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June 14, 2006

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Funny Stories From Hunting Camp

Coming in the October issue, we’ll be doing a special on deer camps. But we’re lacking an element. We need humor. Camp humor. Practical jokes. Tales of disgraceful behavior. Wretched mistakes. You know, all the good stuff that, if it were about you, you’d kill the guy who ratted you out.

Since we intend to print the best ones in the October issue, we will need your real name and e-mail address, and just to prime the pump, here is a favorite of mine, as told me 50 years ago in Maine by an old Maine Guide.

“We were deer hunting near the Dead River, and we had a guy in camp who was a real jerk and a drunk to boot. Never hunted, just boozed, never worked. And the booze screwed up his stomach, so he was in the outhouse all the time.

“Then one of the boys shot a black bear, and we got a bright idea. We kept the bear out of camp, and laid it out so that his legs stiffened straight. Then when our pal was sleeping one off we jammed the bear onto the seat in the outhouse with his stiff rear legs blocking the door from swinging inward, which was the way it opened.

“Then we waited. Sure enough, after a while the drunk wakes up, heads to the outhouse, and pushes the door.”

“'Oh, ‘scuze me,' he says.

“He paces for a while, then he raps on the door, hard.

“'Damn, get a move on,'" he says.

“But nothing happens.

“Finally he says ‘All right’ and gets a running start and crashes his shoulder against the door and gets his head inside. For a minute we didn’t hear anything, then real slowly he says ‘Oh…my…God.’ He comes back in the cabin, white as a sheet and never says anything or takes another drop for the rest of the hunt.

“We had to sneak the bear out of there and come back for it when he’d gone home, but it was worth it.”

That sort of stuff. This could be your 15 minutes of fame. Go to it.


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Lester Duhe

Once we caught a 4 foot gator at a hunting camp in Louisiana. We let it have a little booze and then slipped it in bed with the first guy who wnet to bed that night. He woke up with the gator's head sharing the pillow with him. No harm to the gatork who swam away later that morning to tell the story to his friends, no doubt. The guy in the bed, however, packed up and went home.

John B. Horton

During 2005 primitive firearms season in Oklahoma I was hunting with the Duran bothers from Jones , Ok . After an uneventful morning hunt we returned to camp and I proceeded to make breakfast while my hunting companions decided they would do their part by reading the newspaper and stoking the fire.After about ten minutes into my cooking chores I stepped out of the camper to throw something in the trash I saw two large does standing 5 yards behind these two "natuaral born killers" just staring at them. The two deer never seemed to notice me so I went back in the camper and in a loud voice I told my friends what a disgrace to the sport of hunting they were to let these two interlopers walk into camp like that and without even looking away from yesterdays news they inquired why they were being verbally abused. I told them to look behind them at what was staring holes in their backs and that is when it got interesting.
What followed was comical to say the least. They both jumped up threw the newspaper in the fire and started for their guns which were about ten feet away . The two deer just stood there while my friends scrambled for their guns. After they reached the guns they both pulled up and dropped the hammer and nothing but "click, click" was heard.It is a rule that there is not any loaded guns in camp so they had removed the caps from their rifles. I guess those deer knew what that sound meant because in a flash they were gone.With the advent of cellphones I made sure the story of our camp deer beat us home.

John Sommerville

I went elk hunting in the Flattop mountains in Colorado with my son-in-law and we invited a business friend along for his first elk hunt.We had rented 2 trail horses(I was hunting on foot) and the horses were delivered to the camp site a day before the hunt. The woman that brought the horses went thru how to cinche up the saddle,put on the reins, adjust the stirrups, feed/water etc.

All the time, his friend nodded his head that he understood all and it was old hat to him.

They decided to saddle up that afternoon, just to get the hang of it, and of course, the his friend could not get the saddle tight enough and it slipped down to the horses belly. My son-in-law put the bridle and saddle on for him and then he tried to get on for about 15 minutes (he looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and in about as good of shape) About this time he came up with the solution to his problem-lenghten the strupe so it would be long enough for him to reach with his foot.

Needless to say, his horseback hunt ended in 1 day, and he left camp the next morning and we did not see him for the rest of the hunt.

(I could see this even better in a cartoon with the caption "I could do this if I just lengthened the stirrups.")

Scott Rady

The Camp Cat.

