Tag Archives: Charles Alsheimer

He Got the Cover (Twice)!

In honor of this week’s release of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, which includes Kate Upton as its cover model, I thought I’d share something I stumbled upon by pure coincidence a few weeks ago.

Alsheimer's Buck Is a Cover Boy ... Twice (click photo to enlarge)

As I sat in my recliner, the magazine rack next to me had a pair of hunting magazines resting next to each other. The magazines were the October Outdoor Life and December Deer & Deer Hunting. As I glanced at them, likely pondering if I should pick one up, I noticed how much alike the massive buck pictured on their respective front covers was.

Then I looked closer.

I realized that it was actually the same deer, in almost the exact pose, possibly over the same log, at a completely different time (the D&DH photo includes a snow-covered ground beneath the buck).

I thought that was interesting.

And as I suspected, each cover was shot by renowned deer photographer (and fellow Southern Tier of New York native) Charlie Alsheimer.

That buck has done well for Charlie! I’m really surprised that both photos ran so closely to each other (within a matter of a few weeks). I wonder if either publication had any issue with that.

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic … and Deer!

I have no idea how long I’ve been absolutely captivated by whitetail deer. Some folks find that hard to believe. It’s as if they expect to hear about one moment, one day or one hunt that sent me over the edge for my passion.

Now there’s a little bit of evidence to help me time stamp it! I can at least show that my infatuation with deer started as early as Second Grade at Immaculate Conception School.

The presentation board of "Deer"

I stumbled upon a great piece from my childhood last week while on a short visit to my parents’ house in Western New York. My mom stashed away a research project I completed in Grade 2. It was … on deer.

The essay reads as follows:

“Deer make up one of the best known mammal families. They are native to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They have been introduced in Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, and have made homes in these places. Deer belong to the mammal group called hoofed mammals. Deer range in size from about 20 pounds to more than 1,000 pounds.

Page 1!

They live in cold regions, in hot regions, in forests on grassy plains, on deserts, on mountains, and on flat plateaus. But they all have certain features in comon (sic). They are all herfivores (sic) (plant eaters), and they all feed by browsing, or grazing. They eat leaves, twigs, bark, grasses, and lichens. They also eat berries and other fruits. The males of most species are called bucks and females does.”

How in the world did this fantastic prose not make a run at a Pulitzer? I mean, is there truly anything else you need to know about deer?

I’ll bet the early works of Drs. John Ozoga and James Kroll paled in comparison to my findings.

What’s not known, though, is what Sister Cecelia thought. No grade could be found on the project.

An idol’s reply …

The passion for the outdoors is rooted in my soul as deep as the tentacles of a 100-year-old white oak. I daresay that anyone who knows anything at all about your faithful blogger knows that hunting is a major part of my DNA.

That was no different some 15 years ago when, as a young adult, I needed to seriously consider what my future held in front of me with respect to a career. Since the seventh grade, it was understood that I wanted to be a journalist. And looking back, it was crystal clear that those aspirations included covering and/or writing about the outdoors in some capacity.

Charles Alsheimer was among my idols. Growing up just a rifle’s report away from his Steuben County, NY, home (mine in neighboring Allegany County), it captivated me to read his articles and see photos of deer that could theoretically run the same woods that I hunted. And there was no mistake that Alsheimer was among the kings of outdoor media – still in its infancy at the time when compared to today. Staples upon receiving Deer & Deer Hunting each month included checking contents page to see if he had photographed the cover photo and then flipping directly to his articles to read them first.

It was with that admiration and respect that I opted to send Mr. Alsheimer a letter one fall in search of perspective of how I could fulfill my outdoors passion by merging it with my professional career.

What I received back from Alsheimer will stick with me for a lifetime. His counsel was honest, it was clear and it helped shatter an adolescent dream. Ultimately, it also helped me plot a course into what is a very enjoyable career in marketing communications – albeit minus any considerable connection to the outdoors world.

Alsheimer noted that he appreciated my letter, and was humbled by my interest in him as a role model. He added that he has been extremely fortunate in the world of outdoors and that it came with many sacrifices – some that he wanted me to be well aware of before I decided to make a career in the outdoors my life’s calling.

Simply put, he was right. As a young adult, those sacrifices to focus on the outdoors would likely have been too much to bear. The opportunities for working in the outdoors at the time were far less than what they are today. Mass media has literally grown the industry tenfold over the last decade alone.

I still have the letter from Alsheimer. And the fact that he took to time to hand-write a note to me and provide more than a “Go get them, Tiger” message sticks with me as a very sincere gesture. For that I thank Mr. Alsheimer – in fact, I was able to send a note back at the time expressing that as well.

Who knows? Someday I might be able to retire to a career that rekindles my early dream.

For the record: A hunter must possess a child’s imagination when navigating a long sit in the deer woods. It keeps the spirit alive when nothing much else seems to be moving. It’s that same imagination that keeps reading Alsheimer’s articles a favorite of mine. For that wide-framed 10-point buck he’s analyzing in his article, very well could be the next deer I see out of my treestand!