Thirteen-year old Christopher Kent Green is a seventh-generation Moabite, and hunting has always been important in his family. Last year, at 12 years old, he took his first Hunter Education course. In October, he shot his first deer, a two-point buck.

“Our family is a very avid hunting family,” Josh Green, Christopher’s father, said. “When we go out, we do everything right and by the book. [Christopher] told me he’s realized how big of a responsibility it was to do it the right way and make sure you did it clean.”

Josh Green took a photo of his son posed with the buck and sent it to family members. He didn’t know that his father, Kent Green, had entered the snapshot into a contest to be featured on the updated Division of Wildlife Resources Big Game Guidebook. He found out when the photo won.

The guide is updated every year and outlines regulations for big game animals, including season dates and the number of tags available in each hunting unit. Aaron Bott, conservation outreach manager for the DWR, said those details can change from year to year depending on the health of animal populations in each unit.

The guide is available online and in sporting goods stores, convenience and grocery stores. The 2020 guide featuring Christopher Green has been out since June.

“We got, like, 10 of them,” said Josh Green. He said they’ve been sent to friends and family as far as Missouri and North Carolina. A sporting goods store clerk was impressed to meet Christopher, recognizing him from the cover of the guidebook stocked on their store shelves.

Christopher Green remembers in detail the day he shot his first deer in October of 2019.

“We saw it under a tree, chilling,” Christopher Green recalled.

He found a place to line up his shot and killed it on his first try.

“He made sure he knows it was a clean, ethical shot,” added Josh Green. “I’m most proud of that.”

They took the deer to be processed in Monticello and got 90 pounds of meat from it, which fed their family of five through the winter.

Hunter Education

Prospective hunters must take the DWR Hunter Education course before obtaining a permit, so Christopher signed up for the class before the deer season in the winter of 2019. The course was taught by volunteer Trish Hedin, a Moab local who is also the chairperson of the DWR’s Regional Advisory Council, which provides public input to the DWR on management policies.

“You learn how to use your gun and where to point it and where not to point it,” said Christopher. “If someone’s near you, you have to point it away from them, towards the ground or up high.”

“You learn not to trespass on land, where to make an ethical shot, how to react in a difficult situation,” added Josh Green. “I think every kid should have to take this class.”

Hedin said she enjoys when her former students bump into her in town and proudly show her photos from their hunts.

“I get that a lot, which is very nice,” she said, adding that seeing Christopher on the Big Game Guidebook cover was “really cool.”

Rite of passage

To Josh Green, spending time together as a family is the best part of their hunting tradition.

“For us it’s all about family, doing things together outdoors, and getting the kids away from the TV,” he said. He also sees it as a rite of passage.

“I don’t know who was more excited, him or me,” Josh Green said of Christopher’s first hunt. “I was very impressed with him. It’s changed our relationship quite a bit.”

He said watching Christopher’s decision-making demonstrated that he’d taken to heart all the lessons he’d been taught by his family and through Hunter Education.

“It’s really cool, seeing how he’s matured after this,” said Josh Green, enduring eye-rolls from his son. “It’s a big thing for somebody to do.”