By: Kirstie Pike
CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women
Am I alone here? Could I quite possibly be one of the only hunters in North America who has not yet hunted whitetail? When I mention this little confession in hunting circles I encounter reactions something akin to what lepers must have felt in the 1700â€™s. Itâ€™s true, I have hunted muleys, elk, bear, turkey and even gatorâ€¦but not the proverbial mainstay of our hunting cultureâ€¦whitetail.
I am embarking on this journey in early November and heading up to Saskatchewan with Tracey Splechter of Outdoor Connections. I am thrilled to be able to attempt my first whitetail hunt in such an amazing area with a good friend. The adventure will undoubtedly result in some great stories. I am armed with every sort of scent elimination, hand warmers, cold weather gear and my trusty Remington. I am ready.
But as the hunt approaches, I realize I have some very serious concernsâ€¦
I cannot sit still. At all. I have fidgetiness that rivals that of a 9 year old with undiagnosed ADHD. In fact, when I was a kid, my mom used to get very exasperated at the fact that I was always moving, picking and fidgeting. (Luckily I got past the picking part) â€œYou ooze nervous energyâ€, she would lament. Now, as I start to ponder how I will maintain a sedate posture for five days, I start to sweat a little. I am realizing that I am going to have to steel myself with the mental fortitude of the Dali Lama. Seriously. This is going to be an issue for me. I have already had visions of my guide looking at me and wondering out loud why I am flopping about like I am having a seizure and politely requesting me to sit still. My response is always this, â€œI AM sitting stillâ€. Am I cut out for tree stand hunting? I am quite certain that spot and stalk methods were created for stillness-impaired people like me. Am I going to be that one client that the outfitter jokes about for years to come?
OK, while I am apparently in the â€˜whitetail confessionalsâ€™, is it too late to also mention that I have a small fear of heights? Yeah. I do. As I scanned the photos from the outfitters website, I noticed the true height of some of these stands. I noted a slight wave of nausea when I took in all of this information. Those suckers are HIGH! Of course, safety harnesses are a must as they will certainly save one from the horrible fate of hitting the ground. I am wondering if psychologically I could survive a fall, even with a safety harness. Would I scream like a four year old? Would I wet my pants? Would I turn catatonic? How would the outfitter explain all of this to my poor family? I envision it going something like this, â€œI am not sure exactly what happened, Mr. Pike, but we found her hanging there drooling and babbling incoherently. Do you want us to send her back to you?â€ Mr. Pike then considers his options, mulls it over and finally relents.
I have been counseled by many ardent whitetail hunters who inform me that I need to bring a book and my cell phone to play games. This is also a first. While I am utterly relieved to know that I will have a bit of mental diversion, I have to admit that I have never had to bring my Augusten Burroughs collection into the woods with me. I am now worried I will get too engrossed in my book to notice that trophy buck under my stand. I am beginning to think I need therapy.
I must admit that after obsessively rolling these scenarios over in my brain for the past two weeks, I have come to one conclusion. Perhaps my paralyzing fear of heights will indeed keep me still. Hey! Problem solved.
Nowâ€¦what if I drop my bookâ€¦