Deer season is pretty much under way through most of the country. Either in the form of an archery or muzzleload hunt, anyone who wants to sit on a deer stand can do it, and there’s nothing like it.
I'm actually sitting on my stand at the moment, tapping out these words on the face of my smart phone. It's opening morning of muzzleload season in my state and, along with a dozen of my hunting club members, we are sitting on deer stands.
We are all tied together by that activity. From there we each have differing expectations and goals. Some are waiting anxiously for the buck that will get their hearts racing and eventually occupy a space on their wall. Others are sitting waiting to see what the morning brings, possibly ready to shoot a doe that is needed for either meat or satisfaction of our management plan. Others are just sitting, enjoying the day as the world wakes up around them.
I'm not sure which group I belong to … yet. Prior to heading this way I was in a conversation with a non-hunting friend. He loves to watch deer from his window at home. I wanted him to join me: To take a seat in a stand and enjoy it on another level. He considered it, I'll give him that, but eventually couldn't understand the attraction.
To the non-hunting public, it is an enigma they may never understand. Even hunters have a difficult time putting it in words.
I'm here to see deer. I may kill one. I may just watch. Either way the process of sitting quietly, motionless for hours (with the exception of my thumb tapping this phone) provides a connection to the world you can't get sitting at your back window with a cup of coffee in your hand and the morning news playing on the TV.
You can't gain the peacefulness of the day with that background. Sitting down on a deer stand, with the crows barking around you, a small creek gurgling behind and the rustle of leaves around you adds another level to your senses that can't be captured in the living room.
If a deer decides to visit my stand I could choose to shatter that peacefulness with protein on the ground. Or I could decide to watch as that deer goes about its day. The choice is mine and only mine. Having that choice is an important part of who we are as hunters and how we understand the world around us.
The difference is where you stand in relationship to that glass. The friend sitting behind the window, enjoying his mocha latte, can’t enjoy the view for what it really is.
As a type, that is what I envision my friend doing at this very moment: sipping and watching as deer feed under the white oaks that rim his yard. I, on the other hand, am sitting and watching a small-racked six-pointer feed 25 yards away under a white oak.
Similar, maybe, but behind the glass you don't hear the popping of the acorns as they are picked up.
Behind the glass, you don't feel every move you make. You can't wonder how a solitary leaf can make a ruckus as it drops from a limb or how a 150-pound deer can barely make a noise inching through the woods.
You can’t feel the tenseness of a deer as that leaf falls, see it’s nervousness, see how its world stops for a second. Behind the glass, you don’t worry about your breathing.
The act of taking a sip of coffee behind the glass is simple. The act of adjusting the weight around your butt cheeks is monumental when you are in the deer's world.
Oh how I want to scratch my nose. And that little edge of skin around my eyebrow wants to be rubbed. My hands are hidden behind a curtain around my stand, but my head can’t be touched without being seen.
Behind the glass I can scratch anything within reach.
It's a completely different experience. Two of Gods creatures keyed up; one wild, one human, both taking part in an ageless game of survival and sustenance.
One can die, the other can make that decision, but only if things go perfectly in the game of senses and skill.
You don’t get that behind the glass. There's nothing like sitting on a deer stand and being a part of it.