Swhacker 100 Grain Crossbow Broadheads

10 10 2013

Swhacker-Logo-300x159

I have been using Swhacker Broadheads for the past several years. I have built up a tremendous confidence in their products, so when they came out with their new Swhacker Crossbow Broadheads it was a natural transition to start using them. The 100 grain expandable broadhead incorporates two razor sharp .032″ thick stainless steel blades that measure 1 inch in flight and 2 inches after penetration–a lethal combination for any game animal I have plans to hunt. The broadheads themselves are tough, but in the event that you bend a blade or damage them otherwise during your hunts, all replacement parts to rebuild them are available for purchase.

Spring Turkey 003

Sarah with her Gobbler taken with Tenpoint Crossbow and Swhacker Crossbow Broadheads
Photo Credit: Diane Hassinger

Sarah, my 10-year old granddaughter, used my crossbow and the Swhacker Crossbow Broadheads during the Spring Turkey Season. Sarah dropped her Gobbler on the spot with the Swhackers. This was the second gobbler with Swhackers; her first with the Swhacker Crossbow Broadheads.

Spring Turkey 017

Spring Gobbler taken with the Tenpoint Crossbow and Swhacker Crossbow Broadheads
Photo Credit: Diane Hassinger

This June, I used the Swhacker Crossbow broadheads on my Saskatchewan Black Bear hunt in combination with my Tenpoint Stealth SS Crossbow. These broadheads truly fly like a field tip. The main blades are designed to open only after the high carbon steel point and wing blades have penetrated through the hide and ribs; therefore, leaving a fresh set of blades to cut their way through the vitals for an exit would that is unbelievably large.

I was hunting in poor conditions for both bear and archery. The winds were blowing hard and rain was falling fast.  My bear crossed to within 10 yards of my treestand when I let my Swhacker fly!  The broadhead performed flawlessly!  My bolt passed right through the chest cavity and lodged in the dirt on the other side.

The 7′ black bear traveled a mere 15 yards before crashing to the ground.  Even if I had not seen the bear go down, anyone–yes, I mean anyone–could have followed the blood trail.  The blood trail looked as if you painted it with red spray paint. The exit wound was a 2″ long slice.

Bear Hunt Erins 227

7′ Saskatchewan Black Bear taken with my Tenpoint Crossbow and Swhacker Crossbow Broadheads
Photo Credit: Diane Hassinger

The Swhacker Crossbow broadheads have a MSRP of $34.99 for a set of 3 broadheads. You can find this product at most sporting goods retailers and they will soon be available on the Swhacker website at  http://www.swhacker.com/swhacker-products. In my opinion, with my experience using this product, they are well worth the money.

Swhacker Logo is the sole property of it’s rightful owner and used within this writing solely for the promotion of products herein as requested by the product’s manufacturer.

 

 

Endorsement Disclosure: Per the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, the products reviewed in these product reviews is an endorsement and the writer may have been compensated by “in-kind” payment to review the product.

 

This post was published on Ladies in Camo at http://ladiesincamo.com/licpr/2013/09/02/swhacker-100-grain-crossbow-broadheads-diane-hassinger/, and also at Bowhunting.net at http://bowhunting.net/2013/09/gear-review-swhacker-100-gr-crossbow-broadhead/





Junkyard Bear-Tails of the Hunt

10 10 2013

This post was published originally at Ladies in Camo’s website at http://ladiesincamo.com/lictoth/2013/09/09/diane-hassinger-junkyard-bear/

Every hunter has their favorite type of hunting; for me it is Black Bear hunting with my crossbow.  I have taken several trophy bear with my Tenpoint, and each hold their place of honor in my memories.  This years bear was no different, well maybe just a little.

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Junkyard and his girlfriend. You can see how bad the rope had cut through the hide. Photo: Diane Hassinger

Dale and I arrived in Deschambault Lake to tales of a huge black bear that had been spotted on cameras,with what appeared to be a rope tangled tightly around his neck.  Our Outfitter Mike Grundmann asked if one of us would be able to target that bear, since his health was declining due to the ever tightening rope.  Dale and I both agreed one of use would focus our attention on him.  Dale started out his hunt looking for him, and for 3 days Junkyard was not seen, even though his big blond girlfriend would come by every evening.  On the 4th day, Dale moved to a new stand, and I moved into the stand to wait on Junkyard.

