Archery helps hunter bag her game

Posted: Friday, July 09, 2004

Mary Lefebure crouched low in the thick willow as her quarry turned unexpectedly in her direction.

Her heart was pounding in her chest like a nine-pound hammer, sweat was dripping from her brow and she held her breath for fear any sound might betray her presence.

Just 15 yards away, the fork-antlered moose she had stalked for more than an hour stood peering at her. Although young, at close to 500 pounds, the animal was far from little.

The moose continued to stare and drool for several minutes until he was satisfied nothing was there and resumed his business of nibbling stalks of fireweed. A mistake on his part, and one that would be his last.

Lefebure rose slowly. She eased her ProLine compound bow back to a full draw, aimed just behind the moose's shoulder and with a smooth unhurried release, let fly a carbon arrow with 100-grain Thunderhead tip.

"He ran about forty yards and then dropped," said Lefebure in regard to the moose she harvested last year. "He still had fireweed in his mouth."

At 40 years old, Lefebure is far from the typical housewife. "I love hunting. I love doing it, I love talking it, I love everything about it," she said.

She has hunted for more than 20 years. Growing up in Wisconsin she got her start hunting a bit with her brother, but said it was her husband, Smokey Lefebure, that really helped her develop into the hunter she is today.

"My husband had been hunting for years, and he really took me under his wing," she said.

The two began hunting together every season and Lefebure took nine whitetail bucks over the years.

"It's nice to be able to hunt with a partner and it's great to be able to share everything we do together."

Then they moved to Alaska, and as she learned more, practiced lots and improved her hunting skills, she began to set her sights on bigger game. She bagged her first moose 10 years ago.

"It was a long shot, early in the morning and on the last day of hunting season," she said. Lefebure's husband had got one on opening day, but despite hunting every morning and evening during bow season, she wasn't having any luck. She was starting to doubt if she would get one, but then it happened.

"I was hunting the power lines out on Marathon Road and saw a fork-horn in the distance. It was probably a 40-yard shot probably longer than I should have taken but I was excited," she said.

She let an arrow rip and it plunked into it's target.

Now many years later she has several notches in her hunting belt.

"I've probably taken five moose and four black bears with a bow," she said.

As to what's next she added "I would really like to hunt a brown bear, that would be the ultimate challenge."

Lefebure is already getting prepared as this year's hunting season gets close.

"Well, we keep in shape. We're active people and we're always outdoors. We also start shooting around July because we believe you've got to practice and be confident with your shooting," she said.

"We're going to hunt hard this year. We'll go to the same spots and do some pre-scouting in early summer. We've already started to see a couple of little bulls," she said.

Despite her love for the shooting sports, Lefebure knows that hunting is still very much a man's world.

"A few girlfriends admire me, they think it's really neat, but most of them have no desire to do it themselves," she said.

However, that hasn't stopped Lefebure from trying to change their minds.

"My advice to any women thinking about getting into hunting is don't be afraid to do it. Go out and give it a try. You may like it."

As for Lefebure herself, she isn't showing sign of stopping anytime soon. "I'll hunt for life," she said.

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