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Terror in the trees

November 12, 2017
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Director , Reinbeck Courier

Who would have thought that my first bow-hunting column of the season would involve a near attack by dangerous animals.

Over my almost 30 years of bow-hunting, I have walked into the treestand in near blackness some mornings or stayed in the tree until well past dark before walking out. In younger days it never bothered me. After reading countless magazine articles on hunter accounts with deer or bear, I must admit that some walks today have me a little nervous as I walk in or out of the stand. But never have I felt so threatened with danger as this weekend.

Here is the dramatic account of my personal experiences.

I have written about squirrels before. How I really don't care for them very much. How if I am ever injured in a treestand the likely suspect to go looking for will be a squirrel. I can't stand the thought of one of those little orange demons jumping on me while I am in the tree!

Well, I had another episode with a squirrel Friday morning. I am busy keeping track of the surrounding woods as it awakened. The owls then the songbirds then the squirrels. That's when I heard it. It was a small scratching sound on the trunk of the tree I was perched in. I looked up to discover a young fox squirrel gingerly making its way down the trunk from his cozy nest above. But his eyes his frightening eyes were locked on me.

It was trying to decide what I was. It would disappear around to the backside of the tree where I couldn't see it only to reappear 3 or 4 feet closer. And just as quickly it would vanish again. So things went, every four feet the menace would peek around the tree. It was getting closer and closer. I started making little noises, then louder noises. I think that was only making it more determined to find out what this big lump in the tree was. It was like a scene in a Steven King novel. It poked its head around the tree at eye level! I am positive I could feel its little squirrel breath! At that moment, if I had been carrying my pistol I think I would have pulled and fired.

I probably looked like I was dancing in the stand as I whirled around to face my attacker. Save for the safety harness, I would have been on the ground fifteen feet below me. I could hear the scratching of the terrible squirrel claws on the bark. But the squirrel stayed on the other side of the tree and went on to the ground. My heart left my mouth and went back to beating in my chest as it should.

I would live to hunt another day.

So now, fast forward twenty-four hours to Saturday. I am in another stand. Fully a half mile away. Sitting in the seat minding my own business. A small buck had walked by. Then another. A few squirrels were bouncing around in the oak leaf -laden forest floor. Then it happened. A different one of these tree terrorists grabbed a nut and made a beeline to my tree.

It quickly covered the thirty yards to the tree beside me and was up to the branch across from my stand in a few seconds. And there it sat, five feet away from me. I knew its plan. It would leap over and land directly on my face, incapacitating me and causing my heart attack.

The little devil toyed with me, however. The next few seconds seemed like hours. It would lean forward and make its evil squirrel chatter. Followed by the opposite motion backward onto it haunches where it could launch toward the enemy.

And then, as quickly as it had begun it ended. The squirrel turned and jumped to the next highest branch and then to the next until it was at the top of the tree where it sat eating the nut and sounding its bone-chilling chatter.

So, I lived to hunt another day. But you can rest assured that I will be on the watch for the terror in the trees. Maybe I need to look into a little therapy.

 
 

 

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