Throughout my life, I have stumbled across individuals who cause the rolling of my eyes. I’m sure, with a few reflective moments, you have experienced the same. This being brought to surface, we are going to take a look at the cause of such eye juggling, as it applies to hunting or fishing camps.
For simplicity, upon which I tend to thrive, I will be referring to the camp culprit as “he” or “him”. This in no way is a slam toward the fairer sex (Why, if I wasn’t a member of the male persuasion, I’m pretty sure I would be deeply seeded in the fairer sex sisterhood!), it is just easier for me to enter “he” or “him” as my pudgy digits pound the keys. I assure you, I have observed a large number of “shes” who easily qualify for the subject of this sharing.
Having been in the fortunate position to experience well over 25 guided adventures involving hunting or fishing camps, I sort of consider myself a quasi-expert on this subject. Just as the reader, the partnership with local Nimrods in the squirrel, deer or turkey woods in close proximity of our home dwellings; far outnumber the professional outdoor episodes we have encountered.
In either scenario, there often seems to be “that guy”….the one who stands out to be the consummate pain in the derriere! With that in mind, we will take a look at the major “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to insure you never fall into the “that guy” category.
Make sure to arrive in the best possible physical condition. Always share, with your outfitter/guide in advance, what limitations you may have. They will always make adjustments to fit your conditioning and it takes a lot of pressure off them, when it comes to hunt tactics. Be sure to pay the remainder of the agreed upon fee, without needing to be asked, as soon as you arrive. You are dealing with a professional, treat him as just that! Along the same lines; if all goes well, be prepared to offer a tip at the conclusion of the adventure. The going rates tend to be a minimum of: 10% to your guide, $100.00 to the cook and $100.00-$200.00 to a driver or filmer (if they are involved). The guides, cooks, etc. usually rely on said tips as a portion of their wage. I have never met a rich guide! They don’t come close, monetarily, to what the outfitter brings in. Of course, if the service is on the downside, this too should be taken into consideration.
Remember, you are taking part in an outdoor adventure. Pack accordingly…necessities mean just that! Your license, weapon and ammunition, rod/reel/tackle, clothing, first aid kit should do it. There is no room in any camp for the large, hard-sided, family vacation style suitcase; full of everything that simply doesn’t get used and usually ends up all over the floor for all to trip over! Find a suitable bag, with a shoulder strap, and use it. Being able to be stowed under your bed is a wonderful advantage.
Truly listen to the guides. They are there for your benefit and will not steer you wrong. Shot placement, length of shot, quarry size judgement and care, hunt location and techniques are their specialties. Believe me, they want you to have a successful experience. Word of mouth is, and always will be, their best form of advertisement…and as we all know, sportsmen are a chatty group!
Along these same lines, give credit where credit is due, and accept responsibility for any snafu in which you may be associated. Listen to the guide and, more often than not, a smile will accompany your fire-ring story. Be sure to include his advice in these verbalizations! Be open to accepting you botched the set, if this is the case. The respect from guide and fellow adventurers will grow immediately.
Assist in all duties. There are always chores to be done: set/clean the table, do dishes, gather firewood, load/unload gear (your’s and other’s); outfitters/guide have lots of equipment and supplies…grab something! As for field dressing/skinning/caping, most guides usually don’t like too many blades whacking away on a critter….that’s why most of them still have all their digits! Ask in what part of the process you should assist. Holding a leg, keeping pressure on the skin, etc., goes a long way in the assistance category. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty…..they make soap!
Probably one of the basic standards of not being labeled “that guy”…shut up!!! The continual talker soon finds himself continually alone! Enough said on this one.
Do not retire late or sleep in. This is a hunting/fishing trip, people need their sleep, which with the excitement of the adventure comes hard enough the way it is. Stomping around late is a horrible way to endear oneself to the rest of the camp. Get your sorry hind-end up in the morning. Stoke the fire, set the table, get your morning potty trip out of the way….but get outta the sack!
Sitting at the table, fork in hand, waiting to be served is no way to be accepted by those sharing the venue. Aiding in getting the food to said table, however, shows that you are a team player.
This may sound “out there”, but while on a recent Goulds trip in the Sierra Madres, our “that guy” actually reached over and took food off the plate of one of the guides….stating that he wanted to test the taste! Need I say more?
Leave the “one upper” attitude back from where you came (where it’s not appreciated either). To constantly “one up” everyone will get the eyes rolling with the initial utterance. In the same vein, embellishing your hunt, and past experiences, show an individual starving for acceptance. People simply don’t accept liars….knock it off!
To continually repeat the details of your hunting/fishing experience is an absurd gesture. If someone asks; by all means, share. However, keep it short, accurate and to the point. Our Goulds hunt “that guy” told anything with ears. I believe I may have seen him addressing the camp pooch, how “the sun shined off the feathers as the turkeys approached in the horse-shoe formation”. He told the camp cook, all the hunters, even the land owners daughter…none of which asked to hear the story; a 2nd, 3rd or 4th time!
Over indulging in alcohol shows me, without taking too much of a judgmental stand, a weak person. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a “sip” after all weapons are stowed, the camp is squared away and the evening campfire follies are under way. But to take the approach of a 70’s frat party, in a hunting/fishing camp, is ridiculous. We spend hard earned money for these experiences and to swallow vast quantities of fire water is a sure way to alienate oneself. The morning after is normally filled with moans and groans. What a rotten way to spend time in the beauty nature so unselfishly offers.
To be bold enough to ask to use another’s equipment is utterly uncalled for. One is expected to bring the necessities. To not pack a knife, binoculars, ammo, GPS, etc. is simply unacceptable. Communicate with the outfitter, prior to departure from your corner of the world, as to what equipment will be needed. Then, obviously, pack it. Don’t be asking to use my Swarovskis….it ain’t gonna happen!
I have, as aforementioned, been fortunate enough to travel throughout our vast outdoors in quests for many critters. The friendships forged through these experiences are strong and will last a lifetime. I can honestly share that none of these lasting relationships have involved a camp “that guy”. That being said, if you have shared a camp with this curmudgeon, and have not received communication from my end, odds are you have earned the “slight”! How does it feel to be a camp “that guy”?