7 Steps to the Perfect Hunting Campfire

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Know how to cook food, purify water and stay warm with fire

Channel your inner caveman and build a quality campfire. (Russell Graves photo)

Fire building is a skill all outdoorsmen should learn. Those who venture outdoors needs this skill in their arsenal. Cooking. Water purification. Staying warm. Brewing a pot of Deer Camp Coffee. All good reasons to know this skill.

Follow these steps when building a fire. And always keep safety in mind. Forest fires can, and do, happen. Prevent them.

Step 1: Start by gathering dry kindling (twigs, grasses, leaves, etc.) and larger sticks and branches. Stack them in separate piles. Clear all forest duff (sticks, leaves and other flammable object) away from the fire-build location. Rake the area down to bare dirt.

Step 2: Gather a pile of similarly sized rocks to make a bed for your fire. This will keep the fire off the ground once it’s built. It’s much easier to keep and maintain a fire if kept off the wet, moist ground. This also allows air to travel underneath the base of the fire, which will aid in starting it. It also makes the fire safer by helping to prevent it from spreading outside the designated area. Rake away all leaves and debris and lay the rocks out flat in a single layer on the ground. Then, place a ring of rocks around the perimeter to corral the fire as it burns.

Step 3: Position a layer of sticks and limbs on the bed of rocks. Then add a layer of kindling. Leave some of it exposed. Finish this step by adding another layer of sticks.

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Step 4: Drive two metal rods (one on each side of the rock foundation). Thicker sticks or limbs will do. But if using wood, place them at least a foot past the edge of the fire build to prevent them from burning. Run another stick horizontally and tie it off on both ends at the top of the two vertical rods. Again, if using wood, it needs to be high enough it doesn’t catch fire, yet low enough a hanging pot or cooking utensil is near enough to the fire.

Step 5: Use a lighter or matches to start your fire. Focus on the kindling positioned between the two stacks of larger sticks and limbs. If the fire doesn’t start, blow on the embers to help establish the flame.

Step 6: Once the fire is established, hang your pot/kettle on the horizontal rod with a hook or piece of rope.

Step 7: Keep feeding wood into the fire as needed. Channel your inner-caveman. Enjoy your newly established campfire. But never leave a fire build unattended. Keep an eye on that blaze. And when finished, douse it with water to ensure the flames are out.

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