Sep. 8—Anna Call started pursuing mule deer when she was a sixth grader but her journey toward being a hunter is grounded in target shooting.
As a young child, Call accompanied her dad, Clint Call, and her grandfather, Ken Alexander, of Lewiston, to the gun range where they taught her to shoot and handle firearms. Call liked that target shooting afforded her the opportunity to pursue precision and to strive for self improvement.
"There's always that little competitive edge of 'Oh, if I'm shooting at this target.' The first round I can be like 'OK, I did this well and then next round, see if I can do better,' " she said.
Later she tagged along on family bird hunts, first as an observer and eventually as a participant.
Now 17, the senior at Clarkston High School was 11 on her first deer hunt. Call, hunting with her family, spent two weekends looking for a buck with at least three points on one side — the legal standard for the Washington game management unit they were in.
"Finally, the very last day, the second time we went out, we finally found a legal buck," she said. "That's always the struggle — finding one that you can actually shoot."
They had access to a private ranch and rode four-wheelers, stopping frequently to glass the open canyon lands for mule deer.
"We found a group of does and we spotted a few bucks in there — two of them legal," she said.
Call and her dad hiked to get in better position for a shot. The deer focused on another member of their hunting partner, allowing Call and her dad to slip into position and set up about 180 yards away.
She squeezed the trigger of her M4 carbine rifle but sent her first shot wide of its mark.
"Just too much adrenaline," she said, recalling the experience.
Call steadied herself and took a second shot.
She felt excited and had some "jitters" as they hiked to retrieve the animal.
She likes hunting for the mix of experiences it delivers — being at peace in the outdoors, the excitement and anticipation of looking for deer, the thrill of the pursuit when you do, and ultimately the satisfaction of achieving a goal.
"Just being like, 'Oh, I did that. I'm responsible for it,' you know, the accomplishment."
Every hunt is its own adventure, she said. She has gotten her buck on the first day of the season and the last. Sometimes it's easy but that is not the norm.
"They've always had a little bit of adventure," she said.
She remembers her third year as her favorite.
"It wasn't my biggest one but that one definitely — we had to crouch down the hill and, like, really just stay low, and it was a good hour or two of hiking down this hill hoping it doesn't see me," she said. "I think it was probably my longest shot, if I remember correctly, and just a single shot and it went down. I was really proud of that one."
She's taken five bucks in six years. But this fall might mark her last deer hunt for a while. Call is off to Washington State University next year and expects to be busy pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and likely working a part-time job. But her schedule is already hectic. She participates in Clarkston High School's drama program and works several nights a week at Fazzari's Pizza.
"That takes up a good amount of my weekends."
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