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

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

A conversation over Mule Deer vs Whitetail Deer by John Wootters and Bob Milek in which they discuss the pros and cons of both animals and their take on hunting the two.

The Camp

Aug 1, 1990

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

Some pretty unforgettable sounds have fallen on these old gunfire-deafened ears of mine, but a shriek that shattered the evening hush at our Sandy Creek hunting camp 45 years ago still rings in them even now! Never, before or since, have I heard anything like it. With no warning, it welled up out of the silent woods and froze me in my tracks.

The Last Elk

Feb 1, 1988

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

At dusk in an enchanted alpine meadow, 10,000 feet high in Wyoming's great Washakie wilderness, I knelt alone beside the last bull elk I shall ever kill. As the sky darkened, a full moon floated over my shoulder like a yellow-gold balloon, bright enough for me to admire the wide, solid six-point rack and burly body out of which, at last light, I had let the life. Paying reverent last respects, I felt a strong sense of gratitude to this animal, for having been what he was and where he was.

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

Anticipating a buck's moves, then altering your methods to confuse him can put venison in the freezer. All it takes is a little imagination and the ability to... "Think like a deer!"

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

Territorial dominance, female favors, just plain aggression - the rut could be what you wait for.

Originally Published In Guns & Ammo

Perhaps the single most common question I'm asked, by mail and in person, is "Which is your favorite cartridge for deer?" The answer is that I don't have one. Sometimes it's phrased differently; for example, a reader may say "What do you use for deer, most of the time?" The answer to that one is most likely to be "Whatever happens to be handy."

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

What has come to be called "horn rattling" (even though we Texans do know the difference between antlers and horns) has an interesting history–and an even more interesting present! Strange things happen when a fellow goes out and beats a pair of antlers together, if everything is right. If everything is wrong, of course, nothing happens, but when conditions are favorable, strange, wild, hilarious, and sometimes frustrating events come to pass.

Originally Published In Hunting

A frozen sun-disc inched its way upward to clear the rim of a mesa across the canyon, its rays spangling every leaf and twig and blade of grass with frost-fire. In the basin below my perch, I checked several trails through my binoculars, noting that not many deer had used them during the night.

Old Plugs

Mar 1, 1982

Originally Published In Field & Stream

You have to understand at the outset that I am not a real bass fisherman. You can tell just by looking at me and my gear. I don't own a polyester jumpsuit with a patch on the breast pocket, I don't own a bass boat (except for an inflatable, named "Riff-Raft") with more electronics than a Russian trawler. I do not possess a graphite rod with anything written on the shaft, nor a freshwater reel with line heavier than 6-pound-test.

Originally Published In Petersen's Hunting

My wife says I'm a little paranoid about blue quail, but that's ridiculous. If it were true, I would suspect that blue quail conspire against my dignity and my sanity, but I harbor no such suspicion. On the contrary, I know positively that I am the intended victim of a blue quail conspiracy! What's so paranoid about that?

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