by Tori Cantrel
Who says women can’t shoot? Not Brad Hoffman, president of the QDMA Owensboro Branch in Kentucky. He is the proud husband of the woman pictured above, Melissa.
Like many huntresses, Melissa was not introduced to the outdoors until she and Brad started dating, when she would go to keep her future husband company in the deer stand. It never failed that the days she went were those rare days nothing was moving – not even the squirrels. So when Brad would come home with extravagant stories of things he saw in the woods on days she didn’t go, she never believed him.
Seven years of marriage and countless hunting stories later, Melissa decided she was ready to hunt – turkeys first. Two seasons came and went without a single bird sighting, so Melissa decided to give deer hunting a try. That season, a friend of Brad’s had just started practicing Quality Deer Management (QDM) on his farm, and he invited the two over to harvest a doe. It just so happened that this day was also the last day of gun season, so it was now or never for Melissa. That evening, she made a perfect shot on a mature doe to bring hunting season to a satisfied close.
You know what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree? Well, pictured right is Brad and Melissa’s son, Lincoln, with his dad. According to Brad, Lincoln has been going in the woods with him since he was big enough to walk. Whether they were scouting, tracking, or just hanging out, Brad says Lincoln “latched onto the enjoyment of the great outdoors” early on. His dedication is evident in this picture, as it’s not exactly common for a child’s first deer to be taken with a crossbow!
After 17 years of hunting, Brad says he continues to learn more and more every year. However, out of all of his years in the woods, he enjoyed the 2013-14 season the most. He said, “Being able to hunt with and guide my son and wife to their first deer definitely made this season the most memorable and exciting year in the woods.”
QDMA is challenging all of its members to learn from fellow hunters’ stories and take someone on their first hunt this year. Whether it’s for turkey, duck, dove or deer, make it your mission to spread the love of the great outdoors!