2020-2021 Youth Writing Contest Special Recognition – Junior Category – Maine (Grades 6–8)
Never Give Up
William Hickey, Age 12, Scarborough, 6th grade
The smell of frying squirrels filled the kitchen. I was now quite glad that my mom was conveniently gone on Christmas Eve errands. But boy would she be upset when she came home to the smell of burnt squirrel and grease all over her kitchen.
The previous day I had shot and skinned a squirrel, which now – together with other previous kill – was turning a nice golden brown, a sign that they were almost done. With my fist bite of squirrel I thought, “Chicken,” and everyone else in my family said the same thing.
I’ve been fishing and hunting for years. I have been fishing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. At age two, I caught my first fish, a brown trout. I was eight when I shot my first animal, a chipmunk. The thing I enjoy most about both hunting and fishing is being in the outdoors in the pursuit of game, enjoying God’s creation.
Last fall I went deer hunting with my dad on my grandfather’s land in Saint George, Maine. On the last day of the hunt, my Dad and I were hunting in one stand while my grandfather was hunting in another stand a quarter-mile away. It was about 3:45 p.m. and we had not seen any deer all day. Suddenly my dad nudged me in the shoulder and pointed to a large doe not 25 yards away. I aimed the crosshairs and “ka-boom!” The gun went off. Now you are probably expecting me to say that it was a clean kill and I nailed my first deer. But no, after searching the woods for about an hour we turned up no deer. I had missed completely!
There are very few things that will put an avid hunter in the dumps, and missing a deer is pretty high up there. It was hard for me because I had not just missed a deer, I had missed my first deer. A few days went by and I realized that this wasn’t the last chance I would have to shoot a deer, and besides – turkey season is just around the corner.
Just because you mess it up once, doesn’t mean you should give up. Never give up the hunt.