There is no Place Like.....Deer Camp!
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
There is no doubt that gun opener in Wisconsin is a holiday and a special one too. Friends and families come together for a weekend of long-held traditions at what many of us call—deer camp. Although my “deer camp” might look different than yours, there is one thing we have in common, which is coming together with hopes of bagging a buck and making memories for years to come.
Today, I am going to share a glimpse into what deer camp looks like for me and share how the 2019 Wisconsin Gun Deer Opener went for our group.
Welcome to Deer Camp!
This is the fourth year I have had the privilege of being at camp with Kurt, his family, and friends. Over the past few years, I have come to realize how special this time of year is for everyone that comes. The weekend is filled with hunting stories, comradery, laughter, delicious food, full bellies, and new memories.
This is typically how the first night goes…
When you walk in the door on Friday evening, you are greeted with a cheerful hello and told that the beer is in the fridge and to help yourself. Friends and family stop by to talk hunting, catch up, and wish everyone good luck. As the night passes, the group will plan where everyone is hunting in the morning and gather gear. Eventually, cards will come out and the guys will play endless games of Euchre (or Cribbage) and stay up way too late. Does this sound familiar? I guarantee there are people in your hunting party that regret their decisions from the night before. We have all been there. I cannot forget to add that before heading to bed, we load our packs up with a sandwich, snacks, and water for the next day.
At 4:50 am the alarm buzzed, and it was time to get up and get out for the first day. Some of the group looked regretful from last night’s decisions, however, we all got dressed and made it out the door on time. The group separated into a few areas and I went with Kurt and his dad. This year, I decided to sit all opening day with some of the guys on public land. This was a bold decision for me, but I wanted to experience something different. We drove the ATVs for a few miles and then I was dropped off near my blind. I used the onX Hunt app to navigate my way through the dark. I got myself situated and waited for the sun to rise. Sitting in the dark was…interesting. It is funny how your mind can play tricks on you, especially when you are in an unfamiliar area. As the sun was peeking up from behind the trees, I began to feel safe after seeing my surroundings in the light. The morning hours passed, and I did not see a single deer – only half a dozen squirrels that sounded like deer all around me. Even after bow hunting for several seasons, the squirrels always trick me. Eventually, we met back at the four-wheelers for lunch and made a game plan for the afternoon. However, our afternoon was not much different. I sat with Kurt for the rest of the day on the ground, which was overlooking a nice oak ridge. We ended our day with no tags filled and the guys had only seen a handful of deer. However, back at deer camp, someone in our group was able to put a buck on the ground.
Saturday evening was a laid-back night; everyone was drained from being outside all day. As I sat and thought about how the day played out, I realized how great of an opportunity it was to hunt on public land with the guys. Even though I got skunked, it was a great experience and bettered me as a hunter. My willpower, motivation, and attitude were fully tested, but I went to bed on Saturday night with a thankful heart.
Where did the weekend go?
And just like that, it is Sunday morning! Everyone got up and made a game plan for the day. I decided to sit on the private land that Kurt’s parents own—throughout bow season the deer activity has been high in that area. As I walked out, a fawn greeted me right at the end of the driveway and I thought to myself, “today will be better.” Within the first twenty minutes, I had the opportunity to shoot a doe but decided to pass. The rest of the day consisted of does and fawns in the distance. Another small buck was shot by someone in our group on Sunday, which put us at two deer in two days – not the best odds but still an enjoyable weekend.
Now, today is Monday and I had to go back to work. Thankfully, I will be getting out in the woods again in the late afternoon tomorrow, and a few more times before the season closes. I am going forward with a positive attitude for the remainder of the season. If I manage to fill a tag or two, you can bet I’ll be sharing the story here.
Stay tuned and enJOY the rest of your deer camp and gun season!