New Mexico Hunting Trip

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Sikfrit, 16, wrote an inspiring and detailed story about the positive impact of his first hunting trip. Thanks to all the wonderful people who participated in his deer hunt, donated their property, and the USSA donors whose financial support continues to make wishes come true. God bless!

“This trip was the highlight of my year! I’ve never thought of doing this in my life, but now I would do this again if I had another chance. During my car ride to where we were going to hunt, I had the privilege to meet John’s dad at Lordsburg and learned how to handle and shoot a gun. He’s very hospitable and has a very interesting family history of hunting. Continuing our way there, my dad and I saw many beautiful sights around New Mexico. I couldn’t believe how wonderful nature was compared to the places I’d been to before.

We were pretty exhausted when we reached our hotel room, but I was so excited the morning of our first hunt. We followed two of the game and fish wardens, Curtis and Logan, into the private land since John couldn’t escort us, and I couldn’t tell you how shocked I was at the size of the fields. It took us an entire hour of us driving through winding dirt roads to stop at a small side and switch to a UTV to get us to the hunting grounds.

The wardens were driving us around to look for a deer to hunt. We stopped somewhere, and I was very curious about how they were looking at what seemed to be empty lands with their binoculars. They somehow spotted two of them at the side of a mountain that looked like it was over 500 yards away from us! My dad said he was amazed that their eyes were trained to see something small.

We started to make our trek to the spotted location, and it was one of the most exhausting things I had to do on this trip. The bulky clothes and rocky terrain, along with the sun heating the insides of my jacket, made me feel out of breath as I followed behind. By the time we reached the top, we had a quick rest, and I could look at the view below. I could see almost every slope and dip along the mountains nearby, making the UTV look like a shiny pebble.

We eventually got closer to the bucks and had to sneak up on them, so we didn’t spook them away. Dad had to stay behind because he was worried he might scare them away. They ran to another part of the mountain, and we saw them perfectly. They prepped the gun on a rest and had me aim toward the buck in the front. They both were moving slowly, so I had to follow them with my scope. Suddenly, one of them used a cow call and, to my surprise, stopped them and made them look around. I took my shot from 350 yards in that split second and took him down right there.

I was told that most people feel “buck fever,” which means they feel extremely excited when seeing a deer while hunting, but I didn’t feel any of that during that whole experience. I felt proud of myself for being able to get a clean kill and how I have bragging rights with my relatives for the holidays now. We took a bunch of pictures of the deer and myself before harvesting it for its meat and antlers. I brought down his head while my dad and one of the officers brought the meat.

That night, my dad and I went to Cattlebarren to have a celebratory dinner before returning to the hotel. This experience will stick with me for the rest of my life, and I am so grateful that John gave me this opportunity to hunt this weekend. I can’t wait to figure out what deer taste like and bring home my first set of antlers for my family.”