A Noisy Safety...........
One time while hunting mule deer in Ca., I had picked a likely spot to be before first light. However, when I arrived there very early next morning I got a nasty surprise and that was the noise my boots were making while walking on the oak leaves which covered the ground all over.
Talk about crunch, it was ‘conflake city’, so damned noisy. No self respecting deer could not avoid hearing you coming and be stupid enough to stick around after hearing that. Heck, what to do? Looking around I saw that the oak leaves that had fallen on the road had been flattened by other vehicles and were wet with dew, they were not giving off any ’crunch’. H’mm, that meant that I was going to be relegated to walking the road which was not ideal to my mind at all.
On this occasion I was carrying my Winchester “Featherweight” model 70 in 6.5x55 which has a noisy safety catch and to keep it quiet one needs to ease it off slowly which dispenses with the loud ‘Click” when released.
I had walked about 300 yds. down this track/road when I came across a saddle. I’d been walking downhill until I came to the saddle which was the point where the track started up hill. Recognizing that a saddle is often an ideal place for deer to pass from one side of a hill or mountain to the other, I decided to walk across to see if there were any deer hanging around below the saddle on the right side.
I was now walking in ‘corn flakes’ again but I took it real slow. As the land fell away slowly what came into view was a buck just passing on the other side of pile of deadfall. He was moving from my left to right. He was being obscured by the fall but my heart beating faster got the better of me and I forgot to release the safety catch slowly. “CLICK”, it sound like symbols clashing to me and the buck heard it too.
I held the rifle to my shoulder waiting for him to appear from behind the deadfall buy he didn’t appear, he had stopped when he heard the click of the safety. He was still behind the deadfall and did not affording me a shot. Talk about a pregnant moment. He no doubt was listening trying to decide what had made that metallic sound. Time past, and my, did it seem a long time.
Apparently not hearing any other noise while standing still and listening intently he must have decided it was nothing and began walking again. As soon as he came into view I hit him right behind the shoulder where my 129 gr. Hornaday handload severed his spine. He was mine.
That was a lesson well learned that day, a mistake I never made again.