One of the cultural phenomena I observe in deer camps is the cornucopia* of sweets that seem to lie on every table that is not already cluttered by used socks, ammo boxes, or 25-year-old copies of Playboy. Grown men who would not dream of doing so under normal conditions gobble stuff that is guaranteed to give you diabetes before it even clears your descending colon.

In the camp that I most recently decorated with my presence, there was not only candy of all sorts, but boxes of Twinkies for the lowbrows and for the highbrows like myself, terrific coffee cake that would give you diabetes before it got past your duodenum. Of course I indulged. I’ve had to fight my weight since I was 11 years old, and for the rest of the year I stay away from the sugar, but in deer camp it’s different.

What the hell, I say to myself, I’m going to be out in the cold for 10 hours and I have to hike a mile uphill to the damned stand anyway, and so, reasoning that I’ll burn up the empty calories, I stuff my fanny pack with Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolates and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. When you’re sitting there with your nose running and your feet freezing a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup** can take the sting off things. In fact, I believe that deer hunting as we know it could not survive without Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

However, some of the stuff you see on deer-camp tables will make your blood run cold. There was a box of apple-cider mix that had no relation to any apple grown since the Garden of Eden. Its ingredients read like the answer sheet to the mid-term exam for a chemistry course and tasted like something you might cook up in a lab.

But this is part of the charm of deer camp. You get to consume stuff that you wouldn’t touch at any other time of year and then fart without looking around first to see if it might offend anyone.

*To those of you from the South, cornucopia means a plethora, an abundance of something.
**With no disrespect to the Reese folks, if you like peanut butter cups, go to This Maine confectioner makes its own variety with its own dark chocolate. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.