American Hunter - December 2012 - 102

member'shunt
That Day
By Brielle N. Eaton, Manhattan, Kan.

Photo: Lon Lauber / WindigoImages.com

For bragboard photos go to
AmericanHunter.org.

course we would take an occasional nap
to replenish our hunting spirit. I remember watching and learning so much from
them: habits of the animals, how to be
quiet while stalking and how to gut my
firsth arvest. They led, and I followed.
Time drew on and soon other interests
superseded hunting. Before long my dad
and I were all that remained of our hunting party. To some extent, that was okay.
I had some of the best times and quality moments with my dad, just him and
me, out hunting in the woods. But I will
never forget that day-the day I became a
hunter. It was my freshman year in college.
We were elk hunting in Alpine, Ariz.,
and I was looking forward to some cool
weather and time away from a classroom.
We got up early on Saturday morning and
headed out on a logging road that ringed
a meadow. I understand now that in the
years prior to this trip I had been in training. With it only being me and my dad, I
started to expand my hunting skills. I was
sent to this or that hill by myself while my
dad watched-and I carried my own water,
ammo and gun. I was slowly coming into
my own, but somewhere on an old logging
road my passage into becoming a hunter
was acknowledged.
As we started down the road, I matched
his step. My boot print fit his. I could see in
front of me, his pack neatly and efficiently
packed on his back. He led and I followed.

Photo: Author

H

e being  feet tall and me all of
 foot , I remember striding
just so I could match every
boot print while following
him on the trail. My boot
print filled only a small portion of his. It
turned into more of a game than a hike. I
wanted to be like one of them, a true hunter.
My dad and two older brothers seemed to
have some secret knowledge of the outdoors that I only hoped to understand. They
knew every crook and cranny in our favorite
hunting spots, they knew where the animals
usually appeared and they knew how to
pack their packs. I so longingly wanted to
be like them. I had my own hunting pack-
a simple backpack full of all my necessities:
flashlight, toilet paper, trail mix, pretzels, a
knife and some candy. Somehow my packing jobs always concentrated more on my
stomach than survival and my dad always
carried the heavy stuff: my water, ammo
and gun. I was always the last on every trail,
following and admiring, but always first to
shoot. I was the baby of the pack.
As years passed, our hunting party
started thinning. My grandpa had to retire
from hunting because of his health and
my oldest brother was concentrating on
his career. Still, the rest of us went out.
We gained some stragglers every once in a
while, but the family always held together.
Being the only girl most of the time, I
was always in good care. I always hiked
with Dad to this ridge or that ridge, or
he guided me through the stalk. I was
never far behind him. And the one time
I did go by myself, I got lost. Go figure.
My brother was by himself most of the
time; Dad had deemed him old and wise
enough to fend for himself. When Dad
had to work, my brother would take
me. He, like my dad, would lead me and
guide me to what we were hunting. Of

Then he stopped; he told me that it was time
for me to walk beside him. I can't express
in words the feelings I felt. I was no longer
being guided, I was hunting. He was always
my dad, but now he is my hunting buddy. I
had watched my brothers grow into hunters, but now it was my turn. I had grown
up in the woods and had finally made my
way into my own. That day, I grew up. That
day, I took my place in the scheme of things.
I no longer follow, I no longer try to fill
the boots of my dad. I walk beside my dad
but I blaze my own trail. ah
Do you have an exciting, unusual or
humorous hunting experience to share?
Send your story (800 words or less) to
americanhunter@nrahq.org or to American
Hunter, Dept. MH, 11250 Waples Mill Road,
Fairfax, VA. 22030-9400. Please include your
NRA ID number. Good quality photos are
welcome. Make sure you have permission to
use the material. Authors will not be paid, and
manuscripts and photos will not be returned. All
material becomes the property of the NRA.

American Hunter (ISSN 0092-1068) is published monthly by the National Rifle Association of America, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400; 703-267-1000 for the benefit of its members. Membership
dues (U.S. and possessions) $35 a year, $85 for 3 years, $125 for 5 years. $3.75 per year is designated for a magazine subscription. For foreign postage add $5 a year in Canada and $10 elsewhere. Membership
inquiries only 877-672-2000. Copyright 2012, the National Rifle Association of America. All rights reserved except where expressly waived. Periodicals Postage paid at Fairfax, VA, and at additional mailing offices.
POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to the American Hunter, c/o National Rifle Association, P.O. Box 420648, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0648.

  R

 R .


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American Hunter - December 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - December 2012

American Hunter - December 2012 - 1
American Hunter - December 2012 - 2
American Hunter - December 2012 - 3
American Hunter - December 2012 - 4
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