Loreli Westby’s Outdoor Adventures [UPDATED]Published 12:51pm Thursday, February 7, 2013 Updated 12:51pm Thursday, February 7, 2013
Loreli Westby, from Dalton, was recently honored by the weekly newspaper, Outdoor News. Selected as the “Best Buck Weekly Winner,” her picture (above) with her 9 point OTC buck was on the cover. Congratulations!
As a ‘pharmacist-in-charge’ at the Lake Region Healthcare Cancer Center in Fergus Falls, Loreli shares the fact that “hunting is a time to relax and think about things not related to work…hunting definitely eases stress and yes, fresh air clears your mind,” she smiled.
Spending time outside hunting creates some of her favorite experiences: “I enjoy listening to the sounds of the song birds, ducks, turkeys and geese and the relaxing water sounds of the river. I love the magnificent sunrises and sunsets, watching my dogs working in the field or retrieving in the water.” What is going to happen next? “The excitement of what you might see when you hear the leaves rustling moves us to a next level. Will it be a deer, squirrel, raccoon or a turkey? I often enjoy taking a camera with me and taking photographs of nature.”
Hunting started years ago when her late father, Richard Fihn, brought his daughter with him when he hunted and trapped beavers or muskrats. Loreli took a firearms safety class at age 12 and attended the Minnesota Deer Hunters Forkhorn Camp Level I and II at Deep Portage Conservation Reserve near Hackensack, MN. She began hunting with her father and then started herself as a teenager for whitetail deer and ducks.
“I actually met my ‘now husband, Rob’ in the woods while walking into a slough for ducks. He was bow hunting on my dad’s property and his words were ‘Don’t shoot me!’” A few years later they started dating and eventually got married. “Rob had only bow hunted and I had only hunted with shotguns or rifles. We taught each other and we now hunt together with bow, shotgun, rifle or muzzleloaders.”
So many funny things have happened during hunting. Loreli laughs, “Once we were stalking in on what we thought was a moose and it turned out to be a stump. (That is why you always have to be sure of your target before shooting!). When our Springer Jack was a puppy I was supposed to keep him in the vehicle with me. I decided to get out and so did Jack but I was determined to not let him run loose. I hung on his collar and he pulled me right out of the vehicle and I landed in the snow bank. My face was full of snow when I stood up!”
Loreli (and Rob owner of Natural Images Taxidermy) hunt mostly in the fall/winter for deer, ducks and pheasants. In fact, on one day a few years ago ALL three species were hunted in ONE day! In the spring turkeys are hunted using archery equipment or shotgun.
All of her hunting experiences are not only in Minnesota. Loreli & Rob have hunted antelope in Wyoming, have gone mule deer hunting in Montana and North Dakota and hunted turkeys in South Dakota and Montana.
But wait: has it all happened in the U.S.? As you view Loreli’s wonderful photos, you will see that hunting has also created memorable experiences in other countries: They have hunted moose in Newfoundland, Canada; bow hunted in South Africa and hunted tahr in New Zealand!
Helping people of other countries is something Loreli has contributed to: “We donate meat to the locals on some of our hunts. Meat cannot be brought into the United States and it certainly helps feed the local villagers. In South Africa our evening meals included a lot of the different game prepared in different ways so we could try it even though we would not bring it home with us.”
One of Loreli’s favorite ‘gift’ was the fact that she was able to have a purse made from the zebra hide. Their home décor is beautiful and unique: large hunting pictures, antlers and a variety of mounts. Their dogs watch to see if they are ready to take them hunting, too! Loreli has scrapbooked all of their hunting adventures so they will have ‘lifetime memories.’ Now this winner can add her Outdoor ‘Best Buck Weekly Winner’ picture to her scrapbooks!