The weather turned horrible as soon as we left the lodge that evening.  Rain was pelting us, and the trees were swaying.  Not a nice evening to be outside, and definitely not a good night for bear hunting.  Erin was filming me that night, so we got settled into the stand and tried to stay dry.  It wasn’t long before I spotted black circling the area.  I nudged Erin and asked if she could see any better.  See quickly responded “It’s him, it’s the Junkyard Bear”.  As he came closer, I could see the rope swaying as he walked, but as he turned sideways I could also see white flesh where the rope had cut through the hide.  He glanced at the bait barrel, but decided to just move on.  As he walked under my stand, I let loose my bolt, and watched as it hit it’s mark perfectly.   I got a complete pass through with my Swhacker Broadheads.  Junkyard only went 15 yards before he expired.

It didn’t take us long to determine;

1.  We couldn’t move him ourselves and

2.  We were getting soaking wet just standing there.

So we headed back to camp, and to enlist some help moving him.  Dale and Mike returned just minutes after us.  They also had taken a huge bear that night; a 7’6″ behemoth.  So with the 4 of us working together, it took no time to get Junkyard back to the camp, and get dry.

I really feel I was in that stand that night to help Junkyard out of his pain.  I regret that infection made it impossible for us to use any of the meat, but Junkyard will live on in lots of memories and stories.  And because of his big blond girlfriend, his genes will be around for generations to come!

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Junkyard with his embedded rope. I will remember this hunt always!
Photo: Diane Hassinger

 

 





My First Big Game Animal-How I got started hunting.

10 10 2013

This post originally appeared on Ladies in Camo website at http://ladiesincamo.com/lictoth/2013/05/04/diane-hassinger-my-first-big-game-animal/

Life is not fair!  Or at least that is how it seems to a twelve year old.  Add to that wanting to hunt and fish when neither of your parents enjoys either.  Add to that being a girl in 1972.

I wanted to hunt so badly, I would check out every magazine and book on hunting I could find at our local library.  Outdoor Life and Field and Stream became my educators.  I asked so many dumb questions of anyone who even vaguely knew anything about hunting.  I spent hours weekly riding the deer trails on our horses, observing the patterns of the deer.  I could ride right into a group of deer without them taking too much notice.

It seemed like divine intervention when my friend Cheryl talked her father into taking us for our Hunter Safety Certification.  We had about 30 participants in the course; 28 boys, me and Cheryl.  We took a lot of ribbing from the boys, and even a few of the fathers.  They felt we had no place in a “boys” class.  We didn’t mind, or at least didn’t let on to anyone that it bothered us.  Cheryl’s dad, having 6 daughters, was very supportive of girls being able to hunt.  His support made a huge difference in the tender sensibilities of a teenage girl.  By the end of the course, only 2 students rated a 100% on the test; me and Cheryl.  Instead of the boys being happy for us, they made sure we knew that hunting was a male sport.

I spent my teenage years fishing, hunting small game, riding horses, and high school sports.  I didn’t have the opportunity to do a big game hunt (anything bigger than a turkey) until I married Dale in 1979.  Both of us hunted to feed our growing family, and after the kids got big enough they joined with us.

My first BIG game hunt was for Elk of all things.  I had always enjoyed shooting my bow, but lacked the courage to try to hunt with it.  Finally I gave in to my need to go further with hunting and scheduled a hunt.  To say I was scared is an understatement.  I had studied shot placement till everyone was sick of listening to me question them.  I was shooting my bow hundreds of times a day to build up to a higher poundage.  I have the need to over study and research anything I am doing.  I guess that is my OCD.

Finally the day arrived and we took off on this next chapter of my life.  Dale was and still remains very supportive of me.  So I needed to do this not only for me, but to prove to him his support was not wasted.

I remember climbing into the “tree stand”, which was an old pallet nailed into a Y of a tree.  I had to watch where I placed my feet, for fear of slipping through the slats.  When I think of this now, I have to wonder “What the heck was I thinking!” No harness (no one wore them then), no pull up ropes, you toted everything up on your back, no cell phone, radio or gps (GASP!).  My tree stand was on a well-worn trail on the side of a steep embankment.  I tried to listen to every little noise, and kept glassing, looking for any sign of movement.  I did have a range finder with me, and had ranged several trees and rocks in hopes that I could use them as a range indicator.

