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

22 02 2014

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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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You have to Believe!

11 12 2012

I have spent most of the last 3 months on the road, hunting in one location or another.  I am finishing my hunting season for 2012 with a deer/hog hunt combo at Racknine Outdoors in Alabama.  Temperatures were really against us for deer hunting, so I turned my sights to HOGS!  On December 8th Nancy Jo, Jeanne and I were stalking a group of hogs that were really tearing up the woods.  We were backtracking to a nearby lake, when a shiny balloon caught my eye.  Even as I hurried over to it, I knew what I was going to find!

I am going to jump back to 1998.  Dale and I were celebrating our 19th anniversary deep sea fishing out of Daytona Beach, Florida.  We had had just a horrendous year before, and much needed a break.  Our son Mathew had died in a boating accident on March 7, 1997.  Matt was with his best friend and our employee Mike, Mike also perished in the accident.  Clint, a lifelong friend of Matt’s died 2 days later in a car accident after finding out about Mathew.  Dale’s best friend Earl died 3 months to the day later, having told us it was not natural to bury a grandson (Matt).  Two months later, out of the blue, Dales mother, died in September of complication from diabetes.  As if that was not enough, 2 months later, Dale’s mentor Walter died on his 45th wedding anniversary in the middle of a fishing creek.  That was a year I hope to never repeat, ever!

While Dale and I had charted a boat and were out fishing, 30-40 miles off shore, the Captain announced that he saw debris.  Since the fishing had been slow up to that point, we traveled to the debris, since dorado tend to cluster around anything floating.  Upon pulling up, what we thought was garbage, was in fact a Mylar balloon that wished “Happy Anniversary”.  I got goose bumps then and now as I type this.  I am sure to this day, that this was Matt’s way of telling us he is still watching over us, and still a close part of our family.  That was by far the best anniversary present I could have gotten!!  The gifts kept coming after that!  We boated the most fish our Captain had ever caught in one day!  I guess he didn’t realize he had a very special fisherman on board that day!

Now jump back to the present; Did I mention that December 8th is my grandson Ryan’s birthday?  You got it!  That Mylar balloon we found while hunting hogs, that had not been there earlier, said “Happy Birthday”!  I knew immediately who it was meant for.  We quickly took a picture with my cell phone and sent it on it’s way to the birthday boy.

I realize most people would just chalk this up to coincidence, and I may have at one point also.  But I have become a firm believer that when loved ones die, they are still watching over you and participating in your everyday lives in some small way or another.  We have had so many “coincidences” over the years that I just now say “Thanks Matt”, smile or cry (or both) and send the message on to it’s recipient.

Be open to see small miracles that you may otherwise overlook.  After all we need something to believe in, and I choose to believe that love is never ending!

happy birthday Ryan





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!





My Meatloaf Deer

24 04 2012

During the archery season of 2008, I managed to tag along with my husband and his friend Dan on their guy time hunt.  We all were wanting to fill some of our tags.  They both like to spot and stalk, while I am less comfortable doing that with a bow.  Dan shot an 8 point buck at 15 yards, that had worked his way around an oil tank. He also shot a doe at a nearby creek, as she made her way down to drink.  I finally convinced them to let me sit in a stand, so we picked one on the backside of Dan’s property.  I could hear the deer making their way toward me.  Mostly quiet, but the occasional shuffle of leaves.  Finally 3 deer, 1 small buck and 2 doe came into my view.  I was going to shoot the big doe, and drew back my bow, when I noticed the button buck was missing half of his front shoulder.  At that point, I changed position and sent my arrow into the button buck.  He ran a few yards, and dropped.  When I went down to him, you could tell someone had shot him during muzzle-loader season, and you could fit a grapefruit into the hole that was left.  I couldn’t let that little guy suffer anymore.  I took some ribbing from the guys, because I wasted my tag on a mercy kill.  I am sure I could have called the Game Commission and explained the situation, but I made my choice freely and had shot my buck.  While he was not yet gangrene, he was not far from it.  We only kept the hind quarters, and that equated to one meatloaf dinner for our family.  Thus my meatloaf deer was named.

This buck was not the biggest, and definitely not the nicest, but I will always remember this little guy.  I am glad I could be in the right position to help put him out of his misery.  Practice with your weapon at many different yardages.  Know your shot placements for the species you are hunting.  Use a range finder if unsure of how far you shot would be.  And always make ethical shots.





