Former city resident wins national award in big game hunt

January 20, 1997


Mail Sports Editor

NEW MARKET, Md. - When it comes to marksmanship, nationally-recognized hunter Dr. Henry (Hank) Laughlin is usually right on target.

In fact, last fall the 80-year-old former Hagerstown resident won the National Marksmanship Award following competition in the One Shot Celebrity Antelope Hunt in Lander, Wyo., and received a foot-high sterling silver cup.

"This was one of the most thrilling events in my sporting life," Dr. Laughlin said as the only Marylander to win this prestigious award.

According to the Frederick County resident, world sportsmen refer to this event as the "super bowl" of big game hunting. Dr. Laughlin has been involved in this noteworthy event for some 24 years, including six of the last seven years as a guide.


Over the years, he has captured seven other marksmanship awards in Wyoming and Colorado and holds three national plaques for trophy class caribou (Labrador) and antelope (Wyoming).

This year his hunter, Admiral Harry K. Fiske of Oakton, Va., got a near-record antelope at 225 yards. Admiral Fiske was a member of Dr. Laughlin's U.S. Navy Admiral's team in 1991.

"I was first invited by my old Navy buddy, noted psychiatrist Dr. E. James Brady. He was a member of the first Colorado team in 1965," Dr. Laughlin said.

"He lived in Colorado Springs, Colo., and was a friend of the governor. The famous event was first organized in 1940 by four western sportsmen-hunters with the governors of Colorado and Wyoming participating. The governors have served ever since as official hosts and captained teams nearly every year."

Dr. Laughlin has been back practically every year since his first involvement in 1972 and is highly regarded.

He has been an honorary deputy sheriff for 22 years under four Fremont County, Wyo. sheriffs. And he has also been an honorary sheriff here in Washington County for 10 years.

"It's a wonderful experience," he says of his involvement in the Lander shoot. "Over the years, I've captained teams and served as a guide. I have met some great people and I'm always anxious to return each fall."

After so many years of participation as a guest of Jim Brady, Dr. Laughlin finally captained his first team in 1991. His teammates that year, whom he carefully recruited, included multi-decorated Vice Admiral John David Johnson and two star Admiral Harry K. Fiske with Marine General Wayne Shisler as first alternate.

Dr. Laughlin's team won the Sink's Canyon target shoot and placed fourth in the field event.

During the competition's 51-year history, this was the first Navy team to participate and only the second to be captained by a Marylander. Gov. Marvin Mandel led a Maryland team in 1973.

"Only eight celebrity teams are accepted annually. Over the years, these have included congressmen, senators, governors, famous professional athletes, astronauts, military leaders, leading industrialists, conservationists, and movie and television stars," he continued. "Mostly everyone returns with variable frequency."

Dr. Laughlin enjoys most sports but has an especial fondness for the outdoors in general and hunting in particular.

"I've hunted all over the world," he said. "I've been to Labrador twice to hunt caribou, wolves and bear.

"I got a record caribou there 24 years ago. It had a `double shovel' type of antlers, which experts say are found in only one in 10,000.

"I guess I'm more of an expert in antelope hunting. I've served as a guide in Lander for seven of the last eight years. The town itself is comprised of about 8,000 people but we hunt in areas larger than Washington County."

Dr. Laughlin added, "The maximum numbers of hunters I guide is four while three or even two is preferable. We've never failed to have each get an antelope."

The former Washington County resident got interested in hunting at an early age.

"My dad died when I was 18 months old and my mon raised me. I was born in the stone house on Virginia Avenue across from City Park. I was raised in Antietam Square, then on Mulberry Street and King Street," he recalled.

"My mother let me get a BB rifle when I was very young and then I got a .22 when I was 14 years old. I've hunted ever since."

The son of Dr. and Mrs. J. Royer Laughlin, he attended Antietam School and graduated from Hagerstown High School in 1934.

"I have fond memories of my early years in Hagerstown," Dr. Laughlin added. "I'm especially proud of having organized and being a manager/player for the Hagerstown Cougars (semi-professional) baseball team back in 1932-35. I was the catcher. We played occcasionally at Municipal Stadium as well as other locations in Washington County and the area."

And, in addition to hunting and playing baseball, Dr. Laughlin enjoyed fishing in the area.

"The fishing was grand. I fished the Potomac River, in the Conococheague and Antietam Creeks and had a great time," he said.

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