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Mister and I attended the QDMA Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana last week and, as usual, took in all the knowledge we could from the seminars, enjoyed seeing friends, and dined on some great Cajun cuisine. The QDMA Convention was intertwined with the Louisiana Sportsman Show being held at the Dome.

Friday we visited the expo before the floor got busy with attendees. We found a few products to field test and a few to take to the field with us this fall, the Chameleon Blind, Texas Wildlife Feeders, and the new Sitka Gear ladies line. It was nice to walk around the expo before it got too busy, however…it also was the perfect environment to have had “too” much time to stop and ponder on a big purchase.

As we walked our first isle and took a turn, there it was, in all its GLORY!! It was like a beacon was shining down on it. It was at that moment that it “spoke” to me. Yep, loud and clear…while every noise in that huge dome went silent, it was like French horns and harps played softly in the back ground as the glimmer on the “Metallic Titanium” danced like fairy dust in the air. I was speechless….only for a moment, of course.

1Right there on the corner, sat a 2017 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FX Ranch Edition and I felt like I just had to have it. It was begging to be named, to come live in Alabama, and join the ranks of our adventures. I could have sworn it blinked its LED lights slightly, just enough for me to notice, like Herbie the Love Bug did in the movie. Did it…wait, what, did it just….? It was almost like it cast a spell on me–pleading to take Hank the HuntVe’s place in the shop.

Hank the HuntVe……OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASkreeeeechhhh…. HANK the HUNTVE! Aw man, bittersweet. The memories this cart has shared over the years. The hunts we have shared together with so many riding around on Hank the HuntVe. The wildlife we have snuck up on in Hank. The turkey that we closed the distance on without those wise birds ever knowing we were hunting those woods. Could it be it was time to part ways with Hank the HuntVe…upgrade to more of a workhorse?

101_0467Could it be it was time to part ways with Hank the HuntVe…upgrade to more of a workhorse? This new cart was a WORK HORSE…what a bed it had on it. The salesman told us we could put 1,100 pounds of feed sacks in the bed of it…ELEVEN HUNDRED POUNDS!! It has a sealed stash box! Two cup holders! Still pretty plain from others that sported stereos, speakers, and tons of other features we wouldn’t need for farming and hunting. I sat on the seat…the passenger seat of course…WOW! I could have sworn it already had my butt indentions memorized. I even heard it whisper its name to me…more on that later.


But, as excited as I was about the possibility of getting a new work horse….there was Hank….Hank the HuntVe. So, as I sit here thinking about advertising and parting ways with Hank the HuntVe and as we discuss its history with a new possible buyer, a flood of emotions, memories, and many miles of woods across the nation run through my mind. And, although it is not a done deal and we haven’t signed on the dotted line, my thoughts swirl as I say under my breath, “IT HAS BEEN A FUN RIDE, HANK….”





Our trip started off with a low tire when we left home this morning. Cletus had evidentially picked up a bolt on a job site the previous day and we were not going to be able to make the one-hour commute into work without adding some air until we could get Cletus by Don Duncan’s All-American Tire. Nathan Woodring quickly assessed the situation, located and removed the bolt, patched the Cooper S/T Maxx-Armor-Tek3 tire, put it back on Cletus in record time. It was a relief that Mister found the bolt and the computer on Cletus told us we had an issue before we started out on this trip.

I can’t say that the workday crept…it was 3:30 p.m. when I finally was able to take a minute to evaluate the amount of work I had left to do versus the amount of time I had left in the “concrete jungle.” The last 1.5 hours flew by! As Cletus’ diesel motor turned over and started purring, we found ourselves strategically placing the last few items we had left to load in the cab of the truck. Snacks directly behind the console, bag of ice in the cooler behind my seat, a roll of paper towels behind the driver seat headrest, my computer bad at my feet…it all becomes second nature when you have shared over 450,000 miles on the road hunting together over the last 10 years.

The fancy box in the dash where the crazy lady lives!

I plugged in our destination into the square box mounted in the dash, Big T Motel in Tarkio, Missouri, and the “crazy lady that lives in that box” politely told us that we would reach our destination 14 hours from the current time. We were on our way!

One of our favorite authors, James Patterson.



I have spent many hours in the passenger seat typing, editing, uploading photos and even paying bills, shopping on Amazon. Some time in this 14 hour stretch, I have some typing for a women’s boot article that needed to be completed. But first, i was responsible for the entertainment of the evening. I put an audiobook on, James Patterson’s 11th Hour, and cranked up the sound and we were settled in for the long haul.



One of our favorite snacks on the road; Club Crackers, squeeze cheese, & Wisconsin Beef snack sticks. 

After a stop for fuel at the Love’s truck stop, it was time for a snack. We have eaten many meals in the cab or on the tailgate of our truck–I have to admit, we have shared some of our favorite meals together there. Tonight, captain wafers, cheddar can cheese and jerky snack sticks. Okay, maybe not the healthiest of all snacks but surely much better than some of the alternatives while on the road.

Catching up with friends on social media is probing that this unseasonably warm weather is putting a damper on deer movement. We can only pray that we made the right decisions on the dates we picked and have chosen some good ground to hunt. This is what makes Do-it-Yourself hunts exciting; you never know what will unfold on the trip. As we made our way through Nashville, I can feel my shift at the wheel coming up in a few hours so I better catch me a nap. If you are hunting this weekend/week, good luck to you, safe travels and remember to ALWAYS wear a safety harness.


Researching on Google Earth, land maps and other mapping apps.

We were really disappointed that we didn’t make the Kansas draw in our favorite unit for this fall. It didn’t take but half a day of sulking about it for us to come up with PLAN B. We got the calendar down off the wall, pulled up Google Earth on the computer, and the Missouri Department of Conservation website and started brainstorming. There was a long weekend coming up and if we were going to hunt unknown area and if we were planning for success, it had to be scouted.

Narrowing down our search to the northwest counties of Missouri, Mister researched, gathered information about each area from social media, maps and from MDC personnel–the research was done and now it was time to gather our maps and data and hit the road over Labor Day weekend and do some scouting.



Confined to the cab of the truck…but I am on the mend.

Unfortunately, I was not much help to Mister with the scouting. I was on the mend from a torn ligature from the bottom my hamstring that attached just below the front of my knee on my right leg. I had a brace; which quickly was no help after extended walking because my muscle fatigued and I felt I was having to do struggle harder just to climb the sloping hills of the first 5,000-acre property that we looked at. After a few stops and a couple leg brace adjustments, I told Mister that I felt I was doing my leg more harm than good since it was just recently starting to feel much better–either from rest and icing or from the flood of anti-inflammatory medicine I was taking. The fact that I was less than a week from leaving for the 5th Annual Double Deuce Ranch Ladies Archery Hunt also played a major factor in my decision to sit out on the rest of the scouting. Being confined to Cletus was the perfect opportunity for me to do a little research on local hotels/motels, laundromats, grocery stores, and gas stations; and make a few calls.



