Melissa Bachman isn’t just another pretty face in camouflage, put in front of the video camera to move the TV ratings needle. Yeah, she’s a good-looking lady, but more than that, she’s a hunter, spending 140 days or more afield every year.
Bachman was raised in a hard-working, small-town family that lived for hunting season. She and her family spent countless hours together in their duck and deer blinds in central Minnesota, and so she grew up immersed in the adrenaline and excitement that comes with good hunting.
As an adult, she set her sights on a career in the hunting industry. But Bachman didn’t just settle on one job. She busted her butt to learn three key skills: filming TV, producing TV and hosting TV. She can do it all –– a legitimate triple talent: camera woman, producer and on-screen personality.
Since she was young, Bachman wanted to be a TV host for Entertainment Tonight or an evening news anchor, and so she studied TV production in college. She earned a double major in TV Broadcasting and Spanish from Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University.
“After graduating college, I decided the news industry wasn’t for me,” she said. “I started looking for job openings with companies that produced outdoor TV in the Minnesota area. I thought it would be a dream job to mix my passion for hunting and my college degree in TV.”
Bachman got her foot in the door of the outdoor industry with an unpaid internship with North American Media Group (NAMG). “My ‘big break’ into the outdoor television world came from North American Hunter TV,” she explained. “After my 4-month internship, I was hired as a full-time producer for the show.” Her knowledge of putting together and editing footage for TV grew. Before long, Bachman decided to start filming her personal hunts.
“I was lucky enough to arrow a 202-inch whitetail on camera during one of my days off,” she said. “After that, I went on to film several other hunts that were later made into TV.”
She eventually became camera woman for NAMG: “I spent most of my fall filming hunts for NAMG, and occasionally did some hunting on-camera, too. Then, I spent the rest of the year in the editing suite. I also shot, produced and edited Mark Kayser’s first season of 'Extreme Pursuits.'”
As time went on, Bachman showed off her talents, more and more, as an on-screen personality. She spent a lot of time in front of the camera as a co-host for "North American TV."
Bachman left NAMG in 2010 and started her own production company called Deadly Passion Productions.
“I did a variety of production work for several outdoor companies,” she explained. “I also did a ton of hunting on camera. I came up with a list of hunts at the beginning of the season and sold off each hunt to various TV shows.”
In addition to her on-camera appearances, Bachman edited and did post-production work for several TV shows such as "Whitetail Revolution," "Dangerous Game," "Dominant Bucks," "Deer & Deer Hunting TV," "Whitetail Country" and "Mathews TV." Plus, she created online and instructional videos for brands that include Cuddeback, Weaver Optics, and Champion Target.
Besides all that, Bachman hosted hunting seminars at sports shows, managed Cuddeback’s social media sites, and wrote articles for a variety of magazines. Plus, she blogged and posted videos on her blog page at Petersen’s Hunting.
Now, she hosts "Winchester's Deadly Passion," among a variety of other outdoor duties.
“I love everything about bowhunting, and especially the fact that it takes a lot of hard work and patience,” she said. “As a bowhunter, you have to do everything perfect to get a mature animal inside shooting range. I love the challenge, but most of all, I love the feeling of accomplishment when all your scouting, patience and persistence pays off.”
She’s definitely a trophy taker.
“Two of my three best bucks come from Illinois. The first was my 202-inch bow kill after a pack of coyotes chased it to me,” she said. “The second was a 174-inch whitetail that I shot with my muzzleloader while filming myself out of a ground blind. The third is my 176-inch Colorado mule deer that I shot with my bow after hunting him for 11 days straight. I ended up finally connecting with this buck and getting it all on film by myself. It was the best feeling of accomplishment I’ve ever experienced.”
Besides bucks, Bachman loves black bears.
“Each year, I head to Alaska to do a spot-and-stalk black bear hunt on Prince of Wales Island. Three years in a row, I called in huge black bears with a predator call and shot them with my bow inside 20 yards,” she said. “I called a big boar in from 150 yards, but decided to hit the call one last time at 30 yards and the bear came charging into 18 yards. This is my favorite type of hunting because I’m dropped off by plane with a tent and kayak and guide myself.”
But what’s her favorite animal to hunt? “Many people ask me that question, and although I love whitetails, I have a soft spot for alligators,” she explained. “I’ve taken three giant gators, and I just can’t get enough. I get downright giddy when its time to go gator hunting. I’m not sure if it’s their size, their creepy red eyes at night, or just the spookiness of the entire hunt, but I absolutely love it. I currently have a full-body mount for my living room, and if I am lucky enough to get another big gator, he’s going right in my kitchen.”
Last but not least, wild turkeys are always on Melissa’s hit list.
“I can’t help but get excited to head out turkey hunting. The sound of turkeys gobbling instantly puts a smile on my face. And I love the challenge of hunting turkeys with a bow,” she said. “Last year, I did a turkey tour, putting on nearly 10,000 miles, chasing turkeys around the country. On this trek, I took seven big toms. My favorite one was a spot-and-stalk hunt in Texas. Because I used a bow and no blind, that hunt was truly an accomplishment.”
Besides hunting and archery, what do you like to do? I’m a girl; I love to go shopping.
Favorite movie? Shooter
Favorite city to visit? Ketchikan, Alaska
Dream hunting vacation? Alaska brown bear with a bow using a predator call
Dream relaxing vacation? I enjoy spending some time on a nice sandy beach, but I usually get bored with that pretty quickly, so there better be some good fishing around as well.
I can tell you this: Melissa has worked extremely hard to turn her passion for hunting into a career. She doesn’t hunt because she wants to be on TV, or because she wants to be famous. She hunts because there is absolutely nothing she’d rather be doing.