By Dave Chevalier
This hunting season turned out to have a very special ending.
At the end of most hunting seasons you end up talking about the big buck that you got or the one that got away, something interesting you seen in the stand, or something funny that happened at camp. I personally ended up with a good season. I ended up taking my first crossbow buck which was real nice eight point at 10 yards.
But no matter how great my season ended up the most memorable part of this year has nothing to do with me at all. My fiancé’s daughter and her two girlfriends are quite the outdoor girls. The three of them started hanging out in junior high on the school equestrian team and the local 4H club. They are all now sophomores at Holly High School and have done many things together. Over the last four years together they have been camping, fishing off the dock at the lake for small bluegill’s, fishing lake Michigan for 20lb+ salmon, floating the ausable river on tubes, ridding their horses, and all taking drivers education in the same class. They have shared more experiences in four years together then most friends do in a lifetime.
One of the girls has been into bowhunting for the last couple of years. This year the other two decided that they also wanted to give it a try. The two girls purchased compound bows and spent hours practicing and even gave a 3D course a try. The early youth season started and one of the girls was able to tag a doe. Then the first season bow started and no one was able to tag a deer. Gun season was up next. The two remaining deer less girls were both able to tag a doe. Three girls three does.
That’s a 100% success rate with this being two of the girl’s first year hunting. The crazy part of it is that not one of them were afraid to jump in and start dressing out a deer which is more then I can say about a lot of guys that I hang out with. To see the energy and excitement of these three girls just being in the outdoors brings a smile to your face. This year is something that the three of them will cherish for the rest of their lives. Over the next couple of years their lives will drastically change as they go off to collage, get married, and start their adult lives. But with emails, texting, and facebook they will never loose touch and hopefully still find time together to slip away for a weekend or two each year get back in the woods and maybe even go three for three with wall hanger bucks.
By Karen Butler
Bosco Lodge is an incredible facility. The lodge is grand, the people who own and run the lodge do such a good job of making you feel like you’re home, or visiting close relatives, that I felt guilty not helping clean up after dinner. They are completely dedicated to making your experience delightful, and also to ensuring you get your big buck! I would highly recommend Bosco Lodge to anyone. To book a hunt with them visit www.boscolodgewhitetails.com. When you see their prices, remember they are inclusive, that covers your tags and license, the hunt, the lodging, some of the best food you’ve ever eaten (three meals/per day and unlimited snacks), transportation to and from your stand, and cleaning and packing up your deer.
So we arrived at Bosco Lodge on Saturday afternoon. Ammie and I were so excited, and ready to get going, but because of the filming schedule, we didn’t actually start hunting until Sunday. I spent Sunday early afternoon in a tree stand with my husband watching for the big buck. We only saw one buck off in the distance, who didn’t ever come near our stand. We weren’t shooting, since Ammie was off hunting with Dr. Steger, but soon we had a text that she got her buck! So, now it was my turn…excitement, adrenal and anticipation were running through my blood. We left out, and climbed into a stand in the late afternoon. The weather was changing a bit, so hopefully the deer would be moving more than we saw earlier in the day. Every sound was amplified, I’m should write and article called “Skunked by a Squirrel…Again”, because I thought every single squirrel running across the leaves was my big buck. But then, I hear a big splash through the creek just out of view….my heart starting pounding, and then I saw this huge buck, Dr. Steger estimated a 170 or 180 Boon and Crocket! He was beautiful, and slowly strolled into our area, but then got about 65yrds out, behind some trees, and laid down for a nap….”are you kidding me” I thought. I tried to use my call to get his attention, but apparently he was tired. This monster finally got up, about 30 to 40 minutes later, and wondered right into our area. This old guy was smart, and he stayed just outside my comfortable shooting range. (Todd reminded me later that night that choosing not to take a shot is a good shot, because boy, did I want to try and get him at 45yrds!) This old man must have seen us or heard us, because he finally stomped his foot and blew, and away he went…that’s hunting. Then a little spike buck came in…he wasn’t a shooter, but he surely wanted to be shot…he kept giving me a perfect side shot, from both directions while he ate acorns and didn’t even realize we were there! It was incredible to watch him, but that big buck who got a way still stuck in my mind.
