For July 2017, Hen Outdoors chose Brooke Benham Wright's photo as the profile picture of the month. This is the story behind the photo.
My name is Brooke, and I grew up in the small town of Elbert, Colorado. My hobbies have always included nature and a passion for animals. I spent every moment I could training horses for competitive endurance and cross-country rides, along with raising our hogs and few cows. Eventually, my passion for adventure expanded to climbing Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks and taking on the only sport indigenous to Colorado: pack burro racing with my donkey Farnsworth (who is also a big game pack burro). I live for adventure, however, I wasn’t introduced to hunting by my family.
I met my husband, Matt, at a local gun show where he was selling his custom made knives. Our first date he picked me up in an old military vehicle full of hunting gear and at the time, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but knew it was going to be wild.
We took our first trip to Florida together. There he handed me a recurve bow fully set up for the sport of bowfishing and I took my first shot. I missed. However, hunting fish gave me a surge of adrenaline. That day sparked something inside me that turned into a flame that grew relentlessly.
Before long, my free time was spent scouting and pursuing fish and game. A year had gone by and I was excited to hear we drew a gator tag in Florida. Matt explained that this hunt would not be easy. There are no firearms allowed and our preferred weapon would be the bow. To add to the challenge, we were our own guides on public waters where big gators have learned to avoid hunters.
With the season fast approaching, I had to practice. The traditional bow is not easy to master and I devoted much of my free time to becoming proficient. The target on a gator is less than the size of a softball and, in many cases, gators sit in the water with just their head exposed. The target spot on a gator is often the jowl muscle located behind the jaw bone. I took to bowfishing carp in Colorado’s waters as target practice. I would shoot for a spot just behind the gill for good training. When our gator season opened, I was able to confidently shoot with precision.
We arrived in Florida the day of the hunt. Our fishing boat was packed with spotlights and bug spray. Our gear was very simple: A bow, headlamps, extra rope, electrical tape and a few knives was just about all we had.
To be continued on Aug. 2
Don't miss out! Two more posts bout Brooke's gator hunting story will be posted this week. Sign up to be notified about Hen Outdoors blog posts.
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