Welcome to the 100th episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman! It's hard to believe it's been 2 years already since the beginning of this show. Thank you all for your support! On this week's episode, Mitch is joined by 3 guests he has personal connection to - his father Jeff Shirk, and his two grandfathers Raymond Shirk and Kenny Mengel. Mitch grew up hunting with these three, harvesting his first deer with them, and hearing all the stories of their hunting experiences at each of their deer camps.
We begin by telling the stories of how each camp began, one of which started out of an old school bus! We share many stories including first deer, first bucks, first bears, camp comradery, family fun, and more. You'll get to hear their perspective how deer hunting has changed over the last 65+ years for better or worse. Stories of changing deer populations, changing hunting dynamics, but all centered around deer camp and those annual traditions that make Pennsylvania hunting heritage strong.
Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!
[00:00:00] You are listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman, powered by Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. This show is driven to provide relatable hunting and outdoor content in the keystone state and surrounding Northeast. On this show, you'll hear an array of perspectives from biologists and industry professionals to average Joes with a lifetime of knowledge, all centered around values, aiming to be better outdoors, men and women both in the field as well as home and daily life.
No clicks, no self-interest, just the light in the pursuit of creation. And now your host, the Pride of Pennsylvania, the man who shoots straight and won't steer You wrong, Johnny Apple, see himself. Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk.
Thanks for tuning in everybody to this week's episode 100. I cannot believe it. I can't believe that those words are coming outta my mouth. I never would've thought I would make it this far with this show. And have everything going on that we [00:01:00] do. It's crazy what's happened in the past two years.
When we started this out. It was myself and my friend Devon, and Devon moved on to some other stuff and I took it over and for a while I had my brother-in-law Robbie with me, and he just decided that he had some other stuff going or wasn't something he wanted to spend as much time on. And I've kept it going since.
I'd love to say that I never missed a week, never missed an episode. That would be a lie. The first year I started out in May of 2021 and I did an every other week episode. And there was one week where I had a missed episode because the recording that I had really rough audio and, learning from Mr.
Dan Johnson, the the leader of the Sportsman's Empire Network. It was just something we didn't wanna, we didn't wanna launch out. It was a learning experience. But besides that I've been a, one episode per week ever since. And [00:02:00] from then on I haven't missed and we've done anything under the sun.
My, as many of you guys know, if you've listened to my show religiously I am an avid private land hunter for white tails. I love bow hunting and I really love food plots and habitat manipulation. And when I first started this, I really thought that I was going to go down a path that was going to lead me to be able to do that more and work with some people and stuff like that.
And you know what, I have been able to, in some sense, but also in that time I've had my second son and my time. Available in the field has changed. My family life has changed. Some of my mindset has changed. My hunting has changed for reasons that I chose and reasons that, things just happen and you you just make adjustments based on what life gives you.
And I've grown more and more fond of hunting at camp. I've got some [00:03:00] new places that just flat out excite me. I still love hunting the old places. Yeah, it's just way different. I've now got this late kick where I want to try to kill a bear with a bow and do all, so I've got all this stuff going on and a lot of that wasn't happening before this podcast.
Now, how much of the podcast actually affected those decisions? Probably somewhat, because I've met so many great people. I've made so many cool connections and I really hope that I'm blessed to do this for a few hundred more and make a couple more of those connections. Get to meet some of the people like you that listen to the show have given me feedback.
The people who've reached out on Instagram and, social media and emailed and just expressed how much they enjoy what this show is doing, Again, I try to do as much about what I enjoy, which is the white tails, the bow hunting, the food plots. I do a lot of that, but man, we've had all [00:04:00] kinds of different episodes from elk hunting in Pennsylvania to small game biologists and fur bearing biologists.
Talking about science oriented things like the American Martin. We've had some phishing podcasts timber rattlesnake hunting. It's just been a wide diversity. I, those have been a lot of fun too. I've really, I've learned a ton about those about things I never would've dreamed of and it's piqued my interest.
It's made me wanna. Get outside of my comfort zone a little bit, and I'm gonna hopefully continue to do some of that. But thank you guys all for your support. Thank you for reaching out to me. And like I said, if you're listening to my show and for whatever reason you feel compelled to, reach out, give us a comment or feedback, please do I encourage it.
Best to get ahold of at Instagram Pennsylvania Woodsman podcast and give us you can always email me, pa woodsman [00:05:00] firstname.lastname@example.org. It's not Penn spelled Pennsylvania, it's just pa. I really appreciate that feedback. I value that, value your thoughts. I wanna thank all of the guests that I've had on.
I've had a couple repeat guests from more than one episode on the show. I've had a lot of different names, some very specific to Pennsylvania, others that were from across the country, and they all center around some of the values and things we enjoy. Whether that's just hunting tradition or family values or things along those lines.
All continue to do that and try to relate it to Pennsylvania, the Northeast, and what we love about hunting in the great outdoors. And thank you for my family support. This is, it takes a lot of time it takes time to acquire guests and get your schedule set and takes time away from my family and editing and everything else.
So thank you for their support in. [00:06:00] Helping me make this happen to a hundred episodes. Thank you for the support on our network. Dan Johnson's been great. He's been a world of information and helping me understand how the heck to do something like this and how to make it sound quality and how to get, how to set up equipment, what equipment to use, this and that, and the evolution.
And that's been, and not only him, but so many of the other shows in this network. I've become pretty good friends with those hosts. I don't wanna start naming names because I don't wanna let anybody out, but there's so many people out there. That I've developed a relationship with that have been so good to me and other people I enjoy talking, hunting with.
And during hunting season, texting back and forth and you know what, bounce ideas off. What do you think of this situation? If you were in this situation, how would your mind play out? I really love that. But they've been supportive of the podcast and a lot of 'em have been guests on my show too, which I really appreciate.
So there's probably a host of other [00:07:00] people that I should be thanking for this. And I'm gonna try not to let anybody out, but I'm just, I'm overwhelmed by what this has turned into, what it's become. I'm so thankful for this opportunity. Hopefully a hundred episodes means that I'm married into the Sportsman's network.
I've, again, I really appreciate Dan Johnson giving me the opportunity to host a state specific show. It's been a ride, it's been a journey. I'm looking forward to what else it has in store. So for my 100th episode, I was really, Debating what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something special. I kept thinking about, okay maybe I want to get some special big name individual and have a c certain conversation and, be like a Pinnacle episode and this and that.
As far as, people I might've been able to interview and bounced some ideas off of some people. Then I just decided at one point I was like, I wanna do something that's a little bit more personal to me. And there was one individual that I asked first had a [00:08:00] very personal impact on my hunting over the years, and I wanted to get them on.
And, for their own personal reasons they declined. They didn't wanna do that. And I respect that. That's fine. So my, my, my second idea, and it was a very close second, and I really love what happened and what the way it turned out is I did an episode with. My two grandfathers and my dad.
Now, both of my grandfathers, I believe are 80 years old. I say I believe, 'cause I think one is about to turn 81. But regardless, they're both 80 years old and there's a lot of history tradition stories that go with their hunting. In regards to Deer Camp, you've heard me talk about Deer Camp. If you've listened to the episode we dropped in December last year of our Deer Camp Final Hunt.
My dad came on a [00:09:00] little bit and talked about that and we just recapped that hunt. But there's so much history in my camp. And this week I got the opportunity to pick both of my grandfather's brains on each of their camps. My grandfather Kenny Manel on my mom's side, I. They started a camp in Potter County when he was, a fairly young man.
I believe it was in 1967, he said, and they talk about what that looked like. And on the same flip, on the flip side, my other grandfather, Raymond Shirk, he talks about how the camp started, that now I go to and do a lot of my hunting at, and my dad chips in on so many of them stories. And I, it's just my roots.
Like I think about the people that I did this episode with. My first two deer I ever killed, I killed with my grandfather Raymond. And then the next two deer that I ever killed, I killed with my grandfather Kenny. And [00:10:00] when I was thinking about that really cool thing and the, in my introduction to hunting with those two men, Let's thinking about it.
I never killed a single deer or a single anything with my dad. He I used to go with my grandfathers and then it wasn't long I was hunting by myself. So I've never done that. But I've, I have shared some pretty cool hunting experiences with my dad, especially in recent years. And I have to say a lot of the coolest stories that I remember them telling, a lot of the coolest experiences I've had.
A lot of them are at camp, not all of them. I have some great hunting experiences and stories that hopefully as years to come I'll be able to relate to and share back from hunting at home and certain properties and specific deer. 'cause that's all near and dear to me too. But there's something about Camp Tra tradition and that legacy within.
Those camps that it's just like part of my identity. And this episode we talk about how the camps got started, what it was like, what [00:11:00] traditions occurred over those years, some crazy hunting stories, some not so hunting related stories from, breakdowns and goofing off around camp. And I'll have to leave, give you a little warning.
Some of it might involve a little bit of stupidity and might involve a little bit of drinking episodes that have happened. But it happens in some camps and I've been part of it. I'll stick my neck out and say I've done some stupid stuff. But I think a lot of us have, and to me it's all part of camp.
It's all part of those camp stories. And I can't lie. And I went through and listened to this episode. Editing it and wanted to make sure 'cause I had some mic issues when I was setting up and just trying to get everybody's audio levels to a sound that it was enjoyable for you guys all to listen to.
So I went back through and adjust, adjusted a lot of the audio levels to level things out. And in the process of listening back and hearing some of those stories like it a couple times, it brought a couple tears to my eyes just [00:12:00] thinking back on some of the stories. Thinking back to when I killed my first bear.
And that's a story we talk about and the stories of all of us killing bear and just so many other things that's just like nostalgic. And that's why I wanted to, that's what I wanted to do for my 100th episode. I hope you guys enjoy it. Like I said, you're gonna get some history of what it was like from the sixties on up to present time through the eyes of my two grandfathers.
You probably hear some things about how it was at that time with hunting that maybe you never heard before. Either that, or maybe you can relate to it. Maybe you can relate to how deer hunting was or the stories that your family told. Or maybe you're listening in, in, you're little older than myself and maybe you experienced some of the things that my grandfathers had been a part of in their hunting camp.
So it's special to me. I hope you guys like it. I know this is one I'm gonna enjoy. It's gonna be something I know I'll always be able to have [00:13:00] for myself. And that's what we're gonna do for this week's episode. So we're gonna get to the episode with my two grandfathers and my dad, Jeffrey Shirk, Raymond Shirk, and Kenny Manel.
