We've all had a run in with something while trying to do some deer hunting that startled us, spooked us, or downright scared the bejeezus out of us when all we wanted to do was to fill the freezer with some fresh venison. But the fact remains that not everyone hunts in mountain lion or grizzly bear country, and not everything that gives us a chill down the spine is something that is necessarily dangerous. On the contrary, some of these things are downright comical, as you will see.
It all begins with the way we prepare for our deer hunt and leads to some of the things that we encounter on our way to and from the woods. As well as we arrange and devise our deer hunting schedule, we still seem to find ourselves at the mercy of things that we just cannot seem to control.
It's these confounding little things that sometimes hit us right in the soul and give us reason to shudder, curse, and darn-near have a heart attack at the worst possible moment. No doubt you will see a little of yourself in these fun and sometimes scary scenarios, but the honest truth is that the more of these you recognize, the more times you've been deer hunting, and that's a good thing.
Let's start right out with an easy one, shall we? Brush scraping on our hunting clothes is one thing, but when we bust loud twigs and branches that are strewn across our paths (especially in the dark), it can make our hearts drop, mostly because we're sure that everything within a mile must have heard that. Not only that, but if you or I aren't the one that busted that branch, then what the heck was it? It has got to be nature's way of setting a bobby trap, but the jury is out on that one.
We find ourselves onto the next noisy thing that the woods left for us: dried out leaves from one end of the forest to the other. There might be nothing worse than finding a great path towards your favorite sitting tree before suddenly finding out that those little landmines are everywhere. And those first few that you crunch under foot sound like an alarm going off.
Whoever made those crinkly, crunchy food wrappers for our favorite treestand snacks has got to think again. Raise your hand if you've ever found yourself in a fight for your life to enjoy a bite to eat on stand by slowly (ever so slowly) removing the wrapper until just about time to go home. And no matter what you do, it crinkles at around 80 decibels.
This is the precursor to that crinkly food wrapper: the long slow sound of that old zipper buzzing its way down your coat or vest so you can get inside to grab something. For the life of me, I've waxed mine until it glides open like a ripe banana, but when I get out in the woods it sounds like a jet engine taxiing down the runway.
We've all been there: you settle into your favorite hunting spot, get everything ready, and the phone goes off to your favorite heavy metal tune. Whatever ringtone you use, when it's dark, quiet, and you're not expecting it, having the phone ring in the woods will give you the shock of your life every single time. And you're sure to wake the dead, along with every single deer within a mile.
The Alarm Goes Off
Something tells me that you've just had your annual heart checkup 25 feet up in a tree. There's an old saying that you only have to be smarter than the phone, but these technological monsters that we use in our daily lives have a way of making us foolish every time. This is another way of telling ourselves that we were too excited for the hunt and let that one get by us, but not before it gave us a heart attack.
Slippery Tree Steps
By now we should all know how to spot dangerous conditions before they have the chance to show their ugly heads, but sometimes it happens when we least expect it, including in dry instances. Once your foot has felt itself glide off of a tree step, even for a moment, you will learn just how strongly you can bear hug a tree. It's a part and parcel of treestand safety, but sometimes things happen even after careful planning.
Wild Turkeys Flushing in the Dark
Have you ever been walking to your treestand early in the morning and flushed wild turkeys off of their roost before first light? I have, and it will definitely scare the bejeezus out of you. I'm not sure if anything you can encounter in the pitch black of the early morning by the simple light of a headlamp will spook you quite like a rather large bird coming hell bent for leather out of the top of that tree right above you.
We're not sure whoever started using the owl as a star in scary stories about the dark woods, but it was most likely a deer hunter. Some folks encounter screech owls and other get to be scared to death by great horned owls, but we have a large population of barred owls in this neck of the woods and they usually come out in pairs. When it's quiet and you're not ready for it, the sound of an owl making its call, especially if it's a breeding call, will definitely set your heart to racing and you'll remember it for life. That is if you live that long.
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