17 Sep Jason Syens “Day 1”
I have my fathers temper that sometimes leads me to cuss like a 16-year-old without their parents looking and act like a baby way too often. Going into the 2017 season, I knew I had some challenges. As time allows, I will blog about my time afield. I hope you enjoy. Before I start, I think that it is important to acknowledge the people in my life that make this possible. I have 4 beautiful kids and a very understanding wife Wife, (about most things, leave a light on and you’re in trouble). I just want to acknowledge that none of my shenanigans in the timer are possible without their sacrifice. I love you all dearly and want to say thanks for allowing me to take on this animal!!
My Public land hunt began on September 16 at about 4 AM with a 2-mile hike back into a piece of public hunting ground. I took my time getting my stand, I knew that that was one of the things that I had to polish up on if I was going to be successful this year whatsoever. I think it wasn’t until I realized that I was in a truly large property (Which I haven’t hunted much) where deer aren’t accustomed to hearing Farm equipment, people making noises and all of the things that I was used to not worrying about those things in the event I made a noise. Going into the 2017 season I knew that one of the things that I needed to learn was that slow and steady would likely be the one to win this race. I left my house and set out for my first public hunt. I got to the parking lot, parked my truck had and had everything perfectly organized. I got myself ready and put it all together on my back and off I went. Of course, I forgot half of what I wanted to bring. Fortunately for me, the half of what I wanted to bring was nothing more than camera equipment to document my story. I walked in slowly and stealthfully and set up my Lonewolf sticks and stand.
After about an hour in the stand as the sun started creeping over the hill to the east. I heard that distinctive snap of the twig that as all hunters we have heard and quickly brings us to full attention and gets the heart racing. Quickly I turned my left trying to see what it was, upon hearing the noise I knew whatever it was had to be relatively close and I should be able to see it. I looked and looked and couldn’t see anything turned my head back to the right. Shortly after that I heard another snap this time I looked and I can see movement about 75 yards to my left I stood and ready myself got my bow and my camera all ready to do the job they were there to do. Much to my disappointment as I scanned with my binoculars I saw something very purple through the brush. Turns out it wasn’t nice Young couple that was enjoying the same property that I was, they were just in search of squirrels or Tree Rat’s as I like to call them. I didn’t know what to do whether I should yell and say hey or just let them go on their way. They had guns and I didn’t want to scare anyone into an errant shot in my direction. I remained silent. As luck would have it, they turned and began walking down the trail right towards my stand Little did I know it in the dark when setting the stand, but there was a trail that actually went beneath my stand. Of course that’s the route they took, rifles on their shoulders they continued towards my direction. It wasn’t until they got underneath my stand and noticed the Lone Wolf sticks strapped to the tree and immediately looked straight up. My camera was angled straight down which was probably a bit daunting to them. The gentleman saw me and quietly motioned to his wife to move along quickly. I simply said good morning and told them good luck, they said nothing in return, I’m guessing because they were just stunned that I was there.
The cool thing about that whole experience was in a previous podcast with Lucas Cayke and Curtis Zabel, we talked about this very thing. You see I could end up being those people, I could end up walking in on someone’s set up that they worked an hour and a half to put up. Fortunately, in those aforementioned podcasts, we talked about this and how to handle it so I knew that those things were possible and I also knew that those things are just part of the process. So very quickly into my 2017 season, unexpectedly one of the rewarding things I encountered was simply saying good morning to some other folks who had the same aspirations I did that morning and the same rights that I did. You see it’s all of our land and it’s meant for ALL of us to enjoy. Often the problem is, we get too wrapped up in our own selfishness and let that dictate how it is that we act towards one another.
An hour or so after that with no deer in sight, I packed my stand in sticks and Bow, Camera, Camera Arm, Ozonics, 3rd angle camera, and many other trinkets and I packed out. For whatever reason, walking out I felt great about the hunt! I had a great sense of accomplishment and felt a rush of happiness that we all look for. When I say a rush of happiness I guess what I really mean is an accomplishment, I felt like I managed my expectations and through managing my expectations it allowed me to do the right thing, the right thing was being cordial and nice to those folks rather than being all “butthurt”.
I went home and was greeted by my wife and stepdaughter as they were on their way out the door to a dance class. I told my short story (my wife looked at me like where were the deer) and they moved along for the day. I descended into my recording studio and I began to prepare for the evening hunt. The coolest part about this whole public land process is looking at a map with a whole bunch of waypoints on it and saying to yourself, “which one should I go to?” I began to methodically pick out three. Once those three were picked, I made sure batteries were recharged, and my gear was packed. I set out for my newest destination.