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Wanna check out Radox cameras in person? Stop in at Little Mountain Outfitters in Richland, Pennsylvania and have a peek now back to the show. So I wanted to do something special for my 100th episode. And I was back and forth. I was talking to a bunch of people. I had an idea for another guest I wanted to have on and approached him and he said that he was he didn't want to, and that was fine.
And I, I kept going back and forth. I even asked Dan Johnson, who's the head of the empire? Yeah, the empire the network that I'm on. I asked him, about ideas and he said I can help you out with setting somebody up. But I just thinking about it, I was like, I wanna do something that is very realistic to like what I grew up with.
So I thought I went out on a limb. I'm glad you guys did it. Sitting with me, I have my two [00:16:00] grandfathers and my dad and I wanted to give an idea of what I came up with. Hunting from camp traditions, both camps, camp stories and stuff like that. Sitting with me at the table is my, my, my grandfather on my mom's side, Kenny Mele.
And if I I'm gonna probably address my grandfather's by their first name so people know who I'm talking about. But if I slip up, popup is Kenny and then grandpa is Raymond Shirk. And then I got my dad Jeffrey Shirk. And you were on once before, but I think that was after we had our little party.
I might have been a little under the weather. Were you there at camp when we were still there? We did we did our podcast after our deer camp and. I set the fourth mic up seeing if I could bait somebody in. And Jeffrey couldn't take it anymore. I had to go. But Jeff anyway. Thank you. Thank you for doing this.
And I wanted to talk about hunting camp. Hunting camp. Hunting camp started when we bought a bus. [00:17:00] I know. And your camp started you had a a group of guys from this general area that you all drove together and you found your camp, right? Yes. And that's what I wanted to get started.
So going back Kenny, do you remember like around the timeframe or even the year of when you guys would've ventured out to find a hunting camp or an area where you wanted to have a deer camp in the sixties? The sixties? Yeah. We started our camp in, bought our camp in 67, but before that we hunted the blue mountain.
And you told me about that. 'cause you. I remember like now the places that I work are places that you used to hunt pheasants as a kid. And like you used to tell me the places that I'm now complaining about deer pressure and crop fields are the places that you said was void of deer and you had to go up to the mountain to hunt.
I, we had I think the last year we hunted on the blue mountain. We didn't kill one deer. Really? Yeah. Then that, that made us start looking for a place to go hunting. And we, before we hunted deer [00:18:00] upcountry, we used to go to another camp before we bought our camp to hunt bear. Okay. And then I hunted deer at that camp a few times.
Didn't kill a deer there but some of my friends did. And that, and then when we didn't kill deer in the blue mountain, that got us looking into trying to find a camp up country. And like you said a while ago, we'd go like four in a car and go up for a weekend and drive around and eventually we found the camp that we bought.
And I always remember the first day we went out hunting we shot five buck. That's not a, that's a mu much different start compared to Yeah. Compared to that. So that would've been like the early sixties, mid sixties. And then you ventured out and bought your camp. Now correct me how many members started out?
Do you remember the like, original charter members? Because you're 13. Okay. And you're, because you're one of the original charter members of camp, yet I'm the last charter member. There's two living yet that aren't members anymore. Okay. But I'm the last. [00:19:00] Charter member. Okay. So that's from 1967 and a lot of history and a lot of story.
And you said Raymond said earlier in this, and this is I think an interesting one too. You said camp started when you bought a bus, but that there, there was a little bit of backstory. So how did you end up going back to the area in the first place? We were hunting on a farm the first year I ever hunted up, up camp.
It was at a farm and it was a hunting camp. And I was 15, no, I was 14 the first year and I sh shot my first dough up there and we were out in the woods hunting. Me and my brother Lloyd, we went out hunting together all the time and we would just walk just so we could see each other.
And we used to chase deer. All the time, back and forth to each other, and that's how we hunted. And so I, I really wasn't [00:20:00] into deer hunting at that point. I used to small game hunt, but that was my first and deer hunting at 14. And I shot a dough the first year and I thought, oh, this is easy. I said we got close to some deer and I seen one standing and I shot at it and missed it.
And it started running. And I started shooting and I hit one in the head. So I guess I wasn't aiming too good at that point. But that was my first year and that started it from there. A year, two years later is when we bought a school bus and fixed it up for, we could sleep like eight or nine people in this thing.
It was crowded. But but you had a stove and everything in it? Yeah, we had a heater in it and we had a table. I want to know the story of how it got to its final resting place. That was I was 16 when we bought that, and I followed my brother [00:21:00] Paul to drive this bus up to camp.
And it was, it was a good three hour drive with a car at that point in time. And we got to Pottsville and the thing started hammering. So we had a we got out and we figured out what was making it hammer. We knew a rod bearing was going out. So we checked the oil and that was full and everything.
And so we pulled that plug wire off so it wouldn't fire, and then it didn't hammer as bad, so we drove it the rest of the way up. And the last hill we were going up before where we parked it, it's shut off. It wouldn't go no more vapor locked. It got that hot. And so we coasted it backwards and got it started again and finally got it the rest of the way up to, in fact, it had stopped one time at Pottsville.
And I pulled my car up right [00:22:00] behind the bus and me and my, there was some, there was three of us, I don't remember who the other one was, but we got on my car pushing on with my, our feet against the bumper of the bus and pushed it about six feet and my brother popped the clutch and it started.
So off we went. But anyway, we finally got it there and the first year we hunted that out of the bus. It was just me and I think it was two of my brothers and my mom and dad, and we hunted and it was really a good area where we had sat this bus. We found a place to I was gonna say the bus, was this state land that the bus was on?
No. It was private land. Did you know that was where it was gonna, you wanted to get it to or Yeah. Yeah. We had the, them arrangements made before we took the bus up. Okay. But we knew of all this land up there from going up to the farm where we started hunting. Hunting, me and my brother Lloyd.
[00:23:00] And anyway, from there we hunted out the bus and we'd seen lots of deer. Lots of deer. Do you remember how many years you hunted out of the bus? Yeah. Two. Two. Yeah. We hunted two years out of the bus. And then it was in that timeframe that you found camp? Yeah. In 1960 we bought the camp where we have now today.
And my brother bought it and my dad went along with him, but he didn't have a lot of money, so my brother paid the, he bought the camp. And to make a long story short, he bought the camp and his wife was furious. She hated camp. She didn't want nothing to do with camp. She just thought that he was going up there to have a woman.
And that was not the case at all. Yeah. But anyway he bought the camp and he had it himself for till 1967. Okay. 67 we incorporated and then we had 18 members. [00:24:00] In the camp. Okay. And then somewhere along the line is when my dad joined and that was before, but at some point he started and he, your Dan wasn't born then yet, right?
Exactly. It was, that was early on. But at some point he comes into the picture and tormented the absolute daylights out of you in the woods with him and his brothers? No, not really. Not really. I, by the time they, that Jeff, my son, started hunting I, I wasn't as anxious about hunting anymore than as was, I was in the beginning.
Yeah. But, Oh, no more. I just took them out to hunt and we had some episodes. Oh yeah. And I can't wait to get into some of those. And he's not gonna tell you that he wasn't antsy to shoot a deer yet because he always told, now he never did this to me, but he told Mark, said that he always said he would let him get the shot at the buck and Mark was first two years, had the 30 30 with binoculars and open sites, Uhhuh.
And like Mark would put the binoculars up, [00:25:00] find the deer, and then when he go to put the gun on, he couldn't tell which one the buck was. And before Mark could figure it out, he shot the bus. Yeah. Antsy just gets, I don't know if I remember that. Oh, its, you have to ask your other son about it. Yeah.
Okay. Anyway, we've seen lots of deer at that point in time. In fact, at camp that we got it was actually overpopulated with deer when we first got it. 'cause we went out and. There was little dough that we could get up to with and 50 feet of, and we talked to 'em. Oh, goodness. And they'd stay standing there.
They didn't run. And so I guess they never seen people before, but they sure got scared after that. Dad, what were some of the first memories, like first year you went up when you were 12, right? First year hunting. Yeah. So yeah, your first year hunting, you went up to camp and you would've been, it would've been your older brother.
And then you had a bunch of cousins and stuff too that were up. Yeah. C it was a full camp. There'd be 18, [00:26:00] 19 guys for the first day of buck season. In the old camp, that was probably pretty crowded. It was real crowded. Yeah. So you would've heard all the stories from your older brother when he was first going up in the, into your first year, and you would've heard the stories of grandpa and everybody else would've told.
So what was, what were some of the things do you remember certain things about the first year you went up that, or was it just that Yeah, there was certain things I remember, being 12 years old, like I'd never been in the woods before. And I used to hate, when we'd go to a spot, like we'd be following him.
And I used to like, when he would stop at a spot and he'd say, I'm gonna sit here. You go that way and you go that way. 'cause then I knew where he was at. I hated when he used to drop me off at a spot and then he'd walk away. 'cause then I had to stay at that spot, I didn't have a choice.
Did you have ants that you wanted to walk around or you just, it was just the idea you didn't No, I just didn't wanna get lost. That was big woods. I didn't move. It is, I'd be freezing and I'd [00:27:00] be sitting there waiting for I can remember a time I stopped him. I sat in the middle and I said, you go this way.
And the other brother went the other way and it wasn't long. He came back. I said, what are you doing? It was only a couple minutes. He said there's a bear over here. Was that you? Yeah. Really? I think that was when I was about 13. He came, he was white as a ghost. I was about 13 I think when I saw a bear.
That was the first time I ever saw a bear in the woods. And I was like, it scared the crap out of me. Yeah, the, that first time does, the first time I saw a bear in the woods, I was 13 and I killed it. That was another funny story. Talk about sending kids off in the wrong way.
But I wanna go back Kenny, so you you said you went up 67 and that first year you shot five deer in the camp, or five buck, I think. Do you remember like that area where you ended up purchasing the camp you used to drive around? You found a place that you guys bought in 67, 13 charter members. Was that an area that you were relatively familiar with or was that you just found that place and just[00:28:00] we're gonna, this is where camp's gonna be and that's where it is?
Yeah, we were not familiar with that area. So the first year you didn't know what to expect when you went in the woods? No, we didn't. Do you do you remember like what it was like the first year? Like I, I'm sure you don't remember the specific days and how many deer you saw, but what it was like as far as the game that you'd see in those first few years?
