2012 Creative Writing Competition Winners
The students listed below are the 2012 winners. Click each name to jump to that student.
High School Boy
Student Name: Stephen Deane
School: Weleetka High School
Archery: What I like about archery in the schools and bowhunting.
The Archery in the Schools Program helps students not only learn, but experience what it is like to bow hunt or shoot a bow. It builds self-confidence and gives kids something constructive to do. It also improves the student’s behavior and motivation. I think if I wasn’t in the National Archery in the Schools Program I would have nothing to do with my free time. I think if we can impact one kid’s life, it’s worth it.
Archery in the Schools teaches you how to hunt, shoot a bow, as well as patience. The National Archery in the Schools Program is an approved physical education program. The program began in Kentucky in 2002 and there are now 47 states as well as Washington DC, five Canadian provinces and six countries (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, USA), with over seven million students competing in the program. I think this program fits easily into the school day. It helps kids to stay in school and not drop out, because it is something fun for them to look forward to do after their school work is done.
It’s just something to boost their self-confidence and make them realize they can do much more with their lives. It sets higher goals for them so they can get good scholarships for school. Bow hunting comes naturally to someone that is in this program because when participants get better in the program they start to excel and want to put their skills to the test. This also gives them something to do so they don’t get in any kind of trouble. Bow hunting dates back to the Stone Age and can be traced throughout history in many regions around the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America.
Native Americans were skilled bow hunters. While their bows and arrows were often crude, they overcame the limitations of their equipment with their exceptional ability to stalk within close range of wary prey. The ability to get close to game remains the essence of all bow hunting today. As immigrants moved into North America, they gradually combined European and Native American archery techniques and technology. The first archery club in America, knows as the United Bowemen of Philidelphia, was formed in 1828.
I told you about some bow hunting history, now I will tell you why I myself like bow hunting and the Archery in the Schools Program. I like the Archery in the Schools Program because it lets me express myself and what I like to do. I went to the regional competition last year, and did a lot better than I thought I would do. This program allowed me to get into bow hunting and I hope to shoot a deer next year during archery season and accomplish something I have wanted to do for a long time.
High School Girl
Student Name: Courtney Maichak
School: Deer Creek High School
Four Years Waiting
I waited for years, silent, listening to my dad’s and brother’s stories of their first deer. I had even heard the tales of others, around the campfire, at a traditional deer camp. Although, I enjoyed the ghosts of the past, I longed for my own special story to share. I wanted it to be different than the others I had heard. It began something like this…
Four years I waited to bag my first deer. I would not take just any deer; it had to be an eight point buck. Passing chances at plump does and even letting a large six point buck pass by me the year before, I stayed true to my vision. Four years of going into the woods went by with a new hope rekindling each time I set up for a buck. Finally, my hopes of getting a crack at the stag of my dreams came around.
Before the hunt even began, I was taunted. While getting off the highway by an old country gas station, an old pickup truck paraded by. My eyes were locked on the branches that stole most of the space in the bed of the truck. Massive bases that seemed the size of tree trunks and tines the size of saplings projected above the bed sides and tailgate! I began picturing myself taking a buck as large as the one displayed in front of me. I dreamed at least a hundred different scenarios, all ending with me holding the rack of a colossal buck.
Pulling onto the ranch in western Oklahoma, my hopes were high for the last hunt of the season. It was an unusually warm November evening. Both dad and I eagerly prepared for our hunt by loading our guns and strapping on our backpacks full of gear. We set off from the dusty pickup and crept about a quarter of a mile through overgrown grass. As we neared my tree stand, I scanned the meadow we approached hoping to catch any bruins making use of the evening sun. Slowly, I climbed up and settled into the ladder stand that was leaning upon a giant cottonwood. Perched fifteen feet in the air in what seemed to be the main jet stream, the last leaves of fall were losing their grip on the ancient tree. My dad wished me good luck and bid me farewell as he set off for his own evening hunt. I watched as he slipped through the tall, golden, river bottom grass. He barely got more than ten yards away when I saw the first flicker of movement on the opposite end of the field.
As if a school lunch bell had sounded off, deer began to enter the meadow. The first rustle happened straight in front of me. A young fawn bounced out of the thicket of brambles as the mother doe slowly inched her way to the edge and stopped to assess the potential dangers. Seconds later two younger does bounded from the other end, as if they were in a race to get a bite of the tender grass. A gust blew through and gave a slight chill to the air, rustling the branches like a giant wind chime as it passed.
Minutes passed as I scoured the landscape for a tall tined stag, when like a mirage he stepped out of the tall grass. Was this the buck I had been dreaming of? He stood erect and attentive at the edge of the meadow with a heavenly light shining over him, presenting a most majestic image. I fumbled for my binoculars. By this time, my heart was pounding almost aloud. He was roughly two hundred yards away and now in a trot with a noticeable limp in his back left leg. As he closed in, near the three does and fawn, I slowly brought the gun up and braced it against my shoulder. The buck came closer and the other deer scattered toward the outskirts of the clearing. Now only eighty-five yards away, he slowed to a walk and I lined up the sights right behind his left shoulder. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, hold…
Sigh! Just when I was about the squeeze the trigger one of the does walked behind him, forcing me to wait for my next opportunity. Another gust of wind ripped through the trees making the whole tree and ladder stand sway in its midst. Taking deep breaths to calm myself, I began to regroup. I again aligned the sights and checked to make sure nothing impeded my shot. I slowly eased the trigger back…BANG! The buck was still standing! He had not even flinched at the rifle’s report that echoed along the canyon walls of the river bottom. He looked straight ahead with his head slightly stretched out, but there was no movement. Did I miss? An eternity seemed to pass, but only seconds had ticked by. I jacked the bolt to load another round into the chamber. Placing the sights back on him, determined not to let this buck get away, I squeezed again. BOOM! The second shot rang across the surrounding landscape. The three does and fawn took off running out of sight. The buck staggered forward a few yards, falling into the native bluestem. I was breathing harder than ever before as adrenaline coursed through my veins. My ears faintly rang from the two shots. A seemingly endless stream of thoughts ran through my mind, but one thing was for certain. I had finally harvested my first deer, and eight point buck just like I had imagined all those times before.
