After a few weeks of Morgan and Kirmani teaching Sam how to track and hunt, the pup watching how the two of them worked as individuals to take down their targets, it was Sam's turn. He was still hesitant - Sam knew he wasn't going to become a killer because of this but his human mind still fought him on the topic - but he knew he needed to do this.
Murphy was going to oversee the first hunt. Sam wasn't sure if it was to see how good he had been taught, or if it was her alpha position that made her have to watch it. Sam did know that if he became a successful hunter, his position in the pack went up a bit more and he knew it was important but he didn't mind his spot now. And knowing Murphy was going to be watching his every step made him more nervous than he already was.
Sam's nose finally found the herd of deer and he kept himself downwind from them as he circled on his own, looking at each of them. He knew that some of the female deer were carrying young and it would make them slower, but it would make the males in the herd more aggressive in order to protect them. So he was trying to find a weaker male to take down. After spooking away herds previously, Sam had learned to be a bit more patient in his hunting and he just lowered his belly to the ground and watched with careful eyes.
Finally, he saw a male with a limp. He started to circle again, getting a bit closer so that he could isolate the buck from the rest of the herd. At one point he stepped on a twig and froze, lowering himself back down as the herd turned to look in his direction. He waited a few minutes for them to go back to grazing before he took another step, watching the buck move just a bit further away... and then he took off after it.
He ran hard and fast, trusting his legs finally not to get tangled up under him as he focused on getting the buck to separate from the herd that was running away, and into an area he had seen was thicker with low-limbed trees. It would keep the buck from being able to jump as much, and that would give Sam his chance to take it down. It wasn't long before he was able to snap at the buck's injured leg and it went down, crying for help. But then Sam was on it's back, teeth around it's throat as he squeezed to kill the buck.
And he might have said a silent prayer in his head as he felt it's life slip away, apologizing for it's death but thankful for the ability to be able to feed his pack. His family. The leader of which he dragged the body to and laid it at her front paws before licking his muzzle to get the blood off it.
As this was Sam's hunt, Murphy stayed back and watched. She didn't exactly think a stag was a good choice for a first kill, but Sam had to learn his own way. She would have gone after a doe. There was a pretty old one, trying to keep to the middle, but you couldn't tell a wolf like Sam he was wrong until he learned it for himself.
That's why she was surprised he actually managed to get it down and kill it. Once the buck his the ground she threw her head back and howled, calling for the pack to join them. A big animal like that would need to be brought back to the house to be butchered. She bounded through the woods to catch up to Sam, wagging her tail in approval when she joined him by the corpse.
He had seen the older doe in the middle of the group. But she was in the middle of the herd and he tended to get trampled on if he didn't aim for someone on the edges. He took a chance and it paid off. But seeing Murphy wagging her tail made him smile before he sat down and rubbed at his nose a bit. He was proud of himself for the first time in awhile now, and he let his tail wag a bit to show that.
She figured he had a reason to be smug. Morgan, Kirmani and her could take down big prey on their own, but not the others. Chasing and killing a buck his first time out meant he had potential. They could make a really good hunter out of him.
It wasn't long before Kirmani and Morgan came through the woods and trotted to a stop. It was too cold to really hang out and play, so they got to work and the four of them managed to drag the buck back through the woods to the main house and left it behind the kitchen back door. After that, they went inside, leaving Butters to butcher the kill. Sam instantly changed back - he was getting better at it now - and grabbed his sweatpants and sweatshirt by the door and tossed them on. "So I take it I passed?' he asked, smiling.
"Don't get cocky kid," Kirmani said as he got dressed.
"Must you always quote Star Wars?" Morgan asked with a sign.
"You had a successful first hunt, but the next step is learning how to hunt with us, as a team, as a pack," Murphy said, interrupting the boys before they could get into a real fight.
Sam rolled his eyes at the boys because he was probably just as much of a Star Wars geek as Kirmani was so he found the quotes funny. But he nodded at Murphy. "Yeah, I figured since you guys always go off together to hunt. How much different is it?"
"A lot. We have to adapt and communicate on the run. One screw up and we lose the whole hunt. When you're ready, we'll take down buffalo."
Sam bit his lip a bit because he was still shaky on that whole wolf communication bit. But even to his human side, taking down a buffalo sounded just cool. He couldn't help the smile that played with the edges of his lips. He was still a puppy sometimes. "Something to look forward to then."
Morgan let out a bark of laughter and slapped Sam on the shoulder. "Yeah, we'll see if you make it."
Murphy gave him a small glare, but agreed. "It takes a lot to take down a buffalo. Even normal wolf packs have problems with it and they're made to hunt."
"I don't think you guys would start me off at that level anyway. Something to work up to. I mean, I'm still trying to understand your signals as it is. And I don't want to get trampled anymore than I'd want to screw something up to get any of your hurt."
"We'll take it slow." She smiled, "Right now, when Butters is done, you're going to have your first deer heart."
Sam's eyes just widened, his jaw dropping a bit. "Wait, what?"
"The soft organs are the best part of the kill. The heart especially. Since you killed it, you get the heart." Kirmani grinned with a sort of evil glee.
Which that glee reminds Sam of all the times Dean tried to get Sam to do crazy stupid things for his own amusement. "You're kidding, right?" He looked at Murphy, not knowing if they were serious or this was some kind of frat house hazing going on.
"Yes, we're serious. It's tradition. Don't worry, Butters can cook a great heart."
Sam sucked on his lower lip but nodded. "If it's tradition..." he sighed. This couldn't be any worse than the time Dean had gotten him to eat eel at some southern bayou diner.
"It is." Murphy smiled. "It's good, give it a chance."
"Alright, I will." He rubbed at his nose before looking around. "Think I have enough time to catch a shower before dinner?"
"Plenty of time. Butters will be at it for awhile."
"Alright. I won't use up all the hot water this time," he stated as he made his way upstairs. There was something after a hunt that made Sam feel like he needed to shower. He didn't know what it was, but after every training lesson he felt the need to take one. He kept it quick though, then went into his room... well, his and Heather's room nowadays... and changed into something more comfortable. After that he made his way back downstairs and joined the rest of the pack in front of the fireplace with a good book in his hands.
They were all sprawled around the room, most of them reading, but Murphy and Kirmani were hunched over a park map, discussing something softly. When Sam settled down, Heather was quick to get up and resettle herself against his side.
Sam smiled and shifted to give her more snuggle room, one arm slipping around her as he kissed her quickly. "When did you get home?" he asked.
"A while ago. I think you were in the shower."
"Probably." He gave her a teasing you could have joined me smile. "You missed the fun."
"I was busy hearing about how you took down a buck. You're going to love the heart." She grinned back, teasing him too.
He was still iffy on that. Though he had remembered that one of the way a hunter recognized a were kill was because the heart was missing. Maybe there was some truth behind it all. "Well, we'll see if that's true after dinner."
She patted his knee. "If you throw up, Kirmani will never let you live it down."
"Thank you for the vote of confidence."
She kissed his cheek, chuckling at him. He chuckled as well, snuggling up against her as he used one hand to open the book and read while the other held her close. Dinner would come soon enough, but right now he was good right where he was.