Tree Stand Diaries

Writing the story one adventure at a time.

Welcome to Tree Stand Diaries, the home page of outdoor writer and author, Reid Vander Veen. Reid is an average outdoorsman who's version of paradise is sitting silenty 15' high in the woods, bow in hand. Tree Stand Diaries has become an outlet and a community to share stories, ideas, and all the things we love about the outdoors.

New Member of the TSD Family - Penny!

This fall we adopted a beautiful 7 month old female lab, Penny, from a great family in Nebraska. Unfortunately, that family did not have the time or space for Penny. After recognizing that, they reached out to a mutual friend who connected us. After some deliberation we decided to pull the trigger.

We met the family shortly thereafter and instantly fell in love with Penny. At that time, she was actually being called Belle, but we had another older dog named Bella so we went with Penny. 

She's a beautifully colored yellow. She has energy for days but is paired with a fantastically mellow temperament. All signs indicate she's going to be a large dog, even for a lab. She has an incredible nose and has absolutely fallen in love with hunting. (We're both very excited about that.) Having no prior experience or training with hunting, she and I quickly set to work this fall to get the basics down. Even with great hunting bloodlines, she's exceeded my expectations. There's no safe pheasant within miles of our place! I'm really looking forward to the warmer months again when we can continue her training.

We are considering breeding Penny in the future. Stay tuned for details.

Spring Archery Paddlefishing

When you have some good buddies going after paddlefish with archery equipment you jump at the opportunity to tag along. And speaking of tags, we were able to slap one on a 52" beast of a creature. Side note: These things taste so good it's ridiculous. Oh you know we'll be back.

2017 Colorado Archery Elk

We experienced weather in the 60s, down to the 20s and half a foot of snow before back into the 70s. The elk were quiet all week. Until the last night, when a 6x5 bull got a little aggressive with us and decided to come into bow range. Unfortunately hunting is a humbling sport. The bull stopped just behind a tree, not in a shooting lane. They stand off probably lasted 45 seconds, but felt like 45 minutes. When he started moving again and finally stepped into bow range my arrow hit high and back. He darted off and we watching him stand in a clearing about 200 yards away as last light faded. Little sleep was gotten that night. In the morning we found little blood. The good news is the bull is very like alive and hopefully healing fine. The bad news is our freezers and walls will remain empty a bit longer. Hunting is a humbling, addictive sport.

See you in the woods!


"I get asked all the time, where did you get that hat? I need to order a couple more because I wear this one all the time." - Customer S.H.