An Outdoorsman’s Journal
By: Mark Walters
A Room With A View
Hello friends: About a half a dozen times over the last 31 years I have written a column where I climb up in a tree in a remote area and write about what I see over a period of about 20 hours. This week I did just that. I drove over to the Durand area and canoed into some backwaters of the Chippewa River, went looking for deer sign in an area that I have been to before, set up a portable deer stand, and had a very cool experience being an observer.
I kept notes and that is how this week’s column is written.
Wednesday, July 29 High 80, low 50 Before I set up my stand, which would be in a birch tree that is on a natural funnel between a forest, a marsh, and a ridgeline, I put out two trail cameras and was pleasantly surprised when I observed a heck of a lot of deer sign.
Next I made three trips from my canoe to where I would put up my stand and then I hung my stand using climbing sticks. For food I had carrots, green beans, an apple, and a bottle of Gatorade.
On an experience like this you have to think heat. I wore sandals and shorts to set up and chill, and lots of clothes for a long night of heavy dew as the base of my tree is literally in water.
3:01 p.m.: A large doe just came down from the ridgeline, crossed the creek, and walked about 30 feet from me; she knew something was wrong.
4:45 p.m.: I had a friend climbing my tree. It was a 4.5-foot snake and it was amazing to watch how easily it can literally go straight up a tree. Fox snakes are good swimmers as well and when my buddy saw me, which was just before I was about to give him a get-out-of-here warning, he slowly eased his way back down the tree. It looked just like a rattlesnake and until I saw its tail, I had my concerns.
6:17 p.m.: The marsh grass and brushy trees are so dense here that in many cases I do not see deer until they are within 30 yards. That was the case when a velvet horned 5-point buck appeared out of nowhere directly below me. What was really cool is that in every deer situation, I heard them in the water before I saw them. There are hundreds of Monarchs for me to watch and I have to tell you something, I hate it when I hit them with my truck. Monarchs, in my opinion, are the ultimate survivor.
9:12 and 9:27 p.m.: Deer underneath my tree before I could see them and in both cases they were not happy with me and did their warning snorts for a good five minutes. Wanna be humbled by your quarry, have a deer tell the world that you are in the woods. Here is where my intellectual level is a bit weak. I have pretty good clothing to stop the skeets and I also have bug spray. Because I am me, I decided not to use the spray and after dark they decided I should be dinner.
10:53 p.m.: Another deer directly below me; it knows something is wrong, humbled again!
11:25 p.m.: I just had a skeet crawl deep in my ear. I cannot squash it with my finger. I can feel every move it makes. I took a soft branch from a leaf, went exploring, and musta got it. Live bugs in the ear drum area are a challenge to one’s sanity.
11:30 p.m.: Coyotes are howling.
2:27 a.m.: I just saw my third falling star and would see one more. I am having a difficult time staying comfortable due to the dampness in the air, which is soaking my clothes. I put on my rain suit, which is no easy task in the dark on a deer stand. This move made the rest of my night much more comfortable.
3:30 a.m.: The first sign of daylight was observed and at this time the birds started singing. It would take about two hours for night to become day.
Something that amazed me was that I did not get tired. I stayed in the tree until 10 a.m. at which time I had been up for 27 hours and by the time I got home I had been awake for 33.
This experience could be done by anyone, and let me tell you, if you pick the right place, it can be extremely interesting and a neat challenge.
I had so much time to think and observe that I realized exactly where I want to put my stand when I come back in two months with my compound bow.
Push yourself, you will be better off in the long run! Sunset
Sunrise and part of Mark Walters view from the tree he spent the night in.
Midnight and the moon in the background from the tree I was sitting in.
This was home for 20 hours.