Hunting is a new experience for me, one that I found very enjoyable, interesting, and fun. Very few times have I woken up at four o’clock in the morning to do an activity. I can only think of two, maybe three, off the top of my head – traveling to a GroupWorkcamps Mission Trip in Keansburg, New Jersey stopping in Philadelphia for a night, waking up to go to the Raleigh MEPS facility, and possibly traveling to an Appalachian Service Project (or ASP) mission in West Virginia.
I could not sleep after getting in bed around ten thirty the night before; I was quite nervous and excited about the day to come. Finally around one thirty, I fell asleep, only to be awoken a few hours later, scared to death when my uncle We – my uncle, cousin, and I – had an hour and a half drive to the hunting grounds, hitting the road around four fifty in the morning. A long day it would be.
I dozed on the way, not really getting much sleep due to the bumpiness of Oklahoma highways. Around six or six thirty, wee stopped at a local Midwest quasi-fast food restaurant called Braum’s Ice Cream. Back in North Carolina, where I moved from, we did not have Braum’s Ice Cream, and probably the closest restaurant we had to it, was Dairy Queen. I chose a safe order – chicken strips – that is very hard to screw up.
I’d say we got to the hunting grounds around seven in the morning, and started shooting around seven fifteen. Because I do not have an Oklahoma hunting license, I could not shoot at the doves or pigeons. So instead, I took photos of the hunting party.
Towards the end of the hunting, my uncle let me fire his rifle, just to get some practice. I had shot a rifle a few other times, when I participated for a short period of time in JROTC marksmanship with Cary High’s NJROTC Unit. My uncle’s rifle was nothing like the marksmanship one. His rifle had quite a bit of recoil, something I had expected but it still came as a shock. I’ve heard that the recoil hurts some of the first times a person shoots a rifle, but I did not feel any pain or soreness from it.
I enjoyed the feel of the gun, and the recoil. The anticipation of the shot as I aimed for a piece of straw sticking up from the ground exhilarated me. I’m looking forward to the next time I get to hold and fire a gun.
I’ve always been ok with blood and gore, but cleaning and gutting the doves and pigeons were too much. I watched the cleaning and gutting, even though my stomach began to feel uneasy. If I am going to hunt more, I’d have to get used to it.
I enjoyed hunting, and I thought it fun. Now I just have to get my hunting license, go through training, and possibly buy my own rifle.