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Morgan fundraiser hunt begins

Hunters from throughout the country set out for the 11th annual Morgan Deer Hunt.

Led by a guide, the 63 hunters visited various hunting grounds in the area. The three-day hunt, which began on Friday, is also the largest fundraiser for John T. Morgan Academy.

“It allows us to keep our tuition at a reasonable price,” said Dana Stewart, one of the event coordinators.

Hunters pay $1000 per person to participate, which includes hunting once on Friday, twice on Saturday and once on Sunday, accommodations at the Ramada Inn or private hunting camps and all meals.

About 80 percent of the hunters are returning participants.

“A lot of those others know someone who has done the hunt,” Mrs. Stewart said.

The event was started to fund the building of a new gymnasium for the school.

“Once that was paid for they began to think of other projects,” Mrs. Stewart said.

The project for this year has yet to be determined by the committee, but it may be used to purchase S.M.A.R.T. boards or new locker rooms in the gym.

This year’s projected earnings will be more than $50,000.

Ross Jarrett came to the event from Mifflinburg, Penn. This is his second trip to the event.

Last year he came with his son from Baton Rogue, La.

“I came down last year and really enjoyed it,” Mr. Jarrett said. “All you have to do is shoot the deer. They’ll do everything else for you.”

Mr. Jarrett prefers to stay involved with the whole process, rather than just let the guides and staff do all the work of skinning and gutting the deer.

This year he has killed a 108-pound buck so far.

“It exercises your right to bear arms,” Mr. Jarrett said. “It’s not always the kill, it’s about being on God’s given land.”

Plus, the increase in temperature is nice too, since it was 15 degrees when he left Pennsylvania.

Jamie Thomas helped guide hunters on the 700 acres of land between Selma and Sardis that he and some of his friends have as a hunting ground. Mr. Thomas is a forester by profession, so helping to maintain this land and work with the event is more a hobby than work.

“We know where the deer are and where they’re coming to eat and where they’re not,” Mr. Thomas said.

First-time participant Trish Culbreath received the registration for the hunt as a gift.

“I love to hunt and my husband gave me this as a Christmas present,” Mrs. Culbreath said.

She came from Tryon, N.C. and killed a 72-pound spike buck, meaning the deer has two horns.

“The people here were nice and the accommodations were nice,” Mrs. Culbreath said. “I may try it again next year.”