This week on Winchester’s Deadly Passion, host Melissa Bachman sees to her version of a “Gator Slam” by getting three gators with different methods: bow, rifle and hook. Watch Winchester’s Deadly Passion, produced by North American Media Group, on the Pursuit Channel on Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m., and Fridays at 12 a.m. EST (Thursdays at 11 p.m. CST).
First up, Melissa heads to South Carolina on her very first gator hunt armed with her bow. She practices beforehand to get the hang of shooting with a string attached to her arrow and feels pretty good about her deadly aim. Out on the water, Melissa and her guide were surrounded by gators. “When it comes to field judging a gator, of course you can look at how wide the eyes are apart. But a good rule of thumb is for every inch from the eye to the end of the nose is about a foot on the size on the gator,” Melissa shared with the camera.
There was a learning curve on this first hunt to get the arrow placement just right. But eventually, Melissa sticks a smaller gator just right and is able to reel in her first catch. With two tags to fill, she goes after a second gator and sets her sights on a monster. After much struggle, she eventually lands the beast in the boat and finds out it’s 11 feet long!
Her next hunt is with a rifle. This time, she’s on private land with nuisance tags to help the landowner remove these dangerous animals. “Gators have become so out of control in South Carolina that these landowners can’t even go duck hunting with their dogs,” she explained.
With a rifle, Melissa shows there is even a smaller place to hit your target—maybe the size of a quarter. And, of course, the gators don’t present much of a shot opportunity. She eventually spies one laying low in the swamp area, and you bet her aim was dead-on.
Lastly, Melissa heads to the swamps of Louisiana to see if she can hook a gator. She places her bait around on several trees and wishes for lady luck to be on her side. After a few days of not much activity, she and her guide return one morning to find the entire tree their bait was hooked on underwater. “We knew we had a monster given what that gator did to that tree,” said Melissa. “And he was still alive, so it was scary being in that boat knowing a monster was just under you—and he was mad.”
Tune in to see what machinery they eventually use to pull in this monster to shore.
Winchester’s Deadly Passion takes viewers on heart-pounding adventures around the globe, as Melissa matches wits with New Zealand stags, Midwestern whitetails and gators in the Deep South. This season, viewers also witnessed an 11-day, self-guided quest for a unique unicorn mule deer, plus adrenaline-packed hunts for species ranging from world-class Alaskan bruins to razor-tusked wild boars.
Melissa lives for the outdoors—spending about 140 days each year in the stand or stalking animals. She was raised in a hard-working, small-town hunting family in central Minnesota. From a young age, she wanted to be on camera, and eventually worked her way to learn how to film, produce and host TV—and wound up at North American Media Group. In 2010 she started Deadly Passion Productions and continues to give seminars, in addition to sharing her hunting adventures via blogging at My Take (http://www.melissabachman.com/MyTake.html). Today, she’s a triple threat with her skills on and off camera—and her talents with a bow and gun.
Image courtesy BulletProof Communications/Winchester Deadly Passion