One question I get and see from people who haven’t hunted yet is “How do you sit all day in a tree? Don’t you get bored?” This is honestly my favorite question to answer, not because I have some super elaborate answer or anything but it is something that I think a lot of people do and don’t realize it. Hunting isn’t just about going out and shooting an animal and hauling it home like a barbarian, it’s so much more than that. Have you ever heard that old saying, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” Well to me, hunting and especially bow hunting, is the same thing.
You finally get your opportunity and you nail it, you smoked that buck you’ve had on camera and been chasing from three years. You did everything right. It usually isn’t just by some stroke of luck, it’s usually because you put in the hard work. Most people think Whitetail season opens in September but for me it starts the day that the shooting season ends. Starting then, I am running cameras, working out, shooting and practicing as often as I can, and once the snow melts I am moving stands, planting my food plots, and improving the landscape for the deer. To me, bow hunting doesn’t just start in September and end around the New Year. It’s a year round adventure. I don’t hunt a massive property so I have to make sure I’m at the top of my game; I need to move stands so the deer don’t know where I’m at, I need to plant food plots so there’s food when all the crops around are harvested. I need to run cameras so I know if the deer have moved bedding areas or are running different patterns than last year. And I work out almost every day so that when I’m out there, all alone, my body and mind aren’t going to stop me from doing what I need to do to harvest an animal.
When I’ve been sitting for 8 hours and still have 4 hours left before I leave, yes sometimes I get bored. Sometimes I ask myself if it’s all worth it. But when you harvest an animal and have that satisfaction of putting meat on the table for your family and you know where it came from and how hard you worked to get it, that is what makes it worth it. I love the animals I hunt. I respect the hell out of them, how tough they are, how smart they are, and I thank God every time I am blessed enough to harvest one.
My favorite part about sitting for extended hours is the ability to clear my mind. I can think about all the things I’ve been dealing with for a little bit but then, just like so many people who practice meditation, I am able to clear my mind of all the nonsense that is everyday life. I can sit there for hours just enjoying the peace and quiet in my own mind. There’s something about the sounds in the woods that just calms me, it brings me peace. It’s how I reconnect with nature. Sitting in the woods and listening to the sounds of nature, watching the wildlife, is peaceful. It’s my form of meditation.
Actually, meditating helps me if I’m struggling to make it through a sit and I know it’s a good day for hunting. Sometimes you need to relax for a little bit and let go of everything for a little bit. It refreshes and re-energizes the mind and body. It’s a huge help on the sits when you’re exhausted. Another thing that works is thinking about all of the work I’ve put in over the course of the year. The countless hours I’ve spent shooting my bow, checking cameras, planting food plots, and improving the land. It reminds me why I’m there and how hard I’ve worked for this opportunity. It’s just a small reminder of why I’m sitting in a tree when I could be back at the cabin having a warm meal.
With all that being said, I don’t always sit all day-every day. That’s a good way to burn even the greatest hunters out. All day sits can be brutal and sometimes the conditions just aren’t in your favor. If the wind is wrong or swirling or if I’m just not feeling it, I will leave stand. Sometimes you do need rest; sitting in a tree all day isn’t like sitting on the couch all day, it’s exhausting. Not generally physically exhausting but mentally. You have to be on high alert all day and that takes a toll on your body as well. Ask anyone with a job that requires them to be high alert for their entire shift. Sometimes it’s better to leave stand in the early season and save yourself for the all day sits during the rut when your chances are the highest.
So in short, to answer the original question, yes sometimes I do get bored. Sometimes I do leave stand. But most of the time, I’ll be in that tree enjoying God’s handiwork until I harvest an animal or it’s too dark to hunt.