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I've been planning this moment since I was twelve years old.  You have to be fourteen to go hunting by yourself.  I just turned fourteen and decided to go out on a grand soft Thursday morning.  My eyes opened wide to the sound of my alarm clock.  It is 4:00am and I was all ready anxiously waiting for my mom to leave for work.

My mom finally got ready and took me out to the "one mile".  On the way we saw a four point buck!  I knew it was going to be a good day.

I got my supplies:  a 20 gauge pump, decoys, food, and water from the back of the car.  After saying goodbye to mom, I hit that long trail to paradise.  There was no light except for the dim shine from the factory of John Deere.  I have never walked this trail in the dark, so everything looked totally different.  I heard many small animals scurrying around me, darting into the woods that seemed to never end.

After fighting my way through the broken down trail, I hit the halfway marker.  This meant the trail could only get worse.  On that trail there were several spots that were eroded into the Rock River, and I almost slipped twice.  I finally got to my destination.  The walk was one mile and hard, but in my heart I knew it was worth it.

I took my decoys and set them up just left of the peninsula I was on.  It was finally getting light out so I gathered some branches together and made a blind, just to make sure I didn't stick out too much.  I then heard boat motors as all the other duck hunters were finally heading out.  I was ready.  I sat down in my blind, loaded my gun, and waited for the sun to rise in the east.

When it got light, I saw a couple of Green-winged Teals in the distance as they flew by.  One of the best things about hunting is watching animals while you're hunting.  I sat for hours watching an occasional duck or two fly by, although too far away to shoot.

Then I saw it.  A Drake Mallard heading my way.  With my heart beating strongly, and my excitement level rising, I slowly raised my gun, popped off the safety, and BANG.  I heard a guy closest to me shoot at other ducks and the duck nearest to me turned around and flew off into the vast marsh.  After not seeing anything else, I decided to pack up and go home.

On my way home I was thinking about the great time I had.  Even though I didn't get anything, I still had fun.  I know now that I'm only fourteen and think of all the hundreds of other hunts in my future.  I happily listened to the birds chirping around me as I headed out.

by Tim, Horicon