I had never been on any of these properties before, just scouted them digitally. I rode by property number one, although it looked good I wanted to check the others. Property number two required me to stop at a landowner home because the access point was through their land. I politely knocked on the door to ask where they would like me to park and the lady promptly told me nowhere and essentially told me to leave. At that point, the fighter in me and me wanted to put on my social justice warrior costume and take what “WE THE PEOPLE” deserve, ACCESS. Rather than pitch a complete fit and argue with the lady, the law enforcement experience in me knew that there was no happy ending to that particular chapter in the story. A tiny bit frustrated, I got back in my truck and drove to the next property.
Upon riding by that property, it looked good but I realized I would have to walk through about 50 acres of standing corn just to get to the timber that I wanted to hunt. Even after a walk through the 50 acres of corn I wasn’t assured that the beans or alfalfa I hoped we’re on the other side of that corn even existed, for all I knew it could be corn right up to the timber.
I decided to add one more place to my list since there was enough time to do so. Upon arriving at the last spot that I wanted to check I noticed a truck parked along the road in what appeared to be a strategic place to park so as to avoid a lot of the good bedding cover that I had scouted digitally. Part of me wondered if it wasn’t a farmer just parked on the side of the road another part of me knew deep down inside it was people using the land that I was hoping to hunt. I went to the end of the road, turned my truck around and as I was coming up the road again past the truck, a family of four popped out of the timber. I slowed down and said hello asked if they’ve enjoyed their walk and the dad smiled and said “we made it back, that’s pretty steep terrain.” I asked if they saw any deer sign and he was quick to tell me about all the rubs and scrapes that he had seen and how he was coming back to bow hunt sometime this fall. I told him that was my mission today and thanked him for his information. Needlessly, he was quick to apologize for messing up what might have been my hunt. I told him no worries and thanked him for his courteousness.
I went back to the property and decided I would sneak through the corn in the hopes that I would find beans or alfalfa on the backside. I again methodically and slowly got everything ready. This time I didn’t forget anything and headed off through the corn for my destination. Once I got out of the corn to my surprise and delight there was corn beans and alfalfa in small strips all along the timber I thought to myself praise God! I quietly walked around the edge of the timber looking for an access trail that would allow me a quiet entrance. Once I found that entrance I got into the timber. A very short ways into the timber I realized from where I was that it was going to be nearly a 200-foot dissent in a matter of 200 yards. I also noticed that it was very sick that entire way down. So, relying upon what I felt like my woodman ship skills were telling me I set a stand less than a hundred yards off the corn beans and alfalfa. I got my stand up and got settled in and enjoyed every minute of the three hours that I spent there. I think more than anything I enjoy the fall colors that seem to be coming way too early this year. As I was tearing down my stand I was reflecting on the day’s events and how for one of the first times in my life I totally managed my expectations (must be my age cause it aint my smarts) and realized how much better I felt about what I had accomplished. Many of you may be thinking, Jason, exactly what did you accomplish? I made it out safe and I didn’t lose anything, more importantly, I don’t think I spooked a whole lot of anything and I again learned how to quietly set up and tear down a set of lone Wolf sticks and stand. I learned how to be a compassionate human being and respect the rights of others and rather than react I am braced. As I was thinking about all this I was interrupted by coyotes from just about every ridge around speaking with one another about what mischief if they were going to get into for the rest of that night. That was truly the icing on the cake. That’s all I’ve got for right now I’ll try to check in often and update you as to what’s going on with my journey as a public land hunter. One thing I do feel pretty strongly about that I hadn’t mentioned is your physical condition when taking on something like this. You can do all the bicycling running and hiking in the world but it will never prepare you for strapping a stand on your back and a 40 pound pack. That said do everything you can in the gym beforehand so that you don’t yourself 2 miles off the road can become a big problem in a quick curry. Enjoy your season, and be sure to #make it yours. Jason out
Many of you may be thinking, Jason, exactly what did you accomplish? I made it out safe and I didn’t lose anything, more importantly, I don’t think I spooked a whole lot of anything and I again learned how to quietly set up and tear down a set of Lone Wolf sticks and stand. I learned how to be a compassionate human being and respect the rights of others and rather than react, I embraced. As I was thinking about all this I was interrupted by coyotes from just about every ridge around me. They were speaking with one another about what mischief if they were going to get into for the rest of that night. That was truly the icing on the cake.
That’s all I’ve got for right now I’ll try to check in often and update you as to what’s going on with my journey as a public land hunter.
One thing I do feel pretty strongly about that I hadn’t mentioned is your physical condition when taking on something like this. You can do all the bicycling running and hiking in the world but it will never prepare you for strapping a stand on your back and a 40-pound pack. That said do everything you can in the gym beforehand so that you don’t hurt yourself 2 miles off the road. that becomes a big problem in a quick hurry. Enjoy your season, and be sure to #make it yours. God Bless, Jason out!
As in water, face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man.