Tree stand hunting is about hours of boredom interrupted by moments of intense excitement. How a hunter survives boredom is the challenge. A dedicated hunter arrives and leaves in the dark unless they filled their tag. They can’t wait to do it all again the next sunrise.
Even the most comfortable tree stands become uncomfortable. Sitting 20 feet in the air on a swaying tree is tough and lonely work. A secure safety harness, binos, range finders, and calls will get in the way. Your weapon needs to available with minimal movement.
You do get some company. An occasional owl, squirrel, or other critter will visit. Bugs can drive you crazy. If you are sitting near homes and development, you can see others from a distance.
Anticipation is intense. Did you pick the right spot, are you there at the right time, are you organized and practiced enough to fulfill your goal? ￼
Tree cams, sign, and scouting shows what happens when you are not there. You have given the deer names and know what times they show up. After the first gunshot, everything changes. When Rut peaks, deer lose their minds and everything changes. When a storm front approaches, everything changes.
So, we wait, and wait, and wait. Patience is key. If you are not confident, just stay home. Time in the stand will pay off if you invest the time.
Some hunters nap. Sleeping in the stand can be dangerous. You may sleep through the buck’s arrival. Other hunters never sit still. They constantly wiggle, move, stand up, sit down, and fidget. This movement does not go unnoticed by smart deer.
Today, techy hunters play with their cell phones. They can text other buddies, monitor other tree stand locations and tree cams, play games, or Google, Twit, TikTok, Facebook, or email their brains out. Once in a while they can take a picture of a non-shooter deer passing by. The cellphone is another piece of gear to get in the way.
When I learned to be at peace in a tree stand, I mastered this style of hunting. I packed in snacks, drinks, and goodies. Candies that dissolve slowly are a good choice. Tootsie Rolls and pops, taffy like Sugar Daddies helped pass the time tastefully. Reading a book helped, especially if was short stories or supported your education in the woods.
Cell phones do allow you to store a picture of your hunting license or contact help if you fall out of the tree.
A twig snapping, leaves crunching, a grunt or other deer noise focuses your attention immediately if you are awake or not in a serious Tweeting/ texting message. Whatever you do remember your prime motivation has 4 legs and antlers not a meme and hashtags.
Once you master mind over matter, you can sit all day and wonder where the time went.
Ssshhh. Did you hear that stick crack?