For many of us, a simple Saturday in the hunting field, or stolen moments out in the woods before work in the morning, is our bread and butter.
These short escapes give us wonderful little moments to ourselves throughout the week, grant us ample time to enjoy our hobby without forcing us to make huge changes in our day to day lives, and help us to get through the more mundane parts of the week by always giving us something to look forward to. However, if these moments are the “bread and butter” of a die-hard hunter’s life, then a weekend getaway at deer camp is the main feast, the dessert, and the drinks all in one. A full-length weekend away with your friends, spent hunting and catching up, can be one of the best things in the world – even if such escapes never seem to last long enough and certainly don’t come around that often for most of us.
While almost all hunting enthusiasts can agree on what a weekend at deer camp represents, different hunters have completely differing ideas of what “deer camp” means. For some, “deer camp” is little more than a small village of tents, scattered around a central campfire, and situated someplace near a highly productive hunting property. For others, it’s a small and cozy old shack, located well off the beaten path and existing without any or many modern amenities, but still serving as a more than adequate headquarters for a week of hunting. And for some hunters, a deer camp is a luxurious heated cabin, equipped with full cooking utilities, comfortable beds, for half a dozen hunters, and even cable for the Saturday afternoon college football game.
No concept of deer camp is “better” than another: different hunters simply have different tastes when it comes to deciding how rustic their hunting adventures will be. However, regardless of whether your deer camp home base is a lonely shed or a homey cabin, you can make it better by making small improvements, partaking in house keeping routines, and following a few simple rules for winter preparation. Even if you aren’t planning to spend much time in your deer camp during the coldest months of the year, you still need to worry about making sure the shed or cabin is maintained for when you are ready to use it again later in the year.
Here are few necessary measures to take to “winter-proof” your deer camp.
Trim or cut down dead trees nearby: If you’ve got a cabin or shed in the woods, one of your most perpetual worries is probably that, one day, you will arrive to find the roof smashed and the stronghold ruined by a fallen tree. If there are trees near your deer camp that are dead or dying, remove them. Heavy snow and winds can bring even strong trees to their knees.
Stock up on firewood: Even if your deer-hunting shed has no other amenities, it has a fireplace or a wood-burning stove. Make sure to stock up on firewood in case you need to camp out there during the winter. If you have to trim nearby trees, funnel the wood from that task to fulfill this step.
Turn off the water and drain the pipes: Another step to take if you won’t be visiting your cabin much during the winter. Just as you don’t want to come back to your cabin in the spring to find it smashed by a fallen tree, you don’t want to discover that your pipes have burst due to freezing temperatures either. Before you abandon the cabin at the end the fall, drain the pipes and call the water company to shut off service.
Insulate the place: A warm fireplace or a heating system won’t do you much good in the winter if your deer camp cabin/shed is drafty. Take steps to insulate the building and weatherproof the doors and windows. You will be rewarded with a place where you can comfortably spend time in the winter.
What are your best tips for locking up during the off-season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.