By Elijah Mons

The smell of pine filled my nostrils as adrenaline filled my veins. Dressed in green leaves and brown earth, I faded into nature. Even the leaves waved with envy. It was November in southern Minnesota and my first deer hunt that I would never forget.

The sun slowly faded, but my hope never ceased. When dusk arrived, snow came with it. As small snowflakes peacefully danced to the ground, the forest came alive. Squirrels chattered before a long winter, while blue jays and cardinals fluttered through the sky. Little chickadees called out through the forest and big geese honked a last goodbye.

A group of deer trotted through the field ahead. I looked through the scope of my crossbow. I waited for the deer to stop, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger. The arrow went flowing at a rapid pace as if it were determined to reach the deer. Suddenly, the forest went silent. No birds singing, no squirrels chattering, no geese honking, nothing.

I looked to where the deer was and hoped I had hit it. But it just skipped gracefully into the brush. I had found the arrow a few feet before the deer. I had missed my shot. Feeling bummed, I walked back to my blind. That was my one chance, and I blew it.

The thicket began to rustle, as if to mock me. I continued to sit in my blind and wait. But soon the brush rustled more and what seemed to be mockery had turned into shaming. Then I heard footsteps; footsteps that sounded like music to my ears. Not human footsteps, but deer footsteps. I readied my crossbow and then saw the deer jump out of the thicket. I took a deep breath and pulled the trigger.

The deer had been hit, weakly skipping into the thicket. We immediately began to track it. After about 15 minutes of searching, we found her, my very first deer. But the deer did not make the hunt so special to me. It was the time I spent with my grandfather that made it so extraordinary to me.


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