The eight antelope bucks were nervously staring at our exact location. Their eyes were fixed on the three of us lying in the short grass. We were pinned down. Our second stalk of the day and we were already busted. My heart was racing. It was now or never. Cody, age 7, eased up to his tripod. The 293-yard shot seemed more like a mile. Cody confidently squeezed the trigger….Boom!
This New Mexico hunting adventure started when Cody completed his hunter’s safety course and became eligible for the New Mexico Youth-Only Draw. Cody was ecstatic when he was notified of his youth antelope tag for the coming fall. He spent lots of time at the shooting range to get ready.
After our unsuccessful first day, the next morning we were pumped when we spotted a lone antelope buck bedded on the top of a small ridge. As we pulled through the BLM gate, the buck disappeared. Using the terrain to our advantage, we pursued the lone buck. Crawling up and over the ridge, we were thrilled to see the buck feeding away from us down the backside of the same ridge.
With very little cover, Cody and I belly-crawled to inside of 200 yards. The buck was still oblivious to our presence. Cody and I knew this was our chance. There was a lone bush 50 yards ahead. The bush provided slight cover to set up the tripod. Both of their hearts were beating out of their chests and I was afraid to breathe. With the buck only 120 yards away, Cody again eased up on his rifle. I gave the thumbs up…Boom!
The entire herd exploded below us. The antelope were confused and angled back in our direction. Cody’s buck was staggering in the rear of the herd. With a quick follow-up shot, Cody’s buck was down for good.
Cody was shaking with excitement. His smile was electric! He was so proud of his first successful big game hunting adventure! I was beyond thrilled! We both said a blessing and gave thanks for such a wonderful adventure together.
Cody lives with his parents, Bo and Lisa Maurer, in Denver, Colorado. He is in 1st grade and loves fishing, hiking, camping, looking for antlers, and skiing with his family.
By Cody Maurer, age 7
Written by his dad, Bo Maurer