His First Antelope
The girls decided to stay in the truck. Hand in hand we walked up the shallow ridge going over our game plan. We needed to be quiet. It was important to follow directions. Plugging your ears was ok. Being sneaky was our goal.
Peeking over the ridge we spotted them, right where we anticipated they would feed to. Caught in the open we backtracked to take a better angle. Putting a small rock between us and the goats we stalked through the sage. I was in the lead and my three year old was mere footsteps behind.
The goats knew something was amiss but they couldn’t quite pin point it. The buck and doe worked out of view. But the two fawns couldn’t resist coming back to investigate. As we crouched behind a jagged piece of granite we both watched with intrigue.
Lifting my gun and waiting for a shot, I fielded repeated questions.
“Did you shoot yet?”
“Which one are you aiming at?”
“The grass is pokey”.
Looking at the fawn through my scope I had a moment of indecision. Part of me felt bad about shooting a fawn, they are also small and will do little to fill the freezer. But on the other side of the ledger, it was my son’s first real stalk and we had not killed a big game animal together.
All other aspects of the experience could not have gone more perfectly, I chose to bring it full circle as I squeezed the trigger. Together we watched the fawn drop and kick a couple of times. Walking toward the body my son was silent. When he spoke it was with a degree of enthusiasm and apprehension that made me proud. He grasped the gravity of the moment.
We touched the warm sides of the fawn, examined his eyes, felt each hoof. The size of the animal made little difference. The fawn is also as tender as they come and we have been grateful for every bite.