Checking Google Maps, paper maps and after scouting the first hunting area. 

We started this trip with five areas of interest and we narrowed it down to three. Ultimately, we were really impressed with two of the three areas. I was extremely excited about one that we stopped at…I actually saw the largest deer tracks I have ever personally witnessed. I have seen hog tracks this large but the track was actually almost as large as my entire hand and just as wide. Not just one set of tracks, this buck had laid down a trail in that particular area. The area was nestled between a soybean field and a corn field. Granted, the movement of these deer will change anywhere from slightly to drastically after the crops were harvested and the rut kicked in–but I knew what area I wanted to be in.





Some of our most memorable meals have been in the cab of the truck or on the tailgate.

We stopped at the town closest to the areas we had chosen to hunt and stayed at the only motel in town, the Big T Motel. The motel being older and limited to less than a dozen rooms, I made sure to book our room in advance for our hunting trip. I did the research, found a not so local processor for several reasons. First, with limited time, it only makes sense to have someone else do the labor so that we could be back out in the field hunting and doing some photography and filming. Secondly, because earlier this year Alabama enacted a ban on the import of deer carcasses from states where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been confirmed. If we were planning on mounting a buck if we were successful, the deer needed to be completely capped out and the skull plate with antlers only. Unless European mounting and then it needed to be completely cleaned. That was going to take the expertise of someone else leaving us more time to scout, hunt, and film. Everything we needed was right there within easy access: lodging, fuel, grocery store, and a few restaurants.

The scouting was done, the motel booked and we were on our drive home with a plan in place. Next, the washing, drying, and packing begins…




We found a plethora of new products on the ATA 2016 showroom floor and are excited about taking many of these to the field with us and publishing product reviews in the coming months. Which products will you be putting on your “WISH LIST” for this fall? There are so many great products to choose from. Click on the links below to see what we found of interest…there were many that we have yet to mention.

New Products at ATA, Part 1

New Products at ATA, Part 2


The Archery Trade Association Show is always an exciting show to attend for the media. We get a first-hand look at some of the years new releases in the archery/bowhunting world. This year was no different. I found everything from new crossbow cases, technology, electronics, hunting clothes, scent destroyers…you name it, it was there on the show floor.

I had so many favorites that I found and have many of those promised for future product reviews that I cannot wait to share with you. Some of these products will not release until late spring…and the anticipation is killing me. I will be sharing any published works right here on my blog in the coming months.

A sneak peek of a few of the items I will be sharing:

C280-Front-500x500The Lakewood Products Drop-In Crossbow Case is going to replace the humongous and somewhat cumbersome crossbow case that I currently own. The Drop-In Crossbow Case is a convenient, top-loading, stand-up design case that conveniently fits when packing. The soft-sided hard case offers maximum protection to your crossbow with designated areas for a loaded quiver and 18 additional bolts. The case measures 11.5″D x 37″L x 26.25″H and incorporates built-in wheels for easy transportation. This case is airline approved with zipper tabs that allow for a lock for secure travel. Made in USA with a Lifetime Guarantee. The case has an MSRP starting at $299.

ironMan14I hunted with a crossbow this season because of a shoulder issue and found it somewhat troublesome in un-cocking the bow each evening after the day’s hunt. Having to travel with our practice target in the back of the truck, unloading it to un-cock my crossbow, loading it back up for the next day. My problem is solved with the BIGShot Targets Iron Man 14. The Iron Man 14 measures 14″ X 14″ X 8″ and weighs 14 pounds. The triple compressed military fiber and ever-last nylon target face is rated at 450 fps for crossbows.  The Iron Man 14 is perfect for travel when a practice shot is critical in making sure your crossbow is still on and to discharge your bolt at the end of the hunt. The BIGShot Targets Iron Man 14 has an MSRP of $34.99.

Muck Boots ArcticThe new Muck Boot Company Ladies Arctic Hunter boot in Realtree Xtra definitely was of interest to me because of the issue that most women complain about not having enough calf room once they tuck their pant leg in during wet terrain or rainy conditions. The mid-calf design makes it possible to comfortably tuck in pant legs while hunting. As with all Muck Boot Company boots, the product is made quality materials and designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. The Arctic Hunter has an extended rubber exterior for durability in the field and 5mm of neoprene lined with warm fleece. The boot incorporates a dual density EVA midsole and slip-resistant rugged outsole for a comfortable and secure fit. The boot has a 10″ height with a back pull-on tab. For the ladies that don’t like pink on their camo, the Muck Boot Company Arctic Hunter only has a slight splash of pink on it.

Cirrus Hunt Vape TechnologiesThe trend of using electronics in the field is ever growing and it was evident by many of the new products I found on the showroom floor. One that got a lot of attention and was unique in its own nature is the Cirrus Hunt Vape Technologies Wind Indicator. The patent pending design detects the slightest wind or thermal currents with an easy to operate, one push, to expel a puff true vapor into the air. The small, lightweight unit requires a minimal amount of movement to operate and replacement cartridges are available. The unit is USB rechargeable and one cartridge holds thousands of puffs. This product will not be available on the market until later this quarter and an MRSP was unavailable at the time of this writing. Watch the video below to see how the Cirrus Wind Indicator works and to find out more information about this product.

Another vape product that was getting a lot of attention is the WyndScent Electronic Vapor Hunting Scent . Check out the informative video below for all the information and features of this product. This is a product I am looking forward to taking to the field with me next fall.

There were so many fantastic and useful products that I found and many that I will be writing about in the coming months as some of them release or as I am able to field test the products personally. Stay tuned to my blog for publication announcements and information about these great products and a plethora of other great products released at #ATA2016.

All photos and video are the property of the rightful owner and used within this writing as reference only in efforts of product exposure for these owners/companies.  Per the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, the products reviewed in this published material is an endorsement and the writer may have been compensated by “in-kind” or monetary payment to review the product. 


The Ladies in Camo rifle hunt with Rack Nine Outdoors brought ladies from Pennsylvania, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, North and South Alabama. Nine women participated in this hunt and four were successful at harvesting, another hunter took a shot at a wonderful 8-point and everyone saw deer, coyote, bobcats and/or feral hogs.

This hunt started off with a successful harvest within the first few hours of daylight….you can’t ask for better hunting than that. The fellowship was priceless, the food was divine and the lodging was cozy and comfortable. Terry Garrett and Doug Dressler were amazing in making this a memorable hunt for these ladies. We had a wonderful bonfire Saturday night and spent time sharing stories and laughs while sitting around it…we even attempted to sing a few songs. Talking Carl on Michelle’s iPhone definitely did a better job at signing…

Diane Hassinger harvested a nice buck on her first morning and went on to harvest a 130 pound sow her second day in the field; you can find her amazing and inspiring story, with photos, in my blog at

Jeanne Peebles harvested a big mature doe, dropping her in her tracks. Jeanne had several wonderful hunts in the shooting house she was in, getting to watch deer frolic in a water hole and several deer that came through her field. Hopefully she will write a guest post with some of her photos in the near future.

