Out of the Trees

When I began deer hunting some 35 years ago, the tree stand as we know it today didn’t really exist. At least, not in my neck of the woods. The tree stands of my era were jerry-rigged wooden affairs quickly nailed into the cross limbs of a trees. The steps were crude wooden hunks imprecisely nailed (often with a single nail in the center of the step). As these steps weathered, the nail would work lose, often turning the step into a swivel, which sent the hunter down the trunk in a hurry. Condoblind1

Most of the time, though, I hunted on the ground. Stump sitting, we called it. You’d find a likely place in the woods and plant your butt on a stump or against a tree trunk and wait…and wait…and wait.

As a young hunter just coming to grips with scent and wind, I often heard deer moving away from me, and I all-too-often saw the characteristic white flag of a whitetail in hasty retreat.

Later, as I gained experience and started hunting in other parts of the country I encountered ladder and tripod stands, which had the distinct advantage of keeping my scent above a deer as well as offering a better view. Over the years, stand height increased. I went from 12 to 20 feet, and one hunter I know built an extension ladder to his stand so he can sit 30 feet above the forest floor.
Lately, I’ve noticed some new products designed to put us back on the ground. These range from chairs with camo flaps, to full-fledged camo blinds that resemble outfitter tents. I’ve even seen some with scent-control fabric.

The product shown here, from Fargason Outdoor Technologies (scentite.com), is The Tent Chair Blind Condo, a two-hunter blind that sets up quickly by unfolding the built-in full-size folding chair and pulling the water-resistant camo outer shell over you and your partner. Inside, hunters will find armrests and cup holders as well as a pair of storage pockets for calls, scents and snacks. Large side windows help waiting hunters track approaching game. $179.

What do you think? Would you prefer to stay up in the trees or come back to earth?

—Slaton White