View From The Blind
View From The Blind Introduction
ÂŠPatrick Cote 2008
This book is dedicated to: My Grandpa Harp
View From The Blind Photography and Words By Patrick Cote With Additional Writings From Ben Galloway Eric Huleatt
unting has always been a part of human culture, originating from necessity. But now hunting has become a type of sport. Why has something that was once done for survival still done as type of recreation? While there are people who hunt just for the kill, hunting is more than just shooting an animal for fun. Hunting is about the experience. Waking up at four in the morning. Being in the woods for hours. Trying to outsmart wild animals. Enjoying a hunt with friends and family. Tradition is also large part of hunting. It becomes a bonding experience for fathers and sons, grandfathers and grandsons, and uncles and nephews. Hunting is an experience that, when done right, is enjoyable for everyone involved. Even if you donâ€™t bring along a gun. 6
When youâ€™ve shot one bird flying, you have shot all birds flying.
They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first.
- Ernest Hemingway
t the age of 12, Eric Huleatt went out duck hunting with his dad, a friend, and his dad. They only shot a couple of birds but at that point he had nothing to judge the experience on so he thought that was
“a pretty darn good day.” After that it just became something he and his dad would do together. Eric couldn’t describe exactly why he wanted to go again, it just became something he always wanted to do. Eric credits his dad for teaching him the basics of hunting but he learned most of what he knows just from going out and spending time in the woods. “The only thing that can really make you a better hunter is experience,” said Eric. After almost 10 years of hunting Eric has figured out many of the reasons why he loves hunting so much. He loves the how calm everything is at four in the morning, when no one is awake. He loves anticipation of the drive. But most of all Eric said, “I love hunting because it gets me away from the crazy busy world and allows me to slow down and just hang out with friends and family without having a care in the world.”
fter talking to a friend of mine in anatomy class who said he had shot at two bucks over 135 inches in the
last two years I decided I was going to go up to the same location to chase whitetails. I planned on going in much farther than where he hunts so that I did not intrude on the secret spot that he decided to share with me. The only problem was I wanted to go in about four miles but was not really looking forward to dragging a buck back out four miles. In order to avoid this I came up with a plan that seemed fairly fool proof.
â€œ I sent pictures to my brother as soon as I got home.â€? -Eric Huleatt
We strapped the damn thing to the bike seat.
My roommate and I agreed it would most likely be fairly effective so we decided to try riding in on bicycles. We figured if we killed a deer we could just strap in down to the bike and walk it out instead of making the miserable drag out. So we took off into an area that we had never hunted or scouted before with hopes of finding a shooter buck, and that’s exactly what we did. We arrived to the hunting area about 3:45 in the afternoon after riding for about forty five minutes. I found a spot that looked promising and took a seat waiting for the action to begin. After an hour and a half I was starting to get worried to say the least. It was now 5:15 and I had not seen one deer. At this point there were only twenty five minutes of light left! All I could do was wait it out because at this point it was to late to move to a new location. Finally at 5:20 a doe
I feel like
walked out in front of me. Then within the next five minutes two more showed up, but still no bucks, not even a small one. At 5:35 I decided I was just about to dark to shoot, we only had three minutes of legal shooting light left and after only seeing three does I was ready to get the hell out of there. I decided to take one last look around. I was then caught off guard to turn back to my left and see and nice buck walking up behind me at about 25 yards. I quickly froze to avoid spooking him and waited for him to step behind a tree. It seemed like it took forever but when he finally did I grabbed my bi-pod and moved it around to my left as I readjusted to prepare myself for the shot. The buck must have heard me at he point because I saw him stop behind the bush and he didnâ€™t move for at least a minute. Finally he started walking again.
sitting on my ass after riding in and out four miles.
When he stepped out from behind the tree I was ready and waiting. I had my crosshairs sitting right behind his shoulder I quickly grunted to stop him. He then stopped and looked right at me. When he turned his head I took a quick peek at his rack and decided he was worth shooting. Without hesitating I pulled the trigger. This sent the buck into the air with one jump before he took off running. I quickly reloaded and watched to see which direction he was headed in. After he was out of sight I packed up my gear and waited for my roommate to walk over to me. Once he got there we grabbed our light and started looking for blood. We found a fair amount right where I shot the buck but it quickly decreased with each
blood spot we came too. Finally my roommate got impatient and decided to just go looking in the direction I saw him run. It took about fifteen minutes but we finally found him laying no more than 75 yards from where I hit him, he had a hole right behind his shoulder where I had aimed. At that point the real work began and it took us four hours to get that thing taken care of and hauled out of the woods. I am definitely glad that we brought the bikes because they most definitely cut our work in half and worked even better than I expected them to. It was another successful hunt and although very different from last years kill it was certainly satisfying as always! It was then time to start thinking about elk again. -Written by Eric Huleatt
tarting out shooting skeet with his uncle, Ben developed a love for
shooting shotguns. After that first skeet shoot Ben started going to a local sporting clay range on a regular basis. After taking his dad and
brother out to the clay range, they decided to go on a pheasant hunt.
