Ever since I was little, I have wanted to hunt. Maybe it was seeing the deer heads on my living room walls, or maybe it was hearing my dad’s stories. I went on my first hunt when I was 10; that year we were unsuccessful. But when I was 11, we went on cow elk hunt in Utah. It was my dad’s tag, but it was still fun to go. I took my hunter safety test and I got my hunting license.
On May 4, 2016, I got my rifle and practiced. Then, I got a tag for a cow elk in Utah with the same outfitter and guide as my dad had the year before. We had a three-day hunt and I was ready and waiting for my opportunity.
My dad had told me a few times, “It’s okay if you miss. Most people miss their first shot.”
So, naturally, I was determined to get the elk on my first shot.
Finally, I got my opportunity. A cow elk came to the right of me. I got on it, squeezed the trigger and dropped my elk. I went to put another bullet in the chamber but my magazine jammed. We later realized I hit it with one shot in the heart at 150 yards. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Makayla Renee Mellinger
Ravenswood, West Virginia