In the autumn of 2016, Phil Yoder took his daughter Landrey with him into the forest with one goal in mind: Landrey wanted to kill her first deer.
Landrey and Phil were dressed to hunt: they wore green camouflage-printed clothes and had covered their faces with brown makeup.
It was a beautiful, sunny day when they arrived at their favorite hunting ground. Father and daughter took up position in a “deerstand” and waited patiently for their opportunity.
While they were waiting they got to enjoy the surrounding nature. Landrey took a photo of a majestic eagle flying by, but was less enthusiastic about the big, hairy spider that crawled into the hut with them.
Finally, after a long wait, Landrey got her big chance when a shy deer came into the clearing. Landrey picked up her crossbow, her heart was racing.
She got the deer in her sights and Phil whispered some advice: “You have to shoot exactly under the ribs.”
Then came the big moment and Landrey took the shot. The arrow sank deep into the deer’s upper shoulder and it took off in a panic.
Landrey was excited and slightly in shock. Then she smiled and whispered: “I feel bad, but I feel good.”
Landrey was shaking and it took a while for her to catch her breath. But then the tension faded and she and her father both burst out laughing. Phil made Landrey wait for 30 minutes before going to search for the deer. The waiting was like torture for her, but it paid off. If they had pursued the animal straightaway, it might have run very far in fright. As it turned out, without a direct threat the deer only made it a couple of hundred yards before succumbing to its wound.
Phil and Landrey followed the trail of blood. Phil spotted the deer first lying in the grass but let Landrey find it herself. Her eyes lit up when she finally found it and realized what she had done. It was her first kill and she was proud.
They carried the deer back to the truck and headed home. Landrey couldn’t wait to show it to the rest of her family.
Here is a video of Landrey’s first hunt:
For some people, hunting is a way of life and a tradition that they want to keep alive. They hunt with permits during the official seasons and eat the meat of the animals they kill. Many people nowadays find it difficult to understand these types of traditions, but also don’t think twice about buying meat in a supermarket or butcher shop.
The Yoder family have made their choice and Landrey was obviously happy to take part in their hunting tradition. And it’s pretty clear from this video that her first hunt was a day she’ll never forget.