I don’t remember how old I was, but Dad had a hunting camp in the “big woods” near Mt Jewett, Pa., and at that time it was a lengthy car ride to get to it, before the interstate was put in. The last bunch of miles was almost constant woods and Dad would make special efforts to see game of any kind. Remember, I was brought up pretty much on wild game and fish. Dad was definitely of a hunter and gather clan. I remember he stopped and pointed out a porcupine high in a tree maybe 80 ft from the car. He rolled the window down, placed the rifle out the window, I was sitting in the passenger seat. He explained to me how to put the front site between the U slot of the back site, level it, and then take a deep breath, let it half way out and slowly squeeze the trigger. I did it, and I obviously hit the porcupine. It fell down from the tree. Dad was so pleased and complimented me profusely…as he drove away. I had this odd feeling of what the heck was that about. I killed it, I didn’t get to go pick it up. We weren’t going to eat it. But I killed it. I remember that strange feeling to this day..almost 70 yrs later.
I got my first deer when I was 12, at that same hunting camp near Mt. Jewett. I used the lever action Winchester 32 Special that was my great-grandfathers gun. Dad tole me that my great-grandfather accidentally shot a man in the leg with it while deer hunting years before. The deer I got was a doe and it was not far from camp. There was a foot of snow on the ground and with Dad standing there, I proceeded to start to gut the deer. I had done this before on his deer more than once. I put her on her back and straddling her shoulders facing her hind quarters, I stuck my hunting knife into her belly at the xiphoid. She obviously was still alive enough to feel that; she flexed drastically, caught me under my armpits with her hind legs and flung me head first about 8 feet landing on my back in the snow. It was funny, Dad was crying laughing, and I felt sorry but proud. It was a memorable experience