Brotherhood Outdoors Heats Up with a Fire Fighter on a Grueling Arizona Bow Hunt
By Julie McQueen, Brotherhood Outdoors Co-Host
Archery hunting on the East Coast is very different from archery hunting out west. Tell that to Michael McShane, a member of Fire Fighters Local 1312 out of Dover, NH, and he’ll probably respond with a knowing smile. The Brotherhood Outdoors crew invited Michael on his adventure of a lifetime to pursue elusive mule deer and javelena in Arizona.
We knew Michael would be in good physical shape to hike the rough terrain because of his work as a fireman, and upon arriving to Arizona, we found that he was also well accustomed to the cold temperatures. Hailing from Maine, he is used to cold mornings and winds that cut through fleece jackets, while the rest of us struggled to stay warm.
No matter what the weather or terrain threw at us, Michael never stopped smiling. While we all suffered from the thin air and tough hikes, he would simply laugh and comment on the fact that he lives at sea level. Just the thought of a trophy mule deer kept him going when the rest of us wanted to sit down and rest.
For Michael, this was a dream long in the making. Hoping to take himself on a hunting adventure of a lifetime, he started saving his loose change and extra cash in a large water jug many years ago. When the coins and cash reached almost to the top of the jug, somebody stole it from his home. Instead of becoming bitter, he just started over. That story seems to sum up Michael McShane; he is patient, and he doesn’t mind a little hard work to reach his goals. And that’s why we were proud to help speed his dream along by inviting him on a Brotherhood Outdoors adventure to pursue both mule deer and javelina.
While mule deer were difficult to spot from miles away in the rugged terrain, javelina stood out in the brown and gray countryside. Javlina are fast, and their sense of smell is very good, so you have to move quickly to get within range. Once you’re close enough, luck has to remain on your side for the shot to count.
On the first day of the hunt, as we were discovering how challenging our spot and stalk hunt would be, a group of javelina appeared in a far off field. The reaction of Michael and the entire Brotherhood Outdoors crew was the same as if we’d just spotted a world-class mulie. The thrill of the chase and living in that moment overtook us all.
At the end of each day, stories were exchanged and friendships were formed. Fortunate for us, we were hunting with JP Vicente and his two sons, Michael and Junior Vicente. The three of them own and operate Big Chino Guide Outfitters and they come from a union background as well. JP and Michael Vicente are both members of the IAFF, and Junior is a star football player in college. Needless to say, the camp food was what you would expect from a group of fire fighters, as they all agree that a firehouse requires a good chef.
By the end of the trip, we had tried every type of hunting imaginable. We stalked, sat, belly-crawled through brush, removed our boots to cut back on noise…. and Michael’s smile never faded. Even when he walked into a cactus and had to stop to pull the thorns out, he found a way to make us laugh.
Sometimes we leave a trip empty handed, other times we walk away with meat for the freezer and memories to last forever. On this trip to Arizona, we drove away with not only some meat but also newfound friendships. Michael is the type of union member that Brotherhood Outdoors is proud to feature, and we know his story will inspire others along the way. He risks his own life to save others, believes in public service, and stands united with his union brothers and sisters.
Watch Michael McShane put his long-range archery skills to the test. Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors on Sportsman Channel.