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Bobby Bass

Deer Camp 4

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Came back in from deer camp yesterday morning had to bring the three deer to Ma and Pa's so Pa can butcher them up for us and quick freeze them. Also we had a small problem at the Hotel early this morning at breakfast time. After the fire went out in the wood stove Billy, a friends nephew who was hunting as a guest this year did a no no. His bunk is close to the wood stove and his mouse traps were still active during the night. Instead of removing the mice and disposing of them outdoors he simply flicked them into the wood stove. This morning when the stove was lite and just about the time we were going to start frying bacon there was an aroma that was not to appealing coming from the wood stove. At first we thought we had just gotten some bad bacon but in passing Billy made mention of the mice. Billy was to drive in with the deer but was convinced that he should stay and clean out the wood stove, or else.

After a quick stop at home for a change of clothes and a much needed shower I headed back to deer camp. Picked up a few of them hanging air fresh trees to hang by my bunk, just in case. Deer camp is a lot like Fish camp, except there are no fish. Pretty much the same stories except for deer being involved. Of course every year if someone does not get lost then a story is brought up about when someone did. Now being lost is a badge of honor. In the old days there were not GPS and cell phones out in the woods. You really have to work now to get lost. In the old days a few minutes into a nice thick cedar swamp a few wrong turns and yup, you were lost. It might take you a few minutes or a few hours to find your way out. Usually at the next tote road about a mile from Deer camp. Sometimes you would be found by the next hunting party over. You would then have to explain how you came out on there side of the swamp and would accept the ride back to your camp and the long looks over the noses of your hunting buddies as they claimed you and then pretended that you were just a Guest at the camp.

Cooking at deer camp is simpler as when you are starving you don't taste anything till you are half done cleaning your plate. Ash in your food is quickly dismissed as pepper. Left over coffee is strong enough to soak the chili pot in and clean just by rinsing. In deer camp there are those who can cook, those who think they can cook and those who can tell others how to cook. The last group are usually divorced. Our camp has a few cooks and we take turns. I am a supper cook, I don't do breakfast. I am not the dishwasher nor am I the potato peeler. Everyone has a place in the food chain. I used to be the dishwasher but was fired after it was discovered that I would simply place the last meals dishes in a mesh bag and toss them in the creek. The running water and minnows did a nice job I thought. Now I just cook, mainly because I can put everything on the table at the same time and it is all hot.

Trouble with an old deer camp like ours is we get sidetracked with old man conversations. Of course we talk about kids and grand kids and wife's if there names come up. But we get sidetracked with our bottles of pills that we have to bring up. Young camp, slabs of bacon and ham, Eggs by the dozens, gooey peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, candy bars and o the beer.. Now we compare bottles of blood pressure meds and eat shredded wheat. The wife's send up thin sliced meat and light mayo. We of course use a pound of the sliced meat and real mayo on one of our two sandwiches to eat at the stand. The night before heading to the deer camp is spent by a few of the Cooks to go grocery shopping. For those who cook on a regular basis this is no big deal. They know there way around a supermarket. Here they run into the deer camp cooks who don't touch a frying pan for 50 weeks out of the year. These are the guys who have one guy pushing the cart and two others working both sides of the aisle tossing stuff into the cart. These guys are tossing in bags of French fries ( no deep fryer at camp ) A turkey ( no pans at camp ) Eggs and the thick slab bacon. When they hit the chip isle they go into super bowl mode and get two of everything and dip! Later you will see these guys riding a four wheeler to your camp asking if they can borrow a cup of sugar and do you have any salt? And by the way do you have any idea how long you fry a turkey?

Deer Camp, it sure does have a good ring to it. Sounds almost as good as Fish Camp does in early May air is cool when you get up in the morning. Might have to wipe some frost off the wood chair on the porch as you sit with a steaming cup of what you were told was coffee. The smell of burning bacon and rubber eggs. Ducking as the first few "Test" pancakes are tossed over your head towards the deer feeder. They join the uneaten Test pancakes from the other morning. You watch as a chipmunk makes wide detour around them. Yup Deer Camp, glad I am back here.

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