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Sitting on the stand

9/24/2010

24
SEPT

Last week, I sat on my deer stand. It was a simple act I had not planned or prepared to do.

Although the sitting spell only lasted a short time, it was enough to remind one of things forgotten in a year's span.

Sitting on a deer stand to a non-deer hunting individual does not sound like much. Some might even consider the act as appealing as sitting in a dentist's waiting room. But for someone looking forward to the hunting season, it can be a special thing.

It is the type of activity that makes you think of all the good things to come. The thoughts are so compelling, that sitting on a deer stand during the last hour of daylight is the most natural of things.

Until a hunter climbs into his deer stand, he may not remember how peaceful the woods can be in early fall, especially when a steady breeze is tickling the leaves.

Folks bound to their urban homes often place wind chimes on back porches. The music they play is said to be soothing, but there is no way they can compare to the natural chimes the wind plays in the treetops right before dusk. Add crickets, an owl, a barking gray squirrel and a mourning dove and you wish for a pillow.

Until you sit on a deer stand, it is easy to forget what the woods look like while perched in a treetop as darkness washes across the forest floor. It is easy to forget the colors from the sun as it goes over the horizon. The blue sky turns gray, green treetops turn black and traces of clouds start to get pink, then orange. A few minutes later, the chameleon clouds turn back to wispy white as the almost-full moon gains altitude.

Until you sit on a deer stand, it is easy to forget how excited one can get by just hearing the steady rustle of dry leaves being walked on by a wild creature. There does not have to be a bow, a gun or muzzleloader, but the heart-pounding wait for what could be a deer is straight from opening mornings of seasons past.

Until you sit on a deer stand, it is easy to forget that disappointment does not come after the noise produces a raccoon. You might forget that watching a raccoon survey every tree, and every nook and cranny, can be as entertaining as anything on television.

Until you leave a deer stand, it is easy to forget what it was like walking through the woods in the dark. Although you want to forget, you are reminded of the feeling of the dry stickiness of a spider's web placed exactly 6 feet in the air. And you remember what it is like getting pieces of web and spider out of a beard. If it is not a spider's web, you will be reminded that sawbriers can close the gap in last season's well-worn path.

Until that time, it is easy to forget how utterly still the woods can become when an unseen deer blows so hard at your presence that you stop doing everything, including breathing.

Until you come home after a full day of being in the woods, you will probably not remember how tired you can be and how easy it is to sleep and dream about frosting mornings with big bucks walking under your stand.

There are other things that surely will be remembered next week when archery deer season opens: How easy it is to draw a bow when adrenaline is coursing through your veins; how bad some cover scents really smell; and how subtle a deer can move through the woods.

With the reminders of an hour on a deer stand, it is easy to get excited about opening morning. But until then, I will be happy with just sitting.

-- Steve Bowman