Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Day on the Deer Stand

NOTE: This is a post I had prepared last night, but had trouble with Blogger allowing me to insert pictures. I finally got back to it tonight and Thursday's story became Friday's post.

I'm taking a couple days off work this week while I still try to get a deer for the freezer with my bow & arrow before the shotgun season opens this Saturday. This morning I climbed up to my tree stand at 6:50 a.m. and finally left it around 10:20 a.m. to head home for some lunch and a bathroom break. We were back out there this afternoon from 3:30 till 6:30 (still no luck).

I saw only 3 deer this morning between 10:00 and 10:15 and none of them close enough for a shot. So what the heck does a person do on the tree stand during all that time when nothing else is going on? blog readers are wondering. (Napping was not an option today, since I was out there by myself without the spousal unit as a backup, I had to remain alert because he wasn't around to check up on me.)

Fortunately I'm a bird watcher, so being in the woods means there's usually some birds to watch. I was very fortunate early this morning to see a Barred Owl. I also saw several flickers (which I thought had all migrated south by now). I saw a Pileated Woodpecker, and also a family of Bald Eagles (2 adults and a juvenile) soaring out over the river. I was also surprised to hear a couple of Robins and Bluebirds flying over. Walking back to the car at 10:30, I spotted my first ever Rusty Blackbird (click here to find out more about Rusty Blackbirds--a rapidly declining species) and also the first Fox Sparrow for 2007.

Since I always have my camera with me when I'm out in the woods, a little time can be taken up with photographing everything you're seeing when there aren't any deer around.

How about the shadow of me in the tree stand? (And why does my head look so pointy?)

Here's a picture of the only bird I actually managed to photograph--White Breasted Nuthatch (these guys are everywhere out there!)

Or even better....looking up to the top of the trees and capturing the colors of the remaining leaves against the gorgeous blue of the sky.

And then I accidentally dropped a glove....crap!

The following is a photographic "how-to" demonstrating how to retrieve a glove from the ground without having to unhook your safety harness and climb down from the tree stand.

Because it's impossible (not to mention unsafe) to climb the steps to a tree stand while hanging on to gear, all good bowhunters have a long string attached somewhere to the tree where their stand is to bring their bow up from the ground once they've gotten up to the stand. To the hook on this long string, I've attached a velcro tape around my pocket binoculars (the binocs give the string and velcro enough weight to pick up the glove).
Carefully lower the 'binoculars-on-a-string' down to the wayward glove, until you can drop the binocs squarely on the glove.....assuring that the velcro will catch onto the fabric of the glove.

Then slowly raise the string, testing to make sure the velcro strip is securely joined to the glove.

SUCCESS--now your have your glove back! Return binocs to pocket, velcro strap to bow and string to its regular place hanging off the tree.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I was a little bored today.....tomorrow I'm putting a book in my pocket, just in case the deer decide not to make an appearance again.

FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Finished the book....still no deer. However, today I was lucky enough to see a cute little red fox (who spotted me and ran before I could get the camera out of my pocket) and this nosy coonhound dog (who looked at me a long time in the tree and finally went back up the hill from where it came when it decided I wasn't a raccoon).

Have a good weekend everyone!


Deb said...

Sounds like a good couple of days. I love the nuthatch photo- they are such acrobats! Too bad you didn't get a deer- maybe after firearms season. It is not yet eight o'clock and I'm hearing shots everywhere.

Your sissy said...

Are you sure that wasn't the "roaming gnome" in your treestand? The shadow appears suspiciously similar to the TV commercials.....

threecollie said...

That is a pretty neat way to fetch an errant glove! Nice photos too.
It is bow season here as well, but none of us bow hunt...just waiting for regular season on the 17th. Ran out of venison about two weeks ago.

Marsha said...

Loved the lesson on retrieving your glove...gave me a good smile over this morning's cup of coffee.

Good Luck on filling that freezer.

MOM said...

The day wasn't wasted, you have some nice pixs for me to look at. Love the lesson on retrieving, I'll try to remember all that the next time I'm in a tree stand

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I felt like I was out there in the woods with you conehead, I mean Nature Knitter. What fun to see birds at eye level or lower.

Your story about sleeping in the tree stand reminded me about a story a fellow worker told me one time. How he went to sleep with his bow & arrow in hand. He woke and there was a chickadee sitting on his arrow scolding him. ha..
Have a great weekend.

mon@rch said...

Love how you were able to get glove back! Congrats on the fox, et al but sorry you have not found any deer yet! Only time!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Deb,
The weather was great...I hated to see the sun go down and know it was soon time to go home. I've got till the end of December to get a deer with a bow, so haven't given up hope yet....

Oh Sissy, you may be right! I see the resemblance now too.

Hi Threecollie,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and good luck deer hunting. We were down to about the last 12 packages of venison and the spousal unit got a good-sized doe with his bonus tag a couple weeks ago. We had 2 deer in the freezer last year, so I'd like to get at least 1 or 2 more yet this year.

Hi Marsha,
I kinda felt like's amazing what a person can do with some string and velcro. If only I'd had a roll of duct tape with me!

Next year Mom....I'll take you to this tree stand (when your knee is fully recovered!)

Hi Lisa,
LOL...I should have used the other pic w/o the pointy head!
I keep waiting for a chickadee to land on my arrow. This has happened to the spousal unit and other hunters have shared similar stories with me, but I've never been that lucky.

Hi Mon@rch,
Truth be told, shooting a deer is secondary when I'm out there....I just love being able to experience all this nature firsthand and know that I have a good excuse to let housework pile up at home!

Jennifer said...

The mitten retrieval cracked me up!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Looks to me like you were a wee bit bored up in that tree, although you kept yourself busy enough!

You should write or email me sometime and tell me how you learned so much about recognizing birds and their sounds. I still struggle.

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Meggie said...

Greetings Ruth: So sad about the decline of the Rusty Blackbird. How lucky you were to see one. I have never seen a pileated woodpecker...lots of downys and red bellied around my feeder. Lots of folks in PA have seen them but not me. What an ingenious way to retrieve a glove! I must say, you make the most of your time in a tree.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jennifer,
I debated on whether to put the mitten retrieval in my blog or not. I thought it was pretty funny, but figured some people would probably think I'm losing it!

Hi Robin,
Yup, just a wee bit.... I would've had to just given up and gone home if my camera batteries had died!

I'll send you an e-mail about the other stuff.

Hi Meggie,
I didn't know anything about Rusty Blackbirds until I looked up that website. I actually scared a couple of fairly large flocks out of the cornfield that day and now consider myself very fortunate to have seen that many.

I really enjoy seeing the pileated woodpeckers. Out there in the woods I usually hear them before I see them. They're so huge you can't mistake them for anything else!

Ruth said...

Must be interesting to be like a bird in a tree. Why don't you set up in your backyard? Or are those deer too neighbourly?

RuthieJ said...

Hi Ruth,
We had a treestand in one of our backyard box elders once, but I've never seen the deer in the yard during the daylight hours. It would sure save on a lot of driving time and gas if we could just hunt them from here!

Larry said...

Congrats on the Rusty Blackbird! I actually saw 10 deer together today at the powerlines. They must have known I wasn't hunting.

Cathy said...

This has to be one of the most unique posts - ever :0) And dang! - it makes me want to sit in a tree stand and THAT'S never going to happen. Gorgeous pixes. And you are a hoot!