Elk Hunting Archives | Prima Outdoor
Aim to Connect

Aim to Connect

By: Jackie Bartz I’ve made a career of telling stories but they are always other people’s stories. As a journalist I’ve shared thousands of people’s stories but my name is always in the byline, never in the text. A good storyteller connects the audience with the character and in this story I am both. I’m a writer and a hunter, and I always aim to connect. I vividly remember the first time I connected in the field. I was 15-years-old and had completed my hunter safety course that year (I was the only teenage girl in a room of adolescent boys). One afternoon my dad picked me up from school and we headed out to hunt. Just before dusk, we spotted a pair of mule deer. Slowly and as quietly as I muster in my jeans, we put my first stalk on an animal. We snuck into range and my dad laid on the cold ground for me to rest my gun across his back. Seconds led to minutes, quite a few minutes in fact, my poor dad about suffocated trying to hold his breath before I took a shot, but I connected. That connection changed my life; it’s what fuels my passion today. The excitement of harvesting my first animal is a feeling I will never forget but what I remember most is the smile on my dad’s face, the hug and the lifelong connection it forged between a father and his camo-clad daughter. Throughout high school and college, I chased elk, deer and antelope with my dad. I never took any trophies but every single one was...