A deer camp can be our childhood tree fort clubhouse. Here’s how you can set it up.
We all want a hangout and we are too old for tree houses, fraternities don’t accept alumni and some public clubs can be annoying. Making a deer camp is the way to go. First you need to plan. How many members are you looking for? Where will you hunt? Who will do the cooking? How much land do you need? Will there be inflatables? These are issues that need to be ironed out.
Pick a cool club name and area
The organization should start out small. The acreage that you lease usually dictates how many members you seek out. You are looking for an area with good deer densities and some good mature buck potential. A good deer camp is not dependent solely on hunting success, but it’s a great perk to have deer frequent the meat pole.
A good place to find land is timber companies. Most large timber companies have individuals who handle recreational leases exclusively. There are resources online as well as contacting the lease specialists personally. Other good places to look include; newspaper classifieds, state wildlife agencies, and of course, the locals at small town coffee shops.
When considering membership in your elite club, there are several things to remember. If you are looking at property you wish to improve on, find a member with a mid to large size tractor and some equipment. A tractor is a valuable resource when improving the habitat. It can be done with ATVs and chainsaws, but a large tractor cuts time and expenses down dramatically.
Another handy skill a prospective member needs to possess is carpentry skills. Somebody has to build an outhouse, right?
An individual that can cook, and cook “camp food” well, is a must. Vienna sausages and pork rinds lose their appeal soon after the season opens.
The living quarters of your deer camp must be functional, but it can be fun as well. You can never have too many beds, cots, or boxes. Have multiple places to sleep because guests will never be in short supply. If members all have children, the deer camp makes a fun family outing most anytime of the year.
When thinking about a deer camp, one instantly pictures a rustic camp fire, friends gathered around a pot of “mystery chili,” listening to tailgate wisdom learned from half-drunk uncles.
I remember the hellish, guttural snoring, bouts of diarrhea, near fatal poison ivy incidents, and eating things that would make John Rambo squeamish. I wouldn’t trade those times for anything, and I won’t ever forget them.
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If you go about it the right way, establishing a deer camp tradition is one of the greatest ways to take advantage of all the fantastic things hunting season has to offer.