I didn't shoot, I wasn't one of the lucky ones that shot one of the five buck, and I really don't have a vivid memory of the deer that I saw that year. But I think we shot the five buck till noontime and we hunted three days and never got another deer. But we had five buck till noontime.
No, I can't say I have a vivid memory now. A year or two later I got my first buck and I shot first buck up country and that buck I shot in a drive. Okay. Which was one of the nice things back in those days. We'd go out in the morning and like we'd strategically pot hunt.
Okay. But then the drivers would start at nine o'clock to push to the [00:29:00] standards. And then from then on, then we just put one drive on after the other for the whole day. Did you, I'm assuming the first year was, the first year had to be a learning experience because you guys were new to the new, to the area.
So did you do you guys remember if you did a lot of scouting or walking around to figure out the lay of the land in those areas before you started doing drives? Not that first morning, no. We just went out the front door and put on one drive after the other up to the pipeline until we got there.
We shot five buck. Oh, that's not too bad. Did you have. W were you, would you have been using maps at that time, or you just looked at the lay of the land and said eventually until the next year, and maybe some of the guys had already a little bit, but Okay. Yeah. The first year wasn't too strategic.
Like I said, we just went out the front door and put on one drive after the other. But then from then on, then we started widening the area that we hunted. Going into some of the more remote areas. I remember when I was younger and you would talk about camp Story camp. I've heard you talk about that, that you'd have it [00:30:00] set up that we were gonna hunt in this general area on our own until you used to say nine o'clock, and then you'd make drives.
And you used to talk about how some of those guys in camp were just like they were like, I don't know if Hardcores the guy. What about they were just tough individuals because you said a lot of 'em were, some of 'em were war vets too at that time, I think one guy was for sure.
And then there was a couple guys, a couple of the members just were naturals. They were just natural hunters. They learned the terrain in our hurry and they would guide the drives. They were just, I know one member of the camp used to say he thinks they're part Indian. Did did they? So they would lead a lot of that stuff.
Yeah. I I'm trying to think of anything else that I would want to add with that. I just remember you telling me those the first years were, it was like just going out and. It was all day. It was drive after drive after dark to dark, right? Yeah. From the time it was dark when you were standing at your first spot in the morning and when it came light, then you, we [00:31:00] call it what pot hunting for until whatever time we designated that the, and you were already lined up that the standards were at one spot and the drivers were at another, and then at a certain time, then the standards the drivers pushed to the standards and like I say, then it just went on all day long and we tried to get as many drives in as we could in a day.
You retired at the end of the day. I believe that. Did you have now, would you have been going up that whole first week of buck season at that point? Generally it was three days. Most guys would come to camp on Sunday and go home Wednesday. We'd hunt two and a half days. Okay. Two full days, and then about a half a day on Wednesday.
That's how it was for pretty many years. But then as the guys got older and we stopped driving, then it changed. And it's different today, but back then it was basically two and a half days of solid hunting. Raymond, you used to go up, you guys used to go up pretty much the whole week, right?
I always went up for a whole week. Always. Yeah. If I didn't, the one guy I was working for at one [00:32:00] point in time, he said you, you don't have vacation for a week. You can't go for a whole week. He said, I said, I'm going. And he said what if you don't have a job when you come back? I said, I guess I'll look for one.
I always went for a week and he never bothered me after that. He didn't gimme a problem. I went and correct me if I'm wrong, your wedding anniversary, isn't it? Like December 3rd? Yeah. And you went the next day to Deer Camp or something? Yeah, we no, we went, yeah, it, we got married on the 3rd of December and that was on a Saturday and Monday was deer season.
So me and my wife went to camp. To the bus For anniversary. For your honeymoon. For your honeymoon? Yeah. It was for your honeymoon. Yeah. Yeah, it was for a honeymoon. Yeah. And it's almo, it's almost going to pun kano or Right. I wouldn't have it any other way. But anyway we spent that [00:33:00] week.
With my three brothers and my mom and dad and me and my wife Sylvia. And another thing too, so that was at the bus and then years came later and you said it was in 66 or 67 that you guys bought the camp that was just over the hill? No. We bought the bus in 19 the, no Camp, camp.
Camp in 1960. Oh, 1960. It was incorporated, 19. Incorporated. Gotcha. Oh, gotcha. It was incorporated in 67. Yeah the first, I can remember the first week day we hunted at camp. We got into camp Sunday night and we were all worked up about going hunting the next day. And me and my brother Lloyd were the ones that always went the furthest and the hardest.
And we went out the front door, went across the creek, which was about two feet deep most of the time. And we went up the mountain straight up over. Get to the top, and then we'd do our hunting, our, like we always did. And I'd, [00:34:00] he'd be on one side of me and I'd be on the other. And just so we could see each other.
Sometimes we wouldn't see each other for five minutes, but for the most part up there, we could see each other because it was more open than where we hunted on the farm. Okay. And but anyway we just kept walking real slow and we always had a bright hat on or something that we could easily pick out.
But there were times that we didn't see each other for a half an hour maybe, but we knew about where they were at that point. But I can remember the first year I hunted up at the farm where we were at, there was game lanes nearby, and of course my brother, he had. No rest at all. He had to go. So he walked back this road. He said, just hang around here. I'll see you later. I was thinking I wanna go too. So he went, he left and [00:35:00] I thought there's a road up a little further. I'll just follow that road once back through. And I probably walked about two or three mile. And here's my brother.
He looked at me, he says, what are you doing here? I said we're to see what it looked like back here. Okay. He said, do you know where you're at? And I said, yeah. How do you know that? I know my directions. Don't worry. I gotta go back that way. To go back. Do you remember how old you were at that point?
14 or 15? No. Now wait. Yeah, that I was 14 the first year and 15 the second that we, that was when you were hunting at the farm? Yeah. Yeah. And I got a dough the first year and the second year I got a dough too over there. But then the third year we were at the bus and that's when I was 16 and I hunted up there and it was, no, we must have had the bus three years because it was a year, the [00:36:00] year later than that.
I got married, I was 18 when we got married. And we had the bus in that year. But the following year, that was from 1960 is when my brother bought the camp. That we went to, and correct me if I'm wrong I brought up grandma in In that conversation on purpose, not only because of the timing of it being dear season, but isn't it true that there was at one point in the bylaws that no women were allowed in Deer Camp except Sylvia Sherk?
No. No. Susanna. Susanna. That was from my mom. Your mom, okay. Okay. Yeah. Was the cook. That was from 19 after 1967. They made that rule because when I went to camp, What my first when we first got married, it was still like our honeymoon and we, she was going along regardless, right? So she went along to camp and of course when the diapers were hanging in the kitchen and people would [00:37:00] get tangled up and they got a little bit upset about that.
So did you have any stories like that at your hunting camp?
No, not like that one story that comes to my mind. I. This was in the evening. We were making the supper. One of the guy's wives was doing the cooking and the fluorescent light was flickering. So she just reached up to turn it a little bit and it came right down. And there were big pans of fried potatoes on the stove, and the bulb came down and smashed.
And there was glass all over the potatoes. And I can remember the one old fellow saying boys start peeling potatoes. Okay. And that would've been a mess. It's not a diaper story, but it's a story that comes to my mind. Do would it be common that you'd have. Somebody's wife would be the camp cook in those days?
Or did you have a designated camp cook throughout the years? We did both. We had designated cooks a couple of times, and then we had wives that [00:38:00] did the cooking a number of times. So we've done both over the years and then that's time went on and then eventually got to the point where guys would bring an evening meal, okay.
For those nights. And I don't know how they do it today. I haven't been there for a while but in the old days, in the start, we had a designated cook and so I, yeah. I guess if you say thoughts that come to my mind, definitely the biggest in my mind is, I'll never forget, in 1983, we were Turkey hunting and we were at an area where we went back in pretty far in the mountains and I was walking this trail and I saw a bear and I was carrying my little 22 Magnum rim fire.
Yep. And I, I. I started stalking this bear and I really, and slow and watching every footstep really slow, super slow. And I got really close to that bear. The wind must have been right. He was scratching acorns under an oak tree. And I stood there and watched him for a while and I thought you didn't see me coming in if I can help, but you won't see me going out.
So I [00:39:00] backed out real slowly and when I got back to the trail, I could still see glimpses of him in there. He was still in there scratching around for food. And then I went in there the first morning of bear season and shot a bear. That was the year you shot your bear. That's a bear I shot a bear and back in those days getting a bear was not like today.
They shoot more bear, but we only ever had three bear killed at our camp. In all the years it was only 300. And I was fortunate to be one of the guys that got one. And I can remember that morning I said to the, there was three of us that walked in the trail. I. And I said to the guy, I said, I'm gonna go to the right.
Okay. And I don't remember what he said, but then when we went in and there was strangers walking in too and they all went to the right off the trails. So then I came to an area that I liked back in pretty far. And and I know it must've been about halfway be I'll tell that part later. But anyway, so everybody was going to the right, so I changed my mind.
I went, turned off the trail and went into the left. And it was like a narrow, just a slight ravine area, just [00:40:00] an air. And I thought if they get chased, here's where they'll come. So I was standing there and I don't know, did I hear a shooting? Is that what got it started? But all of a sudden, here come three running wide open.
Okay? And I kept telling myself, and I had my 30 0 6 pump in those days, and I thought, Man, I wanna make sure of this. And I told myself, make sure. And when I pulled the trigger, by golly I missed, and then it flared off to the side and it was just, then it was instinct. I just jacked another one in, swung in front of it shot.
And when I pulled the trigger, it went like a ride, like a rabbit goes ASCE over 10 kettle. I'll have that memory as long I can see that bear flipping now, and that didn't take long. Then soon there were guys standing there and then here, one of the cubs came back. Then they went after that cub and they shot the one cub.
Then. I see Cubs were legal in those days. But that has to be my biggest thrill in all the years in came years, in all the years that I hunted at camp. Yeah. 1983. I you look back through all of the harvest data that's out there and the information for bear hunting, like that was a tough time to kill [00:41:00] bear.
The population wasn't near what it was. And I'm gonna flip back over to my other grandfather. You experienced that the hard way 'cause you had some long years bear hunting at the camp. Oh my. I went bear hunting every year and I, most of the time I had to go by myself 'cause nobody else was interested.