Ben remembers being excited about the hunt, but a little nervous about miss-
ing his shots. “All I remember is I fired and the bird fell. After that, I wasn’t nervous anymore, and just enjoyed the experience,” said Ben.
The next time Ben hand an opportunity to go hunting was when he came to
college. As a freshman, Ben met Eric who took him out and taught Ben most
of what he knows about hunting. “You can definitely tell when we are hunting. We almost think the same way now,” said Ben.
The first shotgun Ben got was from his grandfather. Being able to continue on
the tradition of hunting using his grandfather’s shotgun is one of the reasons Ben loves hunting so much.
â€œ We could feel the wind from the birds landing
so close to us. I think I could have kicked one.â€? -Ben Galloway
ost of the duck hunting I do is jump shooting. Usually I go out after class and walk a slough that
comes off the Bitterroot River. It starts off in the parking lot. I pulled up and there was no one there. That is the best feeling, because you know there isnâ€™t going to be anyone out in front of you shooting the birds first. I got out of the truck and got my gear to-
gether. I put on my jackets, my waders, and I loaded up my gun. I start off toward the water, being as quiet as possible as I went. 41
I would have to crawl up to the edge since my cover ended about ten yards I moved down the slough checking each piece of open water for ducks that might be sitting on the water. At the end of the slough, a group of birds got up off the water in a place where I didnâ€™t expect them. They were too far away to shoot at. The only thing that frustrates me more than missing an opportunity is actually missing a shot. I started off back up the river to another slough that usually always holds birds, so it was easy to forget the missed opportunity earlier since I would probably have another chance soon. I had to cross the river to get to the other slough, which was a challenge today since it had rained hard a few Ieks ago, and the water was still higher than normal. I got to the other side and started walking toward the slough. A pair of ducks flew overhead, and I heard their wings on the air.
from the edge of the water.
I never saw them coming. It didn’t matter because they were too high to shoot at anyways. I turned and watched them fly down the river and out of sight. I walked a little ways father up the river bank to where the other slough joins up. I checked in the first hole and there were no birds, but I wasn’t worried since most of the birds I have killed on this slough have been farther upstream. I slowly crept up to the edge of the slough and poked my head up above the weeds on the bank. I wanted to see upstream if there were any birds sitting on the water that I could sneak. Sure enough, there was a group of about six tucked up close to the bank.
When your preparation pays off, it feels great.
I fired a second shot at the second duck, but it One of the hens saw me, but I ducked out of the way in time that she didn’t spook. Because she was through some bushes, so my shot didn’t hit. knew I was there, I had to be extra careful in order I was looking around for another bird to shoot, to make sure she wouldn’t take off before I got close but i couldn’t see any. I heard Pat yell from behind enough to shoot. I circled way back behind her so I me, “Up top!” I looked up to see one bird flaring away from me. Almost without thinking my gun could come straight at her through the Ieds. When I got close, I realized I would have to crawl was at my shoulder and I fired my last shot. up to the edge since my cover ended about ten I hit the bird right in the chest and she Int down yards from the edge of the water. I got down on my hard, but I saw her swimming, so I knew she wasn’t dead. I started running toward hands and knees and began to her in order to get a good idea advance, by putting my gun out of where she swam into the in front and then following it weeds. I got to where she went with my knees. When I got close in and couldn’t see here anyenough to shoot, I couldn’t see where. the birds. I thought that they I lifted up some tufts of grass must have swam somewhere that were hanging over the wasince they had seen me earlier. -Ben Galloway ter. I didn’t see anything. One I lifted my head some to see if I could spot them. A single duck flew overhead more tuft, and all I saw was tail feathers. She had and let out a quack. In response, the birds I was crammed herself in a hole under the bank. I reached my hand in and grabbed her back and pulled her looking for quacked. out. She was still alive and flailing around, so with They had swum to my right. Just as I was thinking of a way to sneak back and a quick snap of my wrist, I broke her neck to kill come out right on top of them, I heard them get up her. off the water. I thought I had missed my chance, I went back and picked up the second bird, which but then I saw them coming at me low on the water was still laying where it fell. I picked up my spent through the bushes. I stepped up into my shooting shells, and then it was back across the river to the truck. A successful day of jump shooting. lane and toasted the bird flying in the rear.
