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RJ Dupre column: Memories of a hunting trip

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One afternoon, as I was driving back from a client's house in the country, I "ran" into a hunting party. One of the hunters was in his pickup right smack in the middle of the dirt road. Another signaled the sight of a deer, took two shots and the animal died. As I was witnessing this event, it reminded me of my first time when a friend and his father took me deer hunting. We went to Williston, N.D. I was the only woman there. As we were driving around scoping the fields for deer, I saw for the first time in my life a herd of antelopes standing on a snowy ridge. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever encountered.

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I was so amazed at the immensity of the land. After a couple of hours we met up with other hunters. When I got out of the station wagon, an older man looked at my friend and asked in a grumpy voice:

"Is she coming with us?"

"Yes sir," I replied. "I will not do the hunting but I will do the walking."

That year there was a lot of snow, and being only 5-foot-2, I sunk up to my thighs, but I walked all day long with the guys and didn't complain. As a matter of fact, I was elated to participate in such a great adventure. When evening came upon us, we returned to the farm ,where a huge dinner had been prepared. The men discussed the day, for some of them had gotten their deer. I listened and felt mighty proud of myself. The man who had his doubts about a little French woman joining the group admitted that he was quite impressed by my determination to follow and not give up.

After dinner, I sat on the living room floor amongst the company. Within minutes I was deep asleep. The following day at 5 a.m., they all got up, ate breakfast, and as the hunters were ready to leave, I showed up, dressed in my winter gear. They looked at me, and without hesitation, I headed out the door to the car, ready for another entire day of walking and watching the vast expanse of land. This time no one asked if I could; they knew I would.

I do not go hunting anymore. I have gotten soft when it comes to the deer, but I do know they have to be harvested. At least I had the chance to see what it takes to hunt any kind of game. I will always cherish the memory, and be thankful to those men for letting me come along.

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