Gettin' That First Deer


It was finally here, the first day of buck season in 1984. My anticipation didn’t allow for a wink of sleep the night before because it would be my first day in the woods as a hunter. It was still dark as I prepared myself and equipment carefully to set out on my venture. I made my way to a tree stump watching a creek bottom. It was just after daylight when I looked across at the opposite hillside and saw it standing.

My heart started pounding and my hands started shaking; it was a buck! I looked over and over again through my scope and without a doubt it had antlers! Every hunter knows how hard it is to calm yourself down in that moment, but I did just as I was taught. I took a deep breath, exhaled slowly and BOOM!

My 30.06-760 Game Master discharged; I don’t remember the recoil or the sound, and I highly doubt I could have heard anything with the sound of my heart beating in my ears. I was so excited I nearly jumped out of my skin! Then suddenly, my dad touched my shoulder and asked, “did you get him?” Within seconds my Uncle called on the walkie talkie asking, “who took a shot?” I’m pretty sure I screamed, “I did!” loud enough that everyone on the mountain heard me.

When my fellow hunters in the group found out it was me, they all hurried on their way to get to us and when they did, I was instantly bombarded with questions.

“How big was it?”

“Which way did it go?”

“How many points?”

“Was it a good shot?”

None of which I had answers to. All I knew was that it was a buck and it was there before I made that shot, but not after.

My uncle instructed me to sit down where I was when I shot and direct them to the last place I saw it. I did just that and the guys walked up the hill farther and farther. At that point, my confidence in my accuracy got lower and lower. I pointed them in the direction where I thought it was, but when they got there they yelled over and said, “there is no blood, no hair and no sign of the deer.”

They asked if I was sure they were in the right place and I screamed, “YES, it was right there!” My uncle said to come over and show them, I literally ran up the hill to where they were standing. When I got there they said to look for the spot I last saw it. I responded, “it was right by that log behind yinz guys!” I walked over to the down tree and there he was, my buck! I jumped and screamed, “I got it!”

My Uncle busted out laughing when he saw my excitement, he gave me a hug and said, “Good job. I am proud of you.” The rest of the guys including my Dad followed suit with hugs and congratulations. It was no monster buck; it was a four-point, but it was my first buck! It’s the one deer that can put me back in that moment every time I think about it. I have harvested plenty of deer since that day but that little buck is and always will be the most special to me.

I have talked with many hunters over the years, from trophy hunters to meat hunters just out to fill their freezer. The cherished memory of your first deer is a special one, buck or doe, big or small, regardless of age or gender. So if you happened to have shot your first deer, congratulations! For those that haven’t gotten that celebrated shot yet, keep at it and be patient, it is worth the wait. To all you hunters out there in Yinzer Nation: now that you have heard about my first deer, we would like to hear about yours.

If you would like to share your story please send it to, so we can share it with your fellow hunters. Even if it is not hunting, everyone should get out and enjoy the simple pleasures that the outdoors has to offer!


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