Story by Joshua Swanagon, Photos by Jim Cooper (SharpByCoop Photography)
Well, it’s upon us again. That time of year when we get together with family and friends to return to our roots, spend some quiet time with nature, fill our freezer and sit around camp swapping lies about the one that got away. This is a time of reflection, preparation and shenanigans.
As many of you who have spent any time in deer camp know, there can be certain hazards that accompany the experience—especially when family and friends are involved. But for whatever reason, we still go and subject ourselves to the potential pitfalls that those around us have prepared.
For example, there was one year that we were all at deer camp and one of our cousins had brought with him a huge blow up mattress. It was queen size and about two and a half feet tall. I’m not saying that the rest of us—who were sleeping on cots—were jealous, just incredibly opportunistic.
On one particular night, as the rest of us sat around playing cards, the owner of aforementioned fine sleeping accommodations ventured off to the bathroom—and we struck. Wasting no time, his nephew jumped up and let a bunch of air out of the mattress. Upon his return he was surprised to see that his expensive mattress had released so much air. But, unflinchingly, he refilled it.
It wasn’t long after refilling it that he returned to the bathroom to get himself cleaned up for the night and his nephew struck again, releasing more air from the mattress. When he returned, he looked a little more shaken, as he began looking for the cause. When nothing stood out as an issue that could cause such calamity, he filled it back up again.
Finally, for the Pièce De Résistance, we waited until he went outside for a few minutes and released the air, one final time. It was at this point that he lost it. Ripping the bedding off, he stood the mattress up on its side and started rubbing soapy water all over each side, looking for bubbles. It was then that his brother—who was sitting on the cot next to him—asked him, “Do you get the feeling they might be messing with you?” As if on cue, the entire lodge simultaneously erupted in laughter.
You might be asking what this story has to do with knives. The answer is: nothing. It is just an anecdote to help you relive some of your best deer camps and get you ready and excited for this year’s big hunt.
But it also has a moral. When something like this happens to you in deer camp, before you get excited and start frantically looking for the cause, first look to those around you. You just might be the cheap entertainment for the rest of camp.
Stay sharp and keep it real. K&G
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Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for, Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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