And yeah, I hunted a lot of years. I 1960 was the first year I started hunting bear and of course I didn't get anything till you and I shot ours. Love to tell that story. When my grandson Mitchell shot his bear, I shot about a minute before he did and I thought he shot my bear. Little did I know when the drive was all over, I was happy because I hope that picked up in the background
so that everyone is my, was one of my uncles sitting in the background. Making fun of me because I was 13 years [00:42:00] old and I I shot a bear and as, as Raymond was telling the story, we'll tell this story, but I was hysterical crying and everything else that I just shot a bear and I was saying I just shot a Pennsylvania black bear.
So that's one of those infamous stories. What year was that, Mitchell? That was. Two, I think it was 2007 was when you were 13, so yeah, I think math. Think it was 2007. And what did you shoot it with? A seven M oh eight. Yeah, I shot it with that gun that was gifted to me. That's seven millimeter oh eight.
And that was an interesting story. So this is not at the camp that, that you bear? This is a completely different camp, but my dad and Raymond and I have all hunted bear at this camp for a number of years. I've gone since I'm 12. You went for over 20 years and you went for 20 years from 1960, right?
Until that year. No, not at that. Your first year you went to Clinton? Not at Clinton, no, not at 29. 1991 was the first year we hunted at Clinton. Yeah. And you hunted every year from 91 until Oh no, 90. [00:43:00] Yeah. Somewhere around 91. Yeah. Every year from 91 until about 2000. Probably eight or nine was the last year you bear and you, 'cause you came a few years after you shot that one.
Yeah. Yeah. But that was interesting. So I, all those years I remember one of my things I used to remember, I know like you always wanted that, and I'm talking, I'm pointing at my dad. You always wanted to shoot a bear. Like you, you love going to camp, you like deer hunting, but it was never that you'd rather go golf and is the joke that we always made too.
But you really wanted to shoot a bear. I did. I remember I did that all over those years. And I, and the first year when I went, when I was 12 years old, I sat with you and you used to always say, you better hope that two come because I want to shoot a bear. And he goes and that was funny.
But the second year I went, and this is technically a no-no. And this is a funny story, but when I was 13, I remember we were driving up to camp in the truck. It was snowing like crazy. You remember we were driving up and it was just a white out. Going up 80. And you said to me one point, you said do you wanna sit with me or do you wanna [00:44:00] sit by yourself?
And, me being me, I'm anxious to go hunting. I'm like I'll do that. That's fine. The first day we go out bear hunting, we did a couple drives and then we did a drive in the afternoon and they set me up at a spot by myself. And we walking out this bench, we saw five different sets of bear tracks going into that drive.
It was about 10 inches of snow on the ground. And we saw all these bear tracks and we were getting real excited. And when we got to the top of this hollow Raymond, and my uncle Craig split up and went out. Craig was gonna flank the drive and you were gonna sit on the point of this hollow, and I was gonna sit at the top of the howl on the opposite side of you.
And as you guys were walking up Craig crested the ridge and there was a bear on top. And I think he went to rip his gun off of his shoulder and the hooks on his backpack caught his gun and he couldn't get his gun off at the time or something like that. And the bear ran down over. And then from there you guys split.
And then what happened? I was sitting, we were making a drive. I got up to the spot I [00:45:00] was supposed to sit and I just sitting there and I wasn't sitting there no five, 10 minutes. And I see this bear going, coming down off from up top where my other son was. And it came down through and it, I got an opening and I shot one shot and it went right straight down over the ridge.
Not even chance for another shot. The only shot I ever shot at a bear, and the only one I ever got and. I just had to sit there and wait till the drive came through. 'cause I didn't wanna mess it up for anybody else. Then you shot like a minute or two later. A minute or two after and I thought, oh my God, I missed that bear.
And it went back and somebody else shot it. Yeah. 'cause you heard me on the radio instantly. Yeah. Yeah, because I remember the, it was all the carrying on the radio because, you shot your bear and it was, it was loud and when you hear those shots rang across the hall, I remember how they just echo across the valley.
They didn't hear nothing on the radio [00:46:00] after I shot. No, I didn't hear anything. It was silent. And I think when I was on the stand, I had my radio either turned off or turned down really low. But I remember, so I heard that shot and I'm sitting in the spot and I'm looking out across the hollow end of the drive and I hear this.
And it's getting louder. And I'm like, what? I said to him, what the heck is that? What is that noise? It's getting louder. It would be like high pitch. Then it was lower, and it finally got to a point where it was really loud and I went, I finally heard a tone that I could tell enough. I'm like, that's a bear.
And I had a tree I was sitting in into the hillside and the tree that was to the right of me, I had my gun leaned against. So I grabbed my gun and I turned about 90 degrees to my right. And here comes this bear off the top of the. The ridge that I'm sitting on, not at in the drive. We didn't even start to drive at this point.
This is behind us and it comes right angles down. And I think when I shot it, it was less than 15 yards from me. It was right in the opening and I shot and it dropped in its tracks. And now immediately, that's when we get to the [00:47:00] Pennsylvania Black Bear story that we just said. I think you were excited.
I was hysterical. But it was rolling around and I remember Foxy was below me and he said, Mitchell, he said, is that you carrying on or is that the bear? I said, it's the bear. And you were, I think at the bottom of that a big sneeze. I think. My dad was at the bottom of that hollow. And you were chiming on the radio, put another one in it, shoot it again.
I think I shot it like two or three times until I finally got it. But that was very cool. But you ended up getting yours and it didn't go much further than it was just down over the bank from where it went down. Over. It maybe 150 feet. And it was laying there, and yeah, that was a cool day.
It was hard to stay sighting there, I'll tell you that. That was that was a very exciting day, like I said too. And we actually had a third opportunity at a different bear in that drive. And we didn't get through, but it was funny then. 'cause you shot my dad. You shot your bear the next year then.
I think it was. I think so. But we've had a lot of good luck. But [00:48:00] going back to our camp and your bear hunt, you hunted from 1960 until 2007, until you finally killed one. Yeah. That's 47 years. It's, that's a long time to be hunting bear. And you used to say, used to they weren't open that whole time.
That was a, that was an in in period in there. They were closed. It re it reopened and. 19. That was Gary that closed it, right? 1980. I want say, or either 19 seven, maybe 1979 it reopened and they opened it up that year after dose season. It was so cold. You couldn't hard, you couldn't stand the city after those season would've been like right before Christmas, right?
It was. It was after dough season, which after Dough season. Yeah, I remember that. Two weeks of buck season. That started the Monday after Thanksgiving. And then there was a little three, then the three day dose season. And then the following Monday they opened it up again. They opened it bear. And that was just a one day, hun, I think when they first opened it up.
Yeah. [00:49:00] Everybody had fires going 'cause it was so cold. You go, oh my god. Yeah. It was, nobody saw anything and we were gonna make a drive first thing and oh my. And that was when we hunted at our camp yet. And it was hard to set up drives there. Because we didn't have enough people for one thing.
And it was too many hills. That was a problem. It definitely is. Now Mitchell figured out a way to do it, but he's hunting at a different area. I've got different area and a lot more people. Yeah. Yeah. That's definitely one thing. Kenny, do you remember when you guys started bear hunting over there?
I know you said you shot yours in 83. Were you hunting? We hunted bear before, before I had another camp, before we hunted at our camp. Okay. I think the first year I went bear hunting was 63. I can remember that because the oldest guy in our hunting camp. Okay. And eventually, okay. It was him and his brother-in-law and his dad.
Okay. In 63. So this guy, this dad and I were sitting in the backseat. If he were living today, oh, he'd probably be, [00:50:00] Oh, he would probably have to be about a hundred and twenty, a hundred and twenty five thirty. But Wow. But yeah. He was the, it was the oldest guy in the camp's father.
Okay. That him and I remember we were sitting there talking about the World Series because the Dodgers beat the Yankees four straight that year. I just remember that and we were discussing the ball game driving. You were ecstatic, huh? Yeah. I was, I, I. I don't wanna waste too much time on baseball, but I, that was the previous year, Colfax got hurt halfway through the year and they only wound up in a tie with the Giants.
And then the Giants won the pennant and the Dodgers did. But then the next year, okay, they got, they won the pennant and got in the World Series. And I can still remember Koufax won the first game five to two. Padre won the second game, four to one, Drysdale won the third game, one to nothing. And Colfax won the last game, two to one.
And we were discussing this on the way up. But anyway, getting back to bear hunting, here I was at that time that that was 1963, so I was 20. Okay? I was born in [00:51:00] 43, I was 20. And when we went out that first morning and put our first drive on, it turned out that there was a bear in the drive.
And I think Nevin, let's see, 1, 2, 3, at least three I. Four, four guys shot at that bear and it had been hit by, I don't know how many guys, but we never got it. It got to a kid that finished it off with a pumpkin ball. I can still really, we didn't get that bear. But what I distinctly remember vividly in my mind is not vividly, but I, from, as we started, I was one of the drivers and we started going out through and all of a sudden, and I had never heard this before like this, but we were going out around in the mountain it would go, yeah.
And this would be one after the other. You keep hearing this and there I was a 20 year old kid. Bear hunting for the first time. And I can just remember that was maybe to somebody else that's not fascinating, but to me, hearing these rifle shots and the Oh yeah. And the, and I didn't know what to expect when we got out there, but [00:52:00] I eventually got to see the bear and and then our guys are standing I hit it. I know I hit it, it went down when I hit it, and this was one story after the other. And it had been hit more than once, but they didn't put it down. And then another guy was saying next year I'm gonna reload 150 grains instead of 180 grains. And this was just so much conversation over this bear, but we didn't get it.
This kid finished it off but that was 1963 and that wasn't our camp. And like I said earlier, we hunted bear there a couple years and deer there a couple years until we bought our camp in 67. That's a memory that I have that you said about the shots. Yeah. I remember the first time I heard that it was at Bear Camp in Clinton County.
Oh yeah. And I said they shooted across the valley. Yeah. Shooting across the valleys in those houses. And it's such a unique sound. I'm like, dad what, what is going on? You're like, that's just the way it sounds up in these mountains. 'cause that's when I was sitting with you. But I wanna circle back a little bit.
So I brought up a little bit with my dad here. First year when you were 12, what you remembered going out through. And [00:53:00] you had a couple of encounters that year that you always tell me I was 12, 13 years old. Those first two years that you when I was 12, like deer buck season, I didn't see, I saw a decent amount of deer.
Deer hunting really changed in a just a few years. 'cause I remember Mark was only, Mark Hunt started hunting in I think 75 and I started in 77 and. He used to tell stories about how many deer he saw. Like he'd see 50 some deer till lunchtime, and I think the most I ever saw at camp was 45 in one day.
