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"I've Got This!"

Addison Johnson

Cheerleader leaves Nebraska with bruiser and a bruise

By Chad Johnson (Addison's Father)

Picture a petite 15-year-old girl sitting all alone, waiting for a chance to get her first big buck.

The 4', 9", 100-pound cheerleader from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina had the time of her life during a Nebraska deer hunt where her brother, some close family friends and I accompanied her.

Addison Johnson is my daughter. Earlier in the week, she had seen a large 12-point buck and had her heart set on it.

Other hunters had seen it too, but the old buck managed to escape their sights too quickly.

As Addison and her guide, Sean Calhoun, headed toward their ground blind in the freezing, early morning air, he informed Addison she'd be sitting alone because he needed to try out a different blind.

The moment Sean said, "You'll have to sit alone," all Addison could think about was that it would be the very first time she'd be sitting all alone in the middle of a pitch-dark, cold and incredibly vast Nebraska wilderness.

She worried about how she would reach anyone if she needed them. Being the trooper that she is, Addison just smiled her big beautiful smile and said, "I've got this!"

After shooting light arrived and several minutes of watching doe after doe pass by, Addison finally saw a nice buck. It was approaching her ground blind quickly.

She grabbed her rifle but had difficulty situating it on the tripod.

Addison struggled as quietly as she could in the tiny blind, unable to get the gun straight and steady, or maneuver herself high enough in the seat to position the rifle's site through the peephole in the blind.

She knew precious seconds were flying by, and she noticed the buck beginning to get keen, trotting faster and farther away.

Her instincts took over. Addison abandoned the tripod, shouldered her rifle for a freehand shot and steadied it as best as she could.

She followed the buck through her scope, knowing it was about to get away, and she yelled in order to get its attention, stopping it long enough for a shot.

Addison JohnsonBANG!

She made a perfect shot!

Still shaking from the adrenaline, Addison frantically called her guide. She needed to speak to Sean quickly, not only because she'd shot a buck, but because a mysterious dull headache was setting in.

Then Addison felt something warm dripping profusely from her forehead.

Thinking quickly, she photographed herself with her cell phone in the darkness of early dawn to see what the problem was.

After looking at the photo, she realized the riflescope had given her a surprise; a rookie cut right between the eyes!

Addison was only frightened for a second, and remained calm, waiting for her guide to pick her up.

She was anxious to see her brother and me when we returned from our afternoon hunt, to tell us all about her adventure.

After getting her scope ding tended to back at the farmhouse, Addison received many congratulations from the older and more experienced male hunters, and everyone had a good laugh.

I'm not sure which I'm more proud of, Addison and her 250-pound buck or the manner in which she handled that entire sequence of events, all by herself! 

And, I don't know if the guys in camp ever had doubts about this sweet little competition cheerleader from South Carolina. After seeing Addison's big polar bear slippers, they probably wondered if she'd be able to handle her first hunt with the big boys.

But handle it she did, even shooting better than her brother and me!

The scar on Addison's forehead is slowly fading, but the memory of her first big buck on our family hunting trip to Nebraska never, ever will!

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