by Kyle Wintersteen - Sunday, September 21, 2014
As part of the ongoing quest to convince the public we’re a bunch of knuckle-dragging ne’er-do-wells, anti-hunters try to lump us all into one easily defined, stereotypical group. Obviously such folks have never stepped inside a hunting camp, or they’d realize just how outside of reality their preconceptions lie. There isn’t one stereotypical hunter—there are six of them—and, if you’ve spent much time in deer camp, chances are you’ve met a few of these fellas.
As far as you’re concerned, this guy takes hunting a little too seriously. His rifles have advanced drop-compensation charts taped to their stocks, and his Camelbak could fill a water cooler. It’s rumored that even his ties are lined with carbon, he showers at least three times a day in a secret “no scent” formula, and heaven help the guy who fried bacon while he’s in camp. That is, if the Tactician returns to camp at all. Several seasons ago a missing persons report was filed when he disappeared for three days. Hours later he showed up dragging a buck.
Before you’re done introducing yourself to Bruce, he’ll launch into stories of his various trips for elk out west and all the great deer he’s shot. Oddly, he doesn’t produce any photos. Every time you attempt to reciprocate with a hunting story of your own, you sense that Bruce feels required to top it. Over the years, Bruce tells the same stories again and again, each time seemingly adding a new embellishment. Astonishingly he has never missed a buck, although his fellow hunters have sworn they heard him shoot a time or two. He’s a great hunter—just ask him—and yet nobody can recall the last time he hauled a buck into camp.
Uncle Money Bags
He always has a new custom rifle topped with new German glass, and he’s the only hunter to arrive in camp driving a European SUV. On paper, Uncle Money Bags doesn’t fit in, but he’s surprisingly down to earth and, hey, he’s good for buying breakfast on at least a morning or two. He flies to Africa at least once a year, but unlike Bruce, you’ll have to ask to see his photo albums. Best of all? Ever since he bought a high-end ATV, your deer dragging days have been over.
Just Hangin’ Out Hal
Not everyone in deer camp has the same priorities. Some guys are there to relax and enjoy nature. Some hope to fill their freezers, while Hal just wants to party. He’s always among the last guys up playing poker (the rest of whom have already gotten their deer), and he’s the last guy out of his bunk. Fortunately he’s also known to prepare eggs and bacon for returning hunters, perhaps because he often requires such greasy sustenance to shake the previous evening’s indiscretions. Hal has a sharp wit and he’s well-liked, despite the fact he rarely makes it to his stand. He got a buck back in 2002, but you suspect he hit it with his pickup.
The Old Sage
This elder statesman is a token member of every camp. Decades ago he helped secure the property on which your cabin resides, and nobody is allowed to stay in camp without his blessing. Hunting clothing has changed a lot over the years, but he still hunts in a red and black Woolrich jacket and L.L. Bean “bean boots”. His rifle of choice is a pre-64 Winchester, Model 700 BDL or .30-30 lever-action. He can still-hunt with the best of them, and he knows how to approach a stand based on the wind – none of that “no scent” stuff, thank you. His cover scent smells like tobacco. He’s killed few deer that Boone & Crockett would consider trophies, but he gets one every year. He’s an avid reader of American Hunter, however, given that this story is online only, he’ll never see it.
The Silent Killer
Some guys in camp are loud and outgoing, while others can be downright obnoxious in their excitement to have arrived. But not The Silent Killer. Don’t get him wrong, he’s a nice guy, but he ‘s a B-type personality by nature and he doesn’t much speak unless spoken to. If you were new to camp, you’d have no idea that he’s killed the biggest buck five years in a row. It seems every season he fells an even larger deer, each time seeming more gracious, humble and genuinely surprised than the last. Braggin’ Bruce is insanely jealous of this guy, perhaps because he shoots better deer in more admirable fashion than Bruce ever could. Perhaps The Silent Killer is a great hunter. Or maybe he’s a consistently lucky hunter. But the man loves to hunt, he gets the job done every year and he could care less about accolades.
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