The four months of fall throughout the country ushers in numerous big game hunting opportunities with a variety of weapons. Rifle, black powder and archery being the most popular seasons where millions of hunters in all 50 states are in pursuit of deer, elk, antelope, moose, bear and other mammals. The techniques of hunting may vary according to the geographic locations because of the differences in terrain and vegetation.
A very popular style is to hunt from a treestand that is hung off the ground anywhere from 12 to 20 feet. Of course, the distance in the air depends on the comfort of the hunter being off the ground strapped to a tree with a 2-foot-by-2-foot platform to stand on and a seat about the size of a computer mouse pad! Obviously, comfort is minimal and any added motion is strictly prohibited because of the location well above terra ferma.
My nephew joined me during the preseason of an archery elk hunt in determining a location for one of my stands so that he could learn more about the outdoors and the hunting experience. We found the right location and the perfect tree, so we proceeded to hang the apparatus approximately 15 feet off the ground with a couple of straps that hopefully would hold this aging senior citizen. I climbed onto the stand to make sure everything was just right for viewing and that the comfort factor was acceptable for the extended time period I would be spending in my new hunting area.
As I was peering down from my lofty perch, I noticed a look of amazement from my nephew Jeff, as he commented, “Are you really going to sit up there all day? What are you going to do to occupy your time?” Guess what – no IPODS, MP3 players, cell phones or any other kinds of distractions. His point was well taken and it made me begin thinking about, “why do I sit for extended periods of time far above the ground in less than comfortable conditions?”
Quite honestly, I enjoy the noise of silence in the woods and realize there is much activity that often goes undetected by most folks on a stroll through the timber. The chirp of a bird, the flutter of a wing, the chatter of a squirrel, or the step of a larger animal like a deer or elk as they walk through the leaves on a well-worn animal trail are just a few of the noises of the forest in some of these secluded areas.
Sitting far above the forest floor creates a different perspective, one might say a “bird’s eye view” of all the different variety of trees, the landscape, as well as the many species of animals that may walk by. With all of these attributes combined, there is much to do and see doing absolutely nothing, sitting motionless in a tree stand. Needless to say, this is not for everyone, but for me, it is what one might say is a MAN-CAVE moment.
When the stillness is broken by the step of an elk in a creek bed or an antler tine breaking a branch, all my human senses come to attention. The excitement of seeing the quarry and the chance of letting an arrow fly raises my adrenalin level to high alert mode and I remember why I am in this treestand. This is the moment that every archery hunter waits for.
The hours of practice and the days of preparation can come to completion with the sound of a bowstring and the release of an arrow with a well-placed shot. The silence of the woods is broken momentarily, but all will remain quiet again in just a minute or two.
This is big game hunting that has gone on in our country since our forefathers got off the boat more than 400 hundred years ago and was done for generations before that by the original Americans. It is not for everyone and that is OK, but it is a right and a privilege that should remain constant in our great country.
This weekend enjoy the outdoors of the Rim Country - God’s creation.