A story that transcends generations

Here’s my special letter to my great-grandpa.

Dear Grandpa-great,

I know you were smiling down from above when I shot my first deer this morning with that old 12-gauge shotgun you gave Dad. I am 11 years old. Dad told me how excited he was when he shot his first deer with that gun in 1977. It was one of the highlights of his life!

It was pitch-black at 6 a.m. when Dad and I climbed into the deer stand on the first day of hunting season this morning. We could barely see. Early morning stillness totally engulfed us. I bemoaned the fact that we only found three deer slugs.

Time to think

I soon thought about all the stories Dad had told me about hunting with Grandpa Abney. I also thought about how you would be pleased at how well we’ve taken care of the gun. I thought about all the safety precautions and respect for firearms that had been passed down with it.

Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted. Two bucks were fighting in the distance. I watched as they rammed their heads together. What an experience!

Yet after several hours of waiting quietly, it was time to eat lunch. Before we went home, I suggested that we walk down the fencerow. Soon Dad saw one of the bucks we’d seen earlier. He told me to lie down. Then the smaller buck jumped out beside us. Dad turned and shot, but missed. There went one of our three shells!

The big buck was still standing about 125 yards away. I crawled on my belly, then hid behind a clump of trees. The buck instinctively looked my way, but couldn’t figure out what I was.

The shot

I waited until he turned in front of me. Realizing I would only get one shot, I carefully aimed and pulled the trigger. I hit the buck hard in his back legs. He dropped instantly.

I yelled to Dad, “I got one.” The big buck wasn’t dead. After 15 minutes, he started to get up. Dad fired a shot, hitting him in the legs. Now we had a wounded trophy deer and no more slugs.

Recording the event

A neighbor, Amy O’Conner, called Dad’s cell phone. He told her I shot a buck, but we were out of shells. She came immediately with a box of 12-gauge shells and her camera. Soon I finished the job.

When my mom, Sherry, came, she wanted to take more pictures. But she wanted the woods in the background. So we struggled to get the heavy deer over next to the woods.

Another surprise

When we reached the trees, we unexpectedly scared up two more deer. It was a doe and a buck that made mine look like a baby. There was my dad within ideal shooting range of the biggest deer I’ve ever seen, carrying my unloaded shotgun.

I called my Pappy-Scott, Nana-Sue, Pappy-John Fabina and Ginga-Sue Fabina.

Then I crawled into bed at 6 p.m. My last thought was, “Thank you Grandpa-Great and Dad for my shotgun. I will remember this day the rest of my life.”

Doug lives near Bargersville. His grandmother Abney helped him write this account.

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PROUD MOMENT: Doug Abney and his father, also Doug, show off Doug’s first deer.

This article published in the March, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.