When Heath Oglesby ripped open the envelope and began flipping through the photographs he had just developed at the local Walmart, his jaw dropped.
“Dudley… Dudley! This ain’t good,” he said, drawing the attention of his hunting buddy William Dudley.
Heath and William were 18 years old at the time, and Heath’s dad, Paul Oglesby, was with them at the Wal-Mart.
“Heath usually jerks them open and goes to looking for that big buck as soon as he gets them,” Paul said. “They got to looking through those things and their eyes got as big as coffee cups.
“They couldn’t figure out what it was. The pictures were kind of foggy, and all you could see was a booger. It
didn’t look like a gorilla”
The trail-cam photos were taken during bow season on a Hart County hunting club where Heath and William had been hunting. There was another member, a 16-year-old, who wouldn’t go hunting after seeing the evidence.
“He heard there was a zoo destroyed in Florida, in a hurricane, and I guess that was the only thing he could figure it was,” Paul said. “I guess he thought a gorilla had come up the Savannah River somehow.”
Actually, the “booger” captured on film was the best 100 bucks Paul ever spent. That’s how much the full-body gorilla suit cost him. It took nearly a week for the 18-year-old bowhunters to figure out they had been had, and Paul finally had to divulge the secret to the 16-year-old so that his hunting season wasn’t ruined.
The ruse, however, took some planning. Paul and a few other club members lay in wait at a house near the club property until they saw Heath and William leave one evening. Paul donned the gorilla suit, and they all went to the camera.
“I wasn’t crawling into that (suit) until after dark,” Paul said. “I was afraid somebody would shoot me.”
Paul had his wife tell Heath that he was out helping run down some escaped cows to explain his absence. The group went out to the trail-cam, and Paul walked back and forth in front of it several times, trying to stay on the outskirts of the flash.
“When that thing started going off, my buddies were rolling in the leaves they were laughing so hard,” Paul said. “That’s the most fun I’ve had on 100 bucks in a long time.”