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November 19, 2007

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Bill Heavey's Deer Diary: Success in the Upper Peninsula

Two months into the season, hunting more days than I care to divulge, I finally have a buck on the ground. He came in about 8:30 a.m. to some doe urine and the small amount of bait Michigan allows hunters to use. When I saw him he was already staring at the little pop-up blind I was sitting in. But I froze, tried to ignore my pounding heart, waited him out, and fi nally got my rifle up when he passed behind a big hemlock. He stopped quartering away at 50 yards, and I double-lunged him. He was big and buff, with brow tines that carried a film of sticky alder bark and sap.

1e7w5314Yes, it was over bait. Yes, the blind had been placed there for some time. Yes, as the guest of some guys with a big lease in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, all I had to do was sit there and pull the trigger.

And yet, I cannot deny that  it feels awfully good finally to have my tag on a buck.

Don't be deceived by Colby Lysne's photo. The guy shoots with antler-shrinking lenses. He's huge.


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Blue Ox

Antler-shrinking lenses, huh? That's a new one. Kudos & congrats on your deer, I'm sure he'll make wonderful table fare.


thgank you for not shooting a tiny little deer like that when you were here in iowa.


From a blind over bait? Come on Bill, that's not deer hunting!

Kristine Shreve

Glad to hear you had a good time in the Upper Peninsula. As a native Michigander, the UP is one of my favorite places.


Hey as far as I'm concerned use whatever that works in the U.P. I still hunt, I post behind a tree, and I drive deer. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. When you hunt over bait, you can see how many deer are out there. If you can set up a game camera, you can see what you're missing at night. If that makes the hunt more enjoyable so be it. I'm skunked so far. If someone in my camp wasn't hunting over bait, I'd think there are'nt any deer this year but thanks to her, I see that there are a lot of nice bucks that are out there.

If you ever have the opportunity to hunt the U.P., you would be amazed at how big the deer are, especially on the Lake Superior Watershed. The bones are bigger, the bodies and muscles are bigger but they have very little fat. They also don't develop massive horns like deer do in the aggie belts. I don't know why, its just the way it is.

Congratulations Bill. That's a beautiful buck.

Bill Wiley

Nice deer Bill! As a native Michigander I have hunted in the UP and around the East Tawas area. Always had breakfast at Jerry's Restaurant. That was 30 years ago. Now I'm in deep East Texas. Plan to go hunting this weekend in the Big Thicket Nature Preserve, and yes I do have my hunting permit. Will be my first time out this season. Hope all of you fill your tags!!


"...It's the second day of deer camp, and all da boys are here..." by Da Yuppers
It's a real hoot!




Be careful in the Big Thicket! You know, Bigfoot just might be in a rut cycle also!
I'm an East Texas native and I've only driven through the "Thicket" a couple of times. An absolutely beautiful drive in the fall! Strange that an area so remote is so close to Houston!



Congrats on your buck, Bill

To the nay sayers....theres NOTHING that compares to whitetails in the U.P.

hunted my first 15 seasons in the Ottawa national forest(pocupine mountain area)....HUGE bodies on those deer.


Do you live in Michigan? Glad you had fun. I am excited to read you new book and all you upcoming articles.
Keep up the good work.

as moeggs

And goes the great bait debate. To bait or not to bait.......I think it's somewhat of a regional thing. It' just what you do when you hunt in the UP. How do you think most of the guys hunt in Saskatchewan? Thanks for hunting the Wolverine state! Great buck.

PS Did you get a chance to drive around and see some of the traditional deer camps while on your hunt? I always thought there could be a great article written on the tradition of deer hunting in Michigan's UP. There are some great old cabins that fill with generations of families who have great stories to tell.

bill heavey

i did get invited into some of those camp to sit down at the table, have a cup of coffee, and work my way closer to the warmth of the wood stove. and you're right, the history and tradition are almost burned into the walls. i'd be staring at an old photo of some smooth-faced boy, beaming with pride at having finally taken his first buck and some grizzled old guy with a bad back would look up, break into a smile, and say, 'that was me. 1961.'



I have hunted whitetails in only two states, but several different areas. All were similar, but different. All were rewarding, though I didn't always kill.
As far as the "Great Bait Debate"?!
When I was a very young man, with only one broken arm in my history, I thought nothing of packing a sammich and spending all day in the woods. At my age, with more calcium deposits than I care to discuss, (not all of 'em my fault!) sitting in a blind near a feeder is very exhilerating. And LEGAL where I hunt! Were it not for feeders, old codgers like me would probably still kill deer, it would just limit our capabilities and bag!



Lee Niven


That buck is what we Yoopers call "a dandy". Walk proud, laddy! Walk Proud! Bucks like that don't come easy no matter what you do. We bait. We drive swamps. We scout and use trail cams. "Dat dere is a good buck!"

Camp Porcupine 9 Camp Boss


Congrats Mr. Heavey!!!

Nice looking buck! Here in Texas we are very comfortable hunting over bait. I'm most proud of the animals that I've killed that weren't over bait, but I still enjoyed (and enjoy) the experiences over bait too!

Congrats again!
P.S. - Did you kill that fellow with the Model 7600 with the scratched stock that you were considering buying from your buddy? I believe that you were planning on getting it at quite a discount. That was after you ironed out some stuff with the phone company :)

bill heavey

this one fell to a 180-grain bullet from a borrowed .30-06, which put him down in short order.

and i still hate the phone company. bh


Nice deer and congratulations! It must have been a lucky day for suburban guys from Northern Virginia who were having tough seasons. I got my first buck of the year on the same day.

Richard Smith

Congrats on the deer, Bill. However, judging from the looks of his eyes, I'd say you may have a zombie-deer there. You'd better put another slug in his brain, quick. (Anybody there ever hear of Photoshop?)

Breanne Kent

Hey Bill, congrats on your buck! You put my fathers to shame. (My dad is Geno's buddy Dave) You put my buck to shame too. (saw a 4pt, but didn't take it, thats a good way for a woman to get kicked out of traditional yooper deer camp) Sorry to get with you so late but us yoopers are a bit computer illiterate. Enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up, eh? :)

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