Saving PTO

By Jason Hegg
Montana, 2010, DIY, Public Land

Jason Hegg - Saving PTONovember/December 2011 EBJ (Issue 68) - As I watched people pass by in the hall, I sat and wondered how everything was going to pan out - this was my third day in the hospital, and I was ready to go home. Luckily my family was with me to help me through. "You will have to get out of your wife’s bed before she gets back from the bathroom,” the nurse informed me. Then she handed me our second child, and as I looked at her I couldn’t help but think how much this was going to change my life.

Not only was I father of two now, I had given up my business of seven years and decided to shift gears and try the manufacturing workplace. One benefit of this job is the PTO (paid time off). It was already approaching August and I only had about a week of PTO saved up. I was dumbfounded as to how I was going to be successful this season. My self-employment September vacations had come to an end.

Although bowhunting is the biggest obsession in my life, my family is equally important. My wife has never asked me to give up bowhunting, but I was politely informed that she would really appreciate any help I could give her with the family. Right away, I began scouring public land maps and exercising before work to prepare for a new challenge… becoming an efficient, yet trophybound bowhunter.

Sitting at home during the opener of archery antelope season was painful. I wondered how many bowhunters had already put on their first stalk of the year. But that gave me extra drive when the following fourday weekend arrived. After two days of unproductive glassing, I left the truck blindly to explore a new piece of public land. I found a promising waterhole littered with antelope tracks and after sitting in the sweatbox blind for five hours, my impatience got the best of me. I hoofed up to a ridge that had been taunting me all day. I quickly glassed a shooter buck once I reached the top. He had twenty does with him, and they were feeding down the ridge toward the blind. With only an hour of daylight left, I wasn’t sure they would make it to the waterhole before dark.

I ran back to the blind and circled around to keep the wind in my favor. I got in the bottom of a large coulee and ran their direction. After a long jog, I raised up from the coulee to relocate them - the does were feeding my direction only 100 yards away. I couldn’t find the buck until he snorted behind me. He was keeping a close eye on his does while meandering down the opposite side of the coulee behind me. I put the binos on him and knew he was one I wanted to shoot - I made my move as soon as his head looked away. I sprinted down to the bottom of the coulee and eased up the other side. I ranged a lone piece of sage at 40 yards, and didn’t get nervous until the buck passed by in front of it and turned my direction.

Jason Hegg - Saving PTO

For a full account of Jason's adventure, go to page 26 in the November/December 2011 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.