by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, MUCC
I don’t like being in the woods in the dark, or anywhere in the dark. I just am not a fan. However, there is nothing like watching the sun rise through the trees from your tree stand, so walking in the dark to my tree stand is totally worth it. While waiting for that glorious sunlight to brighten the sky, what is there to do? Some people sleep, some get on Facebook, okay, a lot of us get on Facebook, while other sit in solitude.
As you watch the sunrise, and listen the constant chatter of the forest waking up, the anticipation of seeing a deer, or the deer, grows. But after an hour or two, simply sitting there may not work for everyone. I asked around on Facebook to see what entertains my fellow hunters as they enjoy their hunting experience.
Safety gear always seemed liked a necessary piece of equipment, however, after hearing about the amount of potential sleeping that may occur, I have decided it is essential! While Facebook seems to be pretty high on the list, reading, knitting, taking selfies, and simply being with one’s thoughts in nature are also common. Not much of a surprise there.
Some hunters are able to take their tree stand hours quite seriously. While the recharge of being in the woods is still a primary function, the time in the stand can be used to study and understand the habitat surrounding the location, as well as consider habitat improvements there. There is also the ability to track deer patterns, and observe general deer behaviors.
While I have not yet had the opportunity to watch two bucks spar, the hope of seeing that excites me! Watching yearlings frolick around, or just seeing deer peacefully eating in the distance is simply delightful. Even more frequently, watching little squirrels chase each other around can be entertaining.
Basically the tree stand comes down to this, it’s bigger than a big antlers. It’s bigger than meat in the freezer. The tree stand is that one place we can just be. We can learn, rest, enjoy, and exist. The worries, challenges, and headaches of life fade away as we get just a few weeks to take in the beauty, wonder, and complexities of the natural world around us. To be a hunter in a tree stand, is to live.