The Evil Tree

Have you ever named the trees you hang your stands in?

You know, so your family or hunting buddies will know exactly which tree you’ll be in?

For me, there’s the “Tomato Bob Tree”, named for its low, round shape and given the personal name Bob, like the Veggie Tale character. (It’s just more amusing that way.)

And then there’s my favorite type of tree, a “Three Tree,” where three close trunks sprout up from one main base. These give me the greatest sense of security and offer added visible protection from the curious eyes of a whitetail.

The Killer Tree, with slanty stand
When a brisk wind whips up, I can grab the trunk to my left or my right, to help steady me. I just feel the safest in this type of tree. I can also add more accessory hooks (for all my many hunting accoutrements) to this type of tree, so they’re all right at my fingertips.

Then there’s the “Killer Tree”, where I shot my best deer, a beautiful early season 10-point whitetail.

A tree I have high hopes for is the “Celery Tree”, named not because it looks like celery from a distance, but because when you are six feet up inside of it, its huge limbs spring up from under your feet and spread up and out in every direction, like a stalk of celery does.

Then there’s the tree where one time is the only time I will ever be in it.

Why? Because it’s evil.

My friend Paula had set up her stand in that tree, where she was able to arrow a nice doe. She told me to go ahead and use that tree the next morning, while she’d find a new location for her to set up in.

Early the next morning, while driving from the motel to the ranch, Paula decided to admit; “Now, I suppose I should let you know that there isn’t any backrest to the tree.”

“Excuse me? No backrest?”

“Yeah, there isn’t any backrest to it so you have to be careful.”

The Celery Tree
Now I’m contemplating whether I really want to use this particular tree, but I didn’t have any other stand all ready set up, and wouldn’t have the time to quickly throw one up with my hand in a cast. I’d try it out and just hope for the best.

I found the tree just fine but wished that I could have located my headlamp earlier for the pre-dawn trek, as I had to resort to holding a flashlight in my mouth while climbing up the steps.

For being a short statured gal, Paula liked to place her steps far apart. The first step was above my knee, and with nerve damage in my leg, I had to physically lift up my leg with my hands, just to make that first step. And I’m a tall woman with long legs! (I call Paula a monkey!)

The rest of the way up the tree went well, but when I reached the stand, I really had to consider what to grab a hold of, to pull me up the rest of the way. Remember, there is no “back rest” to the tree, as the tree slants back behind the stand at a good degree of an angle.

And, I have a cast on my hand that prevents me from bending both my wrist and my thumb, making it extremely difficult to grab things.

I was able to swing one leg up and over the stand’s platform cable while holding on for dear life to the stand’s seat support. I got my foot caught between the platform’s footrest and the platform bow holder, but I was now half way in!

As I am contemplating my next move, the drool from having the flashlight in my now numb mouth, falls carelessly to the ground.

“Dog gone it any how!!” I said under my breath. I could go back down to retrieve it, but it was such a hassle getting up the tree, that I decided to stay up and let the flashlight light up the weeds for any small creatures that could benefit from it.

Now I would have to do everything else in the dark of the morning.

The Evil Tree
I took my gloves off so I could better get my safety harness tethered to the tree.

I wasn’t exactly sure where to tether it on to! I had to strap it on to a forked limb well behind and off to the left of me.  This didn’t look real safe.

I also kept my climbing waist belt attached to the tree for additional safety. It was just plain scary up in that tree with no back support! After a couple of back surgeries in the past, I needed all the back support I could get!

When finished tethering, I sat down to steady my heart and put on my mechanical release. I dug through my backpack and every pocket of my clothing, but found no release. I checked again, and yet again. I must have dropped it somewhere on my trek out! Ugh!! What more could happen?

The darkness was now giving way to light, so I just sat there checking out my surroundings and range finding different landmarks for quick shooting reference.

Now my hands were beginning to get cold, but I couldn’t find my gloves! They were both here a moment ago! I looked around, and then down, and there they were on the ground, waving up at me. Ugh again!

I wasn’t going back down.

“I don’t need you any ways! I have heat packs I can use!”

Wrong.

I left those in the truck.

I’d have to keep my hands in my pockets for the next several hours if I wanted to keep them warm. I’ve done it before so I’d just have to do it again.

I then realized I forgot to haul up my bow. As I began to pull on the towrope, I could feel it was caught on something and would NOT let go of it. I tugged and tugged but to no avail. Now I was getting really disgusted.

I gave Paula a call on her cell phone to let her know how much I hated her tree and the grief it was giving me when she said, “Remember, those three muley does come by every morning at 6:30, so you’d better hurry!”

I checked my watch. It was 6:15.

“Well then I’d better hurry and try to figure out how to get my bow up!”

While still tethered in and sitting, I hung over the edge of the treestand trying to figure out what was causing the haul line hang up. Ah-hah! The rope was wedged behind one of the tree steps. It took several extra minutes, but I finally got it unstuck without having to climb down. I didn’t want to have to climb down!

I was now standing when I pulled the bow up. When it was nearing the top of the stand’s platform, I was bending over with my head towards the tree and my butt sticking out. I’m not sure why I was in this position, as I have never hauled up my bow this way before. Suddenly, I had the inkling to look to the right. There, standing broadside twenty yards from me was the mama muley and her two young’uns.

She was looking right at me. I was sure I could hear her taunting me, but I froze, hoping she’d think this hunter with her big butt sticking out, was just a tree with a big abscess. I stood in that bent over position for several minutes before she realized I was no threat, and she and her family walked away, out of my life forever. I swear I could hear her laughing!

“She was ten minutes early today!!” I was fuming.

I finally got my bow up and an arrow attached, but for the next two and a half hours, nothing more appeared. I hated this tree. This evil tree! I wanted to get down and call it quits!

Just then, I got a phone call. I was hoping it was Paula so I could tell her that her tree was pure evil! It was Kathleen, letting me know that she had just shot a buck.

Yay!! Now I’d have a good reason why to get down from this tree for GOOD!

I told her about the evil tree and the malcontent it provided me and that I wanted an excuse to get out of it. Besides, I was good at blood tracking so I could be of some use to her.

As I was listening to her tell me about her buck, I interrupted with, “Oh crap!”

“What?”

“Could anything more happen!?”

“What now?”

I just dropped my camera!!

My flashlight and gloves I didn’t care about, but my camera? Yikes!

I sighed a heavy sigh but safely made it down the tree. I picked up all of my fallen belongings that were strewn about. I’d have to remember to recharge my flashlight batteries, as they were now dead. I was just glad that my camera was still in working order. (I’d later find that my missing release had fallen out of my pocket and under the truck seat while getting out of the truck.)

As I walked away from that tree, that evil tree, I vowed never to return to it.

Paula could have it back.