“Take it easy, take your time,” I said, watching as my cousin looked frantically through the scope of her rifle.

I wouldn’t have taken my own advice, but it couldn’t hurt to offer.

My 11-year old cousin, Kamara, carries herself well beyond her years.

That may come with being the eldest of four siblings.

She and her nine-year old brother, Bronson, were sitting on the side of a ridge with my brother and me last weekend, following a slushy, two-mile hike in the deer woods.

Our efforts had paid off, and soon after hunkering down on a semi-dry spot, we spotted a buck working his way across the brushy flat we’d made our way over to.

“Just find him in your scope, and when you’re ready . . .” my brother didn’t have time to finish his sentence when the first shot rang out.

Our binoculars went up, but no white flag. No tell-tale sign of a spooked whitetail.

“He’s still there,” we told her, beginning to accept the fact that this deer was 256 yards away from being in any real danger.

This four-point buck would be her first.

You could have guessed that from her Lamaze-instructor like breathing.

I’ve never been, but I’ve heard things.

Anyway – back to the buck:

By the time she found him the second time, my brother had managed to reach over and turn the magnification power on her scope to seven, which at that distance probably didn’t do a whole lot. Certainly not enough to make it an easy shot. Deer are small animals, and 256 yards is a tough shot for a big person to make, let alone an 11-year old.

Her buck was distracted, thankfully, by his late November urges.

He had his nose to the ground, following the scent of a doe that had undoubtedly wandered through the area earlier that day.

The second shot didn’t surprise us quite as much as the first, but it surprised the deer.

Again, our binoculars came up – and this time we saw what we’d hoped for – Kamara’s first deer laying in the brush.

There haven’t been more than a couple odd days, here or there, that my brother and I have not been in the woods since the start of September, chasing elk, deer, bears, you name it.

But that day, watching our little cousin walk up on her first deer, topped them all.

It wasn’t even close.

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