Editor’s Note: This is the story of two hunting trips that Chalsey Stiglich, a Farwell High School student took with her father, Brian. On the trips she shot a Michigan black bear and a Colorado mule deer. She is one of only a handful to have shot both in the same year.
My name is Chalsey Stiglich, I am 17 years old and I currently attend Farwell High School. I have hunted since I was 10 years of age; mostly white tail, turkey and even mule deer out in Colorado but this was my first bear tag I had received after applying for the drawing for five years straight.
I was thrilled to know I finally could get a chance to hunt a Michigan Black Bear (something not every 17 year old girl can say they’ve hunted). I didn’t know how time consuming and difficult bear hunting could be until my dad (Brian Stiglich) taught me what there is needed to know about the hunt.
My dad and I put in three evenings sitting in the stands without making a sound or a movement. The third night my intentions were to hunt with the cross bow but decided to take the gun instead because it was raining. Sure enough it was 7:20 pm and it had stopped raining and a black bear came walking in. I lined the cross hairs right in the middle of its shoulder and pulled the trigger; the bear dropped down and then took off running. Unfortunately after coming back the second day of intensive tracking we realized it was not a fatal kill from the position the bear was at when I shot it. It was a real disappointment after all the work and time my dad put in for me and effort I made too.
Second Chance Hunt – Then, one day my Dad called me and told me he had good news. The bait pile had been hit by another bear. Since we were hunting in a big county I got another week in October to hunt but only with my bow. My dad said we should still try and I was determined to get one so we stuck to it.
On Day 4 in the woods, I heard a rustling noise; I tried to convince myself it was a squirrel or deer to keep my breathing down, which worked. However, the noise grew louder and my dad whispered in a demanding voice “grab your bow”, then I knew it was the bear. It was silent for a couple seconds and when I looked back down, there it was slowly walking and sniffing the trees and ground around it. I waited till it was quartering away from me and tried to be as quite as I could and drew back my bow.
I could hear my heart pound, pump pump…pump pump, and I put the pin on the bear’s shoulder and aimed back 4 inches and pulled the trigger of my release and thump! It was 7:10 pm and it all happened so fast, but it looked like a good shot. Before the bear even ran 5 yards my dad confirmed it was a perfect shot.
After waiting my dad got down and tracked it, and the whole time the anxiety was killing me. No more than 50 yards he found it and I was pumped. It weighed 242 pounds dressed. For 2 ½ hours my dad was the one who dragged the bear for half a mile back to the car while I carried everything else we had. My arrow went all the way through the bear, through the lungs and top of the heart where the main arteries are. It was definitely a dead bear and something I am so proud of and will never forget, especially since it was my second chance bear.
We made bear jerky/burger and I decided I wanted to get a bear rug made out of it, so I’m so excited about that. In the end I couldn’t have done this without my dad’s hard work and the support of my mom and brother. I have a wonderful family and I had one amazing hunting experience that night. I am still smiling, anticipating my next outdoor experience.
The hunt continues…….
The icing on the doughnut “cake” was that just recently I also got the opportunity to go Mule deer hunting out in Colorado with my dad. Now after looking at both of these pictures some people may think I am very lucky and in many ways with God, family and friends I am. But in fact there is more than just luck that is put into every hunt just like these two. Planning, pursue, and follow – through are the main key actions to executing success.
My dad and I only had 3 days to fill our mule deer tags and that is what we planned on doing. We set up the trip and the date, packed and started our long drive to Colorado. We only stopped to rest for 2 hours on the way there and had to set up camp and prepare for the hunt the next morning. We were hunting in a youth area where you can only use muzzleloaders which only shoot up to 150 yards accurately and only have one bullet, so it’s like a one chance shot.
We were in what they call the foot – hills of the mountains as you can see in the background of the picture above. It was Saturday morning and we ended up seeing about 30 mule deer. The only disadvantage was that they were down in the valley and we were on the side of the foot – hill so we could see them easy, but they were actually a half a mile away.
