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Student voices: Kassie bags a deer, at long last

Last Saturday was the Minnesota deer hunting opener and like usual, my dad and I were out at the break of dawn waiting for a deer.

I have been hunting for six years now, and for the first five, I never saw a single deer. It was discouraging coming back every year knowing I would just be sitting in the cold for nine hours for nothing. Every year I get a little bit hopeful the outcome will be.

This year, I sat in a different deer stand all by myself. At about 9 a.m. I saw a doe way off in the distance through the trees. It was too far away for me to have a chance and I was hoping it would come back, so I didn’t shoot. I was happy already just because I saw a deer.

It started to get very cold and my two long sleeve shirts, three sweatshirts, hunting jacket, four pairs of pants and bibs weren’t cutting it. I wrapped myself in blankets and waited until lunch to go to the “shack” and eat.

After lunch I made the long trek back to my deer stand and climbed the ladder to sit. Usually the prime time when everyone is getting a deer is right in the morning and in the late afternoon. It was about 2 p.m. when I heard one gunshot in front of me. I knew something had to be headed my way. All of a sudden one, two, three deer came running full blast out of the woods diagonal from me. I was actually laughing to myself because I knew I had no prayer of hitting one. One, two, three shots I fired and not one of them hit one of the sprinting deer. I lost hope to see another but hey, that was four deer more than I saw in five years combined.

I was getting antsy at about 5 p.m. when my dad was meeting me at my stand. I had no idea what time it was because my phone died but I noticed it was getting dark very fast. I already had all my stuff on the ground, I had my blankets all packed up and I was standing around on my stand waiting for him to show up. I was moving around quite a bit trying to warm up. I sat down again and looked to my left. To my surprise there was a deer just minding its own business. I slowly grabbed my gun, astonished the deer didn’t hear or see me yet.

I aimed, very slowly and calmly, and I pulled the trigger, the gun went off and I watched as everything went into slow motion. The deer wiggled and went straight to the ground. It only took one shot and it was down. I was so surprised and overwhelmed, I yelled “WOO HOO.” I stood there for a minute, still waiting for my dad to come. I didn’t know what to do. Camp was a five-minute walk away and it was getting darker by the second. I decided to get down from my stand to take a look.

When I got to the bottom I saw my Dad coming and yelled, “DAD GUESS WHAT! I SHOT A DEER. I REALLY SHOT ONE.” I sounded like a little kid but I was just so excited.

It was a buck. I held the flashlight while he dug deep into that deer to get all the organs out. Then we tagged the deer and brought it back to camp. The meat stayed cold enough outside that we didn’t have to butcher it right away. Everyone was impressed with my eight-point buck, even myself. They were surprised to see me, the girl who hadn’t seen a deer for five years straight, actually shoot a deer. I’m not going to lie, I was very surprised myself.

I know some people may hate to read this. They probably stopped reading after the first sentence, but I believe in hunting and the whole meaning behind it. We are meat eaters, just like our ancestors and just like many other animals we share the planet with. By going deer hunting, the citizens of Minnesota are keeping the population steady. If nobody hunted, deer would keep repopulating until there were too many for the amount of food they have to eat. Disease would spread, there would be starvation and soon there would be no deer.

I am proud to be a hunter and plan on continuing the tradition for many years to come with my dad and his relatives.