MINOT, N.D.-She loves to hunt. Dusk to dawn, from opener to season's end if necessary. When the hunting seasons close you'll find her with a fishing rod in her hand. Ice fishing or open water, doesn't matter.
Becky Schweitzer, Minot, achieved what many hunters, male or female, would like to accomplish in North Dakota. She filled a once-in-lifetime elk tag last October. It wasn't just any elk either. It was a 5x5 bull that would be the envy of most any hunter.
"It was so exciting! It was such a rush the way it all played out," said Schweitzer. "It was just an awesome experience. It was awesome just to be drawn and, not only that, I filled my tag."
Each year thousands of prospective hunters apply for the state's limited number of elk licenses, making the odds of getting one quite difficult. Schweitzer was well aware of the long odds and knew she had to follow through with her ambition once she received her tag.
"I put the time and the effort into it," said Schweitzer. "I know people get drawn and some don't fill their tags."
Accompanied by "a few friends and buddies," Schweitzer made the trip to her elk hunting unit near Watford City. Good fortune followed. Within a half hour of spotting a bull elk on state land Schweitzer had moved into a good vantage point. A single shot was all that was needed to bring the impressive bull down.
"I made it my mission to get that tag filled," said Schweitzer. "I filled it on my own. There's not too many female hunters out there that are die-hards like I am. I'm a pretty avid hunter, Whenever I can get out there I go."
Schweitzer says she has been hunting since she was 12 years old. Her father taught her to hunt, she says, because "Dad didn't have any sons." It took. She has discovered a passion for the outdoors.
"I just love it, being out there and being with nature," said Schweitzer. "You see stuff that you don't see in town."
Schweitzer, who took a 4x5 white-tailed buck this past fall, doesn't limit her hunting to rifle seasons. She's an avid bowhunter too. In fact, despite the crazy cold spell that has descended upon the state in recent days, she said she would be in the field this past weekend in an effort to fill a bow tag.
"My goal this year was to fill my buck tag. Did that and got the elk too," said Schweitzer. "I want to tag completely out. I'll donate the venison."
What drives someone to bowhunt, even when the thermometer says stay at home? That's an easy question for Schweitzer.
"When bowhunting nobody knows you are there. You see animals in their own element and see how they interact," remarked Schweitzer. "Any part of hunting is exciting to me. I love it. That's my hobby."
With about 1,500 pounds of on-the-hoof elk processed and in the freezer and with the closure of the archery season, Schweitzer says it will soon be time to turn her attention to ice fishing. However, she says, she'll allow some time for ice to get thicker as she is a little out of her comfort zone on frozen water. Open water is a different story.
"I love fishing," stated Schweitzer. "I get to the lake as often as I can. When my boyfriend and I get out there it is a competition. I show him how it's done."