The amount of wildlife that calls the city limits of Guntersville home continues to just be astounding.
Our neighbor over on Hill Avenue, Tonya Lawrence, took the photo of the fox that appears with this story. They’d been seeing the fox in their neighborhood. One night when they were coming home, the critter seemed to almost pose on a stump in the neighbor’s yard and Tonya got the photo.
The little pond off Lurleen Drive on Albert-Smith Road at the end of Taylor Street has been an oasis for wildlife for years. I cut through there going to and from the office and I’ve seen ducks, herons, a fat groundhog or wood chuck, foxes and even some wild turkeys there once years ago.
But the wildlife everyone seems to be talking about in Guntersville these days are the deer. The things are apparently everywhere. I saw a Facebook post the other day where a motorist hit one on Henry Street (Highway 69) near Bunch Pharmacy.
I keep hearing reports of the Sunset Drive herd, for lack of a better term. But I’ve yet to see a Sunset Drive deer with my own two eyes. Anytime I mention the Sunset Drive herd to someone who ought to know about them, I get the answer “Yeah. They’re there.”
One guy told me about a huge buck in a place you just wouldn’t believe.
I haven’t seen deer right in town, but on Thanksgiving evening, on the way to the in-laws for supper, we saw 12 deer – two on Georgia Mountain within a quarter-mile of the city limits, 4 on the hill just past the turnoff to the Yacht Club, definitely in the city limits, and 6 in a field out near Honeycomb.
They live among us!
The Trophy 4
When you tell someone you got a 4-point buck, it’s probably only natural to think it’s a pretty small deer. We live in a time when just about everyone is interested in trophy hunting giant 8’s and 10’s and such.
There have been some incredibly nice deer taken by hunters this season. I’ve had photos sent to me and I’ve seen photos on social media. All I can say is “Wow!” and I hope to bring you stories about at least one or two of these trophies in a future edition.
As for myself, I got a trophy 4-pointer, if there ever was such a thing. I’ve never personally seen a 4-pointer this size and I got kind of excited about it. Some very generous friends have let me hunt their place this year. Of course I stuck a trail camera out the first day I hunted it and that night I got the first photo of the big 4.
More photos would come, all at night, and I doubted I would ever see "the big 4" in the daytime. But I made up my mind pretty early if I got the opportunity, I would take the big 4 and I would be proud to get him.
He’s certainly a unique deer in my view.
A week or so back, on a Saturday morning, I was sitting in my little turkey lounger chair in a downed treetop. I could only hunt until 9 a.m. At 8:45, I saw movement down the little woods road I was watching. Then I saw tall tines.
I thought the buck was someone different, maybe an 8-pointer, but I knew the antlers were tall enough to make him a “shooter.”
The buck circled in some thick stuff and started feeding. I was really afraid he was going to turn and go back the way he came and never give me a shot. There was a hole through the brush maybe a little bigger than a baseball cap and I had the crosshairs on what I thought was the deer’s shoulder through that hole.
He might have stepped clear and he might not have. We’ll never know. Because I squeezed the trigger. I expected him to fall right there, but he ran off the side of that danged steep mountain. I thought I heard him crash.
I didn’t find blood immediately, but I walked the direction he ran. I’d walked a little further than where I thought he crashed and hadn’t picked up sign. I sincerely believe that the Good Lord answers prayers and he did for me that day.
“Lord, please don’t let me lose this buck,” I prayed as I turned around to retrace my steps and search more thoroughly. “Please, God, let me find him.”
I took one step and there he was, sprawled below me. I was genuinely surprised when I saw just who he was.
“Oh, my goodness, it’s the big 4,” I said. I couldn’t have been happier with an 8 or 10.
My buddies have agreed that he’s a pretty unique deer. I plan to have a European mount made and I’ll proudly hang it above the computer in my home office. A batch of delicious venison jerky from the big 4 is on the dehydrator as I type these words.
I kind of knew in September this season had the potential to be something special. Deer just seemed to be everywhere. And the season has delivered.
The Big Cat
When Rick Karle, the WVTM-13 anchor who doubles as a columnist, wrote a story about a big Guntersville Lake catfish, my phone immediately “blew up” as they say.
Lots of friends sent me links to the story, for which I am appreciative. Y’all keep those tips coming. I love them and depend on them.
Rick is an excellent writer and I enjoy his stuff immensely. I think the big cat was caught in Jackson County, because the couple was from Flat Rock. But you never know.
“It sure was chilly on Lake Guntersville, Alabama, on Monday,” Rick began. “But Jeremy Bethune and Summer Stevens of Flat Rock, Alabama, love fishing so much, they decided to put up with the cold weather and throw a few jigs into the water — maybe one of Guntersville's big bass would strike.”
He went on to relate how Summer and Jeremy first thought it was a log since the fish wasn’t moving. He told how “what ensued was a 30-minute fight with a monster that weighed a whole lot more than a largemouth bass.”
Summer got the tail in the net and Jeremy barehanded the head. The big flathead was that big.
“We couldn't believe the 12-pound test line held,” Summer said.
One of my friends asked me “How much did the catfish weight?” I’d scanned over the story quickly and couldn’t remember, so I looked it up while we were talking and read that passage back to him.
"We didn't get a chance to weigh it,” Summer said. “But it felt a whole lot heavier than a 50 pound suitcase you take to the airport.”
It was then that I thought, and might have even said aloud: “This sounds just like an Advertiser-Gleam story!”
(Deer season ends February 10 in Alabama. Trophy fishing for bass, catfish and just about everything else is just heating up and will only get better. Or you could take a drive around our fair city on the backroads and you just might see some wonderful wildlife.)
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