The most respected and insightful deer-hunting writer of our time passed this week in his hometown of Ingram, Texas. Mr. John Wootters was 84.
John traveled the world and wrote about guns and hunting for many publications, but most notable was his "Buck Sense" column in Petersen's Hunting. I read that column religiously in the 1980s. John had a way of pointing out little habits and behaviors of mature bucks like no other, based on his many years of personal observation of deer in the field. For example, he was the first hunter I remember to write about the moon and it's correlation to the whitetail rut...and he put rattling on the map. This man knew deer. He once said:
"A mature whitetail buck is the only animal on the face of the earth I have ever found to hold my interest...and one that teaches me something new year after year. There is no creature on earth as exciting, as beautiful, or as dangerous...and none that continuously is as intellectually challenging."
In 1976, John wrote Hunting Trophy Deer, which to this day remains the Bible on whitetail hunting. Revised in 1997, the book has reportedly sold more than 100,000 copies. That is astonishing, considering that your typical hunting book, if it is a success, sells 5,000 to 10,000 copies.
While John was a legend in the deer world, what I remember most is that he was our kind of people--a warm, soft-spoken, pleasant and respectful man who made you feel good and comfortable to be in his presence. We need more men like that these days.
You can read more about John's life and career in the West Kerr Current, a local publication that John wrote for.