2. Jr. Prose: Alex Beer, Grd. 8, Eden Prairie

It was so cold I could see my breath as easily as smoke from a campfire. I was very glad that I had brought hand-warmers. Then I remembered my dad telling me that the deer would be extremely hard to see. They blend in best at dusk and dawn, and the leaves were not crunchy so I wouldn’t hear the deer coming.

I glanced up and to my left. That was when I saw a doe. Carefully leaning over to my dad, I told him what I saw. Almost as an answer, he started to raise his 12-gauge shotgun. I did likewise. The doe was moving at a moderate pace – not too terrible for a shot. I began to whisper the countdown my dad and I had gone over countless times: three, two, one. But before I got to one, the doe walked behind an oak tree.

We both kept our guns up, thinking that the doe would reappear on the other side of the oak. After a while, the doe still hadn’t appeared on the other side of the tree.

I pondered where the doe could possibly have gone. I leaned over to my dad to ask if he’d seen the doe since it disappeared behind the tree. Unfortunately, he said no. I was beginning to get mad at myself for not starting the countdown earlier.

I was looking around wildly in hopes of spotting the doe. I was looking right, left, and back again. To make things worse, the sun was quickly setting. If it got much darker, it would be too dark for a shot even if we spotted the doe.

Then I looked to my right again and caught a glimpse of a doe, but definitely not the same doe we had seen before. It was so much bigger I couldn’t believe my eyes. I nudged my dad and he looked over and saw the doe. His eyes lit up and he shifted his shotgun to a position to shoot in that direction.

Already having my shotgun in position to shoot the doe, I took aim just over the front shoulder blade. This would result in a clean lung shot. This time my dad started the countdown: three, two, one. Boom! The bullet struck the deer before it even heard the gunshot. At this point I was shaking. We climbed down the ladder of the treestand. I was still shaking in excitement. Then we began the grueling task of dragging at least 190 pounds of dead weight out of the woods.

Looking back at my experience, I found it memorable because it was the first animal I had ever shot. It was also the beginning of the tradition of hunting with my dad. Altogether, I would say this was the very defining moment when I became a true hunter.

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