It all started Sept. 8, 2012, when Dad and I were in our yard and I was watching him shoot his bow. I asked him why I couldn’t shoot one and he said I could when I got a little older. Later that afternoon, Dad got out his crossbow and let me shoot it and I drilled the target right in the middle. Crossbow season was not until October 1, and Dad was going to let me hunt, so I had plenty of time to practice.
October 1 finally arrived and I was excited, but I couldn’t go hunting until the following weekend. The week seemed to take forever. Finally, Saturday came and the opportunity to shoot my first deer came, too—and I missed. The deer bounced away into the woods, not even looking back to see what spooked it. My dad said that my shooting had improved so much that he would consider taking me hunting during youth season, but I would have to practice with my mother’s .243 Win. single shot.
Saturday, October 13, was opening day of youth season in Kentucky. My dad and I sat the opening morning in a stand overlooking a CRP field, only to see 10 turkeys. That afternoon Dad was not too excited about going back. Finally, I talked him into going anyway.
We went to another stand overlooking a big alfalfa field with oak trees that lined the field. Running late with only an hour left in the evening hunt, we made it to the stand. I started to get bored after only 30 minutes, so I played with the wind-checker. Suddenly, Dad got my attention, “Look, there’s a deer.” Finally, another shot at a deer.
I could see only the deer’s body beneath the big oak limbs—but Dad could see everything while he readied the gun for me. I lined the cross-hairs up on the deer, right behind the shoulder, telling Dad I was ready to take the shot. Drawing the hammer back, Dad said, “Shoot when you’re ready.”
Boom! The gun went off and the deer fell. I screamed with excitement, as did my dad. We hugged and called our family and friends, and I still didn’t know what I shot. We waited 25 minutes and went over to where the deer had fallen. Dad stared saying, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, Zannah, you just shot a really big deer.”
I still didn’t fully understand: I’d just shot the biggest deer I’d ever seen ! After taking pictures, we called in to register the buck. My first season was exciting and I loved every minute.