We all love hunting with our pals and look forward to hunt camp each season. But let’s be honest. Sometimes our hunting buddies do things in camp or during the hunt that make us just want to punch them in the face. You know it’s true. That doesn’t mean we want to stop hunting with them, but we do need to vent on occasion. So, let’s get a few things out of our system before the season begins.
I spoke with some of Realtree’s pro staffers to find out what hunting buddy behaviors get in their craw and learned Tiffany Lakosky and I share the same pet peeve – snoring. I know the loud-snoring folks can’t help it, but geesh! Laying there at night listening to someone wheeze, grunt, snort and snuffle, while knowing I have to get up in a few hours to hunt is enough to make me want to take a pillow and press it over the person’s face until the noise stops. Oh, you know I’m just kidding . . . kind of.
“My pet peeve is definitely snoring,” Lakosky said. “It especially bothers me when the snorer has a c-pap machine to help with it, but refuses to use it. The last time I encountered this problem, the perpetrator claimed he didn't want to lug his machine to camp.”
No one likes a camp slob – someone who leaves their food, gear and garbage lying around for everyone to trip over.
Travis “T-Bone” Turner, a Bone Collector and self-professed neat freak, gets especially irritated by his slobby hunting buddies.
“As typical for most hunting camps, I usually share a room with two or three other men,” Turner said. “Now, I’m a big guy, but I always make sure that I take up as little space as possible with my gear and clothing. There’s this one friend of mine who will pull everything out of his duffle bag and spread it all over the room. We’ll be tripping over his boots that are left out in the floor and his clothes will be lying all over everyone else’s stuff. He just doesn’t care. I hate to name names, but it’s Nick Mundt.”
Jeff Danker, owner of BVO Productions, says sloppiness is by far his biggest annoyance as well.
“You get the guy who comes in to camp who has obviously been waited on hand and foot by his wife for years,” Danker said. “He leaves a mess everywhere he goes. He throws his towels down and leaves his boots in the middle of the floor. He also leaves plates full of half-eaten food on the table. The first few days you just want to have fun and try to not let it get to you, but as the days progress, all you can think about doing is kicking him in the teeth. You say in a kidding manner, ‘Didn’t your mom teach you better?’ to try to get your message across, but it seldom works.”
Realtree pro staffer David Blanton says he gets peeved by the guy whose main goal it is to beat everyone else out of the best hunting spot.
“I used to be in a hunting club with a first-come, first-serve system,” Blanton said. “You had to pin your location before each morning and afternoon hunt. There was this guy who would ‘select’ his area to hunt at like 2 a.m., after hearing who was seeing what, and then he’d sleep in his truck until time to go to the stand so he could get there first.”
Blanton said he also gets cracked up by the club member who is always asking, snooping and interrogating everyone to find out what they’ve seen, where and at what time, but if someone asks him a simple question like, “How’d your morning go?” he clams up like he’s in a police line-up.
Bone Collector Michael Waddell says he also has a serious problem when hunting buddies try to beat everyone else to the best spot.
“You tell your buddy to meet you at a certain camp on Saturday, but low and behold, he shows up on the Thursday before and has checked trail cameras, etc. to figure out which are the best spots to claim before you can even get there.”
The Lazy Hunter
Realtree pro staffer Sam Klement says it burns him up to share camp with a lazy hunter.
“You know the guy I’m talking about,” Klement said. “He’s the one who shows up to camp ready to hunt, but hasn’t been to one single work day. He hasn’t put up the first stand or done the first repair, but he always has a great excuse as to why he couldn’t make it down during the off-season to help out. ‘My dog was sick. My truck was running rough. The weather was too bad to drive in for work days.’ The list goes on and on. Yet, he is always the first guy to peg out on the sign-in board for one of the best stands when it comes time to hunt.”
No one likes a moocher, especially Klement, who says he can’t stand the guy who shows up at camp with no extra linens, towels, or any essentials for cleanup, like trash bags, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, etc.
“This is the same guy who ends up using other hunters’ towels and stealing pillows/sleeping bags off other people’s beds. He is the first to go to sleep, and then at the end of the weekend, is the first to leave because he has ‘more important’ obligations, which leaves the other members with the tasks of washing towels, taking off trash, etc.”
Danker couldn’t agree more. “There’s always that guy,” he said. “While everyone else is pulling their own weight, you’ve got the guy who doesn’t do a thing, yet he’s always the one griping about how the food is cooked or how he doesn’t like the chips we bought. All I can think is, ‘Why don’t you pull your wallet out?’”
Bragging is a repulsive habit, so it’s a mystery why some hunters do it. But, they do and their boasting is irritating to everyone who has to listen to it.
