In my usual wanderings around the Web, I came across this article by Wisconsin eighth grader Kimmy Czekus, on the site She’s been studying “deer hunter behavior” at the Rhinelander Environmental Stewardship Academy, and says she’s thinking about becoming a hunter. Her article launches into all the reasons she’s deciding to give the sport a try.

 While she's still, "giving serious thought" to taking the life of a deer, she reasons that because she already shoots a recurve bow, enjoys nature, and has begun to understand her state's outdoors tradition, hunting might be the next logical step. Toward the end of her essay, Czekus promises that, "If I hunted in the future, I would use a bow and really cherish the animal when it's killed. I would never do anything to disrespect the spirit of the deer; I will cherish it and the food it will provide my family."

 I was touched by such serious consideration on the part of a young non-hunter from a non-hunting family. It reminded me of my early thoughts when I first decided to start hunting in 2003. Just ask David E. Petzal, my shooting instructor and de facto guidance counselor on the topic of, "killing Bambi," as he put it. As he well knows, I put a lot of thought into that first hunt, weighing my reasons for hunting against the taking of a life. 

Do you remember your thoughts before your first hunt? For some who were born into the tradition, hunting was likely a foregone conclusion. But for others, who entered the sport from the outside, maybe the decision was a little less obvious. Either way, I hope each of you had a David E. Petzal of your own as a guide. I hope Czekus does as well — she sounds like a good kid to have on our team. -K.H.