How can you and your Hunt Camp comrades help improve things for all? We've got some ideas.
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of hunting season. Feeling the weather turn, seeing how game animals react, and being in the right place at the right time to complete your harvest goals are the kind of prodigious moments we live for as outdoorsmen and women.
Even better than that, this time of year almost always means gathering at Hunt Camp, that symbolic group destination that brings friendly, likeminded sportsmen together for camaraderie and fellowship during the peak of the season.
That's all well and good, but it oftentimes stops there. Sometimes moments are shared, feelings are felt, and connections are made at Hunt Camp, only to be followed by a swift exodus and a "See you next year" farewell. It comes and goes, and we enjoy it, but there could be even more satisfaction if we went a little further, or tried a little harder.
This notion sparked a need to share some ideas, and we looked to our colleagues at Savage Arms to help us come up with a few suggestions. We wanted to advise doing things that can go a long way towards the betterment of not only your hunting grounds, but the wider community as well.
Habitat Maintenance and Recovery
If you expect to show up to a hunting property in the early fall, having not visited since the last hunting season, and have everything set up perfectly, you're sorely mistaken. It takes work to help a wild game habitat thrive, and that work can also benefit the local ecological food chain, the outstretching ecosystem, and the greater environment as a whole.
What exactly can you do to help both your hunting chances and the greater good? Ridding an area of invasive plants is a huge step in the right direction. Planting native vegetation, that can double as food plots, pays dividends. It's the sort of work that, when you cash in that sweat equity, it's all worth it.
Done the right way, game management can have the best kind of impact: more animals and more successful harvests. Neglect the notion, and mismanaged game can cause real problems with your odds of success, not to mention a myriad of other areas.
If you set limits or rules for your Hunt Camp, they should promote a good buck to doe ratio, growth to maturity, and better herd health overall. This will help facilitate good decision making, as well as judgement on the fly, two key components of a good hunter.
These figures and parameters are up to you and your colleagues, and of course are dependent upon where you hunt and the regulations set forth. Be a good steward of the land, and it will repay you the rest of the way.
Educate the Uninformed
Do the members of your Hunt Camp go out of their way to show people how great a sportsman's life can be? Do they share wild game meat, tell hunting stories to folks who've never held a gun, or explain the best shot placement for a quick, ethical kill?
Whether it's an uneasiness about guns, misinformation about harvesting game meat, or a concern for the well-being of wildlife, you and your Hunt Camp cohorts have a responsibility to help folks understand the truth.
It's also important to realize that truths can vary across state lines, hunting habits, and communities as a whole. Not every hunter does things the same, because circumstances call for contrast. Just because something is done another way by another person in another place doesn't mean it's wrong. Realizing the difference is a big step in supporting the hunting heritage.
We get it; Hunt Camps can be exclusive groups. You can be born into it, you could contribute resources and earn your way in, or somehow show your value to the typically tight-knit collection of tradition-based fellow hunters.
But think for a minute how valuable the experience could be for someone new to the game, or someone who's been longing for a spot to hunt after years of dormancy. Sharing the love for the outdoors with people outside your immediate circle, or even outside your comfort zone, is a great way to fully satisfy the tenants of the hunting way of life.
If you don't help spread an appreciation for hunting as far and wide as you can, you're doing the practice a disservice.
This is important stuff, and we hope you'll take it to heart. It isn't easy to come up with these suggestions, and it certainly isn't easy to fully execute them. But we had help, and are thankful to know this advice originates from a trustworthy company that's been to a Hunt Camp or two over their 100-plus years of gun making.
It shouldn't come as a surprise, but Savage Arms is tuned to the beat of the hunting community. They've been sharing advice and helping equip folks with high-quality guns for a long time, and they feel just as strongly as we do about furthering the future of our outdoor sports.
Maybe sharing these suggestions with your Hunt Camp comrades will help make things better for all of us.