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Edgerton man gains ethical hunter honor

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Kevin Murphy/Special to the Gazette
April 23, 2008
— A 60- to 70-yard shot last fall not only brought down a big doe for Dennis Carothers Sr. of Edgerton but also the Department of Natural Resources Ethical Hunter Award.

Carothers was hunting in southeast Dane County the day after Thanksgiving when he saw three whitetail deer on a neighbor’s land. Fifteen minutes later, he heard a shot. Awhile later, he saw three deer appear back on the land he was hunting. Carothers noticed one of the deer was limping and a brought it down with a round from his 12 gauge.


“I waited a while for someone coming up the blood trail, because we have an agreement that we can track deer we shoot onto the neighbor’s land and they can do it on the land we hunt,” Carothers said.


Several minutes later, Carothers tagged the doe and was about to field dress it when Mike Wolff of Janesville and his son, Haydn, came along. Wolff asked Carothers where the deer had been shot, and Carothers said he turned over the animal to see it had been hit with a “killing shot, but it just was able to keep going.”


Carothers learned that Haydn was on his first hunt and had fired first at the doe.


“I just said the deer was his. It was a great experience seeing that father and son out on their first hunt,” Carothers said.


Mike Wolff said Carothers then cut his tag off the deer, which made Haydn “ecstatic.”


“… From a sportsman’s point of view, it was a very honorable thing that Dennis did and a good lesson for Haydn,” Wolff said.


The incident rekindled fond memories for Carothers who was 13 when he began hunting with his father. He now regularly hunts with his son, Dennis Jr., 30.


“Some people may think hunting is just about the shooting but it isn’t for me. It’s the relationships and time you get to spend doing something with people who you like having around,” said Carothers, a unit manager at Kuhn Manufacturing in Brodhead.


After giving Haydn the doe, Carothers didn’t get another deer last gun season, but he didn’t mind as Dennis Jr. took one by bow and another by gun last year.


Carothers’ unselfish act represents what the DNR wants to spotlight with the Ethical Hunter Award now in its 11th year, said Conservation Warden Steven Dewald of La Crosse.


“The theme of the award is hunters engaging in activities that reflect positively on the tradition of hunting,” Dewald said. “Rather than pursuing personal gain, Dennis set a positive example of helping out another hunter rather than thinking of himself.”


Dewald will present Carothers with a plaque at today’s DNR board meeting.


Asked what he’ll say when presented with the award, Carothers wants to thank the DNR and landowners he knows for the many hunting opportunities they have provided.


“Hunting is a privilege not a right but it’s only worthwhile if you have the place to hunt, and I appreciate everyone who allows me and my family the places to enjoy it in,” he said.



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