VIDEO: Rewards of the Hunt


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – If you only watch one hunting video this year – or ever – this is the one you need to watch (above). That is true especially if you are a hunting Dad with a daughter – or the daughter.

I’ve known Barry Cross for 17 years, first as a videographer for the Tennessee Wildside TV show, now as a public relations guy (they call it Information & Education) for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

In all the years I have known Barry I have never seen him without a video camera in his hand. That’s probably not the case for his oldest daughter, Rachel Cross, except when she is hunting.

(l-r) Rachel Cross, her sister Kate and their father, Barry, on one of their many deer hunting outings. (Photo: Barry Cross)

Thanks to Barry’s dedication and skills as a videographer he has created one of the most incredible documentaries of a youngster’s “hunting evolution” I have ever watched. Of course it is not meant to be a documentary. It is entertainment for hunters. But be careful … you might actually learn something too.

This video tells the story of one young lady’s introduction to deer hunting better than any you will ever see.

Barry Cross captured the moment on video when his daughter’s face “lit up” after shooting her first deer. (Photo: Barry Cross)

Twenty-year old Rachel Cross is a Junior at Middle Tennessee State University. Even with camouflage face paint smeared across her face the petite young woman looks like a model. Most people never guess she is also a hardcore deer hunter with an insane desire to get blood on her boots. She said the online video of her hunting exploits, already viewed more than 12,000 times, has turned a lot of heads.

“Oh yes,” she exclaimed. “I’ve had people come up and ask, ‘How you can shoot a bow like that.’ I’ve gotten reaction from everyone. It’s crazy how many people [the video] has reached.”

(l-r) Kate Cross and her sister Rachel pause for a photo during one of their practice sessions in the backyard. (Photo: Barry Cross)

Barry has always been a hardcore deer hunter. Growing up Rachel and his two other daughters often tagged along on hunts, but just to watch and hang out with Dad. Barry was admittedly shocked when three years ago Rachel told him, “I want to go and hunt myself.”

Of course Barry made it – or let it – happen. Rachel often hunts solo but just as often Barry becomes the person who is “tagging along,” except with a video camera.

“My Dad always brings the camera along,” said Rachel. “I make him promise he won’t make me look stupid. He’s gotten me sleeping a few times.”

In between the tree stand catnaps, Barry has also captured the highs and lows of Rachel’s deer hunting experiences on video. The lows earlier this year even brought a few tears for the young lady, but that didn’t stop her from her quest.

Although she is mostly used to it, she admits that her Dad’s camera looking over her shoulder adds an element of stress to her hunting.

This buck she had named “Crab Claw,” due to its unusually curved antler, spotted Rachel Cross when she moved at the wrong time in her treestand. This time Crab Claw ran away before she could take a shot. Rachel said, “I was so disappointed. I actually cried a little bit.” But the young lady didn’t give up on her quest. (Photo: Barry Cross)

“But when a deer shows up I forget about everything,” she said. “I just love it. When a deer is standing ten yards away from you it’s just an adrenalin rush. I love the challenge of bowhunting. I just love everything about it.”

Rachel says her 17-year-old sister, Kate, enjoys gun hunting for deer. Her 10-year-old sister, Sarah Grace, has not been bitten by the hunting bug.

“Sarah Grace just doesn’t have any interest in hunting yet,” said Rachel. “She just likes to tag along and sit with me.”

Rachel hopes the video about she and her Dad will inspire others.

Rachel Cross killed her first deer, a doe, two years ago. But this season she dedicated herself to taking one of the bucks she had captured on trail cameras. (Photo: Contributed)

“I hope it encourages more girls, and guys, to just go hunt and enjoy the outdoors,” she said. “I would definitely tell them to just go, even if they’re not hunting. Just go with their Dad or someone else and sit in the woods. It’s amazing what you see and experience out there.”

So far Rachel’s hunting experience only includes deer, but she is hoping to expand her horizons someday.

“Eventually I’ll try something else,” she said. “My Dad’s been talking about elk hunting. That would be incredible but I need a couple more deer under my belt before I try that.”

Based on what I see in the video, that will come soon enough. The elk better be ready for Rachel Cross.

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