Spear Chunking in Alabama
The Spear Hunting Museum, which opened quietly in December 2006, is as much about its founder as it is about spear hunting. The founder is Gene Morris, who proudly calls himself "The Greatest Living Spear Hunter in the World." He drives a Chevy Blazer that he purchased, according to the museum's curator, Sharon Henson, because it was the only car with a blank tailgate on which he could have painted, "The Greatest Living Spear Hunter in the World." Morris's other nickname is "Spear Chunker," which is written on his hats, on the labels that are affixed to his camos, and on the license plate on the front of his car.
Morris, a retired Air Force colonel, has killed close to 400 animals using only spears. "I stopped hunting with guns in 1968," he told us, "basically because it had just gotten too easy." Morris went from guns to bow hunting, to hunting with two-handed spears, to hunting with one spear in each hand, killing two animals at once. He's accomplished that feat 17 times thus far.
The Museum showcases many of the animals that Morris has killed with spears, including an African lioness, an American bison, and a menagerie of alligators, cougars, and deer. Also on display are African spears that Morris has collected on his hunting trips, and two bent spears that Morris was holding when he fell 21 feet out of a tree into a pack of wild boar. (Morris does most of his spear hunting from trees.)
Morris, who is 73, sometimes gives spear chunking demonstrations on Saturday afternoons in the Museum's back yard. His years of practical experience have led him to design his own spear, which he sells in the Museum gift shop. "It's a 4-sided blade, two feet long," he told us. "It's a massive, unreal killing machine."
We asked Morris why he felt that there was a need for a spear hunting museum, or for spear hunting in general. He told us that he believes that hunting is under attack from special interest groups and from "bleeding hearts that think that hunters are just out to satisfy a kill instinct." Spear hunting, according to Morris, "is an expansion of hunting. They're out to stop all hunting, and I'm out to expand it."
To that end, Morris is often away on spear hunting trips, and visitors should call first to see if the Spear Hunting Museum is open or if Morris has hung out the "Gone Hunting" sign. He told us that he was heading back to Africa in a week or so, where he hoped to spear a male lion and, someday, an elephant. "People ask me, 'How you ever gonna get an elephant?'" he told us. "And I say, 'Well, I'm just gonna get up in a tree higher than I was when I got the Cape Buffalo.'"[08/18/2007]