Cornwall girl enjoys family time, success in hunting

CORNWALL — Hundreds of boys and girls across Vermont participated in the annual Youth Deer Hunting Weekend this past Saturday and Sunday, two days when deer hunting in the Green Mountain State is reserved for youngsters age 15 and younger.
Young people may take part in the hunt if they have successfully completed a hunter education course, hold a valid hunting license and youth deer tag, and are accompanied by an adult.
A Middlebury Union High School sophomore who took part in this weekend’s hunt summed up a common reason that Vermont youths get out in the woods to stalk deer during the first weekend in November.
“It’s the thrill,” Raven Payne, 15, explained of her love of hunting.
Payne and father, Jim Payne, awoke early Sunday morning, and trekked off into the woods behind their Cornwall home. Raven explained that she appreciates the time she spends hunting with her family and the opportunity to bond over an activity they thoroughly enjoy. 
Raven started to learn to hunt four years ago. This year she thought she might be victorious in her quest for a deer when she and her father spotted six deer as they waited inside a tree stand. Father and daughter settled, and Raven got ready to shoot with a .308 rifle.
She pulled the trigger and missed; the herd escaped unscathed.
Next, Raven and her father strode back through the forest, then circled with high hopes that the herd would reappear. At 6:45 a.m., two of the six deer returned. Raven took her best shot and downed the 140-pound doe.
“I was super happy when I got it,” Raven smiled joyfully.
Finally, she met the challenge of spotting the right deer at the right time.
Editor’s note: Intern Niquita McNeal is a junior at Middlebury Union High School.

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