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: