I guess I was born with the desire to hunt and have always loved spending time
outdoors.  I recall sitting by the window at my grandmother's house on
Thanksgiving Day waiting for my grandfather and uncles to return home from the
hunt to see what they harvested. When I was 12 we moved to Tioga County
Pennsylvania and my fascination quickly became an obsession, as rural PA
offered excellent hunting and fishing opportunities.  I spent most of the fall
trapping and coon hunting and also hunted deer and turkey.   

When I finally realized that hunting and trapping was not going to pay the bills, I
relocated to the Virginia and Maryland area to find work.  After moving into
suburbia and deciding there was no opportunity for trapping or coon hunting, I
took up bowhunting deer and spent my springs trout fishing and hunting turkey.  
I soon became obsessed with studying deer and their habits and constantly
wanted to learn more.  Luckily I joined a group of hunters who understood the
Quality Deer Management philosophy and I started harvesting ten does for every
buck that I shot and soon wanted to harvest only older mature bucks.  I enjoyed
that for a while until I came across an eight-point buck that I called the
“Professor.”  I hunted the “Professor” for three years, found several of his sheds
and was determined to harvest him the year he turned 6-1/2.  As it turned out my
persistence and planning finally paid off and I got him within bow range on a
cold November day.  When he stepped out I felt a great sense of
accomplishment, however he had broken off half of his main beam, so I decided
to let him walk.  I found him dead later that spring while shed hunting, this just
fueled my fire to find the next mature buck to pursue.  Ever since that year I have
tried to target a specific mature buck or two that is at least 5 1/2 years old and
spend most of the season pursuing those deer.

I enjoy the entire process of the CHASE!  The preparation, including the shed
hunting, running trail cameras, hanging stands and sitting all season in a stand
waiting for that single opportunity, never gets old.  

However the part I have enjoyed the most is sharing the stories with the great
friends that I have made along the way.   Although my trophy wall might not be as
impressive as some I can promise you that few have enjoyed the CHASE as
much as I have!

Last but not least none of this would be possible without an understanding wife
and daughter who allow me the time to pursue my passion!   

Gary Kephart
Bitmore Outdoors Crew