NEW HAVEN — There is a special kind of excitement in a young Vermonter’s voice when he or she tells you about the first time they bagged a deer. One 15-year-old who shot his first deer this past Saturday during Vermont Youth Hunting Weekend had a unique twist — he is an exchange student from Spain visiting Vermont for a year.
Enrique Serrano Lopez hails from the urban capital of Spain — Madrid — and he is living with the Michael and Linda Sweeney family in New Haven. He is a sophomore at Mount Abraham Union High School.
“I’m really, really excited. I feel so proud,” Enrique gushed on Tuesday when he told about his first deer-hunting expedition at a family farm in Hubbardton. “I really had a great time this weekend.”
Enrique has hunted small game — rabbits — with his father in Spain, but he said the deer-hunting experience in Vermont is very different. In Spain they hunt with dogs to drive the prey out into the open, and Enrique would shoot with a shotgun that would spray the pellets over a wide area; but in Vermont there were, of course, no dogs, and his use of a rifle with a bullet required him to be more precise with his shot.
Plus, the landscape is very different here — not just from his native Madrid, but even from the rural areas of his native land.
“We don’t have that amount of countryside in Spain that Vermont has,” he said. “I’m really impressed with how much wildlife you have here.”
He took the hunter safety course earlier this fall, and was very appreciative of the tips he got from experienced Vermont hunters.
“It’s great that people give their time to teach you that,” he said.
Then he went hunting on Saturday morning with his host father, Mike, and his host brother, Matt.
After lunch Mike and Enrique continued on their own. As the light started to fade, around 4:20 p.m., a doe came into view. It was the first chance he’d had to shoot at a real deer.
“I was sweating a lot,” Enrique said. “My host father said I was shaking … Mike said I had to relax.”
He aimed his gun and hit the deer in the lung. His first kill was a 108-pound doe.
“Mike said I made a very good shot, a clean shot,” Enrique recounted.
The family hung it up Saturday night, then spent much of the day on Sunday butchering the animal.
“Oh my goodness, I never saw that before,” Enrique said. “They taught me how to carve the deer.
“We had a great time to do everything together.”
Linda Sweeney said this is the first deer kill that the student exchange coordinator has ever heard of from this exchange program in Vermont.
Enrique is excited to try his aim during the regular rifle season that starts this weekend.
“I hope that all people can see a deer,” he said. “Good luck to everyone.”
Enrique’s classmates at Mount Abe told him they were excited for his hunting success.
“They said I’m becoming a Vermonter,” Enrique said.