This November I was lucky enough to travel to the east side of Ohio to do a Whitetail bowhunt with my Dad. This was my second hunt with Dakota Outfitters. If they sound familiar to some, it’s because they have attended and donated hunts to San Diego SCI events before as a well as had booths at the Vegas and Dallas SCI Conventions.

My Dad and I flew into Cleveland, made a quick visit to see my Grandmother and the next day headed south to hunt. We arrived in the afternoon and settled in. Our hunting companion, John DeFalco had already been out that morning and shot a great buck. We got ready to go out and tried waiting for the 4th hunter who happened to be Adam Vinatieri , 4-time Super Bowl Champion and kicker for the Indianapolis Colts. Adam also holds a ridiculous number of NFL records but we were losing light, so we had to go.

I headed out with my guide, Ted and my Dad and John with their guide, Eric. Ted has been my guide for 2 years now and I can tell you he has the patience of Job. I am very picky and love to spend time outdoors, so with 3 days to hunt I wanted to make sure I made the most of it. He’s always great about letting me take my time. We saw beautiful bucks and plenty of does and fawns, but it wasn’t yet the right time to take a shot.

The next day we set out at 5am and it was COLD. Well, cold for me. I am used to Southern California weather, so anything 30° or below is bone chilling. I got a little nervous because I remembered Bruce, from my local bow shop, Bow N Arrow Shop (go visit them in Lakeside…they are awesome!) telling me that when I increased the poundage on my compound bow that I need to be prepared for bad (cold) weather conditions. Did I listen? Of course not. He increased the poundage per my request, we practiced at the shop and I went on my way…..with fair warning. I practiced for several weeks at my new 47 lb weight and felt great about it. However, when I got to sitting in a blind for hours and not feeling my hands or feet it was an entirely different scenario.

The second day Adam got a fantastic buck with his bow and my Dad an incredible one with his rifle. The pressure was on. This was my second Whitetail hunt with my bow. Bowhunting is incredible. If you have never done it before, I would highly recommend it! I shoot a Bowtech Carbon RoseGold Tip Hunter PRO arrows and Montec G5 fixed broadheads. I also love my custom bow wrist sling from SOS Gear There are many options available. I suggest visiting your local bow shop for help.

Finally, on the last morning of our hunt I saw him…the buck I wanted.  I was SO excited! My heart was pounding. He was beautiful and was within reasonable range however he came in skittish and nervous and bolted the second I drew back. I had been spotted. I was bummed.

Shortly after another beautiful buck came and grazed for a bit. This was it. This was the buck I was going to take. But just like Bruce from the Bow N Arrow Shop warned me… when the time came, after being out in cold weather for a couple of hours I struggled to pull back my bow with the added poundage. I couldn’t feel my feet or toes and my strength had been greatly diminished. Embarrassed, I finally pulled back and made the shot. It had been rushed and I hadn’t been concentrating the way I would have liked to because of the struggle with the cold and my pull. It was a good enough shot though that he barely moved. He stood there looking around for a good while. Finally, he turned towards the woods and walked into them slowly. He dropped and expired not 50 yards from where I had shot him. We waited and I was excited. I knew he was beautiful and I couldn’t wait to see him up close.

John DeFalco took another deer that morning, another gorgeous buck. These are memories with my Dad I will never forget. We had a wonderful time and I can’t wait until my next hunt, wherever that may be.

Lauren serves on the Board of Directors for San Diego Chapter of Safari Club International as the Chair of Meetings and Special Events.


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