Jeanne Peebles with her big mature doe harvest. What a great shot...dropped her where she stood. Photo Credit: Terry Garrett, Rack Nine Outdoors

Amber Markley, our youngest huntress shot a doe on Sunday morning making a perfect shot at 248 yards…fantastic!! Just like her Mother, Shannon Markley, a dead-eye. Kudos to Shannon for raising Amber in the outdoors and mentoring her. Amber is accomplished beyond her years in the sport of hunting and we are so proud to have her on our hunts.

Amber Markley, the youngest huntress in the group, shot this mature doe at 240+ yards. Photo Credit: Terry Garrett, Rack Nine Outdoors

Jennifer McKinney had a nice 8 point visit on her Friday hunt, but was unable to make a successful shot. That happens in the sport of hunting and we all hoped that the buck would return and Jennifer would get another opportunity; but it didn’t happen.

Michelle Harmes was fortunate to see a small bobcat at her stand. She, however, was not lucky enough to harvest a doe or buck on this hunt. Hopefully Michelle will share her hunt with you through another guest post here on my blog.

Pat Hendrixson from Indiana had some does and a few young bucks visit her stand on this hunt but did not have a shot opportunity at anything she wanted to harvest. I was hoping that Pat would have the opportunity to harvest a bobcat; which she has wanted since I have known her.

Tammie Knopp experienced her first stalk hunt on hogs on Saturday. Tammie said, “Oh my gosh! I was so scared and excited at the same time. I can’t wait to do it again!” Terrie Garrett, lodge owner and guide, told me that they were surrounded by hogs but were in very thick woods and just could not make a clean shot.

I, too, experienced my first stalk hog hunt on Sunday. I have to admit there is something very eerie about walking within 10-15 yards of a sow with piglets and other juvenile hogs all around them. You never know if a sow will charge you or not. I followed Terry as we walked, stopped and listened–following the sounds of hog movement and feeding. We got on a group of hogs within 45 minutes of the start of our hunt. We were in the woods with thick palmettos, various other bushes and very little clearing. I was thinking to myself that picking a shot in this type terrain is going to take skill and I would have to be ready to take the shot quickly and accurately.

At one point, we stopped and sat on a downed tree. Terry could hear hogs in the distance and he said we would have to close in on them slowly by stopping and listening and moving with them. We came to a good size wauler hole that had soupy mud and stagnant water in it. Terry explained to me that his son, T.J., had shot a hog earlier in the week and they tracked the blood trail to this mud hole. The hog had laid down in the mud hole, stopping up the wound and moved on. I have heard so many similar stories.

As we walked, Terry finally caught movement and we made our way to within 10-12 yards of several hogs. There was a large black hog and several juvenile hogs rooting through the leaves that had fallen on the ground. Terry asked me if I could take the shot. He told me to shoot it right behind the ear so we would not have to track it. I couldn’t get a good shot, so Terry told me to move over a step or two…I did and I saw a smaller hog snatch its head in our direction. Terry said, “Don’t move.” That little one will see you.

When the smaller hog walked forward, rummaging through the leaves with its snout, I had a clear shot of the black hog…however, it was not going to be in the ear since it’s head was behind a tree; but I felt confident that I could make a good shot and it would not run far. I took the shot and the hog dropped where it stood.

The woods erupted with the sound of leaves scattering in every direction. WE WERE SURROUNDED!!! Hogs were running every where. Little hogs squealed as they ran into big hogs. Big hogs grunted as they ran over little hogs. A small red hog had crossed in front of the hog I just shot and Terry told me to take the shot. I shot under the hog and watched through my scope as it jumped in the air and took off running like a hot iron had poked him. He was gone in a flash. It was a clean miss.

I cycled another round into the chamber and Terry went to pointing…over there! There’s one! Just as I would raise the gun, it was gone. Terry pulled my coat sleeve in another direction; over here! See it? Shoot it if you can! Poof! It was gone as quick as it appeared. At one point he motioned to be quiet. We could hear the hogs circling us. We moved to one side and you could hear them move a quarter circle around us. It was almost as if they could hear our footsteps in the leaves, mistaking it for other hogs and were trying to come into the sound.

Terry said to me, “If I had a hog grunt, I could call these hogs in.” You can bet the next time we go stalking hogs he will have one–I will see to that. WHAT A RUSH!! We walked up to the hog I shot, a 120+ pound sow. Terry had the sow gutted quickly and he drug the hog to the edge of the road system so it could be picked up. We walked back to Terry’s truck talking about stalk hunting…I have to admit, I can’t wait to do that again. A total adrenaline rush.

My first stalk hunt on hogs was successful. A 120+ pound maiden sow.

By Sunday afternoon, several of the ladies had already left for their trip home. We had a small group at dinner and we reflected on the weekend and the fun we had. I told the ladies about a beautiful blue coyote that I had seen on one of my hunts and we all agreed that we needed to book a coyote and hog hunt in the next few months.

Another fantastic Ladies in Camo hunt…new friends were made, the food was divine, the fellowship was awesome and the hospitality that Terry Garrett and Doug Dressler of Rack Nine Outdoors showed us was outstanding. I cannot wait to hunt with these ladies again. Check out the announcement just posted for a hog hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors in February, 2012; don’t miss this opportunity to come hunt with Ladies in Camo at Rack Nine Outdoors.

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)

Driving up to Mountain View Plantation was amazingly peaceful and beautiful, the winding roads, the fall leaves, and the creeks reflecting the colors of fall. The scenery made me forget about how anxious I was to hunt, I couldn’t wait to see everyone and have a weekend of hunting and to try my skills at the Outdoor Competition that our outfitter had set up. I had been practicing but not nearly enough.

I pulled up to the lodge and immediately was struck by the view of the mountains than the feeling that I could totally live at this awesome place. Even before I got out of my car I saw the 5 station shotgun range, the 3D archery range, and the giant fire pit. I knew this weekend was going be amazing!

The Cheaha Mountains in the distance make for a beautiful view from the back porch of the MVP lodge.

I opened the door to the lodge and walked straight into a picture perfect lodge. Everything made out of natural stained wood, pool table, fireplace, deer on every wall……I must be sleeping or dead cause dang if this ain’t my kinda heaven!
Everyone started to get in and we all packed our stuff into our rooms. Bunk beds with pine cone bedspreads, it was a page out of a catalog!

The interior of the lodge was beautifully decorated with natural wood, wild game mounts, a cozy fireplace surrounded by comfortable seating and even a pool table.

