hunt camp

Like a foot rub or cheese curds, deer camp is one of those things that must be experienced to be truly appreciated. I've been a part of many camps over the years, and each one has been special in its own way. But there are some considerations to be made when hunting in close proximity to a group of hunters, ranging from safety concerns to stand management to camp etiquette. Here are some tips to help make your next deer camp a great one.

Share the Photos

Unless your group is working a spike camp on ground none of you has ever set foot on, odds are someone has some history and experience with the hunting there. This is a good thing…unless it's allowed to be a bad thing.

Yes, deer camp is about spending time together and enjoying the camaraderie but make no mistake: Just about everyone wants to tag a good buck. If you want to ruin a great camp in a hurry, allow jealousy to creep in. If someone in camp has been running trail cameras prior to the group's arrival, consider making it a rule that all images are shared with the group. This makes for a more even playing field and goes a long way toward creating a collaborative atmosphere. I've seen big deer come between friends and it's no fun. Put all the cards on the table, share the information, and enjoy the excitement with all.

Share the Spots

The same sharing policy should be employed for stand locations. With pre-existing stand sites, name each one and put them in a hat. Pass the hat around each evening to determine who hunts where the next day. If each camp member is scouting and hanging his own setup, consider breaking the property into zones and putting each zone into a hat.

This is where the use of trail cameras during camp can really add a lot of fun to the mix. Deer often move at night, and checking a camera each day of the hunt and sharing the images with others can add to the excitement. Plus, it can stoke someone's interest in a stand location they aren't familiar with.

deer camp sign

Share the Sightings

While smart phones make it tough to avoid work emails during deer camp, they do make it easier to stay in touch with everyone in your camp while hunting. Start a group text at the beginning of the hunt and encourage everyone to report what they're seeing. This is another great way to build trust and camaraderie, and it can also help keep folks in the woods longer. If you haven't seen a deer in three hours but your buddies are seeing good action, it's a lot easier to stay put.

It's easy to get lost in the moment while at camp. It's even easier when there's a big group of hunters involved, and everyone is excited and having a good time. But don't let that impact safety. At the start of camp, everyone should commit to wearing a safety harness at all times when hunting from an elevated stand.

Everyone should note where they're hunting and report to all members of the group any time they plan to leave that area or move to a new one.

This all seems like common sense, because it is. Get everyone in camp to a few simple ground rules and it will increase everyone’s enjoyment immensely.


About the Author: Tony Hansen manages for and hunts mature whitetails in his home state of Michigan, where sweating the details is the only way to succeed. When not hunting his own properties, he can be found pursuing deer on public land throughout the whitetail’s range. Tony’s writings have appeared in Outdoor Life, Traditional Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, and Bowhunter.