Considering the wariness of white-tailed deer, you’d think hunters hereabouts would have realized the advantages of tree stands way back along. Think about it: deer can’t smell scent drifting above their heads and they normally don’t look upward, unless, of course, attracted by motion. Accordingly, and with no pun intended, it can be said that tree stands give deer hunters the upper hand on their elusive quarry. My son, Jeff, and his longtime friend Ed McCluskey proved that during this year’s regular firearms deer season.
Like perched owls awaiting prey, they watched the dawn of Veteran’s Day creeping quietly into the woods. Handy to 7 o’clock, a movement in the mixed growth beyond Jeff’s stand turned out to be a buck. “He was spooky, walking and stopping, looking,” Jeff recounted. “Never knew I was there, though … never knew what hit him.” With the dirty work done, the nine-pointer weighed 145 pounds. No sooner was it tagged, dragged and hauled home when along came Ed with big antlers showing in the bed of his pickup. “Take a look at this one, Jeff,” he said, stepping from the cab. “I grunted and rattled him in. He circled, trying to wind me, then he came charging in with his head down. I shot him right under my stand.” After admiring the 200-pound buck sporting a rack that would hold eight hats, Jeff nodded toward the buck hanging behind his house. “Take a look at that one,” he said. All’s well that ends well. Especially when it means, come winter, the ice shack will steam with the smells of venison fried in green peppers and onions.
Further to the effectiveness of tree stands, earlier in the season, Jeff, who had a doe permit, twice watched three does and a lamb rummaging for acorns handy to his stand. Moreover, last year, while stationed in Ed’s stand, he shot a 180-pound, eight-point buck. You can take it from there.