Pull camp duty now

After nearly a year of being idle, most deer stands need maintenance work.

Now is not the time to sit idly by once you have your food plots planted for the fall deer hunting season. There is still plenty of work to do especially if you have an established deer camp with a campground, cabins, trailers and other camp infrastructure in need of annual maintenance, repair, or replacement. Get on these jobs now so you can relax later and concentrate on hunting.

Create a Do List

“I laugh to myself saying it was a mistake to drive through deer camp a month or so ago. All I could see by driving around and walking through the central camp area was all the work that needed to be done,” says Shawn Perry of Houston, Texas who hunts in a Mississippi deer camp established by his dad years ago. “We would sure rather do it now instead of the opening weekend of hunting season. At that point we are ready to hunt, relax and have some fun, not work.”

“First of all the grass in the camp area was over a foot high. Our camp is a sort of half-moon shaped affair with four cabins built in the semi-circle. In the middle is a fire ring area with benches and chairs. To one side is a skinning rack we built years ago with a concrete floor, timer lights and electric hoists to pull the deer up for skinning. Then there are the four cabins to deal with.”

“Once the conversation is initiated by phone, text or emails, we pick a date to gather for a deer camp work day if we can find one, or we choose up the jobs we want to get done on our own when we can find the time to get there to work. We all sort of have a mental do-list, but usually one of the camp officers will send out a list of necessary things that need to be done, especially items that need to be repaired like a deer stand or a shooting house issue. This is on top of the regular maintenance and annual cleanup tasks that have to be done.”

Pick a job and knock it out 

“Everything has to be checked out to make sure it is all ready. The camp is mowed and cleaned up. We mow the camp first which takes nearly a day by the time we use string trimmers to clean up around the cabins, the trees, fire pit, and the cleaning rack. We check the fluorescent lights under the skinning rack roof, make sure the water is working, and usually get a new hose or nozzle. We have to locate the weigh in scale and the deer hanging bars.”

“We run the two electric hoists to check for operation. There are a couple places to spray lubricant to make the cables work better. Often we have to bend back in place the connection hooks for the deer bar, too.”

“The camp has a pretty nice 100-yard shooting range, too, but it always needs work. The bench is covered over a concrete floor that has to be cleaned off. The plywood shooting table top usually needs a new coating of vanish to last another year. The target back drop has to be cleaned out of the annual weed growth take over and the target screen has to be pulled tight and re-nailed again.”

Now, these are just tasks that have to be done at this one camp. Your deer camp may completely different, but I am betting the work list is just as long.

Deer stand rehab 

“We leave our hunting stands in place all year and this can be problematic,” Shawn said. “On the shooting houses storms and winds often tear loose the ends of the tin roofing and may even tear the door off its hinges. All needs repairing. Every enclosed stand has to be swept out, vines removed from the windows and stairs. One year an owl made a shooting house her home, and built a nest inside. It was one huge mess.”

“Every tripod or quad pod stand will need a new wrapping of camouflage burlap with ties. Sometimes the bolts and connections need tightening and a spray of oil to reduce the squeaking sounds of climbing up. The rotating seats will need a spray, too. Sometimes we even relocate a tripod to try a new hunting area or angle to a food plot or just to reduce deer patterning our stand positions season after season.” At all deer camps there is plenty of work to go around.

Housing work

If you have any type of permanent living arrangements at your deer camp, these will need attention, too. From a good, thorough cleaning to regular upkeep, either a stick built cabin, house trailer or a camper will always need something fixed. As you do your outside camp work, start making mental notes on your housing work needs, too. Note re-supply needs as well.

These camp work tasks illustrated by Shawn Perry are just meant to be a friendly reminder of the work you may need to be doing at your camp. The encouragement here is to get it done as early as possible. Then when deer hunting season finally rolls around you can settle into the main task of deer hunting.

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