Memories from the woods: RHS students claim the sport

November usually means that the leaves are changing colors, fall is upon us, and it’s now time for some pumpkin pie. But for some, it means early morning rises and hiding within the trees. The main portion of the 2021 deer season starts on November 13 and goes until November 23. Junior Hannah Hoss has been hunting since she was six, the legal starting age.

“The first time I went was probably squirrel hunting and I killed one. I used my grandfather’s old squirrel gun,” said Hoss.

Hoss’s favorite hunting story happened after only two years of hunting.

“[My favorite story was] probably when I killed my first deer,” said Hoss. “So I was about in third grade. I was in the hunting blind with my dad, and a nine-point came across the blind. I took a shot at it. It jumped in the air, clicked its heels and dug its neck down into the ground.”

Poaching is hunting without legal permission from whoever controls the land and/or baiting deer with corn. There is also only a certain amount of deer a person can tag before it becomes illegal. However, poaching isn’t always on purpose.

“It can happen by accident during turkey season, with [turkey shot], the balls will scatter,” said Hoss. “And when there’s a big flock of turkey, [the balls] can easily get multiple, but it’s illegal. So don’t do it, obviously.”

Vivian Laprise is a senior who has been hunting since she was eight years old.

“I went with my step dad and my mom. We were shooting deer. I shot it, but I didn’t find it. We followed his blood trail for like 45 minutes. And then I assume the coyotes got it because I never found it. Very sad,” said Laprise.

Even though this was the first deer that Laprise shot, she doesn’t count it as her “first deer”.

“My next one, which was my second deer, but technically my first deer, was a button book,” said Laprise. “He was almost a deer with antlers, but they haven’t broken the skin yet. They were just little buttons.”

When going out to hunt, finding a good spot and time is crucial.

“If you want the good ones, you gotta go in the beginning of the season because they’re really smart and they figure out [when the hunters come], so by the end of the season they won’t be there. And the time of day is right before dark, so go late in the afternoon. That’s when they come out,” said Laprise. “I did push someone else out of my spot because they were right on the other side of the fence where I was and it’s my land”

The youngest age to start hunting alone in Missouri is ten years old, after the children take a safety hunters course. However, some people, like Laprise, enjoy hunting with other people.

“I get lonely, if I don’t. I’ll fall asleep. I just eat and read books. My mom [goes with me], and so does her boyfriend because he’s pretty cool. He sees them and then lets me shoot them,” said Laprise.

The best memory of hunting Laprise has is when she got that first deer.

“When I got my first deer, I shot him, and I was leaning,” said Laprise. “I was on the opposite side of the stand from where he was. So I had to lean between the tree and over my mom’s shoulder in like the two seater Mittelstand, and whenever I did hit him, he jumped over a hay bale and just fell. Didn’t even try running. Just jumped over, [hit the] haybale, boom.”