By Bradley Allan
I started hunting when I was 16 years old. My mom was single, so I had to more or less teach myself how to hunt. Mom saved money for me to buy my first 12 gauge, but I never took a deer, squirrel, rabbit or anything else with it.
As I got older, I hunted less and less because I did not have anywhere to go except public hunting areas, and no one to go with (I was still learning and very afraid of failure). When I turned 21, I killed my first deer, a doe, on the first day of gun season. After that, my life got really busy and I could only hunt on Saturdays.
I got married and had kids. My wife felt bad that I could not hunt often because I worked six days a week. But then, with the help of the good Lord who put people in my path to help, she made it possible for me to hunt and even help to revamp my arsenal. It took awhile, but she made a difference, sacrificing her time with the kids for me.
I finally had a bow. That fall, I got to hunt seven times in archery season. I saw deer, but didn’t fling an arrow at any.
Then gun season arrived. A guy from church heard about me getting back into hunting, and he jumped at the chance to take me and show me how to hunt. I took vacation time, and we hunted the first two days of gun season.
At 10:30 a.m. on the second day of my vacation, I took my first whitetail in eight years. It wasn’t a trophy buck, but was proud of myself for being patient. My friend let me use his muzzleloader. I had never shot one before, but was able to take the deer at 80 yards with the gun. It was awesome.
I’m thankful for my wife helping make it possible for me to get back into hunting again, and thankful for my friend who sacrificed his time to take me hunting and and sitting with me and showing me how to do it.
Now I want to learn more so I can teach my son and daughter. My kids were praying I would get a deer, and when they came home from school, I told them. They were so happy and proud of me. This praise coming from a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old made me feel really good. I got to hear them telling everybody “My daddy got a deer!”
I promise to try to pass on everything I’ll ever learn about hunting since it was freely given to me.