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View from her perch

Straight shooter: Archery, outdoors puts Trott in happy space

Love of woodsy things, activities keeps young Waldoboro mother mentally, physically strong
By Ken Waltz | Nov 23, 2020
Courtesy of: Jason Simmons Archer Charise Trott takes aim with her compound bow and arrow.

Waldoboro — As she patiently sits in the tree stand, 15 to 20 feet off the ground, not moving a muscle or making a sound, covered head to toe in camouflage, all that is visible, between the face covering and hat, and perhaps a little black concealing paint on her cheeks, are her blue eyes, as Charise Trott, like an eagle high in a perch, scans the woods for signs of her quarry.

In this moment in time, the 35-year-old mother is in her happy place. Safe space. Home away from home.

Trusty compound bow and arrows by her side, Trott is ready to take aim. Dead-aim. Ready for her hours of patience and weeks of preparation to pay dividends.

While in the woods near her Waldoboro house, Trott may practice archery shooting at exotic animals such as a velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus Rex or even, dare one contemplate it, the infamous Sasquatch, or Bigfoot.

But those shoots are for fun. And those animals are not real — at least, many believe, not in Trott's backyard in Lincoln County

However, in the woods, on a real hunt, it is more serious business for the outdoor lover, whether she is in search of bear, deer, turkey, or any number of other animals.

While one of Trott's favorite things is to load up her bow and pull back the string, as archery has become a significant part of her life, she also loves to fish, trap and take part in all things outdoors. And she knows her woodsy stuff.

Real outdoors woman

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries Department has offered, since 1991, a popular program called: "Becoming an Outdoors Woman." It is an entry-level class for women with an interest in learning more about the outdoors and all it has to offer.

If that organization wanted, it could make Trott the face — poster child if you will — of the class.

Trott knows her way around the woods and most activities associated with the great outdoors.

She, of course, has no need to enroll in the MDIFW program because she is an accomplished outdoors woman and has been since she fell in love with the woods, fields, mountains, valleys, brooks, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes as a young girl.

Now, the outdoors — and the wonderful activities it offers — is the place where she feels most at peace. More complete. More like herself.

One of her favorite spots on earth, with archery equipment close at hand, is in a tree stand deep in the woods hunting for deer or bear. Or fishing. Or riding in all-terrain or side-by-side vehicles. Or checking on her game cameras.

The 2004 Medomak Valley High School graduate is adept at all things outdoors, from guns and knives to bows and arrows to rods and reels.

For generations, outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing and trapping, were mostly a man's world. That was then, this is now.

In the last few decades a larger percentage of women have found their niches — and passions — in the woods, often because they, at some point, were exposed to the joys of the great outdoors by a father, husband, boyfriend or friend.

Trott is such a person. She loves to hunt and fish, and while she certainly knows her way around all types of guns, she is an archer at heart. And she has passed that passion to her children, son Shawn, 15, and daughter, Alexa, 11.

Her fiancé, Jason Simmons, also loves the outdoors, which adds another special connection to their relationship. Simmons' son, Owen, 10, also enjoys outside activities.

"The woods are special to me because they are so peaceful and relaxing," Trott said. "There isn't too much better after working all day to just go out, listen and watch what nature has to offer. That's why I love checking my trail cameras. You never know what you are going to get for pictures. Some of my favorite videos I have gotten are a bear walking around on two legs, 300-pound bear climbing a tree, a doe with two little fawns splashing in a brook, momma moose with her little one (who wasn't so little). Then all the pictures I get of my children and I checking the cameras enjoying fresh air in the woods."

While Trott loves to hunt bear, deer and other wildlife, she is not afraid to go out in the woods alone. In fact, she has been known to sit in a tree stand all day in pursuit of her quarry.

Dinosaurs and Bigfoot, oh my

To improve on the accuracy of her archery shooting in the woods near her home, she has life-sized exotic animals to "hunt," including a T-Rex, raptor and even, wait for it, Bigfoot or Sasquatch.

As a dead-eye with her compound bow, Trott can more than hold her own, even against the men, as is evident when she heads to 3D shoots.

As a child, Trott enjoyed cross-country running, skiing and doing anything outside. She gravitated to all outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, because others in her family, especially her dad, Billy Bachelder, loved those things.

But she rekindled her love of hunting about eight years ago, in her 20s, thanks to a specific incident.

"I really got into it in 2012 when I got my first big buck — 11 points, 187 pounds dressed," she said.

But it is not just the hunt that makes Trott happy. It is the atmosphere in the woods. The serenity.

"It's very peaceful sitting in the woods watching nature," she said. "You never know what you are going to see or hear."

In fact, while she enjoys shooting guns, she gravitates toward a bow and arrow. "My bow is my favorite," she said. "It takes more skills to shoot a bow and you have to be a lot closer to the animal."

But Trott is no weekend hunter. She takes the sport seriously and pays her dues in time and energy. The strategy and scouting — using the latest technology with trail cameras — allows her to do her homework. And that usually pays off.

Trott enjoys most hunts, but one type of animal is her favorite — and continues to elude her.

"Bear hunting is my favorite," she said. "I have yet to get one, but I still love it. I get to put my cameras up a month before I can hunt so I get to watch them all month, get to see what I have coming into my site. I have cameras that send photos right to my cell phone. I enjoy that just as much as I do hunting.

"Deer hunting would be my second favorite. There's nothing like seeing a big buck walk out in the morning with the dew shining on his antlers. Deer hunting, I do a lot of scouting. Putting up cameras, figuring out their patterns, where they go when. When I hunt I like to be in a tree stand up off the ground where I can see more. When my kids go we hunt in a blind. So the deer are less likely to see them moving around."

