Westby's Casper wins 2018 Wisconsin DNR Ethical Hunter Award

BARNEVELD – Fred Casper, (pictured) from Westby WI, was presented the 2018 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Ethical Hunter Award by WDNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller, and Customer Sales Specialist Ryan Muckenhirn, of Vortex Optics, in Barneveld.
The award was presented Thursday, May 16, at the Vortex Optics Headquarters. Vortex Optics, a worldwide company, has been a corporate sponsor of the award the past three years, gifting the Wisconsin’s ethical hunter an item from their line of rifle scopes, binoculars and range finders.
Casper undertook several ethical acts by seeing that a large-antlered buck shot at by a hunter near land Casper leases for deer hunting in Vernon County, eventually ended up with the hunter.
Casper’s son, David Casper, who nominated his father, said, “My dad could have easily said, ‘Yes, that’s my buck’, but that’s not the type of person Fred Casper is.”
In addition to not claiming, when offered, the buck’s skull and antlers,  Fred Casper eventually found out who had shot (archery) at the buck but was unable to find it, and then helped to persuade the landowner to legally give the deer parts to that hunter.
While the archer shot, but did not bring down the 8-point buck because he lost the blood trail, it wasn’t until a week later that a neighbor found the buck dead in a small stream on his land leased by the Caspers for hunting. The body was decomposing and had been partially consumed by scavengers. The skull and the antlers, still attached, were in good condition. Both brow tines have unique bends and tips making the deer easily recognizable by several area hunters, including Fred Casper.
When the landowner on whose land the buck was found asked Fred Casper if he or anyone in his party had shot the buck, Casper honestly said, "No," knowing the deer’s unique tine character.
Fred Casper fits the selection committee’s criteria of someone doing something for another hunter, a resource, or another individual. There is no monetary gain to the ethical hunter, only a good feeling of having made the right choice, the ethical choice.
“Even though I do not know Fred Casper personally, I certainly applaud his ethical decisions by not claiming the buck for himself and helping to make sure the antlers were given to the hunter who shot it,” said Bob Lamb, one of four selection committee members.
Chief warden Todd Schaller said, “Mr. Casper's actions demonstrate an ethical belief beyond his own experience, and how he could help another hunter."
Steve Dewald, retired DNR warden said, “While some hunters view the hunt as a competition for the largest trophy, ethical hunters remember that we all have a responsibility to hunt in a manner that reflects positively on the tradition of hunting. Taking the time to help another hunter recover a large buck was a generous act that will likely be remembered by these hunters for the rest of their lives.”
The DNR Ethical Hunter award was created in 1997, by Lamb, Dewald and Jerry Davis, all of whom remain selection committee members along with Chief Warden Schaller.
Learn more about the nomination process and the award by contacting any committee member or Wisconsin conservation warden.
Any Wisconsin hunter, of any age, and participating directly or indirectly hunting any game species, is eligible to be nominated by another individual.
Nominations for the 2019 award are due Jan. 15, 2020, and can be sent to Warden Schaller, any committee member, or any Wisconsin DNR field warden.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112