Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Deer Camp

For those (12) of you who have regularly read my blog in the past for one reason or other - I'm sure you've noticed that The Deer Camp has factored prominently in my life since childhood. Ah, The DeerCamp.

I don't doubt that some of you may be confused by it.

What is it exactly?

Well, it's a Deer Camp - a camp for hunting deer. You know I do love aptly-named things.

Where is it?

It's just outside a tiny town south of Atlanta called "Smarr" - about 75 miles from my back door. If you've ever been through Macon on I-75 headed South from Atlanta - you've driven right past it.

Built in roughly 1990 by Uncle Buster and the Maddux family to accomodate kith, kin, and a fortunate few crossover not-quite-blood family; it is the site of the large majority of my deer hunting experience, the final resting place of my very best and third-best bucks ever, the site of my biggest hunting screwup ever (I got overexcited as I tend to do and I attempted to shoot buckzilla at 4 yards with "Jude The Obscure" in paperback), and it's the single property in the world most covered with things initialed by my pocketknife(seats, trees, bushes, sticks, steps, bullets).

I made my longest shot on a deer there as a nine-year-old in 1989 (200+ yards, walking between two trees 6" apart - shot square through the heart). I had my first extremely unfortunate, yet educational run-in with bourbon whiskey there in 2001. Two years would pass before I could safely whiff brown liquor without turning green.

I put diesel gas in a gasoline-powered ATV there in 1991 (sorry Uncle Buster - that was me), I almost shot a hole in my own ATV late one night chasing coyotes in 1996. I watched Tripp shoot a hole in his trailer while laying down a heavy line of covering fire on a marauding 'possum in the fall of 2007.

I shot a coke can full of cement literally out of sight through our homemade cannon. I got stung by bees and eaten alive by chiggers. I got covered with ticks. I cut myself. I fell into low things. I fell out of high things.

I fell in the lake in early March 1995 going fishing. Bud had to drag me out.

Quite a few young women heard about it, but only a handful ever saw it. It's just not a place for ladies. It's a place for men. It's a place for slightly unwholesome talk and fires and oyster shells and ammunition and Hoppes #9 and long arguments about the best way to do it - whatever "it" is.

I enjoyed some of my best dinners there in its kitchen. I met some of my favorite friends on its front porch.

But, all things must come to an end.

So, with a great deal of fondness in my heart and a lifetime of good memories in my head, I bid "Adieu" to The Deer Camp and the batallion of characters to have crossed it's threshold in the last 20 years. To Jack, Bryan, Ralph, Dad, Seth, Tripp, Thomas, Reid, Dick, Gene, Rayboy, "Hooty-Hoo-Hoo-O'Dillon", Beau, Buster, and John I say: Happy Hunting, it's been an honor and a privilege.

Keep your powder dry,

Atlanta, Ga
August 16, 2010

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