Suddenly I hear what sounded like a stampede.  There were several cow elk and a 4X4 bull elk coming into range-fast!  I drew my bow and waited for the 4X4 to get close enough, and shot!  He turned tail and ran back down the hillside.  My guide who was a short distance away, heard the commotion, and headed over to me.  I still don’t know how I got down that rickety wood ladder; my knees were shaking something terrible.

We waited a short while, all the time my guide was asking was it a good shot.  HUH??  I think so, I don’t know, I was so nervous I couldn’t even remember.  Finally he gave up trying to get any useful information out of me, and we started after my bull.  We found him about 60 yards below my stand.  However he was still on his feet, although he was swaying back and forth.  The guide said to stick him again when I had a shot.  I told him I could shoot now.  He said “no you can’t”.  I said I could and released the arrow.  My shot was perfect!  He dropped instantly, of course rolling further down the hill.  “I can’t believe you made that shot” to which I replied “I told you I could”.

diane elk

The bad part of all this was that my elk was now at the very bottom of a very steep incline, and the truck was at the top.  By the time we had it loaded onto the truck, I was exhausted, but still exhilarated!  Later when we butchered the elk, we found that my first shot clipped the heart.  He was dying, just didn’t know it yet.  The second shot was right through the heart and 1 lung.

My 4X4 was mounted and hangs on our living room wall.  He is not a trophy to a lot of hunters, but he is a trophy in the true sense to me.  He was a big part of my confidence in my hunting abilities to be able to go on any hunt that catches my attention.

To this day I feel the pressure to prove myself capable, to prove my abilities, to compete with ghosts of my past.  Now I know I am up to the challenge!

Photo Credit:  Diane Hassinger

Excerpts from Huntingmotherearth.com in Hunter Safety Course 1972  https://huntingmotherearth.com/2012/03/15/hunter-safety-course-1972/





Victory Archery Pink Arrow Project Contest-Or “How I lost the contest, but won the battle!”

1 11 2012

In the beginning of October 2012 I entered a contest on the Victory Archery Face Book Page for the Pink Arrow Project. To enter you needed to enter an essay that described what Archery meant to you. It was a 2 part contest, with the top 5 essays going to the second round. I hate popularity contests, but this one I had to enter.  I won the first round completely with 200 votes and a lot of inspirational comments! The second round I started out strong, being over 100 votes ahead of any of the competition. In the last couple of days I fell behind, but only in votes! There are so many people that took time to vote and comment, that I feel blessed. The contest has a few hours left, and I have 322 votes, I am still trailing, but I do not feel like I am losing at all!!  I realize I have lost the contest, but no one can ever convince me that I am anything other than a winner!  Even more important than the contest, was the ability to educate people on what can be accomplished after cancer. These comments touched me so much, that I felt the need to add them to the Because We Care page, because they do!

(Because We Care was a facebook group created to connect me and my triumphs in my battle with cancer with my friends and family.  It was a great source of comfort and encouragement to me.)

My Saskatchewan Black Bear

Archery is therapy to me! I had a bilateral mastectomy 3 years ago, due to breast cancer. I had been an avid bow hunter up to that point, and suddenly it was taken away from me. That was probably the worst part of my recovery, was not being able to shoot my bow. I have been building back muscle that had been destroyed in the surgery, but it has been a slower process then I expected. My Doctors on

the other hand think it is phenomenal what I an accomplishing. This past spring I took this fantastic black bear in Saskatchewan, using my Tenpoint crossbow. I was thrilled to be able to archery hunt, even if it isn’t my compound bow. I am still working daily to get back in form with my bow, but until that time comes, I will be doing my therapy with my crossbow.

