The "Firsts"

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

Tim and I finally resumed preparations for his first deer hunt. We put up deer stands and scouted for sign. The season arrived and we poured ourselves into the hunt. I hadn’t realized how little time we would have for these outings, due to football practice, scouts, homework, and all the other activities that compete for a young person’s time.

Success eluded us. It got down to the last afternoon of the last day of the season. It was raining hard, and the temperature was in the 30s. I just did not have enough hunting passion left in me to hunt in the cold rain. Tim did.

Jen and I were in the horse barn as Tim disappeared into the fog and rain wearing a leaky blue plastic raincoat with a blaze orange vest overtop. He had more hunting drive than I did. Thirty minutes later we heard a shot. I thought, “Oh no!” and was filled with dread. The only thing worse than hunting deer in a driving rain is cleaning a deer in a driving rain. We just hoped he had missed.

Ten minutes later, Tim was back at the horse barn. He looked like the last survivor from the Titanic; there wasn’t a dry square inch on his body. I could tell by the smile on his face that he had his first Missouri deer.

The entire family put on rain gear and followed Tim into the woods. He jabbered almost incoherently about what had happened. The rain let up, fortunately, and I offered him my knife and talked him through cleaning his first deer. He did it all. We drove to the check station together and he continuously recounted all of the details of his first deer kill. I knew that he would remember his first deer just like I had a special memory of my first Missouri deer.

Adventures in wing shooting

My first pheasant is as vivid in my memory as my first deer. I was walking through the woods in northwestern Missouri watching my feet to make sure that one foot was successfully placed in front of the other. I wasn’t even thinking about pheasants because I obviously was not in pheasant habitat.

A pheasant popped up in front of me out of nowhere—surprising me so much that I was almost paralyzed. I was able to recover enough to shoot that bird because the trees were so thick that the

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