7 Hunters I Wish Were Still Alive

The older I get the more I appreciate the people that influenced my life as a hunter. There are those that personally invested in my life as a growing hunter, as well as other legendary hunters that I knew only through stories shared and tales told. They were the hunters  that stoked a fire within me to chase wild game in wild places and pursue a career in the hunting industry. I easily recall many of the books, magazines and videos that I read and watched as a child that paved the path for my hunting career. While many of these hunters are still alive, there are some that have gone on to meet their maker. Here’s a look at 7 hunters I wish were still alive…

Fred Bear

No list of legendary hunters from days gone by would be complete without Fred Bear. Bear was born March 5, 1902 in Waynesboro, PA. Despite not starting his bowhunting career until the age of 29, Bear made up for lost time and quickly became regarded as a pioneer in the bowhunting community. He traveled the world in search of bowhunting adventure and was among the first to capture his hunting adventures on film. He was the founder of Bear Archery, a company that still exists today. I remember joining the Fred Bear Sports Club when I was 10 years old.  I thought it was a pretty big deal. Sadly, Fred Bear suffered complications from several heart attacks and died  on April 27, 1988 in Gainesville, Florida. Bear’s stories and legacy continue to inspire countless hunters to bowhunting adventure each year.

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Fred Bear just might be the most legendary hunter of all time.

Howard Hill

Howard Hill was an expert bowman that thrilled spectators both on and off screen for decades. He was often referred to as, “The World’s Greatest Archer.” He was born November 13, 1899 in Wilsonville, Alabama. Hill was known for his incredibly difficult trick shots. He was often found shooting an apple off of someone’s head at a variety of distances, splitting arrows and many other demonstrations of his shooting accuracy. He produced a number of films and documentaries that showcased his shooting skills. Beyond Hill’s great ability at trick shooting and hitting stationary targets, he demonstrated amazing skills as a hunter. He was among the first to tote a camera to the field in an effort to capture his hunts on film. Films such as, Howard Hill vs. Lion and Howard Hill vs. Elephant are legendary short films that brought his audience along on the hunt. His accomplishments quickly brought a reputation of being labeled as one of the greatest hunters of all time. Hill died in February of 1975 at the age of 75. 

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Howard Hill was easily one of the greatest archers of all time.

Ben Lee

Ben Lee was a big man with an even bigger personality. His southern voice set the tone for the hunting stories told both on and off camera. It’s been said that he was the first to bring turkey mouth calls to the market back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

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Ben Lee

At the time, he was using lead frames for the mouth calls, a practice that has obviously gone away for health reasons. He was a champion turkey caller having won the world championship in 1969, ’70, ’73, ’74, and ’77, and a long list of other state and regional championships. But one of the things that moved me the most in my early days as a hunter was an old deer hunting film I found on VHS tape. It was of Ben Lee hunting the whitetail rut in Alabama. I remember being on the edge of my seat as I watched that old video and saw Lee encountering deer in bow range. One hunt in particular drew me to bowhunting like nothing else had at the time. Lee was hunting on the ground when a nice buck came in to his setup and he stuck an arrow in the buck’s chest. It was the deadliest shot I’d ever seen at the time. I knew at that moment I was going to be a bowhunter. In an ironic twist of fate, Lee was killed in a car crash in October of 1991 in the same exact spot in the road his daughter had been killed two years prior, to the day. Lee’s humor and passion for the hunt have been greatly missed.

Bob Dixon

I first met Bob Dixon at a church wild game dinner event in west Tennessee. Bob and Troy Ruiz were the guest speakers for the event. Bob was a V.P. at Mossy Oak. Bob was battling cancer at the time and shared how his life had been changed physically and spiritually through the ugly disease. I had the chance to spend some time with Bob following the event and shared about our efforts to use hunting and the outdoors to impact the lives of young people. He was an incredible encouragement to the work we were doing. Despite growing weaker and weaker, Bob invited me to his home in West Point, MS to spend some time in his final days. We sat in his living room and prayed together, laughed, and shed a few tears. Bob’s encouragement and inspiration pushed me to follow in his footsteps and speak to hunters and outdoorsmen through wild game dinner events and outdoor expos, a ministry I continue across the country to this day. Bob passed away April 11, 2003. He is greatly missed.

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Bob Dixon was truly one of the good guys in the hunting industry.

Wade Bourne

I had the chance to meet Wade Bourne when he hosted a field day for one of our TN Hunter Education classes on his farm some 15+ years ago. He had a voice that was built for radio and a way with words that would captivate any audience through TV, books, magazines and stories shared. I had the chance to spend some time in his office as he shared about his life as an outdoor writer and communicator. The experience moved me to pursue the same. I remember wanting to do what Wade Bourne was doing with his life. He was an encouragement and inspiration to pursue a career in the outdoor media world. His passion for hunting was contagious. I never tired of hearing his stories of chasing turkeys, ducks and deer. He was a good and godly man. Sadly, Bourne passed on December 15th, 2016, at the age of 69, in Clarksville, TN.

