Frankfort girl, 15, takes aim at Maine Grand Slam
Frankfort — Fifteen-year-old Emily Tripp is not unlike many girls her age.
The Searsport District High School sophomore plays soccer and participates in track and field, and her outward appearance suggests she has the same interests in clothes, hair and makeup that one might expect of any teenage girl.
But there is one thing that sets her apart from her peers — her love of hunting in the woods of Maine.
When she shot a 700-pound cow moose last month, Emily posted a photo of herself standing next to the moose on her locker at school, an image she said shocked some of her classmates.
"A lot of people didn't know I shot it, because I don't look like I hunt," said Emily, who was dressed in a light sweater and a colorful skirt when speaking with The Republican Journal at her family's home in Frankfort Friday, Nov. 9.
Not only does she enjoy spending long hours hiking or sitting in the woods with her dad, Mike, she's also proven she's quite good at hitting her targets.
As of Monday, Nov. 12, Emily has managed to tag a bear, a turkey and a moose — three of the four animals she needs in order to complete the Maine Grand Slam. In addition, Emily said she's also shot a second turkey and a partridge this year, but she said none of those animals count toward her possible inclusion in the exclusive club of Maine hunters.
What she does need to achieve the grand slam is a deer, an animal Emily and her dad have sought since deer hunting season opened for Maine residents Oct. 27. The duo are so focused on achieving the grand slam goal that they rescheduled an earlier interview with The Journal so they could go hunting instead.
Emily's mom, Lisa, said her husband and daughter don't waste much time when they get home from school and work on Friday afternoons.
"She's here for five minutes and she's putting her hair in a pony tail, grabbing her bag and she's leaving," said Lisa. "She whips on her camouflage and away they go."
The father and daughter might travel as far away as the Allagash area, which is where she shot the moose, or as close as Monroe, where they went in search of the deer immediately after Emily's interview Friday afternoon.
Last year was the first time Emily carried a rifle while out in the field with her father.
"This is the first year I've really gotten into hunting, and it's really exciting," she said.
This year, her dad said he isn't carrying a rifle at all.
"I'm having so much fun doing this," said Mike.
Mike said they did not consider the possibility of achieving the grand slam until they were able to secure a moose permit for Emily, thanks to the generosity of relatives who transferred their moose permit to her last August.
"Then we set the goal, and we're going to get it," he said.
Emily has passed on shooting a few of the deer she's spotted out in the field this season — she has a doe permit as well, but she really hopes to tag a buck to complete the grand slam.
Emily's effort has drawn a lot of attention from other local hunters in recent weeks, Lisa said, and that support has been encouraging for both father and daughter.
"All the local people are rooting for her," said Lisa.
In addition to gaining a lot of support from the community, Emily's new-found talent has also meant a well-stocked freezer for the Tripp family. Mike said they plan to share their good fortune and donate some of the moose meat to a local food cupboard.
To be a successful hunter, Emily said, experience has taught her that patience is necessary.
"You can't expect to see something your first time out, or even your first week out," she said. "For the bear we went four weekends in a row, and I got it on the very last day."
Emily said while the positive attention she's gotten in the community for her hunting skills has been nice, she's most enjoyed sharing an interest with her dad.
"It's nice to be able to do something he enjoys, and to have me enjoy it with him," she said.