The Deer Stand Is Where We Learn About Ourselves

Non-hunters often have great difficulty understanding what would possess an otherwise normal individual to sit in a tree stand for hours on end waiting patiently for a deer to pass.   To be perfectly honest, everyone has their own reasons for doing it.   Early in one’s career the motivation to score on a trophy animal can be so compelling it becomes reason alone.   Later, however, after hundreds if not thousands of hours waiting silently, I do believe many hunters just “feel” it is the right place to be when the autumnal winds start blowing.

Yesterday I saw this little inset picture (wisdom) and found it to be so utterly perfect.   Indeed, in silence is when we learn so much about ourselves.   Deer hunting (as well as many other forms) is an exercise about waiting.   It’s takes determination to rise hours before most other folks on a weekend to pursue the passion.   It takes a desire to accomplish something that takes both skill and luck without ever a guarantee of success.

Oh yeah, hunters learn a lot about themselves.   The time for introspection can have a profound impact on one’s life.   I know.   For it was in the deer stand twice in my life I mustered the courage to tell an employer I was moving on.   Time for greener pastures.   Time to make a change and let go of what had become comfortable in life to seek new opportunities and adventure.

The deer stand will do that to you.

I think the deer stand will also help “reset” your life or put things back into proper perspective.   In today’s fast-paced world this is more important than ever before.   I know from personal experience that far too often life has you running seemingly nonstop almost to the point of exhaustion.   A little “me time” is often the cure for this ailment.

So, when you are in the tree stand considering life, weighing lofty decisions, reminiscing on friendships, contemplating that new truck purchase, taking a mental health break from the kids, putting the stress of work behind you, and simply unwinding with some peace and quiet, consider this.   Time spent in the deer stand helps to recharge your life’s batteries.

When your phone is running on empty, you never quite know if you’ll have enough “juice” left to get you by until the next recharge.   For me, hunting season is my life re-charge.   It affords me the opportunity to step back, slow down life just a bit, and do plenty of evaluating on both where I’ve been, but more importantly on where I am going if I so choose to walk that path.

Speaking of walking that path.   Did you know that yesterday was my official 10th anniversary for this blog.   Yes, indeed, I didn’t care to make a big deal of it…but with this blog post I am now officially starting a new decade of blogging.

You can be sure that when I am out in the deer woods this fall contemplating all there is about my life, part of that learning about myself will involve what I am doing with this blog.   Ten years…can you believe it!   In case you’re wondering, HERE was my very first post.

It’s fair to say the act of blogging also forces a person to learn a lot about themselves.   Yet, the genesis for nearly all of these efforts begins with precious time spent in the woods learning about who you really are.   For once you discover and understand you, the rest of the world comes into much clearer focus.

Tell me about your time spent in the woods discovering about yourself.

6 Trapping Safety Videos Dog Owners Should Watch

Earlier this spring I was impressed with a video the Idaho Fish and Game Department put out to educate dog owners on the possible dangers that exist while taking your dog afield during trapping season.   It was a video I thought was so well done to educate the public, I questioned why other DNR’s, like the one in my home state of Minnesota, didn’t follow suit and produce their own.   Particularly considering the negative publicity of some dog deaths in recent years due to conibear traps sometimes set legally and at other times in illegal situations.

Well, that’s another story for a different day…but yesterday I noticed outdoors writer, Al Cambronne wrote in his blog basically the information I had intended to share in an upcoming post.   I’ll spare you those details as I will direct you over to Al’s expertly written blog, but instead I want to conveniently link some videos I think every houndsman should watch.   Even if you do not trap, the day could come when it pays to understand what they are and how they function at least on a fundamental level.

Moreover, it also pays to understand some rather simple techniques on how you can quickly extract a pet from these wildlife control tools used by trappers.   Honestly, I understand that when the adrenalin is pumping and the excitement is high…nothing is simple regarding these corrective actions.   Nevertheless, I feel it not only behooves trappers to use due diligence in setting their traps to avoid non-targeted animal capture, but for dog owners to realize sometimes this cannot be avoided in all circumstances.

