BAM... I often think back to that cold November day while I am hunting or shooting. We pulled up to our deer lease, just outside of Aspermont, Texas and my dad and I got out of the pick-up truck. The sun had not come up but you could see it over the horizon, it was cold enough to see your breath and very wet outside, it had just rained the night before. My dad pulled two rifle cases out of the back seat and two separate boxes of ammunition. As he pulled out the firearms, I shuddered at the silhouette. I had not shot a gun in over two months and I knew a test shot would be too loud. He loaded his Deer rifle and racked the bolt, the other rifle was his AR-15, which he handed to me. The cold gunmetal against my skin felt like I was holding ice.
We walked half a mile to the deer blind. When we arrived my dad unlocked the door and we climbed to the top and sat down. It is dark and silent, the only sounds were the birds and crickets chirping in the early morning. My dad takes the magazine to the AR and loaded 5 rounds into it. He takes the gun out of my hand and racks the bolt. Again, I shudder at the sound of the first round being loaded into the chamber. We open windows letting light into the small room, we sit down and wait. We direct our attention to the deer feeder. We wait and watch the sun come up. We wait and drink water and Gatorade. At about 8:30, we see a silhouette of a four-legged animal approaching the feeder.
My heart starts to beat, fast and hard. We watch him for a few minutes as he eats deer corn off the ground around the feeder. He is a very small buck, my dad decides that the buck is big enough to shoot. I grab the AR and put the hand guard on the edge of the window frame. Using my thumb I take the safety off. The click of the safety makes me shudder a 3rd time. I shoulder the rifle and look down the optic. I make sure I keep my finger off the trigger to prevent accidental discharges.
I put the crosshairs on the buck's shoulders. My heart is beating rapidly, my palms are very sweaty and I am breathing heavily. I close my eyes and breathe in… and out… and in… and out. I do this several times until I feel I am calm enough to shoot. I adjust my sights so the crosshairs are right on the shoulders of the deer. I move my finger to the trigger, and my heart beats faster. I decide I am ready to shoot and start to squeeze the trigger. I can’t, I can’t seem to take the shot. I try forcing myself to shoot but I can’t. I tell my dad that I can't-do it and he responded with Genesis 1:26 -Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
I still can't-do it. I try but can’t bring myself to shoot. I can feel a teardrop forming in my eyes, I tell myself I will not cry and try hard to hold back the tears. I tell my dad that he can take this deer. He grabs his deer rifle and shoulders the rifle. I watch him as his finger moves to the trigger. I put my fingers in my ears and waited for him to take the shot...
Even with my fingers in my ears the shot still loud and rang out through the small room. My dad racked the bolt on the rifle sending a shell casing in my direction. He quickly looked back through the sight. He moved the muzzle quickly across the landscape seeing if he missed the deer. We directed our attention to the feeder where we see small movements of the animal on the ground. I start to cry and my dad hugs me, I immediately feel better. I get and we wait a few minutes for the deer to pass away. We exit the blind and get the truck and drive it to the feeder to get the buck.
I will never forget this experience, this hunting trip had made me more mature in many ways. First off, I know that my dad will help guide me through life all the time, I really depended on him while we were hunting. He didn’t force me to shoot that deer. I love my dad and I know that he is always there for me. Second, I am also more mature around firearms, many times in movies guns are treated like a toy but they are a very lethal weapon if handled incorrectly. Finally, I now try things out of my comfort zone, ever since this hunting trip and missing out on that deer, I have tried to do things that make me uncomfortable and a lot of time I find out I like something that I did not know I liked. Last summer I found out rappelling down a side of a cliff is fun, I tried the zip line at summer camp and enjoyed that. Although I did not end up shooting the deer, I had fun on the hunting trip and now really enjoy hunting.