Deer hunting trip a dream come true for Centre coach

January 22, 2004|JILL ERWIN

Lisa Owens, the head track and cross country coach at Centre College, went to Camden, Ala., earlier this month to participate in a SuperHunt with Mossy Oak Productions, which produces five different outdoors television shows.

Owens was filmed hunting whitetailed deer on a 14,000-acre property leased by Mossy Oak, and may appear on one of the future television shows.

Only 36 people a year are chosen to participate in the SuperHunts, and Owens was the only woman chosen for this year's hunts. Owens' group was in a rifle hunt. (Mossy Oak also offers bow hunts.)

Owens had no clue she had been chosen for the hunt. Her husband, Scott, called Mossy Oak in July, but he didn't tell her about it for five more months.


"Christmas morning, he starts pulling out these presents, and they're all boxes of camouflage clothes," Owens said. "I'm like, 'Wow, that's nice,' but my husband's not a hunter. So I'm thinking, 'This is weird,' but it never crossed my mind.

"I kept opening up all these boxes of clothes, and finally in the bottom of one of the boxes was a sheet of paper saying, 'Congratulations, you've been chosen to go on one of the Mossy Oak SuperHunts,' and I about passed out.

"It was the most amazing thing he could have ever done. I'm still not sure he realizes how much it meant to me. Once it finally struck me, I had to sit down and get the feeling back in my hands."

The clothes came from Mossy Oak as part of the hunting package. Owens also received a brand-new 7mm Browning Winchester short magnum rifle, a Swarovski scope and a new tree stand.

She said that $2,500 worth of free equipment was incentive enough, but the thought of hunting on camera with people she'd seen on television was more than she could have ever imagined.

"I got to go do something that has always been a dream of mine with the most famous people that get to do it for a living," Owens said. "Most people that love to hunt completely envy the lifestyle of these people, because they live to hunt."

Owens and her father, John Hockersmith of Harrodsburg, annually win a bevy of medals at the Bluegrass State Games. Hockersmith is a former national champion in muzzleloading, and Owens qualified for nationals in 1999 and finished second.

"Hunting has been a part of my lifestyle since I was probably six years old," Owens said. "My father raised me around it. He didn't have any sons at that time, so I was the tomboy for a long time. I've loved nature and the outdoors ever since I can remember."

Being the only female on the hunt gave her an advantage

Being the only female on the hunt gave Owens an advantage, and the camera crew assigned their top cameraman to go with her on the three sessions she was filmed out of the six she hunted.

She said she also got some of the prime hunting areas, as Ronnie "Cuz" Strickland, the supervisor of the field producers, wanted to get her on tape.

Whether it was the spots or Owens' natural ability, she did well. She was one of only six on her hunt to kill a buck, and she also killed the second-largest doe. Her doe was five pounds behind the biggest, which earned the shooter a new Polaris four-wheeler.

Her husband's Christmas trickery put Owens a little behind, as she had only a week to get used to a new gun and get it sited to 200 yards before leaving for Alabama. She said she usually shoots from only around 100 yards when hunting in-state, and the extra kick of a 7mm rifle was an adjustment as well.

A cold front moved through Alabama as Owens got there, turning the 80-degree weather they arrived to into a 16-degree morning two days later.

The biggest adjustment was getting used to having someone else with her. Owens has always enjoyed hunting alone, and having a camera just inches from her face for the entirety of the hunting session and a microphone on her jacket was difficult for her.

She said the decision wasn't hers of which buck or doe to shoot, or when. That decision was made by the cameraman, who had to make sure he had the right angle and lighting to get enough footage of the deer walking around prior to the shooting.

"If a buck comes down that you normally wouldn't shoot if he wasn't with you, if he tells you to shoot it, you shoot it," Owens said. "They want footage. They like the big buck, but they like the hunt. They want the ideal hunt.

"You turn on those TV shows and you see somebody hunting, they shoot a deer, they're happy and that's it. But there's so much more that goes into it and I had no idea. Being able to experience it is one of the best experiences of my life."

It may not be the last time she gets to experience it. Owens said she has found a place in Illinois that she's looking into going for a four-day whitetail muzzleloader hunt with the Mossy Oak team.

"I really developed a good rapport with those people down there," Owens said. "They truly wanted to get me on film. They gave me some cards and told me they wanted to get me on a muzzleloader hunt in the near future. I'm very excited about it."

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