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Old tree stand memories


Wolc123

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I am hunting my oldest tree stand for the first time of the season today.  It’s also the furthest walk from the house of any that I  have.  It’s also my least comfortable and most difficult to get in and out of.  All of that contributes to my not using it much. 
 

It’s too narrow for me, at about 30” wide, barely providing room to turn the swivel chair.  I had all intentions on rebuilding and widening it this summer.  Unfortunately, when I climbed up I was greeted by a big fat momma coon and 3 or 4 young ones.  
 

I don’t know who was more scared when my head popped up over the platform, less than 2 ft from them.  She squeezed out the back and ran and I jumped down and ran the other way.  Needless to say, I did not complete the widening project.  
 

I built this stand, which is sbout 9 ft up on a hard maple tree, about 10 years,  ago as a replacement for the first stand I built in these woods, more than 20 years prior.  
 

That one was very big and roomy.  The pressure treated lumber deck was 4 ft wide x 8 ft long, and supported by (3) ash trees.  The stumps of those are still visible in the photo.  
 

While that one was comfortable, it was also very high maintenance.  Every year if had to add more nails and supports as the wind would loosen and rip them apart, acting independently on the (3) supporting trees.  
 

The emerald ash borer was an emerging threat, so I chose this, the nearest single, non-ash tree for the replacement.  Cutting that old one down was bitter sweet. 
 

Sweet because of no more maintenance.  Bitter because of lots of chain saw blade replacement and sharpening needed due to all the old nails and lag bolts.  
 

There were also lots of memories from that old ash tree stand.  It had killed my largest antlered buck from it back in 1988 on Thanksgiving morning.  
 

Back then, the neighbor on the road behind (who I knew very well) would strip topsoil from his fields and sell it.  I had worked for a local landscaping outfit thru high school and college that used lots of that.  He let us borrow one of his payloaders, when the old one that we had broke down.  He never minded me hunting on his land, so I built the stand just about 30 yards from his property line.  
 

That morning, I noticed a moose of a buck crossing that stripped and planted field, about 120 yards away.  The antlers were big enough to see very clearly.  I immediately looked away and tried to get in position for a shot, when he reached an opening at the shotest distance.  
 

The stand was a big platform with no rails.  It got off my chair, knelt behind it and rested my Ithaca 16 ga smoothbore on it.  I settled the crosshairs of the 1.5 Weaver along the top or his back or just over.

Ir was quite a poke for that old smoothbore but the path he was on was clearly going to bring him no closer.  At the shot, he crumpled and fell.  I was surprised as I lifted my head away from the scope and let out a breath of relief.  
 

It didn’t end there though.  That breath fogged the heck out of my scope.  The buck got back up and ran right towards me, but obviously in great distress. 
 

As he passed by, almost under my stand, I brought up my gun, but all I saw thru the scope was grey.  Grey at not, I pointed and emptied the magazine.  None of those (4) follow up shots touched him, as he crossed thru our woods and into the  tangled brush on the other side.  
 

I couldn’t help but notice his speed as he passed by me.  I was young and pretty fast back then, and I thought I could do better.  I climbed down and headed into the jungle after him, while fumbling for shells in my pocket and trying to reload.  
 

I must have dropped one along the way because I had started out with (10) Winchester slugs that morning but my buddy on the neighboring farm said that he heard (9) shots.  
 

As I started to gain on the buck, who was struggling to push that wide rack thru the tangled mess, I fired a few more times, eventually getting down to what I knew was my last slug.  I waited until I was almost on top of him, before I gave him that one to neck, finally putting his lights out for good.

My buddy heard me yell in excitement, there’s one for the wall.  I took the cape to my uncle, who was a taxidermist at the local science museum, for my first and largest mount.  
 

There were other memorable hunts from that old ash tree stand including  a double with a ML doe, quickly followed by a rem 870 12 ga buck.  I used to carry those (2) guns on opening day for just such an occasion.  
 

I also used that open sighted short barreled 870 almost like an artillery piece one time from that stand to take a spike buck at long range.  He was out feeding on clover, standing broadside.  
 

I could see that my first shot was high because I saw the mud fly up over his back.  I corrected a little for the second shot, putting it right thru his spine.  
 

