24-year-old dies in NC mountains hunting accident

An accidental gunshot lead to the death of Ethan Hahn on Nov. 20, 2023.

Ethan Hahn, a 24-year-old hunter from Hildebran, NC died on Nov. 20, 2023 when he accidentally fired a shot from his own gun into his upper right arm. The incident took place in the mountainous region of Burke County, about 75 miles northwest of Charlotte in the Pisgah National Forest.

NCWRC and the Burke County Sheriff’s Office have ruled the death an accident and said no foul play is suspected.

Hahn was deer hunting with his dad, Mark Hahn, and apparently slipped while walking along a trail that was littered with piles of leaves. The two were walking some distance away from each other when the elder Hahn found his son on a steep hill with leaves on the ground, which seemingly created slick footing and resulted in Hahn falling and accidentally firing his CVA Scout .243.

Mark Hahn performed first aid and CPR on his son and called 911. When officials arrived, the 24-yard-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ethan was the valedictorian of East Burke High School’s class of 2017, and graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone. He was working for a software company, was deeply religious, and had recently written a devotional. He wanted to travel across the country, spreading his faith to others.


Click here to read about another Carolina hunting accident in November, which led to the death of 6-year-old Avery Davis.

Blair Wiggins kills 13-point Richmond County brute

Blair Wiggins killed a unique 13-point brute in Richmond County, NC on Nov. 19, 2023.

Blair Wiggins killed a Richmond County, NC brute of a buck on Nov. 19, 2023 during a quick afternoon hunt. The deer had a unique 13-point rack, and her taxidermist estimated the buck at about 5 1/2-years-old.

“I shot this buck exactly 1 year to the day that I shot my first nice buck, and 8-pointer,” said Wiggins. “I’m still in shock myself.”

And she completed this hunt the old-fashioned way.

“Good ol’ Mother Nature brought him to me! No corn, no call, just him and me,” she said.

The deer was already in the field when Wiggins made it to her stand.

“I got lucky. He was in the field as I was climbing in my stand around 4 p.m. I really couldn’t do too much but keep climbing and get situated to get him in my scope,” she said. “By that time, he had walked across back into the woods.”

But it wasn’t long before the buck made another appearance.

“Around 4:30, he just happened to pop back out from the side of the woods about 60 yards in front of my stand just walking the wood line towards me,” she said.

She didn’t want to shoot the buck straight on, so she waited a few seconds, realizing that time was crucial.

“He acted like he was about to walk back into the woods, and I made a sound so he would stop. He turned his body and looked towards me, so I fired. He ran about 50 yards or so into the woods and dropped,” she said. “It’s one of the quickest deer hunts I’ve ever had to get this big boy!”

Wiggins has only been hunting for 3 years, and said she appreciates this hunt, and this buck.

“I feel so blessed to have harvested this deer in my third year of deer hunting!” she said.

NC youth hunter downs 8-point buck

Nine-year-old Selby “Eugene” Bass IV was hunting near his family’s farm in Black Creek, NC with his dad on Nov. 3, 2023 when the young hunter killed an 8-point buck.

Bass was hunting from a tripod stand, and allowed another deer to pass as he patiently waited on this Wilson County deer. He shot the buck with a Savage 6.5 Creedmoor.

Dawson Evans kills big 7-point NC buck

Dawson Evans killed a nice 7-point, wide-racked buck on Nov. 5, 2023 in Franklin County, NC. It was a buck he had been watching for some time. And the hunt was over in just a matter of minutes.

“God aligned the stars yesterday evening. At 2:15 p.m., I sat down in the stand. At 2:19, I took the shot,” said Evans.

But his pursuit of this deer lasted much longer than that day’s hunt.

“We have been watching him since early September,” he said.

Evans was so familiar with the buck that he even had a nickname for the animal. He called the deer “Empire.”

And while many hunters may not consider a 7-pointer anything to get excited about, this one was special.

“Empire was a big-rack 7-pointer, around 20 inches wide,” he said. “He was top 3 on the hit list.”

The deer started off playing hide-and-seek from Evans.

“He stepped out in broad daylight. Then he stepped behind a tree and laid down around 40 yards. I grunted a few times, and he got back up and started walking. Once I stopped him, it was game over,” he said.

It’s the biggest buck Evans has killed so far, and he said it’s a hunt he’ll never forget.

“The best deer hunt of my lifetime. Beyond blessed to take the biggest buck of my life so far,” he said.

Click here to follow along on more of Dawson Evans’ outdoor pursuits.

