Most, if not all deer hunters in general, like to think they know just about all there is about surviving in the great outdoors. While this may be at least partially true in comparison to, say, your average Certified Public Accountant, there is a big difference between surviving and experiencing the outdoors in comfort. A deer hunting camp should be a comfortable respite to rest, relax and recover from a long day’s expended energies in search of game. A well designed deer camp is just that, and can accommodate residents with a wide variety of personal needs. A hastily fabricated deer camp can become a nightmare, both in terms of comfort and in safety and well-being of deer hunters.
Choosing a good location for a deer camp is the single most important factor in making a deer camp comfortable. A good location is always in a clearing on high ground, for a number of important reasons. The first of these being that there should never be tree limbs overhanging a deer camp – period. In a wind storm, a ten pound limb dropping from 50 feet in height at 3 AM means severe injury or death if it strikes a hunter. Another reason to place a deer camp on high ground is to protect hunters in the case of a flash flood. Yet another reason is to allow each hunter enough room for “personal space” within the deer hunting camp. Pitching your tent 25 feet away from a hunting buddy that snores is much better than a 3 foot space between tents.
After choosing a good location for your deer hunting camp, setting it up wisely will greatly enhance the comfort possibilities. Gathering a large amount of fire wood and placing it in a central location within the deer camp, but away from any burning fire is key to comfort. Hunters tend to underestimate the amount of firewood they require for heat and light, and nothing is worse than to run out of wood at night. At good rule of thumb is to gather the amount of wood you think will be needed, and then gather 50% more. A latrine or “designated relief zone” should be at least 100 feet from the deer camp, downwind if if a steady wind direction can be determined, and if possible, lower in altitude than the deer camp. This step should be pretty self-explanatory if you think about it for a second or two.
A “cleaning zone” should be established – designated place to clean dishes and camp utensils that may draw predators like bears. This should be at least 100 yards from the spot that hunters sleep and relax. This is also the place to hang food stores from a tree to protect them from scavengers. The reason for this is have just one good smelling spot that may draw unwanted guests, rather than several animal attractions.