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Teresa McCullough, the owner of Lady Bowhunters on Facebook, shares her experience from this past September’s ladies hunt. Teresa and I have spent all six of the annual hunts at Double Deuce Ranch in Powersville, Missouri owned by the Helbing Family. We have shared some really great times, as well as some lows. Teresa is always encouraging the ladies who join us at the ranch to make the hunt their own and enjoy themselves. Here is Teresa’s

Ladies, if you ever have a chance to hunt at the Double Deuce Ranch, DO IT! This is an annual all ladies bow hunt. This place is absolutely AMAZING! It’s a five-star lodge with comfortable accommodations and delicious meals served family style. The Helbing family make you feel like friends from the moment you arrive. The deer are plentiful and land is breathtaking! The properties have several lakes to fish in on your downtime. We always have a fish fry with the fish that we catch on the ponds. One of the favorites is pizza night at their home that is decorated in African Safari; it’s simply beautiful!

I’ve been hunting at the ranch for six years now and I will never miss a chance of going back. I love this place and often tell people if I run away, you can find me there. Upon arrival at the Double Deuce Ranch, you will be greeted by the Helbing family, who will help you unpack your vehicle and will set you up in a room at the lodge. You can shoot your bows at the range to make sure everything is sighted in for your hunt. They take the time to show each hunter around and to show us our stands and the layout of the land and lakes. Again, it’s beautiful!

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As we all arrive and get to know each other we sit down for a home-cooked meal. The next morning, we begin our hunt. My first morning started out to be a good one. I walked to my stand that first morning in the dark, with all ten flashlights in my pack. Yes, I’m a bit chicken of the dark; but this year felt different. I wasn’t as scared. Now, mind you, I’ve been bow hunting for over 35 years and I still hate the pitch dark, but I am getting better.

As I made my way to my stand, climbed it, and got all set up waiting for first light, I began thinking back at all my hunts here. It sure put a smile on my face. As the sun peeked out, I began ranging my shots. The typical this tree, that leaf…I do this all morning because I forget my yardages. Does anyone else do this? As I sat there I saw deer legs through the trees. I watched them make their way to the food plot. I noticed three deer, one being a fawn, which now left me figuring which doe went with the fawn. As I ranged them again, and again, they made their way closer. By this time I had the big doe at forty yards, and I thought to myself, “that is close enough.” As I settled in and placed the pin on her, I squeezed my release and I let an arrow fly. She ran less than forty yards and dropped in the CRP. I knew she was down and the other two deer assured me she was where I last saw her.

I text Ben and told him I shot a doe. Ben asked, “was it a good hit?” I replied, “yes!” He said he would be there at 9:00. I got my crossbow ready to shoot again, just in case a buck stepped out, but a buck never did. Shortly, I saw the guys coming and as I sat in my stand I explained to Ben and Mike where the doe was the last I saw her. I climbed down to help in the retrieval. They found my arrow right where she stood. The arrow wasn’t covered in blood, in fact, there was very little blood, but from my past shots with a crossbow, it was the same. We began to look for blood and found a lot on the ground. We walked about five more yards and there she was. It is always nice to get your first deer of the season!

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I have been hunting over 35 years, always shooting a compound bow, but when Missouri made crossbow legal last year I decided to buy one. At first, I hated it, because I could not pull it back to cock it, my groupings were awful. After getting a new scope, custom blots and a crank to cock it, I am much more comfortable with it now. A love for hunting doesn’t mean that you or I have to shoot a compound, a recurve, a long bow, a crossbow, or a gun. It is your choice of the weapon you choose. That is not what makes us a hunter, it is YOU! All the time spent on practice, food plots, hanging stands, the list goes on. So ladies, don’t get discouraged, we all miss and sometimes wound an animal. That’s not what we want, but it happens. Get back out there and keep at it. Never let anyone say you can’t do something because YOU CAN! We are all hunters and proud!


Next year’s hunt is already on the calendar, the dates are September 13-19, 2018, the hunt is $1,100 and includes lodging, meals, and all the pond fishing your heart desires. The license is $225 and includes a buck, a doe, and two turkeys. A 50% deposit is all it takes to hold your spot. There are eight women signed up for this hunt with a few spots available. If you are interested or need additional information, please contact Nancy Jo Adams at turkeygypsy@gmail.com. Come join us for an amazing hunt and a lifetime of memories.

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I have had the opportunity to share hunting camp several times with Christy Turner. We share memories of two hog hunts in Mississippi at Bubba Ledbetter’s hunting camp; the first annual and second annual ladies hog hunt.  We shared turkey hunting camp in Oklahoma hosted by Carlee Smith. Tommie Lee Clanton hosted a deer hunt in Mississippi that I snuck in on; what great memories we have. This hunt was not any different. Here is Christy’s story.


Dear Diary…

It all started Wednesday morning, right after I had dropped my kids off at school. I made a mad dash home trying to do a hundred things at once so I could get on the road. I was sweeping floors, washing dishes, putting up clean laundry, bought extra toilet paper, bread, milk, cereal, dog food, and cat food. There! The husband, kids, and pets should have the essentials for the week that I will be gone. Finally, over packing the truck with all the hunting gear I own. I cranked the engine, plug the address into the GPS, and in eight hundred and four miles I should reach my destination. I turned the air-conditioning on full blast as I start down my driveway; because now I am a hot mess. Henderson County Texas was in the mid 90’s already before noon. I’m ready to travel north, and to hunt a Monster Missouri Buck!

My cell phones GPS got me all the way to Powervilles Missouri and informed me I had arrived at my destination, 140th street. I knew I must have a little further to go down 140th. I took a left on what looked like a hidden driveway. I wasn’t sure if I was pulling up to someone’s house or driving down a caliche road. Since I didn’t pull up to a residence, I just followed the road around corners, up and down hills, across bridges and railroad tracks. At the top of one of the hills to the left was a black pipe entrance that read, “Double Deuce Ranch come as guests and leave as friends.” I finally made it!” I pulled down the long driveway with rolling pastures and fields on either side.

I was greeted as soon as I stepped out of the truck by Ben and his brother Jacob. Then by their father and owner Mike. They were super friendly and polite and insisted on grabbing all those bags I packed and had me follow them into the lodge. Inside was Mike’s wife, Karen, and the other six ladies that I would be sharing camp with. We all introduced ourselves and gave each other hugs. This was the beginning of our lifelong memories being made on our new adventure together.

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My alarm clock went off that next morning, and I jumped straight up as if it were Christmas morning and I was five years old. Everyone was already in the kitchen sipping coffee, and we were all ready to head out for our first hunt. The excitement and positive energy in the room were contagious and so refreshing to absorb. Ben dropped me off at the gate that leads down to the tree stand I would be sitting in. I didn’t even need to turn on my flashlight I could see the freshly mowed path with the moonlight. I walked straight to my stand and climbed up and got all situated. I had taken my binoculars and rangefinder out of my backpack and had them sitting on the seat next to me. The sun was just starting to come up, but it was still too dark for my rangefinder to pick up any distance or for me to even read the range.

 

As I looked up from my rangefinder, a buck appeared looking right at me. I was straining so hard in the darkness to make out if he was a mature and legal buck. As I was squinting and straining my eyes, he began to walk straight to me! I was frozen in place as he walked all the way to the bottom of my ladder trainbridge (2)stand and looked right up at me! I was able to go, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and possibly a nine pointer and definitely a legal buck to shoot. As I sat there still frozen in place, he walked maybe ten yards away and turned broadside. Oh my gosh, could this get any better for the most perfect shot ever.

