There are few things that men love and defend more than our daughters. They pull our hearts into places we are not comfortable with but we will defend them much like a grizzly over a kill. There is no more sacred place than that of the bond of a father and child and watching them grow is both satisfying and bittersweet. My daughter is no exception.
The date was October 22 and we started the journey on the last day of the antelope season. Finding the quarry was easy but closing to less than 400 yards proved much more difficult than we had originally planned. We were hunting the eastern front of the Wind River Range, an area of 20 miles filled with rolling hills, cliffs, draws and creek bottoms. I knew the chances of harvest were high but I also knew we had to get close – like 200 yards close.
After the 8th stalk I began to have doubts, but on number nine our luck changed. We closed the distance quickly, moving efficiently and quietly though rocks, shrubs and draws. We worked our way up onto a rock band and quickly saw the herd laying down in a meadow below us. We pushed forward keeping obstacles in our path until we had reached the point where a mere 150 yards separated the herd from our perch. She was shaking like a leaf as she set up for the shot.
The crack of the rifle pierced the clear, blue Wyoming skies. I was glued to the buck so that I would know if the shot was a hit or miss. In the back of my mind I had doubt because my first harvest was less than I would have hoped. On this October afternoon the world was right and the round traveled quickly to target. Upon impact I knew she anchored the buck and he dropped like a sack of heavy rocks. There was no doubt on shot placement however she quickly racked another round. It would not be needed. My job in raising a girl was done and the job of raising a woman began.
The drive back to the family quarters was filled with smiles, laughter and a sense of accomplishment. My heart was happy and sad all in the same moment. I knew my little girl was all but gone but I also knew that I had a daughter that understood the meaning of life, sacrifice, strength and drive. Her mother and I had been privileged in raising a woman that will climb mountains, conquer dreams and shatter glass ceilings in the years to come. And at that moment my emotions got the best of me. At that moment I learned how to cry with my daughter.
WROC Tribe Member