© By Othmar Vohringer
“How Do You Pass Your Time In A Treestand?” This was an actual question a hunter asked on one of the many hunting social forums proliferating the internet. The person then went on to elaborate on how bored he gets sitting for hours motionless in his treestand as he waits for a deer to walk by. What followed the initial question of the poster was quite amusing and entertaining to read.
Most of the forum members advised that they pass their time via cell phone, connecting with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other online networks. One of them proclaimed “I am actually right now in my treestand and checking out the latest posts on this forum.” A few others wrote that they take a book with them to read while in the stand, others read their favourite hunting magazine while others watch hunting TV shows on their newfangled electronic devices.
Interestingly enough from the 40 plus replies to the question not a single one of them mentioned that they hunt while on stand. Hunting deer from treestands is still somewhat new to British Columbia, and yes, it is the most effective way to ambush deer, particularly the wily whitetail deer. However, to take full advantage of a treestand scouting for the exact location of deer travel hotspots is of paramount importance. Just hanging a stand somewhere along a deer trail can have a hunter sit for many hours and days on stand without ever seeing a deer.
Proper scouting and understanding deer travel patterns will lead to making educated choices on exactly where to hang the stand and at what time of the day -morning or evening- to hunt from that stand. With this knowledge there is no need to sit in a stand for eight straight hours because the hunter will know what hours of the day that prime deer movement takes place. Scouting also will give the hunter confidence that he in all likelihood will encounter traveling deer on his chosen location.
When I am in my treestand I pass my time by actively hunting and observing with a keen eye and sharpened senses what is going on around me. Because I have scouted for the exact stand location based on deer movement patterns that are right for the area and time of the hunting season I have to remain alert at all times that a deer could appear at any time. While you wait on stand there are always things happening around you that could provide you with clues to deer movement. Why does that squirrel chatter and bark so angrily further along the trail? It could be a deer! Squirrels hate deer and wherever they see one they voice their disapproval over it. What is that rustling in the leaves behind my stand? Is it a deer approaching or just a bird turning over leaves in search of its next meal? What was that fleeting movement over there in the thicket? It could be a deer.
How important it is to pay attention to all the sounds and movements around you was highlighted to me by the comment of one of my hunting partners a few years ago. He got distracted by a message his wife sent him about an appointment he had in the afternoon. The simple message turned into a little “chat” he said, “and then I looked up and there in front of me out of nowhere and without warning stood a buck.” By the time my friend put the cell phone away and grabbed his bow the buck was gone. Deer do not appear out of nowhere. Had my friend paid attention to his surroundings and the sounds in the area he would have noticed some noise or slight movement that would have alerted him to the buck approaching and given him time to get ready for the shot.
The bottom line is when I am out hunting all the “social” networking I do is with Mother Nature, by means of carefully observing all the activities in the wilderness around me.