My mind was running a hundred miles an hour. What should I do? This was a nice buck, my very first hunt in Missouri; I had the whole week left to hunt. Don’t pass up a buck on the first hunt that you would shoot on the last, ran through my mind. I decided to make a decision, and I did not shoot. I just sat there staring back at him and thinking how amazing this hunt was already. It seemed like 15 minutes of us staring at each other motionless, he turned his head and walked off into the woods. I could finally move and take a deep breath. I text Ben telling him how excited I was, and that I had just seen a great buck. The sun finally appeared big and bright, and I had several doe and fawns walk in front of me. It was a great first hunt at the Double Deuce!

filmbuckEach time I went out to a stand, there was a lot of action going on. I had seen a monster buck through my binoculars, but he ranged in at a hundred and fifty-seven yards. I did not doubt in my mind he was a shooter buck! My heart started pounding, even though he was that far away. I was hoping and praying he would make an entrance and walk past me in the bottom of the creek that I was hunting. He never did, but the image of him plays over and over in my mind. I passed up several nice eight pointers within twenty yards of me because I was hopeful to see that monster buck again. I kept thinking to myself, I can shoot a nice eight pointer back in Texas. This was Missouri I was hunting, and I wanted a monster Missouri buck!

My last evening hunt, that phrase came back to me; Don’t pass up a deer on the first morning that you would shoot on your last hunt. Maybe I should have shot that nice eight on the first morning hunt. But you know if I would have that monster buck would have walked out in front of me at twenty yards and stood for fifteen minutes broadside, and I would have probably cried. Nothing had come out in front of me, and I could hear several Turkey going to roost for the evening. I thought man, my last hunt and I’m not even going to see a deer; I had so much action all week.

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Then all of a sudden through the window of the trees I see two, yes two monster bucks walk out of the tree line. My heart is already pounding before I even get my binoculars up. I can just tell they are shooter bucks without a doubt! My face mask was getting in the way, and I thought I just need to range them instead of taking my time to look at them through the binoculars. Seventy-six yards, the biggest of the two is in front at a steady walk up the hill. The second one stopped to graze for a few minutes. I was getting all prepared, hoping they would make their way to me or even come in behind me, I was ready. Finally, the second buck walked up the hill out of my view, and neither of them made their way to me.

I got down from my stand as it had gotten dark while I was waiting on those bucks to turn and make their way to me. I guess they kept going straight. My knees felt weak, and my heart was still full of excitement of just seeing those monster bucks. Ben picked me up and I learned that Rebecca shot a good eight pointer! We were on our way to pick her and her buck up! Rebecca made a perfect shot, and it was an easy recovery of her deer. I was so happy to be there to share in her success and excitement.

selfieMy last night in the Double Deuce lodge made me sad that I was going to have to leave in the morning. Mike, Karen, Ben, Jacob and the staff were so amazing. I felt so thankful that I got to meet this wonderful family. Everyone was so kind and hardworking. They were so respectful to us ladies and made sure we were well taken care of. I think I gained ten pounds from the delicious homemade food we ate all week. I am so grateful that Nancy Jo told me about this opportunity, it has been several years since I shared hunting camp with her and it was so nice to visit with her and catch up. Meeting the other ladies in camp, I know I have made lifelong friends. Getting to know each of the ladies on this hunt was very profound. I feel like God gave me this opportunity to meet some really amazing people and each one of them have truly inspired me. This wasn’t just a deer hunt; this was a rejuvenating, inspiring, blessed week that I will have with me for the rest of my life.

With a very grateful and full heart,
Christy Turner

 


 

 

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A beautiful double rainbow over Double Deuce Ranch.

My favorite hunt of the year has come and gone…but not without a rollercoaster of highs and lows. It started off with my gear bag ending up in Chicago, Illinois. As I was the last passenger at the luggage carousel in the Kansas City Airport watching one lone burgundy suitcase circle around for its eleventh time, I got a sinking feeling. I was fortunate of grabbing my Americase off of the carousel on its first pass; it safely held my Ten Point Crossbow. Raquel and Kim were going to be landing in the next few minutes in another terminal and I needed to let them know that I would be a little late getting to the rental car counters since I had to go to the Baggage Claim Office.

I took my iPhone out and it was off, definitely fully charged, but had no power. I could not get it to come on so I plugged it into my SnowLizard charger…NOTHING! I sat at a bench for a few minutes just to see if the iPhone would miraculously turn on. As I sat there, I thought to myself, “What a way to start a hunting trip.” As I sat there trying not to panic, I thought to myself, “I have my crossbow, my backpack that I have with me held my boots, my rangefinder, my binoculars, and my Ozonics. All I would need is pants and a shirt if it came to that.” I finally decided that my iPhone was not going to come on.

That is when I thought about my iPad, but without a iPhone hotspot, I had no internet service. I NEVER use public WiFi in places like airports and hotels; I just DON’T do it for good reason. I had to do the dreadful and sign on to free airport Wifi so I figured I would do it as quickly as possible. I sent a brief message to both ladies letting them know what I was dealing with, that I would be a few minutes longer, and for them to go ahead and meet me at the rental car area. I was successful in getting that message to them and I quickly disconnected from the dreadful, unsecured free Wifi. To make a long story short, the claim office was able to locate my bag, get it re-routed and it was promised to be delivered to me in Powersville later that evening. It was delivered as promised and what a relief when I finally had it in my hands.

After a delicious dinner and visiting with everyone back at the lodge I retreated to my room to prepare my backpack and gear for the next morning; our first morning of hunting. I was going to my favorite piece of ground and I was hunting a stand in the hardwoods. Last year I had a raccoon visit me in my stand with her baby in tow. She nearly came to the top step of the ladder before I got her attention and she slowly backed down; scolding me for taking her seat. This year, she left me TWO big piles of raccoon scat on the tree stand seat.

After getting settled in, I had such a peaceful morning as the sun started to rise. The first deer that came by were two spotted fawns. Nearly an hour passed before two mature does, two fawns, and two yearlings came to my stand, seeking acorns and eating tender browse. The fawns frolicked as the other deer fed. Finally, one of the does notice something didn’t look the same in the tree and she came closer to investigate. I was wearing my HECs suit and had my Ozonics on so I made sure not to make eye contact or move. She finally went back to feeding after circling the entire tree base. After of those deer moved out I had two other deer come through at varying times, one that actually bedded downwind of my stand in the high weeds. At 10:30 a.m. I decided to come down and I did so without disturbing the deer bedded just 30 yards away. Eleven deer my first morning, maybe my luck was changing.

img_3101-2After spending time at the lodge with everyone and eating a hearty brunch. I decided I would head back to my stand at 4:00 p.m., so I had plenty of time for a quick nap beforehand. When I woke up, I could hear a few people downstairs getting ready to head back out. I grabbed a bottle of water for my backpack and I was off to my stand. This afternoon I was going to sit in a stand on a newly placed greenfield. It had been several years since I sat in this stand, but I was anxious to see how well the deer used the new green field next to a huge Ag field planted in corn. I was not in the stand an hour when the first deer visited the field; a young 4-point. About thirty minutes later, a doe and fawn came to the field, followed by another doe ten minutes behind.  About 45 minutes before sunset, I had a young 4-point and a small 8-point come to the field. These two bucks were feeling their youth and started tussling in the field, sparring. I took a few minutes to video them. I put my camera up and decided I needed to sit still and really pay attention to the last bit of daylight.

img_3755-1-e1506069532288.pngIt was a good thing that I did, as I was staring at the wall of corn in front of me when I spotted movement on the trail to the right of me. A nice 8-point with good mass was walking up the trail and he stopped to eat clover just 15-yards from me. He was a nice buck, but this buck just didn’t give me that “OH SHIT FACTOR” so I decided to slip my iPhone out of the top pocket of my backpack at my knee and get a picture and video of him. As soon as I had a little clip of him and a few photos, I sent one of the still photos to Mister. I was holding my iPhone above my backpack pocket until I confirmed that the text was sent and Mister had received it.

