Chasing deer is a passion for countless hunters each fall. And no matter when, where and how we hunt whitetails and mule deer each season, that passion can almost always be traced back to a singular event early in our hunting career.
Because of that, we asked some of our MyOutdoorTV, Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel television show hosts to tell us about their first hunts.
What follows in this Part One story are the answers that they gave:
Melissa Bachman (Winchester Deadly Passion): “I got my start in whitetail hunting at age 12. In Minnesota, this was the age you had to wait until you could harvest big game, so I was more excited about my 12th birthday than any other birthday. The night before deer season, I could hardly sleep as I was so anxious and ready to hunt. I even stayed up drawing out maps as to where I wanted to hunt first on our property. My first whitetail harvest took place there alongside my dad in Paynesville, MN on that 115 acres we lived on. It was a small doe, but I was so excited that I could barely contain myself. I was hooked! From that point on, deer hunting became one of my number one passions.”
Ralph Cianciarulo (Archer’s Choice, The Choice): “My first whitetail hunt happened in 1974. I was perched up on a branch looking towards the woods on the edge of a standing cornfield. My Uncle Kenny told me to face the woods as that was where the deer would come from. I had no stand, no safety belt, just me and my recurve and a couple of Easton aluminum arrows tipped with a Bear Razorhead broadhead. A few hours passed and I heard (some) rustling in the corn in back of me. I turned and to my amazement, there was a doe and a yearling feeding. I drew back my bow and anchored somewhere way past my ear and released. To say that even if the deer was 15 feet tall, I would have missed, and that would not be a stretch. My arrow flew so far into the cornfield that I think it might have ended up across state lines. Now that wasn’t my first deer kill, but it was my first deer hunt and that was more important to me than taking one.”
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Mark Drury (THIRTEEN): “My first whitetail harvest took place when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I got to walk to my stand from where I grew up. I shot a spike buck on the opening day of that season. Interesting enough, a man who lived nearby named Bobby Bassier heard that shot and came over and helped me gut that deer. Oddly enough, I didn’t see him again until my dad’s wake (earlier this year). That was 35 years ago. The memories start then, but they sure don’t stop.”
Mike Pelletier (HARDCORE Pursuit): “I was 12 years old and filled a doe tag with my grandpa. I used a .22 Hornet and shot the big mature doe right in the neck and dropped her in her tracks. I was so excited and have been hooked ever since, devoting most of my time, money and energy, hunting (deer) and thinking about hunting (deer).”
Trevon Stoltzfus (Outback Outdoors): “I grew up in New Mexico where we only hunted mule deer, so the first time I ever sat in a treestand for a whitetail was when I was 33-years old. My first whitetail harvest was (on) a new property that my good buddy Adam Wells was managing in Nebraska. We walked the property in the summer and placed a few stands where we saw major trail activity. I kind of got lucky and in December 2004, a nice eight-point wandered in and I made a good shot. I was able to harvest that nice four-year old, 130-ish buck and I was hooked!”
Steve West (Steve’s Outdoor Adventures): “I have been mule deer hunting since I was 12 years old and then (eventually) graduated to (being) a guide in my home state of Oregon. My first mule deer harvest (came about) when I was still hunting a thick stand of timber and jumped a small forked horn buck. He took two jumps, stopped, and looked back. It was only about 20 yards (away) and I dropped him with my dad’s 7×57 Mauser rifle. On the gutting job, I blew it horribly, but I dragged home a buck, so all was forgiven!”