Staying on stand for 10 or 11 hours straight isn’t easy, especially when the deer just don’t seem to be moving. In fact, it can be downright painful. But with a little determination and a dose of confidence, even the most restless hunters can stick it out and increase their odds of seeing a shooter buck. Here’s a look at ways to help you pass those long midday hours.
Read a Book
Reading is not only a great way to pass the quiet hours in the woods, it’s a great exercise for your mind and something that can make you a better, more educated person. Whether you like thrilling crime novels or fist-person adventure or war stories, a book can be so entertaining, you may forget to put it down after every page to scan the woods.
Keep A Journal
Journals not only help us become better hunters, they help us recall those special, fleeting moments that eventually fade to those distant places in our memories. Journals also provide insight into past hunting conditions, deer activity and other vital information that all adds up to paint a big picture.
When was the last time you received a hand-written letter? There’s something special about reading a note from a family member or friend. Take a small pack of note cards, even an address book and envelopes and drop a line to all the folks who mean something to you. They’d probably get a kick out of the notion of you sitting in your tree stand writing letters.
Have a Picnic
A piece of meat slapped on two slices of white bread may get you through the day, but does it taste good? Instead of getting by, go all-out and whip up the makings of a big, robust meal that you’ll actually look forward to eating. Come up with a meal that takes time to prepare and eat.
Take a Nap
The lure of a soft cot or warm truck cab is a powerful one and hunters who bail out of the woods for a little R&R are doing themselves a great disservice. Instead of leaving your stand, try climbing down and finding a sunny spot against the base of a tree. Sit back, close your eyes and drift off to deer hunting heaven.
Set Time Goals
When you’re ready to call it a morning, tell yourself you’ll stay 30 more minutes. When that limit is up, convince yourself to stay an extra 25 and then 20 and then 15. Before you know it, you’ll be close to your usual afternoon hunting hours, so you might as well stick it out and stay put.
Proper clothing can mean the difference between prolonged misery and a successful all-day hunt. The key to keeping warm is layering—wearing several layers of thin clothes instead of one large, bulky jacket over a shirt or two. Place disposable hand warmers on the back of your neck, on your lower back, at your ankles and on the insides of your wrists.
A Game Boy, an electronic baseball or football game, or even a hand-held Hangman game can all help pass those idle midday hours. Just remember to look up and scan the woods every now and then and make sure you keep the cheering to a minimum.
Go For a Walk
It may go against conventional wisdom, but climbing down from a tree stand and going for a walk is a great way to keep your mind in the game. Don’t go too far and don’t walk in the very places you expect to find deer.
Consider The Alternative
What could be worse than watching empty woods for hours on end? How about cleaning out the garage, mowing the lawn or taking on some other tedious chore you can’t bear to do. Parking your rear in the woods for an entire day is the ideal excuse to get out of those things you dread doing on a Saturday.