Deer Camp time is here again. Today is the opening day of buck season with a gun in WV. To my husband (Grandpa Bob) this is a national holiday. This is the day he plans for a year. He is like a little boy on Christmas morning.
Although the actual deer season only lasts a few weeks, we deer camp widows know the amount of hard work and planning that goes into this all year long. We listen to the almost daily phone calls the guys make to each other comparing stories about the deer. It seems like a Cabelas magazine comes in the mail daily that has some new item in it that they need to buy. Any time they are together, the conversation always ends up in a deer story.
I actually love to see Bob’s eyes light up when he is talking about this.
My husband, his sons, his brothers, and a group of their friends bought a farm years ago for the annual “Deer Camp”. They have built on to it, remodeled, and work there all summer preparing it for this big event. Once fall arrives the workload increases. They must clear trails, cut firewood, put up tree stands, make any cabin repairs, and a million other jobs.
Last week the guys went there for their annual cleaning weekend. I went along and worked in the kitchen. They carried the furniture out to the deck to clean the rooms. They cleaned the windows, the bathroom, the freezers, and even cleaned under all of the bunks in their “bunk room”. The Supermaids had nothing on these guys! I should have taken pictures of this for all of their wives.
They have made an album of pictures from deer camp each year, for many years. They love to look at these and comment on how young and thin they all looked. These pictures are sacred and could not be shared with anyone else.
Last year Bob’s father passed away and his request was to be cremated and have his ashes spread at the deer camp. At his memorial with the family, they brought all of the picture albums and relived many years of hunting they had with him. They planned a day that they will all be there together to carry out his dad’s wishes. I knew it would be very emotional for all of them.
Bob and some of the other guys always go a few days before the opening day to “open up the camp”. The amount of foods that they all take there is probably enough to fill up a grocery store. The deer hunters do eat well. Their menu for Sunday’s dinner is Prime Rib with Au Jus sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans. He tells me they eat, clean up and are in bed when it gets dark. (before 6pm) He gets emotional as he tells me how he loves to be in the woods while it is still dark and watch as it “comes to life”.
He describes daybreak, the sounds in the woods and the habits of the wildlife. I imagine any one who is a true hunter understands this.
If he actually gets a deer, Bob is happy, but what makes him the happiest is to get away from civilization and spend time with his sons, grandsons, brothers and friends.
I wish safety to all of the hunters this year and hope they get the big one. 2016 will be another year of big stories and precious memories.