Stories about the olden hunting camps of eras gone by have always been an interesting read. Way back in the day, hunting camps were a “man thing” focused on the business of gathering game meat for the winter to sustain a family for a long time. Although I am pretty sure those old guys thoroughly enjoyed being around the campfire, hunting big game, sharing stories and the wine jug, I am not sure they classified it as recreation as we do today.
You’ve probably seen some of the old movies like Jeramiah Johnson or even the more recent Revenant that depicted the hardships of just trying to find something to eat on a daily basis. Today we take for granted opening the refrigerator or turning on the water tap at the kitchen sink.
There is no more toting a bucket of water from a creek several hundred yards from camp. Getting to a hunting area today means simply cranking the ATV or maybe saddling a good horse on a western hunt. Barking a flint to start a fire was a job back then, far from striking a match to some lighter fluid soaked newspaper to set a campfire ablaze. Take a steak out of the plastic wrap to throw on a charcoal fire. Pop a tab on an ice cold beer.
That we have these modern conveniences is no reason not to harken back to the yesteryears way of creating a memorable hunting camp. It matters not whether it is a deer camp or a duck lodge, or even a gathering of friends for a small game hunt. We can still build an atmosphere of fun, fellowship, and kindred spirits out in the wilds.
How to create a classic hunting camp? First, invite close friends and family and don’t leave the kids at home. Have jobs and “pitch-ins” planned for everybody. Every hunter or bystander in camp has to contribute to the welfare of the whole. Somebody cooks, another cleans up, some hunt, and others clean game. Let the kids gather kindling for a bonfire at the end of the day. Don’t shove off all the kitchen or kid work to the ladies. Share and share alike.
Have some camp games planned as simple as horseshoes or a bean bag toss. Use the opportunity to teach kids or neophyte adults how to start a campfire, drive an ATV, sharpen a knife or shoot a gun. Take lots of photos to share later. That way you create your own classic hunting camp.
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