As I was sliding the iPhone down into my backpack, I heard breathing under me. At first, it took me a second to realize what it was because I have never heard a deer breathing like that while in the stand 15-feet in the air. Then movement caught my eye, focused on the object, and immediately I thought to myself, “OH SHIT!” I instinctively placed my hand on my crossbow and moved it over in front of me as quiet as I could. That buck walked directly under and straight out in front of me. There was one limb hanging down and he was standing behind it. That gave me plenty of time to put my crossbow where I needed it, and switch the safety off. I shouldered my crossbow and got the scope situated properly. The buck stepped out from behind the branch as he turned to the left. When he cleared the branch and was standing textbook broadside, he saw the blob in the tree, the same blob that all of the deer had stopped at momentarily before going right back to doing what they were doing. When he glanced up, I could instantly tell he had a wide rack and he was definitely several inches outside of his ears. I focused back on the spot I needed to place the shot at, and I slowly pulled the trigger.

The sound of the impact seemed perfect, the buck and kick-out only provided visual proof that the shot hit the mark. I felt I did everything right and didn’t rush the shot. I watched the buck as he ran across the green field and went into the woods, I mentally marked the spot. There was a sound similar to a buck crashing into a heap just inside the leafy, briar thick woods. The 8-point I took a picture of and had text to Mister was standing just off the green field, looking into the woods where the buck I shot had entered. I quickly picked up my iPhone and called Mister:

Mister: “Hello.”

Me (whispering): “Did you get my text?”

Mister: “The one of the buck that you said didn’t give you the Oh Shit Factor?”

Me: “Yeah. BUT…..THE ONE I JUST SHOT DID!!”

Mister: “No way!”

Me: “Yep! He is a nice one with a split G2 and I believe a little junk. It happened pretty quick.”

Mister: “Did you get a good shot on him?”

Me: “I did everything right, heard the impact, he bucked up and ran off. I marked the spot where he went in the woods and I am pretty sure I heard him crash. I have a buck and doe on the green field that are still staring in that direction.”

Mister: “Good! I am excited for you.”

Me: “I have to text Ben.”

Mister: “Keep me updated.”

Me: “Hopefully I will be sending you a photo shortly.”

The 8-point was still standing there looking into the woods and remained there until I had all my gear gathered up and I was coming down the ladder. He finally ran off in the opposite direction with the doe following him. I felt pretty confident the buck was just inside the woods based on the actions of that 8-point buck and what I heard from the stand. When I had spoken to Ben, one of the guides, I told him to take his time because he was busy going around picking up the ladies to take them back to the lodge. About 30 minutes later, I saw headlights from the side-by-side. Ben, Jacob, and Caleb all jumped out of the cart as it rolled to a stop. I showed them the photo of the buck that I ha text to Mister and Jacob asked, “The buck you shot was bigger than this one?” I said, “Yes, and he had at least one split G2 and the other G2 is odd as well but I didn’t get a good look at it. I did, however, get a good look at him when he looked up at me before placing the shot and he is well outside his ears, but he does not have as much mass as this 8-point.” Ben and Jacob looked at each other and I think it was Ben that said, “We don’t have one like that on camera.” I showed them where the buck went into the woods. We started walking the green field and Caleb found the first blood. Within seconds we were on the trail.

We walked along the edge of the creek with me stopping and standing at the last blood to mark it for the guys. We found everything from droplets, to puddles, to piles of gooey thick blood with a matter in it. It wasn’t but 15-minutes when we came to the area where the buck crossed the creek; ironically in the steepest area he could, passing up several really easy spots to cross. Ben marked the crossing by hanging his ball cap on a tree limb. As we were standing there, they were shining their flashlights across the creek when one of them stopped on something that looked like weeds moving. I quickly realized it was the tips of the buck’s antlers. The buck was laying down and you could tell by the movement of the tips of his antlers that it was struggling to breathe with short breaths. At one point, it turned its head back as if licking its side.

“This is where we all realized
I had
made one huge mistake!” 

This is where we all realized I had made one huge mistake! We were standing 20-yards across the creek from a buck that seemed to be on its last air, bedded down, broadside to us, and my crossbow was sitting on the ground back at the side-by-side. With my mind thinking that the buck had crashed and would be expired just inside the woods, I didn’t even think about recocking my crossbow and carrying it in just in case we found the buck still alive, which was now the case. Ben told Jacob that we needed to go retrieve the crossbow quickly. We were about 150-yards from where my crossbow was at. As we got to it, Jacob got a text from Ben telling us to hurry because the buck was moving. When we returned, Jacob and Ben were on the move after the buck and they told Caleb and me to stay put.

They trailed the buck along the creek and tree line until the blood splatter ran thin and they reached the property line. They marked the spot and returned to us. We had one big issue working against us. This adjoining property was leased by out of state hunters and we could not search for the buck on that property until all the hunters were off the property. Being opening weekend, this would be Monday morning. In all fairness, this was bad for me but understandable. It was not fair to tromp all over the property that out of state hunters spent good money to hunt and especially on opening weekend. So now all there was to do was wait, and a long wait it was.

“A beautiful wide 12-point with split G2s and a kicker off of its right brow tine.”

img_3123-2Jacob checked the game camera that was on the green field since the buck ran right out in front of it after the shot. The camera did not get a photo of the buck crossing the green field but there was a photo from two nights earlier of the buck, up close and personal. It was definitely the buck because Ben had noticed it had a kicker off of its right brow tine. A beautiful wide 12 point with split G2s and a kicker off of its right brow tine. All I could do for two solid days was pray we found him on Monday morning and wait patiently. Whew, that was the LONGEST two days ever!

I went out one afternoon to turkey hunt and I stayed at the lodge the rest of the hunt, one afternoon I got to help make grizzly bear poppers for the group made from the grizzly bear Mike Helbing had shot in Alaska the week prior. These grizzly poppers were delicious!

 

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Mike Helbing’s beautiful Grizzly Bear harvested in Alaska.

 

As Murphy’s Law would have it, it rained twice during the weekend. Mid-morning we went out and walked the property, sticking close to the woods and creek line; we found NOTHING. Monday afternoon, it rained, but Mike got an inkling that maybe the buck made it through the adjacent property and could easily be on another small 80-acre parcel so we headed out again. We walked, and walked but found no sight of the buck or even a buzzard for that matter.

“I was heartbroken, defeated,
all of the air was knocked out of me.”