  • Phil Cogley congratulations on the bear and beating cancer
    Eve Sunny Love thisMatt Maurice Sr. Awesome Bear and Congrats on Both accomplishmentsSteve Radle Good luck!
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks, every time I am able to hunt (and even better-harvest!) I am thankful for my victory over the breast cancer. These are real trophies in my world!
    Alwyn Torquil Francis Ladell The crossbow is a sensible stopgap, until you can get back to your compound, and this bear proves it. Best wishes from another cancer survivor (1983/4 and 1995), keep up the good work.
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks Alwyn! and Congrats on your winning in your battle with cancer!Ladies in Camo You are the BEST and Ladies in Camo is SO PROUD OF YOU!! Good luck!!
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks that means a lot to me!
    Rachel Butler Brock Way to go!!
  • Tina Knopp Good Luck to you Diane and best of luck in all that you do!
    Tammy Ziems Very Pround Of You Diane Keep the Faith
  • Ashleigh Moore Ashford Way to kick both their butts!!!
    Betty Storman Diane, you are a fighter and a survivor…I hope you win this contest as well!!
  • Gus De Los Monteros You’ve got my vote. Was great getting to share camp with you. Best of luck to you.
    Neil Green Fine bear!!!
  • Michelle Harmes Diane you are awesome!
    Tammie Knopp Good Luck Diane! Diane you are outstanding!!!
  • Paul Blosat never give up is always a good way to live
    Teresa Dyke McCullough Good luck girl..
  • Rebekah Rhodes Diane you are an inspiration! Not just to women hunters but to women AND men in general to keep fighting. A good friend told me last week, “Quitting is not an option!” Thank you for being who you are.
    LeighAnne Phillips I agree with Rebekah, you are truly an inspiration… Keep it Sassy my friend❤
  • Gretchen Steele Diane – I know exactly how you feel.. my bilateral mastectomy was 12 years ago, and it takes time. I started off with lighter draw weight recurves, and although they weren’t enough of a draw weight to hunt with I could bowfish – it’s still archery and and is great fun. Crossbow too.. Keep up the great work! It may be a slow process but it is worth it in the end! I recently did an article about archery after mastectomy – I will make sure you get a link when it is published (should be on the 10th this month)
    Debbie Le Gette That’s awesome Diane! I’m proud of you! Keep at it!! ❤❤
  • Gretchen Hill God Bless you!!!!
    Diane Baxter Hassinger Gretchen please send me the link to your article. I would love to read it! While I personally know some women who have had breast cancer, they are not hunters, and don’t have any insight for me on what to expect. I have scoured the internet, but there isn’t a whole lot out there. I have been writing my own book, so to speak, just pushing myself hard to get back what has been lost. My Doctors are great, but clueless as to when I can expect to be able to do the things I love. I have been a test patient for then in this regard. They have a few answers for the next hunter they treat. I had never bowfished until a year ago, I had a blast, but was terrible at it. The crossbow has been a God send!
  • Carol Robertson Congratulations! You’re an inspiration.
    Lisa Rickenbrode Stroup Wow Diane…I never knew. This is very impressive and encouraging for women who are going through this battle. Kudos to you and I wish you continued good health through your journey. Prayers and blessings for you.
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks Lisa, I have tried to keep my fight with breast cancer as just a speed bump in the road of life. It slowed me down for a bit, but I am in the passing lane now!
    Mike Grundmann Good luck diane
  • Peggy Garuccio Fantastic! you go, girl. we’re rooting for you!
    Faith Sammons Turner Fighter….WINNER
  • Lisa Rickenbrode Stroup Diane, I haven’t had to deal with anything like that just yet and I admire your outlook. With the statistics being what they are, I’m just holding my breath. You are a strong girl and having a support system is so important. Again, KUDOS to you for continuing to enjoy your life and move forward.
    Carol Nevenhoven Diane, you are one amazing lady…What an inspiration you are to all of us! We should all aspire to be as strong and resilient as you are in the face of life’s struggles. God bless!
  • Dayna Casiglio Martin You rock, Diane!
    Leann Blasko Thank you everyone who voted if you didn’t see yet my mom made it on to round two of voting, she needs some help so if you wouldn’t mind going over to the final round of voting and like her picture again I would appreciate it.
  • https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152201170200089&set=a.10152151932230089.915285.384631705088&type=1&theater
  • Pink Arrow Project Prize Pack contest-2nd Round
  • Pink Arrow Project. Please vote for your favorite by clicking like for their photo!! Good luck!! and thank you for your support!!!By: Victory Archery
  • Teresa Dyke McCullough Good luck!!
    Brenda Faye Watson
  • Alexus Cee good luck I’ll share for you.Alwyn Torquil Francis Ladell Diane, you are doing brilliantly. You are doing everything right.Terry Warvel Good luck!
  • Rodney Allebach Good luck!Heather’Andy Jarvimaki’Howard My mom had a bilateral mastectomy…I vote for you! So glad to hear that you are able to hunt and pray you will soon be able to draw your compound! ..good luck and god bless!Anita Geib Keep on rocking!Walter Blizzard Congrats and I wish you a full recovery,Archery is special feeling when hunting and it will definitly let you know how many muscle you use so I know it will take a little time to get those muscles back in shape but stay focussed and I think you will make it there.Bobbie Carpenter Good luck…your family is supporting you all the way!!
  • Richard Siedschlag nice bear , great pic
    Kelly Amon You rock Diane – Your an inspiration to others! God bless!
  • Teresa Miller Wilkie great photo
    Scott Wells Way to go I know I haven’t been thru what u have but I have had 2shoulder surgeries and a bicep tear repair all on same arm and thank god for crossbows
  • David Dean Rachels Sr GOOD LUCK LADY!Lisa Shackelford Clerkin Best Wishes for you and God Bless
  • Susan Davis You my friend are definately an inspiration to us all. God Bless oh and nice bear..lol
  • Gretchen Hill AMAZING story God Bless you !!!!
    Josie Stienbarger That is so awesome!!! U are doing amazing and u r an inspiration to all of us women best of luck on your continued recovery!! Keep on hunting!!! :/)
  • Mary Ann Hostetler Good luck and what a great photo!!
  • Morgan Yobst Yeah Aunt Diane
  • Dave Hotaling MY Grandmother had half done this last Febuary. So I know how hard it must be. I love archery hunting and though work has kept me from woods I hoping soon I can get a new bow. My old Jennings is from the 60’s I think my Grandpa used it for years. Your a Great Inspiration to others stay focused on what you want and you will be rewarded.
  • Nancy Jo Adams So proud of you and grateful our paths have crossed. You are an inspiration…and a cool friend.
  • JoAnn Herbert You rock!
  • Karrie Dollar Herschberger all i shoot are my pink victory arrows…YOU ROCK
  • Coach to Camo Awesome!!!
  • Bonnie Jones what a bear!!!!!
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger I am tied with Teri for first place, with still 2 days to go. Thanks everyone!
  • Cathy Sayle Wow!! Great story and wishing you continued progress!!
  • Joy L Doyle your quite the inspiration young lady!!!
  • Jessica Jolene Barlow Very Inspiring.
  • Dale Lamb I can’t help but admire and respect anyone like this. She knew what she enjoyed and has been dilligent in her attempt to recover it. Nuttin but love and respect to you.
  • Donald Yoho nice Bear
    • These comments below were posted to my blog:
    • Teresa Dyke McCullough Your a winner in my book, I think your story was the best!!!!
    • Lisa Rickenbrode Stroup As you said Diane, you are still a winner because you are here. Congrats on that and staying healthy. Your zeal for life is amazing.
    • Nancy Jo Adams A winner, an inspiration and a hero and I feel truly blessed that our paths have crossed and I mean that with all my heart!
    • Pam Devore Diane, you are a winner and we dont need a contest to prove that for we know this to be true<3
    • Alwyn Torquil Francis Ladell Remain the winner, regardless of which accolades are or are not bestowed. You had my vote.
    • Lydia Galina · Friends with Sue Tabor and 3 others  Very touched. Thank you for sharing.