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Wade Bourne was a busy man, but always took the time to encourage and mentor others.

Charles Alsheimer

No photographer captured images of whitetail deer quite like Charles Alsheimer. He was a legend in the game. His images had somewhat of a signature quality about them. You seemed to know when you were looking at a photo produced by Charles Alsheimer. Alsheimer’s photos could be found just about anywhere you look when it came to print media. His photos adorned countless magazines covers and books throughout the industry. He was seminar speaker with insight and wisdom that kept the audience’s attention like nobody else. With great anticipation, we’d look forward to Alsheimer’s rut forecast for the upcoming fall hunting season. Hunters from across the country took what Alsheimer had to say about the whitetail rut as the gospel. Mr. Charles struggled with health concerns for a number of years before passing on December 30, 2017, at the age of 70. The hunting industry lost a giant when Charles Alsheimer finished his time here on earth.

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Alsheimer was a living legend among the deer hunting world.

Dwight Schuh

Most of us knew Dwight Schuh as the editor of Bowhunter Magazine, a role in which he served from 1996 to May of 2011. I attribute much of my desire to go west in search of big game to the writings of Schuh. My first elk hunt in Idaho was to begin the day of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.  In the days leading up to this hunt I had been reading an article by Schuh on persistence and how he hunted for elk day after day by himself in the backcountry of Idaho. The story encouraged me and a friend to make the 30+ hour drive across the country to chase bulls when we realized there was no chance of getting a flight following that dreadful day in New York City. Schuh’s stories encouraged me to ultimately write my own story and pursue a career as an outdoor writer. Schuh’s stories had a way of moving you to action. You could always count on Schuh’s content to entertain, educate and equip you as a bowhunter. Following a long fight with multiple myeloma, Dwight Schuh peacefully passed on February 5, 2019.

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Dwight Schuh was an inspiration to many.

The hunters mentioned above left their mark on the world in a big way. They moved and motivated hunters across the world to action. The world is a better place because of the time they spent here. I look forward to seeing them on the other side.

We want to hear from you. Who are your favorite hunters that are no longer with us? Comment below and let us know who you miss.

 

 

Brodie Swisher

Brodie Swisher

Editorial Manager at Bowhunting.com
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
Brodie Swisher

Comments

  1. John Torchick says:

    Brodie, thanks for sharing these icons of archery and bowhunting. When convenient, send a detailed PM about your ministry. I’m involved on one in a local church in Cleveland.

    Reply
  2. Paul gailey says:

    Ishi should be included. He literally made archery viable.

    Reply
  3. Jason Holliday says:

    When I was kid, my dad bought a video called Hunting the Rut with Ben Lee and Don Bell. It was to promote their tarsal gland and grunt call. The call and tarsal gland actually came with the video. I watched it every day before and after school. Ben was my hero. That was actually filmed in Michigan. Even the hunt where he shot the buck in the chest! That blew my mind too. I cried when I heard Ben died. I was maybe 14 or 15 at the time. I’m 42 now and still watch that video, every October to kick off bow season.

    Reply
    • Brodie Swisher Brodie Swisher says:

      Jason, I just turned 42 last week. We’re in the same boat! That’s the video I was referring to. I think I had a dubbed copy of it we found somewhere. Sure was some good stuff.

      Reply
    • Jacob Lee Duin says:

      love your persistance! God bless!

      Reply
  4. Kevin Mulder says:

    For me, Todd Pringnitz was influential. I watched his DVDs and webshow with my daughter and we loved his passion for bowhunting. I loved that Todd was an every day guy with limited resources who worked very hard to pattern and shoot the biggest Iowa bucks. I still can’t believe he is gone.

    Reply
  5. Steve Ashley says:

    This list is woefully incomplete without Jim Dougherty

    Reply
  6. ishootastan says:

    That’s really amazing post, all the great iconic personalities, legendary hunters with great stories.
    Thanks for the post.
    https://www.ishootastan.com

    Reply
  7. Paul Roush says:

    I have met all of the great Bowhunters of my time except one. These men are True pioneers of Archery and Bowhunting. The one great man I never got to meet was Fred Bear, I was stationed overseas when he passed away and it wasn’t until my enlistment was up that I had gotten so involved in the Archery World. If there was one man I could of meet it would have been him. Bro you are a close second. Miss the days of hanging out and talking about Bowhunting, working on bows and the Bowhunters BBQ at my house.

    Reply

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