Entry Seventeen: Sitting in the Stand

[A story in many parts: Part Six]

As we approached each stand, the driver would lean back and whisper the name of whoever was supposed to get out, performing silent hand signals to point the hunter in the right direction. That person would leave the truck and head for the designated stand. At least he would head toward the patch of black the driver pointed toward. It was very dark, the density of the woods blocking out any light from the stars or moon. We were allowed to use a flashlight--but only briefly--to locate the stand, which helped tremendously. The driver also pointed out some cushions in the back of the Suburban for us to use since most of the deer stands were made of wood or metal and were hard and uncomfortable and we would be in them, according to legend, "for hours." I had been suffering from an extremely sore back that had been medically diagnosed as Chronic Back Fatigue, brought on by a wicked combination of horrible posture and long, butt-numbing hours in front of a computer monitor. I grabbed a cushion right away and held on to it like it was my pet. I was fairly certain that none of the stands were equipped with lumbar support. When we finally pulled up to my stand, I tumbled out of the truck and gathered all of my gear and headed to the "spot." My gear consisted of a gun and a backpack full of supplies that I deemed essentials. As I scrambled up the ladder of the deer stand and settled in, I realized that I had forgotten my cushion. The stress of getting out of the truck and not waking up any deer had gotten the best of me. My designated stand that first morning was made of wood and looked very similar to a lifeguard stand on a California beach, only darker. There was a piece of rope dangling down the side, attached to the top on the seat. I had been instructed to tie my gun to the rope, climb into the stand and then pull my gun up with the rope. This was apparently safer than trying to balance all of my gear plus gun while climbing into the stand. I soon discovered that once you got into the stand, it was also a pretty good idea to tie your backpack to the rope just in case you knocked it out of the stand. It was definitely a lot easier than climbing down and feeling around in the dark, wet, weeds for the bag and climbing back up without waking up the deer. Not like that happened to me. Twice.

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

No comments: