Casting for Recovery

14 11 2015

casting for recovery logo (2)

This was a great group of women to be paired with! We had many aspects of life covered with our survivors including; doctor, accountant, nurses, homemakers, legal professions, and government workers. Photo: Beth Gazda

This was a great group of women to be paired with! We had many aspects of life covered with our survivors including; doctor, accountant, nurses, homemakers, legal professions, and government workers.
Photo: Beth Gazda

Casting for Recovery is a very unique program designed to “enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.” They offer retreats for all women breast cancer survivors, of all ages, and in all stages of treatment and recovery. They try to enhance the women’s lives with inspiration and the ability to network with other women going through their own stage of breast cancer; all done in a truly inspirational setting of nature. The program is offered on a lottery system, with participants applying annually, and is free of cost to the participants!

DSC_0172 2During the 28th to the 30th of August 2015, I participated in the Western Pennsylvania retreat, held at the beautiful Home Waters/The River Village in Spruce Creek, PA. They have been holding retreats in Western PA since 2009, and more than ninety breast cancer survivors from throughout Western Pennsylvania have participated. Home Waters is a private fly fishing club with amazing fishing on Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River. The Casting for Recovery retreats have been held at Home Waters for the past five years; this particular retreat is open to breast cancer survivors who live in the Western Pennsylvania area. There are programs stretched across the United States and Canada. Check out their website for a fly fishing retreat near you, http://castingforrecovery.org/events/retreat-schedule/.

The participants getting suited up to go fishing. Photo: Beth Gazda

The participants getting suited up to go fishing.
Photo: Beth Gazda

I signed up to car pool, and because of that, I was able to have a partner in my truck for the three-hour drive. By the time we arrived at the lodge, Kay felt like an old friend! We were assigned to rooms, in one of the four buildings used for this event. I was paired with Pam, who along with Kay and her roommate Kathy, we had a great time together. The rooms were as spectacular as the views; there is nothing like waking up to the sounds and sights of water rushing down the river. As soon as we got settled into our rooms, we were outfitted with waders, boots, vests, and a plethora of “gifts” from the many sponsors of the retreat!

Some of the support circles took place around the fire, with S'Mores! Photo: Beth Gazda

Some of the support circles took place around the fire with S’Mores!
Photo: Beth Gazda

There were many segments to our weekend, and a great majority of them centered on food! Whether it was full course meals, or S’mores over the fire, no one went hungry, and we didn’t have to wait long for our next meal! The fishing seminars included learning to fly cast, identifying and matching the hatches, areas to target in the creek, and lots of laughing and fun. We were also treated to medical

Learning to cast was intimidating, but with our skilled helpers, everyone mastered the casts needed! Photo: Beth Gazda

Learning to cast was intimidating, but with our skilled helpers, everyone mastered the casts needed!
Photo: Beth Gazda

and emotional support through group circles and some one on one. No topic was taboo and off-limits, although I will not be mentioning some of the more delicate issues that the breast cancer survivors were concerned about. Relaxation techniques were also explained and practiced, many of which I will be using for years to come.

Sunday we started the day off with an optional spiritual meeting, held on the porch of the Fly Shop. Readings and songs brought home the message of recovery of more than just your body but also your mind and soul. During the service, we had to pause for a train that thundered down the tracks. Just like the cancer, we had to pause during the passing of it, and when we were able, as soon as possible, we returned to normal activity.

The fishing was superb!! I was assigned my river helper, Ashley, and the matching couldn’t have been better. We had a wonderful time, sometimes missing a fish because I was talking instead of paying attention. I started off my morning with a native brown trout, followed by a native rainbow. By the end of several hours, I felt confident in my casting, and I had landed and released five trout and lost as many. To me losing a fish on a line isn’t really losing; you still have had the thrill of the hook up, and the battle of wills between your line and the fish. Sometimes the will of the fish is just greater than your skills with the rod and reel.

All too soon, it was time to head for home. Many friends were made this weekend, and many skills for life were learned. If you or someone you love has battled breast cancer, and would like to be involved with one of the up coming Casting For Recovery Retreats, go to http://castingforrecovery.org/.  If you would like to get involved either personally or with a donation, information can be found at the same website. This was a great way to interact with others that have gone through the same battle with cancer, in a very positive setting.

All of the participants, staff, river helpers and support staff. Photo: Beth Gazda

All of the participants, staff, river helpers and support staff.
Photo: Beth Gazda

Casting for Recovery name and logo are the sole property of its rightful owner and used within this writing solely for the promotion of products herein as requested by the product’s manufacturer.

¹ http://castingforrecovery.org/about-casting-for-recovery/

This post originally published at http://ladiesincamo.com/licpr/2015/10/05/casting-for-recovery-diane-hassinger/





Guest Post: Diane Hassinger shares her success of her hunt and “of life”.

22 02 2014

 

 

11 Votes

http://njadams1.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/guest-post-diane-hassinger-shares-her-success-of-her-hunt-and-of-life/

This was my first time meeting Diane Hassinger from Pennsylvania, but I can promise you that I will not forget her any time soon. Diane’s life story is such an inspiration. Diane’s personal struggle and success gave new meaning to a quote I once read by Helen Keller: “The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

 

I am so thankful that our paths have crossed and I had the opportunity to share camp with her. Here is Diane’s story from her hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors with the Ladies in Camo.

 

___________________
I happened to see a post on Shenanigans from the Field about a Ladies in Camo Ladies Only Hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors in Clio, Alabama. What caught my eye was that it was a buck, doe, coyote, hog and bobcat hunt. This was just too much to ask for. I had found this post only 2 ½ weeks before the hunt, so a lot had to fall into place for this to happen. I am a firm believer in fate and it would work out if it were meant to be. Well things fell into place perfectly and on December 7th I flew into Montgomery Airport to catch a ride with Richard and Nancy to the camp.

 

Pulling into the camp I immediately felt at ease and knew this had been a good choice. The lodge felt like home, and the few huntresses and guides that were there felt like family from the start. While everyone pigged out on pizza, we made our plans for morning. There would be 3 of us hunting, while the rest were to come in staggered over the next 2 days. Four a.m. came early the next morning, with temperatures below freezing, and having not brought all of my cold weather gear, freezing is what I did too! Terry put me in a tree stand overlooking a food plot. It wasn’t long before the show began and I forgot all about being cold. I had a nice 8 point bucks with 2 girlfriends come thru, just pausing long enough for me to know I could not get a shot off at him. What a tease!

 

Shortly after that another 8 point entered my view, and took his good old-time about entering the food plot. He was joined by 2 spike buck that entertained me for almost an hour with their sparring and play. Meanwhile my 8 point was raking the trees nearby and making a scrape right in front of me. After 15 minutes of wonderful memories, I decided that if I would shoot this guy on the last day, the first day was a good day too. Almost right on cue the buck turned broadside then quartered away just slightly.

 

Two young bucks spar on the greenfield, keeping Diane entertained while she waited for the opportunity to take a shot at an 8 point. Photo Credit: Diane Hassinger

 

As I pulled the trigger, I was thankful I was able to be here at this time. You see 2 ½ years ago I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, and underwent a bilateral mastectomy. They also removed some lymph nodes to check for the spread of cancer. Following my surgery, no one could answer whether I would ever be able to fish, bow hunt, or shoot shotguns and rifles again. No one had ever asked these questions of my doctors, I was the first! Well I am delighted to prove to everyone, that not only is it possible, but you can still be successful as well!

 

My buck tucked his tail and hunched up telling me I had hit him good. I sent a text to Terry and continued watching the two spikes play. They never even flinched when I shot, and I videotaped them for the next 15 minutes. Unreal! In Pennsylvania I would have chased off every deer for a half mile with that one shot. When Terry and Doug arrived, we started looking for a blood trail, and panic started to set in. I knew I had hit him good, but there was no blood to speak of. We finally found 1 drop 10-15 feet from where he was shot and then 1 drop at a time, at 5-10 feet intervals, for about 70 yards. I was just about heartbroken when Doug said “there he is”. He had only gone 75 yards and piled up under a pine tree. He was nice high 8 point, and I was thrilled.

