The first time Vicki R. picked up a bow and arrow, she pulled back, released and hit the bulls-eye. It was a fluke, everyone thought. Beginner’s luck.
On her second try, she pulled back and released just as before. Bulls-eye. Reed, Global Connections Inc. Director of Property Management and Travel, had found her calling.
“Archery isn’t something that anybody can just pick up and go,” she said.
That day at the archery range in 1987 would prove to be the start of Reed’s passion for hunting. Even with her ability to wield a bow, there is more to hunting than just hitting a target.
She would go on hunting trips with her husband and learn about scouting the location, gauging distances and patience. Now she is catching elk, bears and deer at an expert level. Bow hunting fits Reed’s persona perfectly: she’s competitive, tactful and doesn’t take the easy way out. That’s why she generally doesn’t use a gun to hunt.
“To me, archery is more of a challenge,” she said. “Most deer shots, when you’re in a tree stand, are a max of 30 yards. So you’ve got to be a very good scout as a hunter to be able to get your tree stand in an area where you can shoot an animal. You’ve got to get up close and personal. But if they smell you, they’re gone.”
Reed speaks of hunting as one part art form, one part sport. There’s so much that goes into catching one deer such as the ability to hit your target in a paper plate-sized range and to avoid attracting any unwanted attention from wildlife. Many hunters often come away empty-handed and Reed is no exception.
Take the elusive bull elk in Montana for example. She has tried multiple times to get one, traveling all the way from Florida, but their awareness is so superb that it’s incredibly difficult. Her third attempt to hunt the elk was documented by the Outdoor Channel’s RMEF Team Elk program, which first aired Thursday, July 17. Spoiler: She snagged her first elk! It was well earned, too, as it took immense patience and upper-body strength to deliver the finishing blow.
“I held a full draw for two minutes,” Reed said. “Most people can’t do that.”
It was a memorable moment, for sure. But one of the most intense encounters came this past May while on her first bear hunt. Bears are a different kind of beast than deer and Reed wasn’t used to their mannerisms. Several of them tried to climb up the tree from which she was perched. She downed one bear, and then came upon a second. That’s when the situation got dicey.
“I was about 40 yards out and she was pacing back and forth for about six feet,” Reed said. “I got a little bit closer for the shot. She rose up on her hind legs, stomping and growling.”
At this point, Reed tried to inch forward, but the bear was agitated. The shot was now or never and she took it. The bear ran 70 yards before keeling over. When people heard about the encounter, people asked if she had any backup or a gun. Nobody else was around and all she had was an extra arrow. It was anything but a fluke.
“If I was meant to be bear poop in the woods,” Reed said, “I was going to be bear poop in the woods.”