We gear up and hit the stands, I was dropped off first and walked to my ladder stand overlooking a huge food plot with deer sign everywhere. The sun set on my hunt with no sightings of deer but the evening had just begun. Everyone came back to the lodge, some seeing multiple deer but no shots made. We sat down to dinner for the first of many amazing meals cooked by Stephanie.

Next was gathering around the campfire to hear stories of big black bear and cougars that roam not too far away. Perfect for making me paranoid for the next mornings dark walk to the stand.

The fire pit was a welcoming spot to share stories and laughs after the days hunt.

Early morning and the lodge is busy with everyone getting ready to go. We load up in the dark and get dropped off. Me again being dropped off first, in the most dark. I turn on my headlamp to red, preserving my vision and less scary to deer. I am walking slowly, debating how exactly I will defend myself from black bears in the dark with a bow. Just as I am about to turn to the path to my stand, the bush in front of me explodes and a creature emerges, running through the leaves! My heart is racing! I am ready to fight of the…..scan with the light, scan with the light, where is this thing and what the heck is it???

I see its eyes glowing red from my light, its in the road, its…its….its got long ears and a fluffy tail, its a dang rabbit!

I get in my stand, its still dark and wait for the sun to come up because I am freezing. I didn’t pack my cold weather gear because the temperature wasn’t bad but the wind was trying to freeze me to the tree. A small hawk almost lands on me but when I saw him flying at me I turned my head and he “put the brakes on” and had his wings out trying to back pedal. He landed on the tree to the left of me and tried to figure out what I was and so I squeaked at him and he flew a little closer. After deciding I wasn’t food he flew off, that was a great experience!

Not long after, a spike pauses at the edge of the field and walks out to eat. I wait for the next deer to come, as the spike was in shooting range. He ate for a bit and then walked off to the woods on the opposite side as silently as he came in.
No other deer came that morning so I climbed down to sit in the sun till my ride came.

Lunch was amazing and then it was time for the Women’s Outdoor challenge. We divided into groups and I went to the 5 stand shotgun first and got about 50% of my shots, not bad for my second time firing a shotgun. Next it was archery and I put the wrong pin on the pig and missed but made up for it by shooting a dead on bulls-eye on the deer. Next was bait casting and the were so small and cute compared to my giant catfish ones, it was an adjustment! I didn’t do well, got one in the circle. Finally it was time for the last round, shooting a tiny .22 with iron sites. It was hard and I aimed way too high and missed. Scopes are my friends.

Points wise I got second place and it was a ton of fun, I did a lot better than I thought that I would. I can’t wait to go again next year!

We all loaded up and went for our second afternoon hunt, I asked to be moved since everyone was seeing more deer than me. Unfortunately I forgot that I had switched to my field tips and didn’t bring broad heads with me. I had to hike back down for a total of a half mile of hill (both ways). I was asked by one of the guides if I had them and I thought that I did but the nap I took erased my memory. It had happened to a lady on the hunt the previous week so I feel slightly less bad about myself. I was able to get them on the phone before my phone died and they came and I ran in the lodge and they took me to a different place where I ended up seeing two large does cross the field but they were about 100 yards away.

Night came and more good food and fun around the fire. We found out that Kat had made an amazing shot on a doe at last light and they were able to find it easily after they came back and warmed up a bit just to make sure that they didn’t track too soon. Kat will have some great venison to eat and I can’t wait to hunt with her in the future.

Saturday night football got everyone in a good mood as we talked about the deer we saw and the days competition. We also got to re-fletch some arrows using Bohning equipment that Nancy Jo brought. Great stories were told that had my face hurting from laughing.

The final hunt morning I went out to the first stand from the night before and didn’t see any deer, just squirrels doing noisy squirrel construction.

After lunch of moose hotdogs(courtesy of my husband and his massive Alaskan moose) I went and practiced more 3D shooting and did some skeet but my shoulder was sore from shooting the day before that I only shot a few times.

For the last afternoon hunt I asked to be put at my second stand from the night before because it over looked a food plot and a corn field that still had some ears. The temperature was perfect but slowly cooled down, almost no wind but it was in my favor.
Suddenly I felt a chill come over my whole body and I knew that something was coming, sure enough to my right out popped a young doe followed by 3 more and the last one being the biggest. They were walking and eating getting perfectly set up for me to make a shot if they had just walked a little bit farther but the squirrels started barking at them so they walked into the corn field.
I could see the corn moving when they were eating the ears and they slowly made their way out and right in front of me just before last light, the largest dow was out front but her vitals were behind a branch that was just in my way. They were stopped and she was looking towards the road for what seemed like forever.

I was quickly loosing light and decided to go for it. I put my pin on her chest, I knew where she was because I had spent the afternoon ranging random parts of the field so I would know when the time came. I fired and they didn’t move till I heard a hollow thwack. Then they ran and kept running. It as a solid hit.

After a bit I climbed down still shaking from taking a shot and waited for my ride. We went back to the lodge to wait for the others since I didn’t see her fall. When everyone came we gathered up and headed to go look for her.
Unfortunately we found no blood. No blood and no arrow. With a downward facing shot at 35 yards it most likely didn’t exit and she may have only bled internally. Everyone searched high and low but there was just too many corn stalks and you can’t track when there is no sign.

We went back and I ate a late supper and joined the other ladies around the campfire. Some of the ladies left that night but others stayed and we visited till late in the night knowing that we were not hunting in the morning. I could hardly sleep knowing we were going to go out in the morning and look for blood in the daylight. I woke up very early and was able to see the sunrise on the Mountain and it was so beautiful. It was a very cold morning. The outfitter and I went and looked all over the frost covered ground, but there was nothing to be found. Disappointed but still at peace that we looked as hard as we could, I got back to the lodge and packed up.

I cannot wait to go to Mountain View Plantation again, I felt so at home there and felt like we were all family. It was such an amazing weekend in beautiful country that will I daydream about future hunts there for years to come. I was so impressed with the whole operation and how well they knew all of their land, they always set me up so the wind was in my favor and the stands I was in couldn’t have been in a better spot. They did everything in their power to set me up for success but with fair chase hunting you have a fair chance of nature having its own plans.

I want to thank Nancy Jo Adams and all of the staff at Mountain View Plantation for making such an amazing weekend possible.

My huntress friend, Carlee Magness from Okemah, Oklahoma scored on an outstanding buck last week and I wanted to share her story with my blog followers. Carlee had attended the Ladies in Camo whitetail bow hunt at Mountain View Plantation in October and had taken a shot at a nice 7 point. She had to wait until the next morning to locate the buck but it was not recovered.

I felt horrible for her because on that same afternoon she had found out that a tornado had ripped through her hometown inflicting damage to her home while her husband D.W. and young son, Cash were in the home. Here she was several states and several hundred miles from home when all of this had happened. Thankfully everyone was all right and there was just property damage. That was a tough evening for Carlee having to deal with the news from back home and waiting all evening to go back out in the morning to search for her buck.

