The secret behind having a sit spot

Published 9:51 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

have a secret.  It is the secret to being able to see more wildlife while in the outdoors.  It is cool to be able to see a fox, right?  How about a bobcat, or an otter?  Those are animals that most people do not get the opportunity to see on a regular basis.  The secret is to have a sit spot.  Sounds kind of weird I know but let me explain. 

It seems rather random for most of us to see certain wildlife species because they are rather elusive.  However, even though they are elusive, they also have very distinct patterns in which they travel each day.  Wildlife is no different than you and I.  They need safety, shelter water, and food.  One way to begin to understand the patterns you will then know where best to focus your attention when you are the wild. 

I have shared in this column a few times about the nature of understanding bird language.  For our discussion here, it is good to at least understand that birds have three main things that they communicate to one another about.  Food, danger, and sex. 

What I have not discussed in this column much is that birds have regular travel corridors in which they fly, even in a wooded environment.  By having a sit spot, you will begin to recognize these corridors and other patterns of order that were not seen.  A sit spot is exactly that, a spot where you go and sit and simply observe what is going on around you.  Mr. Jon Young was a pioneer in getting this practice out to a wide audience, although societies and cultures before those in the modern world did this very naturally as it was needed for survival. 

Deer hunters in the modern day, especially bowhunters, are also very keen on this practice.  They don’t refer to it as a sit spot, it is often just their tree stand.  However, they do spend a great deal of time afield in one location observing what is surrounding them.  Tree stand hunting is one of my favorite activities.  I find it hard these days to go into a wooded environment for the sake of research for up to 8 hours a day.

My mind gets too busy and I worry too much about what things are not getting done.  Deer hunting though provides me a good excuse to do it.  I like being in control of my own food sources, including protein.  So, sitting in a deer stand and watching wildlife hour after hour, while waiting for the grocery store to open and walk by is a thing that I do not mind.   

You don’t have to be a deer hunter or have access to a wooded environment, to gain benefit from a sit spot.  You can do this from your home as well.  Set up a bird feeder and spend a few minutes each day simply watching the birds come to it and go from it.  You will quickly notice patterns. 

Things such as birds coming in grabbing some food, then darting off to their favorite, secure place to eat it.  While I was writing my last book, I had the good fortune of sitting in a wooded area to do so.  I also put out some bird feeders to right next to where I was writing to give me a break from writing from time to time. 

After several months of writing daily, the birds (and two deer) became too accustomed to me being there that they would land on my table and visit. 

I know it all sounds rather silly to some.  However, it is my belief that we are connected to the natural world in ways that we don’t understand.  It was said of St. Francis of Assisi that we would regularly talk to the birds, and they would talk back. To some that sounds crazy, to those who find a sit spot and spend time there on a regular basis, it will not. 

Craig Caudill is a lifelong resident of Winchester and serves as Director of Nature Reliance School. He is the author of Extreme Wilderness Survival, Ultimate Wilderness Gear and Essential Wilderness Navigation (April 2019).  Please feel free to contact Craig at info@naturereliance.org or through any of the various social media platforms available.