What not to do with a pop-tart.

Days upon endless days of sitting in a treestand can lead to, shall we say, less then optimal attention to your surroundings. On one particular such endless day I was feeling a bit peckish and began rummaging around my backpack looking for the elusive pop-tart. On a side note, why is it that no matter what you are looking for in your pack it is always impossibly buried or intertwined with the rest of the debris that seems to collect in there? Anyhow, I found what I was looking for and managed to unwrap it inside my pack to minimize the noise. Despite my best efforts, the sound still seemed to be at a decibel level I was certain would eliminate all deer for several counties. Assured that my snack would not be interrupted by one of those pesky deer, I leaned back against the tree to enjoy my hard earned prize. My parents always prohibited us from eating pop-tarts, mostly because I don’t think they wanted to spend the money on them. Whenever you are told you can’t have something, getting it becomes the most important thing in your life. I suppose, because of that prohibition, it’s been a long standing tradition of mine to always have a pop-tart when I go hunting. It’s like two great things enjoyed together hunting and pop tarts. Best of all, now that I’m in my 50’s there is no one watching over me to tell me I can’t have a pop-tart.

A couple of bites into my delectable treat I managed to extract myself from the culinary ecstasy long enough to notice that there was a nice buck standing about 50 yards in front of me. Unfortunately where my stand is placed it is relatively open so I need to take a reasonable amount of care to avoid any unnecessary movement or risk being spotted. Now I need to get my bow and be ready for a shot because it’s rather likely this buck is going to walk right by my stand. The problem is that I have a pop-tart in one hand and I’m pretty sure I need both hands to shoot. Sooooo…. What am I going to do with the pop-tart? I could drop it and loose it and I think we all know at this point there is no way I’m parting with my pop-tart. I could try and set it on my tree stand seat but that would require a lot more movement than I think would be prudent and I might accidentally bump it and have it fall to the ground, so again not an option. Of course I have pockets in my jacket but there is some buck lure in there and so unless I fancy urine flavored pop-tarts I can’t take that route either. The buck takes a couple of steps towards me adding to what has already become a stressful enough decision making process. My heart starts to pump faster and in my adrenaline fueled frenzy I make a faithful snap decision. The only logical place to dispose of my coveted pop-tart is of course, in my mouth.

As kids we all like to brag about how much stuff we can stick in our mouth. It was great fun to half chew it up and try to gross out your little sister by showing her all that gooey yumminess in your mouth. Well as an adult we have forgotten the times when that didn’t work out so well. At the point where I’ve stuffed three quarters of my partially eaten pastry into my mouth it starts to become clear that perhaps I may have overestimated my oral capacity. My wife tells me I’m incredibly stubborn and perhaps that’s true because despite my silent reservations I’ve committed to freeing up both hands and I’m not giving up. I mash the remaining quarter into my mouth and slowing begin to pivot to collect my bow from it’s perch. It is at this point when I realize that between the pop-tart and the snot in my nose it has become incredibly difficult to breathe. Now as you can imagine, this story really starts to become interesting.

I frantically try to chew and swallow so I can clear up enough room to breathe. I conclude that the only way I’m going to keep from passing out is to try and breathe through what little room I’ve managed to create by mashing the crumbled pop-tart against the roof of my mouth. Now I suppose that some of you may be thinking why not just spit some of it out? You clearly haven’t been paying attention, because given my affinity for this forbidden treat, that option never even crossed my mind. In total ignorance of my plight the buck continues in my direction, he clearly has no concern for my dilemma. I begin to suck that much needed air into my lungs and unfortunately all the flour particles and a piece of crust the size of a small automobile also managed to find their way into my esophagus. If you have ever watched the cinnamon challenge on YouTube I can attest it is hilarious. My eyes began to water and my face reddened. I really really did not want to squander my opportunity at that nice buck. Unfortunately at some point a person’s automatic gag reflex kicks in and so despite my best efforts I began to cough and gag. A hale of half chewed pop-tart rained down on the forest floor. Chunks were flying out of my nose and mouth trailed by a long line of spit and gagging noises as I mercifully avoided puking the small amounts of pop-tart I had managed to eat earlier. As I cleared the tears from my eyes I looked around and found that sometime in the last 30 seconds the buck managed to take notice of the idiot in the tree stand and extricated himself from the general vicinity.

In hind sight a lot of the things you remember as a kid aren’t remembered all that accurately. Like the size of your mouth or the even the taste of a Pop-Tart (they really aren’t that good) So if it’s been 20 years since you last took a bowhunter education course or if you’ve never taken one now might be a good time to enroll. Who knows perhaps you or one of the instructors might share really important information like what not to do with a pop-tart.