My Friend Charlie: 1947-2017

I knew Charlie Alsheimer before I’d ever met him. I was a deer hunter and Charlie spoke my language because he knew me, too. We became acquainted through the magazines I read each month—he wrote about deer and deer hunting and I couldn’t get enough of him. You just knew Charlie was a real deal kind of guy, the sort you would share a campfire with, somebody you would hunt with (more than once), and somebody you should listen to when he had something to say. After all, over his 38-year career, Charlie’s deer photos appeared on hundreds of magazine covers—I once stood at a newsstand and counted seven in the same month—and in books and articles everywhere. That he helped make the whitetail rut and rut timing a constant focus of whitetail hunters in deer camps around the country, was but one of his gifts to the outdoor community. Outdoor Life was one of the first magazines to publish such an image in the mid-90s. He created photos of deer eating turnips, deer munching on apples, deer making scrapes, big bucks fighting, and much more. He spent day after day watching whitetails. “Several years ago, I asked him to tour the woods of my hunting club to assess the deer habitat.
Charlie Alshiemer
Charlie Alsheimer with a buck in upstate New York.

I knew Charlie Alsheimer before I’d ever met him. Though we’d never shaken hands or nodded hello, I thought of him as a friend and kindred spirit. I was a deer hunter and Charlie spoke my language because he knew me, too. We became acquainted through the magazines I read each month—he wrote about deer and deer hunting and I couldn’t get enough of him. You just knew Charlie was a real deal kind of guy, the sort you would share a campfire with, somebody you would hunt with (more than once), and somebody you should listen to when he had something to say. Above all else, Charlie was my friend. When I learned of his death a few days after Christmas, it shook me to the core. I went back to listen to his unreturned phone message from a few days earlier. Heck, I’d get back to him in a day or so—no different than any other week. It was too late.

Mention Charlie Alsheimer’s name to a deer hunter and you’re likely to hear a sanitized resume-style list of accomplishments. After all, over his 38-year career, Charlie’s deer photos appeared on hundreds of magazine covers—I once stood at a newsstand and counted seven in the same month—and in books and articles everywhere. He also published thousands of articles, authored 7 popular books, served as a host for a national television show, and was a much sought after seminar speaker.

All that, though, provides precious little insight into my friend, Charlie. That he helped make the whitetail rut and rut timing a constant focus of whitetail hunters in deer camps around the country, was but one of his gifts to the outdoor community. While deer biologists…

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