The Time-Tested Deer Stand
When the days become shorter and the air becomes a bit sharper, my mind wanders off my work and into the field. Summer slowly comes to a close, and the boat goes into the garage.
New England has some wild season changes, and I for one would not miss a single season it has to offer. I have a close friend who has endured many a season afield and is a fine hunting partner. We have spent many hours practicing with bow and arrow.
Whitetails are my favorite game. The challenge of beating a whitetail's senses and wits has never been matched by any game animal I have hunted thus far. Scouting plays a role in deer hunting, as does all the practicing and equipment. Harvesting the animal is only a small part of the hunting experience. In my area, it's a long season starting in mid-September and ending in mid-December.
As time marches on, the coats come out of the closet and opening day draws close. We hunt an area not far from my home where there are abundant white oaks and hay and corn fields. I have several stands and always scout the hardwoods for trail directions. I keep track of all I find, including sightings, for later use.
At last opening day has arrived and my mind is racing as I can only begin to settle down in my stand. It takes lots of hard lessons to become a good stand hunter, but the most important is that if you move around, you will be spotted. It is critical to have the right frame of mind.
I become one with my surroundings. I listen for the footstep of a deer or a distant grunt of that old buck. As I listen, a bird rustles its feathers and I know not what kind of bird it might be, but each sound becomes magical.
By now sunlight has risen above the treetops and much-needed warmth has finally arrived. Each tree has a shadow all its own and each shadow is slowly disappearing. Some geese have landed on the far edge of the cornfield and something has startled them. I guess they are on their way to a destination unknown. This is just another of nature's mysteries.
It's almost noon and a bowhunter has slowly edged into the corner of the field and into the woods to a spot only he knows is right for his day in the field. Many hunters have a real interest in returning to a chosen spot year after year, and the reasons vary for each hunter. Many don't even know what draws them back year after year.
It might be that certain stand of trees in that part of the forest or the sound of that babbling brook that opens into a small pond that holds even more animals like beaver and waterfowl that offer an element of interest to the mind of a stand hunter.
Harmony with nature is obtained only when closest to nature itself. When you find this spot you become one with your surroundings; and then and only then you will be content and patient until the moment arrives for that majestic trophy to come into view.