I was heartbroken, defeated, all of the air was knocked out of me. Not only was I feeling this way because it was a shame that we could not retrieve a buck of that caliber, but I was sad that I had inflicted pain on an animal that if it did not perish, it would suffer until it either perished or healed. That is a horrible feeling and leaves you numb. I really felt I did everything right. I felt the shot was good and the buck responded how so many before had that are now hanging on my wall at home. I was confused and numb, emotionally exhausted but I couldn’t wallow in my low point. I just couldn’t, I had other hunters at this hunt and I needed to suck it up, put on a good face and enjoy what was left of the 6th Annual Ladies Hunt at Double Deuce Ranch.

We had an amazing time, as usual, and there were several deer shot and processed and packed up for their trip home, including a really nice buck. I am so proud and happy for these ladies that harvested and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing camp with them. Most are returning next year for the 7th annual hunt–it’s a tradition now for many of us ladies.

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I can only learn from this experience, lay it down, and look forward to the next hunt which is already nearly booked. This was my first buck shot that I didn’t retrieve, as if that isn’t hard enough; it had to be a beautiful wide rack 12-point with split G2s and some other character–that is a hard pill to swallow. Maybe if he didn’t perish, they will see him again on game camera and put my mind at ease.

My double G2s at Double Deuce Ranch….a full hand of deuces, I guess that is only a winning hand in poker. Sigh!


Guest post by Rebecca Gicewicz

IMG_7584My Nebraska hunt with The Roost was a fantastic adventure with great friends. The hunting was physical, involving covering lots of ground and enjoying the unique scenery. The style of hunting was new to me as I am a fledgling turkey hunter. I did my best to keep up with our 6 foot 6-inch guide and his long, swift legs. My companions were good at coaching me a bit to keep me on track and improve my odds of harvesting.

On our second day of hunting our other two hunting companions were tagged out and it was up to Nancy Jo and I to close the deal. It was my turn to step into the batters box and we saw at least two toms in a field along the Middle Loup River. When we got into position the guide frantically whispered that TWO LONG BEARDS were coming in hot. Nancy Jo looked at me asked, “Do you want to try for a double.” I didn’t need time to contemplate that question, the answer was, “Let’s do this!”

MirriamsIn an instant, the gobblers were in view and Nancy Jo asked me if I was ready? I said, “YES!” Nancy Jo fired and I shot a second later. Her aim was true and mine not so much. I had a follow-up shot opportunity, but it was strike number two. There would not be a strike three as my gun jammed. Too much crawling through the dirt, I suspect.

So my hunting buddy harvested herself a beautiful Merriam’s turkey! I was happy for her but felt like I had let the guide, the cameraman, and my hunting partner down. I wanted that double! So with mixed emotions of celebration for my friend and frustration at myself I took a few minutes to regain my perspective and composure. Once all those emotions were sorted out I was ready to be up to bat again!

We went to a new spot and called in a few jakes who were ready to brawl. It was awesome to see their displays! Our next spot was a cut corn field that had four toms and two jakes. The stalk was on! Nancy Jo stayed at the truck while, guide Dustin aka Dirt, cameraman Richard aka Mister and hunter Rebecca aka Slugger went creepin’. We set up and the turkeys weren’t visible. Dirt called and finally a few gobbles cut loose and he whispered,  “Here they come.” My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking but I was ready for the fast pitch. The red heads crested over the berm and they were running into the decoy.

Two were Rios and one was a Merriam’s and Dirt desperately whispered, “The middle one, the middle one!” At about 20-yards, there was enough separation between the trio for a clear shot and I hit it out of the park. Woohoo!

Rebecca-Merriams

The other two turkey never skipped a beat they were looking to beat up on the tom that dared to encroach on their territory. They finally eased off and I was able to check out my bird. I was thrilled to be able to take in the beauty of that Merriam’s Tom. The intricacies of the feathers, the iridescence of its coloring. Being able to convert my swing and a miss into a single felt good!


As all of us converged upon the lodge of Misty Morning Outfitters in Alden, Kansas, we were chomping at the bit to get in the fields hunting some birds. When we were sitting around the fire pit the first evening, we found out we would be hunting by a method none of us had ever experienced….FANNING aka REAPING, a term the Turkey Reapers had coined for this style of hunting through their hunting tactics. I was excited about the challenge, however I was also somewhat nervous. My Beretta Xtreme was set up to be effective for extended range shots, not rushed close range shots.

Our first morning started off a traditional turkey hunt with locating a bird that our guide had roosted the evening prior. Mister stepped out of the truck and let out a owl hoot and the silent, moisture thick air was cut with a hard gobble in return. We all scrambled! Troy, our guide, was gathering up decoys from the back of his truck and was headed about 80 yards into the field just off the road to set up decoys. Mister grabbed his backpack, video camera, tripod and chair as Rebecca and I loaded our shotguns, slung on our turkey vests and followed in right behind Mister. We quickly found us some trees to nest up against.

Troy and the gobbler rallied back in forth for the next hour, but the tom never did commit to coming into the field in front of us. The tom stayed on the property behind us at about 80-100 yards…property we did not have permission to hunt. We finally called the hunt in this spot, pulled up the decoys, gathered our gear and headed back to the truck. As we drove by the field that was behind us, we had the opportunity to see this tom and his hens. This would not be the last time one of the Ladies in Camo hunters would tangle with this bird; read Rebecca Gicewicz’s guest post to see how she saw this bird up close and personal.

After riding around for several hours we did spot some toms in a field and tried our skill at “Reaping” but because there were four of us, one fan and a lot of cow pasture to cover, we were not successful. I did get a taste of what to expect for the rest of the hunt: staying low, single file, crawling, kneeling, peeking and waiting.

Unlike any turkey hunting I have ever experienced, Reaping is an intense and aggressive hunt. A lead person holds a full strut tom decoy that has been altered with a handle and stake so that the person can easily hold the decoy in front of them as they crouch their head below the full tail fan and peek through the fan. The crawling, crouching, long shuffles to cover the distance to where the toms will see your lifelike decoy and take an interest is exhausting at times. Add to that, we were hunting in hilly terrain that I was not accustom to. The excitement and rush make all the effort worth every minute of the challenge–I was hooked.

After lunch, our group was split up and I was hunting with Matt as my guide and Mister behind the camera. We rode around for several hours glassing birds but most were in areas we did not have access too. We finally found a tom in an alfalfa field and we strategically closed the ground on him to get within 80 yards of him. I was on the edge of the field on a downward slope and Matt was behind the decoy working the tom closer to us. The tom had a hen with him and came within 70 yards of us but lost interest and walked back to the hen. We backed out once the bird was out of sight and decided we would come back later in the afternoon and see if this tom circled back through there. He didn’t, so we decided this would be the perfect spot for a morning hunt.

We returned to that field the next morning but never heard or saw a bird. After sitting in that spot until 8:30 a.m. we called the hunt and rode around a while seeking other birds. Several hours passed and we were on our drive back to the lodge when we saw a tom and several jakes in a small cutover ag field. Matt wheeled into the long driveway and spoke with the farmer who granted us permission to hunt the birds on his property that was on both sides of the road. We drove half the distance of the driveway and attempted a stalk on these birds by taking advantage of three short silos. Once we got to the silos, Matt crawled out on his knees just after telling me to stay tight to the silo, be ready and when he said shoot step out and be prepared to acquire my target and shoot. As he crawled out, the adrenaline I was feeling sneaking up the drive had my heartbeat blaring loudly in my ears. I heard Matt say, “They are coming. They are coming. Be ready!” I clicked my safety off. I didn’t know if two or all were coming, nor did I know if the Tom was in tow…phew, it was an intense moment as I played my role over in my head…step out, acquire target quickly and shoot!

