Heith DeMoss, Hunter’s Paradise
Written by: Maya< Back to Articles
Heith DeMoss has traversed the width and breadth of the United States, setting eyes on some of the most beautiful scenery the country offers. But at the end of a summer run, the saddle bronc rider can scarcely wait to return to Louisiana, the place he says feels and tastes like home thanks to the people, the landscape, and a hunter’s paradise.
The Bayou State offers diverse hunting opportunities, and Heith has experienced many of them, such as deer, squirrel, duck, dove, hog, rabbit, frog, and gator hunting. One of his latest trips took him to South Texas for white tail bow hunting, where a hunter recently tagged a buck nearing 200 inches. “Being in a spot like that is thanks to Record Rack, which is what they feed there,” says Heith. “I’ve never killed a big buck – I’ve always wanted to – and being out there gives me a good shot.”
Before the eight-time WNFR qualifier started rodeoing professionally, he was an avid hunter and belonged to several hunting clubs. “Rodeo is more on my radar screen now, but my friends invite me and I go whenever I can,” he says. “I really like being out in nature, completely camouflaged so nothing knows you’re there. You get to see things happen that you wouldn’t normally just walking in the woods. Squirrels come up close and birds land on the branch next to you. It’s more of a plus just for me to be out there in the quiet and the moment of what God created.”
Less peaceful but highly entertaining is Heith’s penchant for squirrel hunting. “It’s a big deal down here – people train dogs for it. You take your dog and horse, grab your shotgun, and go ride. It’s quite a task to shoot a running squirrel, let alone doing it from a running horse. It’s a challenge and great fun. You can eat squirrel, but there’s a special way to cook it,” Heith adds with a laugh. “For the average person to shoot a squirrel and cook it, they’d probably lose a few teeth. You can put squirrel in gumbo or a mulligan or whatever you want, but there’s a right and a wrong way to cook it.”
Heith’s 16-year-old son, Gavin, follows close in his dad’s bootprints when it comes to hunting. His current interest is bow hunting, and father and son make a trip at least once a year to a hunting club in South Texas. They also went gator hunting last year and came home with a total of eight. “Most gator hunting is down south. We live by the Red River, and there’s gators in pretty much any river in Louisiana,” Heith explains. Gavin also competes in high school rodeo, team roping as a header. With the spring high school rodeo season on the horizon, Heith and his wife, Hallie, are always on the move to practices or team ropings with their kids. “Our daughter, Dixie, is five, and she has a good time at whatever she’s doing. She’s a high-spirited young lady!” says Heith.
His own rodeo season starts with the RNCFR in Kissimmee, Florida, on April 7 after qualifying on the Southeastern Circuit. Only weeks after his qualification, Heith had surgery on his ACL, which he had torn in Calgary, Alberta, in 2015. “I got it fixed two days after going to the NFR, and it’s been sheer hard work since then. On top of physical therapy, I’ve been trying to get my body in shape, and at thirty-one years old, it’s time for a fellow to step up not just mentally, but physically.”
Heith and Hallie are relocating their Louisiana roots a quarter mile down the road where they’re building a new house this year. Heith also teaches several rodeo schools a year and helps with his father-in-law’s youth camp, Redeemed Ranch. His ultimate goal is clinching a gold buckle at the WNFR, along with winning Cheyenne Frontier Days, Calgary Stampede, and Pendleton Round-Up. “I’d love to win The American as well, so those are the goals I have set thus far. I believe they’re in reach, but a fellow has to do his part!”