Teresa Head dreamed the buck before she shot him.
The dream came to her the night before the mother of three shot a trophy buck Oct. 15 as part of a Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, she said. She was hunting with a mentor at Itasca State Park near Bemidji.
That evening, she shot a beautiful 17-point buck that field-dressed at 235 pounds. She had never fired a rifle until a few weeks ago as part of the class sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She had signed up for the class because she wanted to start hunting.
Teresa Head of Duluth shot this 17-point buck on Oct. 14 at Itasca State Park.
“The reason I wanted to hunt is that I want good food for our family, without antibiotics,” Head said in an interview on Tuesday.The hunt was conducted in conjunction with a special youth firearms deer hunt being held in the park last weekend. Women participating in the hunt were permitted to take a deer with a firearm.
The buck appears
Head was sitting in a ground blind with her mentor in the hunt, Naomi Walker of St. Louis Park, Minn., when Walker caught the buck’s movement about 125 yards away. The sun had set about 15 minutes earlier, and the end of legal shooting time was about 15 minutes away.
“At that point, we were having a stare-off,” Head said. “He went down to eat. I found him in my scope. He moved a little and gave me a broadside shot. I just went for it.”
The copper bullet from Head’s Browning .30-06 rifle passed through both of the buck’s lungs and nicked its heart, she would learn later. Other mentors and Head’s BOW classmates helped track the buck 150 yards, where they found it lying dead.
“I think I was a little bit in shock,” Head said. “All of the women were like, ‘He’s huge.’ I think I had a moment where I was excited but coming to terms with the fact that this was a beautiful animal, and I took his life.”
The buck’s rack is wide, with a 21-inch antler spread, and the tines are long and symmetrical. Several of the women in the BOW class teamed up to drag the buck from the woods before it was field-dressed. The field-dressing was delayed so that the other women who were hunting as part of the BOW outing could watch, Head said.
Head was the only woman in the Becoming an Outdoors Woman class to shoot a buck during the hunt.
She and other women in the class taught by Walker had attended three classroom sessions near Forest Lake, Minn., and had practiced shooting their rifles at a shooting range.
Head was an excellent shot, Walker said.
“There was nothing left of the bull’s-eye when she was finished,” Walker said. “She was quite the natural at it.”
Head’s children — ages 7, 9 and 11 — “think it’s cool” that she shot her first buck, Head said.
“I’m excited to become a hunting family and teach them,” she said.
Head and her husband, Michael Head, moved to Duluth from Alaska almost two years ago. Michael works long hours as an electrician, Head said, so when the couple decided they wanted to begin eating their own game, Teresa figured she would become a hunter.
“I thought, ‘I have the time. I can do it,’” said Head, who grew up in Florida as the daughter of a single mom.
She hopes to become an archery hunter and take part in Duluth’s city bow hunt.
“We have six acres. We can hunt on our property,” Head said.
This is the second year that the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program has held a deer hunt for first-time women hunters, said Linda Bylander, BOW coordinator for the Minnesota DNR. Another BOW hunt will be held this fall at St. Croix State Park near Hinckley.
“An important part of the BOW program is the social support piece,” Bylander said. “Our program is all about training them in the skills in a safe, supportive environment.”
Head says the family has decided to have the buck mounted.
“I had no indication that I’d ever have a mounted deer in the house, which is hilarious,” she said. “We have a small house. We try to live small.”
To learn more
To find out more about Becoming an Outdoors Woman opportunities in Minnesota, go to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, mndnr.gov.
Written by Sam Cook as published in the Duluth News Tribune.