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Weighing 95 pounds and standing 5-foot-3, on first glance, Mallory Richards looks like a typical 14-year-old girl. Unlike most of her peers, however, Richards did something different on summer break.
After traveling to Chetwynd, British Columbia, in early June for a hunting trip, Richards bagged a 400 lb. black bear.
How the incoming freshman at Oldham County ended up there is a story in itself.
After a chance encounter with a family friend turned into an invitation to come bear hunting in Canada, her father decided it was an opportunity they couldn’t turn down.
“She’s never seen that country,” her father, Larry Richards, said, “and I’ve never seen it either so we kind of thought doing a father and daughter bear hunt would be a good thing.”
It didn’t take them long to find out just how good once they arrived at Gary Drinkall’s ranch.
While driving through the countryside on their second afternoon at the ranch, Richards said their hunting party spotted a bear about 100 yards away from their truck.
After his daughter’s first shot with a Ruger .308 caught the bear in the foot, they were forced to track it 100 yards before bringing it down with a follow—up round.
Richards said it was unusually large for a spring black bear.
Still, for Mallory, who has been an avid hunter since age 4, the excitement of the kill was soon replaced by what it meant — the chance to rest the remainder of the trip.
Her father wouldn’t be nearly as lucky, waiting until day six of the 10-day hunt to pick up a bear of his own.
When it failed to measure up to his daughters though, Richards said she let him hear about it.
That’s fine with him. Though she may have gotten the bigger bear, his was the more rare find, he noted.
“The good thing about my bear was that he was a colored bear,” he joked. “It was a black bear, but it was colored chocolate, which is a pretty rare find.
“I was happy about her black bear, but I was pretty happy with my brown bear too.”Overall though, both agreed it was special for plenty of other reasons as well.
“It was tremendous,” Richards said. “I’ve hunted all my life, have hunted professionally for years and have watched a lot of people kill a lot of stuff, but watching my little girl shoot that bear was probably one of the most exciting moments that I’ve ever had.”
But that’s not the end of the story.
After field dressing and skinning the body, Richards said they sent it to a taxidermist in British Columbia to dry the hide.
From there, it will make the long trip to San Francisco to be tanned before coming back to Oldham County in an expected 6 months where it will be made into a rug to occupy Mallory’s room.
That said, though it won’t sit amongst the rest of the Richards’ silent zoo that include mounted bears, moose, white mountain goats and owl that Mallory previously killed, it will serve as a reminder of a father-daughter trip to Canada that both agree they’ll never forget.
They wouldn’t have it any other way.
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