This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 30, 2009 - I was 14 when I shot my first deer. I was standing next to a large gray tree, shivering, early on a cold November morning. I had been left alone there on my "stand" by my father two hours previously, in the darkness just before dawn. I was lonely and a little scared, the gun uncomfortably heavy in my arms. Every sound I heard could be, to my excited imagination, an approaching deer. After two hours, I was a nervous wreck. Then, suddenly, one of the sounds WAS a deer, with horns, running through the trees not very far in front of me.