A Buck Moment
by Kyndal Elmer
It all started on a hot afternoon. I had been waiting for this hunt for a quite a while.I wasn’t able to deer hunt last season, and I was eager to kill my first buck. The hikeup the mountain was humid and exhausting. My dad and I went in on foot, and ittook us about two hours to get to our “spot” for opening morning of the rifle hunt.We knew that the base of the mountain was going to be covered by people, so wedecided to go where others weren’t.Getting to our camping spot was rough. A lot of the hills we had to climb up were sosteep that we could only use our hands and feet. By the time we got camp set up, a stormwas on its way. Watching the storm clouds roll over the highest peak of the mountain wasintimidating. We could feel the air temperature drop. We both knew that it was going to bea cold night. Honestly, I was hoping that we weren’t going to get into the snow. Once wewere situated in the tent, we ate sandwiches for dinner. When the alarm went off at 4:00a.m. the next morning, that’s when I realized that it was opening morning. So many thingswere running through my mind. I could feel that something BIG was going to happen.
After we ate breakfast, we climbed another mountain to glasswhere we could see better. When it was finally light enough to see,my dad spotted some deer on the mountain across from us. Even though the sun wasn’t up yet, we could still see the deer through thestorm clouds. We walked quite a bit to get in range of the deer. There was only one thing on my mind. I was just hoping there was a nicebuck in the herd. When we got there, the only thing we saw was acouple of does. But we decided to stay there and look for a minuteand our luck changed.My dad told me that he found a nice 4x4, and I got excited. Wesneaked further down to these big boulders to try to get a shot. When we started setting up the rifle it hit me, I may shoot my first buck today. That’s when I started getting nervous.The first time we checked his range he was at 420 yards, but Iwasn’t able to get a clear shot. He walked further up the mountainand the rangefinder read, 440 yards. Almost the exact yardage as theelk I shot. I got buck fever really fast. I tried convincing myself thatI was just cold but I knew I wasn’t. Then I got a hold of myself andfocused. When he turned broadside, I squeezed the trigger. I let thekick of the gun surprise me, but I didn’t notice much it because Icouldn’t hear. Shooting through the cave like pile of boulders madethe crack of the rifle echo causing the shot to ring ten times louderthan normal. The buck ran about 30 yards and fell down.My dad and I were so happy and thankful. We called my momand sisters to tell them that I had just shot my first buck. My momwas really happy for both of us. Then I told her we were going toneed help hauling out camp. We got off the phone with my mom andheaded to my buck.When we found my buck, he was even nicer up close. It was a thrilland a blessing to be up close to him. I took a moment to thank thebuck for providing our family with delicious organic meat. Hunting provides a unique connection to animals. Most people never get thechance to have this experience in nature in their lifetime. This is why Ihad such respect for this buck.
After we were done taking pictures and quartering him up, we headed back to camp. My mom called us and said that they had finallymade it to our camp and would be waiting for us. On our way back to camp to visit mom, it was raining but I was enjoying it. When we got to camp we were relieved to remove the weight from our shouldersand hips.Everyone congratulated me and my dad on my buck. We carriedout the entire deer while my mom and sisters carried out camp. Onthe way down, we passed a lot of people on horses. I was that muchhappier to know that we didn’t need a horse or a llama for our hunting adventure.The hike down was as hard as it was going up. Each step got harder and longer. The weight of my pack started to dig deeper into my hips.But honestly, I liked the pain. It reminded me that hard work paysoff in the end. When we finally got down to the truck I was relievedbut very thankful for the experience, for my family coming up and hauling out camp, but most of all, I was grateful to share such a specialmoment with my dad. He is my best friend. I wouldn’t trade thisexperience for anything. We made memories that will last a lifetime.