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December 10, 2007

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Bill Heavey: Caught with My Camo Pants Down

We got our first snow the  other day, so I knocked off work early. Real early, shortly after brushing my  teeth. I figured they’d be moving mid-day and was, for once, right. There I  was, trudging through the still-falling flakes towards the side of a hill  where trails converge when I practically bumped into a doe and offspring  coming the other way. For once, I saw the deer first. But only by about three  seconds. They were 15 yards off and bopping along as casual as can be. Then  they caught sight of me. No telling what I looked like to them through the  mini-blizzard (an especially furious little storm cell was passing through at  the moment). Mama snorkeled her head all around and took a few steps closer.  She was more curious rather than frightened, and I wondered if my reputation had preceded me.

Had  I approached my stand as all the magazines tell you to: hunting from the  moment the car door shuts, an arrow nocked and ready?

Was I  already scoping out shooting lanes and picking a spot on the animal to aim at? 

You bet I was. And the really surprising thing was that the special friends I had brought along on this hunt--the Pope, Jessica Alba, and the head of the CIA--all had the good sense to remain absolutely still.

Of course I wasn’t prepared. My arrows were all  safe in their quiver. My release was carefully secured around a limb of the  bow. I was more prepared to compete on American Idol than I was to arrow a  deer. Somewhere, I thought I heard the sound of Chuck Adams laughing. 

They stood for about 10 seconds--curiosity itself. A whiff was  all they needed to answer their questions. They swapped ends and vanished into  the brush.

I thought over my options, climbed the nearest tree,  and sat still as a Buddha for three hours. During that time I caught sight of  another doe group, five of them, who must have been watching the whole time from  their beds on a hilltop, which I ranged at 219 yards through the woods. 

Neither they nor I moved there till dark, at which point I  climbed down. I count no day afield a defeat. I was honing one of the skills  essential to our kind: Treading that fine line between hunting really hard and making a complete idiot of yourself. 

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Comments

jack

I suppose a hilltop assault with a sun-blotting shower storm of broadheads (as in Thermopylae) was out of the question?

Think about it - crank the poundage on your bow till it begs for mercy, aim at a declination of 45 degrees (to clear those pesky treetops), empty your quiver, and start fillin' out some tags.

jstreet

Glad to see someone else does this type of thing as well.

I've shaken my head @ myself more times that I care to admit. I'm beginning to think PETA is putting something in the water I drink to make me this inept.

Jim

Bill

Bill,
Been looking around Columbus Ohio for you book and NOBODY has it. they are all sold out and it is already out of print. I need one for a Christmas gift for a party this weekend. Any suggestions?

suburban bushwacker

great post, too many keyboard heroes on the internet. nice to hear someone tell it how it is
SBW

bill heavey

bill,
i wish i could help with your desire for a book. (and thanks for wanting it.) unfortunately, i'm just the guy who wrote the damn thing and don't understand much about what happens after that.

you can try online (usually cheaper than cover price, so it evens out by time you factor in postage).

tell you what: post your address on here and i'll send you one.

i'm only doing this because i'm temporarily off my meds, so don't everybody come out of the woodwork asking for a freebie.

bh

Dan

Hey it is really great to here those little tidbits of the days in the field. When stuck at work in a building with no windows. Espically when it snowing out and you had 6 does go by your stand last night. Keep up the good work

shotgunlou

Isnt that the way it goes? Every time I'm really proactive on a hunt and totally prepared I dont see a thing. The second I enter the woods or field without a loaded gun or bow, the dinosaur sized deer and elk emerge from their caves, thumb their noses at me and disappear before I can nock an arrow or chamber a round. I've come to the conclusion that Im just going to have to pretend I'm not hunting when I go hunting.

bill

Dont really want to expose my address like that. You never know who reades these things. I appreciate the offer though.

Bubba

If ya ain't never been caught with your figurative, "pants down", you ain't huntin'!
Can remember propping my rifle in the corner of my box blind to peel a recalcitrant piece of paper from my candy bar. Looked up just in time to see the only buck of the day saunter into the "Thicket of No Return!". If I had been alert, coulda got a shot!
Funniest one I ever heard was a fella I hunted with. He had to answer the "call of nature". By the time he got comfortable, his propped up rifle was just out of reach. At the point of no turning back, two bucks came out and started fighting barely 30 yards away! By the time he regained his composure, the deer had called it a tie and walked away! C.J. never lived it down as it was told time after time, year after year!

Bubba

PB

Ya might know...
The one time I left my shotgun home this season was while out in my woods (on my ATV) bringing in a wagon-load of fire wood. I saw a large doe, less than 20 yards away, with an arrow sticking out of her back (from bow season a few days before...) I didn't get her but sure hope somebody did. I'll at least carry the pistol from now on...

MidnightBanjo

My first bow season, Opening day, just stepped out of the truck, banging around with the bow case, not paying attention when out of nowhere a buck stuck his head up. I could just make out that he was an eight pointer across the top of the truck. He was standing on top of a pile of dirt and rock, put there to keep you from driving out in the field(public land), about 20 yards away. I saw him, he saw me, he made this little snort noise like my hound trying to clear his nose, and then he just stood there. I pulled the bow up, no arrow(they were safe and warm behind the seat), no release(still in the bow case), and put the pin on him. I got out hold it there for about 5 seconds before he turned and "Poof" vanished into the brush. That was the only deer I saw until the last day of rifle season. He must have told all his buddies that the season was open.

Cheers!

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Here at home I and my Son hunt our own property. If we arrive at hunting site for that morning before light We don;t load our guns, but if light enough to see a animal, you better have it loaded and the firearm at port arms. If Dark, we wait till we at our stands. I hunt from a ground blind, Son for a 20 ft tree stand. We usually wait till l0 miutes befoere light to laod. But when you enter the woods in daylight, you best be ready at any moment for a deer pop up. I learned that lesson the hard way by reading in some JERKS book, to never load your gun till in your stand. Always pratice safe firearm carry, but why have a firearm if not hunting. Many a deer I;ve killed walking to my stand at mid Am or mid-pm.If hunting our West you better have that gun loaded before you even begin the long walk to your glassing spot. I;ve hunted all the big game in NA, but the W-tailed deer is by far the hardest to get in your cross hairs, unless you are up 20 ft and many trees around you. This past year, I saw a bucjk feeding at 7;30 looking in my direction now and then, he finally turned a quarter turn for a shot, so I foolish like, thumbed the safty and that deer heard that tiny click at l35 yds away. Lucky for me he ran ll5 yds and stopped to see what had made the sound, fatal mistake, I shot him all way thru at 260 yds . Thats one reason I hate a bolt action safety, I used a Rem Auto with slide bar safety on trigger guard for 35 ys, and never had that problem, but the safety on a bolt does click a tad when pushed forward, leason learned .




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