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Staying Entertained in Your Treestand

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December 01, 2009

Staying Entertained in Your Treestand

By Scott Bestul

OK, I’ll start with a confession: I often read a book when I’m in a stand or blind. There, I said it and I feel cleansed. I only bring this up because just days ago a good friend (and former guide) told me how much he hated it when his clients told him they read while they were hunting. “Is hunting not exciting enough to keep them occupied?” Ted asked.

Well for me, the answer is “usually.” When deer are moving well or I don’t face a long sit, I can remain in predator mode and not need any entertainment. But on longer sits—I make it a point to pull at least a couple of all-day vigils each season—I definitely need help staying out there. So I tote a book, and some snacks, maybe even a hand-held Yahtzee game to keep me going. Sure, I know I miss some deer sightings while my attention is focused elsewhere, but not as many as I’d miss if I were back at camp.

And then there’s this: I like to read, and I don’t get a whole lot of time to enjoy that hobby. So fall is my time to catch up, and frankly, I can’t think of a more enjoyable place to read than in an autumn treestand. I read a paragraph or two, scan the trails for awhile, then go back to the book. I get a kick out of it, and in at least one instance reading actually helped me kill a deer. Deer movement died about 9:30 that morning, but the book kept me in the saddle for two more hours, when a great 10-point showed up. I rattled him in and shot him at high noon.

So how ‘bout you guys? Do you carry entertainment to the woods, or can you stay focused enough to stick in there with nothing but deep thoughts and the hope of seeing a dandy?

Comments (36)

Top Rated
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from stormn wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I always bring a book. It helps to keep me from being restless in the stand. My attention span is that of a field mouse and books have kept me in the stand longer on many occasions. One book I always read is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A tremendous read each time!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from beers123 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

My phone has Texas Holdem that I just bought this fall. Talk about addicting I try to play a hand and look around. I think that a book would put me to sleep and I don't need any help in doing that either in a stand. It is hard to stay focused for me for hours on end without doing something.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I carry a pair of binos and continually scan the woods. You'd be surprised of the stuff you can't see with the naked eye.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MB915 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Biggest form of entertainment I bring to the woods with me is my lunch. Day dreaming in the peaceful woods is all I need on a slow day.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from cfroud wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I love to read while on stand. Like you, I don't have any other time to read, so I like to make the most of the opportunity. It did, however, cost me a buck one year. I was sitting in a ground blind and totally engrossed in a book. I had been reading a page, looking up, and then reading another. The next thing I know, I've read 3-4 pages, look up and there's a buck standing broadside at 20 yards, a chip shot with a bow. Unfortunately, he saw me lift my head and determined that he had other business to attend to about four miles away with the afterburners on. Now days, I make sure that the hunt is more interesting than the buck...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I read and carry a video poker game I bought years ago.

You gotta pass the time somehow!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I generally only take food. A couple of snacks and a sandwich(usually PB&J) is all I need at the moment. There are enough random thoughts running around in my head to keep me occupied long as I am not hungry.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I am usually sleep deprived when on stand. Reading when tired puts me to sleep. I also concentrate so much that I can miss everything going on around me. So, no books on stand. I just get totally immersed in everything going on around me. For some blessed reason, when in the woods, I tend not to think about the stuff in my life.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Armchair Mike wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Here's another reason why the print edition of Field and Stream will always be in demand. I read when I'm in a shooting house and won't spook deer with the movement of turning pages, but I don't read when I'm hunting from an open stand. I also bring food, water, and a pee bottle.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MichFish86 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Sounds a lot like me on my all day hunts- one paragraph then scan the woods for a few minutes, makes for choppy reading, but at least its quiet. This year I re-read Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and since then have been working on The Best of Field and Stream: 100 Years of Great Writing. Probably be all the reading I get done til next fall though...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from boof wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The most I will do other than scan for deer is text. Sometimes I will read the back of gatorade bottles or deer urine bottles. The hunt itself always keeps me entertained though.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Being intertained in a deer stand has never been my problem.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Sometimes i text my wife private messages

