Emily HerrGesell Doe
"Dad and Me"

By Emily HerrGesell, Age 13

This morning I went on my first truly successful deer hunting trip. I had only gone on a deer hunt one other time, the week before, which of course it was fun but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as today’s trip. And I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more deer than I have today.

At six o’clock this morning, Dad woke me up, and at first I was having second thoughts and just wanted to sleep in, since it was the day after Thanksgiving and I was still a little tired from the day before, but I got up anyways, and lucky I did. We ate a small breakfast and headed out at seven.

We headed up the ridge behind the house, and it wasn’t cold but it was a bit chilly, so I was a little worried that I would end up whining about it later on. But I ignored it for the time being, and headed after Dad up the ridge. After a bit of a walk, and a many a sighting of a squirrel, we stopped, and sat with our backs against a tree, and sat, watching for any action. Dad had seen a small deer walking through the trees. I couldn’t see it since he had me facing the other way.

After sitting there for who-knows-how-long, I was dulled by the silence and the wind blowing in my face. It was beautiful out, and I tried to focus on that, but it didn’t work for long. Soon, it just felt bitter, and tedious. My nose was cold, and my toes were froze, and I tried not to pay attention to that because I was busy saving the tips of my ears from freezing to the center.

Dad and I sat for a while longer, but not before he found a deer, drifting through the trees, just ambling along the line of pine trees, he looked at it through his scope for a while. I didn’t really know what he was looking at, and wasn’t sure whether he was going to shoot or not, so I had my ears plugged most of the time. But after a while, he lowered his gun and described to me what he saw. It had been a little 4 pointer. Dad had no more buck tags and wasn’t interested in a little buck. He told me that it was possible it was the same deer we had seen earlier.

We sat there a good chunk of the time, but soon after sighting the little buck we moved. Earlier in the hunt Dad had begun to teach me how to creep the woods like a deer, which I think was pretty helpful, because otherwise, we probably would have alerted all the deer in the area, “HEY WE’RE OVER HERE AND READY TO TAG YOU OUT!”, so we tiptoed through the woods, occasionally shuffling in the leaves, to make our steps a little more uneven like a deer’s.

We headed off to the west end of the ridge. As we were heading down a trail, we saw three deer, young ones- older fawns. Dad looked at them through his scope to determine if any were big enough to shoot. Later on he told me that he thought he saw an older deer lying in the pines, watching her children forage at the nuts fallen from the oak trees.

We stood for quite a while, watching them pick their way across the ground, when I looked up and saw one of the three deer, staring at me at what couldn’t have been ten yards away. She stared right at me with her big brown eyes and I kept thinking, “If Dad shoots this little one, I’m going pitch a fit.” She was really young, and I was hoping that she would at least get to live to see another day, but Dad didn’t raise his gun, and we watched as she trotted back into the trees, alerting her companions that we were there. We watched them as they ran right in front of us and out of sight. “They were too little.” Dad explained. And I was very happy that he decided not to shoot the bold one that came within thirty feet of us.

We walked on and parked ourselves by a thorny tree. We soon left that spot and headed up the hill and back to home. We were chatting and talking about all the rubbed trees we’d seen and the buck scrapes on the ground, when six does and a buck came tearing out of the trees. I was very excited and maybe a little confused, I shouted to Dad about the buck, but he ignored me, since we couldn’t shoot him anyways. One doe ran in front of us, stared at Dad for two seconds, and ran off, he swiveled his gun over to a bigger doe that stopped dead, staring at us, and off went the gun.

She fell instantly. She kicked a few times, and was breathing hard. We paused and then Dad and I walked up the 40 yards to where she lay. Dad took his pistol out of his holster, put the muzzle close to her head, and pulled the trigger. She instantly stopped breathing, gave a few death kicks, and lay still. I was breathless. This was my first real deer hunt, and it ended in total success.

Dad quickly gutted the deer, he slipped a stick through her hocks and we both dragged her back home where Mom stopped to take our picture.


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