Corpus Christi resident Ally Babineaux appreciates being in the outdoors more than most.
After what she’s been through the past several years, just being able to enjoy anything outdoors is a minor miracle.
While attending Texas A&M University in 2007, she was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a virus in the heart that often leads to heart failure. She was dubbed the bionic bride when her boyfriend, Mike, proposed in Sept., 2008 and the pair married in 2009. But it almost didn’t happen.
After battling through her body almost shutting down, multiple surgeries, doctors inserting a pump to give Babineaux’s heart time to heal, comas, more surgeries and, finally, a heart transplant last February, Babineaux finally gets to enjoy several of her favorite passions — hunting and fishing.
“I’ve been fishing since I was four or five,” she said. “My dad is from Freeport, so we went a lot. I started hunting about eight or nine years ago. I went to a friend’s ranch, and a bunch of the guys told me I couldn’t hit a water bottle on top of a fence post. I could!”
Her husband introduced Babineaux to deer hunting, which she described as “pretty awesome.”
“Now we do a little bit of everything — deer, turkeys, hogs, and Mike started duck hunting last year, so I’m trying that this year. Everyone down here has a blind. I definitely want to try that.”
Babineaux said the challenge of the hunt is what she most enjoys, along with the benefits of eating healthy wild game.
“I want to get where I can do everything,” she said. “It’s such a challenge and so much fun. You have to be good at it or you don’t eat. We eat everything we shoot — it’s healthier than beef.”
This year, Babineaux went on her first dove hunt, and shot well with her 28-guage shotgun.
“We went on a morning hunt but the birds were flying really high,” she said. “I switched to a 20-guage for the evening hunt and got 11. The only part I didn’t like was when they were hit but you still had to catch them. Our group had a great hunt, though. We shot 200 total.”
Last December was the first time in years Babineaux was healthy enough to go afield.
“I enjoy things so much more; the wildlife; to be out in the country is where my heart is,” she said. “It’s very nice to watch the sun come up and go down. I enjoy the views. I also enjoy preparing for the hunt even if it isn’t the season — filling feeders, seeing deer. It’s nice not to have to worry about killing. I just like to watch sometimes.”
And it isn’t just the field where she feels at ease/
“I couldn’t get close to the water for three years,” she said. “When we recently got on the boat again, I thought, ‘I’m home.’ We have a boat now and Mike and I go a lot. He caught a 27-inch trout, but I caught a 28-inch redfish. He’s a lure fisherman and I’m a shrimp/croaker girl. I help him fish, he helps me hunt.”
Babineaux originally was studying for a degree in marine fisheries, but priorities shifted during her ordeal, and now she says she is going to become a nurse.
“I wanted to become a game warden,” she said. “That isn’t an option anymore, so I’m going into nursing.”
It has been 20 months since Babineaux has been back in a hospital, and she has big plans for the upcoming hunting seasons.
“I would love to shoot an axis or a mule deer,” she said.