Hunting: Pizza shop manager stalks elk with bow during off hours

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

That lady handing you the pizza with a smile would look a little different to you if you had antlers.

That’s because she’d be probably pointing the business end of an archery rig right at you.

Laura Petersen, manager of Figaro’s Pizza in Sweet Home likes to hunt. And if there isn’t anybody available to hunt with, she’ll go solo.

Petersen, 32, said she’s been hunting since she was 9 with her father, Dan Greve, except for a nine-year period when she lived in California. She said she’s taken six deer over the years, and last year got her first elk, a cow, in the Green Peter area.

“I had Dad with me that day, so that was pretty good,” she said.

Her husband, Brian, is a bowhunter and, well, “you can’t have a family with one bowhunter and one rifle hunter,” Petersen said.

So this year she got her own bow, a Martin Momba 65-pound recurve.

“I’m not into gadgets and stuff,” she said. “Just give me something that will work.”

Petersen said she’s hunted alone a lot because she can’t find partenrs.

“I hunt by myself a lot because not a lot of girsl want to get up at 5 in the morning to go hunting,” she said. “So unless my husband or my dad or my brother go with me, I go alone.”

Petersen said that being a woman hunter, especially one who goes solo, draws varying reactions.

“I’ve been told everything,” she said. “Some people love it, but some guys just hate it. I’ve had guys tell me I had no business being out there.

“When Brian took my new bow into the shop to get the strings and stuff, the lady there said, ‘You sure your wife can shoot this thing?'” Petersen said.

She said she finds archery “kind of calming” and generally practices for 15 minutes each morning after taking her boys, Travis, 8, and Boden, 5, to school.

“If I get out of the pizza shop soon enough, I practice in the afternoon,” she said.

So far, this year, she hasn’t gotten her elk.

She said she’s come close. Two weeks ago, hunting with Brian, she said they jumped about 25 elk. She and her husband split up and she decided to do a little lost-cow calling to try to bring in one of the bulls.

“Sure enough, one bull came back about 15 feet behind me in the thick brush,” she said. “I got a glimpse of some fir and hair and I waited and waited. The bull was very frustrated back there.”

That’s when her husband came back, and though she signaled him to be quiet, he declared, rather loudly, she said, that there were no elk around.

With a lot of thrashing and crashing, the bull took off and Petersen was left muttering something unprintable.

But that’s the fun of hunting with a bow. Before she got into it herself, she would videotape or take pictures as Brian hunted.

“I think in archery you get so much closer,” she said. “The first year I went with Brian, videotaping, he showed me how to call. One bull came and was very frustrated. I was laying on the ground and I just crawled away. I didn’t want to be that close to a bull that frustrated with just a camera.”