Editor's note: For this #ThrowbackThursday, we bring you the tale of Maria Arendt, who was 14 at the time of original publication...February 2006. Maria, if you read this, let us know what you're up to these days!
At the age of 14, Maria Arendt of Galesville, Wisconsin, is already making the most of her time in the field. “I’m very proud of her for being a good hunter and a very good shot,” said her father, Dan. “She has taken four whitetails—two does and two bucks—and one antelope. In doing so, she has only fired six shots.”
In October 2004, Maria took a doe while hunting on a family farm. “It was T-zone season when we can only shoot antlerless deer. We were in an earn-a-buck unit where I had to get a doe to be eligible to take a buck during our regular gun season. I was pretty excited as my dad and I sat at the edge of a cornfield for cover,” she said.
After sitting for two hours her dad spotted a doe about 175 yards away and pointed it out to her. She used a fence post for a rest, but started shaking and had a hard time getting her gun to sit still. “After several minutes I finally calmed down. It was a perfect shot, right through the doe’s lungs,” she said.
In August 2005, Maria took an antelope on a ranch near Raton, New Mexico. “It was meant to be a weeklong family vacation, but turned into a three-day trip because school had just started and I was missing the second and third days of school,” she explained.
After arriving at the ranch she was to hunt on, Maria and her dad spotted a nice buck in front of the ranch owner’s house. “We stopped at the mailbox figuring it would be used to people stopping there. We looked at it and decided to go for it. We drove up the driveway a little further and stopped. I hopped out of the truck and got set up and my bipod. I couldn’t see the buck through the weeds. As the guide is trying to get me set up better the buck ran away and I was getting kind of nervous. So we hopped into the truck and followed the buck. Suddenly the buck stopped and started scraping the ground with his front feet and hooking sage with his horns. I hopped out of the truck and the guide helped me get set up. I watched the buck for a few seconds, put my sights on it and shot. The buck went down right away.”
In addition to being a good hunter, Maria is a top student in her ninth grade class. She is also active in band (playing the alto sax), FFA, 4-H, Girl Scouts, poms, voice and piano lessons, tap dance and jazz. Anxious about the next hunting season, she said “…I can’t wait because I love spending time with my dad. He is a hunter’s safety instructor and always gives me pointers and makes sure I’m safe.”