Congratulations, Carlee!! I was SO EXCITED when I had seen that Carlee redeemed herself with this outstanding 9 point buck; SHE TRULY DESERVED THE HONOR.

With her permission, here is Carlee’s story:

Carlee Magness with her beautiful 9-point buck harvested with a rifle in Okemah, Oklahoma.

Before rifle season, I caught word of a Big Buck contest that the local check station was having and the day before opening morning I had decided to enter in hopes of winning bragging rights of bagging the biggest buck of the season! As I walked in the door with my work clothes, make-up, and freshly curled hair the clerk said “Can I help you?” I quickly said “I want to enter the Big Buck contest.” And I laid my ten dollars on the counter. The clerk kind of sneered ad said “YOU want to enter the contest?!” I smiled and said “yeah”, signed my name and left.

After hunting day and evening, I had seen some pretty good bucks but just couldn’t get a good shot. I passed up smaller bucks and thought…good things come to those who wait! My Dad had told me about a pretty good eight point that had been in a fight and wasn’t getting around that great and we soon nicknamed him Ol’ Gimpy.

One night after an evening hunt, Dad and I were talking about Ol’ Gimpy and he compared him to a pretty good looking buck on his wall full of trophy bucks. I shortly decided that Ol’ Gimpy may just need to be on my much smaller trophy wall.

The following evening I got off work a little late and decided all I needed for a trip to the woods was my camo coat, gun, orange safety vest and bullets; luckily they were in my vehicle from the previous hunt. I was off! I got all settled in my blind, patiently waiting for a big buck to make an appearance. About an hour before dark, something came hobbling out of the trees onto the wheat field that I was hunting. There he was; it was Ol’ Gimpy! I had decided to take a shot at him, feeling pretty confident even though it was about a two hundred and fifty yard shot and I had never shot that far before. BOOM!!! After the shot I soon realized that it probably was not a good shot by the way Ol’ Gimpy had suddenly managed a spring in his step and ran off like the wind. I quickly got out of my blind to see if I could find any blood; all the while knowing in the back of my mind I had probably clean missed him.

As I walked into the woods where Ol’ Gimpy ran, I searched for blood. I only found tracks where he hightailed it off of the wheat field. I was bummed! Not only because I missed but also because I was going to have to explain to my dad, who probably heard the shot, that I had indeed shot but there was no buck on the ground. Suddenly, I heard something about twenty yards in front of me. I was face to face with a gigantic buck! I knelt down and realized that my rifle was empty! I dug out another bullet from my pocket, struggling with my sling and my orange safety vest. Finally, I got my sling and gun off my shoulder and loaded my gun in what seemed like a second. I rose up slowly and waited.

There he was looking at me, my new trophy buck, a beautiful one hundred fifty-xix pound, nine point whitetail deer. All thanks to Ol’ Gimpy!

As of right now, I’m in second place for the big buck contest but I think I still showed the clerk at the check station that I AM a hunter, even though I AM a “girly-girl” ~Carlee Magness

Yesterday was Thanksgiving–a day to reflect on all the things you are thankful for. I was fortunate enough to spend the day on stand in the woods reflecting on every thing imaginable. I came to the conclusion that life may not always be what you imagined, but it is always a grand journey.

The post I placed on Facebook on our drive to Kentucky in the wee-hours of the night on Wednesday pretty much sums up my Thanksgiving thoughts:

“Be thankful for ALL things in your life…the hardships, the trials, the joys–for it is the hardships that make us strong, the trials that we learn lessons from & the joys that make us humble. I bought a ticket to this world the day I was born & I will forever give faith a fighting chance. Always believe in yourself & when given the opportunity–NEVER sit it out; especially for fear of failure. Failure is the opportunity to do it bigger & better. Life is short, you have to live it long. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, my friends–may your day be blessed with happiness & the renewal of faith in all the things currently in your life. {Special prayers for our Military families that are unable to spend the day together.}”

The hunting was pretty slow Thursday, so I had a lot of time to ponder things while on stand. Checking my email on Crackie, I had a few emails in reference to the Prois Award. I cannot express or put into words how honored and humbled I am to be a finalist in this competition. There are some really great women in the running and I would have never dreamed my name would have been one of them. If you haven’t had the opportunity, go to the website and peruse the candidates and place your vote. The voting is open until December 15th. Each woman hunter brings their own story to the competition and are such a diversified group of women. If the others feel like I do, they already feel like a winner to have made it into the top 12 finalist of the 70 participants….what an honor. See

For Thanksgiving Richard and I had a feast of venison sloppy Joes, Lays Classic potato chips, Little Debbie Nutty Bars and cokes from the hotel vending machine…all served on Chinette paper plates. We enjoyed it all the same.

Our Thanksgiving Feast: Venison Sloppy Joes, Lays Classic Potato Chips, Little Debbie Nutty Bars and Coke from the hotel vending machine.

We started Friday off with a early rise so that we would have time to get into the stand with plenty of time to spare–that went off without a hitch. It is awesome to have a system where everything works like a fine Swiss watch…but that is easy to do when your hunting partner/cameraman is your spouse. We know each other all too well. We were on stand for 3.5 hours and had seen about 8 deer, of which were 4 bucks…all of those sightings were before 7:30 a.m. By 9:30 a.m. I was eager to get down because we had discussed moving the stand we were in to the area where we had seen the majority of the deer traveling too. The deer were coming across a pasture on the right side of us and even across a ridge in front of us and traveling through a bottom and up another hill which was out of sight. Both of us had the feeling that we were not seeing all of the deer funneling through that bottom and we needed to be closer to that area–or at least at a different advantage point.

As Murphy’s Law would have it….the minute my feet hit the ground with an unloaded gun, 4 does were coming out onto the pasture. They heard me and took off snorting, blowing and flagging their tails for the entire woods to see. I heard Richard mumble under his breath something just barely audible. All I said was, “Dag-nab-it!!” At this point, three hunting trips in this same stand, I was ready to see new scenery. We did get the stand moved during the middle of the day. We had not planned on hunting the stand that afternoon but at the last minute decided to go sit in the stand because of a nice tall 10-point sighting in the adjacent pasture on our hunting property. Besides getting in the stand this afternoon meant that the camera arm and other items would be in place for the morning hunt making it a lot quieter for us to get in the stand.

We didn’t get settled in the stand until late so we only had a 2-hour sit. My hopes were renewed when within the first hour a nice 8 point came within 80-90 yards of our stand. I watched him for about 15 minutes in front of the stand and then watched him as he walked to the edge of the creek and back the way he came in…staying on our property. He is going to make a heck of a deer next year or within the next few years, if he can dodge the broadhead and bullet. He doesn’t know how lucky he was that today was not his day.