Let’s start off with a video I first seen about six months ago that I think serves as a great overview for the topic.   In other words, if you don’t want to take the time to watch all of the videos I’m suggesting…at least take the next 8 minutes to view this one:

I feel the video you’ve just seen gives a good overview on the topic of removing pets from traps.   Now, here is the series of videos Al Cambronne referenced in his blog post.   Consider this viewing extended learning, if you will.   The point is any responsible dog owner must prepare for these possible dangers that may exist in both the fields and forests where hunting dogs are likely to roam.   Having this knowledge could potentially save your dog’s life, or at the very least minimize any physical damage.

 

I Have A Lot Of Respect For Trappers

This past Saturday I attended a small trapper gathering and I must say I always walk away from these events having learned a great deal.

Most years the big take-away is learning about the habits and activities of various furbearers and man’s attempt to catch them.   Honestly, you can tip your hat to the bowhunter who ends their season with a nice new mount for the wall, but I will always have more respect for the trapper who knows the ins and outs of his passion so much that he can fill a pickup load of beaver…or coyote…or some other crafty, wary species.

Trappers gather around to learn the finer points of fur handling and preparation.

Indeed, in the outdoors world for my money the accomplished trapper is the real rockstar deserving the utmost respect.   This person has to know his sport so well that he can predict that a critter will step on a few square inches of a trap pan in order to achieve success.   Certainly I’m not discrediting the hunter in any way.   Instead, if you’ve never been closely aligned with someone who traps to learn what it takes…you’re missing a truly wonderful outdoors experience, in my opinion.

Now, some might say trappers do it for the money.   To that I would say GET REAL!   The money?   Oh, sure there’s the money element involved with preparing and selling furs, but very few trappers I know make much more money then they end up spending on supplies, on gas to run their line…not to mention the hard work involved with catching and putting up fur in preparation for auction.

I’ve been a recreational trapper since the age of 15 so I know what it takes.   Commitment.   Ambition.   Discipline.   Positive attitude.   Those are just a few of the many qualities that goes into a successful trapper.   And while money can help motivate a person to get out of bed each morning to check the lines…it simply does not very often make a living for many people.

Hide preparation through fleshing the fat and gristle off the leather-side is an important and challenging skill.

As I watched Leon Windschitl from the Minnesota Trappers Association give his demonstration showing the finer points of fur handling, it suddenly occurred to me how much work is involved with trapping.   First off, there’s the work phase where you need to outsmart the animal.   Specialized tools, techniques and tactics might work in some areas, but then not in others.   There’s no guarantee for success in trapping, just like there isn’t in hunting or fishing.

Stretching the hide showing good size and conformity to accepted standards will bring top dollar at the market.

Now, some trappers might stop right there and simply sell the animal in the carcass to the fur house.   I’ll admit, this is what I often do because my process for skinning and preparing is not a streamlined operation.   Others, however, realize the work is only beginning.   Skinning the critter (depending on your skill level) might take five to ten minutes or more.   Then comes the fleshing and stretching aspect…not to mention the combing and cleaning that is often necessary to make the fur look its best.   Even the stretching and the drying demands time and lots of attention.

All in all that $30 raccoon is hardly easy or quick money for the trapper’s pocket.   As a trapper, to do things the correct way takes lots of time, patience and effort often when weather conditions are less than ideal.

Especially this year.   Preliminary fur markets are looking somewhat depressed so trappers will likely have less competition on their lines.   That also means less money in the pocket when the seasons end.   Indeed, this year when you see trappers out tending their traps realize how this year more than others the folks setting steal in the river ways and fence lines are doing it for a true love of the sport…and not for a means to get rich in the pocketbook.

Yes, I have a lot of respect for trappers and the sport of trapping.   Always have and always will.