We sat on the side of a hill, at the time, I had no idea why we chose this spot beside the fact that we had a great view.
After sitting for what seemed like hours, a coyote came trotting on the other side of the creek, stopping to sniff the air every so often until it finally smelled something it didn’t like and spooked off back in the direction from which it came.
Another hour passed, and that’s when my dad looked at me and whispered, “did you hear that?” “Hear what?” I said.
“A deer is walking down the trail towards us; get ready, son.” So I slowly positioned myself, so I would have a shot at the deer as soon as it was clear to shoot.
Out stepped a beautiful 8-point buck. Once it reached about 75 yards, I shouldered my dad’s 30-30, put the crosshairs on the chest, and pulled the trigger.
The buck dropped, at the age of 12 I had just shot my first deer. It was exhilarating, and it wouldn’t have been possible without my dad.
I’m one of the lucky ones who had a dad that enjoyed hunting almost as much as I did. We would often spend time together duck and deer hunting, among other outdoor activities such as bass fishing.
It wasn’t until my first elk hunt over a decade later that I realized how blessed I had been growing up.
You see, even after watching hours of elk hunting videos on YouTube, I still didn’t know what I was doing, I had to learn on the fly. The catch was that no one was allowed to hunt with me besides the others who had drawn a tag, and we were competing for the same herd, so nobody was giving away their secrets.
I probably committed every elk hunting sin there is but somehow luckily managed to harvest one before the hunt was over.
The difference between my first deer hunt and my first elk hunt was that I had a mentor.