Alsheimer leaves lasting legacy in the whitetail world

Like so many in the deer hunting community, especially in New York, I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Charlie Alsheimer a few days before the New Year. The fact that he touched a great number of people’s lives in one way or another became more than evident in the days that followed.

Even though I had some correspondence with Charlie, I’d be lying if I said I knew him. In fact, I’m envious of those who did. Still, he had an impact on me as a hunter and as an outdoor communicator.

I began reading Charlie’s writings in both Deer & Deer Hunting and the New York Sportsman in the 1980s. I became so familiar with his photographs that I could look at his pictures and know, without looking at the photo credit, which ones were his. They had their own distinctive qualities.

I can remember Charlie sharing his deer hunting lore with readers long before the days of treestands and Quality Deer Management – something he eventually embraced. One tactic in particular was using what he called “white lightning” from cows to doctor scrapes and setting up licking branches over mock scrapes.

Then came the lunar data that resulted from years of research that not only was eye-opening, regardless of whether one believed it or not, but will no doubt be a huge part of Charlie’s legacy.

It was March of 2003 when I finally got the chance to meet Charlie. He was coming to my area to do a seminar on QDM, about which he had just published a book. After a few years of writing periodically for my hometown weekly newspaper, The Chronicle, in Glens Falls, I was just beginning what is still a weekly outdoors column in that paper and Charlie’s seminar was one of the topics in my very first segment.

He had also co-authored a book in the late 1980s called A Guide to Adirondack Deer Hunting. At the time, I had an idea for my own book on Adirondack deer hunting that would have some similarities to his effort. I was able to get to the seminar early, before the doors opened, and meet Charlie, and I remember being nervous about approaching this topic with him.

First, he told me neither he nor his co-author had any intentions of reprinting that book. When I shared my book idea he told me he could see where such a book would be useful and gave me the name of a colleague who had written a similar book in another state. It took me five years, but I eventually published Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks in 2008 and made sure I acknowledged Charlie.

My phone rang one evening a few weeks later and it was Charlie. He was planning some hiking trips in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks for photography purposes and wanted some ideas. We talked for quite some time.

I never saw him again until 2009, when he spoke at a nearby seminar. He was so busy that day I barely had time to talk with him. Regrettably, that was the last time I saw him.

We in the hunting world all know what we lost when Charlie passed away. We should be very grateful for the legacy he has left behind.

Categories: Dan Ladd

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