NC hunter’s first buck is a Nash County doozy

Youth hunter Eli Tucker killed his first ever buck on Nov. 2, 2023 in Nash County, NC, and it was a doozy. The buck had a wide rack, with thick antlers.

The young hunter’s dad summed up the feeling of seeing his son harvest such a fine animal.

“Words can’t explain how proud I am. Eli has hunted hard since the beginning of the season. This buck finally daylighted on Halloween, so we knew we had to get on him quick. Eli made a great shot, and he expired at 60 yards. Congrats son! That’s a great first buck!” said Travis Tucker.

NC hunter kills Moore County monster

Hunting in Moore County, NC on Nov. 11, 2023, Dalton Wilson of Cameron killed a monster buck. The deer had a wide rack with heavy mass, and Wilson said killing it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Here’s Wilson’s story of the hunt from his Facebook post:

“First and foremost, I wanna give all the glory to the man upstairs, and there’s two special woman that gained their angel wings this year that are close to my heart, and I’m for sure they had a hand on each shoulder this evening. A once in a lifetime moment, I will forever cherish!”

“A lot of people thought this deer would ruin friendships, but I think it actually brought us closer with everything going on today. It was truly a blessing and a day that will be in our memories forever.

A huge shout out to Dallas Marsh, Justice Ledford, Michael Greene and Barry, for all the help, means the world.

This one’s for you Hazel Nall and Patricia Strider, heavens got some beautiful angels.”

North Carolina’s elk population

Is North Carolina's elk population native to the state? Sort of… Sportsman Weekly Podcast

Elk are native to North Carolina, but there's more to the story… — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/sportsmanweeklypodcast/message
  1. Is North Carolina's elk population native to the state? Sort of…
  2. New state record fish/CWD impact on Carolina hunters
  3. Big Carolina catfish and other outdoor news
  4. Nikki Colwell's SC state record spinner shark
  5. An interview with Carolina outdoorswoman Becca Bowen

North Carolina stocking F1 bass

The NCWRC is set to stock F1 bass into three North Carolina lakes, and the private sector is invited to help.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is gearing up to stock F1 bass into three of the state’s lakes. And for the first time ever, they will accept private funds to help finance the project.

The state is going full steam ahead, stocking even if no money is donated by the private sector. But for every dollar private citizens give, the federal government will triple it. F1 bass fingerlings currently cost about 50 cents apiece to stock. So one dollar from private funds would normally result in two fish being stocked.

But thanks to the government matching these funds at a 3-to-1 ratio, one dollar raised will result in eight fish being stocked. That’s a big deal!

It’s the perfect storm, in all the right ways, for the stocking program, said Marty Stone, a former professional bass angler who teamed up with two other bass fishing gurus to form the NC F1 Bass organization, which will help educate the public and funnel private funds to the NCWRC for the stocking program.

Stone and his partners have set the organization up as a 501(c)3, so all money donated will be tax deductible. And they’ve vowed that every dollar donated will go directly to NCWRC for the F1 stocking program.

So what is an F1 bass? It is the offspring of a Florida-strain bass and a norther-strain bass. This results in a fish with the exponential growth characteristics of a Florida-strain bass, coupled with the aggressive nature and extreme weather tolerance of a northern-strain bass. It’s the perfect fish to combat the influx of Alabama spotted bass that have been illegally introduced into many of North Carolina’s waters over the years.

The three lakes that will receive the first stockings of the F1 bass are Gaston, Jordan and Norman. These three lakes have three different water-quality ratings, which will help fisheries biologists gauge how well the F1 bass perform in varying conditions.

If you’d like more information on the program, click here to visit NCF1Bass.org.

NCWRC swears in 15 new wildlife officers

Fifteen new wildlife law enforcement officers were sworn in by the NCWRC on July 20, 2022.

Fifteen new NCWRC wildlife law enforcement officers were sworn in on July 20, 2022. These officers, commonly referred to as Game Wardens, completed their initial training, and now move on to 6 months of on-the-job training with veteran wildlife officers.

Once their field training is complete, the new officers will be assigned permanent duty stations across North Carolina.

The new officers are listed here in alphabetical order by their last name, along with their hometowns:

Cooper Abernathy, Morganton

Carson Billings, Elkin

Haywood Brantley, Spring Hope

Cole Burch, Sylva

Dern Crilley, Bladenboro

Hunter Gray, Valley City, Ohio

Spencer Hamilton, Sophia

Stephan Hawrysch, Loris, S.C.

Chance Herron, Troy

Nathan Kreitman, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Devon McGuire, Boone

Joseph Pepoli, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Omar Petty, Kings Mountain

Nathaniel Schott, Pylesville, Maryland

Sam Sheppard, Indian Trail