October 13, 2014 |
I’m writing this in small turkey blind while the only “hunting guide” I’ve ever had – my dad, Scott, is trying to call in a gobbler. Turkey, Coues deer, pronghorn antelope, and buffalo are the four animals I’m missing to fulfill my Arizona Big 10.
… and I only turned 14 four months ago. And I’m a girl.
Arizona allows big game hunting at age 10. That year, I harvested my first big game animal; a mountain lion. He weighed about 120 lbs. I weighed 85. That experience was an excellent teacher. I learned to shoot well under pressure. I learned to move fast because someone forgot to tell the lion dogs I was a 10 year old girl. I learned lion dogs only bark when they are on a trail. I learned how much I love to hunt!
Allison with her Ibex
Arizona lion hunts can be brutal. Last year the houndsmen wore out three grown men trying to catch a cougar ranging just west of Phoenix. Knowing I would not give up or burn out like the other hunters had, they called me to be their next shooter. We didn’t catch the lion that trip, but his days were numbered.
When I turned 11, I drew my first elk tag. That was when my dad started reloading for me with Barnes bullets. I was shooting a 25-06 and needed a good bullet for such a large animal. I waited at a stock tank for 11 hours before my first elk came in to water. The 100 gr .25 cal TTSX did its job. Quartering a large cow elk in the dark with only my dad was unforgettable. Hindquarters are kind of heavy when they weigh as much as you do and you try to put them in game bags.
The year I turned 12 was an even more exciting year for hunting. I was drawn for a desert bighorn sheep tag on the Barry Goldwater Range. The Gila Mountains are rocky, steep, and amazing. The day I filled my tag was the first day my mother had ever come with us on a hunt. While three of us were glassing the mountainside with thousands of dollars’ worth of optics, my mom was looking the opposite direction and spotted my ram with her bare eyes. Because this was a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, my dad made sure I had the best possible rifle/bullet combination. I moved to a .257 WBY Mag and stuck with the 100 gr TTSX. We spent many hot Arizona hours practicing at the range and when the time came I tagged a beautiful ram.
Javelina – .25 caliber 100gr. TTSX
Later that fall, my first mule deer came out of the same unit as my first elk. I had both a mulie and an elk tag in my pocket that day, so after I shot my little two point deer, we walked to a stock tank to see if I could fill my elk tag. Of course, 4 huge bucks came to water … but no elk.
In 2011, at age 13, I got a black bear on the San Carlos Apache Reservation and my first javelina. Most importantly, I drew an ibex tag in the Florida Mountains in New Mexico. Because our local shooting range only goes to 200 yards, Scott and I had to drive 4 hours each way to our friend’s ranch so I could practice shooting at 300 – 500 yards. All of the hours of driving and practice paid off; the shot I took to fill the ibex tag was 540 yards!
Thank you, Barnes, for making bullets so reliable that I’ve been able to hunt everything from varmints to elk with the 100gr 25 cal TTSX! I have complete confidence in my rifle and bullet combination. I can’t wait for this year’s draw results to come out!