I’ve only taken one deer that I can recall from this cramped maple replacement stand.  That was a big doe on a late gun season Sunday afternoon, just across the ditch behind me (on the same field where I first saw and dropped the big buck described earlier). 
 

She was struck perfectly thru both shoulders and dropped right there.  The ditch was full and the water was very cold.  I soaked one foot crossing to fetch the carcass.  
 

It took me a  while,  back at the house by the wood stove, to get the feeling back in that foot.
After that, I dragged a big white oak barn floor plank back here and propped it against a tree in case I ever drop another across the ditch. 
 

I probably just blew a chance at that at 9:25 as I was typing this novel.  I heard sloshing in the water and looked up to see (3) antlerless deer 20 yards away.  I tried to move slowly towards my gun but they caught the motion and/or my bright orange hat, and bolted. 
 

Oh well, maybe a big buck will follow up and I’ll be ready.

IMG_3903.thumb.jpeg.941744f4ed6c371e1908d19923cfe85a.jpeg

 

Edited by Wolc123
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  • Bucksnbows changed the title to Old tree stand memories
3 hours ago, Wolc123 said:

I am hunting my oldest tree stand for the first time of the season today.  It’s also the furthest walk from the house of any that I  have.  It’s also my least comfortable and most difficult to get in and out of.  All of that contributes to my not using it much. 
 

It’s too narrow for me, at about 30” wide, barely providing room to turn the swivel chair.  I had all intentions on rebuilding and widening it this summer.  Unfortunately, when I climbed up I was greeted by a big fat momma coon and 3 or 4 young ones.  
 

I don’t know who was more scared when my head popped up over the platform, less than 2 ft from them.  She squeezed out the back and ran and I jumped down and ran the other way.  Needless to say, I did not complete the widening project.  
 

I built this stand, which is sbout 9 ft up on a hard maple tree, about 10 years,  ago as a replacement for the first stand I built in these woods, more than 20 years prior.  
 

That one was very big and roomy.  The pressure treated lumber deck was 4 ft wide x 8 ft long, and supported by (3) ash trees.  The stumps of those are still visible in the photo.  
 

While that one was comfortable, it was also very high maintenance.  Every year if had to add more nails and supports as the wind would loosen and rip them apart, acting independently on the (3) supporting trees.  
 

The emerald ash borer was an emerging threat, so I chose this, the nearest single, non-ash tree for the replacement.  Cutting that old one down was bitter sweet. 
 

Sweet because of no more maintenance.  Bitter because of lots of chain saw blade replacement and sharpening needed due to all the old nails and lag bolts.  
 

There were also lots of memories from that old ash tree stand.  It had killed my largest antlered buck from it back in 1988 on Thanksgiving morning.  
 

Back then, the neighbor on the road behind (who I knew very well) would strip topsoil from his fields and sell it.  I had worked for a local landscaping outfit thru high school and college that used lots of that.  He let us borrow one of his payloaders, when the old one that we had broke down.  He never minded me hunting on his land, so I built the stand just about 30 yards from his property line.  
 

That morning, I noticed a moose of a buck crossing that stripped and planted field, about 120 yards away.  The antlers were big enough to see very clearly.  I immediately looked away and tried to get in position for a shot, when he reached an opening at the shotest distance.  
 

The stand was a big platform with no rails.  It got off my chair, knelt behind it and rested my Ithaca 16 ga smoothbore on it.  I settled the crosshairs of the 1.5 Weaver along the top or his back or just over.

Ir was quite a poke for that old smoothbore but the path he was on was clearly going to bring him no closer.  At the shot, he crumpled and fell.  I was surprised as I lifted my head away from the scope and let out a breath of relief.  
 

It didn’t end there though.  That breath fogged the heck out of my scope.  The buck got back up and ran right towards me, but obviously in great distress. 
 

As he passed by, almost under my stand, I brought up my gun, but all I saw thru the scope was grey.  Grey at not, I pointed and emptied the magazine.  None of those (4) follow up shots touched him, as he crossed thru our woods and into the  tangled brush on the other side.  
 

I couldn’t help but notice his speed as he passed by me.  I was young and pretty fast back then, and I thought I could do better.  I climbed down and headed into the jungle after him, while fumbling for shells in my pocket and trying to reload.  
 

I must have dropped one along the way because I had started out with (10) Winchester slugs that morning but my buddy on the neighboring farm said that he heard (9) shots.  
 

