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Deer Camp

9/25/14 @ 3:27 PM
mystery fish-n-sea
mystery fish-n-sea
User since 4/10/10
I have been a member of my dad's deer camp (he's the president, more or less) for the last 15 years, since I was able to start hunting at the age of 12. We routinely made the trek up north to public land even though he has 90 acres connecting to 90 more acres of state public land at home. I lived very close to our spot up north for a few years before moving closer to home. I know for sure there are more deer around home than there are in our traditional hunting spot. In fact, the guys that regularly hunt his property while we are away for the weekend usually do quite well. Since I have been going up north, there have been 5 bucks shot in 15 years, the largest a 7 pointer my dad got about 7 years ago. During that same time, there was one year we came back and one party had taken 4 bucks off, and another year that a GIANT 9 pointer was killed on his land. With 8 guys we have gone one year without killing a single deer, and another where a nubby saved the camp. My trail cams around my dad's place always prove there are quality deer in the area, and I have seen numerous deer (including some nice bucks) with limited bow hunting time in the past couple years.

In addition, a couple of years ago I was hunting a stand up north that I have liked for quite some time. After shooting at a deer a man came from his property to yell at me that I was shooting too close to his property, and even claimed I was trespassing. I have plat books/GPS/ and know where the survey markers are in the area and know I definitely had the right to hunt that piece of public land. My dad walked over to talk to the man and he started threatening to call the warden and took his picture. My dad told him that he was going to wait until the warden arrived. The man then started shouting/shooting his gun in the air. I had already left and was quite worried that this man had killed my dad. Back home our neighbors are friendly and we have access to hundreds of surrounding acres if we want to branch out.

The past few years I have tried to convince him that we should move deer camp back home, and this year he finally put it to a vote. I lost 5 to 3, with my dad and I both voting to stay at home. The other 5 guys want to go up north because of tradition. We are not drinkers, we do not go into town to go to bars, we sit around and play cards until we go to bed at 9:00.

I told my dad that I was going to hunt his land this year, even though the vote failed, granted that he gives me his permission. I proposed that my dad, brother and I take a weekend, I'd pay to rent a cabin up north and we would just sit and watch the squirrels for the weekend (this is what deer camp is to us anyway) then we could sit around and play cards at night. That way I don't feel guilty about missing spending quality time with my ol' man and brother and I can still hunt some great property and increase my chances at seeing some deer.

He's still pretty bummed I won't be going to deer camp for the first time. I kind of am too.

Whatcha think? Am I a jerk?

UPDATE 2019:


12/5/19 @ 7:14 AM
Safe Hunt
User since 11/2/12


I read your thoughts from 2014 and watched your video from this year. Well done.

It struck a cord with me as my family had hunted Florence Cty since the 1940s. As grampa, dad and the deer population passed and evolved, we no longer hunt there. 

I now have joined other camps and are establishing annual traditions, but you cannot replace what family has started and continued. Very, very cool, how you captured this.

We loved what Florence County gave to our family, the roots of a safe, respectful, well founded tradition.

Regardless  of where we move our deer camp, the Nicolet National Hunt and Fish Club, established 1943 sign goes with us as we continue the tradition, hand it down and share stories of those who gave us this gift.

Thank you for sharing.

PS, message me if you like, I can still get you to my stand at a pinch point above the Pine River. It was my dads stand and his dad's stand.

12/4/19 @ 5:15 PM
mystery fish-n-sea
mystery fish-n-sea
User since 4/10/10

Well guys, I went up again for my 21st year, and this time I decided to document it a bit.  You've all shown me a great deal of support, so I want to share with you exactly what the deer camp looks like and means to all of us.  I am still pretty wishy-washy about going up, but I think a lot of people might be interested in what our camp looks like.  Feel free to copy and paste this link  on your facebook page and comment a deer hunting friend, especially an older one.

Someone you know may remember his camp looking like this.  My goal was to allow others to relate to this experience, while also sharing my own personal story.  Let me know what you think in the YouTube comments or on here.  I am certainly interested.

