Bucks and Full Bellies

Paige Williamson details her most memorable Thanksgiving memory.

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Paige pictured with her first ever buck!

Lydia Harper , Co-Editor

“For the past few Thanksgivings, to celebrate, my family and I have gone up to our hunting cabin in Free Soil, Michigan where we own just about eighty acres of land and have a tiny cabin. It is always a relaxing time away from our home and has become a tradition since 2016 when we bought the cabin. My favorite memory of Thanksgiving was definitely shooting my first buck! It was such an exciting day for me when I was younger and it still makes me smile to this day when I think about it. 

It was the day after Thanksgiving and we already had our dinner which was also a highlight of the weekend. We had a simple dinner with just my close family which included my mom, dad, my brother Tyler and me. At our small dining room table and all we had was venison (deer meat), mashed potatoes, and stuffing but it was a great meal!  

We had been hunting for a few fun days prior because we went up right after I got out of school before the break. It was later in the evening around 5:45 pm, making it pretty hard to see things in the distance because it was super dark out and there wasn’t much natural lighting but a buck came into the clearing, right where I needed it in order to shoot it. It was the only deer that my mom and I had seen that night while we were out; though it didn’t have a huge spread of antlers like most bucks, I was still super excited and ecstatic and wanted it to be my very first buck that I was able to hunt. 

The buck never spooked or ran away, which meant my mom and me were super quiet and calm while getting the gun prepared in the distance. My body was shaking like crazy and my nerves were everywhere but I was able to settle myself down and control it enough to get a shot off in time. I shot the buck quickly and right after it went crashing through a bunch of trees and onto the forest floor. We tracked it quickly for about ten yards from where I shot it, following the trail it had left behind. I ended up shooting it right through its lungs which made the buck go down so quickly. I would definitely go back and tell myself and new hunters to stick with it no matter what because deer will come back at the most random of times.

My family was super happy, proud, and impressed with me that day when they saw me hauling in a buck for the first time. My dad and uncle were especially impressed which made the weekend as well as break all the better and satisfying. It’s definitely my most memorable Thanksgiving memory and always will be!”