Unit 23

December 16, 2008
Unit 23

“How can you even imagine doing such a horrible thing?” said my best friend Emily. I looked at her dumb struck and replied, “It’s just what I do. I’ve grown up around hunting, and I’ve got a tag.” She shook her head in disgust not understanding. Without another thought I said, “See you in five days Em!”, and jumped in the truck with my dad.

We had been hunting for three long days with no luck of a buck. It was our last day before we had to go back to the city and we were not going to let my first tag go to waste. The tag drawn was for any antlered deer in Unit 23. Unit 23 covers the rim all the way down to Roosevelt Lake.
We started with an extra thirty minutes on this particular morning. We had arrived at our blind, made out of a fallen tree along with its limbs, while it was still dark out and the earth waiting for the warmth of the sun’s early beams. Hidden in my blind I had clear views of an open meadow in front of me and a canyon to my right. It was a perfect morning position. For when the sun would come up, the deer would feed in the meadow and go down into the canyon for the shade. We waited and waited with no kismet. At noon we ate our lunch and started to hike. We hiked along a path that we had come upon, but of course this was no human path, this was a game trail. The trail took us through washes, up and down hills, and into the depths of canyons. I was starting to get worn out from all the tough hiking; my shoulders began to slump and my rifle started to hang. Suddenly, my dad signaled for me to halt. He pointed up towards the canyon we were in to the very top of the ridge. I pulled my binoculars up to my eyes to scope what he was seeing. Finally, I saw the twitch of an ear.
I kept spotting the ridge for more deer, but I could only find two and couldn’t make out if either of the two had antlers. We decided that we needed to get closer to them in case one of them was a buck. We tried to be real stealthy and worked our way up the canyon towards the animals until they caught notice of our movement. Their big, white, fluffy tails shot up like antennas and bolted down the canyon to our left. They came into close enough view where we could see that one of the deer had antlers. He wasn’t a trophy buck, but I decided to take him since my time was running out. I prepared myself and my rifle when suddenly the doe with him stepped right in front of my aim. My heart sank; I couldn’t take the shot. We kept on waiting, and the longer we waited the more my mind started to wander. I thought back to the conversation with Emily contemplating what my friend had said to me. Maybe hunting isn’t who I am, I thought. Watching the animals interact with one another, I couldn’t make up my mind whether I wanted to take this buck’s life. Then at that very moment the buck moved into my sights. I didn’t have time to think about it. I had worked too hard for not getting anything out of it, and I couldn’t let my dad down. I raised my rifle to my shoulder as if I was going into battle and pressed my cheek firmly upon the weapon to focus in on my shot. Everything went quiet; there were no more birds chirping. I saw the leaves wrestle but never did I hear them. Finally, my cross hairs were lined up behind the deer’s front shoulder. I placed my finger on the trigger, took in a deep breath to steady myself, and gently squeezed…
Next thing I knew, I found myself kneeling down beside my first deer with my dad smiling and pacing around frantically full of excitement. To my surprise I was excited, too. I realized at that moment, yeah, I might feel upset about taking such a beautiful creature out of this world, but that is why this world IS so beautiful. If it wasn’t for me, my dad, and the other responsible hunters out there, there would not be any wildlife for us to take in. We control their population so they don’t over populate and kill each other off. I had found the answer to Emily’s and my question. The reason why I love to interact with the wild and yet hunt them is because I myself am the one who allows me the chance to enjoy these beautiful faunas on so many levels.

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