Lottery hunt of a Lifetime at Patuxent Research Refuge

For Shelby Aguilar and her dad, Rob, the chilly morning in November will be one they remember for a long time to come. The pair had won the deer hunt lottery weeks prior, and both were excited at the opportunity to hunt at Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland.

Shelby took her hunter safety course at eight years old and began hunting with her dad when she was 12. Shelby’s grandfather even promised to mount her first big buck, an Aguilar family tradition.

“The best part about learning to hunt was just spending time outdoors and getting to bond with my dad. We always have a good time, even if we don’t see any wildlife.”

That morning flew by. The easily accessible trails made for a quick trip to their hunting zone as the sun began to rise. The father-daughter duo admitted they spent more time talking and laughing in the woods than sitting still and listening for deer.

“We made one grunt call and rattled two or three times and he came running!” Shelby said.

Now at just 16 years old, Shelby’s ten-point deer is the largest white-tail harvested from Patuxent Research Refuge, weighing in at 155 pounds dressed. She plans to share the deer with her family  hopes to pass on her love for hunting to future generations.

Shelby doesn’t let being a girl stop her from doing what she loves. She encourages all girls to “Go for it! Get out there an learn something new. It’s a great way to spend time in the outdoors and with your family.”

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