By Maria Schmitt
Tucumcari hunter Wayne Clark doesn’t have to talk about the one that got away.
All Clark has to do is show you the walls in his trophy room.
On the wall behind his computer is a bear skin, a large fish appoints an archway, and on another hang the heads of mule deer and a Desert Bighorn Sheep that have made the record books.
Clark, 73, was born in Chama and developed his passion as a young boy when he hunted with his dad and granddad.
“I love being outdoors,” Clark said. “Hunting and fishing was more fun than chasing girls.”
Clark, who has hunted for 60 years has been to Japan, where he got an exotic deer, and Alaska, where he hunted Dall Sheep and caribou.
But most of his hunting has been in his native New Mexico, where he has bagged Oryx, Barbary Sheep, Mule Deer, mountain lions and bear.
Fellow hunter Rudy Gonzales recalled a trip with Clark when they got a cottontail rabbit. “He did this trick where he cut a slit in the rabbit and pulled and the rabbit was gutted,” Clark said
It saves time in gutting the cottontail, Clark said. “if you cut a slit in the rabbit’s chest and pull hard on the hind legs the insides will come out.”
Clark has held two world Record Mule Deer with a score of 198 and 196 in the Boone and Crockett Record Book. He shot both in 1965.
He also has the distinction of shooting one of the largest Desert Bighorn Sheep ever shot in New Mexico and a big mountain lion two years ago.
Those trophies are on the walls of his game room. Clark’s wife, Martha, takes it all in stride. But she did say “We have a fortune up on this wall because they cost so much to mount.” An average mounting can cost anywhere from $250 to $1,150 depending on where you have them mounted, Clark said.
Wayne Clark has also passed on his love of hunting to his son, Tim. They have hunted Antelope and deer together.
Clark was able to turn his love for the outdoors into his workaday life when he was with the Soil Conservation Service. He retired from the SCS in 1990. Over the years Clark developed many friendships with landownersand many of them let him hunt on their land, Clark said.
Clark has hunted every year for the last 50 years and is getting ready to hunt again this year when deer season opens later this month.