16. Sleepin' and Otherwise
A. Wake up, Pat!
Turkeys by his blind
B. Snoring may bother more than deer
DC in and out doors, Bill under the stand, bright eyes at
fallin' off bunks, running into doors, loud clocks
You'll never get a bunch of guys in a cabin without some nighttime noise.
Bob used to have a long hesitation in the middle of a snore. Anyone awake
would begin to worry about him. One of the guys talked a bit, but no too loud.
And, of course, there's Doug who'll talk to you when the alarm goes off, and
lie, lie, lie about getting up. He won't even admit later that you spoke to
him, much less that he talked to you. Besides, he'll tell you that the best
hunting is in the afternoon (when you're awake) and that the best deer don't
walk around in the dark and birds don't fly before daylight. One of the several
boys named Chris always got the bunk over Doug because it had the lowest ceiling
and he was the youngest. He didn't snore much but he sure could sleep. He
slept himself right off the top bunk at least a couple of times. When he launched
off he'd spread his arms and rotate down and catch Doug, and sometimes Ralph,
across the head. Everybody would be awake, and right then, except for Chris.
He'd still be asleep, but on the floor, when the "woofin' and "what the hellin"
stopped. At an unfamiliar sound, in the middle of the night at the Llano lease,
Bill woke and up at the doorway to the second bedroom. A, huge manlike shadow
with shining eyes almost filled the doorway it was coming through. It was
quite a start. It was 6'4" Sam and his "glasses lights": A pair of glasses
frames with a pen light in each temple piece. With new batteries they may
have worked well for dressing a deer in the dark, but with low batteries,
and to someone who had never heard of such a thing, that minuscule amount
of electricity sure gave Bill a shock.
Everybody will make a little night noise sometime but Doc out did everyone
in regularity, duration and, for sure, volume. The first night he spent at
the Price Ranch Bill, who'd been on more hunting and fishing trips with him
than any of the others, got up and went to the living room. And then put on
hearing protectors. And could still hear him. Doc was one of a kind in a lot
of ways, but nobody could touch the hem of snoring's garment against Doc.
He was out standing. And the next night he was outsleeping - in the trailer.
After a late night and an early rollout Doc would sometimes doze on the stand.
The good news is that if you were hunting within a few hundred yards of Doc
you stood a fair chance of the deer he rerouted coming your way. The bad news
could be that they, just as easily, could decide to leave the country. Either
way you knew that he was napping. On one occasion Doc had secured permission
for Bill to hunt with him and there were no stands and a good amount of low
underbrush. Doc solved that problem by building a couple of ladder platforms
light enough for one man to carry. The ladders were only about a foot wide
and eight foot tall. The seats were about a foot square. Doc and Bill trundled
the stands in one afternoon, strapped them to trees a couple of hundred yard
apart, and came back the next morning to hunt. They got situated before daylight
and after about an hour a sound somewhat like a poorly tuned chainsaw started.
It only lasted for a couple of minutes and was replaced by scraping, yelling
and a good amount of creative cussing. Doc didn't fall off but had leaned
over enough to start the platform around the tree. The ladder went over to
the side and out at the bottom. He'd grabbed on and rode the platform as is
scooted around the tree and down. Doc didn't offer many details from. The
sight when Bill ran up was self explanatory. Doc had literally dropped of
C. Don't sleep with a loaded bow ... or gun
D. Rest in Peace...
He didn't fall off a ladder stand. He did fall asleep. He'd
cocked the Ruger .357-44 single action so not to make noise when the deer
got there. This was not a good plan. He held it in two hands and is dammed
lucky that when he dozed off and dropped the hammer, it was pointed somewhere
other than himself. He did get a forceful awakening and a sliver of finger
removed from his left hand by the gas escaping at the cylinder gap. Don't
you ever do it, not that you would. There's nothing like being younger and
dumber and still living through it. This is why gun safety courses are important.
This should never've happened but it did.
E. Sleeping under a stand