Deer camp is a truly special place.
Do you have a deer camp you've attended every year since you started hunting? Have you ever sat down and thought about why you love going to it so much every year? Why you look forward to it like a national holiday? Maybe not, but you will now.
Sure, the hunt is the main attraction, but it's generally not what sticks with us the longest. Deer camp is a majestic place for friends, stories and great food.
If you don't have a deer camp, this piece will inspire you to get one started for yourself. These are five reasons that we all love deer camp just as much as we love the hunt itself.
Food makes everything in life better, no ifs, ands or buts about it, and it's the same at deer camp. One of my personal favorite things about hunting, and one of the neatest things about the sport is getting to enjoy a harvest on your plate in a variety of different ways. There's nothing like shooting a doe at dusk and then turning around and grilling her tenderloin that weekend at the camp house with the crew!
Since I was old enough to remember, one of my favorite parts of deer camp has always been the food. It seems there's always deer sticks, jerky or summer sausage within reach to munch on at any point in the day, and I've never seen anyone frowning while eating deer jerky. It's hard not to be happy when you have those in reaching distance.
Deer chili, grilled backstraps, crappie fillets from the past spring, marinated duck breast, fried turkey nuggets, bacon-wrapped jalapeño deer and dove poppers are just a few meals that come to mind from over the years.
There's something real, profound and special about enjoying food that you worked for with your buddies or family. And what better place to eat and share those memories than at deer camp?
If you're going hungry at deer camp, something isn't right!
Ahhhh, story time! Wow, the stories you'll hear at deer camp. Even if they're fabricated or stretched over the years, they're still great stories. Deer camp is usually a mixture of all ages of people, and when you get 15 hunters in one room reminiscing their experiences from in and out of the woods over the last few decades, you might be surprised by what you hear.
I remember my early days of deer camp with my father. I'd sit around the fire with other kids my age, admiring all the older guys and their stories. I'd just sit there thinking some of the stories were absolutely absurd, but also couldn't wait until I had my turn to share my own one day.
It seems there are life stories I heard almost a decade ago that I still retell to this day. Everyone loves a good story, and deer camp has plenty of them!
Camaraderie and Tradition
Deer camp is a prime example of how hunting is much more than just "killing" animals as the anti-hunting public sees it. We don't measure a successful deer season in inches of antlers you harvested, but rather the time you shared with those close to you. I anticipate deer camp as much as the season opener.
Deer camps exudes camaraderie and American traditions, two things that make hunting such a great pastime. You block out that week on your calendar every year and make sure no other plans get in the way of it.
Hunting buddies form a special bond, and deer camp is one of those places where bonds and relationships strengthen and flourish. If you don't feel like deer hunting that day, simply kick back in your camo and play card games while you listen to the rain hit the tin roof. Just hope a giant buck isn't walking within shooting range of your ladder stand.
A hunting season without a deer camp is like peanut butter without jelly; it's good, but it could be much better.
I love every aspect of hunting and am borderline obsessed with it. Ask my wife, family, friends and anyone who knows me, and they'd probably agree. I've always been super competitive, and I like to look at hunting like a challenge that also relaxes me and let's me soak up the beautiful sights and sounds of nature.
I love to talk about hunting, as I can strike up a conversation with just about anybody interested. It's one place where everyone in attendance is usually super-passionate about hunting and ready to chat about it all night long. You won't find this atmosphere anywhere else.
So what better place than deer camp to pick other hunter's brains about tactics, styles of hunting, food plot strategies, wildlife management practices, gear and any tips you could use to make yourself a better hunter? Deer camp is a great place to swap some knowledge and hopefully find a few things that can help you become more successful in the woods year in and year out.
In a world of hustle and bustle, we very rarely find time to relax and unplug. Deer camp is one of those places where that's exactly what we can do.
For that weekend, there are no outside distractions. It's just you, your closest friends and family and good times. It's a venison vacation so to speak, where we the moment is in front of you and we don't have to take life so seriously.
There's No Season Like Deer Season
You might be blessed with filling your tag, you might not. You might have a monster buck hanging outside and a new taxidermy bill on the way, or you might not. But you'll definitely have a good time at deer camp, and for that reason alone, we cherish the opening day of deer camp and the festivities that follow just as much as the hunt.
Now I don't know about you, but all that just got me excited for deer camp! Whether you're in Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota or Illinois, if you don't have a deer camp you attend every year, I encourage you to make it happen. It doesn't have to be anything special, and it's not hard. Find an old shed or someone's garage, bring a space heater, some good food and a few buddies. The rest will take care of itself.
You'll quickly realize why we all love deer camp as much as the hunt itself.