You hear all the time about the decline in young hunter numbers these days, that there aren't enough juniors replacing us oldsters as there used to be. It's tempting to let such statistics depress us, but sometimes I wonder; maybe it isn't always about sheer numbers, but quality. Perhaps if the folks who replace us are more passionate, articulate and committed than we are, then hunting's future might not be so bleak...
As evidence, I offer the following short essay, submitted by young hunter McCall Casey from Dallas, Texas. You'll also find a photo of McCall posing with his grandfather when he was eight. Clearly his love of hunting has continued to grow. Please give it a read and let me know your thoughts.
A Day On The Ranch
by McCall Casey, age 13.
I wake up at five in the morning and the darkness covers the ranch like a cold blanket. The stars gleam with a feeling of company in this darkness.
I hurry my pace to get out of bed. I get my gun, bullets, and binoculars, that is all I need. I don’t need scent lock, no bugle, and no rattling horns. I step out the door with a feeling of satisfaction. The mist tickles my face. I have to hurry up before the sun comes up.
I arrive at my blind as the sun arrives over the horizon. I settle in as the mist disappears. It has been an hour and the doe and fawn roam but there is still time for that one buck to come.
Wait!! Something in the shadows catches my eye. I lift my binoculars and my heart skips a beat and I stare with my mouth dropped as a monster buck comes rocking in. He comes in with his old torn, tattered, and tough skin. He knows he is the boss and all the deer get out of his way because they and I know he’ll make you get out of his way.
I suddenly snap out of my awe. My heart feels like it went into overdrive. My hands start to shake, voice quivering, and adrenalin passing through my veins. I take my gun and take aim. I lay the crosshairs on his shoulder.
I go through a check list in my head; bullet in chamber...check, safety off...check, don’t jerk the trigger but pull slowly...ok. The buck gives a perfect shot. Aim, aim, aim...BANG!
A perfect shot the deer leaps for its life and jolts running. I watch with my binoculars. The deer gets to the edge of the field. It tugs, it trips, and it tugs on. With its last moment of being king; he goes down. Peace.
He lays at the end of the field in peace, peace, peace.
I score him at the cabin that night. In my own awe he scored 350 B&C.
For my whole life I’ll remember this very second, this very hour, this very day on the ranch._