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from vork23 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I only do this when hunting over fields because if i am in the woods i might miss the deer walking threw my shooting lanes but if i am in fields i like to bring hand held yatzee.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

It depends on the situation. Sometimes I bring a book, especially when I plan to hunt high in a climber from dark-early to last shooting light--or in a blind where the deer can't see me move the book around. I don't usually get much reading done--I usually look up to scan the area every 2 or 3 sentences. Sometimes I bring a camera--that actually seems to help keep me focused on spotting game because I'm looking for anything that moves--not just deer. If I'm not going to shoot it, I can take it's picture--smile, bigfoot, you're on candid camera.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

When I first get in the stand I fall asleep for 10 mins ( I use a tree lounge) wake up hunt for 4 or 5 hours. I never get bored, I am always watching something or listening to a birds call trying to ID it. Too much to learn from nature to be bored in a stand or on the ground.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

i bring a book, text, and eat. thats about it

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

i got an ipod touch for christmas i know what your thinking listening to music is a definitely not a good idea but i down loaded a bunch of games, even a hunting game, my personal favorite is removem... it usually passes the time i hunt a pretty thick area and to see the deer or anything in shooting range. im going try a book next i think

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I use a radio with earbuds to listen to Rush. Arrowed a doe at 1030 this morning.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I would think if one allowed oneself to be distracted by a game or a book could cause you to miss an opportunity. While Rush was a great band and I know at least one fella with every Rush album ever put out, I just don't think rock'n roll is best for tree stand stitting (apologies to Ted Nugent) Something more like "the Finlandia suite" by Jan Sibelius perhaps maybe...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from matakis wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I put my ears on alert mode and take a nap. Worked bowhunting this year woke up to a grunt and an 8 pointer working down a trail towards me. Got him at 25 yards.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

To Bella, I could be wrong but I suspect Del is referring to the right wing radio loudmouth, not the rock band. But I wouldn't listen to either in my tree stand.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Rush is the guy that smart people listen to any time to get educated. He is "The man"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I used to play video poker on my old phone, but my new one does not have it. I like to spread bird seed around my stand and watch the different birds that come in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Sorry rabbitpolice, you and I probably agree on a lot of things, but not this time. Rush is the guy that sheep listen to when they can't formulate their own opinions. When you say "the man" is that the "drug addict" man, the "fat" man, or the "hate monger" man?

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

No, that is the highly educated, able to get his point across one of the greatest conservative minds of our time man. People who listen to Rush tend to be educated want to be involved and educated about our government and what is going on in it. The people who are the sheep would be the democrats and the far left moveon.org croud. The ones that get all their talking points from Peta, ABC, CNN, Harry Ried, Barbary boxer, and on it goes. They are Clinton cool aid drinkers. I'll bet you think the same thing of Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Ann Culter.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from paperpusher wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I take an old copy of "Magnificat", find a short passage to read, usually a Psalm or two, and meditate on that throughout the hunt. Treestands make great little chapels.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

LMAO You're kidding, right? If you're getting your education from FOX and that drug addicted windbag, I suggest you go back to school. You might meet some educated people that have better things to do than listen to rich guys (and Coulter) getting richer by spewing hate. You're buying into their act & they're laughing their way to the bank. If you think a drug addict is "one of the greatest conservative minds of our time" you might want to consider other role models.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from skipweber wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I USED to take deer magazines and catch up on the latest ways to be successful, but I found that I was reading too much and not watching enough.

Now I have found the best of both worlds. I take my iPod and listen to books or podcasts or music. The deer can't hear it, and I can still hear them. I'm able to still constantly stay vigilant, yet I can read while I'm doing it.

