Monday, April 7, 2014

When the Opportunity Presents Itself

Seeing this after releasing arrows at 40 yards with a 20-30 mph crosswind was encouraging!

My thoughts had been on bowhunting all week. Every day was filled with more than enough to do, but come Friday at 5:00 PM I needed some arrow therapy. Once it arrived, I knew it was time to unwind. I hit up the El Dorado Park archery range and finished dialing in my bow. It felt so good to shoot!

Saturday was a day of opportunity for me. I was able to spend some time with my family in the morning and then go hunting in the afternoon. Plus, my trail cams had been up for a month and I was eager to see what was on them. Were the coyotes still reigning supreme over the area or had the pigs returned? Along with the actual hunt, I was going to be field-testing some new boots and a climber treestand for an upcoming article. Needless to say, I was very excited to get to the woods, but I had a long drive ahead of me for only a couple hours of hunting.

Hiking into my hunting spot, I encountered only two other people hiking and biking out. Off the main trail, the area was empty and not a soul was spotted. I covered the mile and a half to my chosen hunt spot quickly and began searching for a tree to set up in. I decided to check my trail cam to see if it had recorded anything and there was plenty on it! I decided to download the card after my hunt to give me more time in the tree.

This was the first time using this particular climber, but I had taken the advice from the folks at headquarters to watch the How-to videos at home prior to trying it out in the woods. Let me tell you what, I used abdominal muscles that I never even knew existed! After hooking up my safety harness, getting up the tree wasn't so bad and I stopped around 20 feet up. It felt great to be back in a stand and checking out the area. Unfortunately, the wind didn't cooperate. I sat for three hours in gusty winds. It wasn't conducive to hunting, but I was there and wasn't about to let an opportunity pass me by. I saw nothing but birds.

About forty-five minutes before sundown, I decided it was time to climb down. Let me rephrase that. It was time to torture myself on the way down. One very important, key factor I came to understand emphatically is that you DO NOT want to use a climber on a palm tree in Southern California. Yes, that was one of the trees I had the opportunity to climb and decided it looked promising. Sure did. It promised me a half hour of pain and suffering as I climbed down.

The face of a man who knows he has to work to get down from the tree.

The bark of a palm tree is not friendly and unforgiving to bowhunters.
Before I forget, those of you who, like me, wear a binocular chest pack... leave it in the backpack for climbing. Mine kept catching on the seat of the climber and digging into my stomach. Talk about an awkward way to end the day. I almost flipped it around to get it out of the way. Next time it will stay in the backpack on my way up and down the tree.

Back to disembarking my tropical tree prison. On the way down, the straps of both the seat and foot platform kept catching on the bark and hanging up. Every time I lowered myself a few feet it would catch and I would have to spend a few minutes either peeling bark or creatively getting the straps over the bark. This is not easy with a backpack on your back, but thankfully I was strapped into my Hunter Safety System the entire way down.

It took me nearly a half hour to get down out of this tree. That's three times longer than it took me to get up! My elbows were hurting from the seat (more on this when I write the review), my abs were screaming at me, and my legs were tired. Mentally, I felt tired from having to figure out the hard way to not go too far up a palm tree. That being said, I am glad I did it and suffered so you don't have to.

I downloaded the videos from my game camera and packed up the stand and backpack on my back. Hiking a mile and a half out at dusk was a bit tiresome and the treestand straps wreaked havoc on my shoulders, but there way beauty in it. I saw cottontail rabbits everywhere and beautiful game trails in the sunset. I am thankful I had the opportunity to hunt, see the beauty of nature, and test some gear. 

When I arrived home, I talked with my girls about the day and, like I always do, asked Riley if she wanted to see what was on the game cameras. It's fun for both her and I alike and we were both surprised at what we saw. Multiple videos of...

The surprise will just have to wait until Wednesday.


  1. That looks like a nice hunt even though it was unsuccessful. Weather was beautiful! Would love to see a view from the stand next time.

  2. Thanks Wes. Weather was warm, but like I said, very windy. Not ideal for a hunt out of a stand, especially for pigs. I have some views from the stand, but I don't want to give away too much info on to my spot. Then everyone will be in there. One of these days I will carefully snap a few photos from the stand.