As luck would have it, only two jakes came into the trickery of the bobbing and spinning decoy and didn’t even come straight to the decoy. They cut to the left and decided to come from behind the silos into the tom. Matt whispered to me that they were circling around so I quickly turned and repositioned myself for the shot in that direction. I caught a glimpse of one bird and it was a jake. The second bird came in and bumped the first so I had a pretty good idea that this was also a jake. We were able to back out from those birds and get back to the truck without spooking them.

The hens, jakes and one tom headed across the road and we were strategizing how to get into that pasture in front of them. We drove up the road to a higher advantage point where we were able to glass the birds and find out where they were going. Mister stayed at the truck as Matt and I went over the fence, into the pasture after this tom. Matt was carrying the reaping decoy and we were able to quickly get to the vicinity of the birds and we were lucky to have several cedars and some trees to use to our advantage. As I looked back toward the vehicle, I watched as Mister was scanning the pasture above us. I saw him look in my direction through the binoculars and when he saw that I was looking back at him, he made a sign for us to go back down low and around a little pond, he was seeing birds there, no doubt.

We had two jakes come into Matt’s calling and they didn’t commit when they saw the decoy…I had no plans on shooting a jake so we let them walk back into the woods without further pursuing. We heard a good mature tom gobble up above the pond so we quickly got up and took off in that direction. We were in a bottom and Matt made some yelps and on the terrace above another good mature gobble shook the air. We quickly climbed the hill, Matt with the decoy and fan in front of him and me glued directly behind him as if we were one unit, we were able to get to the top of the terrace when Matt saw the tom.

IMG_5932Being a turkey hunter, I have to be honest and tell you staying directly behind the decoy person, not being able to look around and size up the tom for myself was the hardest thing to do. I tried a few times and Matt caught me, growling under his breath, “BE STILL!” I did get a peek at the bird as it turned to walk in another direction and I saw beard…long beard. I could not tell if it were five inches or 10 inches but at this point I committed myself to take a shot at this bird.

Matt asked, “You ready?” I kneeled on my knees with my butt on my heels, clicked my safety off, shouldered my gun with the barrel pointed at the ground and said, “Yes!” I could only imagine this is what a bull rider feels like when the gate man asks that question…I had NO CLUE what was about to unfold, but I knew that this performance was up to me. Matt ducked and rolled to the left as I shot up onto my knees, quickly acquired where that tom was and I placed the bead midway down his neck and squeezed off my gun, expecting to follow up with a second shot. The first flipped the bird and he didn’t flop. I said, “GOT HIM!” as I stood up. Matt finally unfolded from his half fetal position on the ground and got up and said, “Oh yeah! Awesome!”

What a rush! I can’t tell you what part of that moment made it more exciting, not seeing the bird until the fan was moved, having to quickly acquire my target and shoot or the fact that we were slipping around in the wide open in stealth mode behind this decoy completely fooling the keen eyesight of this tom. My second Rio Grande was in the bag! I danced in the Land of Oz and I was now one bird away from my second Grand Slam.


Guest Post by Rebecca Gicewicz

IMG_6670I am here in Alden, Kansas enjoying hunting camp with old and new friends. Part of my mission for this trip was to do my best to harvest a Rio Grande. Our first morning in the woods was spent with Nancy Jo, Mister and our guide, Troy; which is truly a treat as I am usually in the woods alone. I don’t mind the solitude but sharing the experience with friends was really a special element I was looking forward to. That morning came and went with just a few gobbles from turkey in the distance, but no shot opportunities. No problem, it is hunting after all.
Our plan for the afternoon was to use a different strategy by splitting the group up. I was kind of bummed but I just rolled with it. This turkey hunting gig is all new to me so I thought, :Let’s do this.” The afternoon involved driving on country roads past known areas and unknown land. Lo and behold, there was a nice Tom strutting near a creek but we didn’t have permission to hunt that particular land. Troy had a plan; a few clicks on a smart phone app gave the property owners information. So off we went on a mission. A few knocks on the door revealed that no one was home, but the show must go on. Undaunted, we went on with our turkey quest.

IMG_8638We drove and drove, but as fate would have it nothing came together. The final act of this show was to go back to the morning spot where all four of us had started of and try to catch the birds as they circled around to roost. The decoys were set up and I sat back against my tree from the morning hunt. I was missing my other two companions and kept wondering how their hunt was panning out. As an hour or two ticked by, Troy called and there was intermittent distant gobbling but it didn’t sound as if it was closing the distance. The sun was beginning to set and I started to think of what our morning plan might be.

IMG_3816That is when I saw something red and black about 100 yards to my left; it was a Tom! The tom was running up the edge of the field towards my position. I frantically whispered to my guide “to my left, one is closing in.” My guide was not able to see and just kept saying hold still, don’t move, and let him come. That is what I did. The tom slowed up at about 50-yards and of course he was standing in my one and only blind spot. I thought, “Oh no, he is suspicious, has turned and gone into the woods.”

That was not the case at all! The tom continued to move into range and I could now see him but didn’t have a clear shot. Troy gave me the “Shoot when your are ready” command but I had to wait for a clear and ethical shot. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the tom moved into a shooting lane. I clicked my safety off, lined him up in my Ghost Sight and squeezed the trigger. Down went the bird and Troy shouted, “Good Shot!”

IMG_3809

IMG_3815
There were two other mature toms behind my downed bird. They kept closing the distance but I only had one tag; no double for me. Finally, they moved off into the woods and we got up to check out my harvest. I was anxious to see him up close. We looked at his spur on one side and it was a rounded nub; I have to admit I was disappointed. So, I focused on his fan, which was beautiful. I finally got brave enough to look at the other spur and when we did I was ecstatic. There was my unicorn; a stout, sharpened, 1-5/8” spur. I thought, “It’s ok that the tom only has one spur. He only needed that one.” I was super stoked! That is how I found my unicorn in the Land of Oz.


FullSizeRenderFor me, this hasn’t been a very successful turkey season. With spending the least amount of time ever spent spring turkey hunting in the woods, my lack of success was to be expected. As I scroll through social media and see all the successful harvests at each of the outfitters that we are traveling more than 15 hours to hunt with, I have high hopes that my luck will change at the two Ladies in Camo turkey hunts we are about to spend the next seven days hunting. Six ladies from four different states are converging upon Misty Morning Outfitters in Kansas to hunt Rio Grand turkey, and four are traveling on to The Roost in Nebraska to hunt Merriam’s turkey.

 

Rebecca

Rebecca’s 1st turkey harvest! Photo Credit: Rebecca Gicewicz

 

Rebecca, from Florida, is traveling with us…asleep in the back seat of Cletus as I type this entry. Kim and Marla are traveling together from Illinois. Sherry and Connie are traveling together from Michigan. None of us “NEW” to turkey hunting, however, this is Connie’s first guided outfitter hunt; this will be Rebecca’s 2nd and 3rd bird and species as she recently harvested her first turkey, an Eastern in Alabama; and Kim and Marla were just in the woods turkey hunting this past weekend.

 

I have been fortunate enough to have hunted some place at a point in time with each of these women, except Connie. I am looking forward to gaining a new hunting friend. It has been nearly eight years since I have hunted with Sherry, who attended my very first hunt I organized. It has been nearly four years since I have hunted with Marla and just last September that I hunted with Rebecca and Kim. I feel blessed to be able to call these ladies friends.

