Saturday, November 01, 2008

Breaking In A New Elevated Stand

There’s a first time for everything. A new elevated coop on my property was tested tonight for the first time.

It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was the maiden voyage for this stand. I had no expectations although the stand is in a good spot. The stand was fairly big, and four people could have danced in it if they were good friends and didn’t mind bumping into each other. It’s a slow dance kind of coop.

We put it up a few weeks ago, and I finally couldn’t stand it any longer. I wanted to climb up into the thing, and set out during an evening hunt. And so I did. Did I shoot a buck or doe with my bow?

Nope! Did I see a buck, doe or small herd of animals? The answer again is negative. There wasn’t a creature stirring except for a fox squirrel, and he provided a moment of entertainment when I heard the leaves rustling off to one side and in front of me. After a moment I knew it was a squirrel and not a deer. The two animals have a different cadence to their sound making when they move through a heavy carpet of dry leaves.

My primary reason tonight was to test the stand, and see how it shook out on its first trip with a hunter aboard. It’s big enough to be comfortable but at six-by-six feet, it’s a bit too big for my needs but it will work. I’ll just have more room than is needed or necessary.

The stand, even though the posts are sunk deep into the ground and cemented in place, was still just a bit shaky. There’s no danger of it tipping over but there is a big tree next to the front of the elevated coop, and another two-by-six board from the stand to the tree will stiffen things up a bit. It always takes a bit of time for elevated coops to settle firmly into place.

The side windows are held open or closed with screw eyes and hooks. I need to reverse the two to eliminate a bit of noise. As it stands the screw hooks make a bit of noise. Not much but I like to move inside a coop without it making noise.

The door is my major problem. It needs to be firmed up some more, and I’m thinking that two or three more screw eyes and hooks on the inside will keep the door from jigging. I may try some weather stripping along the top, bottom and side, and see if that will quiet things down.

Nothing major needs to be done, and it’s the same with every new stand that goes up. The first time is a trial run, and it’s important to wiggle around, move around, and see what makes noise and what doesn’t. No one wants to make the investment of building and installing a permanent elevated coop, and have it make noise just about the time a buck or doe walks by.

Tonight featured a southeast wind, if you could call it that. A few milkweed seeds drifted lazily on the faint breeze but fell to earth long before they reached the place where the runway was. It had featured lots of tracks, and three trails converged 20 yards away, and the stand was downwind. Good spot, but not tonight.

Tonight, even though I had my bow with me, was a training session. Each stand requires a few times of testing how to get into it, and one thing I did before climbing up was to rig up a way to easily raise my bow or firearm into the stand without trying to carry it with me while climbing. That is nothing but an invitation to disaster.

The door wants to swing shut and hit me in the head, and I have to push it open once I’m half-way up the ladder. A short and narrow 18-inch piece of wood was whittled out, and stuck in the corner of the door. It will still swing about six inches and then stop. It’s out of the way, and entry into the stand is easy now.

The last thing I decided was needed after this trial run had ended was a different chair. The wood chair I originally put in the coop was six inches too high, and I’m thinking about finding an old office chair that can be adjusted, up and down, for height. I need something on silent wheels, and something that could be lowered just a little bit. That would give me the ability to move and to be at the perfect height for a bow shot at all times.

All in all, this stand is perhaps better than any other elevated stand I’ve had. Some were just a bit too wobbly for my tastes but that isn’t true with this one. It’s now a matter of figuring out where the squeaks are coming from, and determining how to remove the noise makers. Often it requires nothing more than another screw to pull everything a bit tighter.

I may not have everything completely worked out this year, but by this time next year, my new elevated coop and I will be buddies. We will travel together through our hunts. do so nice and quietly, and for me, that is the name of the game.

Posted by Dave Richey on 11/01 at 06:12 PM
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