Stumptown: Using Natural “Tree Stands”
Dr. John Woods 12.19.19
This is not about the hot new crime fighter series on television, but about the use of structures in nature to enhance your hunting opportunities. While many of us deer hunters are now used to the comfort of elevated shooting houses or stands hugging treelines, nature itself provides options for hunting game. These “stands” can be found virtually everywhere and should be taken advantage of.
Years ago, my brother living in Washington State was elk hunting a huge cutover created by one of the timber companies. He is a rather short guy, so he was having trouble seeing down into the ravine he was hunting. He kept hearing what he thought was game movement, but his sight angle close to the ground would not permit a downhill view.
Looking around, he spotted a huge stump left from the timber harvest. Climbing atop that perch, lo and behold, he could see down into the terrain below. Within a short time he spotted an antlered elk creeping along the side of the hill. Standing on the stump he made the 80-yard shot with his old Remington 742 semi-auto in 30-06. The only issue after the shot was packing the big bull out of the ravine.
Using this nature-available hunting stand, he was able to gain a better view of the area below. Such natural stands as a timber stump can be useful for hunting.
Other options for natural perches include climbing a tree to the first good limb to secure an observation point above the hunting area. Before the advent of commercial fabricated tree stands, deer hunters used to nail or wedge a board seat between two limbs for a hunting seat. These worked well, too.
Natural terrain mounds are often found in the woods, too. In the south, timber harvest roads or trails through the woods often leave a high berm that rises above the ground. Such spots make good vantage points for watching and listening for game movements.
Rock outcroppings can also be used in much the same way. Any natural woodland feature that can elevate the hunter above the base terrain can offer an advantage. Much of hunting game especially white-tailed deer is improved by an elevated loft. Mother Nature manages to provide a number of those for hunters smart enough to seek them out.