A nice 8 point that came by our stand. He will make a great future harvest in a couple years. (Bad photo quality due to a still of video footage captured just prior to losing filming light.)

Some time today I did something to my ankle. It isn’t sprained, but I have a pain that comes and goes under the inside ankle bone. I can walk normal about 10-15 steps then have to hobble about 20 only to get another 10-15 steps before the pain comes back. Very strange, but I am sure it something temporary. Getting back to the hotel room tonight, I soaked my ankle, then I wanted to get some heat on it…usually having everything you can think of, a heating pad is something that I didn’t have. NO PROBLEM. I found a pack of Toastie Toes in my backpack. I peeled off the back and stuck both to the area that was giving me the problem….it is amazing how well these things are working. MacGyver (who was my hero for years) would be proud of me. So, I am headed off to bed, with heat on ankle, hoping tomorrow is as good or better than today was—but regardless, I will be happy spending time 20 feet closer to Heaven in my front row seat watching the show.

MacGyver would be proud of me...Toastie Toes in place on my ankle. All should be well when I wake up in the morning.

As our annual hunting pilgrimage to the West comes to a close we can be thankful for the time we spent in the woods enjoying nature. It is always bittersweet when we head back South; thankful to be headed home for a little rest but sad to be ending our adventure.

Unfortunately we are on our way home without a harvest this year, however you can not measure the great memories made. How can one not be thoroughly satisfied sitting 20 feet closer to Heaven with a front row seat to the Show? That is what this journey is all about.

Our 9-day trip started off rifle hunting in Kentucky. After pulling our camera cards we didn’t have anything new so we decided to stay in the stand we had hunted on our earlier trip. We seen 3 young bucks and 6 does during our Saturday hunt. On Sunday, a wind advisory was issued four our area and the wind was absolutely terrible; it was so windy it was a struggle for Richard to pull the cameraman stand we were taking to Kansas with us. We decided to head to Kansas half a day early to bow hunt; leaving Kentucky at noon.

We were excited to be in Kansas—one of our favorite states to hunt. It was really looking good for us since on day one of our Kansas trip, we no longer had Hank unloaded and was on our way to the field to pull camera cards when our first sight was a nice big buck chasing a doe across the field in front of us. Later in the week, I sat in awe as I watched a young 8-point come into our set up looking for a fight after a rattling sequence; not only once but 4 times. On one of our last few days, we watched as a young 6-point approached our decoy in a submissive manner trying everything he could do, short of touching it of course, to get the decoy to acknowledge him.

A nice buck did come up behind us at 60 yards following a doe. I caught a glimpse of a doe over my left shoulder that was on a trail going straight to the field in front of us. I giggle about that buck sighting because of what happened to Richard.

When I spotted the doe, I whispered to Richard letting him know the location of the doe. His cameraman stand was on the right side of me facing opposite of the doe’s location. As soon as Richard seen the doe, we both stood up hoping a buck would be following her. At this vantage point, I saw the buck and I immediately whispered, “Don’t move, buck!” I gave the location of the buck, but Richard never had the opportunity to see the buck; a huge tree with two trunks directly behind us blocked it.

The buck that snuck in behind us but moved on before Richard ever got a look at him.

I tried several times to tell him and to motion where the buck was located without getting busted. All of the sudden I heard Richard’s heavy breathing. Then I glanced slowly over at him and only caught glimpse of his legs…they were shaking. Then I heard the shake in his voice when he asked me if I could still see the buck. I was concentrating on the buck when out of the corner of my eye I saw a few smaller branches shaking on the tree. I could not help but to silently belly chuckle. I could physically feel Richard shaking the tree.

The buck never did produce himself for a shot and when the doe turned back and trotted into the woods parallel to the field, the buck followed walking out of sight. I looked at Richard and said, “He walked out with the doe.” Richard let out some air and sat down. I asked him with a giggle, “You going to be alright.” He laughed and said, “I don’t know why I started shaking and got so excited like that.” He said, “Buck fever, I guess.” I laughed about it a few more times while in that tree that afternoon. I could physically feel and hear his emotion—I don’t know why I didn’t catch it and start shaking myself. What is so odd is he was behind the camera not the weapon and ironically he doesn’t get buck fever behind a gun.

The winds started picking up as the week progressed in Kansas. The forecast was not looking good for the weekend and although our deer camera photos where showing a few promising bucks, we had not seen much deer activity on any of our hunts. With the 25-30 mile an hour wind and the fact we were not seeing much rut activity or deer sightings, we decided to leave Kansas several days early, returning to Kentucky to rifle hunt.

The main frame 8 with G2 kicker while in velvet on one of our cameras set up earlier this year.

Beautiful Kansas main frame 8 with a kicker on his G2 out of velvet a few days before our arrival. This was a photo from Allen's game camera.

A Kansas 10-point that Allen got on his deer cam. This buck had a huge body...

Kentucky proved to have more deer movement, just not the deer we were looking to harvest. Sunday’s rain and thunderstorms found us packing up early and driving home. But before we left, we put out 5 deer cams to do a little scouting for us in hopes of a successful trip during the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday. Yep, that’s right..3 days work at our full-time employment, a night of washing and drying hunting clothes, a 7-hour one-way trip and we will turn around and do this all over again. Some call us crazy. Some say we are obsessed. Others may say we are dedicated–we settle with simply “doing what we love and loving what we do.” Our Life in Camo is not about what we harvest. It is about enjoying the journey and making memories along the way.

What an exciting afternoon. The wind picked up during our afternoon hunt and we had not seen any movement at all. I was beginning to feel let down, unlucky or just plain bored. The afternoon light was quickly fading away and the temperature was dropping noticeably. I had already asked Richard a few seconds earlier if he was ready to call the hunt. He had replied, “Just a little longer.” So I patiently waited.

Just before we started packing up to come down out of the stand, Richard had decided to rattle a little. Shortly after he stopped and was waiting a few minutes to see if it had conjured up any interest, I heard something coming quickly through the woods just over my left shoulder. I whispered to Richard, “I hear something at 7 o’clock.” He nodded. Then I saw it. It was a nice 8 point buck, however, not what I came all the way to Kansas for. We watched as he came in looking for the fight. He walked a half circle around our stand set up. He lost interest and started to walk away, across the hay field.

I grunted and snort wheezed, more out of curiosity than for the dire need to have the buck return. The buck heard the grunt but moved on. The snort wheeze only stopped him for a split second. The buck kept walking away from us.

When the buck was a little over 100 yards away, Richard once again hit the rattling horns. The buck stopped so short, it was comical. It threw its head up, scanning in our immediate direction. It took off at a run back to our stand. The buck walked under our stand and circled it, returning to the hay field and once again started across it.

Richard rattled the horns in a short series and the buck came running in once again, this time to the left of the stand. It walked into the woods behind us and we could hear him rambling for a while before moving on.

