By Melissa Lackie
My journey started three years ago when I was
just cruising around at the Mid-Michigan Safari Club International convention at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. I stopped at a booth and was looking at the pictures of all the bears and the shing pictures when I was approached by a guy, his name is Arlee. He pulled out a chair and asked me if I wanted to go hunting. Without saying a word, I went and got my dad, Bob Lackie.
I came back with my dad and he started talking to Arlee about me going on this hunt. One year later it was set in stone. The hunt was donated to me.
That spring I started shooting my 708mm. I rst had a hard time holding it. My dad knows
a guy who custom made me a
handle because I shoot left handed,
so the handle was mounted on the
right side of the stock of the gun.
The handle comes o , too. I started
shooting my gun. I was barely
hitting a target. My gun has a kick
to it and I was scared of the kick but
I got the courage up and by late
summer I started shooting my gun
and hitting the target. Thanks to
a friend from work who told me to
focus and don’t forget to breathe. I
listened to her.
This last spring it nally
started to sink in for me and the
week before we left for Northern
Saskatchewan in Canada I shot my gun for the last time before we left. I hit the target one last time and I never missed it either. I was on the mark my last shot. I knew I was ready to go hunting for the rst time. It was something I had never dreamed about doing.
I went out on Mother’s Day later in the afternoon. My dad’s friend, Nels Larsen let me borrow his track chair. The weather up there was cold and very rainy. The roads were muddy. But that didn’t stop me from going out in the
bush to go hunting. We were about an hour away from
the hunting lodge. I was about 500 yards back in the bush. The guide’s daughter and son-in-law came and helped out getting me back there. The weather broke just enough and I was about 40 yards from the bait barrel.
I put my earmu s on and soon as I did that I could hear my heart beating. My adrenaline was just a going. Then I saw my rst bear. I wasn’t nervous at all but I did move just a little bit and the bear saw me and went back into the bush.
It wasn’t maybe 15 minutes later, I somehow knew something big was coming in from my right side about 10 yards away. My dad couldn’t see until I pointed at my eyes and that got my dad’s attention which also got the attention of Arlee.
By now my heart was racing. My dad steadied the tripod stand that I used
to shoot. I lined the bear up in my scope. I waited until he
was broadside. I never heard Arlee say, “Shoot!” My heart was beating very loud. I pulled the trigger and I thought I had just wounded him. I had hit him. Not only did I hit him, I took both
lungs out. Arlee red after me to just make sure he was dead. I also put a hole in the bait barrel.
The experience was just amazing. I went, I saw, and I even conquered!!
I would like to thank a few people who made this
hunt happen for me: Mid-Michigan Chapter of Safari Club International, Hepburn Lake Lodge for such a wonderful hunting experience, and last but not least my parents for taking the time out of their busy schedules to take me on this hunting trip of a lifetime.
I have the hunting bug and I am planning on doing more hunting.
(Editor’s note: I rst met a smiling Melissa at SCI in Mt. Pleasant who was ‘cruising’ around in her motorized wheelchair. While wheelchair bound, Melissa graduated from Shepherd High School. She su ered a stroke at age 20 in which she lost more mobility and her speech but now at 33 has completed a bear hunt. Way to go girl!!!!! We are so proud of you and all of the people who helped make this hunt happen.)
I would like to thank some people, also. Thanks out to my good friend, Nels Larsen, for the use of the track chair. This hunt would not have been possible without it. And a special thanks to Arlee, Darlene, Perry, Stacy, and Sky for making us feel like family on our stay with them.
Friends Forever, Melissa’s Dad