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Kim’s opening day harvest! Photo Credit: Kim Hessing

My plan is to share as much of this hunt with all of my blog followers and subscribers, as well as my social media friends and followers. I will post some contributed blog entries and photos from the ladies attending this hunt if they wish to contribute. Look for stories of our travels, our good times at the lodge, photos and tales from the hunt, and of course, all the shenanigans. Check out the Ladies in Camo and Life in Camo Facebook page, search the hashtags #LICMMO16 and #LICTheRoost16 in social media to keep up with posts from the Ladies in Camo Kansas and Nebraska turkey hunts.

 

2015 Wilcox CountyAs we are rolling through north central Oklahoma, crossing over into Kansas, with just two more hours of travel, my mind is already on the turkey hunt…wishing these ladies the best of luck in the coming days.

I hope we ALL have the opportunity to “dance with a fist full of feathers!”


As the founder, I am excited to announce the release of the Ladies in Camo website. This is a dream that has come to fruition for myself and to have the opportunity to be a part of it with several women that I have met through this journey is just amazing and humbling. Here is a little about Ladies in Camo and what you can expect:

    MISSION/GOAL

“Our mission is to provide women hunters with affordable hunts in an encouraging atmosphere; mentoring and advocating positive hunting ethics, effective conservation principles while promoting the hunting heritage. Our goal is to supply information through the publication of useful articles, product reviews, and through sharing the hunting experiences of others.”

    WHAT YOU WILL FIND ON THE WEBSITE

Featured Huntress: a different huntress will be highlighted bi-weekly
Tails of the Hunt: Archive of stories, photos from fans, staff and featured huntress column
Field Journals: Blogs written by region field staff, volunteer bloggers and guest bloggers.
Hunt Calendar: A listing of all hunts offered with a hyperlink to the printable announcement and other important information
Gallery: Photos and video for LIC hunts, photos submitted by staff and fans of LIC
Articles: Writings submitted by staff and guest writers
Product Reviews: product results from gear that has been tested in the field
Favorite Outfitters: Outfitters we proudly recommend
Favorite Gears: Gear and products we are proud to promote or use in the field.
Logowear/gear: a variety of branded products for sale {Designs will be posted later this week.}

    MEMBERSHIP

For a low membership fee of $35 you will get the option of a short sleeve logo wear shirt or a LIC ball cap, a vinyl sticker, 20% off your first order from the LIC store and you will be eligible for the membership-exclusive quarterly drawings for hunts and/or gear give-a-ways. You can sign up today using PayPal at the website.

PLEASE VISIT:
http://www.ladiesincamo.com

DON’T FORGET TO SIGN THE GUEST BOOK – you could be a winner!

In celebration, Ladies in Camo is giving away a hunt and some awesome gear. To get your name in the drawing, see the details in the attached flyer.


Ladies in Camo guided Eastern turkey hunt with 5-stand and pond fishing at Mountain View Plantation, Delta, Alabama. This hunt includes a guided turkey hunt, 5-stand, pond fishing, lodging and meals for just $450. If you are a first time turkey hunter or a veteran, you will remember this hunt for years.

Ladies in Camo Guided Eastern Turkey Hunt w/extras at Mountain View Plantation, Alabama


Ladies Eastern guided turkey hunt and hog hog hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors, Clio, Barbour County, Alabama, April 6-8, 2012. Just $650 which includes the guide, 1 bird, unlimited hog, lodging and meals. Limited to 4 women. This hunt will book fast, reserve your spot today.

Ladies in Camo Guided Turkey & Hog Hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors, AL, April 6-8, 2012


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


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; there are a few that are still being coordinated and details worked out so stay tuned and subscribe to my blog to be the first to know when a hunt is posted. Some of these hunts are already booked full with a waiting list, some have a few spots remaining; book early to reserve your spot. Click on the BLUE link to take you to the announcement to read the details of each hunt:

August 12-14:
Hog Hunt with Rack Nine Outdoors, Barbour County, Alabama

I have TWO spots available on this hunt. This hunt was so much fun the first time, the outfitter agreed to coordinate a second hunt. You can read my June blog entries, along with several guest blogger entries and see photos of our first hunt.

September 10:
Bowfishing trip with Scale Damage, Bursa, Louisiana

This hunt is booked full.

October 21-23:
Whitetail Archery Hunt with Mountain View Plantation, Clay County, Alabama

This hunt is booked full.

October 28-30:
Whitetail Archery Hunt with Mountain View Plantation, Clay County, Alabama

This hunt is booked full.

November 2-6:
Whitetail Archery RUT hunt with Rack Nine Outdoors, Marion County, Illinois

I have 4 spots available on this 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 4 spots available on this hunt.

I am working on coordinating a duck hunt in Kansas and a turkey hunt (Rio, Merriams & Easterns) in Oklahoma. 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


Michele Branning was the first person to sign up for this hunt and was someone I felt I had a connection with before the hog hunt–however, that connection was that she lives in my childhood hometown, Panama City, Florida. Matter of fact, just around the corner from where I grew up. I was introduced to Michele through Facebook when a childhood friend, Sharon Pearman Moses from Panama City linked us together. I had spoken with Michele often through Facebook correspondence, but I had never met her in person.

This was Michele’s first hunt out-of-state and her first experience of hunting at night–I assured her that she was in for a treat. Spending time with Michele was like spending time with an old friend; we were familiar with the same area we called home and even many of the same friends. I kind of laughed when I thought “I finally found someone who is very similar to me.” By this I mean–the last to go to bed and usually the first one up. Michele was actually up for a straight 36 hours on this hunt. Her excitement kept her up, let see what she experienced in the blind.

Michele Branning from Panama City, Florida...my childhood hometown.

What to write about?

It was my first time hunting hogs at night, hunting out of my state, and my first guided hunt.

I thought about how nervous I was when I first got to the lodge, but that only lasted for a few minutes.

I reminisced about my first thoughts when I walked up to the ground blind and saw there was no door or floor and here it was getting dark.

I looked for snakes inside the blind (thanks to Richard for that tip) and I was thinking what if one decides to come in while I am sitting here.

Hmmm, what have I got myself into? Thankfully that did not happen and I only worried for a couple of minutes about it.

I decided to write about a few of my experiences while sitting in the stand.

On Saturday morning, we were on our way to the stand before daylight. When I reached my stand, I unpacked everything, relaxed and listened for the hogs. I had not heard anything by the time it finally was getting where I could see the area around me just a bit. Sitting there enjoying the most peaceful time of day for me, I watched the shadows closely. I thought I saw one of the shadows move, but I was not sure.

I waited just a second and took another look–Oh yeah! That is a hog! Here we go. I shouldered my gun and turned on the scope. I still could not see clear enough for a shot so I turned on the flashlight. The hog turned at the same time, not good–it is now walking straight toward me. Thinking to myself, this is not good. But then I thought to myself, how many deer have you shot successfully this way? I was confident that I could drop it right there. But I did not want to mess this up and miss it. I told myself just to wait and it will turn. The hog took a few more steps toward me and started to turn. Okay, here we go and I was ready.

Oh no!! The hog turned!! It turned right into the tall grass. I could only see the very top of its back. So here I was, waiting again, hoping that it would turn and come out of that grass. It seemed like forever but it finally turned, as soon as it stepped out where I thought I had a perfect shot–I took the shot. It did a 360 degree turn and went back the other way. I thought to myself, okay this is not good. I had a bad feeling that I did not hit it, but then a piglet came running in and ran back and forth several times.

