Mace Is an Ace at Hunting
SISTERSVILLE — Jackie Mace joined thousands of deer hunters last week in the woods all over the Mountain State.
“I love hunting because it has always been a tradition in my family,” said Mace, 24, of Friendly. “When I’m in the woods, it makes me feel like I am carrying on the tradition and making my loved ones and loved ones I’ve lost proud. It’s such a peaceful feeling to me.”
Mace took aim at a buck across a field about 100-150 yards away by the wood’s line, pulled the trigger for a shot that took down an 11-point buck with two kicker horns the biggest buck she had ever killed.
“I was very excited,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to show my dad (Howard) the deer when he came in from hunting. He is the one who taught me how to hunt so it was very exciting for me to show him what I had gotten.”
The state’s Division of Natural Resources reports that more than 330,000 deer hunters will be in West Virginia’s woods during this season. According to Southwick Associates, hunting contributes $500 million each year to the state’s economy. Deer hunters spend an estimated $230 million in West Virginia, much of it in the rural areas of the state that depend upon the deer seasons for a large portion of their annual income.
Hunting is estimated to be responsible for 5,400 jobs and $35 million in sales taxes on goods and services spent in West Virginia, according to the state’s DNR. In 2015, the traditional bucks-only firearm season harvest of antlered bucks was 60,814, an increase of 62 percent from the 2014 harvest. This is 20 percent more than the five-year average bucks-only harvest of 50,795 and ranks 24th among all past years.
Like Clark Kent is the secret identity of Superman, Mace is a truck driver for Sprouse Windows until hunting season starts when she is deep in the woods searching for deer. She loves the thrill of pulling the trigger.
“Yes, it is pretty exciting,” she said. “I was shaking when I took down my buck when I was maybe 8-years-old.”
Hunting together has formed a bond between father and daughter.
“I wouldn’t be able to do any of that without my dad though,” Mace said. “He has always made me a part of the whole process and explained how and why each step was done. I’m thankful that he did that for me.”
Mace said Tyler County has good hunting grounds.
“Some places in the county are good to hunt. I’ve only hunted in Tyler County,” said Mace, Tyler Consolidated class of 2010.
Mace knows how to skin and process the meat that will be on her family’s table. Now that’s something.
“My dad taught me how to do all of that when I first started hunting,” she said. “I was able to gut, skin, and quarter a deer without help by the time I was 12.”
A true hunter, the meat doesn’t go to waste.
“Yes, my family eats everything we get,” she said. “We love deer meat.”
Mace prepares her deer meat many ways.
“I grind up burger, I smoke my jerky, and my favorite part is the tenderloin and I fry it with flour and pepper,” she said.
Her freezer isn’t full yet, but there’s still plenty of hunting seasons left.
“I also hunt squirrel and turkey,” she said. “And the freezer isn’t full yet, but there are a few more deer seasons left so I hope to fill it up by the end of the year.”
A longtime hunter, Mace has simple advice for sports men and women.
“Pass on what you know,” she said. “Teach the younger generation. It’s so rewarding seeing the young ones in your family become interested in the tradition that you once knew nothing about.”