Woodsy adventures

She has experienced many adventures in the woods, some exhilarating, some scary. But none can deter her from often entering areas of the woods alone or sitting in a tree stand for hours, with no one around. One with the world and woods.

"It's fun being in the woods because you never know what you are going to see or hear," she said. "I make it a game. I hear a noise then I have to figure out what it is and where it is. You also never know what will happen out there. When I was bear hunting I had a squirrel that wouldn't leave me alone. It kept running up my steps to my stand then run right across my hands on my lap.

"You never realize the size of a animal until you see them right next to you. For example, I had never seen a moose up close before a few years ago until I had a big bull moose walk right under my stand. I could have jumped on its back. They are big animals. It's crazy how such big animals can move through the woods like they do. Take a bear. They a lot of times are silent. You look up then down and up again and, bam, there it is and usually looking right at you. I watched a bear for 30 minutes one day and we made eye-to-eye contact almost the whole time. He had to have heard my heart beating fast and loud."

Then there are the coyotes, not Trott's favorite animals.

"When I first got into bow hunting I was scared to death of coyotes," she said. "When I had a gun I felt more safe, I guess. I was bow hunting in Connecticut on a cattle farm and had pack of four coyotes come in right at the bottom of my stand. I was scared but I ended up shooting one. Then a buck 20 minutes later. Talk about a rush first thing in the morning."

Being able to eventually escape back to her beloved woods also gave Trott an avenue to help deal with tragedy at a young age.

She was 25 years old when her husband, Ralph Trott, passed away from a heart attack. It was a devastating, heartbreaking blow, but it was especially difficult because her children, Shawn, and Alexa, were ages 4 years and 5 months at the time. Ralph was 27. He and Charise had been together since she was 15.

"Ralph loved hunting but couldn't hit the broad side of a barn," Charise said. "We actually got a deer on his urn so he had finally got a buck. We did go hunting with each other. I remember one time I took him to one of the properties I could hunt in Cushing. I put him on one side of the pond overlooking a field and I went into the woods on the other side. A long ways away. I could hear him snoring. I walked all the way out of the woods and around the pond and kicked him before he woke up. Hard to see deer when you're sleeping."

She said her husband died in February and she was unable to get back to hunting until November of that year — a long nine months later.

While being unable to get back into the woods immediately after her husband's death could not help Charise with the acute grieving process, his memory and spirit in her heart eventually played a role in giving her a bit of hunting success.

"I did always pray he would send a big buck out to me and, well, I got my 11-point, 182- pounder. That's why I took [a] picture [of the deer] with his necklace urn."

When Charise is not in the woods on a hunt, helping her children with schoolwork (made more challenging day to day due to the pandemic), she loves to compete in archery competition around New England, most notably at R100 3D Archery Shoots, with Rhinehart 3D target shoots, in Sturbridge, Mass.

"They have 100 life-sized targets," she said. "Anything from a 12-foot giraffe to a T-rex to Bigfoot to a bat. They even have a deer with a apple in its mouth. If you shoot the apple you get more points. I've gone for four years and only got the apple once though. It's a lot of fun and very popular. There's usually a very long line."

And at the shoots, Charise realizes top finishes, proving accuracy over power often is the method to success.

Charise said she has finished, among women, as high as third shooting at American animals and second shooting at African animals. She has come in 39th overall among men and women and there usually are hundreds of shooters at the events.

"My secret is practice makes perfect," she said, "and make sure you're having fun."

Charise also helps run the Maine Expanded Archery Facebook page and is a member of the field staff for Happy Herd Nutritious Inc.

When not in the woods for a hunt, or a trip to a shooting competition, Charise is immersed in her work as a house cleaner and caretaker.

"I do home care and cleaning because I love helping people," she said. "I love to make their day just that much better. I try to take some of their worries away and to be that friend/family they need."

While she never played sports in her school days, Charise now loves to take trips to Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. to see a Red Sox game or head to Daytona Beach, Fla. to watch NASCAR races.

However, eventually the woods summon her back. To again experience that deep-seeded joy and serenity of unfinished business.

And is it possible there will be a next generation of women in the family to discover and hold Charise's passion for the outdoors and its multitude of activities?

"I love that my kids love hunting, shooting and the outdoors as much as I do," she said. "My daughter is the one that loves it the most, though. She is following right in my footsteps."

Steps that will take her into the great outdoors — Charise's beloved and treasured playground.

Charise Trott practice archery
Charise Trott practice archery. (Video by: Charise Trott and Zack Miller)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott takes aim at a tall, hairy friend — albeit, one with big feet. (Photo by: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Jason Simmons, left, his son, Owen, 10, second from left, as well as Charise Trott, far right, and her children, Alexa, 11, and Shawn, 15. (Courtesy of: April Gauthier)
Jason Simmons, left, his son, Owen, 10, second from left, as well as Charise Trott, far right, and her children, Alexa, 11, and Shawn, 15. (Courtesy of: April Gauthier)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: April Gauthier)
Charise Trott, left, and Jason Simmons. (Courtesy of: April Gauthier)
Charise Trott, right, and her children, Alexa, 11, middle, and Shawn, 15. (Courtesy of: April Gauthier)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott takes aim at a Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott and a toothy friend she found in the woods near her home. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott and a toothy friend she found in the woods near her home. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott takes aim at a velociraptor. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
Charise Trott with her 11-point buck. An urn necklace in her left hand holds ashes of her late husband, Ralph. Charise shot the deer in 2012, two years after Ralph's death. (Courtesy of: Charise Trott)
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