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Sifuentes D.

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Review for Military Warriors Support Foundation, San Antonio, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Dear Sterling Abbott:

In behalf of myself and my fellow friends from Military Warriors, thank you, Tim Abbott, Bill Scott, and the rest of your wonderful staff for this adventurous and fun time you allowed me to experience at The Spike S Ranch.

This was my first deer hunt in my life I have ever been invited too. And as they probably say, “There Is No Feeling Like The First Time.” The late afternoon came and we all jumped into your trucks and cruised to our designated hunting area. My first deer hunting experience had commenced. Our stand overlooked the feeder below us some 100 yards. I was teamed up the first time with John Hollinshead and Daniel Robles; both being seasoned hunters. They each gave me advice and tips on how to aim and shoot my TC Icon .308. “Hold your rifle this way, relax, aim your shot above the deer’s front leg in the heart area,” said John. “Once you are set and ready to shoot the deer we tell you to bring down, don’t hesitate your shot or you might lose that opportunity,” stated Daniel. I wholeheartedly trusted both of them because I knew what they were doing. As I held my deer rifle and waited for a deer to meander by our position, I told myself, “Stay confident and wait for instructions.”

I looked and saw two shapes carefully moving through the mist. Looking through the scope on my rifle, I could see that the shapes were two does about 100 yards away walking warily towards the feeder in front of us and my pulse quickened. “They’re does” I whispered to John. “Pick the one on the right side and go ahead and shoot her” John responded. Steadying the rifle on the front rail of the deer stand, I took aim at the front shoulder of the lead doe and squeezed the trigger. With the roar of the rifle, I shot my first deer and my life changed forever. By 7:00 PM I had shot my first three does and two javelinas.

I am also very grateful that everyone at The Spike S Ranch was, and still is, very serious about hunting safely and ethically. Even though I was going to be hunting under their direct supervision, your entire team was very strict about ensuring that I understood when and when not to shoot as well as the details of shot placement. Thank God that as a result, I had spent hours at the range practicing precise shot placement at various ranges and angles. Additionally, we all got our rifles sited to make sure we would hit our targets. That exercise was important and exciting for me to experience as well. Like I previously stated, when we hit the woods that afternoon, I was prepared to ever start deer hunting.

Tim had told me at the very beginning of my hunt, that if I did not kill me several deer that I literally had not tried at all. Tim, I appreciated your challenge and I took advantage of it. The next morning my guide was Donny Cartwright. He took me out to the deer stand and he too gave me the same instructions I had previously been given. There we were once more on an elevated stand overlooking a feeder. That area was always a solid producer of deer I had been told: we counted several does and large bucks (which I was not allowed to shoot the big buck) eating from the feeder. If there was ever an ideal place for a young hunter like me to shoot my first deer, this was it.

That first morning dawned coolness and crisp with a very light wind from the north. This particular morning would be the first of those successes and I distinctly remember seeing the muzzle flash of my rifle through the sunlight while looking through the scope at the doe and then a buck a few moments later. The doe dropped on the spot and buck staggered at the shot and disappeared back the way he came a few yards and dropped. From their reaction, I knew that I had made good shots. I was pretty darn excited. Donny gave me a high five and said “You didn’t even feel the rifle kick, did you?” No, I didn’t, and I don’t remember the report of the rifle hurting my ears either due to the adrenaline rush I was feeling. After a few minutes, we got down and began looking for the buck. We quickly found him shot through both lungs. My .308 load did a number on him: the buck ran less than 25 yards after the shot. With just ten points, he was not a big deer by any stretch of the imagination. However, I was a very happy man that day and I will always look back upon the hunt where I got my first deer fondly. When I get my European Mount, I will proudly display the antlers from that little buck on my wall. There is no feeling like the first time and on that cold day in December I took my first step into the world of “The Thrill of the Hunt.”

At your service,

Daniel C. Sifuentes III

Role:  General Member of the Public