THE SECOND WEEK OF DEER CAMP
The second week of deer camp
was a song we used to hear.
Seemed like it was written about
the guys in our camp each year.
During that second week
we rarely spotted any deer.
Though, you could bet your 30/30
we’d drink a lot of beer.
It’s been nearly 20 years
since I made that annual trek
and my only chance for a deer
was if some one stacked the deck.
But, I learned to drink some beer
and the way the cards are dealt.
We played on an old oak table
and there wasn’t any felt.
The Indians were yet to take over
the gambling in the state.
The cards were dealt even before
we’d washed the last dirty plate.
We called it playing poker,
but that’s not what it really was.
Poker doesn’t have wild cards,
or players as wild as us.
One game was called blind football,
fours were wild and matched the pot.
Sixes cost a quarter, but for deuces
another card was all you got.
The game was pretty nasty,
five of a kind would often win.
And, if even with a great hand
no one could go “all in.”
The pots were often huge,
fortunes could be made.
Well, maybe not real fortunes,
but it was the nastiest game we played.
We also played a game called 7/27,
real nasty as I recall,
you could bluff and win a lot,
or you could damn near lose it all.
Craddock was our cook,
mostly, the food was good,
but he knew a trick or two
and he’d trick you if he could.
If you think there are any restaurants
where you can’t trust the cook,
the second week of deer camp
will make you take a second look.
You might eat day old pancakes
even the birds wouldn’t touch.
And, if you think that those were raisons
you ‘re not used to thinking very much.
But in general, I’d have to say
the food was pretty damn good.
You’d think a guy might lose some weight,
but I swear I never could.
Course, I seldom left the cabin
and I usually drank a lot
and going out to the ol two holer
was about all the exercise I ever got.
We heated with an old wood stove
with a milk can sitting on the top.
That’s how we got hot water,
but that’s not all we got.
When you first arrive at camp,
the milk can needs to be filled
and if your boots sit under the spickett
the laughter will never be stilled.
Dwight was always one of the first
with some nasty little dig,
but when it happens to him
he doesn’t handle it very big.
Course, wet boots first day of camp
could get you a little pissed,
but they’d have been a lot wetter
if most of it hadn’t missed.
One year Hanks got lost
and we all worried a lot.
Well, that is except for the guys
who put a claim in for his cot.
Seems it was after midnight
when he finally made it back.
We had all his stuff packed
and a new sleeping bag on his rack.
The guys who brought him in
said he was only 15 miles away.
He should have covered more ground
after all, he’d been gone all day.
He was a real rascal,
quick with a nasty trick,
cigarette loads & firecrackers
were but a small part of his shtick.
One year he flew his Go Blue shirt
after a victory won.
Thought he’d rub it in a bit
and have a little fun
Then Trafford said, “They’ll shoot it,”
so he quickly changed the plan.
Stuffed it full of Green and White,
then put it up again.
Nice sweaters don’t belong
as Woody that week learned.
Full of holes or not
somehow it got returned.
Once a case of cheap wine
was left sitting outside the door.
It froze up and busted,
then melted all over the floor.
I always knew the stuff was cheap
and didn’t contain much booze,
but it’s still better in the stomach
than it is all over your shoes.
Tricks are often funny,
some are nasty too,
but heading for your blind at 3 AM
isn’t something most would do.
Yet that’s exactly what happened
to Tom and Bob one year.
They’d hardly left the cabin,
when we all got up to cheer.
Someone had changed their watches.
Someone else, the alarm clock.
The fact that they actually fell for it
had us all completely in shock.
When the sun didn’t come up by eight
they both began to wonder.
When if finally came up at noon
they figured out they’d made a blunder.
Tom was so easy going
and he could really take a joke.
Bob? Maybe not so much,
but to get even, he’d go for broke.
We’d tend to get a little gamey
cause the camp didn’t have a shower.
But when the boys went into town
they smelled pretty as a flower.
Amazing what you can cover
with Right Guard and after shave.
Like the old saying goes
“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Once we went to a health club
to use their showers and steam room.
Later we came out,
feeling really clean and groomed.
Another time a bunch of us rented a motel
just to use their head.
Surely they wondered about the extra towels,
but nothing was ever said.
During the second week of deer camp
hunting isn’t our main mission.
Just like when we go after smelt or Coho
it isn’t all about the fishin’.
Sometimes boys just need to be boys.
It’s part of our DNA
and the only way we can do it
is to occasionally get away.
I spent many years on the job
but that week in late November?
Well, it contains 75% of the memories
I'm still able to remember.