-By Brandon Wikman
There’s no place I’ve sat longer in a fixed position than a tree stand, period.
As we approach the ultimate whitetail rut, our sitting time will increase almost 40-50 percent! The usual evening sit will compare to absolutely nothing once late October rolls around. A time when bucks roam by nose and that moment of truth can happen in a split second, you know it is show time.
I’ve learned over the years a few tricks that may make the time go a bit faster, or at least seem so. Being in the video and television business, I’ve also learned that you sit until the end. For as much money, time and effort put into the hunt, you must sit every waking minute of daylight in the tree to hopefully pay it all back with a television show or video. For the most part, no kill, no show. It can be an exasperating endeavor, and a lot to ask of someone like me whose attention span is about as long as my pull-up rope.
I remember filming in southern Wisconsin one year my cameraman actually brought an I-Pod to prevent him from going insane with boredom. We communicated by nudges if I heard something or saw something. It’s probably not the best idea to rock out in your tree stand, but if it makes you stay in it longer, so be it. I’ve also had cameramen bring handheld gaming systems. Trust me, I’d rather be playing games than staring at the same leaf, tree and dirt for 9 hours.
Some people are better at staying completely focused than others, my cousin being one of them. He is the only person I know who can sit for over 5 hours, without saying a word or cracking a joke back to me. I give him props. I think the cut-off point for most people is roughly after the sixth hour and it may come earlier if you haven’t seen any deer.
I know a lot of hunters who walk into their setup 45 minutes before daylight, only to sit until the sun makes its rounds. I typically do things a bit differently. When hunting during the rut, I’ll usually walk into my setup as light begins to enter the woods and I’m able to see my feet. Some people chastise me for doing so, but I’ve had much luck time and time again with this systematic approach.
Walking in complete darkness even with a flashlight is difficult, especially when you are trying to be quiet and sneaking through the leaves and sticks on the forest floor. When there’s soft light, you are able to trek lightly and ease your way in, which sounds more or less like a deer anyway. Another reason is that many instances hunters will kick back bucks or does that are going to bed by simply intercepting them, which in turn bumps them and you are done! I’d like to think that going in a little later makes the sit easier and shorter and does have its benefits.
We all have our own styles and approaches, but that’s what makes all of us unique. Whether you’re like me and carry a cell phone in the woods to text and play solitaire or perhaps do the traditional style of sitting without anything but the sheer feeling of being outdoors, I commend you. In my way of thinking, I’ve never shot a deer off the sofa or lying in bed. In simple terms, the more you’re out in the stand freezing, staring at that brown withered leaf, the more likely you’ll come out of the woods with a prize.