By Mike Giles / Outdoors Writer
The Meridian Star
“Daddy, do you think you’ll be able to climb up into a tree stand when I come home for Christmas?” asked Ashley Giles. “I think I’m ready to kill a deer and I want some meat.” Ashley had a good reason to ask her father, Joe Giles, if he could climb into a tree stand, as he’d recently had rotator cuff surgery and was still on the mend. She didn’t know if she would get the chance to go, but since she was out of deer meat and really loved it, she thought she would take matters into her own hands.
“I think I can climb now,” said Joe Giles. “I usually climb the ladder with one hand anyway. Ashley went hunting with me when she was young, but she never wanted to kill a deer, she just watched.
Plans were made for the Christmas Eve hunt and the Giles soon found themselves reliving old times and reading some things Ashley had written on the walls as a pre-schooler. The afternoon was good and the father and daughter were really enjoying their time in the stand.
“We really enjoyed watching squirrels, doves, birds and hearing all types of wildlife,” Joe said. The afternoon was perfect except for one thing, not a deer had shown up. As the last rays of sunlight disappeared on the horizon to the west they checked out the legal shooting time.
They were in the fourth quarter with nary a sight nor sound of a deer with game time over at 5:25. “Suddenly a deer popped into view and started browsing around,” said Joe. “And then another one came in.”
Things were really heating up now. But there was just one problem; Ashley couldn’t find the deer in the scope.
“Shoot the left one,” said Joe.
“I can’t see it,” Ashley said. Try as she might she couldn’t find it. Dad quickly found the deer in the scope and had the rifle pointed in their direction when Ashley took over.
“There they are, there are two of them,” she said.
“Take your time and shoot the one on the left when you get ready,” Giles said. After inserting her ear plugs Ashley centered the cross hairs on the deer and squeezed the trigger.
Ka-boom! Roared the Browning 30-06 BAR. The young lady had scored a direct hit on her first shot at a deer as it collapsed at the sound of the rifle’s report. “I didn’t think we were going to see one but then at the last second Dad spotted two come into the field and it got really exciting then,” said Ashley.
Almost as soon as the deer hit the ground the celebration began. “He was so excited, we were just high fiving and dad was ecstatic. 'You just shot your first deer,’ he said to me.” Yes there’s just nothing quite like having a child harvest their first deer.
Though only 26 years old, Ashley Giles is very proficient with weaponry but she’d never had a desire to shoot a deer until her cupboard was bare. She picked a fine time and her dad supplied her with her grandfather J. P. Nolen’s Browning BAR to shoot. With her shot on the buck with that rifle she joined her grandfather, father, and Uncle Mike Giles, who had all harvested a deer with the rifle. Though she didn’t know it at that time she had made a memory and held the same rifle in her hands and joined the family hunting fraternity and made a lifetime memory in the process.
Oh how sweet the taste of victory and succulent deer meat is!