11/23/17 @ 9:24 PM
User since 9/27/01

Don't get too excited guys.  We hunt a region where the bedrock is quartz and the soil doesn't have the mineral content of areas like Buffalo Co.  This is my trophy 34 years in the making.  One of the biggest taken in our camp since I was a kid.  I'm very proud of him, but know that antlers grow bigger elsewhere.  So here he is in all his Blue Hills glory!

10 points, 16" inside spread.

11/23/17 @ 6:01 PM
MEMBER since 3/1/12
Did you post a photo of your buck here Bugle?

11/22/17 @ 11:06 AM
Cold Front
User since 7/9/01

Congrats on the buck Bugle! Mrt.

11/21/17 @ 5:09 PM
User since 9/27/01

We had a record low attendance at deer camp last year due to a very unfortunate accident that kept 3 of our hunters in a waiting room at the ER the Friday before camp.  It was really depressing as we're not replacing the "old guys" with as many kids as they leave us.

This year we rebounded with a record number in camp.  Some of the circumstances involve another unfortunate medical issue by a senior member of camp-his family all came home from other states to hunt what is likely one last season with him-but it sure was fun reminiscing and telling stories from years gone by.

I shot my buck of a lifetime opening morning this year but would have let him walk if I had a choice between him and what we had at the cabin and the card table this year.


11/21/17 @ 8:18 AM
User since 7/20/09

My deer camp is not what it used to be.  My wife and kids want to come up now which essentially drove one guy away.  Can't blame him, it would probably be awkward.  Its our cabin and if my family wants to be involved though, I think its great.  Maybe in the future I'll get more family members up there to grow it a little bit.

We do not have a ton of deer, we sit in one of the worst places in the state.  Almost every bar was closed Sunday night because of lack of people.  The one that was open had a few people in it and I heard one person say that deer hunting isn't what it used to be. 

I could hunt around my house in central WI and have better hunting, even on public lands.  But to me, all of that feels like bow hunting, which I take more seriously.  Bow season is my main season to get deer.  I like to go up north for gun season, it just feels different.  I'm not a trophy hunter by any means, I just like to have a good time and what I get is what I get.  I still get pretty happy even with a small buck up north.  I shot a spiker this year and I was not complaining.  Hunting around home I might see a small buck and just think 'oh that's a small buck'.  Up north I see a buck and I say 'holy #$%# its a buck!'  LOL

11/20/17 @ 8:12 PM
User since 8/28/03

My Dad is unable to hunt anymore but I decided I need to still go. I had a friend join me and believe camp is still alive. Different people and stories, however very enjoyable. 

11/20/17 @ 9:51 AM
MEMBER since 6/23/01

Made my 55th yearly straight trip to the woods this past weekend, my hunting partners have change greatly over the years. I hunt SW corner of state now haven't been north in over 30 years. Many priceless stories and adventures, it not all about the kill for sure. My brother has hunted with me the past 35 years, now mainly grandsons or whoever wants to make the trip. I'm sure my days are numbered but will go as long as I can. Mentored my 11 year old grandson the past two years  with gun, bow and even turkey season. Many family memories, just wish I'd written more of it down. Enjoy the great outdoors while you can.

11/17/17 @ 11:16 AM
User since 1/24/02

GO2 - Enjoy those days to their fullest. They go way too fast.

This will be the first in 41 years that I will be enjoying openning day alone.

Deer camp was, for over 30 years, in Douglas and BayField county, big woods in the CNF. Some good years and some not so good. Camp was always a great time. Lots of good memories. Life being what it is those days are now behind me. This afternoon's drive will be an hour, not 5. I have a few minute walk to my stand, not 45. No deer drives. All day sits. Camp is a small cabin on 40 acres. Deer will be seen and perhaps one harvested. No one at camp to share it it with. No pity party, I'll enjoy the heck out of it.

Good luck to all. Be safe out there. 

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