Musical Tree-stands by Patrick Meitin
One of the most excruciating responsibilities during my outfitting days was deciding who to sit where based on specific winds and how to get everyone seated efficiently. In the big picture this is probably child’s play contrasted against the agonizing decisions that accompany choosing a stand for myself on any given morning. I mean, I have all those stands out there waiting, all those grand possibilities, and just little old me to cover all the bases!
Should I cave and play the odds—sit the stand with the four bucks parading past the trail camera like clockwork, even if they all score just a smidgen less than book? Should I go for gold, sit that corner stand with only sporadic traffic, but the biggest buck of the season making erratic appearances, knowing it’s a long shot at best? But this could be the day among days when he actually shows up… But then there’s that stand on the edge of the clear-cut that I haven’t dealt with seriously because it requires a 30-minute ATV ride across sloppy, muddy roads; but it does have the nice 5×5 hitting that scrape regularly. And that covers just three of 27 possibilities. . .I could go on, but I know in my heart of hearts no matter where I choose to sit the bucks I’ve targeted will appear on camera somewhere else. They saunter up to my trail cameras, gaze into the lens and sneer—just to show me who’s in charge. I sometimes pine for the days when I owned only two questionable tree-stands and a handful of homemade screw-in steps. And no trail cameras. Wasn’t it better to just not know?
All the while I’m left feeling like a kindergartner playing musical chairs, except I’m caught in one of those infuriating and repetitive fever dreams and always the odd man out when the music stops. I might feel singled out, but then I hear the same kind of stories from buddies across the nation.