2014 Creative Writing Competition Winners

The students listed below are the 2014 winners. Click each name to jump to that student.

High school boy: Cody Allen
High school girl: Savannah Elliott
Junior high boy: Jett Smith
Junior high girl:  Heidi Lewton



 


High School Boy
Student Name: Cody Allen
Bixby
Grade: 12
Age: 17

Hunting sharing the heritage; the Bow Hunt

It all started when I was two years old sitting in a deer stand. My dad was still here then and I would get to go with him. When he left I thought I may never get to hunt again. I am so lucky to have two older brothers who totally didn’t let that happen. When I was eight I got to feel the thrill of looking down the barrel of my gun and shooting my first buck. The excitement of that moment will stay with me for my whole life. But my brother told me just wait till you shoot one with a bow.

My brothers are both bow hunters and tried to explain to me why hunting with a bow is so different. The school I attend has no classes that have anything to do with archery so I just thought I would stick with my gun. Again I was wrong. My brother bought a new bow so he could give me his old one. That’s when I really learned about hunting. Every day outside we went, he purchased a target and he spent hours teaching me how to shoot. Then he did something even more amazing he went out to his own deer lease put a stand up and started teaching me about scouting. We went scouting for days he taught me to look for rubs and scrapes. He put up trail cameras and we began graphing times and we even named the deer on the camera so we would be able to identify each deer and their patterns. He explained that Archery hunting took more skill and planning than rifle hunting.

            Part of what he taught me was to pick how we wanted our deer population to be. Not to plan to just shoot, but save the smaller bucks so they could grow bigger each year. My brother did all this for me. He didn’t have to he could have continued hunting himself but he wanted me to become a skilled hunter. A hunter that knew there was more than just going out and shooting deer. Now it was time, deer season was here, I was nervous, why I wondered I had been hunting for years I had killed two mountable bucks, I was nervous because I was using my bow for the first time.

            Four A.M. was finally here, I didn’t sleep at all I was up dressed in my hunting camo and had my bow, arrows, quiver, release and my rope to pull my bow up the tree. My brother was ready to go; he took me to my stand and waited patiently while I climbed up. Then he was gone to his own stand. I sat there in the stand in the dark remembering and going over everything he had told me. I also realized I was there in that tree because my brother took the time to help me to basically do what my dad would have done had he been around. The hours he spent not only teaching me archery skills and shooting but he prepared a place for me to hunt. He did this because archery hunting is a very important part of his life and he wanted to share that with me. It is something we can do together for the rest of our lives and something each of us may have the opportunity to teach our own sons or daughters one day.

            I sat there watching as nature woke up listening to every sound waiting for that deer to come out. I all of a sudden realized what my brother meant about archery being a “skilled form” of hunting. When I had my gun the deer could be much farther away. I could aim and shoot and have a better chance but I had a bow. I had to sit so still and let the deer come in closer to get a good shot and not hit the deer in the belly or someplace else that would injure it but not kill it. The woods seem different when you are hunting in archery season. I could hear every sound then I heard the shuffling of the leaves and I knew that I may get the opportunity to use my bow. Sure enough right there she was, yes it was a doe and I was hoping for a buck but it was a deer. Everything my brother said was in my head I just had to remember to do it. If I had been hunting with a rifle it would have been over but I needed her to come closer. Was I quiet enough? Would she smell me? Could I make my shot count and not let my arrow hit a branch? I put the arrow in place, got the release pulled back looked through my peep everything seemed right so I squeezed the trigger on my release. The sound of the arrow leaving the bow was so different than the loud bang of my rifle. I watched as the doe ran and then fell to the ground, I had done it! I had used my bow and I totally understood what my brother meant about the challenge of a bow kill.

            I now am a bow hunter I like the challenge of hunting. It takes patience and planning, lots of practice and knowledge of things like distance, wind, scent control and being disciplined to wait till the time is right. Hunting is a very important part of my life. I have learned patience, respect, safety. I have learned to love the land and the sport of hunting. Most importantly I have learned that a brothers’ love can be one of the best things in the world. Hunting has taught me about life and death, joy and sorrow, success and defeat along with pain and suffering. I have watched the woods wake up and go to sleep. I have heard the rustle of leaves and in an instant heard my own heart race in the quiet of the woods when a deer appeared. When in the woods I see all that God has created being surrounded by nature.