Like it just, and that was one year. Like most of the time, if you saw 10 deer when I started hunting, you had a good day. You know that, that's back then. All we had was spike bucks. Yeah. It was hard to find something with horns. I was, yeah. When was the three point restriction? Do any what? What year did that start?
2001, I believe. Yeah. Because I didn't shoot my first rack book at camp until [00:54:00] 2004. Before that, this was all SPIs three pointers. Yeah. Because that's all it had. That's all it was. If you waited for a rack book, you chances where you were getting nothing because it was all little stuff, but no, I remember as a kid if they, if he he'd always call home on Wednesday night and we'd be in the background. Oh, who got 'em? Who got 'em? Who got 'em? And if somebody shot a six pointer or an eight point if an eight pointer. Oh yeah. Oh my God. They got, he got an eight pointer. No way.
Yeah, I remember like it was a big deal. Yeah. I can remember the first what I would, it wasn't really a big rack buck, but my first nice buck was a seven pointer and I got it mounted. And gee, when I look at that thing now I'm thinking, why did I mount that? Is it is your first nice buck? Yeah, I look at the same thing with my first buck.
It's, he shot that about two minutes after I shot my first buck up there. Really? Yeah. He was sitting right above me. I shot and shot a buck down over the ridge that I didn't remember down over the ridge. He was [00:55:00] sitting on the point of the ridge. Yeah. And he shot like a minute after I did.
Huh? Two minutes maybe. But you're, you said the first few years you didn't see too many. But I didn't, we saw deer. We did, we sure we saw deer. But I my, my memory of when I was 12 was like the, in buck season. It was pretty cool back then, we always had snow and it was cold and I'd be all bundled up.
And I remember the first year we were up on what we call his knob, and I was sitting at this spot and I thought it was the wind blowing, and it was just this noise, like the leaves were rattling and it was a flock of like 50 turkeys came up to me, at which you never see that many turkeys anymore.
Turkeys are a comeback now, but I'm telling you, it was 50 50 turkeys in the flock. But then didn't get a buck. So we go hunting in do season, and I can still remember we're walking. We went down over the ridge on the other side, on the cascade side, and [00:56:00] we're walking along and a do jumped up in front of us and she stood there and we both up with the guns and like aiming and the guns going all over the place.
And grandpa's keeps saying, shoot. And I'd go, I can't hold a gun still. Shoot, I can't hold a gun still. And it just ran away. And he is just raking me over the coals because I didn't shoot at this thing. And it ran away. And he's going, I could have shot that thing 10 times. And I was like why didn't you shoot it?
And we wa you know, and he was like, then of course we run into Sharky right after that and. Cousin Sharkey's, he tells him the story and there's a story written in the book about how everybody saw deer and Ey and Jeff were afraid to shoot. And, that, that's what it says in the book up there.
But then when I was 13 do seasons opened up, and by seven, seven o'clock the first morning [00:57:00] I shot a dough. You shot, that was your first year? That was the first deer I ever shot up there then. But I didn't shoot a buck until what I think I was, I think I was about, I didn't 20, I didn't shoot a buck about, I, I'd say it was 66.
I shot my first buck and that was just a little three pointer. Okay. Raymond, do you remember how many deer you shot with open sights before you shot with a scope? Quite a few. It would've been, I would've hunted without scope until probably, I'm gonna say 1980. Close to 1980. Oh, no, you had a scope before then.
Mark started hunting in 75. You had a scope. 'cause Mark mark. Don't mark. Never. Yeah. You're probably right. I don't think Mark ever hunted to 30 30 with a scope. You put that scope on when I started hunting. 'cause I never hunted open sides. [00:58:00] Okay. Yeah. I didn't, other than a flintlock, but yeah I shot quite a few deer before I ever had a scope.
I shot two, my first dough and my first buck I shot with open sight. That was with your 30 0 6, right? Yeah, with my 30 0 6. Okay. And then at that time you had switched over and put a scope on it? Yeah. Put a loophole three par on. No has a loophole. Two and a half to eight on, I don't know what, I should've looked in the book.
I could tell you exactly when I put my scope on because I think the first deer I shot with a scope, I thought, boy, this is really easy compared to them open sites all. And so we were, you were talking earlier, you're talking about seeing spike buck was a lot of the common thing, if you shot a six pointer, an eight pointer, that was huge.
But you used to talk about we didn't even the whole camp there was some seven pointers shot, but Right. Sixes once in a great while, an eight, but it was rare. [00:59:00] It was rare. Was that pretty similar to your Oh, very. Yeah. I can think of 1, 2, 2 or eight pointers that were 3, 3 8 pointers that were shot up there over a period of time.
And if they were shot back then, they were a little basket. They weren't. I remember back in those days reading an article in the game news, and I could hardly believe it, but it said at the, this article said that they estimated, I don't know where, but it meant up country in that, in the big woods, that it estimated that 90% of the buck were killed every year.
Wow. 90% of the legal, of the three inch deer had to have one horn, three inches or longer to be legal, and they estimated 90% of them were killed a year. So you, they didn't develop racks back in those days, yeah. They had one year. They were young. They had one year. Yeah. But the reason I bring that up is you saw a lot of deer you still had a fantastic time because, and that's why we're talking about this as a camp comradery, and that's one thing I wanna transition a little bit to is maybe not as much, [01:00:00] some of it might be the stories that were in the field, but some of it was the stuff just as back at camp.
'cause I know both of you, all three of the people here have talked about. Camp clowns and goofy stories that have happened over the year. But I want to ask you Raymond, what, who are some of the people over the years going to camp that was just like the goof of the camp or the stuff that just always had somebody going or a story going always. I know who it is and how do you have to think about it? You was thinking Sharky. Yeah. I mean he he always talked about how Sharky tormented him. Yeah, because Mark and I used Sharky was my oldest brother's way. He used to torment him. And just to back up to, you talked earlier about Lloyd.
Lloyd was your oldest brother, correct? He was my oldest brother. Now, any of you had a couple bunch of other brothers, did any of them come to Deer Camp? Oh yeah, they all did. Yeah. Elmer Paul, they were making drives on the back mountain. My brother Elmer was up there. I wasn't even up. I don't know why.
I think I had to go home for some reason. I don't know why, [01:01:00] but I had to go home. But I might've had a deer. I don't know. But anyway, my brother was up there. Elmer was up there hunting in there, making drives on the back mountain. And of course they're making drives and they'd chase a buck to him. And it was so close.
He probably could've almost got it with a knife, but he missed it. He couldn't hit it. So my oldest brother, Lloyd, he, after the haunt, they went down and he took his gun and he says, let me shoot that thing. Here. He hadn't shot the gun. My brother Elmer, he wasn't into hunting. Yeah. Not like you. Anyway, he hadn't shot his gun.
He shot at 50 feet and he couldn't hit a tree. So he put a bigger, got a bigger target and got closer. And then I think it, I don't know how far away they were shooting, but the gun was off like 18 inches in that amount of distance. He couldn't have hit nothing. And if he would've tried because Oh, I [01:02:00] agree.
It was just the gun was off. And but you your other brother's went, but Shirkey that you guys are referring to, is your oldest brother Lloyd who bought the camp? Yeah, he, it's his son. He was my nephew. Yeah. And he tormented the daylights outta you? Oh, he always did. But that was my other brother.
I had another brother that hunt up there. There was three, three older brothers and me hunt up there. And the one in the middle of the three older ones, which was Paul, he he had a couple of kids that used to go up there hunting too, and, You couldn't keep enough food in them guys' pockets to keep 'em fed.
You laugh. They used to take they used to take four sandwiches and a six pack of soda in their coat. That's what they took in the woods. I don't even eat that in a day. Most people don't. They were hopped. It was really terrible. Anyway one of them shot a deer one day and [01:03:00] one of the other nephews came up to him and they were gutting this thing.
They would cut, pull a piece out and cut it off. Oh my. Pull a piece out and cut it off. It was horrible. They gutted it little piece by a handful at a time when they cut it. Yeah. It was not good, but that was, they didn't know any better. I guess they hadn't shot any deer and but end in the seventies and early.
Ear. Early seventies was probably the most deer that we had up there. We would make a drive, but we'd have five people, two standing and no, maybe three standing and two driving. And we'd get 20, 25 deer coming to the people that were standing. At that point in time. Most of 'em were little. You didn't see no buck.
But I can remember back in them days, it was just unbelievable how many, and [01:04:00] then of course they started pushing the dose season. I don't know what year that was, but, By the early eighties, the hunting was almost done up there. You couldn't even find a deer anymore. Oh. By that time it was no. What really changed that is when you could shoot dough and buck at the same time.
Yeah. Yeah. As long as the dough season was a separate season, that didn't happen. But even the dough season, and we were as guilty as anyone else about it, we'd go up there and we'd, we didn't make drives for a buck, but you'd get 17, 18 guys go up there and make drives for dough. We would shoot 17 and 18.
Dear every year, but you gotta remember, Raymond, how many buck hunters didn't come up for dough at all. Yeah. There were gangs that still came. Oh. But back in those days, a lot of guys, and I know we, in the beginning, we'd go home and we'd hunt dough down here. We wouldn't go up for dough.
But once it, once you could get a dough tag and shoot dough in buck season in a couple of years, it just changed big time. Yeah. But that, that didn't start, it was the best thing [01:05:00] not to change the subject, but it was the best thing they ever did. Now that I see what it's like today, it's great. I disagree.
I still would sooner. I You wanna see a lot of deal? No. That's all I'm saying. I still like the separate seasons because Me too. It was like, it was the first day all over again. They had the excitement of going out for the first day. Yeah. I didn't know what that's the part I liked.
I mean they as far as when that, I don't when did that the concurrent start? Because that was it the same year that antler restrictions could have been right around there? Yeah. Could early, that would've been 2002. Yeah. That's about probably when it started. Yeah. Because when we were kids, like I, I know like when, what year did we go to Bloomsburg?
Oh my god. I was Craig was about 12. That's right, Craig. So it would've been around 1982. Yeah. So that's when the hunting really got bad. The hunting got bad, but we were still going up there, we were still going to camp every year until that year. And then it, no that year we [01:06:00] didn't go to camp, but then we went back to camp again.
Yeah. And we hunted at camp every year until, I would say about, I think 90 or 91 is when I started. I would go to our camp for two days and then I would leave for Clinton County to go over to Russell on Tuesday night. And then I eventually I think 1996 is the year I shot that six point in Clinton over Clinton County.