 

Diane Hassinger from Pennsylvania and her nice buck harvest. Photo Credit: Terry Garrett, Rack Nine Outdoors

 

The next evening I was placed in a ground blind, in a tract of woods near a food plot. Both Terry and Doug had said to feel free to spot and stalk hogs, so that was my goal. Coyotes were howling nearby as I slowly hiked about ¼ mile down a logging trail from the blind. Before long it sounded like a football team racing thru the woods. Slowly and quietly I inched into a position to see the hogs. It did not take long to find a big sow, and with a lot of luck she walked into the one sight window that I had that was big enough to shoot thru, about the size of a coffee can. Holding my breath I took the 75 yard shot, and was rewarded with watching her drop not 3 feet from where I shot her.

 

Diane Hassinger with her nice 130 pound sow harvested at Rack Nine Outdoors. Photo Credit: Terry Garrett, Rack Nine Outdoors

 

I continued to look for my next shooter, but this group turned tail and ran. After texting Terry that I had a hog down, and that I was going to continue looking for her friends, I marked her location and started tracking the herd. It did not take long to locate them across the logging road. I had to go into the cramped quarters of the paper mills pine forest. At one point I had 3 groups pretty much surrounding me, easily 100 wild pigs, all squealing and rooting and paying no attention to me at all. As much as I tried to, I could not down another pig, but what a rush to have that many wild pigs around you!

 

I am already planning my next trip to Rack Nine with my husband this time. I hope he gets to experience situations like I had here. And I will be excited to be here to share it with him. I am proud to not only say I am a cancer survivor, but I am enjoying life! Everyone should get out and do what they love every opportunity they can. “Love the Life you Live, Live the Life you Love” (Bob Marley)

Life in Camo - Shenanigans From the Field

This was my first time meeting Diane Hassinger from Pennsylvania, but I can promise you that I will not forget her any time soon. Diane’s life story is such an inspiration. Diane’s personal struggle and success gave new meaning to a quote I once read by Helen Keller: “The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

I am so thankful that our paths have crossed and I had the opportunity to share camp with her. Here is Diane’s story from her hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors with the Ladies in Camo.

___________________
I happened to see a post on Shenanigans from the Field about a Ladies in Camo Ladies Only Hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors in Clio, Alabama. What caught my…

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Surgery is Over!

22 02 2014
I wanted to let everyone know my surgery is done, and went even better than expected!! The sentinel node mapping showed the cancer was truly localized, and no additional lymph nodes needed to be removed My pain meds are kicking in, so off to la la land for me! Thanks everyone!




Breast Cancer-Round 2

19 02 2014

breast cancer collageBreast Cancer affects about 1 in 8 women at some point in their lives. Anyone who follows my life, knows that 4 1/2 years ago I underwent a bilateral mastectomy due to breast cancer. Since that time I have been open about my battle, and recently my battle was the focus of an episode of Yeti’s Ultimate Hunt TV Show, which ironically airs again tomorrow night at 10:30 on the Sportsman’s Channel. Because of my openness, I have received so many positive and heartwarming messages, many of which are from women (and men) who are going through treatment currently.
In late December I discovered another lump, which turned out to be breast cancer once again. I found this due to self examination, and the Doctor’s have stated that my mammogram didn’t even detect it, it was that small. Today I will be undergoing a “partial mastectomy” aka lumpectomy and Lymposcintigraph (sentinel lymph node mapping). Due to this being a localized recurrence, I will undergo 6 to 6 1/2 weeks of radiation. I am sure this will slow me down somewhat. But I am not looking to be down for long! PLEASE do not ignore your body, do self examinations often, talk to your Doctors, follow up ASAP, schedule your annual mammograms when indicated by your Doctor. Pay attention, and do not be afraid to talk to others. Breast Cancer caught early needs only to be a speed bump in your life.
After this small speed bump, I have full intentions of being out bear hunting this spring, of course with my Tenpoint Crossbow, and Victory Archery Pink Arrow Project bolts. I will continue to support Breast Cancer Awareness programs, and use products that donate to the search for a cure.
We are all in this together! I hope everyone realizes that cancer can be just a hiccup in your life. Keep your spirits up, maintain a positive outlook, lean on people when you need support, cry on someone’s shoulder when the stress gets to be too much. But PLEASE never ever give up. Life is to precious to waste a minute of it. As always “Love the life you live, Live the Life you Love”! (Bob Marley)

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TaTa Bang Bang

11 10 2013

 

This post originally was published on Ta Ta Bang Bang’s facebook wall during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October 2013)  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=522953231122915&set=a.418050041613235.99986.377808358970737&type=1&theater
While at the Buckmasters Expo on August 17th, in Montgomery, Alabama, TTBB crossed paths with an outdoor enthusiast that not only shares her love of hunting, but her story of surviving…breast cancer. Her story touched us in so many ways, and we know it will touch yours.