Early Monday morning and we were out again. It was pretty dark, climbing into a different stand. This stand was a lock on, and honestly at one point I wondered if I would make it from the little climbing ladder to the stand. Thank goodness for the security of my Hunter Safety System, because the confidence I had in the product let me not fear the little platform I was on suspended from 20 feet above the ground! I finally got settled, and it was very quiet, and very dark….I nocked an arrow, but knew that as soon as it was light, I was going to pull it and re- nock it, to ensure it was right. I had this thought that as soon as the sun came up, there would be a big buck…maybe the one from the day before…but, nothing. I sat quietly in the cold…waiting, watching and listening…finally a nice buck came in. He was a beauty, and was eating acorns. I slowly stood up and prepared to shoot. Now, what you can’t see in the show is that I actually missed this deer with the first shot I took…I made a very common mistake…and it is funny, because I had told Ammie the most important thing to remember in shooting from a stand is to draw back straight out, then bend at your waist to take a shot….well, I guess I’m a better advice giver than taker, because when Dr. Steger said “there’s a shot”, buck fever took control! I drew right down on him and shot right over the back of him….I thought, well that’s it, but as luck would have it, the buck spooked, but he circled around about 40yrds, but came back! That is a great thing about archery hunting, the deer really don’t know what has happened if you miss, and if you are quiet and still, the chance are they will spook, but not run off. I had a good shot at 30yrds, I drew back, and the deer turned away. I held at full draw for a minute or two, hoping he would turn back, but he walked out of a good shot. Finally, he came about 15 yards away, quartered to me. I was determined not to make the same mistake I made earlier, and in the show it actually looks exaggerated, but it worked! It was an incredible shot, and the deer ran about 50 yards and dropped! When I looked at the blood trail, I was amazed to see all the blood. Todd made it to my deer before I did, and he was shouting, “Excellent Shot…Excellent Shot!
We got the buck loaded up on the four wheeler, and I was so proud to drive into camp with him!
Even though the lodge has people to clean your deer for you, I wanted to break in my new
custom knife that Todd had given me for my birthday – specifically for this hunt, so I started the
skinning process. The knife, by the way, worked perfectly! Now, most of my big buck is in the
freezer, and his is very tasty too! I’m having a shoulder mount done and can’t wait to hang him
on the wall of my Shoot Like A Girl office!
Special thanks to Todd Butler; Ammie and Matt Kennedy; everyone at Bosco Lodge, and especially Scott Stone and Scott Smith; Dr. Jimmy Steger and the Pursuit Channel; and Hunter Safety System for making this hunt possible!
Ammie Kennedy's story
I had the pleasure of teaming up with Karen Butler of Shoot like a Girl and her husband Todd to participate in what I call “A Hunt of a Lifetime”. Several months ago Karen and I were talking when she discovered I had never been hunting…EVER. I had just stepped into the archery scene in January of 2009. Some short months later I got a call from Karen who was very excited about a Hunting opportunity at Bosco Lodge. I purchased a hunting bow just days after my conversation with Karen and began getting ready to hopefully take my first deer.
We headed toward Monroe, Louisiana on Saturday morning. A 6 hour drive in which would feel it took an eternity. Karen and her husband Todd in one car and myself and my husband Matt in another. For 6 hours Karen and I texted back and forth about how excited we were to get there. We arrived at Bosco Lodge at 2 PM that afternoon. The lodge was exquisite, before we could even get out of our vehicles the guys at the lodge were out introducing themselves and showing us to our rooms. Once we were unpacked myself, Karen and our husbands walked into a beautiful Lodge. We got a tour of the facility and given some dos and don’ts, but all Karen and I could think about was hunting. We met Dr Steger who was there to film our hunts.
I had been waiting all day to get into a stand, but unfortunately due to filming and timing we were unable to get out in a stand until the next morning. We spent the evening in the lodge going over pictures from previous hunts, talking about the mounted bucks that were on the wall and most importantly we talked about the massive bucks out in the woods just waiting to be hunted. We were treated like family by the guys at the lodge, the hospitality, food and genuine kindness was way more than we ever expected. Dr Steger explained that early the next morning he was going to go out and sit in a stand for a few hours, after he was done he was coming back for me. That night in our room my husband and I sat up talking about “The Shot”. Matt was pumping me up and trying to prepare me for what was about to happen. You have to remember, I’ve never hunted for anything…..EVER. So needless to say I was a bit nervous but very excited. That night I tossed and turned, every time I closed my eyes all I could see was a buck standing in front of me. I think I slept a whole 2 hours when the knock at the door came at 5AM. Dr Steger was going out first to do some filming so I took my time getting ready. I paced in my room for about an hour, walked over to the lodge, sat with Karen then decided to go in and get ready. I was so nervous. I decided I hate the scent free shampoo or at the very least think someone needs to develop a hair conditioner for women.
