“I always pray the rosary in my tree stand. It’s a tradition.”
That’s how Sister John Paul Bauer, 60, prepares for a hunt.
The Benedictine nun from St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania recently made the news when she posted a picture of herself and a recent kill, a 10-point, 200 pound buck.
A native of St. Marys, Sister John Paul grew up watching her father and brothers hunt.
“It’s a conservation effort,” she told a reporter from St. Mary's acrhdiocesan website. “If you don’t kill the deer, they will starve. You have to maintain the population that can be fed naturally off the land. If you get an overabundance, then the deer starve. Likewise, if you overkill, then that’s not good either. So there’s a balance. You don’t just hunt for the sake of killing. You are part of nature. You’re part of a cycle. You’re part of creation."
Sister Bauer had her buck butchered for sausage and steaks, and is sharing it with a couple of local families. She also teaches theology at Elk County Catholic High School.
Here's how Mary Solberg of Eriercd.org described Sister Bauer's kill:
At about 6:30 a.m., she settled in a tree stand, not far from her home in the small, rural Elk County community of Weedville. She recited the rosary in the dim, early morning light … and waited. Not long afterward, the sound of cracking twigs broke the silence; several doe passed underneath. In all the excitement, Sister John Paul’s coffee mug dropped to the ground. She managed, though, to gather her senses in time to spot two large bucks sparring in the distance—about 100 yards away. A former U.S. Navy nurse, she readied her 30-30 Winchester and took her best shot. At exactly 9:05 a.m., the 10-point buck fell.
When Sister John Paul returned to the classroom that week, students were excited to hear about her hunting adventure. The deer was the biggest of the three bucks she has killed in her 15-year hunting career. That’s not to mention the time—five years ago—when she took down a 200-pound bear in the same area.