|© Lucy J. LaFaive
Richard P. Smith is an award winning outdoor writer and photographer living in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan who has been hunting whitetail deer and black bear for almost 50 years. The author/photographer is a recognized expert on whitetail deer and black bear behavior and biology as well as hunting these popular big game animals. He has interviewed the top bear biologists in the country and accompanied them in the field on their research. Most of the books and DVDs he's produced have been about deer and black bear.
One of his more prestigious honors was receipt of the coveted Ben East Prize for 1997 from the Michigan United Conservation Clubs for conservation journalism about bear management. He also received the Outdoor Journalist of the Year Award from the Flint, Michigan Chapter of Safari Club International the same year.
Smith is a nationally recognized writer, photographer and speaker who has written 28 books and thousands of magazine articles, specializing in all types of wildlife, but especially whitetail deer and black bear. He contributes regularly to Michigan Game & Fish Magazine, Woods-N-Water News and Michigan Outdoor News. He's a field editor for Michigan Hooks & Bullets. His writing and photography appear regularly in national magazines including Deer & Deer Hunting, Buckmasters, North American Whitetail, Big Buck, Outdoor Life, Bowhunter and National Wildlife.
He's produced two DVDs. One that is an excellent reference for black bear hunters is titled Field Judging Black Bears. A 90-minute DVD titled Walking With Whitetails that Smith filmed and produced with the help of his wife, Lucy, is educational and entertaining for anyone interested in learning about whitetail deer. This popular animal's year-round behavior is featured and includes some unique clips of deer behavior that few people have been fortunate enough to see. Clips that Smith filmed over a period of nine years while walking with does and bucks up to 4½-years-old went into producing this DVD.
During the spring of 2002, Richard bagged a huge black bear in Saskatchewan with a .45 caliber Knight Super Disc Muzzleloader that is the second highest scoring black bear in national muzzleloading records maintained by the Longhunter Society. The bruin's skull officially measures 21 14/16, also qualifying for a spot in Boone and Crockett Records. He was hunting out of Lone Wolf Camp operated by Brian and Shelly MacDonald when he got the trophy bear. A full mount of the animal completed by Outdoor Ventures Taxidermy in Marquette is on display at a Cabela's Store in Hamburg, Pennsylvania that opened in 2003.
He is the second person in Michigan to collect a CBM Grand Slam. To complete such a feat, a hunter must shoot deer, bear, elk and turkey that qualify for listing in state records maintained by Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). It took Smith a lifetime of hunting in the state to achieve the goal. His slam was completed on November 3, 2000 when he bagged a turkey that qualified for CBM records.
The head mount of a snarling black bear that Smith shot with bow and arrow during 1974 plays a prominent role in the movie "Escanaba In Da Moonlight." The movie was filmed in and near Escanaba, Michigan during 2000 and began showing in Michigan theaters during February of 2001 and is now available on DVD and video. A screen-filling image of the bear head appears near the beginning of the movie as well as in a number of later scenes as it hangs on the hunting camp wall depicted in the film.
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