Stevens Point man earns Wisconsin Ethical Hunter Award

Mark Moersch, Jr., (pictured) of Stevens Point, was selected as the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Ethical Hunter, an annual award first presented in 1997.
Midway through the 2021 gun deer season, Mark, his father, Mark, Sr., and Will Lauer, Mark Jr. partner’s brother, hunted from deer stands the entire day. Lauer killed a deer late in the afternoon and the excitement grew that others in the hunting party might see deer as evening approached, too, according to Mark Jr.
As Mark Sr. and Will field-dressed Lauer’s deer and loaded it into Lauer’s truck, Will received a text from a friend hunting on private land near where the Moersch’s hunting party had spent the day in Waupaca County.
“Will said a friend of his sent a text saying he had hit a deer and asked if anyone in our hunting party would be willing to help him track the deer,” Mark Jr. said.
Mark Jr., was quick to reply.
“Sure, why not?” was Mark’s answer. “It was just second nature to help a fellow hunter if they needed an assist.”
Mark’s father and Will went along leaving Mark Jr. to call the shots because he’s an accomplished tracker in situations like this. However, as it turned out, finding clues wasn’t easy. No one had a bright enough flashlight to help locate blood spots and seeing in a dark, thick forest was difficult. In addition, the location where the deer had been wounded was about a mile off the road.
“Another pair of eyes is always helpful,” Mark Jr. added. “Even with the poor lights, lack of snow, and thick woods, I had no regrets offering and helping out.”
After more than two hours of searching, no strong blood trail was found and everyone agreed to call off the search that night.
“I agreed to come back the next morning, under better light conditions and begin again, but Will’s friend did not call back and I don’t know if they found anything or not,” Mark Jr. said. “Most likely not or they would have let us know if they had.”
“Mark Jr. had never met this hunter and didn’t know of him, either,” said Tanya Lauer, Will’s sister, and Mark’s partner. “This was not an easy undertaking, but it’s the kind of guy Mark is.  It goes to show his love for deer hunting and the deer. He’s willing to help others even if it means taking away from his hunting and relaxing time.”
In addition to the deer search, Mark Jr., 29, demonstrated another ethical act by reporting what he believed to be illegal baiting thinking the bait could amplify a lethal and contagious deer disease. Reporting the baiting may also educate a hunter of duties to follow Wisconsin hunting regulations.
Mark hesitated momentarily because there was a trail camera over the bait pile and it had taken Mark’s picture. He then realized that he could not remain silent and contacted DNR law enforcement with the GPS points and other details.
"After a long day of hunting, and to help someone he doesn't even know to try and find a deer, is another clear signal of someone who goes above and beyond to help others in time of need,” said Bob Lamb, a selection committee member.
"Mr. Moersch was quick to assist a hunter he had never met, by tracking a wounded deer for hours in the dark,” said Steve Dewald, a retired DNR warden supervisor and committee member.
The second act continues to confirm the kind of person Mark, Jr. is.
"This hunter (Mark Jr.) was between a rock and a hard place when he came upon the bait pile and trail camera. However, he made the correct and ethical decision to report the illegal activity, even realizing that it may mean his tip was likely no longer anonymous,” Lamb added.
Dewald concluded, “He is also intolerant of illegal hunting which should be the practice of every ethical hunter."
While the committee generally looks for a single ethical act during a calendar year, pointing out the second action goes a step further to again confirm Mark’s character.
“Mark is one of the most ethical hunters I have ever met,” added Tanya Lauer.
In addition to an official plaque from the DNR, the winner receives an optics gift from Vortex Optics, Inc., headquartered in Barneveld, Wis., the corporate sponsor’s line of fine scopes, binoculars and range finders.
Presentations of the award and gift items occurred at Vortex Optics in Barneveld May 21, 2022.
More information about the public nomination process and the award can be obtained by contacting any committee member, Wisconsin conservation warden, or DNR’s April Dombrowski, Hunter Ethics Committee Chairperson, Madison, Wis.
Any Wisconsin hunter, of any age, and hunter of any game species, is eligible to be nominated by another individual, regardless if the nominator is a hunter, or not.
The ethical act need not occur while the nominee is actually hunting.
Nominations for the 2022 award are due February 1, 2023.

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