The Advantages Of Camping When Big-Game Hunting

Although most hunters are accustomed to the luxuries of a cabin-based hunt camp, other more adventurous and frugal sportsmen are successful hunting from a tent camp.

Tent camping for big game is a strategy employed by very few, mostly due to the effort, research, and planning involved. Another big reason that many hunters do not choose camping as lodging for a big game hunt is simply fear. The fear of not being able to survive the cold weather, or the fear of inconvenience that an outdoor camp situation can bring.

There is a certain pride and flexibility you have in setting up your own camp location during the big-game season. You will see that this mobility combined with already proven camping strategies come together for a more successful big-game hunt than you ever imagined.

Choosing A Suitable Location
When planning out your big-game camping hunt, choosing a suitable campsite is a key ingredient to your success. A big-game camp is slightly different than a regular campsite you would set up at other times of the year. Once you have decided which direction to go, a good big-game camper must always be aware that the days are shorter and nights are colder at this time of year, especially during the deer season. Air temperature must always be considered when setting up a big-game camp. Try to pick a site that is slightly elevated, sandy, and provides good drainage in the case of heavy rain, while also offering some natural shelter in the event of snow. Your campsite should also be located a short distance from a suitable water source.

The author makes adjustments during final stages of a tent set-up. A good tent location makes for a more enjoyable big-game hunt.

Essential Camping Equipment, Set Up
The equipment required for a big-game camping set up is similar to that required the rest of the year except that a heat source is now a necessity. You may opt for the old-fashioned box stove to be used inside a canvass army-style tent, or choose the more convenient portable Coleman propane or naphtha heaters. Make sure the heat source is well ventilated and is positioned close, but not too near the sleeping area, and also establish an emergency exit in case of fire. It is suggested to bank the base of your tent with sand or gravel, at this time of year, to add stability and an insulation barrier for those colder days. A well-banked tent is also more stable in high winds, and provides a warmer, more comfortable inside floor area.

Advantages Of The Camping Hunt
The greatest single advantage of camping for big game is the ability to be stationed within the territory where your game animals dwell. While big-game camping, you will be living in the heart of the action! The fact that you are not bound by the four walls of a built camp, cottage or chalet, can be a huge advantage. If you find out in a day or two that your location is unsuitable for whatever reason, you simply break camp and find another spot to set up. In recent years, the availability of good moose hunting territories has declined. At least when camping for big game, you do not need to have a cottage built, as you can make camp on public land near the game you are pursuing.

Since big-game camping is more mobile than hunting from a lodge, it offers the hunter a lot of flexibility. For example, some big-game campers will set up “spike” camp inside a moose treestand for the night. By packing a smaller tent, a sleeping bag and a few necessities, you could spend the night in a large elevated treestand. This strategy allows the hunter to be in position at dusk and then immediately at first light again, without leaving the stand and potentially alarming nearby animals.

Another hunting technique when camping is dividing up the hunt location, and moving your camp part way though the season — according to game movement. By relocating your base camp, you can remain connected to the majority of big-game activity.

The author is busy priming a Coleman stove during a big-game camping hunt for moose in Northern Quebec.

Essential Gear, Equipment
There is essential gear and equipment required for this type of hunt. Clothing is especially important and layering is the key. Heavy down sleeping bags are required along with other heavy gear, which will protect the hunter from the elements.

Your tent must have a fly or tarpaulin cover, and must be properly anchored with proper drainage. The better equipped you are, the more successful and enjoyable your hunt will be. Since you will not have a large propane fridge or electricity, you must carry some sort of refrigeration equipment. Coolers and other small portable propane ice-boxes will be required. You must also set up a game meat game pole that will needed added protection from predators for allowing meat to cool.

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