SILT, Colorado — An outdoorswoman from the Teche Area could be the first Ultimate Extreme Huntress.
Jacquelyn “Jackie” Gross Guccini, a safety coordinator in the oil industry, grew up fishing and hunting in South Louisiana. She hunted ducks with her brother before classes at Delcambre Elementary School.
“Oh, gosh, I miss Louisiana every day. My roots never left. I love the people,” Guccini said Thursday afternoon from Colorado, where she lives with her husband and son.
She returned to her native state in September. She fished on Calcasieu Lake and caught “big ol’ speckled trout and redfish.”
Guccini, 37, traveled to Louisiana with something treasured by many people across the U.S. — elk meat. The avid big game huntress had 40 packs of elk meat and gladly traded them for fish filets to take back to Colorado.
“My friends don’t get to hunt elk. I get to hunt elk. They were excited,” she said, noting she prefers to hunt the majestic animal with a bow
Her mother, Jody, who will be 65 in January, lives in Hackberry. Guccini and her brother, Chris Gross, 39, of Hackberry, are trying to get their mother back in the Delcambre area, where the family has property, she said.
And, Guccini added, there is a chance she could be transferred closer to home, either in-state or neighboring Texas.
If the judging and voting go her way, she’ll be the 2020 Ultimate Extreme Huntress, which celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Extreme Huntress. The winner will be announced during the Dallas Safari Club annual awards program in January.
Guccini is competing against Ulrika Karlsson-Arne of Sweden, Lindsay Christensen of Idaho and Angie Tennison of Montana, all past winners of the Extreme Huntress Contest.
The format for determining a winner has changed. The Ultimate Extreme Huntress won’t be decided solely by popular vote.
Scoring is 60 percent by the judges who accompanied the finalists all 22 days, 30 percent skill challenges at the FTW Ranch and 10 percent voting by the public around the world.
“We are hunting for votes, please. Vote Jackie Guccini,” Guccini posted on her Facebook page.
Recently, in an email, she wrote, “I was looking for some help on ‘Rallying the Vote’ from my home state of Louisiana where my roots are still planted. I will always be a Cajun at heart even though my job has me traveling back and forth for work.”
The first phase of voting ended June 1. The second phase started Oct. 26.
To vote, go to https://extremehuntress.com/main/2019-voting-2/. Confirm email from Crowd Signal (to verify you aren’t a robot). To follow Guccini on social media: Facebook at Bowkrazy with Jackie, Hunt Like a Mom, Take it On, or her personal page Jacquelyn Gross Guccini. Instragram at bowkrazy with Jackie.
The competition showcases the importance of wildlife conservation, restoring habitat and educating people on hunting and angling, she said.
To watch a video of the competition involving the four finalists during SAAM Training at the FTW Ranch in San Antonio, Texas, and later at the Savé Conservancy with the highly respected Des Fountain Safaris in Zimbabwe, Africa, go to extremehuntress.com/ueh-s7e6-8seconds-2019/.
The competition’s other 12 episodes also can be viewed at extremehuntress.com.
It’s much different than when she entered the contest in 2010 and 2011. On the second attempt, her 500-word essay on why she is the “most hardcore huntress in the world” was judged in The Top 10.
Tiffany Brewer of California was announced as the winner with 168 more votes than Jackie Gross (Guccini’s maiden name), who received 2,600-plus votes — many from Louisiana — on the final night of voting, which began Nov. 1, 2011, and ended Dec. 31, 2011.
“I appreciate all the support. Louisiana really came out. So did Colorado. That kind of touched me. I had that much support to try and make my dreams come true and it means a lot to me,” she said Jan. 15, 2012, in The Daily Iberian.
But within a few months of the announcement, Tom Opre of Tahoe Films said the runner-up would win the trip and main prizes, including a new Germanmade Blaser 375 H&H rifle with an Aimpoint Red Dot, because the winner declined due to a personal conflict. Later, it was disclosed that Brewer was disqualified.
Gross and her then-fiance, T.J. Guccini of Silt, Colorado, postponed their wedding plans for October 2012 near her hometown of Delcambre to take the safari hunt in the Omay Concession in Zimbabwe.
The trip marked the culmination of her year-long reign as Extreme Huntress 2012. Her successful hunt with Martin Pieters Safaris was filmed and aired on NBC’s “Eye of the Hunter” program in November 2012 and January 2013.
Marriage and motherhood followed the adventures of 2011 and 2012.
She married T.J. on May 23, 2013, at Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island. The newlyweds took a boat ride across the lake and a choupique jumped in the boat, she said, emphasizing that’s a true story.
The Guccinis welcomed their first child, a boy, who she named Chap Monroe Guccini, now 3. Their son was named for the professional hunter she hunted Cape buffalo with on the Extreme Huntress Contest prize-winning safari hunt in Zimbabwe.
There has been genuine heartbreak for Guccini. Her father and inspiration for her appreciation of the outdoors, George Gross, died in November 2017.
Guccini believes her father is “by my side looking over me every step of the way. Hunting and fishing will always provide the link that I had with my Dad.”
“Success comes to those who never quit, never give up and never stop dreaming” is the motto she lives by. It was instilled, she said, by her father and proved by what she has achieved.
“My daddy always told us, ‘You go after anything you want. Anything that you want to do, you chase it. Nothing is ever too big for you to accomplish it,’” she said once during a lengthy podcast interview recently on Whitetail Rendezvous, which can be heard at whitetailrendezvous.com/ultimate-extreme-huntress-2019-with-jackie-guccini/.
Her son is following in the footsteps of his parents. She shared a story in the podcast interview.
“I’ll start with my precious hunting experience. It was on a Sunday. I got a turkey tag. Turkey is my big passion for hunting. I’m turkey crazy. I’m a big archery hunter,” she said. “I flew in from Texas because I had to go to work in Texas. I got home late Saturday night because of the tornadoes. On Sunday, I saw my little boy. I was like, ‘Mommy’s going to hunt a turkey. If you come with me, you have to be super quiet.’ He was like, ‘OK, mommy. I’ll be super quiet.’ I bought him a little pretend shotgun on Saturday when I was in Junction. I’ve been watching the turkeys for a while. I know their pattern and stuff of what they’re going to do. …
“I had my little boy with me. I knew the turkeys were coming down. I’ve seen them at a distance. Turkeys don’t go opposite directions. They stay on their pattern. I went out there. I was like, ‘You have to be super quiet. Please don’t pull the trigger.’ His little gun makes noises. … I think he felt my adrenaline because he got nervous. He was holding onto my leg. I was like, ‘Be very quiet. Don’t say anything.’ He was holding onto me the whole time. We wanted to harvest a good tom. He was a beautiful bird. I’ve harvested nine turkeys with my bow over the years. He was the prettiest bird I’ve ever hunted. My little boy was so excited. He feels like he shot it. That was so special to me because he was part of the whole process.”