We saw one deer, but where did the other buck go? It was the nicest one out of the two and we had to make a decision. We slowly walked up the two – track towards the one buck and waited for it to go over the next ridge. When we were slowly creeping up the road my dad is always aware of all surroundings and saw where the nice buck went. It was with a little 5 point over to our left in the shrubs. I wanted to go after that one so we started our chase.
We snuck over and started to descend down the hill and wait till they were in view because they were already heading in our direction anyway. Well, when we were trying to be quiet we didn’t realize how close the two bucks actually were. They were closer than 90 yards away and picked up our scent and bolted down the hill. We decided to keep moving after the one buck once it couldn’t see us anymore and pushed on. We finally got over the next ridge and it turned into really thick tall bushes and chose to look there.
We were half way through the thicket when we heard branches cracking and we looked up. There they all were, 8 bucks ran out and up the side of the hill along with the monster buck that stopped to look back to see what we were, but they were all too far away to shoot. My dad and I didn’t want to push them anymore, so we decided to go back to camp and eat after walking 7 miles up and down the side of the steep sloped hills.
Monday morning was the last chance to get a mule deer because that afternoon we were heading back home. The morning was a long, challenging hike up the steep hill but we made it and set up on the top of the ridge where the two bucks crossed over the previous day and waited for the sun to rise. As soon as the sun was shining on our jacket’s the deer were already up and moving. First we saw a little 3 point about 60 yards away, and even though this could have been my only chance buck I passed him up in hopes of shooting a more decent size mule deer. There was a doe and a fawn that came over the ridge behind us and spotted us but slowly walked down the hill.
While over to our left was another doe farther away, but what was really interesting, was all of a sudden a doe appeared behind us not 15 feet away bleating and calling for the others. It was so close and I was trying so hard not to laugh. It stayed there for a good 10 minutes and then slowly walked in front of us and down the hill where the other doe and fawn answered back.
Then my dad spotted something in the valley about a 1/2 mile away. I looked through the binoculars and it was two bucks sparring and one was a dandy. They headed in the direction of where the thicket was, where we scared all the deer out of the previous day. We decided to follow – through and do all that we could do to get a mule deer, and headed over the ridge with a plan. The plan was that I walked on top of the ridge all the way over to where all the deer came out when we spooked them and set up. Once my dad saw me, he would walk through the thicket toward me and do what we called a mini deer drive. My dad came up with this idea and he told me he would rather see me get a deer then him even though he had a mule deer tag too.
So, I found a spot and put the muzzleloader on the shooting sticks and was ready as I saw my dad head into the brush. About 10 minutes later I see a rack sneaking up the trail. I looked through the scope and saw it was a really nice buck and cocked the hammer back. I was looking through the scope and saw its head and then saw its body. I realized it was on the other side of the fence and my mind was going a million miles per second because I wasn’t sure if I should wait for it to hop the fence on my side or not. I wasn’t positive it was going to jump over the fence and every second counted, so I told myself once I got a clear shot at its shoulder I would take it.
There was an opening in the fence and I bleated and the buck stopped and looked and then you could hear the shot echo through the mountains. I saw two little bucks and a doe that were traveling with it run off, but I didn’t see the big one I shot. I was so excited and shook up. I waited till my dad came walking up the fence and met him about where I had shot but I wasn’t sure where it was exactly and we couldn’t see the blood. I told my dad the others took off running but I didn’t see the one I shot at. My dad walked about 20 yards down the hill and he turned around and said to me “give me a hug lucky girl”. With a big smile I gave him a hug and there it was the biggest deer I have ever shot and not to mention my first mule deer. It was the last hour of the last day to shoot and tag a mule deer and we made it happen. My dad pulled it about a mile back to where the truck was and I helped part of the way. It was quite the experience and it was just amazing that I actually got the chance to be able to take home a mule deer. My family and I actually donated the venison to our church for all the people in need of it. Many people were thankful and it was enjoyable putting a smile on the faces of those that needed the meat.