Uncle Larry and the Harvey Wallbanger Buck
Those crazy family friends... everyone's got one or two of them. They are usually the last to put down the beer at a backyard barbeque and the first to bring up embarrassing stories from your past. My Uncle Larry is that guy. He is not my blood uncle and is not in my family but he's an uncle just the same. He is crazy... just plain nuts! Think Cousin Eddy from the National Lampoon's movies. It's sad but that is the best description I can think of. Uncle Larry lives out in Michigan and we usually get to see him once or twice throughout the holidays. He always talks about coming out to Colorado some October and shooting all our game. Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet. He loves to hunt whitetails out east though. This is the story of one of his hunts that was preceded by a night of celebrating at the bar. And you guessed it... it was also followed by a night of celebrating at the bar.
My Uncle Larry coaches pee wee league football. He played football growing up and it is his only passion other than chasing does and little bucks. He takes his coaching seriously. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas he goes on and on about his "little warriors". Well it just so happened that one of those "little warriors" that he had coached some ten years earlier had just played in his first college game the day before Uncle Larry planned to hunt. This was good news for Uncle Larry... but not for his liver! Uncle Larry was happy, Uncle Larry was proud, and by 7:00 PM the night before the hunt, Uncle Larry was feeling good. He celebrated late into the night but when the bar closed, he got a ride home to catch some shut eye before waking at the break of dawn to hunt deer.
Well the break of dawn came... and the break of dawn went. 7AM rolled into 8AM and before long 9AM had come and gone. Needless to say, Uncle Larry was going to be getting a late start. Good thing his blind is only a couple hundred yards off his back porch. He woke to the sound of heavy rain beating on the janky top of his mobile home. He did not in any way feel like a million bucks. But could he find himself a single buck?
He grabbed his old beat up 35 Whelen, laced up his boots and stepped out the door. He was not feeling good. The night before had left him feeling slightly under the weather... if you know what I mean. He spooked a couple does on the way to his stand but there was nothing he could do about it. Walking only made him feel worse and he just wanted to get to the stand and sit down. He got to the stand and promptly flipped over the 5 gallon bucket that he normally uses as a seat and expelled the contents of his stomach into it. It made him feel much better but it's probably safe to assume that deer detest the smell of human vomit just as much as they do any other human odor. He dumped the buckets contents out of the blind's shooting window and took up residence for the next couple hours. Before long, he was asleep. And because our guest bedroom is right next to my bedroom at my parents house, I can tell you from experience that Uncle Larry snores like a bear that ingested cough syrup before going into his den. I am sure the deer were as thrilled with his record-setting "death rattle" as I was on Christmas' past.
When Uncle Larry woke, it was mid afternoon. He was feeling better but he needed food to carry him through the final stage of his hang over. He peered out the blind window and did not see a deer and figured that "today just isn't my day." He climbed out of his blind and headed for his mobile home. He had made it about a hundred yards when he heard a snort wheeze. He spun to face whatever made the noise and laid eyes on what he claims to be, "the biggest --BLANKIN-- deer I've ever seen!" In a flash he was looking down the rifles open sights and was settling on the giant buck's vitals. He pulled the trigger and the rifle went CLICK. Uncle Larry panicked. He lowered the gun and worked the bolt. In his daze from earlier that morning he had forgotten to load a shell in the chamber. Now the rifle was ready to go but by the time he got the rifle back up, the deer's danger-flag was bobbing away at over two hundred yards. When Uncle Larry looked back to the spot where the buck had been standing, he was shocked to see another deer standing there. It had antlers and in less than a second the rifle had boomed and the deer had dropped. Uncle Larry took the deer to his local butcher and dropped it off. And I bet you can guess where he went next. He found his way to the local watering hole and did a little more celebrating.
I can't imagine drinking that heavily before a hunt. My time hunting is just too precious to spend it in that kind of dilapidated condition. In his defense, he never drinks while actually hunting and is a really safe hunter. So who am I to criticize his way of doing things as long as he's being safe. But whenever he brings up some embarrassing story about me at a family event, you bet that I remind him about the giant deer that he shot at with an empty chamber!