Passing the Time in the Stand


Each November, bowhunters spend the entire day in the tree with hopes that the buck of a lifetime might wander by. While the anticipation of that event can be exhilarating, the actual time spent in the tree can be exhausting. Many hunters give up and only hunt the morning and evenings. Hunters can increase those odds of a successful sit.

There are several key items you need in order to sit still for twelve hours. First, you must be in a comfortable stand. Many hunters buy inexpensive stands, maximizing the numbers they can purchase. While there is value in that philosophy, multiple stands spread across the woods do little good if you cannot sit in them for more than a few hours. I try to purchase the largest platform stands I can find, preferably with a fixed foot bar and a large, heavily padded seat. That will allow me maximum space and comfort. Try sitting on a bleacher for three hours and you will understand why it’s worth spending extra to get a quality seat.

All-day sits require a well thought-out equipment list, but don’t require a of lot of room.

Stay hydrated, stay fed

Second, make sure you have adequate food and drink. Thirst and hunger will get you out of the stand faster than having to use the restroom. When you are hungry, you tend to get fidgety and move around. Eating small snacks will help maintain comfort and keep you alert. Avoid eating large sandwiches. They tend to relax you too much, stimulate bowel movements, and increase the chances of falling asleep in the stand. Water is even more critical. I keep a full two-liter bladder in my pack and try to sip at least each hour. It is very easy to get dehydrated on the stand. Dehydration leads to headaches and restlessness. In a full-day sit, I will drink at least a liter and never feel the need to relieve myself. Worst case, you can do that at the truck after the walk out or have that extra bottle in the pack to relieve yourself in.

Staying warm is a many-layered proposition

Next, you need to dress differently during all-day sits. Layering is the key to comfort. When temperatures can fluctuate upwards of 30 degrees, what works at 7 a.m. will likely not work at 2 p.m. Heavy, insulated boots are a must. Cold feet are a fast way to end your day. Multiple stocking caps or beanie-style hats will also aid in retaining heat all day, yet they can easily be taken off and stored when it heats up. If it is getting warm, being able to peel off the layers, keeping hydrated, and having the space to store your extra clothes will keep you in the stand comfortably and well concealed.

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Options for feeding your screen addiction

If you are attached to your phone or need to stay in contact with work, there are some easy tips for keeping that device active all day. If you have a touchscreen, you need to have warm fingers and a warm phone. A single handwarmer in a pocket will accomplish that goal. An external battery pack in a pocket with an extension cord will also keep your phone warm. Make sure you keep it in your pocket during low-light hours. That illuminating beacon will be visible for a quarter mile if you try to use it prior to full light. Many times, the areas you hunt do not have internet service. An alternate entertainment method is needed. A good alternative is to check the toy aisles at your local shopping center and look for battery-operated hand-held games.

I personally like Yahtzee, Black Jack, Sudoku, and poker games. A quick wrap of camo tape and, for under $10, you can have a way to add hours to your day. A key before you hit the field is to play the game a few times to make sure you understand the controls. There is nothing worse than getting a black jack and having a deer look up at the sound of the celebratory music. If the game does not have a mute button, do not take it in the field.

It is easy to get too focused on the game and not hunting. I like the card games versus watching videos or other activities because they are quick. That keeps me engaged in the hunt, not the game. Watching videos requires you to wear an ear piece, which can lower your ability to hear what is going on around you, too.

Sitting all day—especially during the rut—will maximize your chances of harvesting that deer you have been targeting. Preparing yourself for the long sit can be the key to a successful day.