John Scavotto’s passion for bow hunting is so great he sports a shoulder tattoo of a hunter in a tree-stand aiming down with a bow. He considers it the ultimate challenge in hunting and has chased whitetail in his home state of Massachusetts as well as Vermont. John even took his first deer at age 12 with a recurve bow and arrows he crafted himself. Thirty years later, his love of hunting and studying deer has only grown stronger.
As Vice President of SMWIA local 63, Scavotto was surprised when he stumbled across the television program, Escape to the Wild, and saw that his union was a sponsor. Escape to the Wild is a program of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), VERSUS Network, and several of America’s leading trade unions and contractor associations that takes hardworking union members on the hunting or fishing trip of a lifetime.
After mentioning the show at an executive board meeting, Scavotto’s organizer brought him an application for the next season. Figuring he had nothing to lose, he submitted an application and a humorous video revealing his comical personality.
Months later, while Scavotto was managing a tricky project involving a huge duct very high in the air, the show’s host, Tom Ackerman, showed up at the job site to surprise him with the ultimate whitetail bow hunt in Wisconsin.
Used to going days without seeing a deer in Massachusetts, Scavotto was amazed with the number of deer he saw in Tigerton, Wisconsin. “There were times we weren’t even settled in the tree yet, and deer were walking by. It was incredible,” he said. “I shot two 8-pointers in my life, and we saw 3-4 deer of equivalent size every day in Wisconsin.”
More incredible, Scavotto was actually chased by a deer on his trip. Driving back to the lodge one evening, Ackerman noticed a deer in the field. “I rolled down my window and whistled at him,” Scavotto said. “The buck lifts his head and looks at us. Then all of a sudden, he runs toward the car and continues running alongside us. I said maybe we should park the car underneath our tree.”
And that was just one of many highlights for Scavotto. “We watched this 8-point making a scrape and standing on his hind legs licking the branches. I’ve never seen that in my life,” he said. “I remember thinking ‘that just made my week.’”
“I don’t think a day has gone by since my return that I haven’t tried to think of a way to get back to Wisconsin,” Scavotto said. But as a single-father of a 12-year-old daughter, he knows it will be a while. “I have house payments and a daughter to raise. I have to start thinking of college.”
Back in Massachusetts, Scavotto enjoys spending time with his father, who is also an officer of SMWIA local 63, and his daughter. They have a cabin in Vermont that they visit each year to hunt, fish and explore. “Hunting and fishing play a vital role in my family’s life because it brings us closer together,” Scavotto said.
During his trip, Scavotto learned that his union does even more for hunting and fishing than sponsor Escape to the Wild. The SMWIA also joined a number of other unions and the TRCP, a coalition working to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing, to form the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA). The USA is a hunting and fishing club exclusively for union members, retirees and their families (UnionSportsmen.org).
“I think it’s incredible, the best thing going,” Scavotto said of the USA. “And I just want to thank the TRCP and my union for making this possible. It definitely changed my life.”
Join Scavotto on his intense Escape to the Wild whitetail bow hunt.
Tune in to VERSUS Country on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 10 AM Eastern.