When I got out of the service quite a several years ago my family decided to hunt deer out of a pick up truck camper. While we were loading our supplies my Mom's half grown cat slipped into the camper.

This camper was set up like many truck campers are, immediately upon entering there is a dining booth to the right. This camper had a bunk over the booth and the standard bunk made by dropping the table top to the bench level and using the cushions for a mattress. Do to the ease of entry this lower bunk was claimed by my Dad.

When we got to our chosen campsite we discovered our stowaway. No one felt like taking the cat back to Mom so we kept it and named it Camp Cat. The cat really enjoyed our cooking.

Opening morning arrived and we were greeted by the predawn alarm clocks ring. I was sleeping over the cab and was the first one up. I needed to use our make shift privy. Four steps to the door and my bare right foot discovered a night deposit from our ungrateful stowawy. I was extremely iritated as I leaned on the stove and wiped between my toes... mere inches from my gagging Fathers nose. The poor guy could not even draw a good breath to tell me to get that mess out of his face.

Greg Russell

The bear "prank" that Petzel tells is not only a disgrace as to how a person is talked about and characterized, but treated as well.

Shame on you Mr. Petzel for pandering to the most base of human traits-that which labels and therefore “appropriately”, “deals” with the riffraff.

Dave Petzal

Dear Mr. Russell: Huh?

Fredrick W. Gantzer II

The one deer hunt that I will not soon forget was three years ago. There is WMA spot outside Garrison, ND, called the Custer Mines Spill piles. This place was a coal mine many years ago. When they stripped of the top soil to get to the coal, they had these huge trucks haul it about a mile south of the mine. These spill piles are about 30 feet high and shaped like a cone, there are dozens of rows of these piles and 50 to 75 piles in each row. The nice thing about this place is it is very hard hunting, which equals little to no pressure. If you have the fortitude, its a "Honey Hole". We don't camp there but we go in 1/2 hour before sunrise and leave there 1/2 hour after sundown. My hunting partner, my son and myself have hunted this place for several years and had only seen one or two hunters there before. One of the reasons it is a honey hole, is that there is plenty of food nearby, a small pond, lots of trees, and plenty of bedding spots for the deer. One very cold November morning in North Dakota, about -20 degrees and a nice 25-30 mph wind made for a long day. One of the traditions we have is to stop at the local truck stop for a BIG breakfest. On this particular morning I decided to have something differant and ordered a greasy breakfest with double sausage and bacon. Well about 5 hours later my breakfest was mad at me. So doing what any hunter would do, I made a pit stop. I found a place, semi secluded, took off my coat, unloaded my gun and laid my gun down on my coat. The real diffucult of this entire event was trying to remove 4 layers of clothes to accomplish this mission. Once I had my Carharts adjusted just right I took a squat and went to work. Now Mr. Murphy, yes of the Murphys Law office goes hunting as well. He decided to send this 14 year old boy up the hill where I was preoccupied. I heard a twig break and with out thinking about it I grabed my gun and loaded it it quickly and quitely. by this time what ever it was, was about 15 yards away and only one more bush to go before it would be in the open. I, still squating and half undressed, slowly raised my gun, not aming just getting it closer to my shoulder and holding my breathe. Bush moved and a small boot came through the brush, I looked up and lookes this scared kid in the eyes, he looked so scared. He stopped and we each lowered or guns, he tryed to speak, I don't know if the sight of a 300 pound man half naked in the middle of giving back to mother nature scared him or the sight of seeing a rifle pointed in his general direction was more scary. I told him I was sorry for having my rifle pointed towards him, but some how I don't think he heard me over the noise he made running through the brush, or his screaming DAD DAD DAD etc...


Yet another Bigfoot sighting!

Adam McGinnis

It was around the middle of buck season about 7:30 a.m. It was my first year hunting and the whole crew of six was out. It was about fourteen degrees out and I had been sitting still for two hours so I decided to hide inside my coat to warm up a little. About five minutes later I popped back out and off to my left was a half rack seven point walking off into the brush. I almost kicked myself right out of my treestand when I realized what I had done. I was just about to radio my brother, Gus, to tell him the deer was heading his way when I saw the buck come running back through the brush towards my stand. He stopped at the only clearing where I had a shot and I put a bullet through his left shoulder. The adreneline kicked in then and I completely lost all common sense. I crawled out of my stand, took off, and got stuck in a huge pile of brush for ten minutes. About this time, Matt came walking over and was looking at the blood trail while I tried to free myself from the brush. After I got out, I realized that I had left my rifle in my stand and figured I didn't have time to fight through the brush to go back and get it. Fortunately, the buck had died by the time we got to him so I didn't need my gun, but I don't think the guys will ever let that story die...

