Hunting is not just about shooting animals; it is an opportunity to be an insider in the outdoor world.
I have always had a fascination with deer stands. Maybe this is because I consider my own stand a sacred place where I can be alone with my thoughts and dreams and escape the noisy chatter surrounding me daily. Television, radio, and social media pull me in like a roped mustang, and the billboards and road signs seem to scream at me as I drive to my hunting grounds.
Yes, my deer stand is a place to clear my mind and a place to take in the beauty of nature. I love listening to what some people might call silence. To me, the songbirds sing sweeter than any songs on my radio, the nonstop croaking of the tree frogs is far better than the talking heads on TV, and the nuisance of squirrels thrashing around is just fine to me compared to the annoying posts of Facebook. Even the crows’ relentless calling is better than my phone ringing. Nope, there is no better “silence” than a sit in the deer woods.
I unlock the gate guarding our hunting area, then drive slowly toward my stand. A sense of peace settles over me immediately from the protection of the towering trees and the serenity of the beautiful natural landscape. The fall brings unique gifts of flowering plants and shrubs.
I particularly enjoy passing by clumpy growths of native little bluestem grass, which makes me smile with its pleasant blue hues. As the colder weather takes over, it will turn to a soft amber color and always reminds me of quail hunts upstate. Another flower I love to see is blue mistflower, which grows in open woods and roadsides. Yes, I love blue native plants more than other colors, for reasons I don’t understand. Maybe because there are so many yellow flowers in the fall, the blue flowers seem so special. Even the dogfennel, which dominates the landscape, is a welcome sight.
“A deer is so sure-footed he does not look down when he runs; his head is held high, and he looks far ahead—as though he trusts something or someone else to ‘set’ his feet in secure places.” Pearls in a Nutshell by Julie
Dressed for battle, wearing full Próis camouflage, geared up with my .270-caliber rifle and S&W .38 Special revolver and a good knife in my sheath, I walk confidently to my stand, knowing that I am prepared for anything. Most people think that deer are gentle animals, but even deer can be very dangerous during the rut, and bears with cubs can be very aggressive. Yet I feel empowered because I have everything I need as a capable and skilled hunter.
Once I settle in my deer stand, I contemplate what I might see. Hunting is about much more than just shooting animals—it is an opportunity to be an insider in the outdoor world. Every day, what drives me is a new opportunity, and you never know what might walk out of the woods and appear before you. So my camera is just as important to me as my rifle.
In South Carolina, we are blessed to have a long whitetail hunting season and generous tags. This year is even more special—2021 is the first year I have had the opportunity to have custom deer stands built to my own design. I’ve joined a new hunt club, not far from where I live. They are box stands, rather than the ladder stands I typically prefer. Safety was the critical reason for this, since box stands are lower to the ground than ladder stands, so a dangerous fall is much less likely. Trippett and I talked over all the things that were essential to me, knowing that I am the family’s primary hunter of deer and hogs. My husband loves bird hunting and playing golf, so his time in a stand is minimal.
“We may put a mailbox next to her stand since she will want to spend so much time there.” Trippett Boineau
Key features that were important to me when designing my stands were that the structures needed to blend in and harmonize with the landscape. Therefore, I didn’t go crazy with an intense camouflage pattern. Since I spend a lot of time in my stands, comfort and convenience were necessary, so we added shelves, hooks, padded rifle rests, and carpet to muffle sounds. One of my favorite features is a peephole perfectly centered in the middle of the door. I don’t want anything sneaking up on me!
Most of all, we added some features to keep wasps away, such as bug foam sealant on all cracks and other openings. In addition, a wasp trap is placed near each stand to deter them from entering. The stands are all pretty nice with the addition of comfortable chairs, fans, and camo window coverings I made myself with duct tape, Velcro, staples, and camo fabric! My double stand has five windows, four of which can be closed when I leave—a feature I love. Finally, each of my stands has a small American flag on the wall to remind me how much I love my country and the importance of protecting our hunting and shooting traditions for future generations.
Whether you are a hunter or just a lover of nature, it’s wonderful to be an insider in the outdoor world!