I’m like a lot of hunting dads, I bet. I have access to a great piece of land, but there’s no overnight option. Neither fancy lodge nor bargain-basement shack. I have a great hunting spot. What I don’t have is a hunting camp.
So this year, I tried an experiment. Instead of whining about my lack of a Pennsylvania-styled deer camp, I’d make the most of what I did have. I found a nifty little mom-and-pop motel just a couple miles from my lease, locked down a couple of nights when the kids were out of school for teacher workdays, and laid plans for a do-it-yourself Daddy Deer Camp.
Hunting with your kids, especially when they are this young—my daughter, Markie, is 12; Jack is 9—is about so much more than pulling the trigger anyway. With soccer, swimming, and church activities blacking out so much of the calendar, I’ve learned you have to schedule times with your kids to guarantee that you’ll get it. At least, I do. So off we went to Daddy Deer Camp, where we learned that what you wind up with on a hunting trip may—or may not—be what you were after.
The plan was to take Markie down one afternoon, hunt the next morning, then trade her out for Jack at midday. (Thankfully, gas prices were dropping!) We checked in at Becky’s Log Cabin Motel, straight out of Leave It To Beaver. Clean as a whistle, enough room in a standard double to shoe a horse, the gray-haired lady at the front desk called Markie “sugar,” and the tab was $45 a night. This is what is still right with America.
When you can't bring your kids to a deer camp, try bringing the camp to them. Editor-at-Large T. Edward Nickens reports on the creation of a family tradition -- and how it's helping his son and daughter grow up to appreciate the outdoors.