Brenner Fahrenz

I was helping my nieghbor's hunting party three years ago conduct a big deer drive that extended from a big chunk of public land to our property. It was the opening week of New York's shotgun season, I was 15 at the time and only bowhunted so I did not carry a weapon. I was a designated pusher. My younger brother did take a gun and figured he would be macho and carry shotguns with the older boys.

We were just about halfway through the drive and we had zero deer sightings so far into the drive. Suddenly, while I was rounding a big hemlock blowover, I see my brother, way off track on his part of the drive and tip-toeing cautiosly through the timber. He stops to look around, I get close to the blowover so he doesn't notice me. All the sudden, he shoulders his 12 gauge and puts two slugs in a tree about 10 feet in front of him.

The rest of the party hears his shots and go to their radios to get the scoop on what just happened. I have my radio at it's lowest volume and close to my ear so that he can't hear it and identify my presence. Everyone is asking, "Who shot, did you get it?" My brother says into his radio "I just shot at a nice buck, I'm looking for sign now" He'll do anything for attention and to look like the head hancho in the group. I expect he wanted us all to bow to him later that day.

I laugh heartily and tell everyone what I saw when we group back up while my brother is still trying to find the rest of us. We still laugh at it to this day and he still has no idea I was there watching that faithful day.

Greg Russell

Dear Mr. Russell: Huh?

Let me break it down for you-you should NOT make fun of people.

Slow enuf for you?


Dear Mr. Russell
Some folk have skin thicker than bear hide and not only can take a harmless practical joke (as this was) but can also make fun of themselves when no other subject is available for a good laugh. Others just have too high opinion of themselves and their place in the world. To those such as yourself Mr. Russell with paper thin skin, May i suggest hunting ALONE, or not at all. Isnt deer camp about the commaraderie and good times as much as bagging "Da tirdy point buck"


Dear Mr. McGinnis

You learned a valuable lesson that day. Deer camp stories NEVER die. Only become more bloated and smelly with each passing season. ;^) Be eternally grateful you didnt find yourself in a more compromising position.

Adam McGinnis

Mr. Mike,

You're telling me! I was just talking to my brother and Rich the other day and they brought it up again. At least they get a good laugh. LOL Oh well, I'm sure I'll do something stupid again this year to entertain them. HAHA

Greg Russell

Posted by Mike: Dear Mr. Russell
Some folk have skin thicker than bear hide and not only can take a harmless practical joke (as this was) but can also make fun of themselves when no other subject is available for a good laugh. Others just have too high opinion of themselves and their place in the world. To those such as yourself Mr. Russell with paper thin skin, May i suggest hunting ALONE, or not at all. Isnt deer camp about the commaraderie and good times as much as bagging "Da tirdy point buck"

Dear Mike: It is extremely mean spirited to call the man in question a jerk, and a drunk. No doubt the joke itself was fine fun, but the contempt for the man was not only wrong, but really sad. I would hope even someone of your obviously low aptitude would be treated better than that.

And in answer to your question, NO, you may not suggest ANYTHING to me, but you MAY piss off.

Heather Rowland

Is there any possible way to track a story from the Field and Stream archives from 1963 (I think) called 'The Toilet Paper Trail'? It was written by a friend of my husband's family and the only copy we had has been lost. Thanks for your time.

Steve Janosko

I was deer hunting with several buddies in the Blue Ridge mountains. We were having a great day, but no one had made a kill because all we had sighted were does. The previous day, we had skinned out several deer, hung the meat in game bags, and stored the skins in another. As I still hunted up a draw to a prearranged meeting place, I saw some deadfall that looked almost like a deer at first glance. Being one who loves to pull practical jokes, and being close enough to camp to make a quick trip, I borrowed one of the skins, draped it over the deadfall, and made sure the antlers were visible. When everyone else showed up, we of course asked who had seen what. I said I had seen a nice buck, had followed but lost him not far away. Then I pointed in the right direction, and sure enough, one of my friends took the bait. After shooting the skin from about 30 yards, he could not believe he had missed! We all got a good laugh when he finally snuck up on the "buck" and got close enough to poke it with a stick.


