Outdoor Journal: Tales of Tree Stand Terror

by Rebecca on October 28, 2009

in Rebecca's Field Journal

~The Tree of my Terror...Me, Dale in the Tree, and Robert~

~The Tree of my Terror...Me, Dale in the Tree, and Robert~

Morning and Evening Hunt~ 
6 Bull Elk
12 Cow
7 Moose
So many Mule deer I lost track

The morning hunt was utterly unremarkable. Nothing to even report.

This evening I was banished to the tree stand. I knew this moment would come despite my reservations and feeble attempts at hinting that I wasn’t so sure I, who has a slight aversion to heights, would enjoy hunting from a tree stand. Both Dale and Robert assured me it was easy, no problem, I was gonna love it. I don’t think they understand the concept of  internal fears, but I was willing to give it a try, the old climb, conquer and get over it theory.

My banishment started at 4:30 this evening. I slowly climbed the mountain to the tree stand taking my own sweet time hoping for some sort of reason, like a bull elk bugling somewhere, anywhere, that would force me to abandon the tree stand idea and head off on a new adventure. No such luck.

I climbed the ladder without much trouble, I think I even felt a bit of triumphant accomplishment when I arrived at the platform part of the ladder. That elation however was short lived. I leaned over and hung my hunting pack on the tree peg and than proceeded to stand properly on the platform. The minute I put two feet on the platform and turned around, life as I knew it ceased to exists.  I should have checked if Aetna or Aviva health insurance companies had a ‘falling from tree’ clause to cover me just in case. So I quickly sat my arse down, pressed my back against the tree, encircled my arms behind me to hold onto the tree for dear life, let my bow dangle from it’s strap around my neck and closed my eyes. No, life was no longer peaches and cream, it became more of a heart palpitations and cold sweat mixture of hell.

1 hour and 25 minutes….that’s 1,2, 3, 4……85 minutes of minute by painful minute pure terror. That’s exactly how long my adventure in panic and anxiety lasted.  It would have been shorter if I could have dug in my pack and grabbed my GPS unit to call for an emergency evacuation, but that would have required serious movement and I couldn’t do that!

So I sat there. And sat there. And sat there some more envisioning all the ways I would die in that tree stand. I figured either 1) I would fall and die 2) A branch would fall on my head and I would die 3) A bear would climb the tree and eat me and I would die 4) No one would ever come looking for me and I would starve to death up there and then the Sheriff would wonder why I starved to death considering there was a perfectly good Snickers bar in the backpack I wouldn’t dare reach for – regardless, I die 5) Heart Attack and I die 6) My bow strap was going to strangle me and then I would die………….and so on and so forth. You know, only the type of things an overly active and panicked mind could conjure up.

I was so frozen to my spot I was sure roots had grown out my ass, attached themselves to the seat and I would never, ever get off that stand. As far as hunting was concerned, a dream 400 class Bull could have sauntered up underneath my tree, grazed on some grass, laid down for a nap, bugled all his buddies in to stare at me and I would have simply yelled, “HELP ME damn you!”

Finally the worst and I guess (now) best thing could have happened. On about minute number 81, a hard wind kicked up suddenly and my stationary form of torture instantly became a new improved version of Nightmare on Tree Street. The tree started swaying back and forth, and that was enough to inspire a new form of motivation called, “get the f*ck out of the moving tree, even if it means doing a swan dive off the platform.”

At this point, I can’t even remember getting out of the tree. I think my mind has blocked it, repressed the nightmarish memory, but I’m here, clearly alive. There is only one last thing to say.  Dirt is my new best friend and trees the enemy. If I am to hunt out of a tree stand in the future, Robert will need to build me a four star tree house complete with shutters and a wrap around deck.

Signed, Non-negotiable,
Rebecca

For an explanation about my Outdoor Journal Series:
Please visit Outdoor Journal-An Introduction

For those seeking legit and helpful advice about tree stands and such, I suggest visiting Ben G Outdoors website for reviews about tree stands and other hunting tips!

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ben G.No Gravatar October 29, 2009 at 8:46 am

Rebecca, Sounds like you had a fun time up in your tree. One thing I might suggest is a safety harness. It will make you at least feel better about not falling. I’ve made the mistake of going up in smaller aspen trees when there was a 30+ mph wind what a ride sometimes you almost get sick. I hope you have better luck next time in the tree if there is a next time.

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