Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
I was deeply interested in hunting from a very early age. I had coon hunted with Dad from the time I was big enough to keep up in the woods at night. I had squirrel hunted on my own from the time I was about 6 years old. I had received my first rifle at age 4, and was a hopeless gun enthusiast since I can remember. So naturally I was going to be a deer hunter also.
I had went with Dad deer hunting for a couple of years, just as a companion, before I was actually allowed to carry a firearm. I hunted for a couple of years with a Noble model 60 pump 12 gauge without ever seeing a deer at all.
Then the year came that I convinced Dad that I was ready to become a committed, dedicated, official deer hunter. The night before deer season opened, we went to the local gun shop and dad bought me a Marlin 336 30-30. I can still remember that the gun, a box of ammo, and the deer tag came to the grand total of $105. To me that was the best firearm ever designed. I had a true deer rifle now. The first year was pretty much a bust. No deer were sighted.
The following year, we were on our stands very early before shooting light the first morning. The excitement was building by the minute. By mid-morning, the excitement was pretty much gone and the thought of breakfast was over-powering. So back to the house where Mom had pancakes waiting. I remember after we ate Dad said,“You can’t get a deer setting in the house.” So back to the stand I went. After setting there an hour or more, I was getting so sleepy that I slid down by the roots of the tree I was sitting by and started nodding off to sleep. In a bit, I could hear movement in the woods down the branch a little ways, but could not locate the source. The next thing I knew, there were three deer running slowly right in front of me. I can only remember pulling the 30-30 up and pulling the trigger when one of the deer fell. I could not believe what had just happened, I had actually taken my first deer!
I have taken my daughters and wife past this spot in the woods several times and told them this story. I live just about 1/4 mile from where this all took place. There have been many hunting experiences since that day, but this is one that won’t be forgotten.