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SEEDS Big-Buck Contest Winner Hunts Wyoming

No dead critters, but Flies and Fletching, Arrowdynamic Solutions, Wilderness Outfitters and Roland Whitt couldn't have worked any harder to show 2008 SEEDS winner Jake Meyer a better time.

Brad Gill | November 10, 2009

Hunting isn’t just about the killing — but it sure is fun trying everything in your power to get in position to let an arrow fly. Just ask Jake Meyer.

Jake, 14, of Neptune Beach, Fla. was the 2008 SEEDS Big-Buck Contest winner. He won the grand prize big-game hunt to Wyoming, where he spent five days hunting antelope and mule deer with last year’s SEEDS Big-Buck Contest sponsors — country singer Roland Whitt and the guys from Flies and Fletching, Wilderness Outfitters and Arrowdynamic Solutions.

“Wyoming was absolutely incredible,” said Jake. “On my first day of hunting, I used my crossbow and shot a nice antelope right through the neck. Unfortunately he was the toughest antelope in Wyoming, and he ran off. The next morning we spotted him feeding. I saw many mule deer, including some very big bucks. We even snuck to within 7 yards of a nice buck but couldn’t get a shot. I hunted about 12 hours a day. I stayed at a ranch in a small town in Wyoming. I saw tons of animals. If I had a gun and 100 tags, I could have filled the plane with antlers.”

Jake spent the first few days chasing antelope. On day three, he went looking for a big mule deer.

“We started hunting at about 6:30 and saw mule deer right when we got there,” said Jake. “We then started glassing for them and spotted a group of six nice bucks. We decided to walk up the mountain to see if we could find them.”

When they arrived, they spotted one of the bucks bedded down.

“One of my guides and I snuck up behind the buck, but when we were getting close to him he heard us and stood up. He started to stare at us, and we couldn’t get a shot because there was a boulder in the way. He ran off a little, and we began to walk in the direction he ran off in. We spotted him about 50 yards away, and he saw us and got very nervous. We could not get a shot at him, and he ran off.”

On day five, Jake ended his trip on an afternoon antelope hunt.

“We had a big goat in sight, feeding on a hill side just up from where we were spotting,” said Todd Fox, co-owner of Flies and Fletching. “Time was running out for Jake, and we all wanted to see him go home with something. He had hunted from sun up to sun down for four solid days and had yet to make his dream come true. So with all of us watching with binoculars from the ranch hillside, Dan (Mangus) took Jake down to the river bank where they jumped into the canoe and paddled across for one last spot and stalk. They reached the other side and began to make the uphill climb in order to get out of the antelope’s sight. The big speed-goat buck was feeding in the middle of the hillside just above his group of does that were now down watering on the river bank.”

As they made the stalk, the wind shifted.

“It was all over, and the goats were off to the races,” said Todd. “The final attempt to get Jake a Wyoming critter would also fail. Both his tags would be left unfilled. We were all absolutely beside ourselves as we wanted nothing more than to see Jake go home with the memory of a lifetime.

“He was humbled to say the least but now has a different outlook and respect for what it takes to harvest wild animals with a bow. No one deserves more credit for giving it his all and hanging in there until the final hour. Jake never gave up, never once complained, never said he was tired, never got discouraged and just kept waking each and every morning knowing he had a new day ahead of him and wondering if it would be the day.”

Sure, any 14-year-old would want the icing on a cake that comes with taking a game animal. But Jake’s a smart young man. He didn’t let not taking an animal mess up the trip of a lifetime.

“This was one of the best trips I have ever been on. I will never forget it. Now I’m just looking forward to going back some day,” said Jake.

I suspect Jake will be back in Wyoming one day looking to fill a tag and to add to his already rich memory.

“Although Jake left Wyoming with un-filled tags, he certainly goes home richer with memories that will last a lifetime. And that’s what the SEEDS dream hunt is all about. It’s about making memories with family members and new friends and spending quality time outdoors,” said Todd.

“Jake Meyer is a sportsman through and through, and we were honored to have spent the week with him and his mom Teri.”

For a complete blog on Jake’s hunt, log on to <www.fliesandfletch ing.com>. Click on “Blog.”

Turn to page 50 to get the websites for the other three sponsors in last year’s 2008 SEEDS Big-Buck Contest.

SEEDS thanks all of them for their support and dedication to the contest and their pro-active efforts to promote youth hunting.

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