And that's the first year that I didn't hunt the first day of deer season of buck season at our camp. And then I hunted over there a few years and then it got to the point where he started coming over to Clinton with me. And by that time is when, probably when, mark started having his own land down home.
And I think it was around 19, I want to say 1995. No. About [01:07:00] 95 is when we're 96, 97. So right in that area is where like there was nobody going to our camp anymore. There was nobody there. Like when we stopped going, there was still like three, four guys that used to go up and then it just stopped.
Nobody went to camp. And I don't remember what year it was. I just made up my mind. I, they, I, it was after I worked at Electro Space. 'cause I, when I worked at Electro Space, I was, I used to hunt up at the Marks. There, there was a big distance in that. It span, I think it was about 2000. We didn't even shoot a deer at camp, right?
No, I think it was around 2002 or something like that, maybe. Okay. When I started going, when I called him and said, what are you doing for deer season? And he said I guess I'm going to Mark's. And I said I'm going to camp. And we just started going to camp then and shortly after that is when Bobby started coming up.
I don't remember. It might've been after 2002. I think it was school. It was probably around 2005, 2006 when he started [01:08:00] going back up. I think it was right before I started hunting. 'cause I think I started hunting in 2006. So it was right before that. Like Kenny I know they're talking years and stuff like that, but the pattern that they're talking about throughout the decades and stuff, do you remember fluctuations like that with how the deer hunting was at your camp?
Oh, there was a lot of deer when we started there. You'd see 50 deer sometimes in a drive. Okay. Yes. That's that. Today, one side hill. Today. Yeah. Today. That sounds like that's impossible. But to go back to what they said a little earlier about the seasons changing everything I can remember when you didn't have to wear orange.
Okay. Then they passed a law. You had to have an orange cap. Then they passed a law. You had to have an orange vest. I would've never thought, okay. When they started stressing safety, that if fewer were leaders later, they'd say, now you can shoot puck. Do at the same time. Yes. That, that just, I would've never anticipated that was gonna happen.
And their, I disagree with. I didn't agree with that. I doing that b do at the same time. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I thought you said you thought that was the best thing they did. No, I no. The three point [01:09:00] restriction, I meant when they started giving more license out and shooting the dough and getting the herd, the three point in control.
Restriction, I think was a good move. Okay. Okay. That I think what I still think they should have buck and do separately myself. And I believe the natives of the area the business people and everything, because then they, they, it stretches it out. Yeah. But you know what the other thing that's going on today, Most people, it's a one day hunt anymore.
It's the way season now. They could even hunt on a Sunday. So they hunt on a Sunday and don't lose any work. Yeah. I think that was a big mistake. They say all the other states were doing it and Pennsylvania was either one of the, maybe the only one or one of the few that didn't Great.
Okay. Yeah. We're one light means a lot in the darkness. Okay. I, to this day, I think that was a terrible mistake, that to open, you. So much for that. But what I wanted to get back to a little while though, to the, one of the last questions you asked about the kind of guys that were in the camp that brought life to the [01:10:00] camp.
We had one particular fellow that was just a natural in telling stories. He was a natural. We had a few of them and this guy would think of things nobody else would think of. I'll give you two examples. I'll save the best one for last, but anyway. This wasn't in dear season. It could have been a work detail.
I don't think it was a work detail now that I know it had to be okay, because one night, half the guys went to bed at their usual time, 9, 9 30, 10 o'clock, and a couple of guys, and he was one of 'em, went down to the bar, okay? And they got back around midnight. Okay. What does he do? Okay. He starts a chainsaw in the cabin at midnight and he's revving that thing at midnight.
I would've, I'd walk by. That wouldn't even come to my mind, but he would think of something like that. He brought this chainsaw in and he's revving this chainsaw at midnight while guys are laying up in bed sleeping. But the best one that he pulled that I'll never forget, and I think it was on Monday night, it was in box season, I think it was Monday night.
But anyway, he went in his bedroom at one downstairs bedroom. He went in his bedroom and he brought out a bottle of whiskey and [01:11:00] he sells to his, one of his buddies. He says, Hey, will you help me polish this off? And the other guy said, he says, no. He says, I want to go hunting tomorrow. Then his son, who was my classmate in high school, he's died in a car crash in 85.
But anyway, his son said, open it up. He says, I'll help you. Okay. So he opens this thing up and he goes,
And they pass this thing back and forth and they kill it. Okay? And then the guy that was the war vet, okay, that you referenced earlier. He come upstairs and he says, I can't believe it. He says they drank a whole bottle of whiskey. They polished that whole thing off themselves. Then, Time went on at our hunting camp meetings or up at hunting camp again, this story would come up again and every time it'd come up, okay, this guy that was so excited would say, oh yeah, I remember that I came to this day and how those guys did.
And that guy didn't live too long. He died in a car crash at 65, but before he died, he did find out it was a bottle of water.[01:12:00]
I don't, I did that to Russell that never happened at our camp. There was never any water around. He had filled it with his whiskey bottle with water. That What do you mean? It was never any water around when I was a kid. There was never any alcohol in our camp. You're right about that there.
There was never I think, I don't think, honestly, I don't think. We started drinking at our camp in dear season until Bobby and I started bringing it. Probably. Yeah. We were a bad influence. Mean Charlie. Charlie used to bring Windsor up. Yeah. But that only came out after he got a deer, like like they didn't sit and drink it like the way we do sit and drink a beer every night. So that's a good point I want to ask you you'd break, he'd break out Windsor after a, somebody would shoot a deer, but that's a pretty common tradition in places. Yeah. Charlie used to like Windsor.
So I want all of you to say did you guys remember any, did you have any traditions annually you do in the woods or outside of the woods or just things that you remember you do [01:13:00] every now and then again with a group of guys in camp that was just fun or memorable? I remember you guys always talk about driving to the orchard.
Yeah, we had. Yeah, we had that luxury of being able to drive up the hollow, that was the luxury, the top that was. And we would drive all the way to the top. There was an apple orchard up there, and that's where we'd park and everybody would hunt from there. And what was, when I, like, when I was a kid, what was unique about that is you'd drive there, go out, in the dark hunting.
And my Uncle Charlie, he'd always, by nine 30, he was back at the scout. They used to take the Coleman stoves up there and he'd be drinking coffee by nine 30 and then he'd go back out and everybody used to come back to the orchard. Just about everybody. We'd come back to the orchard at lunchtime and we'd make soup, cup of soup and coffee and everything else and have lunch at the orchard.
And then you'd go out hunt in the afternoon again. That was no. The neighbor. One time I think I just told you this story, not that [01:14:00] long ago, the neighbor, one time, he was like in his eighties and they used to always hunt lower than us, and they never really came up to the top, to the orchard where we parked.
And one day we were coming back and it was a kind of a cold day, but we got back up top and I was like, dad, there's somebody sitting in the scout. He goes who would be sitting in the scout? I said, I don't know, but somebody's sitting in the scout and we go walking up there and he gets out.
And here it's old George Longnecker in the scout and. He said, oh, I thought this was your vehicle, Ramey. He said, I didn't think you'd mine. He said, I got cold. He said, so I just wanted to sit a little bit. So he gets the Coleman stove out and starts and he fires it up and starts asking, do you want a cup of coffee?
No. I just wanted to warm up. I'm good. Yeah, take a cup of coffee. Okay, I'll take a cup. So he's drinking a cup of coffee and a little bit of time goes by, he had made soup and George, you want some soup? No. He said, [01:15:00] I don't want anything to eat. He said, nah, take, we got plenty. He said take some soup.
So sure enough, he ate some soup and when we were done, like he was gonna walk back down and he said, oh. He said, wait, get back in camp and tell the boys that I had lunch at the restaurant in the orchard. He said it was just comical. 'cause I think that's the only time I ever saw George Longnecker up there.
Okay. Yeah, he, like I say, he, I think he might've been in his eighties. Oh wow. Definitely in his seventies. That was when he was still swinging on grapevines. Yeah. He used to show his grand grandkids how to swing on the grapevine. 80. And he fell off. Fell off and broke his arm. Oh, I think he was 80 when he fell off the grapevines.
Yeah. What about you Kenny? Does there, is there any, like any traditions or things you used to do, like you, maybe even it was at the end of getting together at a driver stuff and goofy stuff like that? Any, anything that 'cause camp traditions are I [01:16:00] think what makes us, like when, whenever we talk about Deer camp or I have like my Deer Camp episode last year, stuff like that.
That's the stuff that people are always interested 'cause it's just so unique. I was never a big one for driving well, but by the, I couldn't said still by the time I started hunting. They, we really didn't. I, one year I can remember doing some drives and do season, but we really didn't do any drives by then anymore.
But I used to love to just walk. We had a lot of railroad beds up in our mountains up there, and I would love to walk them railroads and I could walk a whole day and not see the same tree twice. And that's how I hunted. I, it was like hunting new territory all the time. I'd peep down over the mountain and you could see so far back then.
Yeah. There was most places you could see 200 yards and there's still places like that. Yeah, there's still places like that. But after they started all the cutting of the trees and everything else, [01:17:00] it got so much thicker everywhere and, oh, it definitely changed. The, came back, the deer got more healthy and it came back and it definitely changed the hunting because they.
Th they don't really move that much unless you move them with the thick, the chop balls and stuff. There, there was an area up there where I used to hunt a lot. All the, every time I went up to camp, I went to that spot to hunt. And when I got up after all this cutting was done, I didn't recognize the spot.
And it wasn't cut there where I was at, but it was so thick. I didn't recognize the spot. I don't know why it got thick, but it did. Oh geez. So I don't know that I can say a hunting tradition, but I c card playing was popular at the camp. And I remember there was a foursome that really loved to play cards.
And when they'd come in, if they were the first ones there, [01:18:00] they'd push the stuff out in the kitchen. Okay. Start a fire in the stove and they'd sit on their hot seats to start playing cards. Okay. The chairs were cold and so there was no, no delay. They, the card playing got going right away.
So what was the game of choice? Most of the time? Hausen Pepper was the game of choice. Yeah. There some pin knuckle was played up there over the years, but Speer was the main game that was played. Yeah. That is a very vivid camp tradition. 'cause I know Bear Camp was very common.