I slipped into my She saffari camo gear and headed over to the lodge. In just a few short minutes I went from waiting to working. Filming was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But it was so much fun and I really hope I get the opportunity to do it again. After about 30 minutes of filming I was finally on my way back to the stand. Dr Steger gets situated in the stand, and then I begin my climb up. I am shaking all over, I’ve never done this before, I had just practiced in a stand a few days before so this was just my second time climbing. I finally get to the top clip my hunter safety system on waited. I felt very comfortable being the stand with the HSS on. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. My husband Matt was about 45 yards away in another stand filming. It was very important to me that he be there to see my first kill…now if something would just come along.
Every sound I heard was amplified by a thousand. A simple leaf falling from a tree sounded like big foot was trucking through. The mosquitoes were awful and big enough to eat me whole. Thank goodness for the therma-cells. Thirty minutes went by when off to my left I heard the strangest noise. The noise was a heavy grunting followed with heavy stomps to the ground below it. I turned to look when 60 yards away I see this huge buck running my way. My heart was pounding, my hands got sweaty and my legs lost all functionality. There he was, was I going get him? NO! He was in a full sprint, grunting and huffing all the way. I watched him run out of sight. It was probably a good thing he didn’t stop because I had lost all feeling in my legs. We sat in the stand for another two hours and the only thing we saw was a coyotes who never got into range but instead ran out of sight about 70 yards away. We decided to climb down and try another stand. We drove in the buggy over to the other side of the property to find another stand. When we turned the corner we saw a nice buck standing in the middle of the dirt road drinking from a water puddle. We stopped the buggy and Dr Steger asked...” You want to stalk him?” I almost didn’t know what to say and kind of studdard a bit when my husband said “of course she does”. I took off my HSS and my therma cell and made sure I had unclipped anything that was going to make it hard to walk through the woods and be quiet. At time we seen the buck he was pretty far away. Once he got a glimpse he jogged back into the woods.
So now I go from a tree stand to stalking…. Remember this is the first time I’ve ever gone hunting, and now I was expected to stalk…yeah right. We get about 60 yards in when Dr Steger says look over there. I look up and staring right as us is this beautiful buck. My heart instantly comes up into my throat. We stalked around this buck for over an hour. Every step I took I just knew he was going to bolt. But I was able to hold it together and get within range. I finally position myself behind a big tree about 20 yards away from my target. Dr Steger very lightly whispers in my ear, take the shot if you’re ready. By this time my heart is pumping so hard that I could feel every beat in my toes. I have mosquitoes all over my face just taking advantage of the fact my blood is coursing through my veins. I pull my bowtech back with my victory arrow knocked. I kept telling myself just remember your shot sequence. Be calm, pick your spot and follow through. It felt like I stood there for ever, when in just a short minute all I heard was ….THWWAACK. I nailed him, right behind the right leg, he jumped a short hop bounced off a tree and took off. I turned and looked at my husband and did a fist pump into the air. I got him. I had to sit down on a tree stump and take a minute to regain feeling in my limbs and slow down my heart. My husband texted Karen “BIG BUCK DOWN” After about 15 minutes I turn around and Karen and Todd was standing behind me. Karen had the largest smile on her face that I will always remember. We found his blood trail when I look up and see him laying there. I ran over to him and just began dancing a jig. I kneeled down next to him and put one hand on his back and one over my face. A feeling I have never felt came over me. It was spiritual in a way, like I had just taken part in something my ancestors had done hundreds of years ago, something that we as humans were built to do. I took my moment and what made it all the more special I took it with my husband Matt by my side. After many pictures we were driving back to the lodge with the buck in the back of the buggy. The guys took care of field dressing him and caping him out for me. He measured 140.5 (B&C)- Wow was he a beauty. I plan to mount him in my living room for all to see.
This experience was one I will certainly never forget. A huge thank you to Bosco Lodge and all the guys who were there. Thank you to Dr Steger and Monster Trophy Whitetails, Thank you to my husband Matt for getting me into this sport, this buck belongs to him as much as it does to me, but most of all thank you to Karen and Todd Butler for your hard work to help women excel in this sport!