We’ve all done something in hunt camp that made us feel foolish, left us uncomfortable, or otherwise caused us to wonder, “What was I thinking?” In our last article, four women shared their biggest blunders — some funny, some borderline dangerous, but all with valuable lessons attached. We talked to three more women and asked them about their biggest hunt camp blunders, in the hopes that we can all learn something without having to repeat their mistakes.
You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do
One Pennsylvania hunter shares her story: “It might not qualify as a blunder, but this has probably happened to so many people that it’s almost a cliché at this point. I was a teenager, and it had been a long morning of sitting in a blind with my dad, waiting on some does to walk out. We were sitting in a permanent wooden shooting house deep in a stand of hemlocks—it was very comfortable, and we’d even built a little makeshift ‘toilet seat’ of sorts outside of it for answering nature’s call.
“After a morning of drinking hot chocolate and seeing no deer, I walked outside to use the facilities. It was cold, so I wasn’t exactly taking my time, but I was right in the middle of things when, naturally, an entire herd of deer wandered into view. Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to bring my gun along. I pulled up my underwear (Dad is only a few yards away, after all) and shot a doe with my pants around my ankles!”
Moral of the story: Don’t walk away from your gun—because game has a way of showing up at the least convenient moment.
Remember the Important Stuff
An Alabama hunter tells a tale that doubles down on that lesson: “One morning on opening day of turkey season, my husband and I had plans to hunt our lease. My husband doesn’t carry a gun turkey hunting because he enjoys calling more than shooting, so I was to be the only hunter.
“All of our gear was waiting in the laundry room at the back door. We got up, got dressed, and got ready to leave. As we were walking out, my husband asked me to turn off the kitchen light. I turned back and walked over to the light, and when I turned around to walk out the door, the only items at the door were my turkey vest, turkey stool and my shooting stick. I grabbed them and walked out.
“We had a 45-minute drive to the lease. It was a crisp, cool morning, and we just knew the day held a great hunt. We started getting our stuff out of the truck when we arrived at our spot. I pulled my vest out, put it on, and found my shotgun shells in the right front pocket. I fastened my turkey vest, then reached into the truck and got my stool and draped the strap over my shoulder. My husband quietly closed the door on his side and was walking over as I pulled out my shooting stick. Then I reached in to grab my shotgun, and when I didn’t feel it, I looked at him and said, ‘Grab my shotgun over on your side so I can load it.’
“He looked at me totally straight-faced and asked, ‘What shotgun?’ I replied, ‘My turkey gun you grabbed at the back door on your way out’ as I gave him a ‘don’t pull this mess on me today’ look. But he wasn’t pulling anything on me. There was no gun in the truck.
“Long story short, he had moved the gun out of the laundry room and put it on the back deck rail so we wouldn’t knock it over while grabbing decoys and vests. Sure enough, when we got back to the house, the shotgun was laying on the deck rail. In my defense, it was dark when I walked out of the house and locked up. I didn’t see my shotgun in the corner at the door, so I assumed he had grabbed it and took it to the truck on his way out.”
Moral of the story: Double-check that everything you need is in the truck before you hit the road. And you know what they say about assuming!
Always Look Twice
A Georgia hunter shares a painful lesson learned: “I was on a turkey hunt in Alabama with a world-champion turkey caller. We had been out all morning and had drank a ton of coffee, and of course, by 10 a.m. I had to pee. So I run behind a big red oak near a river, drop my drawers, and begin to squat. But on the way down, I squatted right down on a sharp stick and cut my butt cheek. It hurt, but I was in the middle of a turkey hunt, so what was I supposed to do? I sure wasn’t going to be the girl who whined about something like a scratch on the butt. So I peed, pulled my pants up, and went back to hunting. I killed a gobbler not long after.
“We got back to camp and I jumped in the shower. When the water hit my butt, pain shot down my leg with such force that I leaped out of the shower yelling in agony. My parents happened to be along, so I asked my Mom to look at the scratch from that stick I’d crouched down on. ‘I don’t know,’ she says. ‘There’s a big nasty-looking circle with two little holes in it.’
“We quickly realized that it hadn’t been a stick at all—I’d been bitten right in the butt by what we later figured out to be a water moccasin. We called the doctor and he said to keep an eye on it (and me) all day. I got dressed and went quail hunting. Eventually, my flesh turned black and gray and chipped off my butt, and I sat on a doughnut for four or five weeks because it was too painful to sit down. It healed fine in the end.
“The stupid thing was, right before I ran off to pee, my guide said to me, ‘Watch out around those big red oaks. The snakes like to curl up around the base of those trees.’ I had just laughed at him and said no big deal, I wasn’t afraid of snakes.”
Moral of the story: Always check before you squat. And heed your guide’s friendly advice, especially if you’re not a local.