I haven’t heard of anyone bagging a buck yet. Of course, it is early and the weather has been a bit warm. I have heard of a miss and a few people say, “I could have shot a small buck but wanted a bigger buck.” Yes, maybe you could have tried to shoot him but there is a lot of maybe in my sentence and none in yours.

The chasm between shooting a buck and just looking at it is mighty wide and a lot could go wrong between looking, drawing the bow and releasing the arrow be it an unseen branch or twig.

The weather is warm and sitting on the stand this time of year is relatively easy. The squirrels are active as are the chipmunks. They represent the entertainment committee but there also are the mosquitos that offer their services so don’t forget the repellent. Don’t get too comfortable in that tree. I once knew a fellow who always bragged about his comfortable tree stand. One warm day, he was found lying on the ground below that comfortable stand. He had fallen asleep.

Deer certainly have a habit of showing themselves at the most awkward times. A bathroom visit in the bushes? That’s when the trophy deer will pass right by. Don’t believe me, ask any hunter and I bet he agrees with me. Much the same could be said about climbing in or out of the tree stand. You lower your bow with a rope then take the first step on a screw in step and there will be a flick of the tail not 30 yards on the other side of that bush. I hadn’t seen it until I started my climb down.

The squirrel, in particular, can become a nuisance as they chatter at anyone who invades their home. I sometimes think they consider a certain tree their personal venue so they don’t like intruders. This is another reason to dislike having a squirrel nearby when hunting archery. They are blabbermouths and like to advertise, telling every creature within a mile about my presence in their home tree. While I don’t speak squirrel, I am sure some of them are using bad language and threatening to fight me. So much for the little chattering pests. I know I can take one if it really wants to fight.

While waiting for Mr. Big Buck, a fellow also has a lot of time to think. My thoughts invariably drift to why I am sitting like an apple up in a tree. There is no doubt but that a person perched on a branch of a tree can become very bored. If I get too bored and there is no cursing squirrel, I start to think negatively. I usually think something like this: I am clear right in front of my tree stand. At least there is a clear lane in front of me. I am also right handed, which means it is tough to shoot to my right.

Now, let’s add that up and the algebraic conclusion is the buck will come from my right. Logical isn’t it? So I shift my position so I can watch the thickets in that direction. Trouble is, it’s uncomfortable and the mass of vines and briars will make shooting next to impossible, so I shift back to where I began.

If worse comes to worse, a big buck stands unseen until it is too late, watching my indecision right smack below the stand and not 10 feet away. Yep, that’s archery hunting in a nut shell: sit for hours on end without seeing a deer before you climb down from the tree that has been your home for too long, and the minute your feet hit the ground, you are greeted by a loud snort.

Over your right shoulder, the running deer is saying, “That’s been fun. Why don’t you get up early tomorrow morning and we do this again?”

George Block writes an outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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