Prior to the opening of the 2003 deer season, I had relocated to Virginia from New York City and thought there was no better way to experience my new home state then setting off for a hunt. I made some calls to friends and one of my buddies, while he couldn't go with me, suggested that I call a farmer he knew to see if he'd grant me access to the farm on opening day.

Eager to try and get access to prime private property in Clarke County, I made the call. The old-man was more than willing to let me on his land, with one condition, I had to meet him at 4:30 am at his house. This was customary on his farm for this one reason. In a thick southern drawl the old man said, "Because I don't want no yahoos on my property."

At 4:30 am on opening day, I slowly drove up the long winding driveway to the farm. Got out of the car. Walked up to the door and knocked.

An ancient looking woman opened the door with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. The ash must have been 4 inches long. I was amazed how it just hung there.

From inside the kitchen I heard, "Good you're not late, come on in."

I walked into the kitchen and saw an old weathered looking man, fit as fiddle, sitting at the table eating a viscous dish of gravy poured over a few biscuits.

"Come on now, sit down." he said.

"Thank you." I replied. His wife automatically placed a plate right in front of me.

"So, where you from." he asked.

"Mr. Mitchell," I said, "First let me thank you for allowing me to hunt your farm. I am...."

He cut me off, "So, where you from."

"I live in Arlington, VA." replied.

"No, where you FROM?" He asked again.

"I just relocated to VA from New York City." I replied.

His response is burned into my memory like cattle brand. It came so quick it took me by surprise.

He turned to his wife, with a big smile on his face and said to her, "Honey, see what this world is coming to. I can't believe it."

My mind hung on his words. Am I a Yahoo? I thought to myselft.

The old man then finished his thought - "The last time a yankee was on this farm with a firearm was during the war!"

The civil war?!! ran through my mind - is that what's going to prevent me from bagging a corn fed buck? I thought.

He then turned to me and said, "You Yanks can't shoot straight, but you did whip us good. So you've earned the right to hunt here."

Stunned, I said, "Thanks."

"Good, now you want grits or biscuits with your gravy?" his wife asked.

"grits," I responded with a monotone voice.

"hell - you may be a good ole' boy afterall" the farmer said.

That day, in my stand I just laughed. Laughed so hard that I probably spooked all of the deer in the county. But it didnt' matter - this was an experience that only a yankee could appreciate.

Thomas Hall

Years ago I was walking a woodlot in Connecticut with my friend Dick Ballou. Dick had hunted the region's woods from boyhood(putting meat on the table during the depression)and did it in a way that seemed effortless. The woods road we were travelling meandered across a hillside and to our right the ground fell away steeply through open woods. Here Dick stopped and searched the ground and retrieved a handful of brass casings. "I was hunting here last fall and there was about eight inches of wet snow on the ground and it was warm out and there was fog so thick you could hardly see" he said. "I came along here and looked down and there was a big buck and four other deer down at he bottom by that sugar maple. I shot at the buck and missed and they all just stood there so I took another shot and missed. I fired the whole clip and didn't hit anything and then my feet slipped out from under me and I went sliding down there on my ass and then those deer took off every which way."

Thomas Hall

This topic has gotten quiet enough that I hope no one minds this short off topic story (its ducks not deers)

I guy I know is named Sam. Sam has hunted & fished and guided around Rainy Lake on the Minnesota-Ontario border for years. That is to say Sam knows whats what.

One day Sam went out to Black Bay to shoot ducks. Black Bay has acres and acres of cattails and Sam found an opening in them to slip his boat into and got his gear set up and sat down and waited, and waited. And waited. Until just as he was starting to think about heading in he looked out across the marsh and saw one solitary duck heading for him just above the cattails. Sam said to himself that one duck was hardly worth the trouble and he'd rather be getting home to a warm fire. The duck was still coming and it was coming RIGHT at him and that's when he got the idea: "Now,if I could catch one with my bare hands... now that would be special. Outbragg the other guides for years... So Sam crouched and peered through the tops of the cattails at the duck who unknowingly was on a collision course with destiny and then Sam got the PERFECT idea and when the duck was about 25 feet away Sam stood up and stuck his thumbs in his ears and wiggled his fingers and blew a loud rasberry and he said "That duck was backpeddaling for all it was worth and I could see the expression of Holy Mother of Christ terror in it's eyes, and it just barely got enough altitude to clear my head".

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