What the HEC just happened? I had become old and my body had given up the skill and dependability of youth. My approach had been far less than totally silent. Indeed, the light wind had been in my favor and my scent halo had melted behind me down the trail, but in the late August heat the grass and leaves were like walking on potato chips. And as my knees had passed the prime condition of their youth and the nimbleness of my foot falls came as they may and not as I wished, as I trod along a hushed crackle and snap of the ground cover should have been the bell ring of trouble arriving for the deer. Yet, there it stood, close enough to put an arrow into the place where all meat surly returns with you to camp, and he seemed to simply be staring past me—the thousand yard stare.
During the past several years where time and my ill spent youth had begun to rear its ugly head in regard to my physical condition, I had found my previously stealthy stalking ability to have waned. Balancing as I would shift weight from leg to leg had become no longer ball-bearing smooth, and had gotten to that place where twitchy pain often threw me into more of a 4-whiskey stagger, forcing me to unexpectedly shove a foot into the dirt instead of laying a sole down in an appropriate place with quiet gentleness. A youth spent in excitement and physical danger like a circus performer had come to bite me in the butt. I had been considering that I had finally come to a point of decadence that halted stalking and intimate killing for older men. However, this day had surprisingly become a successful time spent, and a return to that welcome point of being able to approach my prey close enough to kill with little fore notice, and the effort had quickly lent itself to knife work and a long drag back to fill the meat pole. I had become older- but found that I was not finished yet.
For many years I had considered there was a mystery as to how game should ‘notice’ me, when all known factors normally considered had been dealt with. Care in planning angles of stalk, back lighting and sky line approaches, wind direction and subsequent changes, noise factors and minimizing movement had always been intimately studied and dealt with. However, upon occasion an animal would suddenly post-up and stand stalk still. Attention would be focused in my direction, if not directly at my hide. The prey, often a turkey, deer, elk or bear would stack up in place and not so much as an eye blink would alter their notice that “something’s not right here!” More often the retreat became a stilted, stiff backed exit; a fore warned return in the opposite direction from me, not in panic, but in a manner lent to the conclusion of “spooked but not scared.” My attempt to construct the cause of these failures outside of ‘ambient’ factors kept coming back to a nagging feeling of “Sixth Sense”. And, in the end it seems I have been proven right about that.
Aura… a kind of 1960’s “new age”, Voo-Doo-Hoo-Doo-speak way of describing how a previously misunderstood ‘view’ of a personality could be recognized by some people, has now been recognized as an actual fact of nature. All actions in most biological creatures, of which humans hold their own place, are a matter of synapse… a chemical/electrical communication between the body’s cells that cause everything from thought to voluntary and involuntary tissue movement. Basically we are ‘wired’ by Mother Nature. And in this we give off a recognizable electrical field of energy- giving value to the word AURA. It seems the bond between predator and prey species have a more recognizable feature in this electrical field as the result of which an intimate contact can bring death to one by the actions of the other. Whether the predator gives off a stronger electrical field for one reason or another, or if prey species more easily recognize and differentiate a signal from something that wishes to kill and eat it from a harmless forest neighbor is not completely understood at this time. But, the fact is that hunters biologically betray themselves by their mere presence in proximity to game, and blinds or regular camouflage clothing do nothing to block the energy signature we give off.
Hoping that I might get a bit of a break in my life cycle and choosing to take every advantage possible to return to the woods as a Top Predator, this morning I had put on the very light top and pants of HECS hunting clothing. “Human Energy Concealment Systems” President Mike Slinkard of John Day, Oregon had noticed the same phenomenon I had also personally witnessed over the years. Diving into the research he went to work to figure out what was happening, and through science he discovered the biological reasons that game gets spooked. Like migrating birds that travel by their sense of the electrical fields of the earth, other animals “feel” when a predator’s electrical field is present. The closer the field becomes the stronger the sensation and subsequent awareness by the prey species goes up. While scent is a huge factor in game that bounds away from you, when the wind is in your favor the lack of an electrical field’s presence places the sight of movement as a caution of less than a close secondary motivation to flee. Despite the fact that I had been less than silent on my approach during the morning, and my figure was obvious to the buck as seen in my slow movements, the fact that the woods are neither quiet nor stock still allowed me cover within the simplicity of the normal environment. My presence as a predator had been nullified by the carbon grid fibers woven into the HECS suit that blocked my electrical signature from radiating away from me. I had just become another benign animal or bush that didn’t throw off any danger signal.
At 25 yards my body had become only optically concealed from the knees down by brush… as I slowly drew my bow back the buck had turned and looked straight at me, but then immediately returned to eating. Whether he viewed me as just another movement in of limbs in the breeze that blew into my face I don’t know…and I don’t care. He looked dead straight at me and despite hearing my ungainly approach and seeing my angles move back and for against the brush and trees- he had stood without alarm as I came to full draw, and as he nibbled foliage from a bush he took the arrow straight into the place that all quick kills come from. He had not seen me marked in electrical form as a predator, and in this was his undoing.
I had previously considered giving up bow hunting. Though bow and arrow had been my passion since I first pulled back a string in 1954, my knees had gone and been replaced one at a time, old joints would no longer flex well and my muscles had lost the strength and resilience to hold my balance very long at each step. Frankly the stealth in my stalking had become more of a hindrance than a blessing. I was seeing my favorite sport walking away to a younger man—and I wasn’t happy about it. And then along came HECS— my frailties were no longer as easily apparent to the game. Stalking to intimate killing range was back in my bag of possibles. And, though there will come a point that nothing will be enough to get me through the woods and back again with a killing success—for now I have something to wear that blocks my “Electric Personality” and has put me back into the Successful Predator chapter of life—and I’ll gladly take it.
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