Let’s face it. The hunt can be intoxicating. A brief glimpse or something like you have never seen can drive you to pursue the beast with such passion and desire that it can cause madness. Then, when you are able to connect it is a brief feeling of joy as you accept the accolades welcomingly from your peers and acquaintances.
But what is left afterwards? Move on to something else? Not if you are really into the sport. So you must pursue something bigger and better in order to get the same recognition as before. Take a beautiful eight pointer? Been there, done that. Next goal is for record book. Finally, a record book buck. Now something bigger. Much bigger. You have to keep your ‘fans’ interested in your pursuits.
In the last week we have had two instances of varying degrees over just this pursuit.
The ‘Hunting Syndicate’, a cable television hunting show that is aired on the Sportsman’s Channel had nine of their members and host charged with federal crimes due to the Lacey Act from hunts as far back as 2009 in the state of Alaska.
There have been many inquiries over the years, but ‘things got real’ when search warrants and interviews were issued last summer. Several charges were issued including taking game without a permit, hunting on the same day as flying in to the area, and taking game without a guide which is a requirement for a non-resident in Alaska.
However, you do not always have to break the law for the result of the intoxication of the hunt to manifest itself.
Earlier this month, Joey Thompson, a friend and fellow Pope and Young official scorer measured a ‘green’ kill by hunter Nick Davis of Elkin, NC. By ‘green’ it means the deer’s antlers have not dried the required 60 days in order to officially be measured. But the deer taken by Nick’s bow was so big, even after the drying period, the deer would become the new North Carolina state non-typical record. Green score was some 30 inches bigger than Brent Mabry’s 176 ⅞ inch non-typical monster taken back in 2005.
After Joey announced the green score, the bandwagon had begun to play Nick’s tunes. Several media outlets picked up on the story and cited Nick’s story of how he had first spotted the beast bedded in kudzu. Then, when he had his first chance to hunt it, he decided not to because he had a cold and didn’t want to cough and spook it. Finally, on the fourth encounter with the deer, Nick was able to take him from 32 yards.
With notice comes notoriety. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission decided to interview Nick as well. What they turned up in the interview was nothing short of astonishment. Nick admitted to an elaborate hoax.
Apparently the antlers came from a farm raised deer in Pennsylvania. They were then screwed onto a small buck here in North Carolina.
Nick had taken two bucks the previous year scoring over 150 inches. Could the pursuit of something bigger been the trigger to have pushed Nick to this point? Were the two from last year legitimate kills?
Ethics in hunting is not always encompassed in the print of the law. Sometimes it is just knowing right from wrong. The sport can present enough thrills without crossing those lines.