A not-so-elusive first kill | CraigDailyPress.com

A not-so-elusive first kill

Twelve-year-old gets first hunting license and shoots first deer, chalks it up to luck

John Vandelinder

— As a wet-behind-the-ears hunter at the ripe old age of 8, Garrett Stewart would tag along with his family in an attempt to prepare for the opportunity to earn his first kill.

There was something about hunting that played with Garrett’s mind.

Being too young, he could track the animals, but he couldn’t shoot them. He could be a part of the hunting party, but he couldn’t celebrate his own accomplishments.

So, he watched everyone else around him take down a prized buck, but he couldn’t get one of his own.

Now, the smallest member of the Stewart clan is 12, and he’s making up for lost time.

During the second rifle season, on a typical hunter’s Friday with a full moon on the horizon, in the haze of a sunset, Garrett got a glimpse.

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A glimpse of antlers rising from behind a hill.

A glimpse of brown fur facing him.

A glimpse of his first kill.

“I was really nervous at first,” he said. “It’s harder to find them when it’s a full moon.”

Garrett steadied his .270 rifle, took a deep breath and fired.

“He dropped right away,” the now-experienced hunter said. “One shot, one kill.”

His first time.

Todd Stewart – Garrett’s older brother – has been responsible for the wall mounting of several deer and elk, becoming somewhat of an object of envy for Garrett. But, he’s got his big brother beat on one thing – speed.

“Todd didn’t have one (a kill) his first two years,” Garrett giggled. “I got one already, and I just got my license a few weeks ago. There’s no competition, but I got it first.”

Garret’s bragging rights aren’t just limited to his house.

At his school, many of his friends claim they have killed their fair share of prized game, but Garrett has yet to see proof.

Now, Garrett has the proof to back up his own claim. A photo shows him with a hefty 3-point mule deer buck. His grin shows all the years of hard work, even though there were only four of them. The confidence in his voice grows while he tells what surely will be his most frequent tale for years to come.

But, yet, Garrett knows how fortunate he was to kill the soon-to-be-mounted buck.

He admits it takes that little bit of something extra.

“Sometimes you get lucky,” he laughed. “Sometimes you don’t.”

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com