Everyone has a memory of their childhood days at deer camp.
Mine starts with the day before deer opener. Every Friday at school, desperately wanting to be home, I couldn't wait to have fun with my dad. My hunting supplies were already packed once I walked in the door. Everyone was already packed and we'd jump in the GMC to head north. We hunted on 40 acres of land owned by Mary Jane, a sweet elderly lady. We always checked in with her first. I have a memorable story about this little old lady, but I won't get into that now. Anyway, we'd visit and carry firewood for Mary Jane and in turn she would make burn-your-lips-off hot chocolate from her old wood cook stove.
Then we'd be off, driving through field after field, until we arrived at an a old 1952 camper. The night would start with Dad building the perfect fire. Uncle Mike prepared dinner: steak, potato chips, Little Debbie Snack Cakes and Jack Daniels. It was heaven for me and my friend Travis. We would sit at the kitchen table, sneaking sips from my dad and uncle, and play Poker with pennies until the Jack kicked in and we couldn't feel our legs. We always slept in our sleeping bags on the top bunk. My dad and uncle were on the bottom so they could keep the fire going through the night. Sleeping on top was not all it was cracked up to be. We rarely slept a full night. Not just because of the snoring from the bottom bunk, but because the top bunk was over 100 degrees. It was so hot the sap would be dripping down the walls from the pine paneling inside the camper (my Uncle Mike remodeled the interior with pine) . The bottom was, of course, a comfortable 50 degrees. Everyone would go to bed early because we couldn't wait for the next morning. We'd always wake up with our sweaty sleeping bags on the floor.
Every morning we'd wake to the smell of eggs, bacon, leftover steak and a big pot of coffee. Breakfast would be eaten in a flash before we started to gather our belongings for the day. Our belongings consisted of three layers of clothing and a bright orange snowsuit. By the time we stuffed ourselves into our clothes we could hardly move. It was a difficult feat to fit into our boots. My uncle always had to help me. However, we always found room in our pockets for peanut M&M's, Jolly Ranchers and any candy we could find. Once we were dressed, dad would strap the 270 on my back and we'd start our walk into the woods.
I'll never forget those beautiful mornings, especially the sparkle from fresh snow and the crisp chill in the air. I never shot my own deer. However, that doesn't make or break a hunting trip when you have great company, family and love for the outdoors.