By Alvin Richardson
Deer season is underway for the archery guys and just around the corner is opening day for the hunters who favor smoke poles (muzzle loaders) and traditional firearms. With that in mind I thought it an opportune time to send along a few tips about your hunting camp excursions. Many hunters like to attend these informal gatherings that meet mostly on weekends in some woods as far away from home as possible – kind of like a vacation if you will. These camps are paid for in advance through what is known as a hunting lease and the typical cost of these tenancy agreements is similar to that of a trip to Hawaii. Nonetheless most will agree that it is money well-spent. For that expenditure however we all want to make sure the experience is an enjoyable one and that’s the purpose of today’s narrative.
First and foremost I would suggest that before you decide on a hunting camp location that you scout out the surrounding area. You need to make sure there is at least one good barbecue shack nearby and one place where breakfast biscuits can be secured. Even though hunters are notoriously vain about their cooking prowess, I’ve found that they usually exaggerate their abilities to the tenth power. Additionally these chefs of the forest have shockingly poor ratings when it comes to food preparation and their Food and Drug Administration grades hover around 25. The standard operating procedure is to field dress a deer then wade out of that mess of deer guts and go straight to the cooking pot without even a courtesy wash of the hands. They then proceed to dump (by hand) several ingredients into a pot to make the nightly stew. Thus the need for a barbecue sandwich.
Next let me warn you about the personal hygiene of these fine fellows. When at home they are usually required to take a shower each day but such is not the case at hunting camp and the relaxation of this rule leads to funk – especially in enclosed areas. That said be sure to bring along a case of air freshener as well as some cheap aftershave that you can offer to them or, if they decline, can be poured on them while they sleep.
Next let’s discuss the importance of knowing when to go to sleep. My rule of thumb is to try not to be the first or the last to nod off. If you happen to be the first one to sleep you will often wake up with sticky or smelly stuff pasted in your ears, hair or mouth. These little pranksters of the woods always seem to pick on those who show weakness. Needing sleep is a fault that always gets one in trouble at hunting camp.
It is also inadvisable to be the last one to hit the hay because by then all the participants will have been tired of the fun and games and will have begun their nightly snoring routine. The cabin or trailer will sound like a fully engaged logging operation and you may be forced to sleep in the truck. The only advantage to this is that you can wake up early and go get the biscuits because it is a pretty solid bet that you won’t be waking up to the aroma of bacon frying and coffee boiling.
It’s always a smart idea to bring guns, bullets, and a good hunting knife along. The purpose of guns and bullets are obvious and a sharp knife can have multiple purposes such as cleaning out toenails and cutting your barbecue sandwich in half for the guy who thought he was going to eat the stew – that is until he saw the preparation techniques. Oh yeah and don’t forget to always wipe off your knife after a good toenail cleaning otherwise no one will want to share your sandwich.
Last but not least I think it is a good idea to bring along a snake bite kit – even though these hunting camp types won’t know how to use it and will likely fall back on what they have seen on TV. That method involves cutting a slit over each puncture site and then getting one of their hunting buddies to suck out the poison. The only flaw with that technique is finding a volunteer for the sucking part. Many hunters have become gravely ill after failing to find a person willing to suck out the poison of a snake bite through the skin of a person who has the personal hygiene of a billy goat. I hope these tips help you have a more enjoyable hunting camp experience and don’t forget to keep that hunting knife nice and clean, go to sleep in the middle of the pack and head for the back of the line if someone gets snakebit.