Hill-Country Hurdles: Long Hours on Stand
Posted on May 12, 2013
This segment has covered some of the major hill-country hurdles you may encounter. Be sure to check out the first part of the story where we covered the challenges of tough terrain and the effects of fewer deer sightings. Read on to learn how to battle the physical toll of long hours of hunting.
Long Hours on Stand
As a result of the aforementioned problems, it’s going to take time to find success. So, it only stands to reason that you should be in your stand every chance you get. Brief outings are rarely rewarded where low visibility and haphazard deer movement seem to be the norm. To be honest, you’ve got to pay your dues. I know you’ve probably heard that phrase before, but trust me, big-timber whitetails will teach you the real meaning of that expression. Sure, there have been times I’ve arrowed a buck before the morning frost had time to melt off the leaves, but I could count them on one hand. I like to think that every hour and every day I punch that clock, brings me that much closer to my goal. I just have to keep plugging away.
To make the most of your time, and improve your chances of closing the deal fast, you need to hunt the right location during the right phase of the season or the game is over before it really begins. Saving your best stands for the peak of the rut is an excellent way to maximize your efforts. With bucks being more visible than any other time of the year, you stand a better chance of tagging out quickly. Plus, deer sightings should be higher since you haven’t “burned out” the location by hunting it too soon.
Now, this type of “stick-it-out” attitude, while beneficial, certainly isn’t without its drawbacks. Given the time I normally invest in hanging, and quite often just getting to my stand, I need to be prepared to sit through a variety of weather conditions. Why? Because the odds are good once I get to where I’m going. I’m not leaving—no matter what Mother Nature throws at me. If you’re going to do the same, you need the right gear.
Start with a good base layer. I like those that not only wick moisture from my skin, but also provide a high level of scent protection. It’s a given that I am going to work up a sweat considering the territory I hunt, so I need all of the wicking and “scent control” help I can get. I have used the S3 Midweight Baselayers from ScentBlocker with excellent results. The soft nylon and spandex blend lifts moisture from my skin, keeping me warm and dry, while the antimicrobial technology prevents game spooking odors from reaching the air. Next, you need an outerwear system that gives you options. The ability to add or subtract layers depending on the conditions, while blocking the wind and rain, is a big plus when it comes to making the right choice. Once again, I favor garments that give me these options, but, with the added advantage of odor control. Since adding carbon-based clothing to my arsenal, many years ago, I have definitely seen a significant rise in my success rate.
Now, arriving at your stand wearing the right clothing does little to keep you comfortable if the stand itself is unpleasant to sit in. Obviously, you need to take a good look at the comfort level of your chosen model; because you might be spending a descent amount of time in it. Also, don’t neglect to consider the overall weight of the stand; especially if you choose a climbing model. This is an important feature. In hill country, a heavy stand can start to feel like a Mini Cooper on your back in no time flat. Go with the lightest, most comfortable unit you can afford. Personally, I have yet to find anything that compares to a Lone Wolf stand. It has all of the above qualities, plus, it is absolutely dead-silent in the tree.
Without a doubt, tagging a mountain buck is tough business. But, if you understand and anticipate the obstacles involved in such an endeavor, you’re more apt to find success. Most often, the entire experience is comparable to running a cross-country marathon. Only every now and then, you have to jump some of those high hurdles along the way. If you don’t know when or where these hurdles will pop-up, you’re almost certainly going to stumble and fall. However, if you know exactly what to expect and when to expect it, chances are you’ll soar right over them with relative ease, plugging away, day in and day out. Until suddenly—there he is.
Text and Photos by Steve Flores