I ended up sending a text to my guide, Richard, and told him I was not sure if I had made contact with my shot but I wanted to look for blood. He told me he was on his way. Thankfully he helped me as we looked and looked, but no sign that I made a hit. I sure did hate that I missed the first hog that I have ever shot at, but I was so thankful that I did not wound it.

Saturday night, I went back out to the same stand. Right before dark I saw movement outside the doorway of the stand just inside of the treeline. I picked up my rifle hoping that it was a hog. It turned out to be a young deer and it was about 20 feet from the stand. There was a large doe behind it and I was busted. They stomped and blew at me for about 20 minutes. They never came out of the woods and finally they took off.

When I was too tired to sit any longer, I sent a text out that I was ready to be picked up. That was at 9:07 pm, I got a text back 10 minutes later that Richard was on his way. This is the about the time I heard coyotes; a very large pack of them too. Of course I had heard them in the past while walking out of my stands but not this close; they were within a 50yd radius of me; remember no door on my blind.

I thought to myself, I do not like this at all and I did the only thing I could think of; I pointed the rifle toward the door with the light on. Yes, I was scared. Then I was wondering if I was getting picked up by truck because I would have to walk out to the vehicle. There is NO WAY that I am walking out by myself like I did on Friday night. Why am I not seeing headlights yet? Why did I not bring my pistol on this trip? Yes, all of this was running through my head at the same time.

At 9:38 pm I sent a text asking my guide if he was driving in and thankfully a text was sent right back stating he was on the HuntVe on the way in now. Okay, this is good news; he will be driving in. By the time I saw headlights coming toward my stand, I was so happy and ready to get out of that shooting house and out of those woods.

I really enjoyed myself on this hunt and I am looking forward to doing it again. I met some wonderful people, made new friendships, and learned some new things.


ATTENTION!! Due to an overwhelming response for this hunt, the outfitter has agreed to allow me to coordinate a second hunt the following weekend. Also, added to both hunts is a special All-Around “Friendly” Competition that will be mid-day on Saturday; with prizes. Book your hunt today before the second hunt fills up!

SPECIAL PRICING – OUTSTANDING OUTFITTER – LIMITED HUNTS – BOOK EARLY, THIS HUNT IS ALREADY FILLING FAST

Mountain View Plantation

Deer Hunt at Mountain View Plantation, Delta, Alabama:
Two and half day deer hunt with Mountain View Plantation, in Delta, Alabama. Buck, Doe, Coyote and/or Bobcat can be harvested on this hunt. This hunt is limited to 12 women hunters. Please see IMPORTANT information below on how to secure your spot on this hunt. We will also have the opportunity to shoot clays on the MVP state-of-the-art 5-Stand.

Date:
Friday, October 28th through Sunday, October 30th, 2011.

Lodging:
Hunters will stay together in the spacious Mountain View Plantation Lodge. Meals will be provided. For photos, see the MVP website or my blog entry from my last trip there. Hunters will arrive on Friday by noon and settle into their rooms and prepare to hunt Friday afternoon.

The hunt:
Hunting will be from stands over active areas and acorns that have been monitored with game cameras or by owner/guides. This is a bow hunt; compound bow or crossbows that meet the Alabama regulations.

We will hunt Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning and afternoon; five hunts total. Buck, Doe, coyote and bobcat may be harvested. Mature bucks only to be harvested; no button bucks, spikes or small racked deer with less than a 14″ spread.

Hunters will depart Sunday evening or you may choose to stay over and leave Monday morning at no additional charge. For those flying in, Mountain View Plantation is located 1 1/2 hours from the Birmingham, Alabama airport or 1 1/2 hours from the Atlanta, Georgia airport. You will need to rent a car to drive to MVP. The address is as follows:

Mountain View Plantation
488 Haynes Mountain Road
Delta, Alabama 36258

Guide:
The guides will not actually be guiding hunters in the field; however, the guides will insure that the hunters get to and from stands safely.

Cost:
The cost for this hunt is $300 per hunter. (Discounted from the regular price is $900) There are no hidden costs; transportation to stands, meals, and lodging are included in the cost. This fee does not include your non-resident license, see below.

IMPORTANT: A $150 non-refundable deposit must be received no later than July 15, 2011; deposit must be received to secure your spot–first come, first serve. Please email me for mailing instructions at guruhuntress@centurytel.net.

License:
The cost of a non-resident license is $120 (All Game, 3-day trip) and can be purchased online at Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website. Please make sure to insert the correct dates of 10/21/11 thru 10/23/11 when applying for the 3-day license.

Suggested items to bring:
A safety harness. Required to be worn at all times in the stand.
Alabama’s temperatures in October can be somewhat unpredictable, however it is normally pretty warm, if not HOT during the month of October. It is recommended to bring lightweight hunting clothes and some layers just in case.
Bring a cooler to carry home quartered deer.
Rain gear.
Bring a shotgun and light target loads for the Five Stand. If you do not wish to bring your personal shotguns, several will be available as loaners.

Contact Info:
Please contact me for information on where to mail your deposit check for this hunt or for any other questions you may have at guruhuntress@centurytel.net.

You may bring and consume alcoholic beverages if you wish to do so; however please reserve the consumption of alcohol for the evening or after the days hunt. For safety and liability reasons, anyone drinking alcohol during the day prior to the hunt will not be allowed to hunt that evening. Drink responsibly.

This hunt is not affiliated with any group, magazine, or sponsor and is a HUNT, not an EVENT with silent auction, games and raffles—no frou-frou here—just an actual hunt. I am not a booking agent, guide or outfitter; I am simply organizing this hunt for other women who would like to participate in a bow hunt with other women with like interests.


What a FANTASTIC weekend! I am truly blessed–I had the opportunity to share hunting camp with some really great women. Ten women from near and far hunted for hogs with Rack Nine Outdoors in Barbour County, Alabama.

Fantastic group of women hunters who enjoyed the weekend at Rack Nine Outdoors in Clio, Alabama.

Back Row (L-R) Shannon Markley (AL), Michele Branning (FL), Christine “Chris” Anderson (PA), Dawn Gribbs (PA), Kristin “Krissy” Herman (PA), and Michelle Harmes (AL). Front Row (L-R) Jennifer McKinney (TN), Nancy Jo Adams (AL), Amber Markley (AL), and Nancy Carpenter (PA). Not shown in the photo is Jeanne Peebles (AL).

Memories were made and hogs were harvested. Every hunter had the opportunity to see hogs, some where even fortunate to make a shot at them and some were lucky enough to harvest hogs. Several great companies sent some goodies for the ladies: THY Enterprises sent $25 gift certificates, reusable gift bags and branded Koozies, Buck Girl sent 40% off certificates and branded Koozies, Girls with Guns sent some really cool ball caps, Doeville sent some awesome shirts, Camp Wild Girl sent some neat shirts, HerCamo sent a gift certificate, Northern Whitetail Scents sent a certificate for the ladies to use to order some products for the rut, and Strut & Rut included a sample of its great product.

Gift bag goodies from some outstanding companies that support and encourage women hunters.

I have always believed in Karma and that a person gets back ten-fold what they delve out in life. I remember being told by a very wise man “to pay your luck forward, it will find you in abundance” and “always sow good seed to reap bountiful harvests.” So paying my luck forward I made lucky charms out of some of my Osceola turkey feathers that I recently harvested and used those for the tag hangers on the gift bags for all the ladies. I hope that the luck pays off for them in the coming seasons.

