Lowndes Academy deer hunt attracts 50 hunters

Published 7:22 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Lowndes Academy held its deer hunt fundraiser Jan.19-21 for around 50 hunters who traveled from as far away as Miami, Florida and Bristol, Virginia to compete in the annual event.

Chris Brooks, who has traveled from Bristol to attend the hunt for the last nine years, heard about the event from friends and returns each year for the camaraderie of the hunt and the friendly atmosphere.

“There’s about 12 or 14 hunters who come from the Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee area every year,” Brooks said. “This was our ninth year coming. Wheeler Chance and his son-in-law are our guides. They’ve become like family to us.”

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“It’s a lot of fun. It’s an opportunity for us. The Black Belt region has a rutting phase that is different from anywhere in the country. The deer run here in January where most of the season in the rest of the country is closed by the first Saturday in January.”

Deer hunt committee member Michael Dansby said interested hunters begin arriving on Thursday to check in and enjoy a community meal. Guests enjoy catfish, chicken, and fried bologna on Friday and a steak dinner Saturday night.

“They spend Friday and Saturday hunting,” Dansby said. “[If they kill a deer] they are able to take home the meat or we can donate it to a local organization.”

The school began the hunt more than 30 years ago. Lowndes Academy Headmaster Barry Mohun said the hunt is a major fundraiser for the school, supplying much-needed funds for expenses over and above budgeted expenses.

“This is probably our biggest fundraiser for the school as a whole,” Mohun said. “We are able to use it mainly not as part of our budgeted amount but as something we can use for things we may need that aren’t included in the budget. So, it helps out greatly.”

Fundraisers like this one helps keep tuition affordable and contribute to the school’s family feel.

“We’ve tried to keep our tuition down low,” Dansby said. “That way we can make it affordable for any family. When we have events, especially this one, everybody is out there working, including the wives and children. We have people coming from all over the county to help us.”

In addition to the funding the hunt generates, Mohun said the weekend-long event fosters community.

“Landowners let [visitors] hunt and people let them use their cabins,” Mohun said. “Everyone comes together for the school. The hunters, who are not local, for the most part, realize this is for the school. During the hunt there is a real positive attitude from everyone.”

Hunters can wait as long as three years to attend the annual event, Dansby said.

“We’ve got a waiting list about three years long,” Dansby said. “Our biggest problem is having enough land and places to house everyone because there are no hotels.”

The school welcomes local landowners to provide hunting land or accommodations for visiting hunters. For more information, call (334) 278-3366.