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Teen's winning ways honor grandfather, hunting tradition

WELLS - Cam Pratt, an eighth grader enrolled at Poultney High School, is the son of David and Meredith Pratt of Wells. Today, the local community is proud of the quiet teen who recently wrote an award-winning essay about a life-changing Vermont hunting trip and broke a state game record.

The boy, who became a man during the trek in the wilds of Rutland County, had never fired a .308 firearm until he shot his grandfather's heritage hunting rifle on what became a memorable autumn day-memorable for a number of reasons.

This rural Vermont story is especially noteworthy because Cam Pratt's grandfather-Ed Pratt of Wells, the original owner of the .308-died in July 2009. And it was the late Ed Pratt's rifle that his grandson used to shoot a record-breaking 8-point buck during his first hunting excursion.

During November 2009, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department ran an essay contest for young hunters asking them to submit personal stories about their 2009 Youth Hunting Weekend experience.

Cam Pratt's essay is reprinted below; it was selected as the top youth essay (Rutland County) from dozens of essays submitted by young hunters. In recognition of the writing achievement, Pratt received a camouflage fanny pack, neck tunic, fleece scarf, and spiral bound book with information and maps about Vermont wildlife management areas.

Pratt was asked to read his essay aloud at the Yankee Sportsman's Classic held at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center. Gov. Jim Douglas presented Pratt m with his prizes.

Before contest officials handed out the youth essay awards, the state's deer hunting grand prize winner, which is named by the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club for the most the impressive trophy, was announced. As luck would go, a stunned Cam Pratt was the winner of the trophy award, too-the trophy club director introduced Pratt after announcing that the Rutland County buck was one of the largest ever felled during the state's Youth Hunting event.

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