My First Hunt
by Aidan Torres, 11
My first hunt was on November 20, 2012— the day before my birthday. I remember sitting at the table the day before we left. We had been going to the range a lot lately, and I had been shooting at a photograph of a pig with my pellet gun in the backyard. Then my dad told me that we were going hunting the next day for a birthday present. I was so excited! I had been wanting to go shoot something for a really long time. The ranch we were going to was Storm Ranch, near Wimberly, Texas. We had checked the place out before, supposedly just to stay there for a night or two. Well, we were staying there for a night or two, alright.
We arrived the first night on Nov. 19. We told Josh that we had got there and asked him when we would be going hunting. He said we could go that same night if we wanted to, and you bet we did.
At that point, we were hunting pigs only. Deer were too expensive.
So we went to the stand, which was about 80 yards from the feeder, and sat there for a while. We saw no pigs, but after a while, we noticed three whitetail does and a little six-point. Even though we couldn’t shoot them, we enjoyed watching the deer.
The next morning, we got up at 5:00 a.m. and got ready. The guide came to our cabin to pick us up and drove us to a different stand.
Before it was even light enough to see animals, we watched shooting stars launching themselves across the sky. Those memories still stick out in my mental memory-book. Even if I hadn’t had the privilege to shoot anything, this would still have been one of the best trips of my life. I mean, that’s what we hunt for, right? Not to shoot something, to enjoy nature. And the shooting is a big part of that, but not all by any stretch.
Once it was light, we saw a pretty big herd of whitetails, mostly does, 300-400 yards off. We also saw a little buttonbuck that was a lot closer to us than the herd, but again, no pigs.
We asked Josh if that had been our last chance, and he said we could have another go that evening. He came to our cabin to bring us some stuff, and the subject of my birthday came up. He said to me:
“Alright, here’s your birthday present from me: you can go ahead and shoot a whitetail doe for the same price as a pig.” He wanted the pigs off the ranch, so a pig was free. This was a $200 discount on a doe!
So we went out that evening to the same stand we were in on the first night. It was a box blind. If something came out, I would have to stand up, being too short.
Right about 5:30, I whispered hard in my dad’s ear:
A doe stepped out of the treeline, about 200 yards off. I was really nervous. When she passed behind a clump of trees, I stood up. My body was bursting with adrenaline. My knees felt like they would give way any second, and when I think about it today, I can’t possibly imagine how I kept the gun steady. The deer moved into the open, only 100 yards away by now. She was about even with the stand. I would’ve shot her, but she was in grass that was too high for me to tell where her shoulder was. Then she turned and walked away from us. I got really agitated, but my dad calmed me down, assuring me that everything was okay, that I could still get her. Well, he was right, as he always is. She was out of the tall grass when she stopped and turned broadside.
Somehow, somehow, I kept the crosshairs on the doe’s shoulder. I pulled the trigger. With an almighty KABOOM, the deer fell. She was on the ground before the echoes were gone. The .243 Win. had done its job. I had taken my first deer. And I would never forget that evening.
If you are in the area of Wimberly and want to give this ranch a try, the website address is stormranchhunting.com. Like I’ve already mentioned, the ranch owner Josh Storm is really nice and will do his best to make your stay and hunt the best it can be. The cabin you will be in has, I think, three fireplaces in it, and it’s a really rustic-looking place, but it’s super comfortable. You will enjoy your trip whether you shoot anything or not.