Men and Women’s Deer Camps

As I have mentioned previously, I am working on the media segment of the Governor’s Deer Opener in Little Falls, Minnesota this November.  It is a wonderful experience and I look forward to it each year.

I look forward to the “event” experience.  I really haven’t participated in deer hunting for several years.  One: I am not as strong as I used to be so to be dragging a deer out of the woods is no longer appealing to me.  Two: As much as “deer camp” can be entertaining for a week, I kinda like the idea of a bath.

For those of you who haven’t participated in a Deer Camp, this should be an educational reading.

Deer camps have been a tradition for eons but, you can’t just ask a hunter to join their deer-camp…you must be invited. And, an invitation may only be forthcoming after you submit yourself to listening to the deer-camps current members’ stories. This could take months, may be years, and could possibly cost you many dollars in beverages (newbees always buy) as the old-timers disseminate their deer-camp wisdom over refreshments and food.

Before you leap into this initiation process, let me tell you of a couple of deer camp experiences I have had…that may help you decide.

A deer camp, traditionally male dominated (but, this is changing ), may consist of up to 14 people who have made solemn pledges not to shave or bathe during the entire outing. Deer-camp law mandates that all participants strive to achieve a level of personal hygiene that would disgust a sewer cleaner. It’s the law!  It just IS.

The cuisine at most male deer-camps is kept simple, mainly because most of the participants can’t operate much more than a can-opener (pop tops on bean cans have helped immensely in the past few years) or care to indulge their palates with anything beyond bratwurst (preferably slightly burned over an open fire).

So you see members of a man’s deer camp have simple needs…..brats, beans and beverages…and, hunting stories. I remember one deer-camp member telling me a story about his first deer…it was a fork-horn ( that’s a small two year old ). Over the last 15 years, this guys fork-horn has become a 24 point 400-pound buck…amazing. And, the stories are retold every year. And, every year they get a little better.  If the guy I’m talking about continues telling his story, in just a few years he will have added calling out the Air National Guard to enlist the use of a Huey helicopter to airlift the beast out of the forest!

But, let’s not leave the ladies entirely out of the deer-camp picture.
I had an opportunity to observe an all-ladies deer camp a couple of years ago in the Brainerd, Minnesota area. It was shockingly different from my other deer-camp experiences.
First of all it didn’t take place in a rustic old cabin or a tattered tent (it was a beautiful lake home) and the food wasn’t charcoaled over an open fire and the menu wasn’t the Three-“B’s”.  And, all the ladies (four in all) were neat, clean and proper. In fact, I heard almost no belching at all.

These huntresses dined on exquisitely prepared Minnesota wild game of all sorts. Pheasant, venison, buffalo, turkey, goose and trout and walleye all served on real plates (in contrast to a burned brat on a tree branch) and washed down with a complimenting wine and…napkins…cloth napkins.  Mercy sakes…what next?
I choked back my tears and stood arms stretched out to my sides, palms up and begged that these ladies be forgiven…for they know not what they do.

However, like the men, these ladies did get rowdy (meaning non-stop giggles and an occasional belly laugh) and they did tell hunting stories (mainly about “cute” deer they saw the previous year). And, as the gourmet wine bottles were emptied I did hear a few flowery expletives erupt from a couple of jubilant campers…followed by, “Oh my, excuse me”.

Now I’m not saying that these two descriptions are typical Minnesota men and women deer-camps. And after witnessing the ladies camp which was happy, fresh and clean, I finally figured out why a men’s deer camp is dank and dirty…reeking of bratwurst wrappers and populated by mostly unshaven, unwashed males.

You see, the ladies camp was staged in a beautiful Minnesota lake home with indoor plumbing.

At the men’s camp, I sincerely believe someone forgot the Charmin

About little joe

Born on the Midwest Plains...and live the same way. Enjoyed a small town upbringing and a big city career. Value small town ethics and the big city opportunity. Write from the heart while wearing a smile. and enjoy all that's around me
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