    These Comments below were from other people who took the time to share my entry with their friends:

    October 2

    Ladies in Camo SO PROUD of Ladies in Camo’s own Diane Hassinger!! Diane is entered into the Victory Archery Pink Arrow Project Contest. But this isn’t just ANY ENTRY…Diane is not only a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a mentor, a huntress…..oh no, this entry is from a SURVIVOR!! Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy just 3 years ago. She has been on the road to recovery with one goal in mind…SHOOTING & HUNTING WITH HER COMPOUND BOW AGAIN. She has been a superstar, a hero, and I am proud to say MY FRIEND!! Ladies in Camo is so grateful to have such an amazing lady among us…what an inspiration!! Please take minute to go to the Victory Archery Page and vote for Diane Hassinger..You can’t miss her, she is the one with the HUGE black bear she recently harvested in Canada. GOOD LUCK, DIANE…No matter what, YOU ARE A WINNER!!

    Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer shared Victory Archery’s photo.

    Tuesday

    Please vote for this inspirational huntress by clicking on the photo and hitting “like”. Diane Baxter Hassinger is an amazing woman, cancer survivor, and advocate for the great outdoors!





SaskAdrenaline Bear Hunt

13 06 2012

This post was originally posted in the “Ladies in Camo Field Journal”

My Saskatchewan Black Bear. It was all I could do to lift his head for the picture! Photo: Diane Hassinger

My Saskatchewan Black Bear. It was all I could do to lift his head for the picture!
Photo: Diane Hassinger

Wow!  What a week!  I have spent the last week hunting black bear in Saskatchewan, Canada with SaskAdrenaline Outfitters.  I was joined by my husband Dale, brother-in-law Lonnie, and LIC Pat Hendrixon, as well as 3 other guys from Pennsylvania. I would be hunting with my Ten Point Crossbow, equipped with Swhacker Broadheads on Beman bolts.

