If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013 Deer Camp

Rain drops spattered the dead oak leaves that littered the ground.  Each time a drop landed the leaf jumped as if alive.  Their light brown skins darkening as the tiny jewels landed.  Growing darker and darker as the intensity of the rain quickened.
A gust of wind swirled the tiny leaves around, flipping them, spinning them.  Exposing their warm under bellies to the onslaught of the cold November rains.
A creek babbled in the near distance.  Laughing and splashing as the rain and wind beat upon it.  The storm held no sway over the creek and it welcomed the added water.  As the rain picked up the creek only laughed harder.

The towering white pines swayed to and fro.  Rhythmically in tune with nature.  A dance of old in a world of new.  Dancing as the seasons changed.  Sweeping their arms across the sky and fluttering their needles.  The dark green boughs oblivious to the drops of rain.

Across from the great pines stood a forest of muted white and grey poplars.  Stripped naked by the fierce fall winds and shuddering from the early winter winds they stood stark, white and ghostly in a world dominated by browns and greens.  Reaching high in to the sky, stretching their limbs towards the sun.  Begging for warmth and light.  Their sadness was only matched by the dead fern foliage which cluttered their bases.  Once tall and vibrant green they had danced the summer away and now lay dormant after the first hard frost sent them to bed for winter.  Their skeletons lay strewn across the forest floor.  A testament of the battle between summer and winter.  Warm and Cold.  Ice and Sun.

It was here in this lonely spot where a white pick up truck towing a small camper stopped.  Of all the thousands of acres of forest it stopped here.  3 men emerged from the truck.  Stretching their arms and legs. The three had left home 6 hours prior and were anxious to pry themselves from the cramped truck.
They were home.  A home away from home no less but still their home.  They had finally made it to deer camp.  The rain was nothing more than a nuisance.  The men smiled and began their work.  As if on cue a deer jumped the two track and headed up into the high oak ridges.  Bits of white antler upon his head flashed through the branches as he bounded away.  The men's smiles grew even larger.  Deer camp had officially began.

As the rain continued the men worked with a fervor.  Camp had to be set up and quick.  It was an all day affair just to get to camp and the daylight was waning fast.  Within a few hours the bulk of camp was set up and the rain continued with a few breaks here and their.  The three agreed to head out into the woods and cut some firewood in case the rain let up and they were able to have a campfire that evening.

With the chainsaw loaded in the truck they set out down the two track searching for dead trees to turn into firewood.

We had a great week up in the big woods.  The weather was crazy.  Rain and wind the first two days.  Then it got really cold and snowy with more wind.  Then it turned warm and rainy towards the end.   In the end we had a successful camp.  Dad took a spike buck with his crossbow and a doe with his rifle.  Joe shot a yearling deer with his rifle and I took a 5 point buck with my rifle.

With almost zero cell phone capability it made it even harder track the weather.  I was hoping to be able to get weather reports so I could adjust our hunting strategies based on wind direction and temperature but was foiled by my phone.  I was able to get a text message out to my wife once in awhile so on one of those texts I asked her to send me an updated weather forecast for morning and evening.  She did this twice a day and when I had climbed up high enough in my treestand I would get her message, mostly.  Some didn't come through until the next day.  LOL  Oh well better than nothing.  We couldn't get squat on the radio in the truck either.  We were deep in the bush!

This is a shot of our camp.  We have to cover the entire camper in tarps to help prevent leaks and also it helps eliminate condensation on the canvas covered bunks at each end of the pop up camper.

Here is Joe doing his best to be a lumberjack.  Or should I say Lumber Joe.
He split a lot of firewood that week.  

We cut a lot of firewood that week.  At one point we had the entire fire pit surrounded.  The wind never really quit blowing so we would sit between the wood wall and the fire pit and the wall would block the wind and also reflect the heat back.  It was super cozy.  As the wood supply dwindled we actually would move the entire wall to block the wind in whatever direction it was blowing that night.  Here the wall is on the south side of the fire pit.  Two days later we had north winds so we stacked wood on the north side and burned from the south side wall.  Then the weather changed again so we moved the north wall back to where the south wall was.  

Here is pops with the rake in hand.  We kept our camp super clean.  Always raking the ground free of wood chips and debris.  Don't ask why it's just something we do.  There was a few rays of sunshine that made it through.

Dad and Joe nestled in behind the wall

Dad was the first to hang a deer this year with his crossbow spike.

Our wood wall making its way around the north end!  Our evenings are spent by the fire, cooking, laughing, telling jokes and most of the time drinking a few barley pops.  Our camp doesn't go to town to the bars or sit inside playing cards all night.  We like to be outside so we take great care to make sure we have plenty of wood and are comfortable.

Being that I was camp cook I got to send Dad and Joe down to the creek to wash dishes.  The state put these timbers in to keep the ATVs from crossing the creek.  They were tearing up all the soil.  

The view from my treestand.  I shot my buck between those two stands of green pines in the background.  This was still bow season and it was cold.  You can see the flakes of snow on my quiver.  At one point the entire ground was white.

It was cold.  Dad had hat and banner honors this year and this is one of the hats we got.  A nice warm beanie with our name embroidered on it.
I think the high temps for those two days was around 22 degrees.

I loved those evenings spent around the fire.  Great memories are made around just such a fire!

Here is our chicken frying set up.  First chicken night was thighs and breast tenders and crinkle cut french fries.  Of course I had a bowl of Frank's Hot sauce for dipping!  Second night was wings and we also fried up some gizzards and hearts!

I told you it was cozy!

Dad and I by the fire!

In fact it was so cozy Mr skin and bones Joe didn't even need a coat!

We got the name for our camp because, one, we camp by a creek and two, every year we try and find a hollow log to set on the fire.  We call it a chimney log.  Hence the name Chimney Creek Hunt Camp!

We found a great chimney this year.  It was about 8 ft tall so we cut it in half and brought the other half home with us.  We will take it back next year!

We had to put up a new buck pole this year to hold all the weight.  We decided to put one pole up high so we could hook a winch/come-along to it and then crank the deer up and tie them off to the lower pole.  We spent about an hour getting this all set up and then went inside for breakfast.  That's when we heard the whoomph!  Yep the straps broke and the whole thing fell down. Notice the second picture the deer are facing the other way!

A great week full of deer, laughter and some pretty funny moments to say the least.  Can't wait for next year.
We can re-tell the story of King Awesome Shitty Pants!

Hope you enjoyed my pictorial!



  1. Babbling creeks and whispering pines. Those things always keep me awake.
    Looks like you had a great time!

  2. Great memories are indeed made around a fire! Just look at Blazing Saddles!

    And trying to use your cell phone to help you hunt? For shame!

  3. Bushman, what an excellent post - I enjoyed the visual images your words created. Of course the photos then bring it all together and confirm what your narrative has set forth.
    I envy you this yearly outing - with the laughter, the companionship and the success of the hunt.
    Congratulations to you, your dad and Joe - you will be feasting long on such fine venison - I remember it well when my Dad would come home with his catch.

    Enjoy! I know I sure did reading all about it. Thank you for sharing your Chimney Creek Hunt Camp adventure. (I can't wait until next year) :)


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