The woods were illuminated by a full moon that morning which acted as a spotlight to get to the new part of the woods. Across the field I trudged, thinking that this was going to be the day of hunting that I had been planning for. Usually a little afraid of the big, dark, mean forest, I was confident that morning and was not spooked at the breaking of twigs or moving shadows. Finally making it to the tree, my bad luck started when I realized I didn't have my rope. This rope is a quasi-big thing as I use it to hoist up my bag and bow once I reach the summit. Without it, I was forced to keep the cumbersome contraption strapped to my back. I figured this was just a small issue until I tried to get into the stand.
Climbers are designed to circumference trees with steel cables and adhere to them with sharp teeth. Two separate parts, one has to use upper arm strength to move the seat part up and lower body to hoist the platform up. Tricky business at first, but the motion becomes fluid after a couple times up and down a tree. Usually that is, unless you're faced with a different stand or gigantic tree. Unfortunately, I was faced with the latter.
Remember when I mentioned that I'm 4'10.5? This does not bode well with a big tree. Big trees make the first couple of movements up it really tough, as the biggest part of the tree is at its base. Given that my base had to be low enough for me to get into it, I could barely move the bottom up. Once I got into the stand with my bag on my back, I was a crying mess. It took four attempts to get into the stand. Each attempt had its problem. The seat being too loose, which resulted in it hitting me in the face. The top, again not properly adhered, slid to the right and fell on my arm. My bag was not securely in the stand and tumbled out, breaking one of my good arrows. The base was at a weird angle that just refused to budge an inch.
I stood there, sweating in my thinsulate boots, insulated pants and yards of camo fabric, tears running down my face with my broken arrow on my back, 5 feet from the ground. I cried. I looked for DU even though I knew full well he was across the land and would never hear me. I cried some more.
After catching my breath and realizing I had made enough noise to ensure I would not see a deer, I checked myself. I was alive, I was in the stand ( a little battered and bruised but nonetheless, in), and I could do this. With my entire body shaking from the strain of moving the platform up, I slowly scaled the tree. At the summit, I slowly attached my safety harness to the tree and sat. Surveying the damage, I was okay. My arm was starting to turn purple but my face seemed fine. The broken arrow was useless anyway, as it was a practice broadhead that had lost its sharp point. With nothing to hold my bag or bow up, I carefully secured my bag underneath my seat and my bow on the ledge in front of me.
As I watched the sun rise, I remembered how weak I felt, crying at the base of this tree. I cried because I felt that I couldn't do it. I couldn't move the stand an inch. I couldn't even get into the stand. Then I looked around me and saw that I had done it. I was in the tree and I was ready to kill something.
So, the Modern Woman's Guide to Hunting Vol. 1 Rule 1:
Hunting is Hard- Try.
If you don't succeed- Cry.
And try again.
(Repeat as necessary)