May this feather bring you luck, bag a bird, hog or buck. Wishing plenty game you see, place it in a pocket and let it be. Osceola Turkey, April 2011 Harvest, Nancy Jo~Guru Huntress

Gift bag tag...

Shannon Markley surprised her daughter, Amber Markley, by bringing her to this hog hunt as a 13th Birthday gift. I told Amber that she had a pretty cool Mom. Shannon even brought a 14 layer chocolate cake and Blue Bell ice cream.

Amber Markley and her scrumptious 14-layer chocolate cake.

Yep, 14 independent layers with more of that old-fashioned homemade chocolate icing.

The hunt started off on Friday afternoon with everyone getting acquainted with each other in the great room of the lodge followed by a delicious dinner of baked pork loin, green beans and potatoes, corn and rolls. The skies were threatening our afternoon hunt with thunderstorms that you could see in the distance with rain, thunder and lightning. We watched the lightning show from high on the hill that the lodge was on. Fortunately the storm skirted our immediate area and we were told to get ready to hunt. We made plans to go to our stands around 6-6:30 p.m. and stay out for several hours after dark.

As each hunter gathered to leave with their guides, you could tell some were a little intimidated with the thought of being in a ladder stand, by themselves, in the middle of the woods in the pitch-black dark. Nearly everyone hunting had never experienced hunted at night before and some had not ever hog hunted. Some mentioned how exciting it was and that the anxiety made it an adrenaline rush. Armed with ThermoCells, rifles and spotlights we headed to the stand.

Shannon Markley loaded up and headed for the woods.

Jeanne Peebles excited about her first experience hunting hogs at night. She came prepared with a really cool gun mounted spotlight.

Greg was my guide and I loaded up in the truck with Nancy Carpenter, Michelle Harmes and Dawn Gribb. Greg dropped each of us off at our stands. My stand had about a 100-150 yard walk into it. When I was let off, I quickly got out and wished everyone luck and the truck backed out and was driving away in a matter of seconds. I set my backpack down, loaded my rifle, sprayed down with scent destroying spray, got out my flashlight and put it in my right pocket and my cell phone in my left pocket. I swung my backpack on and forged forward toward my stand. The first trail was a two-rut, grassy road for about 30 yards and then I had to make a left onto a small trail into the woods that had thick cover but the floor of the woods wasn’t bad at all. The thick canopy of limbs and leaves made it dark in the woods.

I had to use my flashlight intermittently to find bright eyes but the trail was well-marked and I could tell exactly which direction I need to travel. I was about 75 yards down the trail when I thought I saw the ladder portion of the stand. Still walking forward and without using the flashlight in the dim woods, I was struggling to try to make out if what I seen was the ladder to my stand or not. All of the sudden, like a lightning strike, I heard a grunt. A guttural deep grunt and a quick movement not more than 3-4 feet on my left. A SOW!! A BLACK SOW sitting on her rump like a dog. She was just the other side of an old rotten stump and what I figure is she must have been lying there when I walked up on her and in her efforts to get up quickly she was in the sitting position momentarily. It was a sight…but not one I chuckled about until I was safely sitting in my ladder stand.

She got up quickly and grunted loudly taking off toward the trail as her back hooves slung dirt and leaves on my lower shin. I instantly caught glimpse of her huge milk bags and I immediately scanned around me. No babies…thank goodness. As she started putting distance between her and I, I raised my gun and at that exact moment a 15-20 pound piglet went trotting off from some bushes to the left of me and ended up in front of the trail the sow was on. Then they were in to thick of cover for me to place an ethical shot. I had chills, I felt I was about to tinkle down my legs filling my snake boots, I was instantly out of breath and then I heard it! The feeding grunts of other hogs–close–VERY CLOSE. It is amazing how quickly thoughts can run through your mind in a situation like this. But the main one was that I either had to make it to at least the second step of the ladder to my stand….which was still about 25-30 yards in the direction the sounds were coming from. Or I could try to scale one of these smaller pines just like I had remembered Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island did. Alright…Gilligan was 1/4th my size so that is not going to be a choice.

I stepped forward trying to make as little sound as possible. I could see the ladder of my stand. I crept forward about another 3 feet when the sow grunted again and started running, followed closely by the piglet, toward the grunting sounds I was hearing. She was about 10 yards to my left and on a trail with two thick shrub bushes and some vines between us. I took two more large, ground covering steps and at this point I noticed I could not only hear my heartbeat in my ears but I could feel it at my pressure points where my backpack was strapped across my shoulders close to my neck. Whew!! One very intense moment. It was at that moment that I thought “If I ever get out of this alive…!” I had my gun in front of me but still had the safety on. As I paused a moment thinking that the stand was not getting any closer and debating that I probably would not be in the right state of mind to disengage my safety.

I heard the pigs flush, some squealing, some brush and leaves rustling that all sounded like the hogs were going in the opposite direction. I took the opportunity to take the last 7 LARGE-ground-covering steps to the base of my stand as quietly as I could and quickly scaled to the fourth step. I glanced over my left shoulder just in time to see the sow, two 60-70 pound hogs and four 20 pound piglets turn and take off in the opposite direction.As I stood on that rung, I honestly believe I was seeing stars for a moment as I let out a huge breath of air…did I hold my breath those last few intense moments? I must have. As composure crept over me, I started up the ladder.

Once I was sitting safely in my stand and had my backpack hung on the side rail, I had to chuckle. I kind of hated that I was the only one that experienced those few intense moments but then again, I might have been the subject of a good tale if you could have seen it unfold in front of you.

About 15 minutes after being settled in, I heard two shots, one right after the other. I pumped my fist in the air and hoped that it was one of the ladies on the hunt had scored. The darkness crept slowly and the lightning bugs took over with a light show in the canopy of leaves and limbs. It progressively got dark and it even sprinkled some. At one point the lightning from a storm way off was lighting the sky casting eerie shadows across the woods in front of me. Not too long after it turned pitch-black I heard another shot. Wow! I sure hope the ladies are scoring on these hogs. Woo Hoo!

Richard sent me a text around 9 p.m. to tell me that Jennifer McKinney from Tennessee had shot 3 pigs and they were already back at the barn with them and some ladies were already in. I told him to send someone to get me because I had not heard anything since I had run off the hogs coming into stand. I packed up, climbed down and started the walk out with the high-powered flashlight on and my gun in hand. I made it safely to the road where I only had to wait about 5 minutes for my ride back in. What an exciting first hunt I had.

When I got back to the lodge, I had found out that Jennifer shot two of her hogs on her way into the stand; shooting two with one shot. She had to use the second shot as reassurance that one of the hogs were finished off. She proceeded to her stand and later shot the third hog. What a fantastic first hunt she experienced at Rack Nine Outdoors. I was so happy for her. Unfortunately I had the wrong lens on the camera and Richard was unable to get a decent photo in the dark so I am waiting for a better photo from the outfitter and will post it as soon as possible. Congratulations Jennifer, way to go!!

Some of the ladies were still out on stand, some were in bed, some were congregated around the kitchen table talking about their hunt. We were going back out on stand around 3:30-4:00 a.m. and the excitement kept many of us from getting some quality sleep. Michele Branning and I just decided to stay up. Stay tuned for DAY TWO of this hunt and for more photos and stories straight from camp at Rack Nine Outdoors.

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