Have you ever been to Vegas? It’s one of my favorite destinations where I like to travel to at least once or twice each year. I’m not so much the big gambler type, but hey…I do like just walking around the city that is full of non-stop excitement just about everywhere you look. And I’ll be the first one to admit it…sometimes I can be a big sucker when it comes to cute little tricks and people trying to scam your money.
A few years back I was walking in one of the malls when I walked by a Houdini Magic Shop and a trick being performed caught my attention. This particular slick salesperson was throwing an ordinary playing card away from his body and levitating it so it would come back to him. It was a great slight of hand trick that left me wondering how in the world did he do that. Of course, I knew there had to be a logical explanation…but my curiosity got the best of me.
I walked up and told the sales person I needed to know how he did that little trick. No problem…I dropped a $20 bill at the cash register and I was whisked off to the back room for my magic kit and free lesson.
Once the two of us were in the back room it was almost anti-climatic to learn how the trick was actually performed. Much to my chagrin, I was shown that the card levitated with the use of some magician’s thread that was ultra fine and practically invisible…at least it sure isn’t able to be seen when the magician’s hands are fast moving. I thanked the guy for my lesson…tucked my new magic trick into my shopping bag…and left the store.
Later when I returned back home my stepson and I were determined we were going to perfect our slight of hand technique by performing the trick and impressing all our friends and neighbors when the stopped by. Sadly enough, we discovered that even with practice we were both lousy magicians. Had we blown $20 on a trick that consisted of a “magic” playing card and a 10’ length of magician’s thread? No way.
Just about the time we were ready to toss the magic trick in the trash I had a revelation. This nearly invisible thread had some properties about it I really liked. First, it consisted of many filaments that could be pulled apart so you could make it as fine as you wanted. In fact, to do the trick only one filament of thread is used which makes it so tough to see. But the lightweight magician’s thread (much lighter than common sewing thread) could be used to do another trick I’d bet few other sportsmen have ever tried. That’s right, I routinely now carry magician’s thread with me in the woods for multiple purposes.
First, I use the thread in all of my deer stands. I’ll peel apart some of the filaments so I have the finest thread possible, then I will tie several of these on nearby branches around my deer stand. Even when the wind can hardly be detected…I will guarantee you that the ultra fine magician’s thread will be waving in the wind serving a purpose much like a poor man’s directional wind sock. Hunters need to stay constantly aware of the wind direction and thermal current activity if they strive to be successful. This special thread will do the job better than any other method I know. Plus, you can tie it in the tree and leave it there all season.
The other main use I have for the ultra fine magician’s thread is to check deer trails. Do you have several deer trails in your hunting area and you want to find out which ones are active? No problem. Take some magician’s thread and carefully tie one end to a branch or shrub and let the other end remain untied. Lay this thread across the deer trail so it is about 2 1/2 feet above the ground. Now when a deer walks past on the trail they will walk into the thread as if it was a cobweb totally unsuspecting of anything. Best of all…you not only know if a trail has been used…but by keeping one end untied you can see which direction the animal was walking by the way the string was rearranged on the trail.
The key is to keep the thread off the ground sufficiently so raccoons or other shorter critters can walk underneath it. If you place the string about 3 1/2 feet off the ground this is also a decent way to determine if any bucks are passing through the area. At this height most does will walk underneath the thread while a mature buck will surely get his rack caught in it and pull the thread.
So, are you willing to give magician’s thread a try but not willing to go out to Vegas to make the purchase? Understood. Fortunately, by doing a search on eBay for magician’s thread you will generally yield quite a number of auction items. By spending just a few dollars you can get enough thread to last you several seasons for both trail and wind detection functions. No doubt magician’s thread is best…but yes, you can also use regular sewing thread to accomplish these same tricks in the woods when you’re in a pinch.
Besides, magician’s thread is an inexpensive and effective aid to enhance your outdoor experience by forcing you to pay attention to the minor details that effect your hunting success. When I was in Vegas I may not have become much of a Houdini when it comes to performing magic tricks…but certainly one of the tools that magicians use to amaze and fool their audiences can be used by the savvy sportsman to increase his or her hunting prowess. Like me, maybe you should consider adding some magician’s thread to your bag of tricks.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.