We'd be playing poker or liar's DS or something like that and it's little stuff like that. And that was one thing going back. We were talking about the seasons changing over the years. I'm fairly neutral when it comes to the Sunday hunting, but one thing I don't, I, that is different and I don't like, is when we go to Bear Camp, and it's very similar Deer Camp too, is you'd go up when they made the change that it was a Saturday opener, but then Sunday was closed and then Monday, like at Bear Camp, we'd go up Friday night, we'd hunt all day Saturday and we'd hunt hard.
But then [01:19:00] we had Sunday to recover. Sunday we'd sit around we'd again have a whole bunch of big meals. Maybe go wash somebody's clothing or, yeah. Yeah. I'll tell that story in a little bit then since you brought that up. 'cause I can't let that one go. But I we, and we played games and a lot of the time we were catching up with people that, some of it was family we'd see regular, it was sometimes you'd take a drive and go see pe other camps and stuff too.
That's just it on Sunday. And like the camaraderie aspect, there's people you'd see once a year at camp. That's when you'd see 'em. So you'd catch up and that was a great time to catch up outside of hunting. And I always really enjoyed that. So now that it's like Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday of bear hunting, it's go.
And the other thing with bear hunting too, is I don't think anybody's anywhere near as gung-ho to bear hunt as they are deer hunting. So when the idea come that we can hunt a weekend, not lose any work days, they wanna hunt and then Sunday afternoon they go home and it just changed the hunting dynamic.
And I, I miss that. Big time. I miss that. Yeah. Yep. Yeah, there's no doubt. One, one thing with that, like as far as our [01:20:00] camp, like people always say, oh, you go to Deer Camp, oh, you just go up there to drink and blah, blah, blah. And like I said, I always tell people we go up there we drink some beers.
We don't get dumb unless we kill something really nice. Yeah. Which is what brought up the clothing. The clothing story. But one thing like, I always tell people when people complain about it, just because it's open on Sunday doesn't mean you have to go out hunting. That's a very good point.
Like you can hunt and you don't have to go up and hunt. This first Saturday, I know I have a, there was a guy that complained. Yeah. But it changes. That's when we, that's when we always, it changes the mindset that Yeah. But that's neither here though, nor there. I'm saying you don't have to hunt that day.
You don't, it, it's, you don't have to. So you can stay in camp and. Just do whatever you want to do, if you want to on Sunday. But like I heard a guy one time say I don't know what we're gonna do because we always put our tree stands out on Saturday. You could still put your tree stand out Saturday.
You what? What difference does it make you? And you don't have to [01:21:00] carry your gun. You can still go out and put it out. Yeah. But you might as well carry a gun along. That's just it. It just changes it. It changed it. Big gun. It definitely changes it, but I don't mind the Saturday opening. What about that?
Honestly, what difference does that make? I think the difference it makes is just how people were used to doing it. Because you'd have Thanksgiving and then Friday you'd, Friday, Saturdays when you'd go up to camp, you'd open up camp, you'd clean stuff up, you'd play cards, you'd catch up with everybody.
And then Monday you'd go hunting. And I think it was just, It was, that was the tradition and it speeded up the pace of life. Yeah, it did. That's a very good way of putting it. It really did. It just speeded up. Life is fast enough already. It was nice to have those relaxing days, but yeah, they're gone.
Yeah. I agree. I agree a hundred percent. Yeah. I never heard it. I've never heard, I've never heard somebody say that. And that is so true, because it really did, like from Thanksgiving, that did speed up the process. That's the one thing I don't like about it, because I used Fridays, I used to spend there'd be days I'd go golfing on Black Friday.
Now it's oh, I can't golf, I gotta go to [01:22:00] camp. Yeah. Which I shouldn't be like that because. Why, what? Like I just said a while ago, what does it matter if I had a Saturday or not? 'cause because we spend the whole entire week up there and my, yeah, I'm there. I go up Friday night and or Friday morning.
I usually go up and don't come home till the following Sunday. And right now my favorite time at camp is the end of the first week because of what we've started in a tradition, which we've talked about with the group, but you talked about I have to tell the story since I, we brought it up and you brought it up and anything else?
The drinking one. So I one year at Bear Camp I was. I think I was 17 years old, had no business sneaking into the booze cabinet, but I did. 'cause we had a good day of bear hunting and for whatever reason I thought it'd be a good idea to, to indulge in some alcohol. And at three o'clock in the morning I leaned over and threw up out of the top bunk.
Out of the top bunk, threw up in one of my best friends' clothing bag, directly in his clothing bag, all over his stuff. So three o'clock in the morning I shimmied out and I went out and I threw his I went [01:23:00] through and got his valuables out and just the clothing and stuff. And I went out in the pond and threw it in the pond.
I might not have even done that. No. You did that the next morning? Yeah, I threw it outside, went back to bed. When I got up the next morning, I went out and washed it all in the pond. And then I went to town, to the laundromat and took his stuff to the laundromat. But I'll never forget, he woke him.
Where the heck's all my stuff and the whole camp just up roared in laughter. And the other one that I think about the whole camp up roaring in laughter was, it might've been one of the years when we killed a bear and one of our, one of the camp members was, feeling no pain. And we started doing shot for shot of alcohol with him only little did he know that I was drinking water and he was drinking Moonshine.
Moonshine, yeah. And he was hurting. And I'll never forget the next day, but everybody's playing cards and he gets up and leans over and he's just rubbing his head and everything else and they're like, man, Russell you're looking pretty rough. Yeah, that moonshine really got me. And somebody said don't you think it's pretty funny that Sharky's [01:24:00] kid's up?
He was up and already, he already went out and about. And it was like all at once, don't tell me he was drinking water and the camp just stopped. Course in laughter. So there's a lot of those stories, but like that, that to me, that's all part of Deer Camp. Yeah, it's stupid. There's plenty of stupidity in it, but it's fun.
It's, that's what makes Deer Camp just enjoyable and I look forward to it every year. But any other hunting stories? We've been rolling here for an hour and 15 minutes and I probably could let you guys tell this the, tell as many stories and go back through the years as you wanted and we might end up going another 45 minutes and I could care less.
We go as long as we want, but there's just there's a lot of history in both of these camps that, that you guys go to and I remember a lot of deer coming home over the years. I remember just growing up as a kid, I was always so excited when you guys would come home from Deer Camp and hear your stories and see what you got and everything else.
[01:25:00] One thing I gotta say yet about our camp. The first year we went up to our camp, me and my brother Lloyd, we went across the creek, like I said, and up the mountain to the top. And then we haunted till noontime. Now our heads got ahead of us and we think we gotta see if anybody got anything. So we went all the way down to the bottom of the mountain to see if anybody else shot anything.
And then we turned, we ate and we turned around, went right back up the hill again. And this isn't that little hill. Yeah. That's how big is the hill. It's tired me out more than once. I, at that time, I used to be able to climb it in an hour and I was young and Yeah, young and dumb. I could go. Yeah, but anyway, you. I could climb it an hour, and now it takes me about four, and now I can't even make it anymore. So yeah, it's, yeah. That, [01:26:00] that that mountain you talk about them, you actually shot a buck on that mountain at our camp. You Kenny, you came up to our camp year. One year and you killed the buck.
Walking. Walking. You just had that dry spell. Yeah. Yeah. You broke the ice. I did. You were, I think you were the first That was shot in a long time. That was the first buck that was shot from when we started going back up to camp again. Yeah, that's right. I always felt like maybe we were just lazy.
Kenny had a lot more energy than we did, or yeah. I walked pretty far for and after that deer wasn't too long after that. I had rotator cuff surgery where I shot it. Okay. I, I had to get it up to a logging road. Okay. And I either had a choice of dragging the logging road's coming down like this, and I'm on the bench, yeah. It was a gradual side hill. Yeah. I thought, what do I do? I couldn't drag it on the flat because so many trees were blown over that didn't work. And I thought if I go back to get help, it'll be dark till we get here. Till come back up at night again to get this deer. I plugged myself to get that deer in the logging road.
I want to tell you, I used to grab a hold [01:27:00] of trees and I'd pull the deer up partway. And you'd always lose some ground. If I pull him up three feet, he'd slide back a foot. Yeah. But I finally got him up once I had him on the logging road I I got him. That's a very steep mountain.
And that was the same, you, you said you hunted that mountain the way you hunted a lot at mountains, at your camp, like logging roads and stuff? Not really. I liked a zigzag on along a mountain. You know where there it was, I shot it off a logging road. Okay. But that, that, there, as I recall at your camp, there was two, two flat areas, a railroad bed, and then there was something else.
I was on the upper one and went all the way down to that guy, that friend of yours that, what's his name? That guy hilly Hill. Hill, hilly. Yeah. The local. And there at his place you can make a sharp turn and take a logging road up to the top of the mountain. And I was pretty narrow to the top when I caught this deer outta the corner of my eye.
And fortunately I was lucky enough to get And you heard the shot you said you, you heard Yeah, I heard. I was up on top of the mountain at that time. Oh, you were? I was one of the last times I climbed the mountain. [01:28:00] And you said you heard one shot, yeah. I was up. Probably two miles or more from him of, to the east.
And I was up at Ling's land. I went up over Okay. But I had the cross here, it's on its back shooting downhill before I ever saw its head. And I just, and the safety off and just waited. When the head come around, I saw the rack and that quick it was over. Yeah. And that was the last buck that you shot, right?
Yeah, I believe it was. Okay. Yeah. I think I shot some deer in South Carolina since then. You might've. But I think that was you went on your African horn after that, didn't Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I, the last animal I got was my moose. Yeah. That's the last animal I got. But that, I think he's right.
I think that was the last Pennsylvania puck that he, how many deer did you shoot Kenny? I don't know. I don't know either. But I don't know. You shot more than I did. I went and counted the racks in the. In the basement of the mounts and the racks and I counted 16 buck [01:29:00] that I shot. And do at least they're hard.
At least double that. Probably triple that. Oh, probably. 'cause there was years where you, when you could shoot multiple down. Yeah. I shot with muzzle loader and I shot with Bow and but we just talked about his last Pennsylvania buck. And I wanna talk about your last Pennsylvania buck. 'cause you shot your last one over on the ridge, right?
Yeah, shortly after I, a year or two after I got that one, the best hunting we ever had, I shot that buck at that spot. That was the infamous ridge. I, every year I hunted at that spot and the deer always came up over that hill. Now the buck you shot though, he didn't come up over the hill though, did he?
