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My 2020 archery season

By Rick Cunningham, Special to The Hays Daily News
Rick Cunningham

Even though I did get lucky and shot a nice buck on Nov. 2nd, I have to tell a story as to why I felt like I had a great season.

It started with a morning when both my boy and I were hunting about 4 miles apart. Matt came and got me and asked if we could move his stand across the river, as he had seen a lot of deer movement there.

I told him that would be fine. So, we went in and removed his stand. We crossed the river and found a big cottonwood that would work. I put in the screw-in steps and was about 15 feet high. It was a big cottonwood and was straight up and down, which would work for a hang-on stand. I had Matt tie a rope onto the stand so I could pull it up and hang it. Now usually, I have a T-screw with me that I can hang the stand on, which frees up both of my hands to hang the stand, but I didn’t have one with me.

Now this stand has two ratchets with straps. When you put the strap into the ratchet and ratchet it a couple of times, it grabs, and the stand is connected to the tree.

The cottonwood was big enough around that I could barely get my arm around it. I finally was able to get the strap in and had ratcheted it about 3 turns. I figured it had grabbed, so I grabbed the stand to finish. That’s when I saw the strap come out. I knew I was going to fall. It was the first time I’ve ever fallen from a tree. As I fell, I knew I needed to land on my feet. I was very fortunate that the cottonwood forked and I was able to grab the tree and ride it down, which slowed my fall. When I hit the ground, it still jolted my body. I was not sure how bad I was hurt.

I’m sure it scared my boy to death, and he asked if I was OK. I found out by the grace of God I was not hurt too bad. My leg and thigh were scratched up pretty good. I had tweaked my back and sprained my right ankle.

I know how lucky I was; at a minimum I could have had broken bones and of course, a lot worse.

Every time I crawl into a stand or hang a stand, safety is always on my mind. But that’s exactly how accidents happen – when something happens that you don’t expect.

Every time I pray to my Lord, I ask him to keep me, my wife, and my son safe and healthy. I believe that the good Lord answered my prayers. Please be safe. I know I will try to be.

May God bless you all.

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis.