Thankful Outdoors: Local Man Goes Stir-Crazy in Tree Stand

Scott Hopperdietzel

Thankful Outdoors: November 8-14

I was hoping this week would be sharing a picture and story with you about the successful harvest I had while using vacation time. As you can imagine, with an opening statement like that, the result is no deer.

(Alternate Opening to this story: Local man went stir crazy while sitting in a tree for 40 hours. He can now talk to red squirrels and blue jays. LOL) 

RELATED: Tree Stand Safety Tips

By the end of the week, any confidence that I had on filling a tag was blown away, just like the fall leaves. One can only sit so many hours in a tree without seeing a single deer before you start doubting yourself and the effort. I had reached that point by Saturday.

As I sat here thinking about what to share with you, a moment to “Celebrate the Experience!” One could look at the time spent in the tree as wasted, but then I asked myself, was it? So my two takeaways from last week, don’t let confidence get shaken and be fluid in tactics.

I had failed at both of these moments by the end of the week. I had let my confidence be shaken, and I had not changed tactics much when results were not being seen. As we enter into the nine-day rifle season, I hope you take a moment to think about these two areas that I had failed during my week of bowhunting.

Let’s start with confidence; whenever I enter the woods, I carry a sense of confidence that the outing will provide an adventure and sighting of animals. Confidence is easy to have when you have positive results to show for things. As the hours and days wore on, I didn’t have any results to show for my efforts, and therefore I had let it turn into a mental game of not believing in myself.

Be fluid with your tactics; ironically, this is where confidence can be a problem. I had faith in this one particular stand. I had believed so deeply that I would harvest a deer from this tree that I had failed to move on or try another location. For all but two sits in the week, I had gone back to the same tree and applied the same tactics of rattling and calling on a grunt tube.

With this, I hope you can see where I had failed. I had let my level of confidence override the ability to be fluid in my efforts. I had made a post on social media several years ago about being fluid, and I had forgotten to take that advice.

Based on the last several seasons of how the rut activity has been, it would appear that I’m taking my vacation time a bit too late and miss out on some of the most exciting times in the woods. In looking at trail camera pictures from years past, thinking about when I see the most harvest taking place, it would seem that I need to make sure that I’m in a tree no matter the conditions from November 6th to November 8th. I have marked that on my calendar for 2021!

Rattling Horns packed

In conversations with other hunters, it seems like the rut activity here in Central Wisconsin has declined over the years. Sure, you get the story from time to time about that magic sit of bucks running all over the place with no care in the world. Yeah, I dream about having a day like that; it has been well over a decade since I have seen those times. I had plenty of time to think about the reasons why the rut activity seems to have changed over the years. I can’t help but go to the simple fact that the buck to doe ratio has to be so out of wack that there are so many does to be bred the bucks just don’t have to compete for them like they used to.

I’m no biologist or any kind of deer behavior expert, just a guy who has spent some time in the woods and reflecting on experience to come up with some conclusion for what appears to be a change. Years ago, from October 31st to around mid-November, you would have bucks all over the place, showing no care in the world. They were in that rut-drunk stage; at times, it would be comical to see them in this state. I have watched bucks run through barb wire fences to get after a hot doe. It’s crazy what one will do for love!

This weekend is the Wisconsin rifle opener; I have heard that license sales are relatively high; in looking at the forecast, it would appear that we will have decent weather. A lot of people will be out in the woods. Please remember your gun safety and also your safety harness when climbing into your tree.

It’s been a rough year, and the last thing any family wants to deal with is an accident that easily could have been prevented by using some simple safety measures.

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us!

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.