My First Shot

November 9, 2011
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“Dad! Their coming in! On your right side.” I said as the birds started down towards the water. “I see them. Keep quiet. Wait till their right in front of you. Take the first shot.” He whispered. Bang! Bang! Two shots.

I still remember the first day I went hunting with my dad. I had been waiting forever to be old enough to go with him.

I remember he used to get up before the sun even started up in the morning on weekends and take the dog who loved hunting as much as anything and start to pack his things and get dressed. I was always left behind to wait for him to return with the dog and most of the time ducks or geese.

I always wished I could have been out with him waiting for the ducks to come in and circle over our heads. Waiting for them to come in, straighten their wings and slowly glide down to the water. Waiting for that perfect shot.

The day I passed my hunters safety course I was so happy. I scored almost perfect on the final to pass the course. I couldn’t wait to be able to go out with my dad that fall.

When the day finally came I was so excited. I barely slept the night before. This wasn’t good because I was going to have to get up at 4am that morning. I couldn’t help not sleeping because I knew what was ahead and I had been waiting for years to finally be able to be a part of it. I remember falling asleep and then, it feeling like I had only slept a few minutes once I woke up. This wasn’t the most pleasant way to begin the day but I had no complaints. I knew what was coming and the excitement took priority over the lack of sleep I had gotten.

It was hot inside the cottage because of the wood stove that never stopped pumping out heat no matter how hot it already it was in the house. As long as you fed it, it gave off as much heat as possible.
The light from the lamp hurt my eyes when I turned around. That woke me up quickly. I got up, grabbed a quick bite to eat then started the long process of getting all the right clothes on. First came the Under Armour, then the t-shirt, then the sweatshirt and jeans, then the first coat and water proof pants and finally the over jacket and the boots. This was of course all for the good cause of keeping me from freezing in the cold, late fall weather. The boots were the worst. They felt like they weighed 10 lbs. and they killed my feet. I started to complain and my dad immediately started to make fun of me for it. I just stopped talking about it. He knew just how to bug me and I had learned that if he’s ignored then he eventually leaves me alone.

The dog was going mental, crying walking around standing at the door. He couldn’t wait to leave. I think he was more excited than me.

When we finally got outside to the truck I realized why I was wearing so many clothes. The air was frigid and the added wind chill made it feel like we would freeze if we were out too long. The ride to the state hunting land was silent besides the dog who was jumping around in the back seat and pacing and crying. He was like an annoying alarm that wouldn’t stop going.

I had been to this land a few times and knew it was a really long and monotonous walk to the pond we wanted to hunt. It wasn’t going to be a fun walk, especially in the 10 lb. boots I had to walk around in. Along with the boots we had to wear we had a bunch of gear that needed to be carried. We had a blind and seats and our guns plus a book bag. The walk was long but not as bad as I had anticipated. It gave me a chance to talk to my dad for longer than normal.

Once we finally got there we set up. I ended up sitting on the bank of the pond. The weeds and grass was still wet and it was still dark which made it feel even colder while sitting there.

I was in one section of the weeds while my dad and the dog were in another section. There was still a little while till shooting time which was a half hour before sunrise, so I sat there waiting and thinking.
Shooting time came quick, unfortunately the birds didn’t. We waited; saw a few groups of birds pass over us. Just as I thought that there wasn’t going to be any birds coming our way I saw a flock. They circled over us. After the second time they circled I thought they weren’t coming in. Then I looked and saw the group start to straighten out and come for the pond. They spread their wings far and slowly descended to the water. I started to get nervous because I knew this flock could be the first I actually got a shot at. I didn’t want to miss. They looked beautiful making their way to the water. I could see the green head of the lead duck. They passed into my view and I lifted the shotgun, the trigger fit perfectly with my finger.

I pulled the first trigger to shoot the first barrel. The gun went off with a loud bang impairing my hearing for a second and causing a slight jolt backwards in my shoulder. I dropped the first bird and hit another. Then pulled the trigger to shoot the second barrel and hit a third bird. Three birds, two shots. The dog took off letting his retriever instincts take over. He retrieved one bird at a time. When he was done my dad rushed over and told me how awesome the shots were and that I led the ducks perfectly. He also said how proud he was and how nice it was to finally have me out there with him.

I had great luck the rest of that day. I got two more birds from the next group that came in. At about 9:30 we started to pack up. It was a good morning and we talked the whole way back to our truck and all the way back to the cottage. The good day of hunting made the mood of us both better. We joked around and had fun the rest of the day and prepared to go out again the next day. It was the start of an activity that we could both do and it brought me and my dad closer.

This whole thing taught me two things. One was that I love hunting and the second was that nothing is more valuable than spending time with the ones you love. Especially when you can get away where it’s only you and that person or with a group of people and do something you love. That time is irreplaceable. To me nothing is better and no matter what I will always make times to do things with the ones I love.

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