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March 03, 2008

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Bill Heavey: Knife Giveaway Winner

The votes are in, the decision is final, and the winner of the shed hunting contest is Jack. He didn’t win because he came up with a good name, but because any guy who needs a Gerber folding knife bad enough to write poetry for it is embarrassingly desperate. (Also - and this is the painful part - it was actually a pretty good poem.) Jack, send your snail mail address to [email protected] and he'll forward to me. I’ll get you the knife - eventually.


Sore losers, repeat after me: "You get what you get and you don't get upset."

I have neglected every responsibility under the sun to go out four times this week. What I have to show for it is a single fresh shed, barely a 5-pointer, right side, that could belong to what will be a nice buck next fall.

In the same area, I came across a long-dead buck with antlers, four on one side and a single 10-inch spike on the other. This was significant because it indicated that either nobody was hunting antlers in the area or at least nobody was desperate enough to cut horns off a rotting carcass. The absence of competition made my heart soar.

I've been finding a disconcerting number of small buck skulls and sheds that are at least a year old: bleached white and porous by the sun, chewed ragged by rodents. It got me wondering if I simply can't see the new, darker antlers all around me or if better hunters are just leaving the old stuff.

On public land surrounding the Beltway in Maryland, I found three hang-on stands and a Moutltrie broadcast feeder (legal in Maryland). They must have been there for years, because the trees involved had all grown over the screw-in steps, effectively making them permanent. Talk about audacity.

Late yesterday afternoon, I was walking south-facing slopes and hilltops in a stream-valley park near mega-mansions in Potomac, Maryland. There were trails so highly used I expected to find "HOV Only" signs along the route. And there wasn't a shed to be found. As the afternoon wore on, I neared the crest of a rise and heard a sound like fast applause. Turned out to be dozens of hooves tearing through very dry leaves. I sprinted to the top and saw the host of white flags departing. Being unpressured suburban deer, the herd stopped after 60 yards. And there, real as an envelope from the IRS in your mailbox, was a big, fat buck. I could tell it was a buck because of his large body. The other giveaway was antlers firmly affixed to his skull. He was a tall-and-outside-the-ears 7-pointer. I watched him for five minutes before he ambled out of sight. This was at 5:32 P.M. on March 2.

At least now I've got an excuse for why I'm not finding more.


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Thank you Bill.

And to my fellow contestants: "Got me a nice little blade here. Check it out."

John D

Congrats Jack.

Bill, I've had a slow year too. Three total this year. And nothing bigger than 40".

My stomping grounds are 80 miles away. Getting there is a significant time and money vacuum that I have absolutely no problem justifying. Somehow.



Boo-Hoo! I deserved that knife!! Cheater! I bet your eight-year-old rote that pome!!

Seriously, congrats jack, I know there will be others so thought I'd be the first to complain! LOL!!

Another thing.
Scott B. and Bill H.
Guys, you need to check out www.progressivefarmer.com and the article called "Deer Trouble"! Since you guys are at the "top of the heap", so to speak, you may find information or have ideas that you could throw out for the rest of the "hunting" world!
Take a sec, all you hunters out there! There is some info that might enhance your hunting chances near you!

P.S. No thanks necessary!
Public Service Announcement No. 297867-B


Is it just me, or could Locke from the TV show "Lost" and Bill Heavey be brothers? Or.....could they be the same person?

Trae B.

tom I really think your right they look alot alike and I aint found a single shed.but I aint been out much if ya'll have any tips share em please.


Trae B

1. Go every chance you get!
2. Walk slowly!
3. Look hard, sheds look alot like dead sticks!
4. Go every chance you get!
5. Take binoculars!
6. Go every chance you get!
7. Fence jumps, bedding areas, well traveled trails!
8. Go every chance you get!

Hope this helps!


Terrance Mahoney

Congrats Jack

But consider this,it's Heavey's Knife and may carry some curse like the egyptian mummy's. "He that possesse's it may never taste venison again" Better forward it to me for proper disposal save your self while you can.

Terrance Mahoney

Not to change the subject.

Has anyone found any morel mushrooms yet? Still very early But would appreciate any sightings especially from you fellow oakie's. Usually find most of them while hunting shed's. They are very tasty with some venison gavy.

bill heavey

trae b,
bubba forgot tip number one: south facing slopes. deer spend most of their time in these areas to save body heat. more time they spend in a spot, greater likelihood of dropping an antler. carry a compass.

when i'm speed hunting, i move from one south -facing hilltop to another.

don't necessarily find anything, mind you. but it gives you the illusion that you're failing more efficiently.

the terrible truth is that there's no substitute for time and miles walked in the woods. i read where one shed hunter figured out he averaged nine foot-miles for each antler recovered.

if you have to find antlers to have had a successful day, you're skewered.

enjoy being out there, enjoy expanding your "deer sense" - abiility to track and read sign and look at a landscape and predict where deer will travel and bed.

then you'll start finding more sheds. it's not a linear path. i winds and doubles back on itself. bh


While out a few day ago, I found a bed that was, at least to me, surprisingly open. Granted, I was into deep woods and well away from any human activity. My clue? There had been a dusting of fresh snow everywhere except for the three large ovals of bare ground surrounded by what seemed to be a deer trail expressway interchange.

Of note, I realized that what seemed to be open from eyeballs 6 feet above the ground, changed considerably when viewed from a 3-4 feet above ground. I also backed away from the bed to view it from a distance, trying to figure out what made that spot any better than another.

I spent the rest of the day crouching periodically so that my vantage point matched the deer's - so that I would see the terrain and cover as he sees it.

Didn't find a damn thing - but any day outside is a good day.


Wrote a poem??? That's bordering on cheating. But congratulations and nice finds!

Trae B.

Thanks.But the peoblem is I can only really go shed hunting on weekend evenings because of school and work,but the south facing ridges ive never heard that one and why "south" whats wrong with north,east and west?
The best tip I have for looking for them is.Dont look ive never found one while I was looking I just happen to walk across the ones I find.


It's in the moon and stars Trae.
As the world tilts on it's axis, the sun actually moves a bit closer during the winter and is prevalent in the southern hemisphere! Got that!?
With the sun in the southern hemisphere, south facing slopes are warmed by a closer sun, also, south facing slopes are blocked from north winds, making them all the warmer. That's why deer don't have to build fires to stay warm.


Trae B.

They could sleep in my room if they wanted as long as they diddent make a mess and let me have the sheds,then they wouldent have to bother which way is south...just kiddin thanks Bubba,and every one else.

robert v

i find my while im working on the farm they get baled up into the hay and fodder. this works great because the baler usaully knocks most the tines off so they are more compact and easier to store i even have a four point that came from someplace out west and i had no travel expense.


Hey Bill

Nice interview in the Pittsburg-Post Gazette. Now, if we can just find a way to get you near Toledo, Ohio for the Bass Pro Shops grand opening this June....

Five Questions For Bill Heavey



what happened to the pics of the sheds my buddy and I found that I sent in. They're from the Massachusetts Archery State Record. What beats the Massachusetts Archery State Record sheds? If Jack won because he's better looking than me, that wasn't contest criteria. Enjoy the knife Jack.

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