Calling ‘em deer “stands” is a misnomer. Most of us don’t stand; we sit. It’d make more sense to say we were going to climb a tree and hunt out of our deer “seat”, which could be a chair, or stool, or board nailed between two branches.
However, we need to accept the fact that we climb and sit down in deer stands. Even the hunting catalogs call ‘em deer “stands” so if they’re good enough for Cabela’s they ought to be good enough for us.
The first deer stand I ever used was one I built. By today’s standards, climbing and sitting in the one I made would get you seriously maimed, or worse. To reach my perch 12 feet up in the tree, I drove spikes into the trunk (that activity today would get me banned from the club by the timber company owning the land), and once I reached my desired height, I nailed a two-by-four in a fork of the tree for a place to sit. Admittedly, my hunts were of fairly short duration because the comfort level deteriorated rather quickly.
Today, while some hunters still construct their own stands, there are types of deer stands on the market that boggle the mind. There are box stands, ground blinds, climbing stands, lock-on stands, ladder stands, saddle stands and even one you pull on a trailer to your hunting site, hit a button and the stand on the trailer magically elevates for you to climb into and hunt.
Many of the stands we have used on our hunting club are stands members constructed and for sure, they’re better made and safer than the spikes-in-the-tree; two by four seat from my early days of chasing deer.
Interestingly, we named most of our stands to coincide with either the location or the circumstances from which the stand originated.
One of the stands I used was a ground blind I built and it had been dismantled, moved and reconstructed at least three times. I dismantled and moved the stand to my former hunting club in 2001, and in honor of the devastating event that took place that year on September 11, I call this stand Ground Zero.
Another of my stands, a box mounted atop a ladder, rested against a tree that was literally covered in poisonous green vines when the tree was selected. It’s only natural that this stand was called Poison Oak.
Still another was a similar stand sitting against a tree on the banks of Sugar Creek, a stream that periodically floods and brings with it debris from who-knows-where. While getting the stand ready to place on the tree, I noticed an old light bulb lying in the leaves. It had washed in from somewhere. The name of this stand? Forty Watt.
Another of my stands was a tri-pod and the day I put it up, a pretty orange Gulf Fritillary butterfly (I had to Google it to find out the name) came and lit on my finger. The tri-pod became the Butterfly Stand.
My good friend and hunting partner, George Seacrist, named all his stands from Running Wild to Bermuda Triangle to Indian Mound. One of his that caught my interest was a big roomy ground stand he set up down in the bottom along the creek. He called it Noah’s Ark.
A couple of years later, he set up a box stand on the ridge above Noah’s Ark and was pondering with me one day about a possible name. Hmmmm….Noah’s Ark is down in the bottom. Why not Mount Ararat on the ridge? George liked it and that’s the new name it was given.
The next stand I build I’m going to call it the Ten Point Buck stand. Maybe if I name it that, I’ll get that big one. If things turn out wrong, I guess I’ll just call it the Dang-I-Missed-Him stand.