I was absolutely amazed as to how the buck not only reacted to the rattling horns, but how it could precisely tell within 10 feet the exact area the sound came from. This was my first experience with rattling horns. This 2.5-year-old buck came in looking for a fight. Ironic, since I know he is not the biggest buck in the area.

Tomorrow we will have a decoy out and this should really be interesting if this young buck is in the area. The low tonight will be in the 20s with a high tomorrow around 46. The rest of the week will progressively get colder so we are looking forward to that. We have gotten several good deer on camera and have seen a few chasing so one can never tell what is going to happen this time of the season. Stay tuned for some updates. Good luck to those hunting this week.

Charles Johnston, Outdoor Editor with The Anniston Star, came by the Mountain View Plantation Hunt and shared some time with the group of ladies attending the Women’s Whitetail Bowhunt. We enjoyed lunch with Mr. Johnston and sharing stories with him while the the ladies competed in the Women’s Ultimate Outdoor Challenge.

Here is a copy of the article:
Credit to The Anniston Star, Outdoors Page 2D, November 6, 2011

The Anniston Star, Outdoors Page 2D, published November 6, 2011

Ladies, are you looking for great hunting opportunities at very reasonable pricing? I have been fortunate enough to find several outfitters who are excited about promoting women in the sport of hunting and giving women hunters the opportunity of some great hunts. Here is a list of hunts that are on the calendar. Subscribe to my blog to be the first to know when a hunt is posted. Click on the BLUE link to take you to the announcement to read the details of each hunt:

December 8-11:
Ladies Deer, Hog, Bobcat & Coyote Hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors, Barbour County, Alabama

I have 4 spots available on this hunt.

January (26)27-29, 2012
Ladies Rut Whitetail Rifle Hunt and Quail Hunt with Mountain View Plantation, Clay County, AL

I have 2 spots available on this hunt.

I am working on coordinating a turkey hunt, bear hunt and two hog hunts. Deposits are non-refundable. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to be the first to know about future hunts. Hunt hard, harvest ethically and may your drag be short. ~Nancy Jo

September 20th @ 7:30 a.m. I was checking my Facebook as I normally do every morning on my hour ride into work. I had a message in my inbox from my Facebook friend, Margaret “Maggie” Hammeke-Frisbie:

It read: “You need to go check out my 2011 Archery season opening day buck! Have a pic up on my page. Will be trying to get more this morning.”

I went to Maggie’s Facebook wall and I nearly passed out. No kidding, I instantly got chills. I saw stars for a minute and then I said out loud “GOOD GRACIOUS–HOLY SMOKES” and I let out a hardy WOOO HOOO!! The first photo I saw was this one.

Maggie and Richard Frisbie with the buck they coined "Splitter Buck" several years earlier. Maggie credits her husband for his encouragement to start bowhunting and his dedication to patterning this buck.

I had to know more, so I asked Maggie to tell me all about it. With her permission, here is her amazing story:

This story starts 5 years ago. My husband, Richard, and I had trail cams out and had gotten an interesting picture of a buck with split brow tines which we ended up naming “Splitter Buck”. My husband said, “if he lives long enough, this buck will be a giant one day.”

In the 2007 season, we again had many pictures of this buck–as well as many encounters with him. At the time, I was a rifle hunter and had this buck in my scope on several occasions but kept remembering what Richard had said about him.

The next season came and our hearts sank as we realized we weren’t seeing “Splitter Buck”. We often questioned and wondered what had happened to him.

In 2009, my husband had convinced me to try bow/archery hunting. Or at least try to shoot a bow. For many years I thought I knew what enjoying the outdoors and hunting was all about. However, I will admit that I use to have a tinge of jealousy when my husband would come home and try to describe what he saw and experienced while sitting in a tree stand. Seemed like he enjoyed sitting in a tree on a cold morning than staying in a warm cozy bed with me! Richard, though, was and still is a die-hard archery hunter. He literally could spend 360 days a year preparing, planting food plots, trimming trees out, setting out cameras, watching trails, glassing the deer and hunting! At times I have classified him as obsessed! So I gave into his urging and gave it a try.

He taught me well! November 3rd, 2009, I shot my first deer with a bow and it was the biggest buck I had ever shot. It was a typical 10 point that scored 167! What a rush that was! I was told over and over that I would have a hard time topping that deer!

Maggie's first archery buck harvested in 2009 scored 165"...every one told her she would have a hard time topping that buck...or so they thought.

The rest of my 2009 season was spent with a bow in hand chasing does and turkeys.

In the 2010 season, I sat many days watching the small bucks walk by. But it really gave me the opportunity to enjoy the many things that my husband had always talked about. I had changed locations and tree stands several times. Then one day something had caught my eye. While glassing around I had noticed a buck chasing a doe around. I immediately recognized this buck. Although he was busted up on one side, he definitely had the split brow tines. I texted my husband and he thought I was imagining it.

The next day Richard was out scouting and saw 3 giant bucks chasing a doe. Sure enough, it was “Splitter Buck”! Although he was nearly 4 miles from our hunting property, he was still alive…AND HUGE!! A couple of weeks later Richard checked the trail cameras and there was a picture of “Splitter Buck” back on the property and it showed the broken tines. We both had hopes that he would survive the hunting season and vehicles to make it to the 2011 season.

In mid-June, Richard started working food plots, trimmed out trees, started scouting for new possibilities of where to put in tree stands and glassing. One evening while watching some deer from a hill top I noticed a large buck walking across a field of wheat stubble. Richard looked and it was a GIANT! His next words were, “It’s him! It’s Splitter Buck!” So the next day he set up a camera and got the 1st pictures of him within hours. Over the next 3 months we were getting pictures of him regularly. He did disappear a couple of times and after studying the trail cam pictures Richard realized it was during the full moon cycle and would return 10-12 days after.

Back to the drawing board about where we could put up tree stands strategically. September 5th was the last time we had pictures on our trail cam of “Splitter Buck”. Is he following his pattern? Was he hit by a vehicle? Youth season opened and still we saw nothing of him nor had we heard of any youth hunters shooting anything large. He has escaped us once again for yet another season!

On September 19th, opening day of archery season had started off with much anticipation and hopes as to what would come out in front of me. We had decided that Richard would sit in his strategically set tree stand while I would be a quarter-mile north of him in a ground blind.

I truly love a morning hunt. I think it is one of the most magical time of the day! If a person listens carefully I swear you can actually hear the sun rise. The distant sound of the turkeys as they fly out of the roosting areas, the various birds are spreading their wings and the scurrying of mice out in search of a small morsel. As shooting light starts to become clear it is confirmed by the eruption of gun fire from the wildlife area and wetlands 1 mile away from where I was sitting. Movement caught my eye to my left and a nice large doe walked out in front of me. As I reached for my bow I once again caught movement and following her was a small reddish colored fawn with very distinguished white dots on it. The doe was safe for this hunt.

