We sat down in the snow waiting for geese to pass. The air was crispy, like when you take a shower then go outside in winter time. It feels like the air wakes you up. My cousin Spoon yelled pointing towards the sky, “geese.” I hurried and grabbed my shotgun and just shot without aiming.
“Goddamn, what’s wrong with you!” Uncle Bot yelled. “You almost shot me in the head.”
It was then that I realized I was doing everything completely wrong. I had shot with my eyes closed while aiming upwards. My uncle was standing right infront of me. The muzzle blast went off right by his head just inches away from hitting him. His ears must have been ringing. I felt like bursting into tears.
One goose was still alive, flapping his wings trying to fly away. He didn’t know his wing was broken as he to get away. He didn’t know I was crawling towards him slowly. The ice was thin. I was the smallest so it’s was my job to get the bird. I crawled out on the thin ice trying to catch the injured bird.
When I reached the poor bird, I knew I had to break his neck. I tried to think happy thoughts as I broke his neck. I didn’t like killing animals hand on. It’s different when you shoot them. Breaking the bird's neck was difficult, I was dressed up in uncomfortable heavy snow gear. When I was finished I started to crawl back towards the shore. I heard the ice cracking. And panicked. I stood up to run. The snow was deep,and I wondered if it was karma for almost shooting my uncle. The ice started breaking beneath me, overflow not far away from me. How I got to shore I don’t know I was just there.
This wasn’t the first time I almost shot someone. The very first time I made this mistake it was my fault too, I felt overwhelmingly Guilty. I tripped on a tree root, and the gun went off.
A couple miles above my grandparents house on the Yukon, I had been hunting with my uncle Miah. It was summer time, we drove to our location on a boat. The rest of my family members were in different spots hunting. We were in the trees, sitting by a fallen rotting tree camouflaged by nature. We silently stayed put for hours. Then, I was younger about nine years old, I was being a kid making noise getting very bored doing nothing.
My uncle got very frustrated because I was being noisy. As we started on the trail back towards the river, I tripped on a root. A gunshot went off. My ears were ringing I couldn’t hear anything. I felt the kick of the gun on my arm. I didn’t want to look up.I was afraid maybe I’ve shot my uncle what was I supposed to do.
When I heard my uncle yelling, I was so happy he was alive. “Why wasn’t your gun on safety when we were walking?” I automatically jumped to my feet and tried to explain that I didn’t know which way meant the safety was on. We made it to the river on time, jumped in the boat and left towards home.
Though my uncles taught me how to shoot properly, I did not learn to be safe. I always got confused with the safety and the trigger guard. Learning how to shoot a gun in the village is very hands on. You just jump right in.
The first time I shot a gun I was in 3rd grade at fish camp. The gun was too big for me to hold. My uncle had to stand behind me because I was scared I would fly back. It was a thirty- thirty like those guns you see on cowboy movies. All my life I’ve witnessed my uncles shooting. I’ve see the bruises,from the big guns they would shoot. The bigger the gun the bigger the kick. I am glad I learned all this life skills.
Since this happened I’ve moved to fairbanks and taken hunter safety. Know I understand how different guns work and how far they can shoot. If I had the chance to go hunting with my uncles again they would be shocked on how safe I am.