I heard Pat yell from behind me, ‘Up top!’
-Written by Ben Galloway
oth Ben and Eric are disappointed with the perception of hunters that so many people have. While many people have the idea that hunters are just bloodthirsty killers, they both believe that is only a tiny percentage of people who hunt.
I think people need to understand that hunters as a whole do not cause trouble. Most of us are good shepherds of the land and take care of both the land and animal resource. There are just those few that screw it up for the rest of us, and hunters as a whole are ashamed to be associated with those people.
The first thing that I think people need to realize is that people don’t hunt because they are blood thirsty murderers. Hunters care about the well being of the species they are pursuing just as much or more than all the bunny huggers out there. Hunters are grateful that they have the opportunity to participate in a tradition and pastime that they love and they want to make sure that opportunity will always be available. Hunting is never just about the killing.
Captions Cover Ben Galloway and Eric Huleatt walk back to the truck after a quick morning of duck hunting.
Table of Contents Early morning view in Whitehall, Montana.
Page 7 Holding his binoculars at his side, Eric Huleatt checks his shooting lanes before his hunt.
Pages 8-9 Eleven images stitched together to create a panorama of Pipestone, Montana.
Page 10 Ben Galloway drives his new Toyota Tacoma through a slough after a morning of hunting.
Page 11 Whitetail doe. Miller Creek, Missoula, Montana.
Page 12 While setting up to take a picture of the geese they shot, Ben Galloway and Eric Huleatt see more birds in the sky.
Page 13 Eric Huleatt lays out his gear to dry off after a wet elk hunt.
Page 14 Eric Huleatt lays in his snow camouflage (a white bedsheet) while goose hunting near his hometown of Arlington, Washington.
Pages 16-17 Eric Huleatt pushes through tall grass trying to flush out pheasants.
Pages 18-19 After shooting and wounding a duck, Eric Huleatt chased the duck for several minutes while it swam underneath the water.
Page 20 Eric Huleatt sets up his blind for his evening deer hunt. “You got to be really well hidden when you’re bow hunting,” said Huleatt.
Pages 22-23 The key to a successful hunt is having all your gear packed and orgranized well.
Page 24 After getting his 4x5 Whitetail deer back to his house, Eric Huleatt has an opportunity to look over it in the light.
Page 25 Excited to show his brother the deer he shot, Eric Huleatt uses his cell phone to send a picture message.
Pages 26-27 Eric Huleatt, with help from friend Ben Galloway, strings up his deer while Huleatt’s girlfriend, Megan Babich, sits and watches.
Page 28 After shooting his deer, Eric Huleatt used a bicycle to pack it out.
Page 29 While drinking a beer after he strung up his deer, Eric Huleatt said, “I feel like sitting on my ass after riding in and out four miles.”
Page 31 Eric Huleatt skinned his deer the day after he shot it.
Page 33 Ben Galloway navigates through tall grass while pheasant hunting near St. John, Washington.
Pages 34-35 Waiting for birds to come in, Ben Galloway sits up from his layout blind.
Page 36 Ben Galloway reloads his over-under shotgun after shooting a quail.
Page 37 Walking in line with his dad and friend, Ben Galloway hopes to kill quail.
Page 38 With grass mats as layout blinds, Eric Huleatt and Ben Galloway scan the skies for birds.
Page 39 A hen mallard. Whitehall, Montana.
Page 40 Ben Galloway walks along the Bitterroot river south of Missoula, Montana.
Page 42 Waders are an essential part to any effective duck hunt.
Captions ...continued Page 43 Ben Galloway loads his Benelli shotgun. The gun is made of completely of synthetic materials to prevent rust.
Pages 44-45 Hunting one of his favorite sloughs, Ben Galloway looks for birds tucked in close to the bank.
Page 46 Ben Galloway creeps up to the edge of the river hoping to jump some birds.
Page 47 After sneaking a group of mallards, Ben Galloway was able to shoot two hens.
Page 49 Ben Galloway crosses the Bitterroot river on his way back to the truck after an afternoon of duck hunting.
Page 51 Eric Huleatt looks across a draw while on a pheasant hunt.
Page 55 A view from the blind in Arlington, Washington.