun had begun to clang like a blacksmith's hammer on the anvil of southern Africa. They were not the first of the safari–you couldn't travel very far in Mozambique in the early '70s without seeing thousands of Cape buffalo–but those had been mere background for the intoxicating realization that we were, at long last, in Africa. It was the first safari for both my companion, Jack Carter, and me. We'd flipped a coin, agreeing to alternate shooting opportunities as they came, regardless of species... except for two.

NEW! The Bottom Line

Feb 1, 2001

Originally Published In Hunting

As a deer hunter, you're in the mainstream of American history, a contributor, a steward of the resource, on the cutting edge of wildlife management, an instrument of conservation, and a conduit of honorable tradition. Be Proud.

Originally Published In Hunting

The Author shares his innermost musings about hunting whitetails...and a certain Great Buck!

NEW! Milestone Bucks

Apr 1, 1999

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

Whitetail bucks are remembered for many different reasons. Some represent a "First" or a personal best in a hunter's life. Others are memorable because of some physical characteristic, or for their legendary elusiveness.

NEW! Lost Art

Oct 1, 1998

Originally Published In Hunting

Some find it as hard to imagine a time when there was no such thing as a manufactured tree stand, tripod or portable blind as they do accepting that a majority of deer hunters might ever have scorned the use of scopes.

Originally Published In Hunting

Experience, patience and attention to the smallest details ensure recovery. Somewhere out there in the hushed woods is a wounded deer, and it's up to you to follow and find it.

Originally Published In Hunting

The first vocal sound I ever heard from a whitetail deer nearly ended my deer-hunting career before it was fairly begun, and thus almost drove me to take up honest work! It came from the throat of my first whitetail buck. I was a tender 13, hunting all alone, and the eight-pointer was very close. This was good; otherwise, I'd never have hit him, given the violent case of buck fever that shook me like a seismograph needle in a high-Richter earthquake. When I was finally able to make the rifle fire, the buck went down in a heap, spine-shot... and he bawled! It was a shocking, harsh, dragged-out sound, more like a yearling than a deer, and it horrified me. I could never stand making an animal suffer, and the bawl triggered a wave of remorse and guilt–until I realized that the buck couldn't be suffering, having given up the ghost at about the moment his bawl ended.

Originally Published In Hunting

Bucky was a tame/wild whitetail buck who, when he felt like it, inhabited my ranch on the Tex-Mex border. When he felt like it, he also inhabited at least two other adjacent ranches.

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