As I started to gain on the buck, who was struggling to push that wide rack thru the tangled mess, I fired a few more times, eventually getting down to what I knew was my last slug.  I waited until I was almost on top of him, before I gave him that one to neck, finally putting his lights out for good.

My buddy heard me yell in excitement, there’s one for the wall.  I took the cape to my uncle, who was a taxidermist at the local science museum, for my first and largest mount.  
 

There were other memorable hunts from that old ash tree stand including  a double with a ML doe, quickly followed by a rem 870 12 ga buck.  I used to carry those (2) guns on opening day for just such an occasion.  
 

I also used that open sighted short barreled 870 almost like an artillery piece one time from that stand to take a spike buck at long range.  He was out feeding on clover, standing broadside.  
 

I could see that my first shot was high because I saw the mud fly up over his back.  I corrected a little for the second shot, putting it right thru his spine.  
 

I’ve only taken one deer that I can recall from this cramped maple replacement stand.  That was a big doe on a late gun season Sunday afternoon, just across the ditch behind me (on the same field where I first saw and dropped the big buck described earlier). 
 

She was struck perfectly thru both shoulders and dropped right there.  The ditch was full and the water was very cold.  I soaked one foot crossing to fetch the carcass.  
 

It took me a  while,  back at the house by the wood stove, to get the feeling back in that foot.
After that, I dragged a big white oak barn floor plank back here and propped it against a tree in case I ever drop another across the ditch. 
 

I probably just blew a chance at that at 9:25 as I was typing this novel.  I heard sloshing in the water and looked up to see (3) antlerless deer 20 yards away.  I tried to move slowly towards my gun but they caught the motion and/or my bright orange hat, and bolted. 
 

Oh well, maybe a big buck will follow up and I’ll be ready.

IMG_3903.thumb.jpeg.941744f4ed6c371e1908d19923cfe85a.jpeg

 

Did you actually type that entire story and not share a pic?!

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1 hour ago, Buckmaster7600 said:

The only 2 stands I still use are both stands that were my old man’s favorite stands. His are old and not safe so I hung new stands beside his. Although I don’t sit in them often when I do it isn’t about the deer.

Thanks, you just steered me into what I hope is the right stand for this evenings hunt.  My dad never hunted from stands but I’m now up in the one closest to where he killed his last antlered buck 44 years ago.  Grandpa had passed the year before and we sold all the cattle and hogs and rented the land to a neighbor who planted it all in fieldcorn. 
 

Dad walked down the lane on the east side and sent my brother and I out into the thick brush to the left like hound dogs.  We made it about halfway across this field when I heard a single shot from his Browning sweet 16.  
 

He called for us, saying that he shot a buck that had followed (5) doe out of the brush we were in.  He didn’t have a dmp for here (back then he only usually hunted the opener in Allegheny state park and that’s where his and my uncle and cousins “party permit” was for).  
 

On this particular Thanksgiving morning, he had to patiently wait for a buck.  I remember there being lots of snow and blood that morning.  The neighbor hadn’t yet harvested the corn, and the two rows that the buck ran down were painted red.  
The buck made it about a hundred yards, into the center of the field, after taking a 16 ga Remington slugger behind the shoulder.  
 

My second oldest stand back here was about 30 yards farther east up another ash tree, from the poplar tree blind that I am in now.  It was my most productive stand back and I’ve long lost count of the number of deer that I killed from it.   
 

It  was a sad day when that tree succumbed to the emerald borer, and I had to cut it down.  I put this one up in the nearest non-ash, this big old poplar.  
 

This is also my best stand for the due West wind we have right now, and the only one in ML range of my two best turnip plots. I had planned on saving it until a short pre-church hunt tomorrow morning.  I guess I can walk a little further and hit the upper deck if my truck cap blind, on the back side of the field, then instead. 

IMG_3904.thumb.jpeg.062dfd810a05ac58c8d2a40a99615aa3.jpegI planted about 3/4 acre of sweetcorn in this field this summer, the last of which the deer harvested the week before sz gun season opened.  The stalks are still standing.  Maybe I’ll get to see some painted red again, if I hit one tonight in the middle of the field and it heads towards my pond.  The pond is full, after about 4” of rain the last few days.

IMG_3892.thumb.jpeg.ee0076849676531771fbdf08f361be6c.jpeg

 

 

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