A Danville man has been instrumental in creating a North American hunting tournament for whitetails.
Edward Jay Rothermel is the founder of NasHunt.com, which stands for North American Sportsmen Hunting United Nationally Together. He said his organization's tournament is the first of its kind because it benefits charities and hunters.
All hunters - men, women and youth - can register online in any state, as long as they have a valid hunting license. They must register by Sept. 15.
"They can hunt anywhere in the state (where they hold the license) as they normally would, during hunting season," Rothermel said.
There are no fences or enclosed areas, just wild, free whitetails. However, some states are excluded from the contest - Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
As the first of its type, the tournament's online design enable thousands, if not millions, of hunters to participate at the same time throughout North America, Rothermel said.
Registration fees start at $25. A portion of the fees collected - about 10 percent - will be sent to charities such as the Wounded Warriors Project, Catch-A-Dream and Hunt-of-a-Lifetime.
Rothermel is an avid outdoor sportsmen but has worked with children's hospitals in the past. He decided the contest would be a perfect way for him to do something to improve the lives of others.
"If you would visit a hospital with children of threatening illnesses, this would never be a question," he said.
Once a state reaches 12,000 registered hunters, 100 percent of each additional registration fee from that state will be donated to charity.
"To meet this goal, businesses are needed to contribute by advertising or sponsoring on the NasHunts website (to) provide funding for the tournament," Rothermel said.
Cash and trophies
Individual tournaments have been set up for hunters in 43 states, including Pennsylvania. Cash and trophies will be doled out to the winners. A youth state tournament and a national outfitters tournament also are offered. Details and fees are explained on the website.
"Once they legally harvest an antlered whitetail during the state's hunting season, they will need to fill out the NasHunt's tournament scorecards and submit a picture of themselves and the whitetail to be posted on the website," Rothermel said.
Scoring involves four categories - weapon used, month of harvest, buck maturity and gross antler score.
"The highest combined score wins," Rothermel said.
The tournament has its own scoring method for antlers by using a gross score.
"To encourage deer management, one antler will need to have at least four measurable points to one side. Scores need to be submitted within 90 hours of harvesting the whitetail. Hunters can register in more than one state," he said.
All behind the idea
Rothermel has a lot on his outdoor resume. He has:
42 years of experience in hunting whitetails in two states;
Been a member of several hunting cabins;
Owned his own archery shop for many years;
Hosted state 3-D and champion archery shoots; and
Traveled throughout North America while competing nationally in 3-D archery shoots.
He said he enjoys the camaraderie and sportsmanship he has shared with others.
It also encourages families to hunt together.
"My passion (is) for whitetail hunting and to allow the average hunter like myself the chance to participate with other hunters," he said. "The camaraderie it will produce between all hunters (will) encourage outdoor family participation while improving lives."
Rothermel and his family cannot enter the tournament.
Nevertheless, entering the tournament can do a lot for the average hunter. It can help them find new hunting companions and a way to view harvests from their area. It even can be a tool the state Game Commission can use for compiling statistics for deer management, he said.
"I feel many hunters may be hunting by themselves or never had the chance to belong to a hunting cabin. This will be an avenue or provide a cabin atmosphere online (and) encourage youth and family participation," he said.
Rules, regulations and forms are available on the website.
Rothermel said that each state tournament will have its own page for hunters to view standings and harvest pictures throughout the season.
"It is illegal to falsify a state hunting deer tag, and the licensed number and the hunter's signature is required for each scorecard," he said.
Rothermel reserves the right to issue a polygraph test to any winners in order to "assure the integrity of the tournament's future."
Similar polygraphs are used in fishing tournaments.
"NasHunt will take all tournament submissions seriously and do its best to terminate any hunter who tries to cheat," Rothermel said.
"Our goal for the first year is 500 hunters per state. Our total donation to charity would be $53,750 and hunters' cash prizes per state (would be) $6,250. Keep in mind there are 12 million licensed hunters in North America and charity donations could be significant," Rothermel said.
The tournaments starts Sept. 15 and concludes Jan. 31 for archery and gun seasons.