No. He was actually, he was on the bench in the grapevines and I just picked him out before he seen me. But it was only. Probably a half an hour earlier than that, that Ray had seen that deer. Oh, really? Yeah, but he didn't get a shot at it. And I walked the same, [01:30:00] almost the same path. He out he walked and it was where the deer, he had seen the deer tell the story about the deer You didn't see because it was too close to you.
Wasn't there one where they said No, right here, there. And they kept saying there was a buck right in front of you. Oh, that was, and they kept saying, and you're looking, they're saying it's right in front of you. But you still didn't look in front of you. You were looking. That might've been the time that we were driving from the bus over toward my no, this was before.
I, this is in recent years. He's probably, you're probably thinking of when he got out of the car. He got out of the car. We were driving back. Oh. Oh, okay. And Deni Dennis we're driving along and Dennis just says, oh, I was driving. That's a nice buck standing there. Yeah. Not. Excited or anything he just says a nice fuck.
And we're just like, yeah, and he goes, no serious. There's a nice buck standing there. So he stops the car and we, oh, I stopped the car. We look and it's oh my God. So we're on that. They're all in the car. Can't get out. My gun's in the back. I'm out of the car.
Somebody had their bullets in their jacket in the back [01:31:00] and so he gets out, but he had never seen the deer. Yeah. He got out before he, so I'm standing there and wasn't it real close to him? But he wasn't looking. And you, it was probably it was thick, four 40 yards down over the hill.
Oh. Oh, that, oh. I thought, oh yeah, I thought this was closer than that. No, it 30, 40 yards. It was plenty close enough. But problem was it was thick and I couldn't see it from the No, the problem is you got out the car before you saw it. You should have located the deer and then got out. Oh. Which I know isn't what the gate commission would tell you that it's not.
And it's probably better you didn't in the first place, but it was a nice buck. 'cause you chased after it. That was a, it was a nice, I think it was a 10 point man. Yeah you chased it all day, didn't you? I trailed that for, yeah. And you know what I remember about that? I trailed that to lunchtime and then another guy shot it.
What I remember about that story was I was sitting in a college class and all you sent me was a picture of the dead buck. I'm like, did he, I don't know. Did he just shoot a buck? I'm like, that's a nice 10 pointer. I'm like, all said, I'm like calling you and you won't answer and this and that. That's because I had no service.
Yeah, but you sent, all you sent [01:32:00] me was a picture of the dead buck. Then you told me the story. I'm like, ah, you. Clown. You got me excited for nothing, but yeah, that's, I trailed that bucket. Then after a while I was on a trail and you could see it was two buck together and they both ran off this guy.
Isn't it funny how excited you can get about seeing something you can shoot? It's really something. If, I always said, if you don't get excited when you see something, you might as well quit because it's over's. That's what this old time winner came, not the dad. Not the father, but Oh. He said if you're out in the woods and you see something move, then after a while you see there's something on top of its head and you're not getting excited.
Go home. You said you. Exactly. You know that. Yeah. But I think the one time I was really excited when I shot a buck is I fell asleep standing in a tree. And when I woke up and when I woke up, here comes this dough, and right behind it comes a rack buck. And it's the first buck I shot rack buck that I shot in camp, and I emptied the gun and put another cartridge in it yet, and [01:33:00] shot one more time after my, and I think I shot six shots at it.
Okay. And then I walked on over the mountain, trying to find its tracks. Okay. And I couldn't see anything and I thought, oh I thought I missed this book. We don't have enough time to talk about all of the ones that I got so excited about. But anyway, to make a long story short, I went back to my spot and stood there maybe another half r and hour.
Then one of our hunters came off the mountain to go back to camp. I thought, I'm gonna go back too. So I went a slightly different direction than I saw blood. Then I followed the blood, and here I had hid it and it wasn't too far away but I think it's made me excited because I was sleeping and woke up and, yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of stories like that about camp, and I think that's what, why I enjoy it, and that's why I wanted to do this. I, there's so much history and heritage and there's, I think there's something special about Pennsylvania deer camp because like we talked about in the beginning, the places that you used to pheasant hunt Kenny around here at home where it's polluted with deer [01:34:00] Now you, you were hard pressed to ever see a deer at that time.
Yeah. It was rare. And all the southern counties in Pennsylvania all headed north to deer camp. Everybody had a deer camp. And I think that's one thing that makes it so special. And that's my roots. My first year hunting, I went to camp with you. I went to camp with dad and sat with you, you and me and Bobby walked up Potash.
We did. Yeah. That's right. Yeah. We put a pretty good session in on Sunday and yeah, you I think we We, between the three of us, I think we crapped the whole side of the mountain up on the way up through, yeah. My, my first two years of rifle deer hunting, I went to camp and I think I saw one tail.
And I remember when I was young at that age, I was like, I don't want to keep doing this. This isn't fun. And then I started hunting at home and I've been very lucky. I've shot some deer at home, shot some nice buck and everything else. And right around the time of college, when I went to college 30 minutes from camp.
And you guys would always be at camp. So I'd come up and spend some time and I always had it in my head. I always gotta hunt at least, even if it's 30 minutes, I [01:35:00] have to hunt opening day of the gun season. So when I was in college, I'd always come the first day and eat. I might hunt a half hour. I, there was days I did that the first day, but I at least can say I hunted opening day.
And then when I started doing that and hunting with camp and seeing the camp camaraderie, it was like, This is different. This is fun. This is a different atmosphere than what I'm used to for deer hunting. And it was basically spoiled. Now it's not the same anymore. Matter of fact, at our camp, half the guys don't even come anymore.
They hunt down here since as you have this Saturdays and that's sitting, laying around on a Sunday, that's when you had fun. When you just later on told stories like we're doing now. That's gone. The hunting I did the most fun I ever had was always at camp. Always right. I hunted in at home Berks County and I hunted a lot of different counties I hunted in, but my best hunting was always at the camp.
Yeah. It was just most enjoyable. It just, yeah, it was just what I did. That's why I always went a week. I was gonna, and I was gonna get the maximum outta it. You said [01:36:00] that all that comradery stuff's gone. That's what I like. Our ca It's not gone at our camp. No. We still have, we still, we don't have the amount of guys like they used to have years ago, but we still have.
A core of guys that come up. And most, a lot of us stay the whole week. It's not, we camp doesn't have its entire membership group. No. All as a deer hunter. Like we have a couple members and then we have a lot of guests come and they enjoy it. And what I have found, what I've. What was really encouraging to me is I brought friends up from home who were always patch hunters, hunting wood patches here and there, and they came up to, you're kidding, you brought a guy from Ohio last time.
I did bring a guy from Ohio and he'll probably listen to this, and he really enjoyed that. He re he remembered, like when we were sitting at the dining room table the night before we did that drive and we were looking at the map and you were looking he was telling me afterwards, he's I just saw your grandfather's eyes light up when he started talking about the swamp and going in this way and you gotta drive to, he's that was just so cool.
He [01:37:00] never experienced anything like that with a deer. Hey, he actually, I, like he did go to a Pennsylvania deer camp, but I think our atmosphere was different than what he experienced there. But what I was saying earlier is the, I brought friends up that were patch hunters, used to hunting wood patches and stuff like that.
And then they got to come up and experience hunting up at camp in the big woods. And it was very different to them. But I think they enjoyed it, even though we don't see tons do they got, we got guy, we got some of those guys last year came up. They didn't even have a Yeah. Didn't have a buck license.
They didn't have a buck tag. They could have shot a dough if they wanted to, but Yeah, they had a dough license, bear a and they were still there making every drive. And they, this is so much fun. We enjoy this as much. So I'm thankful to still have that. I really am. And I hope we keep doing it, but like I said, these are good.
Hey I don't wanna take any more of your guys' time. I really appreciate this conversation and anything else. What was in, in all of our, oh. Doggy is gonna bark at some point. And then We'll, that's a good point to wrap it up. In all of the stuff we talked about circling back and forth in [01:38:00] conversation, was there anything that we didn't bring up or you had in your mind you wanted to bring up before we close up?
Like you say, we could sit here for hours and talk about Oh, we could stories at camp, but my favorite hunting is still just sneak hunting all day long. Yeah. I'd go from morning till night and if I had have shot a deer at some of the places that I hunted by myself, oh my God, I would've never got it out.
No. That's one story I can tell in closing what he said about sneak hunting. When Mark and I were, oh, little guys behind him, oh, this is a good story. I was like, 12 and Mark was 14. We'd be behind him and we'd be screwing around behind him, and he was always like, if we'd step on a stick he'd just look over at us and give us a nasty look.
But Mark, mark would turn his hat sideways or flip the brimm up and Elmer footed. He'd be like, Elmer footing and walking around. He'd be, shh, be very quiet [01:39:00] and we'd be back there screwing off and he'd be like, will you guys shut up? We, and another thing, my, my dad's one, one thing he always liked was pine hunting around pine trees.
He always, his saying was always, this gotta be good. And my brother, mark, I'll never forget at one time, we're walking along and there was this. Seedling pine tree. And he goes over, he sits down beside it. He goes, that's gotta be good. There was another story you guys tell too, when in the snow that was really, oh yeah, when?
When My God. We, like I said, when we were kids, we always had snow. And the one year it snowed like eight inches. Vendetta gave a rain and froze over the top. So there was a crust and like it was a crust. He'd be out, my dad would be out in front walking and it would almost hold him and then he'd go through and then he'd almost told, and he was like, TRAs it through like that.
And he was [01:40:00] getting tired. So he grabbed a hold of my brother, mark and put him out front. He said, you break tracks a while. So Mark started walking. He just walked right across the top of the, because it held him. Oh, there's so many different stories like that. There it is. And you talked about Sharky.
I heard so many of those, but I know there's probably a lot of that to it at your camp and stuff and stories. And it's just so much time has passed from then till now. For sure. But anything you, we wanna close out on there, Kenny, before we, when he said that, Raymond used to say, the pines are good.
Some, it's gotta be good here. My pop used to say it's a good spot where the crows are because there was no people there. If there's a woods or something in there and the crows are in there, he said, that's a good spot to go. Nobody. You know that, now that you brought that up, my dad shot 11 point buck because the crows were hollering down the field and he thought, what are they carrying on about?
And he kept sneaking down and it was a deer on the field and the crows were carrying on about this dear. I think [01:41:00] that's good. We'll wrap this up. We've been going plenty along, so thank you a lot. All three of you guys, like I said, this was my two grandfathers and my dad, this is, this was a special one, so this was a good one to do a hundred episodes on.
So thank you guys. Okay. You're welcome. You're welcome.