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The student news site of Stockbridge High School

Uncaged

The student news site of Stockbridge High School

Uncaged

Tales from the blind

Hunting traditions and the impact that follows them
Senior+Kegan+Collins+shot+this+8+point+buck+in+his+2022+fall+season.
Travis Collins
Senior Kegan Collins shot this 8 point buck in his 2022 fall season.

One cold, crisp October morning, 10-year-old junior Braiden Royal went out hunting whitetail deer with his grandfather, making sure to check everything off of his mental checklist.
“I grabbed all my stuff out of my scent lock tote, sprayed myself down, then my grandfather and I grabbed my crossbow and walked to the woods,” Royal said.
Having an abundance of land and many different options to sit and wait, Royal and his grandfather sat on the north side of the property with a wind coming from the south. When a deep crunching noise appeared from the back of the stand, Royal started to shake like a fall leaf on a windy day.
As he slowly grabbed his crossbow, he prepared his mind to shoot a big 10-point buck by pulling up the crossbow, looking through the sight, finding the crosshair that matched up with his yardage, and smoking the buck from 30 yards away.

Hunting is something me and my dad bond over and our relationship grows.”

— Trent Benson, 7th grader


“About 15-20 minutes [after shooting the first buck], another one came out 150 yards away. We grunted it in and I prepared my mind to shoot another big buck,” said Royal.
Shaking even more than before, Royal loaded his crossbow and watched the second buck walk in from a distance ahead. And even though a million thoughts rolled through his head, Royal directed his focus on the most important one: the 8-point buck.
Now, only 50 yards away, Royal raised his sights, stopped at 40 yards, and made yet another ideal shot on the deer.
The little village of Stockbridge has many traditions, however, one that has been a part of every generation is opening day. Hunting is very sacred to the people in Stockbridge and has shown time and time again to bring the town together.
“Since I was five years old, I have skipped school to go hunting on opening day and to this day, I skip work just to be out in the blind on my favorite day of the year,” Stockbridge community member Joe Cipta said. “When I was in school, opening day was something I looked forward to every year. I would wake up and go to breakfast with my dad, get out in the blind and try to find our perfect shot, and then end our day off by going to a buck poll in Stockbridge. Now, I carry on this tradition to my kids to hope they continue it as well.”
Like Cipta, many families in Stockbridge participate in this tradition. Junior Jacob Dalton has been hunting ever since he was little and still makes him excited to this day.
“I was 13 years old and I was kinda bummed because I had just missed a 9-point buck, but I realized it wasn’t a big deal and I had to move on,” Dalton said. “Luckily, 10 minutes later I saw the biggest buck of my life. So much was running through my head that I was nervous and excited at the same time.”
Though students like Dalton experience excitement when hunting, some people feel like it can be a cruel experience for the deer.

Hunting is important because you have to manage the population of wildlife.”

— Gary Teague, WWC teacher


According to Marist’s Poll examining Americans’ feelings about hunting, 56% of Americans strongly oppose the idea of hunting. Even though hunting has been a significant tradition in Stockbridge, many people have noticed a slight decrease in the younger generations’ participation.
Tab Moffet, owner of Tabs Custom Cuts located in Gregory, might have an idea as to why the deer population has risen so much.
“The younger generation is not quite as avid as I was when I was 14 years old back in the 1960s,” Moffet said.
Even though businesses like Moffet’s have been growing over the past year, Moffet believes that it isn’t enough to stop the rise in deer unless hunting becomes much more popular again. Over the last few decades, the amount of younger students participating has slowly declined. The biggest reason why this is happening is that the generation that originally made hunting so popular is dying out and their kids are failing to pass these traditions to their kids. Because of this, within the past decade, the number of deer in Michigan has gone up from 300,000 to 2 million, a 67% increase, as stated by Drawing Detroit.
Michigan officials plead with Michiganders to hunt and help lower the number of deer because although it can be perceived as cruel to kill an animal, it can be considered even crueler to let that animal overpopulate and cause an increase in accidents on the roads

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About the Contributor
Evan Sandecki, Reporter
You already know who it is, it's Evan Sandecki! He is a sports photographer and a news reporter for the uncaged team. This is his very first year in the family and he wants to continue for his entire senior year. Evan plays basketball, golf, and baseball. He plans to continue his education and get his masters in Business communication at Central Michigan University. In his free time he likes to run his own business out of the small town of Gregory. Evan Loves his family and the people who make him happy.
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