Klement says he’s often agitated by the guy in camp who talks about all the big deer he has passed on all season, but when he finally shoots a deer, it’s often a poorly made shot on a small buck that no one else in his trophy-managed club would shoot.
“He always has a great excuse,” he said. “‘Two bucks were running side by side. I thought I was shooting the biggest deer.’ Yada, yada, yada. In reality, the guy hasn’t seen a big deer all season, and when he finally sees a decent-racked buck, he gets buck fever and screws up his shot. Needless to say, this guy is often not asked to rejoin our club, and if he’s a guest, he’s not invited back to hunt.”
The Scaredy Cat
Turner says scaredy cats drive him crazy. “Every time I’d hunt at this one hunting club, there was a guy there who was scared of the dark,” Turner said. “Of course, he’d never admit it. The prime time for hunting is the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes of the day. So, you need to walk to your stand in the dark and return in the dark to be able to hunt those prime times. This one guy would always come in late and leave early. I hated hunting near him because he’d always spook the game as he moved to and from his stand. Of course, these scaredy cats will come up with other excuses, claiming that the deer move better after 10 a.m., etc., but the truth is, they’re just plain scared.”
Hunting is supposed to be fun. In fact, it’s the main reason you’re out there doing it. So when you share camp with someone who takes it so seriously he can’t enjoy it, he ruins the fun for others around him. Tyler Jordan says he has the biggest problem with people like that.
“My pet peeve is people who don't let hunting be fun like it's supposed to be,” Jordan said. “I see too many people taking it so seriously they don’t enjoy it; then they get burned out half way through the season. On the other hand, you have these people who put no effort into it, so they never experience success and don't enjoy it either. I feel like no matter what, hunting should be fun and relaxing. I love getting everything ready and preparing for the season and each hunt. While I'm out there, I stay as long as I'm having fun. If we aren't having fun, then I believe hunting has lost its entire purpose and we should head to the house. Hunting shouldn't be a chore."
The Misbehaving Dog
Everyone loves dogs, but a misbehaving dog can cause serious problems around camp.
Klement acknowledges that a poorly trained dog can be a huge pest.
“When a guy brings an untrained dog to camp, there is a constant scolding going on between the dog’s owner and the dog for doing stuff like jumping on the furniture, following hunters to their stands, barking at other members, and the worst, taking a crap in the camp house. We were in camp last year and one member had just pattied up no fewer than 10 pounds of hamburgers for the grill. While all the other hunters were outside standing around the grill, this guy left his unruly dog inside, and guess what, it ate all of our raw patties off the counter before we could grill them. The guy who owned that dog said, ‘How do you know it was him? You can’t prove it.’ Duhh!”
Blanton also believes unruly dogs should be left at home.
“There’s always the guy who has to bring his dog everywhere he goes, even though the dog doesn’t behave,” Blanton said. “Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. We all love dogs. We just don’t want them running around camp, jumping in our trucks, and jumping all over everybody after playing in the creek!”
The High-Maintenance Hunter
There’s nothing wrong with wanting things done right, or simply liking what you like, but when your idiosyncrasies become an annoyance to others, then you’ve got a problem.
Ralph Cianciarulo, co-host of Archer’s Choice TV show, acknowledges that we all have that hunting buddy who has to have the latest and great gear, camo and firearms, whether he really needs it or not.
“You know who I’m talking about . . . that guy who buys all new gear for a hunt even though his ‘old’ gear is perfectly fine,” Cianciarulo said. “The tags are often still on his clothing when he gets to camp. He’ll even bring new boots to a spot-and-stalk hunt. Then there’s the guy that spends too much time putting on his camo face paint. If you spend more than 30 seconds smearing that stuff across your face, you have issues.”
No matter how great the hunting conditions, land, game and weather, there’s always going to be that person who finds something to complain about.
Vickie Cianciarulo said her pet peeve is listening to guys complain about it being cold outside and having to pee.
“Really? I mean seriously, not wanting to go into too much detail here, but all they need to do is unzip their pants. Not like us women who have to bare all, whether it be in the hot or cold!”
If you don’t think this is a problem, then you could be the problem. In fact, Danker says some guys are so uncouth and used to doing it anywhere and anytime that they let one rip and don’t even realize they’ve done it.
“Everyone cuts a fart sometimes,” Danker said. “But some guys don’t even hear themselves do it. They just sit in camp and fart all the time. At least say, ‘excuse me.’ I’m not saying I haven’t farted in front of my wife. I try not to. But you can tell these guys fart all the time at home. I can’t help but feel bad for their wives.”
So there you have it. We’re done with our rant. Now it’s your turn. What do your hunting buddies do that drive you crazy?
Editor's note: This was originally published August 17, 2016.