American Hunter Editor-in-Chief Scott Olmsted was presented Nikon's first Ian McMurchy (pictured above) Award yesterday during a ceremony at the 2010 SHOT Show. Nikon will give the award annually to a writer who follows in McMurchy's footsteps by educating readers, helping them to discover more enjoyment, develop more skill and enjoy more success in the sport that Ian cherished so much.
"This award is presented to me today," Olmsted said, "but it honors a good man who’s company we all enjoyed, who’s knowledge we all respected, someone we all miss—Ian McMurchy. I’m honored to be the first recipient. I’m honored my name is on Ian’s award. Happy days, Ian."
McMurchy, who passed away in December 2008, was known in the outdoor industry as the "Bear Killer" and was a regular contributor to American Hunter magazine. His wife, Darlene, and three children were present for the ceremony to remember their beloved husband and father.
Olmsted wrote about his friend in the April 2009 issue of American Hunter:
Ian McMurchy’s byline graced the pages of this magazine and others for years. Perhaps his best story—and no doubt his favorite—was an account we published of his hunt for an animal on his “life list” (“Brown Bears at Breakfast,” May 2005) wherein he killed a 10-foot-1-inch brownie with a single-shot Thompson/Center Encore chambered in .416 Rigby. The mount of the “Big Guy,” as Ian called his bear, is today a featured attraction in the T/C booth at trade shows. Ian passed away Dec. 19, 2008, after a courageous battle with vasculitis. He was 64.
Ian McMurchy was born Jan. 23, 1944, in Reston, Manitoba. He was a member of his high school shooting team, and skipped graduation to compete in the prestigious Bisley Matches in England (the British equivalent of Camp Perry). In 1966 he met his wife to be—the two eloped and Ian dropped out of college. In 1968 he completed a two-year course of study in renewable resources, and, after stints with fishery and forestry departments, in 1974 went to work for the Saskatchewan Department of Wildlife in Regina. There he did a little of everything—helo surveys of game, animal culling, tagging and relocation, and bear control. He liked bears. “They aren’t a problem until you make them one, eh?” he once said wryly.
That was Ian, the most soft-spoken, mostly deaf man I’ve ever known (he used no hearing protection as a young man). He retired from the Wildlife Department in 1996, not long after a photo on the cover of Petersen’s Hunting launched a second career as an outdoor photographer and writer.
The last time I saw him he was chipper—and why not, we were in Africa.
Last June he and I and others were hunting plains game and Cape buffalo when Ian admitted he wasn’t a hundred percent, that his wife had urged him not to travel. But a Cape buffalo was the other animal on his life list …
Ian was the first to bring in a buff. When we got word we hurried across the compound in the dark, flashlights in hand. There in the dim light laid the great beast. Ian beamed. His PH asked, “What do you want to do with your buffalo?”
“Oh, I want just the skull and horns,” replied the modest man.
Never one to kick a gift horse, I claimed the hide without knowing why. Now, I think I’ll have a rifle case made from the tough-as-nails leather. And every time I pull my rifle from it I’ll remember my friend.