Teen's winning ways honor grandfather, hunting tradition

Cam Pratt's special "trophy" prize included a hunting vest and an all-expense paid, week-long, guided Maine black bear hunt set for September 2010. Cam's father, David Pratt, was invited to join the Maine bear hunt.

Pratt's double game-related win was a special tribute to the memory of his beloved, hunter grandfather Ed Pratt.

What follows is the text of Cam Pratt's award-winning essay:

"The first day of the 2009 Vermont Youth Hunting Weekend was like one I would never forget. My dad had gotten permission to hunt on two of our relative's properties-one of our cousins and my great uncle allowed us to hunt on their properties-and I thanked them both very much.

"When my dad and I were about to go out, he gave me a choice of two firearms to use-his .243 or my grandfathers .308. My grandfather, who recently passed away in July, was an avid hunting enthusiast; he went out for rifle season every year, and managed to get results just about every year.

"Now I had been practicing with the .243 for the past couple weeks because I was preparing to use that rifle, but on that day something felt different about my grandfather's rifle. I had never fired it before, but out of respect for my late grandfather I thought I would give it one more run in the field. Who knew that run would get such a huge result?

"Our hunt at our cousin's property yielded no results, but we could tell that there had been a lot of buck activity around there because there were numerous tree hookings and scrapes. So we called it a day there and headed back to the house. Later that day, we headed down to my great uncle's house and set up a rifle stand in a blind we had put up earlier that day next to a spruce tree plot. My great uncle said there were deer there almost every day, so we decided to give it a shot.

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