By Athan Rodriguez
I was coming back from school one day when my dad asked me, “Do you want to go hunting in the hill country?”
I said yes! Who wouldn’t? We were going to hunt for black buck, but it didn’t turn out that way.
We started our trip early the next morning. It was a super long drive to camp. We finally got there about 3 in the morning. It was hard to go to sleep, thinking about all the excitement I was going to have, and I did not have much time for sleep, only about 5 hours.
The next morning, I was exhausted and excited at the same time. I had a feeling it was going to be a lucky day. It was a long and tiring walk to the ground blind my dad and I were going to use, but finally we got there. It was damp and cloudy that morning. It looked like the perfect place and time for a black buck.
When I got in the blind, I looked out the window and saw a field. Beside us, there was a river about 300 yards long. We sat there in the blind for about two hours until two very big axis deer came out. They were about 200 yards out so we sat and watched them walk off. Soon after that, our ranch guide came to pick us up. We got in the truck and went back to the campsite.
The next day I hurried to get ready. I could not wait to get in that deer blind. This time, the hunting guide drove us to the ground blind. We were going to the same place we went yesterday. We got in the blind, and I really thought we would not see anything. The only thing we had to do was to sit and wait. We sat there and waited for two hours, until one very big black buck came, chasing a doe. It was walking on the other side of the fence. We were sitting there hoping he would jump the fence, but the doe decided to walk away from the field.
An hour later, the hunting guide came to pick us up. That day for dinner we cooked a deer backstrap. It came from a deer that another hunter had shot. That was really good, too! We went to bed at ten, and eight hours later it was time to get up. I thought, it’s our last day! I was hoping to get something before we left.
When I was getting dressed my teeth shivered nonstop. It was chilly. My dad asked me to take my gun and tripod outside and lean it against the RV and I did. I waited outside. It was quiet and all I could hear was crickets chirping. About five minutes later, my dad was ready, and the hunting guide came with his truck, and all three of us crammed into the front seat.
This time, we went to a totally different blind. Before we got in, we took a sneak peek of our surroundings. There was a drop-off where the hunting guide said the deer like to come down. It was a very shady spot.
Five minutes after the hunting guide drove away, a tiny yearling doe came running down the drop-off without her mother. She stayed there for about an hour, then climbed her way up the high drop-off and started making her way down the other side.
We waited three more hours until a herd of rams came storming down to the feeder. First there were only little ones, and there were a lot of them!
Then, a huge ram with a full curl came. It was last to run to the feeder. My heart was pounding. The ram was about 60 yards away from the blind. My dad got his binoculars out to see if the ram was tagged. It wasn’t.
I got out my .30-30, and I aimed through my sights. I looked through the crosshairs right on the ram’s shoulder. I slowly pulled the trigger, because if I jerked I knew it would go off target. Then, it seemed as if time stopped. Boom! Suddenly, all the little rams ran off. At first I thought I missed because all the little rams hid him, but then I discovered the big ram was on the ground.
My dad and I celebrated! I was so happy that I shot my first ram ever. We went down to the feeder where I shot the ram. I put my hand on his horns. I was thrilled. It was the biggest animal I ever shot. My dad took a picture of me with the ram. That was the end of my best hunt ever. This happened when I was seven years old.
-- Athan Rodriguez / 8 years old