This week marks the beginning of a season to which many Alabamians look forward as much as football season.
Nov. 15 is the opening day for muzzle-loader deer hunting, which permits hunters to hunt with a firearm rather than strictly bow and arrow.
Hunters are limited to strictly muzzle-loader hunting during the first four days of the season, Nov. 15 through Nov. 19.
Lee County hunters can then enjoy antlered buck and unantlered deer hunting on private or leased property, starting Nov. 20 through mid- January.
For many Auburn students, hunting is a passion that starts at a young age and lasts a lifetime.
"The first time I picked up a gun to hunt was as soon as I was allowed," said Drew Young, 2010 building science graduate. "Probably when I was 10. "
Matt Sirockman, senior in business administration, said hunting is a sport he has enjoyed for as long as he can remember.
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"I've basically hunted in some form my whole life, so I'm just looking forward to another deer season," Sirockman said.
Young, an Auburn native, said hunting isn't only a hobby, but also an easy way to relax from everything.
He said he enjoyed taking friends hunting on his Loachapoka property during his college years.
"I think, more than anything, people just like getting outside and getting away from school and getting away from town and just relaxing," Young said.
"Usually when I go deer hunting, it's because I just want to be out on my property with my friends and just enjoying setting them up and letting them have a good time.
"When I was in school, I went out there during deer season probably twice a week."
Hunting on public land, such as national forests, is not permitted in Lee County until Dec. 18, so student hunters are limited to what private property they can access.
William Decelle, sophomore in horticulture, said he chooses to hunt in Loachapoka.
"My fraternity brother has a massive farm in Loachapoka just 10 minutes down the road," Decelle said, "so this season so far, that's where I've been bow hunting deer.
"The National Forest is always a good choice though--very massive public land located in prime deer and turkey country."
Auburn students who want to hunt, but don't have access to private property have alternatives--but with a cost.
Pat Dye, legendary Auburn football coach, owns and operates two hunting lodges in Auburn, Auburn Oaks and Crooked Oaks, which provide people with land, lodging and a leisurely approach to hunting.
Day deer hunts are offered for $200 per guest, which includes brunch, snacks and dinner.
"People that don't have property in places in the Southeast will come and hunt there," Young said.
"They'd rather have someone manage the property, and they just come hunt and enjoy it."
Senior Chris Riley has had the pleasure of enjoying hunting in true Auburn spirit with Dye.
"Every now and then growing up my dad, and I would come to Auburn and hunt with Pat Dye on his farm here," Riley said. "It's definitely pretty cool to be able to say I've done that. Plus, it's a beautiful place."
For avid deer hunters, the price is well worth it.
"As ridiculous as it may sound, hunting is kind of therapeutic," Riley said. "Being alone and quiet and in nature is definitely a nice escape even aside from the actual hunting."
Decelle said he agrees hunting is relaxing.
"Hunting as a whole is a great way to just get away from everything and relax, especially when you're having a rough week or something," Decelle said. "It's a great way to take a step back and assess everything going on with school or anything stressing you out.
"It's also, in my opinion, the most self-satisfying thing you can do. Very, very self-rewarding--when you are successful, that is."
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