The bullet slid into the chamber easily. He knew how to cock the bolt and pull the trigger. The gun felt good in his hands.
He walked up and dropped the hammer. The bullet slammed through the ribcage exiting through the shoulder on the far side.
A step. Another step. Wobble and collapse.
"YAY!" he yelled, giving his grinning Dad a High 5 as the corpse flopped in nervous spasms that come immediately after death.
Another killer entered the world.
I like it.
Last Saturday afternoon, Jesse Baker crossed another of life's thresholds. With his Daisy .22 rimfire rifle, he made his first kill, a wild boar.
On the the ride home I have to confess my eyes watered. My son has, by his hand, fed his family. If you are a hunter, you understand. If you are a parent, you may understand, maybe not. If you are not a hunter or a parent you cannot understand.
That's my boy. He's a certfied hunter now.
It was a pivotal moment for my son, something he'll appreciate more and more as time goes by.
I have to digress a moment. As we rode home, I remembered some of the times I hunted and brought home animals. I remember one meal, Mom cooked, and as she served everyone including some visitors, she said "Benjamin got everything." Rabbits and birds were on the menu that day, all killed by me. Thanks Mom for encouraging me. I remember shooting a rabbit with a pellet rifle with Dad. "I just expected you to make him jump," Dad said as we got off the tractor and walked over to get the rabbit. Thanks Dad for teaching me to shoot and harvest game.
And now I have brought both my children into full participation in the grand circle of life.
Now you may see why it is more accurate to say another successful hunter entered the world. Jesse, like his sister Susan and his cousin Jake, already knew how to kill. Jesse has been hunting with me since he was about 3. With him by my side I have killed deer, rabbits, hogs, squirrels, birds and varmints of many stripes, as has his sister.
With me by his side, he's taken several different guns and hurled lead and steel down a range.
But he's never put meat on the table.
Saturday, that changed. He is now a blooded hunter, capable of providing food for himself and those important to him.
Some folks are gonna be upset by the idea that my son is a killer. He already knew how to kill. That's pretty much automatic for any human being capable of reasoning. So if the idea that he is a killer disturbs you, then go look in a mirror.
That is why I say it's more accurate to say he is a successful hunter now. He's been a hunter for a decade. Now he's got a trophy for the wall and meat for the table.
"A trophy?" you ask.
A trophy, I reply. A record. His hog, his first kill. He will never have another first. He wants the skull, a European mount, for his wall. I will make it happen.
He acquitted himself with honors afterward. Once the hide was off, I fully understood what my Dad said about the first cow he and Mickey ever skinned. "Your Grandpa said it looked like mice had gotten ahold of it." Yep.
That hog's hide was full of holes.
I like it.
Jesse brought the saw from the barn and cut off the legs and head. He was as excited about being able to do that as he was excited about killing the hog in the first place. He already knows how to cut up meat. When the last leg was off and the carcass came off the singletree, he was literally jumping up and down with joy.
I am certain someone is going to ask why I am teaching someone with a testable IQ of around 50 to 60 how to shoot, operate power tools, wield a knife and kill? Because he can do it, I tell you, I am just honing his skills.
He's developing skills that will let him make his way in this world. How many of you can hunt, kill and process an animal for the table? Beef and chicken and turkey aren't magically manufactured in the back of a grocery store.
My children know where food comes from and they know how to go out and get it. Do you?