This year was my second time hunting whitetails out of a tree stand, and I was lucky enough to once again hunt during the rut in Kansas. Either I missed out on a bunch of details or I was preoccupied with the brand new experience the first time around, but whatever the reason I have a new respect for folks that hunt stands in late-November.
My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Osborne, made us play “What I learned today…” at the end of every school day. Here is what I would have told her about last week:
1. Cardinals and squirrels sound like giant deer making their way toward your stand.
Heart-stopper only because he is louder than you would think.
2. Educate your wife about scent control and politely ask her not to worry about washing your hunting clothes. A weekend of meticulous planning and care can be ruined with one dryer sheet.
3. A regular sandwich bag cannot hold the contents of an adult bladder. Plan accordingly.
Plenty of room for an all-day sit.
4. Your release lightly tapping against the ladder of your stand while climbing up before first light is the loudest sound on Planet Earth.
5. Pulling a 70-pound bow in September, no matter how awkward the position, is significantly easier than drawing the same weight in single-digit temperatures.
6. Hiking up 30-degree shale slopes to gain 1,500 feet in elevation isn’t nearly as scary as climbing 15 feet up a ladder to sit in a stand.
Stairway to clenched cheeks.
7. There are times when you get so cold that you wish Han Solo would ride by on a tauntaun, see you shivering on stand, and cut that beast open for you to crawl into just to get warm.
8. Sight your bow in at five yards. Seriously.
This arrow buried in the dirt seven steps from the base of my stand.
9. Kegel exercises, when performed correctly, warm your whole lower body.
10. Tagging out on a smart, old whitetail makes all the quirky things about hunting them even more enjoyable.
The details made this just as memorable as the end result.