A Spider with Murderous Intent?

A long long time ago when I was a young man I spent a large part of my youth sitting in a tree stand. I had not yet found the virtue of reading a good book to pass the time and one can only eat so many pop tarts while sitting in a tree. At some point you need to do something to occupy the mind. You need something to attract your attention to keep you from going insane. One of the things I still do is to closely study the world around me. There is a great deal to be learned if one simply sits still and admires nature.

On one such bout of boredom I noticed something small and moving on the tree trunk. Fascinating, a very small spider and he was 15 feet off the ground. Now, since I was desperately in need for something of interest it struck me “what was a spider doing 15 feet in the air on a tree trunk?”. He was so small that I doubt gravity had much effect on the little dude because he was scurrying back and forth and in and out of the tree bark crevasses. Clearly he was hunting for his next meal. With great interest I bent closer to get a good look. He had fuzzy little legs that moved so fast they seemed to blur whenever he moved. And his coloring blended into the bark perfectly. Had I not seen him move I doubt I would have been able to pick him out of the background. I was so fascinated that I bent even closer to get a better look. Obviously I’m not arachnophobic but there is a small detail about this particular spider that hadn’t been apparent or obvious. Now how you might wonder, could I have been surprised or even startled by a spider that wasn’t much bigger than a pencil eraser. Well perhaps you wouldn’t be surprised but I tell you when the vicious little beast launched himself at my face I was more than startled.

Holy crap who knew spiders liked to jump? I’m sure if I had stopped to think about the dangers of a midget spider vs the 15 foot drop from the tree stand, I probably wouldn’t have had the reaction I did. My natural inclination was to get the hell out of the way. With no conscious thought I jumped backwards in a desperate attempt to avoid having a spider crawling on my face. It was at this time that a person begins to understand just how important a safety rope can be. I found myself teetering on the edge of the tree stand desperately trying to keep from falling off. Luckily my safety rope arrested my jump which stopped me from making it all the way off the platform. I had one foot precariously perched on the edge while my other leg and arms waved frantically in a ridiculous attempt to regain my balance. In all the flailing I managed to grab the rope and regain my balance. To this day I have no idea what happened to the spider but if I’m going to be honest about it, I don’t think he meant any malicious intent. He simply was looking for more fertile hunting grounds. In that respect I think we would all agree he was doing the right thing. So the next time you bend over to look really closely at a fuzzy little spider remember some of them can jump. If it helps, that might also be a good time to think about taking a bowhunter education class. You never know when the critical knowledge of jumping spiders or exploring new hunting grounds might come in handy. Class registration information and schedules can be found on the WDFW website, I’m looking forward to meeting you and sharing other important details of the hunt.