Eagle Lakes Outfitters Ladies Archery Deer Hunt

21 04 2012

Last October I had the privilege of joining Vicki Cianciarulo of tv’s The Choice, and her posse, at Eagle Lakes Outfitters in Pike County, Illinois. She was trying to film footage for her show, so we had camera crews going out with hunters to the fields, and filming our everyday activities too. Andrea Main, Teresa McCullough, Jillian Donabauer and my daughter Shannon also were included in this hunt. This was the first archery hunt I had been on since my mastectomy, and I was using a Ten Point crossbow with my handicap designation. It galled me to have to have a handicap license, but I was still unable to pull a compound bow at any weight.
My guide, Jim Halliday was wonderful. I connected instantly with him, and we had a great time together throughout the week. Everyone was seeing lots of does, and several small bucks, but nothing shootable. After 2 days and nothing happening, I had a really nice buck working his way into my area. I also had a group of does feeding 15 yards from my tree stand. Just as the buck was getting close enough to consider taking a shot, I had a doe snort and stomp her foot. There went my buck-gone! I turned to the doe and released my arrow. She ran up the small hill, and collapsed right in the middle of the lane. I texted Jim that I had shot a doe, to which he asked “is she dead”, I replied most definitely! He said this was the easiest tracking and dragging of a deer he had ever done! He was able to pull his truck right up to her.
With the ice broken, hunters started to fill their tags. One of Vicki’s posse shot a doe, her first. Then a girl from Ameristep shot a doe right before dark. It was decided to back out and come back in the morning. Unfortunately by the time the sun came up, the coyotes had eaten most of the doe.
For lunch one day the entire group went to a local Mexican Restaurant, Vicki’s treat. We had a great time, and great food. It is strange to be eating with video cameras filming you.
We had high winds the one day, with some of the hunters opting to stay in camp. I was put in a clamp on 20 foot high. After rocking and rolling for hours, I was afraid the only way I was going to hit a deer was to throw up on them. This is the only time I have gotten sea sick in a tree!
The last evening I had the buck from earlier in the week come back to my stand. I watched him make his way across the crp field. When he was at 30 yards, I took a broadside shot. He took off toward the top of the hill, veering to the left. I was hoping he would be piled up in the lane like my doe, but it was not to be. We looked that evening, but could not locate his trail. The next morning we tried again, but never did find him. Because we were walking through the woods and fields, Shannon had been placed in a nearby stand to take advantage of any deer pushed in that direction. It worked! She had a nice big doe come into her stand. She connected with her shot, but broke the front shoulder with the shot. She put a second arrow into the doe and was waiting for us with her doe when we got there.
Three doe were taken during this week and recovered. One doe was lost to coyotes, and my buck not recovered. Lots of wonderful memories were made, and lasting friendships started.

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Safari Anticosti

11 02 2012

Diane's velvet 8 point

Anticosti Island has long been a big draw for whitetail hunters.  With only a little over 3000 square miles and more than 160,000 deer freely roaming the island, this island is a hunter’s mecca.

Dale and I had the opportunity to travel there the fall of 2011.  You are limited to only 70 pounds of clothing and gear, which makes packing a bit difficult.  We arrived on the island in a downpour of rain, making us wish our rain gear was on our backs and not in our bags.  We were met by a school bus, and transported to the lodge that would be our home for the next week.  There were 5 other hunter’s besides us, 4 longtime friends and longtime hunters on this island, and a Canadian who was paired with Dale and me.  Martin was extremely easy to get along with and we had a great time together.  Christian was assigned as our guide, which was also a good fit!

The first morning I got to hunt alongside Christian, while Dale and Martin hunted on their own.  We must have seen 50-75 deer that morning.  Putting a stalk on several nice bucks, but with 100-150 eyes on you, it is not as easy as you would think.  That evening I was on my own.  At home I mainly hunt stands, so the spot and stalk was not what I was comfortable with.  I found a stand of pine trees that were on a shelf about 75 yards above a river.  I waited for 2 doe to come out to feed, and waited, and waited.  I could have shot either of these doe many times during that hunt, but I wanted their boyfriend.  Right before dusk, he came out.  I let him settle in feeding with the does, which put him about 80 yards from me.  Finally he gave me the shot position I was waiting for, and I squeezed the trigger.  I watched as he crossed the river, and then lost sight of him in the tall grass.

Since my guide and Dale would not be back for another hour, and the light was fading fast, I decided to go looking for him.  Finding the blood trail was easy, until I got to the river.  I marked the last location with orange marking tape and crossed the shallow water.  I looked up and down for 10-15 yards before I finally found the blood on some tall weeds.  I had to cross the river a second time, before I found him buried in the river muck.  He must have died in mid leap and buried himself up to his chest.  I couldn’t even see any of the antlers.  I dug enough to get his head out, and was thrilled to see my nice big 8 point in the velvet.  Other than digging him out, I could not move him at all.  After marking his spot with orange tape and with my GPS, I headed back up to wait for Christian.  After a lot of dragging up the face of the shelf we finally got the buck to the quad.  When we got back to camp, several other deer had been shot, but mine dwarfed them!

The next couple of days were in the 80’s.  The deer were not moving and the hunters were moving slowly.  We were all hunting hard, but it just wasn’t happening.  It took the rest of the week for our tags to all be filled.  I took a doe the last day, a perfect broadside shot at 20 yards.  She fell right where she had stood.  That last day our group took a buck, a doe, a salmon and a whale bone.  Dale had been hunting the ocean side and found the remains of a whale.  That had to be the coolest find all week.

Our group of 7 filled all 14 of our tags, and had a lot of fun doing it.  I look forward to returning to the island to hunt with our new friends again.

Anticosti Island - Landsat satellite photo (ci...

Image via Wikipedia





Rack Nine Outdoors

7 02 2012

Diane's 8 point buck

This is a reprint from a blog that originally appeared in “Shenanigans from the field”.

I happened to see a post on Shenanigans from the Field about a Ladies in CamoLadies 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 prior to 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 was 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.

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 was piled up under a pine tree.  He was nice high 8 point, and I was thrilled.

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.  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 whole 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)