Melissa says her off-season is filled with scouting, hanging trail cameras, setting up tree stands, working on food plots, applying for tags, spending time at the range and more. When it comes to range time, summertime is primetime for shooting practice. Hunters can't expect to hang up their equipment at the end of one season and pick it back up on opening day and be able to shoot their best. Good shot placement is important when hunting any animal and staying sharp with the weapon(s) you choose to hunt with is crucial. Melissa says she shoots year round and because she lives outside of the city limits, and has the space on her property, she and her husband have been able to set up different shooting courses. She talks about her backyard pistol range and their 3D archery range and how the close proximity to those ranges allows them to practice more. Highlighting their 3D archery range, Melissa says they have a wide variety of big and small game targets, plus some fun targets like dinosaurs. In particular, she talks about a great deer target on their range with the vitals exposed so hunters can better understand what they are hitting when they shoot. This kind of visual is really important, she says, especially for kids. When practicing with a bow, not only does this target give you the outline of a deer to shoot at, but it also provides the shooter the opportunity to walk up after the shot and figure out exactly what vitals their arrow hit and whether or not it would be a good or killing shot in a real life hunting scenario. By providing this kind of visual to kids or new hunters over and again it helps them better understand exactly where the vitals are on a deer, and in turn that helps them make more well placed shots.
When it comes to new hunters and kids getting involved in the outdoors, Melissa discusses the ever changing landscape of the outdoor industry and the changing demographics of those coming to hunting and shooting sports. Melissa says she has seen a visible uptick in younger people getting involved in the outdoors, but even more encouraging, families as a whole. It's great to see entire families experiencing the outdoors together instead of just the men in the family, she says. When women (moms) get involved it many times acts like a domino effect where then children also become more engaged. It's so important to bring kids into the fold, Melissa says. At a young age kids are very impressionable and if you allow them the opportunity to get out and have fun while they experience the outdoors, hunting shooting, fishing, etc., they'll make memories they will never forget, create bonds and want to stay active in the outdoor lifestyle.
Melissa also highlights an event she'll be attending this weekend, BowFest at Mont du Lac Resort in Superior, Wisconsin. BowFest is a big outdoor archery and music festival and one that Melissa has attended for years. She says she just truly can't articulate how great of an event BowFest is and the amount of activities they provide to attendees like backcountry 3D archery courses, live music and more. BowFest will kick off Thursday, July 22 and run through Sunday, July 25 and Melissa says she'll be there for the whole event. If you're in the area, be sure to get your tickets to attend.
Watch "Winchester Deadly Passion" on Sportsman Channel five times a week including airings on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET, plus a new airtime Mondays 7:00 pm ET. You can also head to MyOutdoorTV for access to 8 seasons worth of action that can be streamed anytime!