The outdoors played a big role in my life. I grew up always in the woods playing with my brothers and four-wheeling throughout the trees.

My brothers and my father lived in the woods always hunting, hiking, and taking care of our land. I was always jealous when my middle brother, Travis, came home to tell all his cool stories and what he experienced.

Zac, my oldest brother, would come home with a turkey for everyone to be in awe over.

(First row, l-r) My cousin, Matthew Abshier; my oldest brother, Zac Ferguson; my cousin, Chrissy Abshier. (Back row) My older brother, Travis Kelley.

(First row, l-r) My cousin, Matthew Abshier; my oldest brother, Zac Ferguson; my cousin, Chrissy Abshier. (Back row) My older brother, Travis Kelley.

Finally, when I was eight, Dad took me on my first hunt. I barely got any sleep the night before. Getting up early was easy thanks to how excited I was. I was very clumsy, stomping in the woods just before sunrise; I remember sliding in mud, too.

Boredom struck an hour after getting in the blind and I fell asleep. When I woke up I saw the exact thing I saw before I closed my eyes: zero signs of deer. Maybe two hours later I bugged my dad and said I was hungry; so we left the woods with my shoelace untied and my pants too big.

I didn’t understand why I didn’t see anything and it bothered me. Three o’clock rolled around and Dad asked if I wanted to go out again. Having no faith I almost didn’t go, but instead I dragged myself out the door with a big sigh. We walked through the woods and watched a little bunny sprint away from my elephant stomps and monkey swinging arms.

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