- Big Bucks, Acorns and Apples
- Dreaming about Scent Control
- Elevated Hunting Stands
- Prusik, Gravity, Your Whitetail Deer Hunting Future
By Forrest Fisher
The phrase “Whitetails Unlimited” is catchy if you are a deer hunter, especially a whitetail deer hunter. It’s also the name of an organization that has more than 100,000 members because the hunting messages they share are effective, useful and are delivered from the experience of real hunters and field contributors. There is more than beginner value.
Whitetails Unlimited Communications Director, Jeff Davis, was his usual self. Modest and humble, unassuming, friendly and confident, as he extemporaneously addressed more than 150 outdoor communicators at the opening luncheon of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) Annual Conference at the Sportsman’s Lodge, on the Lake-of-the-Woods in Baudette, Minnesota.
His voice was passionate, descriptive and implicit with experience from encounters with an army of ardent whitetail deer hunters. Davis has met hundreds of hunters and shared in many their most exciting tales and hunter secrets. Hunter’s trust this hunter-gentleman because not many questions are ever left unanswered, at least not until the next issue of their extensive quarterly conservation and hunting magazine. Magazine issue content is an art and delivery science.
With a slight grin that emerged to also offer a note of truth and sadness, “Not every tale has a happy ending,” Davis said. He postured his oncoming message from experience and history, with an element of approach intended to share and impart his high concern for hunter success and safety. His audible expression was unmistakable and optimistic. He was delivering advice for hunting and addressing an eager and robust audience that was all ears. We all felt comfortable to learn more.
As Davis continued, my mind drifted off. Was his smooth delivery hypnosis? Not sure. Was I bored? No, but my tummy was full from lunch. Like listening to a short sermon in church, my brain had transcended into an imaginary place and I was on a hunt. All the elements of what Davis had been talking about were in my dream. I think I drifted into dreamland for just a minute or two, but I clearly remember the details of my dream.
There was a succulent white oak tree forest with mounds of sweet acorns next to a row of apple trees where my trail cams had chronicled bucks rumbling antlers with each other in the previous weeks. There was a highly traveled rub line and it was near sunset in my aspiration. A full moon had just started rising in the eastern sky, it had a tinge of orange color. Scrapes every 25 yards were visible. There were the sounds of apples and acorns crunching in the distance from my tree stand about 95 yards downwind. Yes, I had audio, and many deer. Imagine such unlimited whitetails. I was in my place of reverie as a deer hunter.
My tree stand was situated where it was because I wanted to be safe about human scent dispersal. There I was, sitting in a hanging tree stand elevated 20-feet, vertical access from a stick-ladder and feeling very happy and safe. I knew this was a good spot. It was so quiet, except for those inconsiderate munching deer chewing in the distance.
Sitting on my butt in my stand, full-body harness in place – I wear it every time, my bow was resting on my lap. The deer on this night had dispersed and had no interest for my grunt and bleat combinations. Probably a wind direction issue. The sun had disappeared and it was time to head back. Disappointed, I started to think about what to do next time. I dropped my bow down on the lift-line, my backpack too. Then I started down the ladder. Oops! My foot slips on the top step and I was suddenly airborne. In a split second, I crashed hard into the ground and could not move. I could not feel my arms or legs. What happened I thought to myself? I had been in my dream spot. I started to grunt a bit from my perceived pain when my better half woke me up and said, “Hey Forrest, the speaker just called your name from the raffle.”
There were people clapping warmly. “Oh, I said, sorry honey, I must have dozed off.”
I got up and approached the speaker’s stand when Jeff Davis said, “You win a THE Safe-Line from MUDDY! Congratulations! Enjoy.” Wow. Thank goodness I was dreaming! I was literally trembling as I walked back to my seat, the dream had been so real for a brief moment, then at the end, a nightmare. I smiled, trying to hide my brief moment of fear from far away in dreamland.
As I sat there in a semi-stupor, I realized that in the dream I had been so focused on the next hunt, that safely getting down from the tree came second. My safety came second. My life came second. My safety and how important I was to my family was not even part of my thinking in the dream. It was now. So I took a step back to really think about it. I knew that another force from far away must have been talking to me to even have this dream, or maybe that Jeff Davis was one of those magic-maker speakers where everyone can get up and talk like a chicken upon request. You’ve seen the act. I laughed to myself and grinned over to my wife who said, “You’re so lucky!” No kidding, especially this time, I thought.
So I continued in my post-dream thought, how could this accident have been prevented? We know how my safety was compromised because every solid hunter has thought about the next hunt at the end of a fruitless day. We can lose our focus for safety during “thinking moments” like that.
A MUDDY Safe-Line for secure descent would have saved me from this dream accident. Under $40 worth of gear (www.gomuddy.com), the same gear I had just won. I felt connected to another source of energy for a second or two. Sort of unreal. For a moment, no kidding, I felt an angel must have been telling me that I need to be more aware of safety. Thank you Lord.
To use the Safe-Line, you attach the line to the tree just above your tree stand with the loop knot provided. You leave this rope in place now during hunting season. The body harness Carabiner Clip latches right onto the Prusik knot loop of the Safe-Line – it comes with two Prusik slip knots (for a two-man stand), the Prusik loop slides down the Safe-Line as you proceed one step at a time and down you go. Safely. The bottom of the Safe-Line is then tied around the tree at ground level. Going up or down on slippery steps wet from rain, snow or ice is no longer a safety concern. The Prusik knot will go with you as you gently push it up or slide it down with you in either direction. If you should drop quickly, it immediately locks into place, saving you from rapid descent, a fall and possible death.
Davis’s message from Whitetails Unlimited Magazine for the attending outdoor journalists visiting from across the country was TREE STAND SAFETY.
I think I got the message. In my case, Davis had help even he did not know about. No, I’m not superstitious, but I am listening to thoughts of safety much more now. The dream honestly scared me.
My grandkids are just coming of age to hunt deer and the kids will be just like many of us in the outdoors, hunting from that one place that deer rarely see, an elevated tree stand. Safety will be the first concern for each of us when we consider the future safety of our grandkids.
Write it down as a MUST-HAVE:
One (1) Safe-Line (MUDDY, www.gomuddy.com) for every tree stand and one (1) full-body harness (HUNTER SAFETY SYSTEM, www.hssvest.com) for every hunter in your party.
Then and only then, can you go up and down from your elevated tree stand in total safety while thinking about the strategy for the exciting day ahead, or for the strategy on that next deer hunt. I had a lucky dream, then a lucky raffle. Don’t you be unlucky by choice. Conquer safety. Make it habit. Start now.
About Whitetails Unlimited: Founded in 1982, Whitetails Unlimited is a national nonprofit conservation organization that has remained true to its mission, making great strides in the field of conservation. We have gained the reputation of being the nation’s premier organization dedicating our resources to the betterment of the white-tailed deer and its environment. On behalf of our 105,000 plus members, we welcome you to browse our site and learn more about WTU, our past accomplishments, and the organization’s commitment to caring for our priceless renewable natural resources. We appreciate your interest in Whitetails Unlimited and hope that after reviewing our site, you will consider joining the whitetail team “Working for an American Tradition.” The Whitetails Unlimited quarterly magazine (60-80 pages, 4 times per year) is not available on newsstands, only through membership.
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