Growing up in a region known to sportsman for its unique blend of hunting and fishing opportunities, Melissa Bachman immersed herself in a central Minnesota lifestyle filled with options. Decisions regarding which tree stand to hunt before school or if she’d have better luck on snow geese were just some of the decisions a young woman had to make.
We have long been fans of Melissa Bachman and we are honored to share her interview here!
What’s one rookie mistake you’ve made hunting?
I was mule deer hunting in Alberta and thought I spotted a muley bedded in some high grass. After a couple hours of glassing and watching variety of other deer we decided to try and get a closer look. We stalked into the area trying to see in the grass but figured he had left. Hoping to get a better vantage point and see down into the grass I spotted some round bales on the field edge that I thought may provide a better vantage point….except I completely fell off the thing! I couldn’t get a good grip on the bale and slid off. After trying twice I fell to the ground, started laughing, and assumed the muley was gone. But he wasn’t, as I was laying on the ground the buck stood up within shooting distance of us and my friend shouted “big buck!” He had been there the entire time and I actually had the right idea if I could have got on the bale. This buck looked back at us for a second and then bounded off. It was a buck of a lifetime. You can see the video on my Facebook page: http://facebook.com/winchesterdeadlypassion
What’s the hardest lesson you have learned while hunting?
Putting in your time all the way up until the end. I can’t count the number of hunts where I have been successful in the last minutes.
What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?
After seeing the trackers in Africa, it is unbelievable how great they are at tracking just from scat and prints. Someday I hope to be that good.
Who do you admire most in the hunting and conservation world and Why?
That would be Tom Miranda. He’s an incredible bowhunter, has worked hard both as a producer and hunter and truly does amazing work.
How were you introduced to hunting?
Both my mom and dad would take me out hunting from an early age. My younger brother would eventually join too. From my first squirrel to walleye to ducks to eventually getting my first Minnesota whitetail – mom and dad have really been there encouraging me every step of the way. I would not be as successful as I am today if it weren’t for the lessons they taught me at an early age in the woods and on the water.
Who were the influencers in your life that helped you get into hunting?
Again my mom and dad – my mom took me out in the woods just as much as dad. It was a family event for us. And then on Sundays we’d have our family meals featuring whatever we recently harvested.
Tell us about your first hunt?
My most memorable hunt was my first year deer hunting in Minnesota. We hunted on public land and I was able to take my first deer – even had to drag it out a couple miles! My dad made the hunt enjoyable. It wasn’t about the size of the deer or how many misses leading up to it. It was just being there learning together.
What advice would you give someone just getting into hunting?
For bowhunting, I recommend going into a local archery store and try out a wide variety of bows to see what you like the best. Go in with a budget in mind and buy the best bow you can afford. Then, get the bow fitted to you. This will ensure you have the right draw length and draw weight, which ensures you will be more successful. For rifles, I’m finding more and more that people are more comfortable heading to the range with something like a .22 or rimfire that doesn’t have much recoil. Then work their way up to larger caliber hunting guns. Regardless if you’re using a bow or rifle, all new hunters should enroll in a local hunter safety course. You might be mixed in with a bunch of young ones, but it is a fun course to take and you’ll walk away much more confidant.
What gear do you carry that you could not live without?
I always have my neck gator in case it gets cold. Then a GPS, compass and of course, a bottle of Mountain Dew.
What is your perfect big game rifle and bullet set up?
.300 Win. Mag with 180-grain Winchester Ballistic Silvertip.
What is your favorite archery and arrow set up?
I shoot a Mathews Chill SDX set at a 64 lbs with a 25.5 draw length. Broadheads – Rage hypodermic in deep six paired with Easton Injexion arrows in deep six and topped with the HHA Optimizer Lite King Pin sight.
What conservation organizations do you support with your time and money?
I try to support to support every organization I can as a member and am involved in a wide variety. I’m always willing to help wherever needed per their request as well. For example, I’m taking a person turkey hunting via NWTF who won it at the last NWTF convention.
What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Spring Gobbler Season?
Use great decoys – less is more when it comes to calling; when bowhunting, patience is essential; wait it out in the blind.
What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Deer Archery Season?
Hunt all day; utilize scent control and attracts; when appropriate, use rattling and decoys.
In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?
Nothing can replace patience and hard work.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m now on Instagram too! http://instagram.com/melissa_bachman
Where and when can folks tune in to catch your show?
Sundays on Sportsman Channel at 11:30 a.m. ET, re-airs Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 2:30 a.m. ET
What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter/huntress?
I have the utmost respect for the animals killed and use every part possible for either those in need or my own freezer.
When youngsters and their parents come up to meet you for a quick photo or autograph, what message do you hope to convey?
I hope I convey that hunting is enjoyable and a great family activity. And that you don’t have to harvest an animal every time you go out. Just get out there.
How do you feel media portrays women in the hunting/shooting industry? Do you feel there is a double standard?
I believe the media represents women hunters differently, but the important thing is they are getting the message out there and showcasing many women who hunt or shoot. The number of women hunters is constantly growing and I believe this is a huge help to the industry as a whole.
When it comes to hunting gear, how do you feel about gear specifically designed for women (guns, clothing, packs, etc.)?
I love that companies have taken the time to make gear for women, not only does it show the support for women, but also makes our lives easier.
Melissa you have been attacked for your passion for hunting, what do you feel is the most appropriate response to such personal attacks?
No response at all seems to be the best. It doesn’t matter what you say, or how you say it, some people will always disagree and attack. Even Twitter recently updated its abuse policy to anyone egging on a social media attack.
A blog post from Twitter reads, in part:
We are updating our violent threats policy so that the prohibition is not limited to “direct, specific threats of violence against others” but now extends to “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.”