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My First Hunt

By Nicolas J Marquez

My story starts back in April of 2016. This is when I decided to take the hunters safety course in Dillon, MT. Even though it was a long and tough process, I ended up passing my written test and field test. As soon as I received my certification I knew that this hunting season was going to be one that I will never forget. Even though I am 11 years old, my dad, Brad Marquez, still had to have me as an apprentice hunter. I could tell that he was also excited for my first hunt.


The morning of November 6th, 2016 my dad and I woke up bright and early at 5:00 AM. As my dad was getting his coffee and my hot chocolate ready, I was in charge of loading the truck with our hunting packs, binoculars, spotting scopes and rifles, I felt excited about a good day of hunting. We left the house to go pick up my grandpa (Gene Marquez) who knew all the good hunting spots around Dillon. We arrived out on Deer Creek Road, also known as Elk Canyon outside of Dillon at around 6:30 AM. We decided to scout around for about an hour to see if we could find any deer moving around.

About 2 hours later we didn’t see anything moving in the higher parts of the mountains, so we started making our way down into the sage flats. When we stopped for a break my Grandpa spotted 4 deer moving around down below us about 900 yards away. We sat and watched them for 10 minutes while my dad got out the spotting scope and was watching them that way. We were not sure if there were any bucks in the group so we just watched them for a little longer. As the sun started to shine brighter on the flats we were able to see them better. I looked at my dad and he held his hands next to his head to show me that there was a buck.

We loaded up our gear and moved down closer to the deer. We got within 200 yards of the deer. There were 3 does in front and a 3X3 mule deer was chasing the does. I knew at this point it was go time! As I was getting my rifle ready, my dad and grandpa were coaching me to remember to breathe, get in a kneeling position, and where to put the cross hairs on the buck. I followed all of their instructions and I was ready.

The buck was quartered away from me and when I shot, I missed and hit low. The buck started to wander off but, then slowed down.  My dad and I followed him until he stopped one more time. This time he was broadside and only 95 yards away. My dad was telling me to calm down and catch my breath. I got down into the kneeling position again and remembered what I was taught. I squeezed the trigger one more time and hit the deer right behind his shoulder. The deer dropped where he was standing. 

When I saw the deer go down I screamed with excitement! All kinds of emotions ran through me, I felt happy, sad, excited, and scared. I really didn’t know what to do but cry (but in a good way). I looked up at my dad and grandpa and I could see how proud they were of me. This hunting trip was the greatest.