Young shooter becomes celebrity
What a year it's been for 11-year-old Skyla Crowley of Ghent. First, the Marshall sixth-grader knocked down two deer with one shot in only the second hunting outing of her life on Nov. 11.
And just recently, Skyla was the star of a televised news segment about that rare accomplishment.
WCCO-TV reporter John Lauritsen, a native of Montevideo, was informed by a friend about Skyla's “one-in-a-million” shot and recently inquired about filming a segment about it.
The Mascot ran a full story about the rare hunting outing in its Nov. 15 issue. Skyla and her father, Andy, have become fishing and hunting buddies.
They went on their first deer hunting excursion together last fall, but failed to spot a deer within shooting range.
So they tried their luck again this fall, perched in a friend’s deer stand west of Ghent.
“I've only shot the gun a few times before, but never at a deer,” Skyla explained.
“I have a BB gun and have shot that a few times, though.”
This time, however, Skyla would get her chance to fire the .20 gauge shotgun at a deer.
She and her father spotted a six-point buck around 7:30 a.m. along a fence and she took careful aim outside the window of the deer stand before pulling the trigger.
Down went the buck. And the doe standing on the other side of it also went down.
The bullet apparently went completely through the buck and lodged into the doe's back.
“I got it,” Skyka screamed to her father.
“I shot two of them.” Skyla's deer tag went on the buck, while her father's tag was placed on the doe.
Lauritsen and his camera man arrived Monday evening to interview the hunting partners.
“I was so nervous,” admitted Skyla. “I was really happy when we were done because I was excited about watching it on TV.”
After Skyla felled the two deer, Andy had to drag them approximately 100 yards so they could be taken out of the woods in a vehicle.
Andy showed Lauritsen a photo of himself exhausted and lying flat on his back while giving a “thumbs up” sign during the televised segment.
That photo was shown in the clip.
“We’ll have a story for a lifetime,” Andy said on air. The two-minute segment aired during the 10 p.m. newscast last Wednesday.
It can be viewed on the WCCO-TV website. “When I watched it on TV, I laughed at myself,” Skyla said.
“It was a lot different than it sounds when they were interviewing.” Skyla recalled that one of the more interesting things she learned during the interview was how little they actually show on TV.
“They asked tons of questions,” she said. “But only a few of them aired.” And one of the questions Lauritsen asked Skyla that didn't air was what advice she would give to another hunter.
“I couldn't think of anything to say,” she laughed.
After the segment concluded on air, the station returned to the news desk of husband and wife co-anchors Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello.
Vascellero quickly quipped: “I’d stop hunting after that. Everything else will be disappointing after that.”
Skyla’s story has been documented now in a few newspapers and publications, and now has been told on television.
So what does her father think of his daughter’s newfound celebrity status?
“I can hardly take her out in public anymore,” Andy said jokingly.