Korman wins essay contest

This article submitted on 2/9/00.

Eric Korman, a junior at Paynesville Area High School, recently won the prose division in a youth writing contest sponsored by the weekly publication, Outdoor News. He won $100 for his story, "A Deer Hunting Experience."

Korman originally wrote the story for an assignment in his Narrative and Descriptive Writing class at PAHS. Korman submitted the story after he heard about the contest in Outdoor News, which is published for the midwest in New Hope, Minn.

At PAHS, Korman participates in cross country and track, and plays the trombone in band and jazz band.

His winning story appeared in Outdoor News on Dec. 24, 1999.

After years of hearing exciting stories of past deer hunts from my family, I couldn't believe that I was finally going deer hunting for the first time. Thoughts of a great buck, which I had bragged to my friends I would harvest, filled my head as I stepped out into the woods.

The crisp, cold air stung my face like a snow wash, and the rapidly fading stars twinkled as I started towards my stand. It was barely light enough for me to make out the features of the ground. As not to alert any deer of my presence, I silently tiptoed along the path. Each slow step was pure agony, and I tingled with the thoughts of what the morning would bring.

After what seemed like an eternity, I stopped at the threshold of the tree stand that climbed the great oak before me. I silently slid my gun off my shoulder and clasped the cold steel as I slowly scanned the ever-brightening forest floor. My eyes strained for even the slightest movement of a deer. After finally assuring myself that there weren't any deer in the vicinity, I turned around, and step by step climbed into my weathered deer stand. As I reached the top, I eased onto my seat on top of a frost-covered limb, and started to count down the minutes until shooting time.

A half an hour had passed with the only visitor being a particularly loud pileated woodpecker, when I heard a distant twig break under the weight of an unknown animal.

Immediately my body stiffened, and I held my breath. I didn't move a muscle as my ears waited for the quietest of sounds. For a minute, nothing in the forest blinked until a faint crunching of leaves drifted its way to my ears from the very source of the first noise.

I slowly and smoothly rotated my whole body towards the sound of the disturbance. My mind was racing with the thought of the majestic white-tail buck creeping towards my stand oblivious of my presence. In my mind I could practically count the points of his large bone-white antlers as he meandered through the woods. I mentally envi-sioned myself raising my gun towards the buck, when a distant gunshot brought me out of my daydream and back into reality.

The sounds of walking were closer than before, and they were getting nearer to me with every slow methodical step the great animal took. I brought my gun up to my shoulder so that the deer would not see my movements when it finally stepped into view.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity, my eyes caught a glimpse of brown fur between the dense dogwood before it disappeared again behind a small hill. Its path would bring it right past my stand, and I began to mentally prepare for the shot.

The excitement in my body was so intense that my hands shook uncontrollably, and my mind was a total blank. My heart was throbbing like an alarm clock in my head, and I was sure that my blood vessels would explode like an over-filled tire. The deer of a lifetime was just behind the small hill in front of me, and there was no way he could escape. Instead of making sure every-thing was right, I could only think of how the antlers would look on my wall.

Closer and closer the trophy inched towards the clearing directly in front of my stand. Then, as the trophy hopped out into the clearing, my heart sank like a rock. Then, I had to laugh at myself, because there wasn't a gigantic white-tailed buck standing before me. There was only a startled squirrel staring up at the strange blaze orange beast perched in his tree.

The squirrel chirped twice at me angrily before retreating back into the woods. And as the squirrel disappeared, I was forever hooked on the sport of deer hunting. Just a little squirrel, not a trophy buck, had gotten my blood pumping like never before, and the experience made me realize how humbling hunting can be.

It didn't really matter who got the biggest or most deer; what mattered most was the hunting stories on Friday night, the proud pictures of a hard-earned trophy, opening morning excitement, and the way deer hunting, if only for a weekend, can bring distant family members together.

Return to Archives