The first night ten bear were seen, but none were considered shooters.  The next night, Mike Grundmann (the owner) and I spooked off a bear when he was dropping me off at my stand.  Mike said to watch, he felt certain the bear would come right back in.  I quickly settled myself into my stand, and set up the camcorder to film the area.  It did not take long before I was seeing black in the distance.  I turned on the camcorder and tried to keep my heart from bursting out of my chest!  The bear slowly circled the area, before coming in to the can.  I was trying to take in everything about this bear to determine if it was a sow or a boar.  A massive head, small ears, huge body, fairly long neck but small feet.  Mike had told me there was a big sow and boar at this stand, and I was fairly certain that this was the sow.  Then the bear stood up (and up)  Holy Cow was she tall!  I was as close to a heart attack as I have ever been!  She made the barrel look small.  My head was telling me this was a sow, but I still clicked off the safety and thought about shooting with my crossbow.

She looked off to the side and took off at a run.  At that point I looked around to see what could chase off a bear this big,a bigger bear of course!  This one was taller and had a deep crease in his forehead, his neck looked almost nonexistent and he had HUGE feet.  This was the male I was waiting for!  I waited only a few moments before releasing my bolt. I had a pass through but the shot looked a little low to me.  My bolt could be seen laying in front of the barrel, and showed good blood.  I spent the next half hour packing up and reviewing the video to check my shot.  I was slightly panicked because I never heard any death moans out of him.  I tried to call Mike to come pick me up, but he was out of range of the radio.  After lowering my equipment to the ground, I checked the arrow, and saw a good blood trail.

I soon was able to contact Mike, and he and Tim brought the quads in.  They only had to track for a very short distance before they could see my boar laid out in the swamp.  There was no ground shrinkage on this bear!  He was huge.  It took a lot of maneuvering to get the bear into the trailer, since he was to big to put onto the quad.

19 14/16" skull Photo: Diane Hassinger

19 14/16″ skull
Photo: Diane Hassinger

There was no scale, since it had broke during the previous hunts, but everyone felt it weighed between 350 and 400 pounds.  He measured 6’7″ and his skull measured a whopping 19 14/16″.

Each day before hunting, we would go fishing for pike.  We caught lots!  Some days we caught dozens in an hour or so.  None were of any great size, they were still a blast to catch!

The same night I shot my bear, Lonnie shot a 6’bear.  Next up to connect was Dale with a 6′ bear with a skull of 18 7/16″.  This is big enough to qualify for Pope and Young, and was shot with his Bowtech Compound Bow.  Pat took a 6’2″ bear with my Savage Lady Hunter rifle in 30-06.  This was a great bear, and she thought the rifle was “sweet”.

Eddy and Larry both shot nice bears to finish out the week.  We embark tomorrow on a 4 1/2 hour drive to Saskatoon, followed by flights to Denver and then on to Pittsburgh.  While I am sad that my hunt is over for this year, I am thrilled that we have already booked for next year.  Maybe a color phase bear can still be in my future!

Dale’s “Pope and Young” Bear
Skull measured 18 7/16″





2011, A Very Good Year

30 04 2012

This post was originally posted on Audacious Women.  http://andreamain.com/2011-a-very-good-year/

2011 marked my come back to hunting, following my recovery from a bilateral mastectomy due to breast cancer.  I felt like I had 2 years to make up for, so I wanted to hunt everything, everywhere!  Rifle hunting was fairly easy to pick back up, but archery eluded me for this year at least.  Thank goodness for cross bows!

