Bronaugh native makes historic hunt
By Crystal D. Hancock
Nevada Daily Mail
Teressa Hagerman, a native from Bronaugh, recently made her mark in history in Africa when she became the first woman to shoot an elephant with a bow. She was hunting with Dudley Rogers of Tshabezi Safaris in the Sanyati River area of the north central area of Zimbabwe when she shot her elephant. With much hard work and dedication to her passion of hunting, Hagerman has come a long way from a young, naive, half-interested woman to a passionate, professional opportunist.
"I got started when I was 24. I married a man from South Africa. Shortly after we wed, I moved to South Africa. At that time, I began to learn about Africa, the culture and of course the animals. Approximately a year later, I moved back to the States to start marketing Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris. The company was owned by my ex-husband and his brother. When I gave my first presentation at the St. Louis Big Game Hunters monthly meeting, I was humiliated and shamed because I didn't know anything about hunting. At that point, I decided to go back to South Africa to go to a Professional Hunter's school. The schooling consisted of laws, knowledge of over 30 species of animals from the time they are born until the time they die, horn judging (could only be 1/4 of an inch off either way), tracking, stalking, catering, weaponry, ballistics, shooting (consisting of three different targets at three different yardages, lock and load; marks had to be in the bulls eye and done under 15 seconds), skinning, capping and identification. The schooling was harder than four years of college. However, I ended up second in a class full of men. The man who received better grades than I had 30 years of experience. I didn't have any. From that point on, I had credibility and found it easier to book safaris," Hagerman said.
From the sound of things, it still wasn't easy for Hagerman to get to where she is today. "I didn't take my first animal until I was 26. My first animal was a zebra at 150 yards." To most common people, this sounds like quite a lifetime accomplishment. However to Hagerman, it was only the beginning of her enormous journey to be the best hunter she could be, to hunt to the fullest of her potential.
"I started as a rifle hunter. I had never bow hunted until I shot the elephant. I spent 14 months training for the event. The 14 months consisted of weights, cardio and shooting. I was only pulling 45 pounds on my bow when I started. I took the entire 14 months to get physically and mentally prepared for the trip. By the time I left, I was pulling 85 pounds on a PSE X-force bow. I had intended on pulling 90 because by law, I had to have a 100 foot pound of kinetic energy to shoot an elephant. I couldn't get 100 foot pounds of kinetic energy with most bows unless I was pulling 90 pounds or above. The new PSE X-force was different. I got 100 foot pounds of kinetic energy at 83 pounds. That made it easier for me. I was torturing my body just to accomplish this goal. I was over training, my joints were inflamed (inflamed enough to get cortisone injections) and my shoulders kept popping out of place. I took my chiropractor with me just to put my shoulders back in place. The problems I experienced are reasons why many men do not pull the higher poundage bows and why women just don't do it," Hagerman added.
As for plans for the future, many opportunities lie ahead for Hagerman. Hunters around the world have not heard the last of the first woman to shoot an elephant with a bow.
"I have taken a week off since my return. I needed the break because I was exhausted. We had hunted elephants every single day from 7 a.m. to at least 7 p.m. The terrain was diverse and difficult. It was thick and every tree had a thorn. So, the week break was very much needed."
Hagerman's accomplishment is just one of many opportunities she plans to pursue.
"As of Monday, I started training for an amateur bodybuilding competition. I have about 10 to 12 weeks to lose 25 to 30 pounds. Once this is completed, I have been asked to complete the Big Five with a bow (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo). No woman has done that. I'm not sure if I will start on the Big Five at the end of the year or wait until sometime next year. I've also been asked to give presentations to various hunting organizations about the safari. I have options right now and probably won't make a decision until after the competition," she said.
Hagerman said she owes much of her success to the support of family and friends, PSA, Danner Boots, Foxy Huntress and all others who supported her through the ups and downs of her longest and most history making safari.
As for her main reason for performing this tremendous elephant hunt, Hagerman said, "I did this hunt primarily for my parents, George and Sharon Hagerman. They deserve the world."