Having heard the turkeys earlier I knew it wouldn’t be much longer before they would make their journey across the pasture. With that thought in my mind, here they came. A total of 21 young turkeys and a couple of hens. The young turkeys were very curious to what was different with the blind I was sitting in. Then the fawn decided to entertain itself with the turkeys which in itself, entertained me but also gave me the opportunity to set my bow back down. The fawn, realizing that the doe did not stop to wait for the play time, ran to catch up with it’s mother leaving the young turkeys to look for something to forage. They were all out in front of me at about 40 yards when I had looked down at my cell phone to make sure I had not missed a text message from Richard. When I carefully looked up every head was watching me. Slowly, every young turkey were descending towards the ground blind!! Standing within 5 feet of me they were finally summoned to continue with the hens through the tall grasses and cedar trees of the pasture.

The next hour and a half proved to be quite boring and uneventful. After meeting back up with Richard, we discussed what we each had seen that morning. He had a few small bucks come in and that was it.

As the afternoon approached we were discussing the calendar of events that I had scheduled and how my hunting time over the next couple of months would be limited Richard decided I should take the stand he had sat in that morning and he would sit elsewhere. We knew there had been a descent buck coming into that area pretty regularly every evening.

As I sat in the tree there was a slight breeze coming out of the south/southwest blowing directly in my face. With my gear all ready and my ThermaCell lit, I was ready for anything that walked out if front of me!

After about a half hour I heard a deer snort and blow. About 5 minutes later there was another snort and blow. I wondered what might be out there that they didn’t like. Perhaps someone hunting to the south of me? Based on the wind direction it could be a possibility. I was confident that after all the precautions it couldn’t be me. I was so scent free! I stood up, heard something directly to the back of me and peered around the tree and there stood a decent 8 pointer with his nose straight up in the air….. Then he blew hard and whirled around and ran! SERIOUSLY? As I turned around and looked straight ahead the breeze was still hitting me out of the southwest with an occasional touch out of the west.

Looking at my surrounding, I am in a bowl like opening. As the wind was coming in it was actually swirling around me then going to the east of me right to several main trails. Oh wow, what should I do now? I starting thing, I really didn’t want to ruin a good hunting spot. I took my arrow out of my bow and put it back into the quiver. Richard has worked so hard especially in this area – I can’t ruin it for him! I grabbed my sling and put my bow into it and fastened it in. I thought to myself that I should let Richard know what I am doing. I reached into my pocket and got my cell phone. It’ was DEAD!! REALLY? I stood and looked around and thought, “What would he be telling me to do now?” I let out a sigh!

I took my bow back out of the sling, took my quiver off and took 1 arrow back out and notched it. So many doubts running through my head but I just wasn’t sure of what I should be doing. As I slowly sat down I spied a hoof below a cedar tree. Then to the north of me I saw 2 deer walking thru some thickets. Finally, a sign. I knew their trail would run them back to the south and straight in front of me. I reached over a lifted my bow off the bow holder and slowly stood up. All I could see now was the occasional hoofs under the thick foliage of tree branches. As they stopped, I could finally make out a small fawn’s head. It really was looking nervous as I could see it smelling the air and stretching it’s head as though as it was trying to look over some bush, then lowering it’s head to peer under the bush. I thought to myself, “Come on, just walk on in and bring those behind you through as well! Let me see you all!”

Finally, the fawn started to walk through and slowly the doe did as well. Now behind a tree I waited for them to walk past the tree and into the clearing. Suddenly, it sounded as though a tree had fallen over just to the south of me. As I looked over, through the brush and fallen tree branches, out walks “Splitter Buck”! “Oh My God–he is HUGE!” He turned towards me and started eating grass 13 yards right in front of me. “Oh “my goodness, what should I do? This is the buck my husband wants so bad!”

I watched and secretly wished he would turn and give me a shot! At that moment he turned in one swift movement leaving me to watch his back-end. He stood there looking at the doe and fawn then lowered his head to graze once again. “Please give me some kind of good shot!!” I looked at the doe, the fawn and then, him. I started to draw back on my bow. “What is Richard going to say if I do shoot him? It has been the only buck I have seen today!” At that point I could see just how old he really was. His eyes, the roman nose, and his back gave away his age. He took 2 steps to the side with his back legs giving me a hard quartering away shot. It was almost as though I could hear Richard teaching and telling me again… “Aim as though where you want it to come out at”. I took one big breath and as he lifted his head I released my arrow.

As he dug into the soft sand and turned to run I could see my fetching on my arrow still in his side! He and the doe both turned to disappeared into the thick timber. I don’t even remember where the fawn went to. I was still focused on where my trophy went to and listened intently hoping to hear him crashing in the timber. I sat back down and then I started shaking from my stomach outward realizing I just shot a buck of MY lifetime! I reached over and gathered my equipment and packaged it back up for a 2nd time this evening hunt. I wanted so badly to go out and check the area where I shot him at but decided with a dead cell phone that I should just back out and go get Richard.

Halfway down the trail to Richard, my heart sank a little as I was going to have to tell him exactly what he would not want to hear. I gave a whistle to him to warn him I was there. As he approached me, he said I looked in total shock. When he ask what was wrong, I instantly started crying and told him that I had just shot “Splitter Buck”. I could see the disappointment in his eyes. Then came the usual questions; …shot placement? …direction of travel? etc…

When we got back to the place, I showed him where “Splitter” was when I shot him and found his tracks. Looked around for any sign of blood but found nothing. After walking in circles for a couple of minutes Richard finally found the arrow. The buck had circled around a tree which was obscured to me and ran back north. The arrow he left was missing the broad head and was bloody all the way up to the fletching. So Richard took up the trail and was finding little blood but could definitely tell we were on his tracks. We tracked for approximately 30 minutes thru some of the nastiest thickets and timber ever! Finally after tracking a steady blood trail we rounded a tree where we found him piled up into a thorny thicket – he had run approximately 100 yards from where I had shot him. What a relief!

Maggie Frisbie's outstanding 2011 Archery buck coined "Splitter Buck" for his double brow tines.

Although Richard tells everybody he knows just how proud he is of me, I still can’t help but feel a little tinge of guilt for shooting this buck that I am sure Richard had dreams of in his sleep.

Technical Info: Green score 189 6/8”. Shot at 17 yards, with a Matthews Z7 Bow, equipped with an HHA 5519 sight and a Rip Cord Code Red rest, using a Gold tip Hunter XT 3555 Arrow tipped with a 100 grain NAP Hell Razor Broadhead.

Moral of the story: For those that told me I wouldn’t be able to top my 167” buck–NEVER tell a woman that she CAN’T–especially a woman with a bow in her hand!!

All photos in this entry are courtesy of Maggie & Richard Frisbie.

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