This weekend was the first weekend of getting some serious butt time in my bowstand, an activity that will consume most of the next four weekends. Non hunters and people in general are puzzled about why a sane person would voluntarily climb up into a tree in sub freezing weather and sit for hours in the hopes that a suitable deer would saunter by and wind up in the freezer. Its actually pretty simple. Peace and quiet.
This is an interesting time of year in Lake Superior country for the weather. Pretty much anything can happen with the weather, as we saw with the big storm last week. Normally it gets warm during the day and then cools off significantly at night and this weekend fit the pattern. It was 45F and sunny during the day and the big thermometer nailed to the wall of the camp said 24F when we got up at 6am on Sunday. The swamps and pods were covered with skim ice and everything had a frosty layer until the sun hit it. As my friend in Cumbria England points our, there is no such thing as bad weather only crappy gear, and its pretty easy to dress for the weather. Once up in the tree the attraction becomes doing nothing, just sitting, thinking, and observing. Senses are sharpened and the flick of a chickadees tail can be seen fifty yards away. A deer can be heard munching on an acorn at twice that distance. In fact acorns can be heard hitting the ground as they fall off the oak trees. No multitasking here; no cell phone reception, hand held electronic nerd gear, and unlike one member of the camp, no reading material is brought to the stand. Activity consists of scanning the woods from time to time with the binoculars, shifting from cheek to cheek as the tree time goes on, watching natures daily activity, and thinking about anything you want to think about. Silbs had an excellent post on sitting last week and I'll admit to thinking about it and its numerous comments as I watched the sun rise in the east. Tree stand sitting is nothing like sitting in a kayak because in a kayak there is activity, concentration on paddle strokes, map reading, destination, and also banter with your fellow paddlers.
It takes a couple times to get your mind back in the tree sitting mode after not doing it for a season. Things slow down, focus returns, and the mindset that nothing really needs to be done other than blend into the woods and keep the senses active. Heck, you never know, you might even be rewarded with a nice sunrise!