My 9 year old self wakes to the sound of a land cruiser, idling right outside my window. Half asleep I stagger to the wardrobe to get my hunting gear on. I hear dad putting the hunting rifles in the trunk (that makes me nervous but excited). Dad yells “c’mon son, hurry up. Let’s get going.” I leap into the 4×4 and we’re off straight towards Ngaroma rd. I’m filled with 100 emotions rapidly going through my head.
We get to our destination around 6:00am. Straight away we’re searching through the open fields, near bush, hoping to find something. Dad had told us a mate of his shot two hinds up here last week so there must be a stag around. We search around the bush line hoping to find something, but once again nothing.
We decided to go back to a clearing we found on our way up, and had one more look before night fall. I saw some movement right on the bush line. Dad hadn’t seen it. I nudged him and said to look as I pointed towards what looked like a 12 pointer stag. Dad’s eyes went big, he saw it too.
“It’s time for your first stag. Get your rifle lined up quickly but quietly,” Dad said.
Just as I had the stag in my sights, it lifted its massive antlers and turned its head. He had smelt us.
“Quick take the shot Zane! He’s going to bolt!”
I was so nervous that I had started shaking.
“Take a big breath and hold it,” Dad whispered.
I pull the trigger…
The recoil from the 308 was massive and it hurt my shoulder. But when I opened my eyes and looked through the sight, I saw the big animal dropping. This brought tears to my eyes. “Don’t worry son. It was a great shot!” Dad rubbed my head smiling. He was so proud.
I was sad for the animal but I was glad it didn’t die in pain. My dad still talks about that stag. I haven’t got the heart to tell him that I had my eyes shut when I pulled the trigger.
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