Being An Accommodating Hunter

I’m not sure if there is a group of individuals that are more concerned with “Tips and Tricks” than hunters are. Perhaps housewives with a DIY decorating fetish. Or husbands of said housewives with lengthy ‘honey-do’ lists. The Tip (or Trick) that I am talking about today is not one that will explicitly tell you how to shoot a bigger buck. However, it is an idea that may allow you to be in a tree stand more often, or in the woods at the times that really matter.

I recently had the opportunity to archery hunt on a family member’s property which I am very familiar with, have taken very nice bucks off of in the past; but due to the distance from my home, do not get a chance to hunt very often. Executing a quality hunt on this property either requires an overnight stay or else a long enough day-trip that it renders the previous night quite useless. As primarily a Saturday hunter, since Sunday hunting is illegal here in Pennsylvania, hunting this property often creates a strain on my wife’s and my social life, and my ability to complete our normal weekend tasks around the house. So when I found out that I had a chance to hunt this property on an October weekend this season, I started thinking about how to be an accommodating hunter.

October Forest Floor

The one truth of life that every hunter should know is that EVERYONE loves fall. Your wife, girlfriend, mom, friend, co-worker with a sweet vacation property up north. Everyone loves fall. So when I thought about hunting this particular property, I contacted the owners and asked if it would be alright if my wife and I invited a few friends and spent the whole weekend at their cabin. They obliged, so I told my wife to invite two of her best friends and their men for a weekend cabin trip in the prime of fall weather. Our guests were all non-hunters which worked out perfectly due to the limited permission of the landowner; however, a hunt on public land could be executed nicely with the accompaniment of a fellow hunter or two.

The key to this strategy is to make the weekend a blast for everyone.

After getting settled in and spending time around the wood stove Friday night; I woke up early and alone Saturday morning and headed to my stand. The night before we had established a reasonable time for everyone to sit down for breakfast, so I knew how long I would be able to sit in the woods. Being clear ahead of time about your hunting intentions, and setting a schedule for when you will be away from the group, will let the everyone know that you care about their company and will not hunt the whole time. Sticking to your schedule will not only make sure everyone has a good weekend; but will also sow the seeds for a trip next fall.

Notice the Details of Fall

My morning sit was peaceful, relaxing and deer-less. I was perched in a large evergreen on the edge of a swamp, watching a clearing which deer skirt on their way to and from the fields. At 8:45 sharp I took a quick look around and climbed down to eat breakfast. The great thing about bringing friends along is being able to share your experiences right away with someone who wants to listen. The great thing about good friends is that even if they don’t hunt, they are truly interested in learning about what you are doing out their in the woods for hours on end. Over a delicious hot breakfast, I was able to share what I noticed in the woods and lay more hunting knowledge on virgin ears than they had probably ever heard.

The main attraction for the day was a nearby hike along a stream strewn with waterfalls, descending through technicolored layers of foliage to a large, (and famous) Pennsylvania trout stream. Boulder hopping and fellow hiker’s dogs made perfect sideshows for our stroll and no one complained about the workout our brisk hike back up the mountain gave our lungs. As we walked and talked, I found it intriguing to see the woods through a non-hunters eyes. We hunters often consider ourselves to be excellent woodsmen and superior in understanding of the natural world. While we do see the landscape with trained vision, we sometimes realize our focus is too narrow. Nothing like spending time speaking freely with our ‘meat-buying’ friends will open our eyes more.

Bleak Skies Dominate Fall

The drive to and from the hike was pocked with quick stops and side-explorations. Arriving back to the cabin with a couple hours until sundown, at which point supper would be served, my wife kindly nudged me back to the tree stand. I managed to watch four doe creeping through the shadows at last light, but more keenly reflected my conversations with our friend group and their insights. I noticed the difference in sound a low-flying flock of ducks makes versus an even lower-flying flock of geese. I marveled at the energy squirrels expend by the minute in order to stock away food for winter. Most importantly I was thankful that everyone involved; from my wife reading by the wood stove, to our friends canoeing on the pond, to me sitting silent in a tree; were content in their northern October experiences.

Being an accommodating hunter does not take much effort if you think about it. Grab some friends, your wife, or just a person with a full gas tank; and go enjoy the fall!

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