            My brother didn’t have to take responsibility for me learning to hunt with a bow. He didn’t have to teach me how to scout, to plan or prepare for the hunt. I consider myself a very lucky boy that my brother is a hunter and that he not only cared about me but he cared about the art of bow hunting. Putting up deer stands, a slow ride through the woods on a four wheeler looking for rubs, listening to the woodpeckers or owls while I sit in a tree, watching the sun come up having my bow and arrows right there. In the woods in the early morning sunrises or evening sunsets I am a very lucky boy indeed. I am a hunter but more than that I am a brother of a hunter.





High School Girl
Student Name: Savannah Elliott
Turpin
Grade: 10
Age: 15

Hunting: Sharing the Heritage

            Just what makes hunting a heritage my family enjoys?

            My dad starting hunting coyotes while he was still young and then moved on to bigger game. Now he has shot countless deer, bull and cow elk, bears, and the list continues. It’s something he’s really come to like.

            He married a great shot-my mom- and she likes hunting as well. The first thing she shot was a deer and since then she’s brought down many animals.

            My dad’s parents are amazing shooters as well. Both have shot snakes in their front yard and who knows what else. And now it’s being passed to my younger siblings and me. Hunting runs in the family.

But why do we enjoy the heritage of hunting?

All the pretty mornings and evenings I’ve spent with Dad while waiting on deer have added up, but it’s always good father/daughter time. One of my favorite hunts was in 2011 when I shot the first mule deer to ever be shot on our ranch. Here’s the story…

I got up that foggy morning at 6:00 to hunt with Dad. After arriving at our spot, we sat down on a big hill to watch for any deer. And sat and sat. as it grew brighter we could see two does a ways off, but because of the area we were in, we couldn’t shoot females anyways. So we naturally passed them up.

After sitting for some time, my uncle called my dad for their usual morning phone call. The conversation was quiet and frank, but then dad knelt to peek behind us. All at once he said quietly, yet really excited, “there he is!” and my dad’s flip-phone slapped shut, obviously ending the call.

Dad told me to get ready to shoot and since I was facing the opposite direction it wasn’t as easy as pie. I was excited, of course, but calmed myself enough to get up a little and crawl around some brush so I could at least see the buck. In the process, I got tangled in a root and fell on to the sandy hill, but harmed nothing. It was kind of funny, though a little embarrassing.

I pulled myself from the ground and tried to get ready to shoot… but I couldn’t

I was shaking too much!

The buck was now attempting to walk away so I had to do something quick. He stopped, only to walk again. He kept up that walk and stop game for a while.

Dad whispered, “Are you ready?”

“I’m shaky,” I replied.

But thankfully, the buck finally came to a complete stop. All at once I pulled the trigger.

Had I hit him? Was he down? All these questions filled my head. “You hit him!”

I watched in silence as the buck trotted away. But dad was sure I had hit him… why was he running away? The world seemed quiet and made us double guess things. Maybe I hadn’t hit him after all!

Dad called my uncle back and told him the news while we walked to my dead deer. Upon approaching the deer, I looked down at a beautiful 5x4 mule deer buck. Both my dad and I were happy campers on the way to the house that morning.

The quiet mornings, peaceful evenings, migrating birds overhead, rustling grass, crickets, and the second of stillness before pulling the trigger, alongside a loved one is what makes hunting a very enjoyable thing for our family.

Thus, hunting is something that has indeed been passed down to new generations and is something that should continue. I’m thankful for my parents for letting us experience the outdoors this way.




 

Jr. High Boy
Student Name: Jett Smith
Perry
Grade: 8
Age: 14


Hunting: Sharing the Heritage

Historically, hunting was an important survival skill of our ancestors. Even before Oklahoma became a state, our forefathers depended on hunting as a means to put food on the table. Early hunters were very knowledgeable in specific animals’ life patterns, trapping, tracking, and were excellent marksmen with a variety of weapons. These hunting skills were handed down from generation to generation, until society deemed in unnecessary and large scale agriculture producers were able to provide an abundance of food.

Today we know the public’s perception of hunting has drastically changed compared to that of our forefathers’. There are several groups and individuals that feel hunting is inhumane. Most people are so far removed from the land that they have no understanding of where their food comes from. As hunters it is up to us to educate the public that hunting is not merely for sport. Not only is it a source of food, hunting also serves as a means of wildlife population control. Hunting is a valuable tool to control populations of some species that might otherwise exceed the carrying capacity of their habitat. This could threaten the well-being of other wildlife species and, in some cases, people’s health and safety.

Every year I look forward to fall, because that’s when my father and I will share a new hunting adventure. All year long we have been planning how to match our skills and wits with nature to have a successful hunt. Words cannot express the amazing experiences I have enjoyed while hunting with my dad, like the rustling sound in the tall grass that comes right before a covey of quail takes flight. Nothing is more breathtaking than watching a ring-neck pheasant as it takes off in a swift, direct flight with strong wing beats voicing “caw-caw” as a warning, or when my heart is pounding so hard from the adrenalin rush of having a monster buck in the cross hairs of my rifle. But more importantly, hunting has helped me develop characteristics like discipline, patience, responsibility, competences, and self-confidence.

            Oklahoma’s large number of wildlife is closely regulated through hunting season by the state wildlife department. For the privilege of hunting, sportsmen are required to pay fees through hunting licenses, stamps, and tags. This money is used to provide educational programs teach hunters about hunting safety, wildlife management and identification, and the importance of being a responsible hunter.  So you see, the license fees hunters pay help keep the outdoor heritage alive for future generations. But it is much more than just a recreational sport; hunting puts us in touch with our past and with ourselves. Preservation for hunting is about values, heritage, and tradition.

            Hunting is an important part of our heritage. It represents food for the table, lessons for living, time for family bonding. We must ensure that each generation present and future has the opportunity to participate in this time-honored tradition.




 


Jr. High Girl
Student Name:Heidi Lewton
Owasso
Grade: 8th
Age: 14

Tree Stand

     

The icy wind hits my cheeks like a thousand needles, but I’m used to it. I’ve sat here and waited just like this many times before. The only noise is the sound of leaves falling off of tree branches. The sun is just going down, and I know now is the best time to see a deer. I had never seen one on a hunt before, but I was determined. I was searching the woods and field for any sign of movement, when my dad tapped me and whispered to me to get my crossbow ready. A surge of adrenaline went through my veins as I slowly turned my head and saw a buck walking towards the feeder on my left. I began taking deep breathes, and pulled the bow up. I had the deer right in my sights, and was ready to let the arrow fly. “Ready?” my dad whispered. I replied, “Never been more.” I pulled the trigger.

            I have been on dozens of hunts in my lifetime. Using bows, rifles, and muzzleloaders. But, out of all of those hunts, my proudest was when I got my first deer. I am more proud of myself for harvesting that deer than anything else I have ever done. It wasn’t a monster. It wasn’t a two-hundred pound, fourteen point buck. Not a trophy. So why? Why am I so proud of it? I’m so proud of it because I was able to carry on a tradition that has been with my dad and his family for years.

            My dad has hunted since he was little, and he wanted to make sure I was able to do so as well. I have been hunting with him since I was ten years old. Sharing that with him has been so amazing. It’s a tradition like no other. I’m at my most tranquil and happy state of mind when I’m in a treestand with him. I love being able to hunt with him and carry on that tradition with him, and plan to do so with my own kids.

            Hunting is so important, and passing it on to future generations is also very important. It keeps the population of deer and other animals in check. It is such an amazing hobby that helps the wildlife of Oklahoma stay in balance. I’m proud to be a hunter, especially a female hunter.

            I hope younger generations will get to experience the amazing feeling of being in the woods fifteen feet off the ground, with a serene feeling inside. I feel something special in a treestand. Something I can’t feel anywhere else. I love being in my treestand, and always will. There is no place I’d rather be.