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January 15, 2008

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Bill Heavey Actually Kills a Buck

Hunting success and I meet up so seldom that I hardly know what to do when he stops to shake my hand.

The fact is, there was nothing particularly dramatic about the encounter in which I killed my buck. (Incidentally, I cannot abide the word “harvest.” A whitetail is not a tomato. Taking the life of a game animal is no small thing, and I fail to see the merit in glossing over that fact.)

I was 22 feet up in a tree and looking down a ridge at about 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning. It was mid-December, a notoriously difficult time to see bucks, and I had no higher hope than a shot at a doe. Then came the shuffling in the leaves behind me. I turned to see, 20 yards out and closing, a buck: big shoulders and curved tines.

There was no time for counting points or guessing his spread. The binary switch in my head just flipped to “shoot” and I clipped release to string. I’d never seen him before, but he was obviously familiar with the area and knew exactly where he wanted to go. And his path would take him right behind me. Five seconds later, he passed within 10 feet of my tree. Five seconds more and he was quartering away at 15 yards. I drew, let him make it to an opening in the brush, and gave him my best bleat.

You should understand that my best bleat sounds like a goat choking to death on a fan belt. But it did the trick. He stopped. I shot. The divot from his leap was a shovel’s worth of black dirt lying atop the wet leaves. The blood trail was continuous, six inches wide, and a full 120 yards long. I have no idea how he made it that far missing that much blood, but he did. I am incapable of aging deer once they appear to have reached the age of 3 1/2, but he looked every bit of that and maybe more. That’s a trophy in my book.


Now that I’ve tagged a good buck, I feel entitled to offer my expert advice on hunting wily old bucks:

1. Spend more hours on stand than you can possibly justify; and
2. Hope that he offers a clean shot before you have time to fully realize exactly what’s going on.


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Congrats on a fine buck Mr. Heavey!



Well done Bill.
Fire up the grill.

suburban bushwacker

"I cannot abide the word “harvest.” A whitetail is not a tomato. Taking the life of a game animal is no small thing, and I fail to see the merit in glossing over that fact"

Well said.

Blue Ox

Kudos on the buck.
How did you find out what a goat choking on a fan belt sounds like?


That's a nice buck, but man, what a tiny body. How'd you ever hit him?

Scott Bestul

Bill: Awesome deer and a great story! Congrats to you! They don't come any harder than late December, especially on a morning hunt. When is the first venison meal?

Gregory Fournier

Hey.........Nice rack Bill, congrats.....You have now been blessed by the Great Spirit..and the Earth Mother!!!!!!!!!! Gregory


I didnt know mature bucks got suicidal?

John Moore


Robert W. Sprague

Congratulations, Bill. There is something to be said for someone who knows we are hopelessly outmatched by the deer and we only kill one when they screw up. Nice buck. It makes up for all the time we hunt our asses off and don't see anything.

John Bramhall

After 28 years of hunting whitetails in northern New York I finally got a shot at a 4 1/2 year old buck. It was November 24,1992, and he was closely following a doe. I was still-hunting in 8" of new snow and I was very lucky to have stopped to look around when they both stepped out into a clearing. Taking that buck changed my life. Prior to that I would take almost any buck that presented himself. After that I have learned to let them go and enjoy the season. This has given me many opportunities to see more bucks and learn more about the whitetail. Congratulations on a nice buck.

Dan Schroeder

congrats on the nice buck there nothing wrong that rack since you cant eat horns. Keep up the good work. Got your book for X-mas and it has been very enjoyable and able to give a ray a light on hope that my daughter can be outdoorswoman in the futur. It works great to read to her at bed time.

Tommy S.

Dang it GREG - all over the keyboard!

We're even.


Congratulations on the nice buck>
I disagree with you. We harvest both crops, livestock and nature's bounty.


After reading of your many problems in pursuit of a buck with a bow, I now have hope. If you can get one, I should have no problem. Right?


Congrats bill, and nicely said on killing vs. harvesting.
its nice to see hunting given the respect it deserves.

Tommy S.

Yooper is right.

You can say you punched a man til he died, or you can say you killed a man.

You can say you paid cash money for a car, or you can say you bought a car.

Say what you want, but the term harvest is used at times by folks that maybe want to soften the impact of there activities on others.

Maybe you say We have to say kill, because that is what it is, or you may say my 87 year old grandmother, or my six year old daughter would rather hear harvest - who are any of you to tell anyone any different?

If you want to be easy on someone's ears, and try to avoid a confrontation, I would say you are respectful and kind. If you think you have to say kill all the time, go ahead, argue, whine, belittle others because they belive differently from you, but save the crap about not being honest.

Tommy S.


I say both kill and harvest, and I don't care what anyone thinks about it. I like to pick my battles, and those of whom I battle with.

Tommy S.

Oh, and before you say it...I am very proud to be a hunter - I just don't have to offend anyone to know it; nor do feel threatened by a person that does not hunt.

tommy s. -
say whatever you want, pal. i'm neither telling you what to say nor what not to say.

if you read what i wrote, it says, "I" can't abide the word 'harvest.' first person singular.

if you have a problem with that, i invite you to have a great time getting your pants in a twist. bh


Funny - I never thought about it until now, but I don't usually use either "kill" or "harvest"... My words are "shot" or "took". Regardless of linguistics, the meaning is the same. A life has been taken (which is why I use "took" I think). People that know me also know that when the term "shot" is used, it means "shot and killed" unless I say "shot at" (which I had to use twice this year) which means "shot at and missed". Just different folks I guess. Personally I don't take offense at choice of words if the meaning is clear. Just my $.02


Oops - forgot to say congrats to Bill! I know what it's like to sit all season for that buck. Hunt on!

Steve R.

Bill, congratulations on your nice buck. I purchased your book and greatly enjoyed it. I have three children, my two boys were with me when I took my first whitetail buck when I was 36 years old. I look forward to reading your future articles. Say hello to David Draper for me. We were classmates in grade school at Sidney Public Schools and I lived three blocks down the street from him. Enjoyed reading about your caribou hunt with him. Keep up the good work!

Tommy S.

"pal", "panties in a twist", ?
Got yer goat did I?

It was not my intention sir. I just felt like you tried to make those that choose to say "harvest", at times, look dishonest or lacking merit.

You also said,
"and I fail to see the merit in glossing over that fact.)"

To say you find no "merit" in the way some choose to speak, or a word they may choose to use, could easily be interpreted as disrespectful and close-minded. I meant you no offense, I just wanted to let others know some feel differently than you.

Also; to say you cannot "abide"
by the word "harvest" is not totally clear. Now, you point out that you used the words "I cannot abide by..", but in the context it was put forth originally, that could also easily be interpreted as you being intolerant to hearing it at all. I am glad you cleared that up.

How about some pics of the deer before you capped him?
Did you double-lung him or hit the heart?


The idiot gadfly interprets as he will.

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