My First Deer: A Tristen Packer Story

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It was the last day of hunting season, a crisp, cold morning. Everything was silent, not even the birds were up yet. There I was, sitting on a stool, my back against the rigid surface of a tree. My 12-gauge pump shotgun was firmly held in my hands, finger ready to switch the safety off.


The sun was slowly awakening and my surroundings were just becoming visible. I was eager to take my first deer that morning.  My dad had just killed one the afternoon before, an 8-point buck that walked out in front of him and he took his aim, he’s a good shot. And why shouldn’t he be? He’d been hunting all of his life. I was ready to prove to the family that I was too.


I was wearing all of my camouflage gear, to keep warm. With my boots dug into the ground I waited. My dad was sure a deer would walk out in front of me.  He told me the trick was to go in the thick woods instead of going into the box stand we had.  Although it was equipped with shooting lanes going in three and corn piles to lure the deer in, he told me the really big ones were hiding in the woods.

Terry Packer
My cousin and I right before getting in the stand.


Well, there I was, sitting where he told me to. I remember dozing off a little, I had stayed up late the night before and got up early that morning. As I was dozing, I heard something, a branch snap.  My heart started to pump and I was wide awake but silent, not even taking a breath, straining my ears to hear another sound.




I calmed myself a bit, still trying not to make a sound just in case. It was silent for about 3 minutes, then, I heard a chain of steps coming from my front left going towards my right. I locked my eyes on the creature’s path. I pushed the safety to fire, brought the gun to my shoulder, and waited excitedly. I could hear it getting closer and closer. I then saw a figure behind a tall patch of brown grass. My heart was jumping out of my chest. I raised my gun to my eye and looked down the barrel. The animal drew closer, then it showed itself.


The first thing I saw was antlers, then a long snout, and finally ears and eyes. It’s a buck, and it is big. I sat still, silently hoping it would not hear or see me and ruin my chances.


The buck looked around many times. I waited for him to expose his body, because the best shot is right behind the shoulder, in the heart. It stepped forward slowly. Another step, then another. There it is, the shot I was waiting for. I admired the animal and all its might. A muscular beast. As I adjusted my grip, it looked my direction. Bang! It starts to run. Bang! I shoot again. It keeps running.


I sat there, heart still pumping, wondering if I had missed. I yell to my dad and my cousin Will, who are a distance away, but still within ear shot. They quickly get to my position. We start looking for any blood trails or tracks. An hour crawled by and we could not find him. My dad says we will go back to the start and look one more time, but then we have to call it and pack up.


We go back to where I shot him, we follow his skid marks from where he had run. We find new tracks and follow it into the deep woods behind the pine trees.


There he lays.


Will and I yell out in excitement. My first deer was down.

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My First Deer: A Tristen Packer Story