Learning how to build a hunting camp can help you manage your own land for the best hunts, utilize natural resources responsibly, and hunt public land in such a way it will support game and hunters for generations to come. Whether you are building a permanent hunting camp on land you've purchased or packing in on an extended hunt, there are best practices you will want to know in order to be the masterful hunter you aspire to be. One way to think about your camp is to consider the resources you'll need while on your hunt, and how those resources can best support you.
- Air. Fresh air is the most important resource we need for life. Cold, wet air pools in ravines and can cause smoke from your camp to settle as well. to build a hunting camp that is enjoyable to return to season after season look for a campsite that will be out of ravines that will give access to crisp fresh air, but that provide shelter from strong winds.
- Water. Your hunting party will need access to water, but building camp on the bank of a stream or river can lead to environmental degradation that can harm the stream for miles down river. Build a hunting camp 200 feet from a water source so you can easily collect water for cooking, cleaning and hydrating yourself and any animals that accompany you on your hunt.
- Shelter. Whether building a permanent shelter or setting up a temporary hunting camp, protective shelter is imperative. Shelter should provide protection from wind, rain, sun, heat and cold. Shelter should be built up out of ravines to protect it from meltwater, mudslides and avalanches, but should be protected by surrounding trees and rocks from wind and harsh weather. If you are building a cabin on your own land there are pre-designed models that you can haul in to construct.
- Food. Food must be stored and disposed of away from your shelter to protect yourself from bears, rats, and other animals. If you are building a hunting camp with permanent lodging consider putting in a fridge and a freezer. You can rig your own electricity by solar or wind generators to keep your private hunting lodge off the grid and in the wild. If you are building a truly primitive hunting camp, identify a place you can hang your food where bears and other animals can't get to it.
- Transportation. When building a hunting camp consider if you will pack in with horses or llamas. Make sure the animals have their own area they can be corralled or hitched and where droppings and urine will not contaminate your water source or local streams.
- Honey bucket. Everybody goes, and if you forget about this little tidbit when building your camp somebody's going to step in it. In a primitive hunting camp get everyone to decide on an area to defile, then take care to bury everything properly so animals won't spread it around your campsite. If you can build permanent structures set up a proper outhouse a good couple hundred yards from your cabin and away from water sources.
- Celebration central. After a victorious hunt, or after a nearly victorious hunt that provides amazing stories of the one that got away, you've got to have a comfortable place at your hunting camp to gather with your hunting party to celebrate at the end of the day. At a primitive hunting camp collect thick stumps around your campfire. Be sure your fire is far enough from your tent it won't catch sparks and away from your honey bucket (stinky) and your water source (let's not think about drinking contaminated water) and you're good to go for your post-hunt party. If you've built your hunting camp with a cabin, don't forget the card table and a couple of good, American beers.