Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hunting Camp Life

There's something about hunting camps that doesn't want to let go of a previous era. Even in this day and age of technology and modern conveniences, there are aspects of hunting camps that hearken back to our grandfathers' days and beyond. I know there are plenty of modern, posh hunting lodges and camps now, but there's something special about the places where everything isn't quite so modern or posh.

Ours is such a place. A mixture of rustic and modern. It's comfortable, but not posh. There's electric, but no running water. No air conditioner. No furnace. No phone. No Internet. No cable or satellite. It has the basics of convenience - a kitchen stove, refrigerator, and a wood-burning stove. The stream provides water for washing and we buy bottled water for drinking. A few years ago, we put siding on the outside of the cabin to help weatherproof it and the ceiling inside is finished, but most of the walls remain unfinished. That does make it easier for critters to find access points and it's usually flying squirrels. Apparently, they think the cabin is more luxurious than their forest digs. The camp is located off a one lane dirt road. A celebrity hunting camp it is not.

Of course, the most important thing at our camp is food! Eating is numero uno. We always eat well and we always cook outside over an open fire using cast iron skillets or in a big metal grill using either charcoal or wood. Well, we always cook outside unless it's raining. Then we're stuck using the electric stove. Food cooked over a fire just tastes so much better. The venison and potatoes shown below were cooked over a fire.

After food, the next most important item at our camp is sleep. For us, that means a loft with four beds. Nothing fancy - just a place to lay down and a couple of dressers for storage. During the winter, sleeping well requires heat and that's where the old wood-burning stove comes in. Naturally, the stove won't fetch its own wood, so we have to make sure we have a constant supply of fuel on hand.

Aside from eating and sleeping, the other big necessity is taking care of business. I mentioned there's no running water in the cabin, hence no indoor bathroom. Some of you may have seen our state-of-the-art facility in my Outdoor Plumbing post. This baby is hot in the summer, cold in the winter and we're liable to be sharing it with wasps, spiders, flies, snakes, or mice - depending on the time of year.

At our camp, there are two modes of transportation when hunting - ATV or foot power. The choice of which just depends on how far the person is going from the cabin and how high. There's nothing flat about the country we hunt. Going to any of our stands on foot is a far better workout than you'll ever get on a treadmill at the gym.

What makes hunting camps unique, aside from the people who inhabit them, are the various items found inside and out. It's certainly not unusual to find things like deer antlers, turkey feathers, various hunting clothes and accessories, ammunition, gun cleaning supplies, targets, maps, calls, signs, photos, magazines, etc., etc., etc. Our cabin has a calendar that reminds me of the one that used to hang in my grandfather's workshop. It's much like a Farmer's Almanac and even gives various household tips like storing brown sugar in the freezer to keep it fresh or adding bread crumbs to scrambled eggs to make them taste better.

Spending time at the cabin, whether it's hunting season or not, is a nice break from the stresses of everyday life. The lack of certain conveniences and technology seems to have a calming effect. And it's nice to get a small glimpse of what it was like in a simpler time. At the end of the day, it's the simple things that are often the most important.


Carole Meisenhelter said...

...really interesting to read about life at your camp-house. I might imagine it takes you back to simpler times where you can leave the stresses of the rushed city life behind you and simply 'bundy off'. I loved the finale photos of the sunsets; fantastic BJK!

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

What a wonderful retreat for you "boys." Definitely made me feel calmer just by viewing your photos. :)

TexWisGirl said...

loved the glimpse into your cabin life. definitely a place to slough off a lot of stress. nice post, brian!

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

That's a place Rambob and I would visit frequently all year round! I love the calendar. We used to pick ours up at the local feed stores but they do not carry them anymore. I guess everyone uses the internet now to check the moon phases and planting schedules so they aren't needed.

Samantha said...

LOVE that camp...I want one downstate WV, badly!