It was too early and cold for the first day of gun season in Ohio, but the excitement to get into the woods that morning outweighed the cold and lack of sleep. My brother and I were in our early teens and this was our first big hunt. My mom cooked us a good breakfast and took pictures of us before we left. As my dad drove down the back roads my brother and I sat in silence as the radio played country music. All I could do was think about how cold it was as my brother and I soaked in all the heat we could from the single cab truck. The weeks leading up to the hunt we prepared by walking the area and scouting the best places to set up to get that first kill. During our recon of the area my dad would point out signs of activity in the area, scrapes, tracks, and deer droppings. He taught us how to walk through woods he would tell us “stop dragging your feet, pick up your feet, and put them down softly”. We went to the sportsman’s club range to shoot our new shotguns, practice unloading, and reloading our single shot lever action 20 gauge shotgun. My dad taught us how to hold one shell in between our fingers so that we could quickly reload for another shot. As I hopped out of the truck it was still dark we did our last checks with the help of the dim light coming from inside the truck.
We started up Plumbers Run Road it was a steep old logging road, as we got to the top I was already soaked in sweat and tired. I got to my spot I picked out during our recon and sat against an old hickory tree. It was still dark outside I could not see ten feet in front of me. I sat there cold and wet I regretted my decision of wearing my overalls during the walk up the hill. The sun finally made its way through the trees and by this time my feet were icicles. I was alone with every sound I gripped my shotgun in anticipation for that big buck to come walking past. I heard something walking towards my direction. My heart started to beat faster the adrenaline started to pump, but it was only four doe making their way down the trail out of range to get a clean shot. As the morning went by I did not see or hear another deer. I heard shots off in the distance hoping it was not my brother getting his first deer. I could see my dad walking towards my spot, it was time to move and try our second location. We moved down the trail slowly and quietly my gun was at the ready with the spare shell between my fingers. My dad gave me the hand signal of keep your focus ahead, as we crested a small hill two deer jumped across the trail my adrenaline and instinct kicked in I could hear my dad shout “shoot”. I raised my shotgun and squeezed off a single shot. I felt proud of my first kill I knew the consequences of squeezing the trigger and knowing once that slug left the barrel what was going to happen. It was a clean shot and the deer went straight down. As my dad and I field dressed the deer he told me not to feel bad about killing we gave thanks to the deer and the meat that it provided. He dipped his finger in the blood and wiped it under each eye it was a rite of passage for that first hunt.
I look back now and realize I was trained and prepared for that hunt. I took the hunters safety course to get my permit. My dad taught me how to handle a firearm and to shoot. He also taught me how to hunt, walk in the woods, and properly field dress an animal.