Photo credit by ZapTheDingbat
Unlike a private hunting and camping trip that can change locations on a whim, setting up a deer camp is a much more involved process. Deer camp is set up by a group of people as a permanent location from which they can hunt as well as enjoy a social environment and mutual support. Since deer camps are communal endeavors, they involve many individuals and methods for making the actual hunt a success for all members.
The chosen base of operation for a deer camp can be as elaborate as a cabin or as simple as a permanently set up campsite area. To help present and future members of the deer camp understand what is expected of them, a set of bylaws need to be established and agreed on by everyone. These bylaws should include the specific hunting ethics and methods to be used by members. It should clearly define what chores and duties are expected of each member for the smooth operation of the camp to assure the best camping experience and hunting results.
Year round communication among members is needed. If the members cannot meet regularly, they should establish email or video conferencing to discuss issues pertaining to the deer camp. Not only will this facilitate arranging necessary work and repair on the camp but will help address changing conditions without having to use hunting time for keeping things organized.
There are several basic things that will need to be set up for your deer camp. Restroom facilities must be created in a safe location. Excrement should be kept at least a hundred feet from camp and any local water supply. A clear path should be made for ease of navigation at night. A supply of lime and ash is needed to prevent odor and help decomposition of the waste.
A campfire is the heart of a deer camp. A safe, well-constructed fire pit or stone stove is a necessity if you have an open-air camp. The kitchen is the heart of any camp and the fire should be left burning at all times. Not only does this allow coffee and food to be available but as a beacon in the night for late returning hunters and warmth against the cold. Another consideration for those who do not remove their kill immediately to a butcher shop would be the inclusion of a gas-powered refrigerator. It will need to be large enough to hold any deer taken until it is removed for processing.
Trash disposal is another highly important part of setting up a deer camp. If you pack it in, you should pack it out again. A strong metal or wooden bin should be constructed so that wildlife cannot get into your trash and spread it around the area.
Deer camp is a small community that meets for the primary purpose of making sure that everyone's deer hunt is successful with the minimum of effort and difficulty. A well run deer camp can become an institution which will grow over the years so long as it has been set up properly and managed to cover the changing situations time can bring.