Why Do I Hunt?
By Darrell “Hunting Man” Morse
If you asked me at the start of my hunting career, why do I I hunt, it might have sounded something like this: I just want to shoot something, you know, rabbits, pheasants, ducks, trees and maybe just dumb old rocks. I’m sure many of you had the same goals as I did way back then. This philosphy remained pretty much intact throughout those early years hunting in NW Ohio.
However, all that change In the fall of 1973, at the ripe old age of 19. I was invited to hunt deer in Pennsylvania. I didn’t know it at the time but this invite would become one of my most profound, life altering experiences I would ever have. All of my stars must have been aligned that day as this would become my first year at hunting camp!
In-order to protect the guilty, I will not reveal any names but to those members that have become my hunting buddies, and friends, I say thanks for a million memories. You see since that first year, and now some 38 hunting seasons later, camp has given me more than I could ever have imagined. In todays times, I have to think this ranks right up there, longevity wise, with the best of camps.
To try and describe all the laughter, stories, of which some might be true, would litterally take a couple of hundred pages and I probably wouldn’t come close to capturing 10% of all those memories. I might even be able to bankrupt Buck Fever’s article account monies.
I will tell of two hunts, however, you just have to remember that truth can be found somewhere between fact and fiction depending who is telling the story at the time. The first event came at the expense of one member who we’ll call RR. You see RR is a pretty good hunter and a 30 year Marine, so telling the truth should come naturally you would think. His story goes something like this: While doing some still hunting a nice eight point buck rose up and at a fast clip ran straight away from RR. Quickly getting his sights on the buck he felled it with one well placed shot. Getting back to camp RR went into great lengths to describe what may have been the best shot ever made on a running buck. When we arrived to help drag out RR’s buck I couldn’t help notice he was missing both back legs. When I asked RR at what speed this legless buck was running at RR just smiled. This buck became known as the wheelchair buck as he must have been vehicle hit the previous night and simply laid down to end his misery. Great shot RR!
Next event was all mine. RR and GB were both in Iraq doing some heavy hunting for the bad guys so camp that year was missing a few good men. The weather was warm that year and hunting was thin to say the least. I happened to jump a buck, in one of the many mountain laurel thickets we have and he took off high tailing it out of there. You pick up the trend here? Anyway, I took off after that buck passing him up and circling around in front of him and made a great running shot on a nice little eight point. The problem was everyone on the mountain top heard several shots that seemed to be getting further and further away. Please don’t attempt to duplicate this act as it was not a safe well thought out plan, I simply wanted to shoot something, legal of course. In fact, All seven shots were mine. I was running that buck down no matter what. I actually only had seven shells and while looking for him I sent my brother back to camp for more shells. We found that buck with three well placed shots right in the boiler room, not too bad three out of seven! You may have guessed that ole HM was a true high school track star and that buck didn’t have a chance. That was the only deer to make the buck pole that year. Pretty crazy stuff back then, you might even say pretty dumb too! What’s really important in this is I sent a great rendition story to my buddies in Iraq detailing every moment. They laughed till they cried and I think it brought them home even if just for a few minutes.
You see, that’s the stuff camps are made of, hunting buddies, sharing stories where even the innocent aren’t protected and being able to accurately re-tell the events like it was yesterday is a plus.
I would be remiss, if i didn’t include those who have left camp to hunt in higher places because without them camp wouldn’t be camp. So to Dad and Bruce I miss you, I have all my memories filed and can only hope to pass along, to those who will listen, more camp stories just as soon as I can gather the facts, just the facts!
So to answer the question, why do I hunt? I’ll let you decide after you read some more camp stories.