I started the year off hunting for whitetail deer on Anticosti Island in Canada.  My husband and I hunted with Safari Anticosti, and enjoyed every minute of it.  The first day, my husband spotted a really nice buck as I was being dropped off where I was to hunt.  He told me to make sure I got him, I told him I would.  I positioned myself on a steep bank overlooking the river, and waited.  Eventually 2 doe come out to feed on the river banks, so I was hopeful that a buck would follow.  They fed for a long time before I finally spotted the buck from earlier.  I had to wait for him to cross the river, and come near the does, before I could get a good shot.  I squeezed off my shot and watched him disappear into the tall grass.  After waiting what seemed like forever, I went to track him.  I found the blood trail easy enough that is until it he crossed the river.  It took a few minutes of searching both sides before I found the trail again.  When I finally walked up to him, I could not see his head.  Any part of it!  He must have died in mid leap, and took a header into the soft muck surrounding the river.  I couldn’t move him, so I started to dig him out.  Finally I could see his antlers, and excitement really settled in.  I had to wait for my husband and guide to show up after dark to get him drug out.  He was a huge bodied buck.  When he was hung in the meat shed, his head was to the ceiling and he was almost sitting on the ground.  By the end of the week, I knew I had the biggest buck in camp.   When we got to the airport, it became obvious that I also had the biggest buck from the island!  I had also taken a doe on the last day, to fill my tag with some good eating.

Safari Anticosti Buck

Our next hunt was for alligators with Deep South Outfitters in Florida.  The temperature was only in the 40’s, not at all what you would want for gators.  We went on a short boat ride before Billy started to call.  Instantly we had a gator rushing toward the boat.  In no time it was within a couple of yards of where I was standing, with the crossbow.  I shot, and there was no splashing or action of any kind.  While I feared I had missed, Kenny realized I had spined it.  This was the most adrenaline packed hunt I think I have ever been on!

Florida Alligator

Immediately after getting home from Florida, I drove to Illinois with my daughter Shannon.  We joined a Ladies Archery Hunt at Eagle Lakes Outfitters.  Vicki Cianciarulo was trying to get to film footage for The Choice hunting show. I was using a crossbow with a handicapped designation, which I was not happy at all about.  Hunting was really slow for the first couple of days, to hot, to windy.  Finally I had a nice buck start down toward me, but a doe stomped her foot and snorted at him, so I place my bolt into her.  She ran only 20 yards or so, but right into the lane that I would be picked up on.  My kind of tracking and dragging!  Eventually 3 doe were shot for the group, 1 was also lost to coyotes, and I had a buck that we could not locate the blood trail on.

I finally got to hunt at home, and took my granddaughters out in the stand with me.  Sarah has been hunting for a couple of years, but this was Ginger’s first exposure to it.  On the evening of the first day of rifle season, Ginger was with me when I took a doe.  She was so excited; she is now intent on taking her hunter safety certifications so she can hunt with me next fall.

I happened upon a Ladies in Camo hunt at Racknine Outdoors in Alabama, at the last minute.  I flew down for a buck, doe, hog, coyote hunt.  My first morning, I was able to take a nice 8 point buck that was feeding about 80 yards out.  He had come into the clearing and made a scrape right in front of me.  I also had 2 young buck sparring and playing.  After I shot, the young buck continued their play for another 15 minutes or so.  I have never hunted anywhere that a gunshot didn’t clear the area of all deer.  The blood trail on the 8 point was almost no existent, but we did locate him about 75 yards from where he was shot.  The next day I was stalking hogs, when I located a group in the pines, they were about 75 yards out.  I had a large sow cross an opening that I had, that was about the size of a coffee can.   I took the shot, and watched as she only went 2 or 3 feet before she dropped.  I tried to get on the hogs again, but they joined a group totaling over a hundred, and even with that many hogs, I could not get a clear shot at any others.

Alabama Buck

I know I title this 2011, but I am including the first half of 2012 also, since it all is part of the same license year.  I joined another Ladies in Camo hunt at Mountain View Plantation in Alabama, in January.  This was a tough hunt.  Only one buck was shot, and that was by my cousin Eva.  She is a new hunter, and I had taken her along to help her get experience.  We also hunted quail, which is always a good time, and shot the 5 station they have.

Racknine Hog

February had me back at Racknine (My favorite place to hunt!).  This time was a couple’s hunt for hogs and coyotes.  What a wonderful group of people we had at this hunt.  Alabama had had some severe weather, including tornados shortly before we arrived, and the hogs had made themselves scarce.   By then end of the weekend only 1 hog was shot.  We really had to work hard at this hunt.

Osceola Turkey

Turkey season finally arrived, and we were off to Florida, to hunt with Deep South Outfitters again.  I filled my 2 tags with Osceolas.  The birds were not responding to calls, so I sat in wait near a well-used trail to a feeding area.  Finally I had 3 toms come into view, and when my guide said they were shooters, I shot!  This was my first Osceola ever!!  I took another jake before I was done, but then I got to hog hunt while my husband tried to fill his tags.  I had crept into a tree stand before light, listening to hogs not more than 30 feet away!  By the time I could make out dark shadows, I had a dozen hogs in front of me.  It was nerve racking to know the hogs were right there, and it was not light enough to shoot yet!  I don’t think I waited more than a minute once the sun came up.  I picked a big red sow with black spots.  She was almost underneath my tree stand, not exactly the shot I would like to take.  While the angle was extreme, she only went about 30 yards, before she piled up under the palmettos.  What a great trip!!

