Photo credit: Wildly Creative Co
Each year we strive to create an amazing hunting experience for the next generation lady hunter. Our annual youth hunt for women 12-18 years of age is in its sixth year. What started out as a dream has become one of our favorite events. Having a partner like BERETTA to support the outdoor dreams of our young ladies means the world to us. Our team and our partners are the boots on the ground for the next generation.
Each year I look forward to being there for this event. Working with Crazy Horn Outfitters BG189 in Wyoming is like going home for me. When you spend so much time together in the outdoors over the years you become like family.
This year we had Ashlee Lundvall attend and bring her daughter Addison. Addison has tagged along for four years to help her mom and visit with the team. She was finally old enough to hunt. Ashlee is one of our guides and mentors. She helps encourage the ladies with her motivational speech, her skills on the range and great hunting advice. She also is the dedicated parent driver for the event.
In partnership with Outdoor Mentors, we as so happy to have Brittany French come to mentor and bring a youth from the Kansas program. This year she brought Kiera and her mom, Teresa along for the adventure.
Also, in attendance and nominated by Amy Ray from Georgia was Mattie Browning. Mattie is an accomplished hunter and shooter from Georgia where she hunts with her family. This was her first big game hunt.
When Shantane, owner of Crazy Horn Outfitters plans this event she goes all out. The girls have a pile of swag from local business owners, support from local taxidermist and meat processors as well. When you hunt with Shantane you are certain to fill a tag. She is one of the best in the business.
None of this would be possible without partners like Beretta. I absolutely loved preparing the Tikka T3X Lite Roughtech for this hunt. The guns arrived with Burris Optics and Sako Powerhead Blade 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition. I took the guns to the range to zero at 200 yards for the hunt. I was quickly banging steel at 200, 300 and 600 yards with each rifle. I had confidence we were ready to show the girls all about the gun.
Our first order of business at each youth hunt is introductions and safety. We prepare them for range safety and this year they received Beretta hearing protection and eye protection.
Our range this trip was an outdoor range with steel targets at 200 yards and 300 yards. We take the girls to shoot and introduce all the features of the rifle. The Tikka T3X was perfect for the hunt. We used the Sako Powerhead BLADE 6.5 Creedmoor for this event. This is the first time we have used lead-free ammunition and we were not disappointed. It was very accurate at all ranges. The Tikka T3X Roughtech stock has a coating on it to impart a better grip in the outdoors. The girls liked the extra-large bolt handle and the removable magazine. Each one of our hunters range the steel at 200 yards and 300 yards. By the end of the event, they were able to run the gun with confidence without assistance and hit the targets. Learning to adjust the sandbags on the table and acquire the target themselves was awesome to witness. Of equal importance was a request by Teresa, Kiera’s mom to learn to shoot. She has had bad experiences previously learning to shoot and was scared to try. I assured her that I would coach her through the shot and that she would love shooting the Tikka. We put mom on the bench, and she shot the 200-yard target after a few deep breaths. Seeing her eyes light up after the shot with the fear gone and excitement that she did it was priceless.
The hunt begins the second morning, and we toss DOTS to determine a first and second shooter. The girls all pile in the pickup truck and head out with the all-female guide team. Our only strategy is to find antelope on our hunting properties and put the stalk on them one at a time. Each hunter guided by Shantane and a mentor. Mattie was up first with Shantane and Amy. After a couple of unsuccessful stalks, we spotted a great buck near an oil company equipment area. We used the tanks and equipment as cover and stalked within 350 yards of a buck. The buck had doe all around and was moving around a lot. We placed the Tikka on the Bog Pod shooting sticks and waiting. Patiently telling her to settle cross hairs on the target. Then quickly ranging and moving the Burris scope to the various ranges between 300 and 400 yards. We finally had him in the clear at 350 yard to take the shot. With two guides, one in each ear telling her to take the shot, she didn’t hesitate. The Tikka range true and we had our first antelope tagged! The whole team rides in to help Mattie celebrate and do the work to get the antelope in the truck. After a quick celebration and tag punching session we were off for antelope number two.
Next up was Kiera. And boy did we put her through the punches. A long stalk on a very large buck ended with the entire herd running away over a hill. She was braving the worst winds we had all weekend. A second stop for a buck had the guides running a wind and range chart for the Burris scope out to 450 yards. We had less wind and thought we should try it; we knew the Tikka was capable. We set her up on the Bog Pods in a standing position. The antelope were kind of on to us but not jumpy. We took our time and focused on ranging the target buck. When she pulled the trigger, she shot just over its back. She looked at me with tears welling up because she missed. I quickly told her that we don’t let our women hunters take shots like that, we just thought we should try, and it would have been epic if she made the shot. With encouragement we began another trip around our hunting grounds in search of a closer target buck. We found him near a water hole, and she made quick work of the task at hand the Tikka range true for her beautiful buck at 250 yards. The entire entourage showed up big to celebrate and help tag and drag her buck to the truck. The Teamwork these ladies exhibit gives me faith in the next generation hunter.
Tagging two in one day is a lot of work, we called it a day and had fellowship and wild game super at the lodge. Addison was up next, and she needed to rest up for her big day.
Day three was all about Addison. I was seriously excited to guide her and even told her mom I needed permission to yell at her if necessary. Ashlee gladly had my back on this – I wasn’t seriously going to yell at her but sometimes I get excited and raise my voice when I say, “shoot him now”. We never want the girls to hesitate long enough to miss an opportunity. We get as excited as they are during the hunt. Addison probably lucked out with the best group of antelope. They were feeding down a two-track dirt road and not nervous much about us parking the trucks and walking up to them. This group kind of gave us the stare but not the fearful run away look. We jokingly tell the girls not the make eye contact with antelope or they will run away. We walked up to about 250 yards and placed the Tikka on the Bog Pod sticks, she quickly acquired the target buck, I yelled to take the shot, she shoots, he’s not down, I yell shoot him again and he’s down. She had to cycle and make two quick shots and the Tikka performed flawless. There were tears, lots of hugs and a proud mom to boot. The first thing she did was call her father and tell him the news. The sun was setting, and we took some amazing photos. It was a perfect end to our hunt.
I am so proud of my team for pouring their hearts in to the next generation lady hunter. I look forward to this event every year. What we have created is very special and I hear from the youth hunters that it is life changing for them. They get to have an all- female team of shooting instructors, mentors, and guides all to themselves for three days. They don’t realize how much they inspire us as their guides.
What a blessing that we get to have a hand in the outdoor journey of these young women. The look of confidence on their face is contagious. Watching these girls load, unload and carry and hunt with a rifle in a safe manner make us feel like they are prepared to keep the outdoor journey going. I hope that one day they grow up to be mentors in the outdoors and that we left a lasting impression on them.
None of this would be possible without our partner, Beretta. We love creating moments of belonging with Beretta. The Tikka T3X was a great choice for this hunt. These girls are prepared to continue hunting safely with rifles. They each plan to purchase a Tikka and keep hunting. Sisterhood Outdoors will be there for them every step of the way. A big thanks to Crazy Horn Outfitters for putting together such and amazing event.
Rifle Set Up:
Tikka T3X Lite Roughtech, stainless steel fluted barrel, fluted bolt, large bolt handle and removable magazine, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.
Burris Optics Signature HD 3-15×44 zero at 200 yards
Sako Powerhead BLADE 6.5 Creedmoor 120 grain, lead-free hunting ammunition