As I tried and tried to pay attention in my fourth period class, I couldn’t quite be still due to the exciting plans I had at the end of school. My dad was taking me hunting and, after much target practice and healing time from a broken shoulder, this would be my first chance at taking a deer on my own. I was ten years old and I had been hunting with him for about four years. My grandfather had gotten me a Remington .243 rifle for Christmas the year before, but my dad said I couldn’t use it until I turned ten. Would this be my chance to harvest my first big game animal?
The minutes passed by slowly and I tossed and turned in my desk, full of anticipation. Finally the bell rung and I sprinted outside to where my dad was waiting at the front of the line. The next thing I knew we were patiently waiting in the stand watching the squirrels and birds scampering around. Finally, the magical time arrived; that “perfect time” to see deer, right at dusk. I continued to wait, but my hopes began to slowly diminish as the sun fell behind the night sky. Suddenly, a new sound was in the air. I heard leaves rustling, just down in front of me on the far side of the field. It became louder and louder with every heavy breath I took. Out of nowhere she appeared; a doe and her fawn timidly entered the field picking at the fresh winter rye. I remembered my dad saying that I could take a doe if I wanted, but that didn’t satisfy me. I wanted a buck. I continued to wait with anticipation and then, to my surprise, from the right side of the field came a good set of antlers attached to a big body. My dad was beside me, catching a few winks. I whispered, “A buck”, but he gave no response. Again I whispered, a little louder and directly in his ear, “Dad, a buck”, but again nothing from him.
My insides were tied in knots and not really knowing what I needed to do I softly spoke, “Dad, there’s a buck”. I received the clearest instruction of the hunt as he said, “Shoot it. Why else do you think you have that gun?” Not wanting to disobey him I took aim. Pulling that trigger created a memory that I will cherish forever. My dad startled, waking completely as the sound of my shot hung in the air. We jumped up and walked down to see my first deer. Looking at me, my dad said, “What did you do to your head, son? That looks awful!” I rubbed my forehead and right between the eyes I felt a rather large knot. I had placed the butt of the gun under my recently healed shoulder to reduce the recoil. The scope left a knot on my head that would mark the start my hunting career.