Florida Hog

The weather completely turned against us after that, so we headed to Racknine again for some more hog hunting!  Ladies in Camo was having a couples hunt so we joined them.  Dale and I were spot and stalking when I had a hog grunting and squealing, just as the hog was coming into view, Dale shot.  I thought he had shot the hog, but he was facing the wrong direction when I turned to him.  My first thought was that he was screwing around, until he showed me the dead coyote.  From my angle I could not see the coyote approaching.  Later that morning, we joined 2 other hunters to go after hogs in the palmettos.  We had gone a couple of hundred yards into the woods, when you could hear hogs grunting and squealing.  I climbed onto a leaning tree (about the only way I can climb a tree!) and scanned the area for the hogs.  I could see for about 20 yards, and we now knew the hogs were further than that.  We slowly made our way toward the herd and positioned ourselves to take a shot.  Jeanne was trying to get a clear shot on a nice gray hog, but it never presented a good shot.  Meanwhile I had a small black hog that I was going to shoot, when a much bigger hog crossed in front of it.  I told everyone I had a shot, and took it.  The hog dropped in her tracks!  That was the easy part.  We now had to drag that hog back to the HuntVe through swampy muck.  We all worked hard to get it out.  Dale and I were the only ones left to hunt the next morning, and Dale was able to take a big boar.  This group of 5 hunters, at Racknine, had managed to take; 1 turkey, 1 coyote and 3 hogs.

Racknine Hog

Each hunt I am finding that I am getting stronger, and more like myself.  I keep pushing myself to build back the muscle that was lost.  This upcoming hunting year is pretty well filled already, I have 5 hunts scheduled, with hopes of more.  My next hunting season starts in June when we are going bear hunting in Saskatchewan, and this fall I will be going on my first archery hunt with my compound bow since my surgery.  I am already pulling 40 pounds on my bow, I would like to be built up to 45 lbs. before archery season begins.  With work, I will be there!  Sometime I feel like the 6 million dollar woman, I am getting faster, stronger, better!





Little Runts are kicking butt!

29 04 2012

This post was originally posted on Ladies in Camo Field Journal.  http://ladiesincamo.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/little-runts-are-kicking-butt/

I am absolutely thrilled to tell you that my granddaughter took a fantastic long beard turkey this morning.  She was hunting with her mother (my daughter Shannon).  As they made their way to their hunting spot, they had turkeys gobbling on the roosts.  Since Sarah was using a crossbow, they set up quickly, putting the decoy only 10 yards from their position.  Shannon yelped a couple of times shortly after daylight, and was rewarded with gobbling from 2 toms.  They could just glimpse the tom to the east in the morning light of the pink and purple sunrise.  As these 2 fine birds made their way to the girl’s position, a hen started talking, and lead them both away.

Both Shannon and Sarah maintained their positions, and listened and waited.  Calling occasionally.  Soon they were rewarded with another Tom heading their way, this time with 8 hens in tow.

Sarah’s gobbler with 10″ beard

Three jakes were bringing up the rear, just coming off of the ridge.  These birds all worked their way over 400 yards to come into Shannon’s call.  At 30 yards Shannon quietly told Sarah the birds were in range.  Sarah replied “wait for it, wait for it”.  When the tom pecked the head of her Little Runt decoy, Sarah released her bolt, and the turkey fell to the ground with out even a twitch!  The rest of the birds never understood what had happened, and continued to peck around on the ground.  She quickly told her mother to re-cock the crossbow, there were more birds coming their way, and Shannon still had her tag.  Unfortunately they were only the jakes, and they were left to grow for next year.

Sarah’s long beard had a 10″ beard, 1″ spurs, weighed 23 pounds, and was shot with a Ten-Point Crossbow!!  Sarah had been practicing hard for this day.  She started shooting the crossbow, and has become an excellent shot with it.  Just 2 nights ago, her and I went over different scenarios on birds coming into the decoy, and where to shoot with the crossbow.  She follows instruction wonderfully!

Her turkey was almost as big as she is!