November 25, 2005

Learning To Fly

Though I haven't been out now for a few years, I love to sit out in the woods with my rifle, watching the wildlife and just relaxing. Hunting isn't about killing... it's about enjoying life. I never feel quite so alive as when I'm sitting in my treestand, or a blind, or even still hunting. I feel like I belong. I totally relax. The only thing that can rival that feeling is riding.

When I say that I relax, I mean, I really relax. I've been know to nod off in my blind, or to lean back against a tree, and grab a little shut eye. I've even been know to drift off in my treestand... both permanent stands, and portable. Hell, to tell the absolute truth, I've even rested the eyes a bit while I've been riding, though that's not something I've gotten perfected, yet.

Yesterday, I learned that I had something else to be thankful for, other than what I had been thinking earlier in the day. And yes, it's got to do with hunting and relaxing.

See, I've been out hunting only Gott knows how many years... that equals up to a hell of a lot of naps, many of them in a portable treestand. I am a very light sleeper... I usually awaken at the slightest sound, or even when I sense "something" else nearby. (My cousin used to think it funny to creep into the room where I was sleeping soundly, and then just stand there... I'd usually stop snoring and say, "What?" within seconds.) I will admit to having fallen from the stand on one occasion. Luckily, I was able to flip myself about, so that I landed on my back... keeping my rifle safe from harm. Safety harness? Who needs 'em?

Who needs 'em? Well, obviously my brother does. Yes, the Perfect One did his best impression of a baby bird falling from the nest. Right on his face. Face. From 25 feet in the air, nothing breaking his fall, but his face and upper chest. Face. His rifle, a fine Browning BAR .30-06 that he's had for countless moons now, smashed from the impact. Did I mention that he landed on his face? We are all lucky he didn't bust his neck.

Oh, he's fine. He's not walking around very fast, he's got a decent shiner going on, and he hurts everywhere, but all x-rays have shown he's still intact. And that's where some of the joking around starts... he's okay, it's now safe to pick on him. Hey, humor is a good way to deal. Hell, if I had been at the base of that tree, I'd have probably freaked... until I saw him move. Then the laughing would start...

He wasn't there to enjoy the comments that were coming from hearing the story... in the cycle of family visits, it was his significant other's family's turn to enjoy his presence. One that came immediately to mind, but I'm saving it for when I see him, was "pride cometh before a fall." But he's definitely going to get a load of them at Christmas, not to mention a couple of ass chewings for no safety harness.

I know a few of you who read here go out to the woods, and while 25 ft seems a stretch, with the Perfect One, it isn't. He likes to see forever, and he's one hell of a shot. (He's made some phenomenal shots. On a trip to Canada, he got two caribou within seconds of each other. When the guide arrived, he looked to the One's shooting position from the caribou, did a double take, and then smiled in admiration. "Sniper!") He just likes to get as high up as possible, without the tree moving too much.

For you hunters, and it's definitely not something I'm trying to give anyone shit about, I'm just curious to know:

Do you wear a safety harness while on stand? If not, why?

No, I don't. I own one, but I hate the feeling of that thing around me. However, after my bro's dive, I think I may start wearing one, even if it breaks a couple of ribs smacking into the tree when you stop.

Posted by That 1 Guy at November 25, 2005 04:23 PM

Hell No! Just Damn!

Posted by: Dax Montana at November 25, 2005 05:01 PM

I don't hunt, but I live in an area that has a lot of hunters. Every year there is at least a couple of deaths from falling out of tree stands. Be careful out there.

Posted by: livey at November 25, 2005 08:44 PM

... nope... never wear it... but I don't sleep when I'm hunting....

Posted by: Eric at November 26, 2005 06:49 AM

I've never had to crawl up in a stand while hunting so no safety harness. I hunted by smell. When climbing trees for fun, no safety either. When teaching, always harnessed in.

Posted by: RSM at November 26, 2005 07:01 AM

I come from before the time when there were such things as safety harnesses and child "car seats". My left arm is proof of three broken bones, 1 twice. Fallin' out of trees is natural. It usually happens when you're in a tree and you fuck up. As a result of doing so, so is busted bones I reckon'. Glad PO is ok. Glad you are too man.

Posted by: RedNeck at November 26, 2005 09:38 PM

They make safety harnesses now? Nope, never did but also don't remember falling asleep either: cold, wet, etc., but never asleep. We had ours about 25 or so feet up.

Glad he is okay.

Posted by: Laughing Wolf at November 28, 2005 04:13 AM

What is this "safety" thing of which you speak?

Posted by: Ogre at November 28, 2005 09:17 AM

next time you wonder why your insurance is so high
remember all the morons that don't use safety harnases!!!

Posted by: clydstr at November 28, 2005 10:57 AM

When up over five feet I where a harness prefered or a belt. It's a long fall and life is too short to play gravity roullette. Got a nice doe so far my oldest has missed two but I'll keep him on deer till he relaxes and shoots like he was taught.

Posted by: john at December 1, 2005 02:09 PM