Monday, October 11, 2010
By Mike Suchan ESPNOutdoors.com
Editor's note: To accompany Deer Camp 2010, we've asked athletes, prominent figures and outdoorsmen to relate their first deer kill.
Born on Halloween, William "Spook" Spann has taken the Quality Deer Management Association methods to great heights, including his own show.
The mount of Spann's 230-inch Kansas buck.
Spook became good friends with biologist Grant Woods in the 1980s at a QDMA meeting and began to practicing the methods to manipulate whitetails through habitat management. He has improved properties across America and owns deer land he works in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Kansas and Iowa.
His dedication to deer management has led him to harvest more than 50 bucks scoring over 140 inches, 25 over 160 and six over 170. His largest trophy is a 230-inch buck he arrowed on his Kansas property, which is the highest-scoring deer taken by bow ever caught on video.
His interest in other big game, like sheep, elk, grizzlies and moose, have led him to extensive travels, including taking a lion in Africa. A hunting trip to Kyrgyzstan with his father for Marco Polo sheep and subsequent helicopter crash and dramatic rescue was featured on Animal Planet's show "I Shouldn't Be Alive."
Spook, who is recognized as one of today's most successful big game bow hunters, is on the Mossy Oak Elite ProStaff and is an official spokesman for StickemArchery.com. His show on Pursuit Channel is called "Spook Nation," which airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET.
He grew up in Tennessee and relates his first hunt:
Well, like any kid, I couldn't wait until I got old enough to go deer hunting. My dad would go and I would have to sit at home.
I think finally when I was about probably 7 or 8 I talked him into letting me start hunting, but of course back in those days around the early 70s we didn't have many deer in Tennessee, so just to see one was something. So I didn't actually harvest a deer for probably a couple of years.
We got drawn on a management hunt on Cheatham Game Reserve over management area in central Tennessee in Cheatham County. My dad had scouted out a place, he put me up in the stand and he left me. He went off.
I think I was 10 or 11. I will never forget I hadn't been in the stand over maybe an hour and a half and here comes a nice 4-point strolling through the woods. I had a 30-30 with open sights. He got up there and got close enough, and I killed him.
You know I just was so proud to have finally been fortunate enough to harvest one at my age. I think at that time there was only like 60 or 70 deer being killed on the management area between 600 hunters, so for an 11-year-old to come in with a buck, you know I was pretty proud because everybody was standing around.
You come in to check them in, and they'd weigh it and get the age and all of that stuff, so you had all these older guys standing around. So for a little kid that was special.
It's become an obsession I guess you could say, a passion of just the outdoors and hunting. I love to whitetail hunt. I hunt all over North America now for whitetails and was blessed enough a couple of years ago to kill the largest whitetail ever shot on video by a bow hunter in the wild. He grossed 230 and 3/8th.
It was on the cover of Monster Bucks and actually aired on Monster Bucks TV, and I believe on ESPN's version of Monster Bucks for RealTree. So that was a blessing, and now I have my own TV show, "Spook Nation," and it's probably going to be 75 percent whitetail hunting and 25 percent other stuff like elk and mule deer and bears.
I just love to hunt, love the outdoors, and was fortunate enough to grow up doing that and hopefully get to keep doing it for a long time.