Garrett Denver Goudeau, had shot a rifle only once in his life before he dropped a Wyoming antelope doe with one shot at 350 yards last month.
Hector Castro had also only shot a rifle once — to sight it in — but he also dropped a doe antelope with one clean shot at about 150 yards.
Goudeau, 20, of Watson, an LSU junior majoring in English-secondary education, and Castro, 21, of New Orleans, majoring in computer science, were two of 18 LSU/Baptist Collegiate Ministry students and nine adults who went on a whirlwind antelope hunting trip to Buffalo, Wyoming, and back in just over a week at the end of October.
“I’ve gone bow fishing before,” Goudeau said, “but I’ve never even shot a rifle — just once to sight it in before we left. I was excited, but it’s a weird feeling to take the life of an animal. But I didn’t just kill it to kill it. We’re eating the meat, and someone is using the hide for something.”
“I’ve shot a shotgun but never a rifle, so that was my first time shooting a rifle,” said Castro, who grew up in the big city. “It was my first time hunting — ever — so it was a cool experience to hunt antelope as my first animal. It was really neat to be out like that in nature — out in the open country.”
Goudeau and Castro are two of five LSU students who had never hunted before, and of the entire party who went to Wyoming, only two did not succeed, said Steve Masters, director of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. All told, the group, including BCM assistant Catherine Bozenan, and student Ellen Farmer, took 17 does and eight bucks on private ranches and public land.
They left Baton Rouge in several vans and pickups on Oct. 27, drove 30 straight hours, taking three-hour shifts behind the wheel, for 1,600 miles. They camped at Big Horn Baptist Church in Buffalo, hunted the high prairie — 4,600 feet above sea level — just east of the Bighorn Mountains for three days, then turned around and got back in time for Nov. 2 classes.
“The intent of the trip was to help the students have a new experience — some are from a single-parent family, or their fathers don’t hunt,” Masters said. “And to go to new location. It’s a different kind of hunting. You spot and stalk, unlike here, where you sit in tree stand and wait for deer to come to you. Out there, you go find them.
“The weather was gorgeous — it was in the low 40s in the morning and mid-50s by the afternoon,” Masters said.
The students who didn’t have their own rifles used some of his.
“We had a lot of good, Christian friendship and prayer and Bible studies each evening,” he said.
Cade Burgin, 23, a fifth-year senior majoring in environmental engineering, from Spanish Fort, Alabama, had hunted Wyoming last year with Masters and was trophy hunting a buck, but he didn’t get one.
Burgin and his hunting partner, Taylor Emfinger, spotted a big buck.
“I got a shot at about 300 yards and aimed too high,” Burgin said, and “Taylor aimed too low. We both missed!”
Probably the second-best shot after Goudeau’s was made by Cullen McDaniel, 19, from Oakdale, a sophomore majoring in biology. An experienced hunter whose dad went along, he dropped a buck with 11.5- inch long horns at 286 yards with a Weatherby .270.
“It was a really good experience to go hunting with my dad,” McDaniel said. “We hiked about seven miles one day and it seemed like it was all uphill!”
Goudeau, who plans to go to seminary and eventually into the ministry, summed it up for the group.
“It makes you feel so small knowing that God created all this,” Goudeau said about the wide openness of Wyoming. “Man may have created things like cell phones, but God created the mountains and all the animals!”