Melissa Bachman is an accomplished hunter with a unique ability to share her love for the great outdoors and all things wild with her passionate fans and viewers.
Growing up in a region known to sportsman for its unique blend of hunting and fishing opportunities, Melissa immersed herself in a central Minnesota lifestyle filled with options. Deciding which tree stand to hunt before school, or if she’d have better luck on snow geese were just some of the decisions the young woman had to make.
Surrounded by a family filled with love and mentors galore, Melissa pursued her academic life with the very same tenacity she approached her passion for hunting. After graduating with honors and armed with a degree in television broadcasting, and another in Spanish, from St. Cloud State University, Melissa set her sights on a career in outdoor television.
Melissa began as a TV intern, and within months was offered a position as a full-time producer where she traveled the country filming, producing and writing shows with a variety of incredible hunters on some fantastic adventures.
Although close to her dream job, Melissa truly longed to be the one outwitting her prey, and squeezing the trigger. So she spent every spare moment of her free time arduously filming and editing her own hunts. Finally, with time, patience and persistence, Melissa got some solid shows into the right hands and her wish became reality.
Now Melissa spends nearly 200 days a year in the field hunting the globe and producing her show Winchester Deadly Passion, which airs Sundays at 11:30 p.m. ET on Sportsman Channel.
Q: What advice do you have for a woman who is new to bowhunting?
A: If new to bowhunting, I highly recommend going into a local archery store and try out a wide variety of bows to see what you like the best. That way, you can get the bow fitted to you. This will ensure you have the right draw length and draw weight so then you are more successful. And more successful means you’ll have more fun in the process. Like any passion, you want to buy the best you can afford at the time and used bows are always a great option as well.
Q: What is the best way to get young girls interested in hunting and engaged?
A: Best thing is to start out slowly by taking them shooting at a range. Find a range that has a variety of guns you can rent and teach them gun safety with each one and go over the basics. If they are really into it, ranges have NRA Certified Instructors on staff that would be happy to give them a private shooting lesson. And maybe hearing instructions from someone other than “Dad” or a relative would go over better too! After that, pick a couple hunts that are fun, keeping in mind weather and length of time spent in the field. What is no big deal to you could be a huge irritant for a young girl in the field – so ask them questions on how they are feeling and show them things in the woods, like identifying trees or animal tracks. This could be a learning experience for the adult too!
If they don’t “take” to the hunt immediately, that’s ok. Just spend time with them outdoors and always offer to include them in your activities. You could ask 100 times and the 101st time might be when she says “yes.”
Photo by John Hafner
Q: Being a woman in the hunting industry, how do you prep for hunting?
A: Since I hunt more than 200 days a year, I try to always be prepared at any given time! I keep one backpack ready with all the essential gear I need. I also have one duffel bag with all of my clothing and body care essentials for any experience. I make sure to always have scent free products with me at all times as well – I recommend Wildlife Research Center’s Scent Killer® Gold® for Her™ kit – it comes with body wash, shampoo & conditioner, clothing spray and a bath puff. I always have a kit in my bag.
Q: Since it is spring turkey season, what are three tips you can give us?
A: Use great decoys – the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is very true here; less is more when it comes to calling and when bowhunting, patience is essential, wait it out in the blind. And I’ll add a fourth – if you want to have some fun footage, set up some Cuddeback cameras (http://cuddeback.com) in your decoy spread. You’ll get some amazing footage of jakes and toms fighting it out over your decoys and you never have to worry about turning them on and off or batteries dying as they are motion activated and will take both pics and video.
Q: You’ve been in outdoor TV for quite sometime now – what piece of advice were you given that was gold?
A: The one piece of advice someone gave me was nothing will pay off more than hard work and that is the absolute truth. You can’t wait around for things to happen. Some people may catch a big break, but by working hard and never giving up you don’t have to wait on a break, you can create your own opportunities and that’s exactly what I’ve done. It hasn’t been easy and it has been extremely long hours year after year, but if you believe in yourself enough and are willing to work hard, anything is possible.