Deer hunting has often been thought of as a man’s sport. However, things are changing—one woman at a time.
This year kicks off the new ‘blaze pink’ regulation signed in to law by Governor Walker. The law, allowing a high visibility pink color to be legally used instead of the standard blaze orange, was introduced with hopes of getting more women out on the hunt. Yet, it didn’t take getting to wear pink to encourage one Soldiers Grove woman to take down a trophy buck last week.
Heather Alexander is new to hunting. In fact, she’s really new to hunting, having just graduated from the required hunter safety about three weeks ago. Heather, a mother of two, is married to an avid hunter.
So, Heather decided to give it a shot. Under the guidance of her husband John, during the spring turkey mentor hunt she first got her taste of hunting. Usually reserved for the younger set, Heather light heartedly jokes she fit right in—literally.
“When they show the group picture of everyone, I’m short so I fit right in with the kids,” she says as she laughs at the thought of the picture. Nevertheless, Heather was able to harvest her first turkey during the cold rainy spring hunt, with her husband by her side.
“I never hunted before the turkey mentor season,” she explained. “John thought I’d like it, so I tried it and found I love the sport.”
Following her spring success, she quickly signed up for hunter safety and decided to go for the big time. Following graduation, Heather went out opening weekend of bow hunting.
“It was so beautiful and peaceful out there alone in nature,” Heather said.
During her first day out she saw a few deer, but something inside her stopped her from taking the shot.
Heather’s patience paid off this Sunday, when she was able to harvest the buck of a lifetime. It’s also just happens to be the first deer of her lifetime. After about two-and-a-half hours of sitting in a tree stand, the moment came for Heather.
“I had only been out about five times before,” Heather said. “I was alone and he walked out with about eight other deer.” Heather was perched up about 15 feet off the ground in a tree stand on her family's land in rural Soldiers Grove, when the herd of deer passed through.
“I waited for a second, and he was about 15 yards away when I took my shot,” Heather recalled. “He dropped right where he stood, it was a perfect shot.”
The massive buck, boasted 15 points with a 20-and-a-quarter-inch spread. Her taxidermist scored it at 186 1/8 on Monday when she took it to be mounted.
“I was so nervous and shaking after the shot,” Heather said of the rush. “I’m pretty proud of myself, I’m a girl, first time hunter, and have never killed anything with a bow.”
Heather isn’t the only one who is excited. There’s also husband John, the avid hunter.
“John kept saying ‘it’s a perfect shot’ and the girls (daughters Sunshine, 14, and Daisy, 4) are so proud,” Heather said. “We have been watching this deer for three years on the trail cam. And all of my husband’s deer management, and letting the little ones go has really paid off. He’s going on the wall, and I’m proud to say he will be the biggest one. But, it’s just nice to know I can do it, and we will never starve.”
Heather shot the massive beast with a Barnett Recruit crossbow. Gifted to her by John, who may have been channeling Cupid, as it was a Valentine’s Day present.
Heather believes that the buck will be one for the record books, especially as a woman hunter.
“I can’t wait to take it to shows and see what books I can get into,” an enthusiastic Heather said. “And it makes my girls proud. Let the boys be jealous, us girls will show them how it’s done.”
Although Heather could hang up her hat for the season with such a massive buck under her belt, she plans to go out this weekend for the opening gun season as well.
“I would have never thought having a little quiet time in the woods would be such a great experience,” Heather concluded.
The Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout, wishes all hunters, men and women, young and old a safe and successful gun hunt for the 2016 season.