You should try it instead of bringing a book that requires you to look down instead of out.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I like Rush, and mostly agree with him, but i can't listen to him mostly because of the pomp and redundancy. Ronald Reagan was one of the great conservative voices of our time...Rush is not, but he's ok if you know how to take him. i'm not sure he does a whole lot for the cause though, as he's not swaying many crossover voters. As far as him being a drug addict, that may be overstated a bit. Everyone has their vices.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BeardogRed wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I focus on hunting, sorry that I am boring!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BeardogRed wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Merry Xmas Scott and family, and thanks for all the great articles!
Red & BeardogRed

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I haven't taken a book to the stand with me in the past, but I may in the future. I would say as long as you take a look around every few minutes, what can it hurt?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailkj wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

last week i was hunting a tree line and i was reading a book and then after i looked up from a page i saw 8 doe walk out of there cover

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shermanator wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

i usually take a nap to start off and when i wake up and there is alot of time left in the stand i will take a book but i do alot of scanning and i do alot of glassing the surrounding area and find alot of things that you will never see anywhere else

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

I think about a certain redhead, it keeps me awake! ;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from buckhunter wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I carry a pair of binos and continually scan the woods. You'd be surprised of the stuff you can't see with the naked eye.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from MB915 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Biggest form of entertainment I bring to the woods with me is my lunch. Day dreaming in the peaceful woods is all I need on a slow day.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I generally only take food. A couple of snacks and a sandwich(usually PB&J) is all I need at the moment. There are enough random thoughts running around in my head to keep me occupied long as I am not hungry.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I use a radio with earbuds to listen to Rush. Arrowed a doe at 1030 this morning.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

To Bella, I could be wrong but I suspect Del is referring to the right wing radio loudmouth, not the rock band. But I wouldn't listen to either in my tree stand.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from stormn wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I always bring a book. It helps to keep me from being restless in the stand. My attention span is that of a field mouse and books have kept me in the stand longer on many occasions. One book I always read is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A tremendous read each time!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from beers123 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

My phone has Texas Holdem that I just bought this fall. Talk about addicting I try to play a hand and look around. I think that a book would put me to sleep and I don't need any help in doing that either in a stand. It is hard to stay focused for me for hours on end without doing something.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from cfroud wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I love to read while on stand. Like you, I don't have any other time to read, so I like to make the most of the opportunity. It did, however, cost me a buck one year. I was sitting in a ground blind and totally engrossed in a book. I had been reading a page, looking up, and then reading another. The next thing I know, I've read 3-4 pages, look up and there's a buck standing broadside at 20 yards, a chip shot with a bow. Unfortunately, he saw me lift my head and determined that he had other business to attend to about four miles away with the afterburners on. Now days, I make sure that the hunt is more interesting than the buck...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I read and carry a video poker game I bought years ago.

You gotta pass the time somehow!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I am usually sleep deprived when on stand. Reading when tired puts me to sleep. I also concentrate so much that I can miss everything going on around me. So, no books on stand. I just get totally immersed in everything going on around me. For some blessed reason, when in the woods, I tend not to think about the stuff in my life.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Armchair Mike wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Here's another reason why the print edition of Field and Stream will always be in demand. I read when I'm in a shooting house and won't spook deer with the movement of turning pages, but I don't read when I'm hunting from an open stand. I also bring food, water, and a pee bottle.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MichFish86 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Sounds a lot like me on my all day hunts- one paragraph then scan the woods for a few minutes, makes for choppy reading, but at least its quiet. This year I re-read Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and since then have been working on The Best of Field and Stream: 100 Years of Great Writing. Probably be all the reading I get done til next fall though...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from boof wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The most I will do other than scan for deer is text. Sometimes I will read the back of gatorade bottles or deer urine bottles. The hunt itself always keeps me entertained though.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Sometimes i text my wife private messages

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Rush is the guy that smart people listen to any time to get educated. He is "The man"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

No, that is the highly educated, able to get his point across one of the greatest conservative minds of our time man. People who listen to Rush tend to be educated want to be involved and educated about our government and what is going on in it. The people who are the sheep would be the democrats and the far left moveon.org croud. The ones that get all their talking points from Peta, ABC, CNN, Harry Ried, Barbary boxer, and on it goes. They are Clinton cool aid drinkers. I'll bet you think the same thing of Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Ann Culter.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Being intertained in a deer stand has never been my problem.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vork23 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I only do this when hunting over fields because if i am in the woods i might miss the deer walking threw my shooting lanes but if i am in fields i like to bring hand held yatzee.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

