My name is Deb Dalti.  I have been around a hunter for about 28 years.  The Vice President and co-owner of Big Woods Bucks, Chris Dalti, is my husband.  Let’s just say I have always been supportive of his hobby turned career, but never thought it was for me.  For years, he had asked me to participate, but for one reason or another I had always declined. All that changed for me this past year.  We have a four year old son who has been tagging along with his Dad since he was a year and a half old. Sam has come home many times from excursions he has had with his Dad bubbling with enthusiasm about his experience.  I will quote him as saying “You should have been there Mom!”  After a while, I thought to myself, I would like to share some of those moments with my 2 favorite men so I went to Chris and asked him what he thought of me taking a hunter’s safety course. As you might imagine, he was more than supportive. 
          I took the hunter safety course in April of 2010 and to my surprise passed the test.  My first hunting experience was at Hal and Deb Blood’s Cedar Ridge Outfitters. With the help of Remington and Big Woods Bucks, they hosted the first all women’s bear hunt during the last week of September.  It turned out to be a huge success. All of the women had a ball.  Each woman had different levels of hunting experience. I was the novice. I was able to gather lots of helpful information from the other women and have become friends with all of them.  It was also a cool experience having all the BWB Pro-Staffers with us on the hunt to tape us for a future BWB DVD.  We even hunted with Sam and Ruth McCuin who are co-hosts of the Outfitter TV Show. I did not get a bear that week but 5 out of the 8 of gals did get one and that was great.
          My second hunting experience was during the 2010 RI muzzleloader deer season.  Since the fall is extremely busy for Big Woods Bucks, Chris was away hunting and filming.  I was lucky that my brother-in- law Scott was willing to take me out on opening weekend.  On Sunday morning, Scott picked me up and my sister- in-law stayed with Sam.  Scott and I drove to the private land that we had permission to hunt.  Earlier, Chris did some scouting and had placed a tree stand for me.  I was excited and a bit scared.  I had never hunted alone in a stand nor had I shot Chris’ muzzleloader all that much. I was not sure what to expect. As I sat in the tree stand I enjoyed the wildlife waking up and the sun starting to shine.  I got so excited when deer starting running along the trails. Chris sure knew where to put the stand because that morning I saw 7 deer go by.  I finally saw a deer slowly walking up the trail on my right. He was feeding as he went along. I picked up my gun and was able to see him through the scope.  I felt that there was too much greenery in front to get a good shot so I waited.  I followed the deer as he slowly walked from my right side to my left.  Finally he came into an opening and I called to him with an adult blat.  He looked up and at that point I pulled the trigger hitting him exactly where Chris had told me to. The deer dropped in his tracks!  I was so excited.  I contacted Scott on the walkie talkie and told him I just shot a buck.  He stated he would be right over. To me it felt like an eternity, but actually it was only 5 minutes before he got to me. When I got down from the stand I was shaking I was so excited.  We went to look at the deer and saw it was a spike horn. His spikes were about 8 inches long.  I couldn’t have been more proud of myself.  In my eyes it just wasn’t a spike horn, it was a 10 pointer! I called Chris on his cell but he was in the woods hunting with Kevin and Lee (both BWB Pro-Staff) in New Hampshire. I left him a message stating I had shot my first buck.  Once he got the message, it didn’t take him long to call me back. He was so excited and proud of me.  Scott gutted the deer for me giving me a surgical lesson as he is a veterinarian.  I had never seen it done before.  We went home to show Sam, Caroline and my father-in-law my trophy.  I had never seen Sam so excited.  After pictures, Scott, Sam and I went to check it in.  Out of all the people at the check in station, I was the only woman there. My deer wasn’t the biggest one there, but it was bigger than what a lot of the men were tagging. My buck weighed in at 114 lbs. When the Department of Environmental Management Officer asked me how long I had been hunting I told him 2 hours. No, he stated, how long have you been hunting.  Again, I repeated 2 hours.  I explained it was the first time I had ever hunted deer.  The men got a good laugh at this.
           I am lucky I have Chris to asked questions and to learn from.  I am pretty sure this will not be my only buck as I plan to keep hunting. I also want to learn how to track as well.
           One hunt I am looking forward to this fall is the 2011 Cedar Ridge Women’s Bear Hunt.  As my husband says, I have an appointment with a bear.
           I would like to relay a message to all the women who might be thinking of asking their husbands to go hunting, thinking about doing it on their own or want to look into what is involved.  DO IT! It is awesome. Oh by the way, it is a great way to spend time with your family.

Best of luck on the trail,

Deb Dalti