Hanging Treestands With Your Old Man
Category : Bowhunting Family Ties General Hunting Miscellaneous Traditions
I’m not refering to the brand of treestand here, literally I am talking about hanging treestands with my father. Depending what kind of ground you hunt each fall, your set-ups may vary. I’m not a huge proponent of pre-hanging public land stands. I think it invites company, and also provides theives with a pretty good opportunity to score some free gear. That being said, every summer my dad and I head into the woods on some private property in New York and try to predict where our stands will need to be come Fall. (And then we inevitably move a few when we find out we were wrong.) We do this based on observations and past experiences gathered from hunting the property. Over the past several years I have tried to hang our stands earlier to avoid disrupting the woods so close to season and I believe that this is a necessary practice when you are hunting pressured whitetails if you plan to use pre-set stands. Dad usually thinks we’re being crazy, and most of his contemporaries wonder why we are at camp prepping trees so early. Most times he humors me, though, and off we go into the timber with climbing sticks, treestands, safety ropes, and polesaws.
My dad is part of that generation that is what I call task-oriented. They want to get things done so they can check them off the list and move onto the next thing. I think my dad loves making lists just for the opportunity to cross the items out. This approach is really good for accomplishing a lot of things, but you also run the risk of forgetting to enjoy the ride. I think this was my approach to hunting for awhile, and this year I can happily say that we both slowed down a little bit when we were selecting our stand locations for the Fall. Since we were dilligent in getting stands up much earlier than normal we were able to make some valuable scouting observations and choose better stand locations.
This year it just seemed like less pressure. In years passed we would rush to get as many stands up in one day as possible. We had this expectation of hanging 8 or 10 sets in a day because we were on limited time, and I felt like we needed to get in and out of the timber as quickly as possible because we were only a month from opening day. Hitting the unavoidable snag here or there was always frustrating and at some point in the process we would be barking at each other. Or, I would be barking at Dad. Slowing down this year was made possible by a couple factors, one being that I spent countless hours assessing better ways of access and more agressive stand locations than we have ever implemented before. I probably overevaluate these things and my dad probably underevaluates them, so we are a good mix. However, one thing we both love about hanging stands is that awesome, anticipatory feeling that THIS may be the very place where you connect with the buck of a lifetime. Anyway, since I’ve been bending his ear about all my new ideas since last January, I think he was a bit more receptive and maybe a little more mentally prepared for the extra work that changing almost every stand location would provide.
So, after a day and a half, we had 7 well-thought-out stands hung in the highest percentage areas we have access to. I had sore feet from hanging off tree ladders all day and Dad had a sore neck from looking 20 feet up into the trees all day long. I think he was getting sick of cutting shooting lanes by the end and the constant “No, not that branch, THAT one, no not that one, to your right, your other right, that’s your left!” So even though I think I actually only got a little P.O.ed one time about shooting lane cutting miscommunication, I gave him the opportunity to sit in the treestand and order me around with the polesaw. Maybe I was trying to give him a break from the work, or maybe I was subconsciously giving him the chance to issue some verbal abuse payback. Either way we had a safe and sucessful trip and made more memories that will stay with us for years to come.