Meet Diane Hassinger, field staff of Ladies in Camo, as she tells her story of being a survivor:

1383138_522953231122915_1177662963_n“Four years ago, the call came that would change my life forever, “You have breast Cancer.” I can’t say that it was totally unexpected, as I had problems for 20+ years, many biopsies, lumpectomies and countless call backs for sonograms and mammograms. In some regards, it was almost a relief that now I could do what was needed to get the shadow of breast cancer off of me.
I have always taken the bull by the horns, and this time was no different. When my original Doctor was taking too long to do his job and schedule an appointment for me to move forward, I contacted a renowned breast surgeon and started the process to have all of my records sent to her, and got scheduled within days. The first visit with my surgeon proved I had made the right decision. She reminded me of-me! She is not good at candy coating things, kind of direct and to the point. I loved her! She outlined my choices, and I chose the complete bilateral mastectomy. While she initially thought I had not given enough consideration to my choice, I explained that I had thought long and hard for the past 20 years that when the time came, as I knew it would, I would get rid of all of the troublesome tissues and get a clean start. Within 2 weeks, I had my bilateral mastectomy, sentinel lymph node surgery and the start of the reconstructive surgery. I had my final reconstruction surgery just prior to Christmas that year. My best Christmas present ever!
At all times I was positive about my decision. My healing was fairly quick and soon my life was back to normal, at least mostly. I still struggle to get back to hunting poundage on my compound bow even today; a lot of the muscles in my chest area were destroyed in order to get all of the cancer. Those muscles control a lot of your pulling ability. Thank God, and Tenpoint, for crossbows!
Within 3 weeks of the surgery, I was salmon fishing and landing large fish on my own. I had to alter how some things were done, but I could do them! Pictures were taken with the fish balanced on rocks, but they were taken! I bypassed archery season that year, but against Doctor’s opinions, I started shooting my rifles and shotguns. My Doctors had no past experience with how the recoil would affect the lymph node areas under my arms. They worried that I would cause lymphedema with the repetitive recoil, and over use of my arms. Now they have a benchmark to use for other women hunters in their care-you can do it!
I am back to hunting, fishing, shooting and traveling. This year alone I have hunted South Africa, Canada and several states for alligator, bear, whitetail and plains game. I have suffered some disappointments hunting, but haven’t we all. But more importantly, I have been successful, not only harvesting some great trophies and food for my family, but also in beating breast cancer to the point that I am living the life I love.
I look at this whole breast cancer ordeal as nothing more than a speed bump in my life. I took care of myself and now I am in the passing lane once again! I am on Staff with Ladies in Camo, working with some of the most amazing women I know. I have been given the opportunity to help women be successful in hunts outside of their comfort zone, and the ability to use and product review many new and exciting products to the hunting community. I have a personal blog www.huntingmotherearth.com which was an outlet for emotions and triumphs during my recovery. Now it is my hunting journal and diary. I found it is extremely important to let those emotions out, and be able to talk to others about your journey. That helps you with your acceptance, and it helps others that are still on their own journey.
Look for an upcoming episode on Yeti’s Ultimate Hunt, highlighting my battle with breast cancer and return to a truly wonderful life. By not allowing cancer to dictate what my life will be, I have created a life that is open ended and exciting. I have many doors opening and opportunities to explore! That call four years ago did change my life, but by taking control and staying positive, it has changed it for the better!”

Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Member
NSSF Member
Ladies in Camo, LLC-Regional Representative
http://www.ladiesincamo.com/
Ladies by the grace of God…..in CAMO by choice.

Personal Blog: http://www.huntingmotherearth.com/

Igloo/Yukon Cold Locker Pro Staff
Twenty Up Productions-Pro Staff
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Ladies in Camo-Regional Staff http://www.ladiesincamo.com/
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NSSF Member
NRA-Life Member
Safari Club International
NWTF

 





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!





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!