How I Was Introduced To Hunting

Originally posted to by Sierra on August 27, 2018. Re posted here with permission from the author.  

Hunting has been a part of my life since a young age in some shape or form. Pretty early on, around 6 years old or so, I remember my Grandpa and Uncle bringing deer home from hunting. I never thought much of it, good or bad, it was just something they did. What really started sparking my interest in hunting is when my step dad would bring a deer home. He processed his own deer and I really enjoyed the process of helping with that.I never was interested enough in hunting to go with until I was around 14 years old.I went with him a few times to watch, but fast forward a year or two and I was starting high-school and had plenty of other distractions causing me to seemingly forget about going hunting.

Strangely enough, one of the distractions that had put hunting on the back burner brought it around full circle. I met this cute high school guy and you guessed it, he hunted. He didn’t just hunt, he was obsessed with it. After dating for a year or so, I decided I wanted to get a bow and start hunting with him. So I went with my step dad and we got a Martin (Can’t remember the model). I was really enthusiastic about shooting and loved the extra attention it got me from my boyfriend. However, my interest died out a few short months later and my bow sat in the case collecting dust.

Fast forward 10 years later, I married that cute high school guy I met! Here we are, married 6 years with 3 beautiful children. We have A LOT going on. My husband works full time, I’m working toward my nursing degree, and our kids are getting old enough to start school. With so much going on, it is easy to grow apart in a sense that you don’t have as much free time as you used to and its not always easy to utilize your free time together. Anyway, one evening my husband was laying on the floor on his laptop and I could see over his shoulder. He’d been talking about upgrading his bow and had found one he really liked. So as many husbands do, he started sweet talking me into “letting” him get this bow. He would’ve got it regardless, but you know, you have to make excuses as to why you need this or need that to make a solid persuasion. That’s when the light bulb went off in my head! I nonchalantly said, “I’ve kind of been wanting a bow.” His eyes lit up. All of a sudden he was all about finding a bow that fit me. So a couple months later, Late January-Early February, we went to a local bow shop.

There was a new bow shop that had opened in my hometown, Tolono, IL called Bowmentum Archery. We had heard a lot of good things about it and wanted to give it a shot as my husband is a big believer in local, one off bow shops. This is where the nervousness began to set in. As most know, archery and even more so, hunting, is a male dominated sport. I was getting ready to go into a shop surrounded by people with far more knowledge than me about archery and hunting in general. It was daunting to say the least. Going with my husband made me feel a little more easy, but there was still a sense of uncertainty. We pulled up to the shop and the outside of the building was pretty plain. You could see the show room which was adorned by brand new bows, product advertisements, and various other equipment. Outside of the indoor shooting range was an enormous banner sporting a picture of Levi Morgan (Who I later learned is a Mathews shooter and has won several world archery titles). Inside the building it was bright. As soon as I walked in I was taken away by all of the stuff. There were so many things hanging everywhere and I didn’t even know what half of it was. We went to the counter and were politely greeted by a man named Alex, who we were quickly informed everyone calls him Papi. Due to cost, my husband put the wishes of a new bow aside so I could get one. He explained to Papi what we were looking for. Papi went to the back room and quickly returned with a Hoyt Powermax. After measuring for draw length, making a few adjustments to the bow and grabbing some “shop arrows” we were headed to the indoor range. Talk about nervous. You want to act like you know what you are doing and don’t want to seem uneducated. I’d obviously shot a bow before so I knew the basics. After sending a few arrows down range I was in love! I walked back to the show room and looked at my husband with an ear to ear smile. Shortly after, my brand new Hoyt Powermax was on order and the agonizing wait would begin. While I was shooting of course, Bowmentum Owner, Mike Nash and my husband had been talking and next thing you know they were headed to the range with a Hoyt Redwrx Rx1. But I couldn’t be mad, I mean, I was getting a brand new bow. My husband shot it, fell in love with it and surprisingly walked out without it. The pleasant temper of all of the employees made me feel at ease and I felt more confident. It felt like I was in an environment where they were there to help and answer any questions no matter what they were.

That evening on the drive home we had talked and he sounded really convincing when he said he didn’t want the Rx1. He would’ve had anyone else fooled, but I knew better. He left just enough “guilt trip” in his voice to tip me off. So, needless to say, we went back the next morning to order his new bow too. Funny how that works.

The wait was painfully slow. The “due date” of our bows seemed that it would never arrive. Finally, on a sunny March day, my husband received the call from Papi that our bows were in and early at that! We couldn’t get there fast enough. We shot at Bowmentum and headed home with our new bows. We are really lucky with our basement space. We have a range set up coming out to about 18 yards. Since that day in March, my husband and I have shot in our basement almost every night. We have probably missed less than 10 days since we got our bows. Practicing so much has brought my confidence level from uncertain to very confident. Of course hunting is much different than shooting at a target, but you have to be able to shoot accurately and consistently at a target before hunting. I’ve made huge improvements from when I started. I started pulling back 35 pounds. As of last night, I maxed out the draw weight on my Powermax at 50 pounds!

In the mean time, we have done a lot of pre season work. Taking part in putting up trail cameras and checking cards has been a lot of fun and seeing all of the deer ( and some giant bucks) has heightened my anticipation of my first hunt. Last weekend we started hanging up treestands and clearing spots for blinds. After all of our hard work I am not only excited to hopefully harvest my first Illinois Whitetail, but to see my husbands reaction. He is so passionate about putting me on my first deer and being with me when I shoot it. I am also excited to provide for my family in a way I never thought I would. Not to mention, but my husband and I always have at least some time together every day doing what we both love together. It has definitely made us closer even though he surprisingly admits I shoot more consistent groups than he does (HAHA!). I enjoy seeing our children watch us do this together and they can’t wait for mommy to come home with a deer!

For anyone, especially women, who are interested in archery or hunting, but are nervous or uncertain if it is for them, my advice is find someone close you can trust and ask them questions. If you do not know anyone who hunts there are so many good resources online that would be of benefit, mainly Facebook groups. You can also ask me too! It is also important to visit a trustworthy, highly reputable bow shop. If you are in central IL, my husband and I highly recommend Bowmentum Archery. Tell them we sent you! I am so glad I decided to get another bow and am absolutely addicted to shooting!


Sierra Carlson is a ReelCamo Girl Brand Champion, Mom, Wife, and Hunter!