It depends on the situation. Sometimes I bring a book, especially when I plan to hunt high in a climber from dark-early to last shooting light--or in a blind where the deer can't see me move the book around. I don't usually get much reading done--I usually look up to scan the area every 2 or 3 sentences. Sometimes I bring a camera--that actually seems to help keep me focused on spotting game because I'm looking for anything that moves--not just deer. If I'm not going to shoot it, I can take it's picture--smile, bigfoot, you're on candid camera.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

When I first get in the stand I fall asleep for 10 mins ( I use a tree lounge) wake up hunt for 4 or 5 hours. I never get bored, I am always watching something or listening to a birds call trying to ID it. Too much to learn from nature to be bored in a stand or on the ground.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

i bring a book, text, and eat. thats about it

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

i got an ipod touch for christmas i know what your thinking listening to music is a definitely not a good idea but i down loaded a bunch of games, even a hunting game, my personal favorite is removem... it usually passes the time i hunt a pretty thick area and to see the deer or anything in shooting range. im going try a book next i think

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I would think if one allowed oneself to be distracted by a game or a book could cause you to miss an opportunity. While Rush was a great band and I know at least one fella with every Rush album ever put out, I just don't think rock'n roll is best for tree stand stitting (apologies to Ted Nugent) Something more like "the Finlandia suite" by Jan Sibelius perhaps maybe...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from matakis wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I put my ears on alert mode and take a nap. Worked bowhunting this year woke up to a grunt and an 8 pointer working down a trail towards me. Got him at 25 yards.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeye wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I used to play video poker on my old phone, but my new one does not have it. I like to spread bird seed around my stand and watch the different birds that come in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from paperpusher wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I take an old copy of "Magnificat", find a short passage to read, usually a Psalm or two, and meditate on that throughout the hunt. Treestands make great little chapels.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from skipweber wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I USED to take deer magazines and catch up on the latest ways to be successful, but I found that I was reading too much and not watching enough.

Now I have found the best of both worlds. I take my iPod and listen to books or podcasts or music. The deer can't hear it, and I can still hear them. I'm able to still constantly stay vigilant, yet I can read while I'm doing it.

You should try it instead of bringing a book that requires you to look down instead of out.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I like Rush, and mostly agree with him, but i can't listen to him mostly because of the pomp and redundancy. Ronald Reagan was one of the great conservative voices of our time...Rush is not, but he's ok if you know how to take him. i'm not sure he does a whole lot for the cause though, as he's not swaying many crossover voters. As far as him being a drug addict, that may be overstated a bit. Everyone has their vices.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BeardogRed wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I focus on hunting, sorry that I am boring!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BeardogRed wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Merry Xmas Scott and family, and thanks for all the great articles!
Red & BeardogRed

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I haven't taken a book to the stand with me in the past, but I may in the future. I would say as long as you take a look around every few minutes, what can it hurt?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailkj wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

last week i was hunting a tree line and i was reading a book and then after i looked up from a page i saw 8 doe walk out of there cover

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shermanator wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

i usually take a nap to start off and when i wake up and there is alot of time left in the stand i will take a book but i do alot of scanning and i do alot of glassing the surrounding area and find alot of things that you will never see anywhere else

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

I think about a certain redhead, it keeps me awake! ;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

LMAO You're kidding, right? If you're getting your education from FOX and that drug addicted windbag, I suggest you go back to school. You might meet some educated people that have better things to do than listen to rich guys (and Coulter) getting richer by spewing hate. You're buying into their act & they're laughing their way to the bank. If you think a drug addict is "one of the greatest conservative minds of our time" you might want to consider other role models.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Sorry rabbitpolice, you and I probably agree on a lot of things, but not this time. Rush is the guy that sheep listen to when they can't formulate their own opinions. When you say "the man" is that the "drug addict" man, the "fat" man, or the "hate monger" man?

-4 Good Comment? | | Report

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