Enjoying those long, sometimes monotonous hours in a treestand
I was five days into a public land hunt in North Dakota recently when I was thinking about heading home. I was tired from too many days in a tent in multiple states, and the enjoyment was slipping away from me. To top it off, I had found a few mature bucks that I desperately wanted, but something either went wrong with other hunters walking in or the conditions weren’t right to hunt in my top locations.
Knowing that, I hiked into a stand for a morning sit with little hope that I’d see a good buck. Long before the sun breached the eastern horizon, I started to see does moving along the riverbottom and, before I knew it, I was three hours into the sit and loving every second of it because it was an absolutely beautiful morning to be sitting in a tree.
It was like a switch had flipped, and I realized that I didn’t need a huge buck to make my day, which should seem obvious – but sometimes isn’t. The topper for the morning was having a herd of mule deer does and fawns come down and dip their noses in the Little Missouri River below me.
After that, I realized how dumb I was being about the hunting. It’s supposed to be fun, and should be fun, because if it isn’t, then you’ll find yourself out there for the wrong reasons. I think this lesson is a good one for all of us – and especially poignant right now, when we’re bumping up on the rut.
This is the time of year when a lot of the deer hunting attention turns to killing big bucks and nothing else. The rut is good for that, but it’s also just a great time to be in the woods and enjoying the show. I know that, personally, I’ll work hard to not forget that in the next couple of weeks.