My dad had never even approached his stand, he was able to see my every movement through his binoculars after hearing the crack of my first shot. What seemed like a long scene from a play had actually only taken several minutes. He hurried back to me and my prize, smiling proudly. My mouth could not move fast enough. I stumbled over my account as I described the event that had just ensued. Both sides had four points and both bullets had found their marks, just as I had envisioned.
Now the heritage of hunting continues and so does the tradition of storytelling around the camp fire. Only now, instead of merely listening to the stories of others, I can also recount my tale by the flicker of the flame and under a blanket of stars. I am proud to say that my dad had passed on his love of hunting and maybe even more so the complete experience. The heritage of hunting is a tradition I am proud to be a part of. Sharing the heritage give me chances to not only spend time with my family but others. Every fall, we prepare for the hunting season, practicing with our guns and bows, plotting points on the maps, and improving our calling techniques. Receiving this opportunity has allowed me to become closer with not only my family but Mother Nature as well.
Jr. High Boy
Student Name: Barrett Jackson
School: Owasso 8th Grade Center
Hunting: Sharing the Heritage
The first time I went hunting was great. I was probably five years old. It was very fun, and I got to see all kinds of things not all people get to see everyday. It was I, and my dad, we were deer hunting, and we never saw a deer but it was great to be out in the woods with my dad connecting with nature. I also remember we were sitting eating lunch at camp when a doe stepped out in an opening near camp. My dad got his run ready then he shot. It felt like the ground shook and fire came out of his barrel of his gun. It was cool, but he missed. That was the first time I went hunting.
Hunting has always been a tradition in my family. I love going out in the woods with my dad. Without my dad I would never have had the opportunity to go hunting. I would love to pass down hunting to my kids. I hope I will never have to lose my privilege to hunt.
In my family it’s all about conservation. We have always taken just what we needed from the land, and we have always followed the regulations. Whatever we harvest, we have always taken home for the dinner table. Being members of organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, has given us a very good perspective on conservation and its importance to hunting. A concern for the well being of the lands that we hunt on has really grown our awareness of the conservation needs of those lands.
I love sitting in the duck blind with my dad. I love watching the stars and just listening. You can hear all kinds of things if you just sit and listen. When I’m just sitting in the dark waiting on the first light, listening, I feel like I’m a part of nature. When we hit the first note on our calls to let the ducks know we are there, my adrenaline really gets going! There is nothing like it when the ducks start quacking and with wings locked, dropping into the decoys!
Sometimes it’s not always about harvesting an animal. It’s more about getting connected to nature. I also love just watching all the animals around me when I’m hunting. Even if it’s just a little bird on a branch, or a coyote walking across a field. Just watching animals gets me going. When I’m out in the woods, I realize that we humans aren’t the only creatures benefiting from all that nature provides for us.
Often we spend money on things we don’t always like it. However, when buying tags or buying duck stamps, we know it goes to the conservation of wildlife. Paying boat ramp fees, paying to camp in wildlife management areas, buying corn for feeders, all contribute to help ensure that we will always have hunting to enjoy for ourselves and for our future generations.
Jr. High Girl
Student Name: Kalee Long
School: Owasso 8th Grade Center
Archery: What I like about Archery in the Schools and bow-hunting
Archery, for me, has a sort of peaceful and tranquil feel to it that you just can’t get when holding a gun. While hunting or practicing with a gun, respectfully, does leave you with that adrenaline rush, archery just leaves you feeling calm and serene. Archery/bow-hunting can be traced back to the earliest of hunters; it is a part of our history, heritage, and survival.
Sadly, archery has been lost or forgotten by most of my generation, this is why I think that the Archery in the Schools program is a good re-introduction of the art/sport. One aspect of it that I particularly like is that the sport does not know bias directed towards gender, race, size, strength or speed, and is dominated by none of these as many sports are. It also helps kids focus in on the target, be it the actual target your shooting at, or a target or goal that they are trying to reach elsewhere.
It has improved, I believe, my own focus and determination. My focus has been improved from obvious reasons-if you don’t focus in on the target/goal, they you won’t hit/reach it. I try to apply this in my own everyday life as much as possible. My determination has been improved because I’ve learned that if you want something, say to hit the center of the target, then you have to work and work at it to make it happen.
Unfortunately, there are some any kids that do not have the opportunity to experience this enlightening experience, and even more kids don’t even know or think about it. However, I believe that if kids were given the opportunity learn about and try archery then there would be a huge rise in the amount of students who are interested in and participate in the sport. This could be achieved through the Archery in the Schools program, but first it has to be in the schools.
I want other kids to be able to enjoy this feeling as well, and it’s so incredibly simple. You just pick up a bow, set your arrow, take your stance, breathe in, aim, breathe out, and release. Anyone can feel this as long as they’re provided with the needed materials of course. The sad thing is that a lot of people don’t have the money to buy all of the materials that makes archery fun and safe. The to all of these problems in the Archery in the Schools program.
I love the program myself, and think it gives kids like me a chance to get involved in something fun and unique. It gets us involved in competitions as well, but whether we go or not, it’s always fun and something I look forward to.