Camp Occupancy - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-26-2017, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Camp Occupancy

Now that everyone is settled into camp for tomorrow's buck opener, just curious, what county are you in, and what percentage of the camps around you would you guess are occupied this deer season. I'm hoping for a more positive response with folks on here reporting an uptick in the number of deer sightings recently.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-26-2017, 10:36 PM
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I'm in norther Centre County, near Snow Shoe. Hunting in a DMAP area , Sproul State Forest. Nearly every camp I looked at today in SF was occupied, but most averaged 2-3 vehicles. I told my son that 40-50 years ago there would be far more folks at each camp, as most camps hunted as a crew and would stay till Saturday. I know from the last couple years hunting for a doe the first week of buck that many of these campers will be gone in a day or two. I saw not one camper trailer, tent, motor home etc.

Here's my assessment....with the exception of a few camps, many of these campers are old timers who still come because of tradions. A few camps I know of come to eat and drink well. I do know of two camps who will hunt all week. I only know of one crew that will drive, and they only number 10-12 guys. I swung by a camp tonight that I was well acquainted with. My grandparents used to board hunters back in the 40s and 50s and these folks built there own place in the the early 60s. They hunted hard all week with a full roster for many years. When I went by at 4 pm there was one truck parked at camp. The feel of the deer season opener is nothing like it was 30-40 years ago.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 05:04 AM
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Tioga County. You described it very well! Missing today are the short term renters. Not just motels. Anyone with a spare room, garage space for cots, had it rented. Hunters checking out bulletin boards in gas stations for possible rooms to rent. Also the hunter breakfasts and dinners put on by churches, the Grange, and fire departments. I remember the local restaurant would open at 4am for the first few days. Every place would be jam packed.


Then the drive around looking at the game poles to see what was gotten. Hardly room for another! A tree in every yard seemed to have at least one buck hanging from it. It was an integral part of my mentoring program to check it out... Being in the scouts and helping serve dinners..... we got to hear all the stories and good natured kidding. I believe a lot of friends were made. Not at all unlike a genuine mountain rendezvous for many people.


Today? You would hardly know it was deer season. A distant shot once in a while...but no more frequently than you might hear any other day throughout the year. Myself ..just walking a trapline for something to stay connected with the outdoors. Times have changed for many of us in what seems the blink of an eye.

Last edited by Curly Maple; 11-27-2017 at 05:16 AM.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 05:53 AM
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Sure miss the ole traditional days in Moshannon with a full roster driving deer everyday for a week
I have own place now in ANF. 3 of us hunting
Saw allot of Camps in area occupied, most with just a few vehicles
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 08:04 AM
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We are in Juniata County, not the typical camp area like in the big woods upstate....but we had 4 guys in our small camp for the opener. Our camp was established in 2013, so we are in our camp infancy.

We had some venison backstrap and steaks, baked potatoes, venison jerky, pheasant jerky, venison bologna, and some cookies for Sunday night camp dinner....chased with some Gentleman Jack and Wild Turkey.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 03:38 PM
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The camps in Sproul State forest on the opening day this year seemed pretty active. Ours had 8 present. Ages ranged from 72 to 8. 14 year old shot the only buck among us. Most of the camps had trucks and cars present. I'm not sure what it was like in the 70s or 80s so hard for me to compare.

One thing to note that is different than the "good old days", is that Sproul is absolutely loaded in bear season, and archery season is very busy also. Guys vacation time is really spread out. Instead of a huge concentration of hunters focused on 2 weeks, our camp is active in every hunting season.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-28-2017, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad1 View Post
The camps in Sproul State forest on the opening day this year seemed pretty active. Ours had 8 present. Ages ranged from 72 to 8. 14 year old shot the only buck among us. Most of the camps had trucks and cars present. I'm not sure what it was like in the 70s or 80s so hard for me to compare.

One thing to note that is different than the "good old days", is that Sproul is absolutely loaded in bear season, and archery season is very busy also. Guys vacation time is really spread out. Instead of a huge concentration of hunters focused on 2 weeks, our camp is active in every hunting season.
You’re right about bear season, it seems like there are more bear hunters than deer hunters. And you’ll see more vehicles parked in the Sproul during the archery rut than you will on most days of the rifle deer season, opening day and Saturdays excluded.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 01:28 AM
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union county/within a mile of clinton, centre, and several miles from lycoming. several camps that always had guys in where empty, first time in years. I would say 50/50 most had a couple vehicles, only a very few had more. Less and less traffic in the woods every year. most guys you see are just getting older and older.

Anybody can shoot deer on the farm ground....You earn it in the mountains.......
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 06:21 AM
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Yinz think it's bad now, just wait another decade or two.

I ran into a few dozen hunters Monday just cruising back roads assessing pressure in my public areas in 4d and 2g as I am tagged out from bowhunting. Of all those hunters, one guy looked to be under the age of 50. Quite a few looked to be 65+.

Not judging, just stating facts, probably 1/3 looked like they would struggle to get 200 yards off the road due to obesity, and you know those guys aren't bumping many deer around.

There is no way this trend is going to reverse and I selfishly admit as a bowhunter this future excites me. My kids ought to be getting into deer hunting right as the baby boomers really start hanging it up. The good old days for this guy are getting better with each passing year.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-29-2017, 08:30 AM
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We had 14 of 18 members up at camp this weekend in Sproul, however most left after the meeting Sunday for more fruitful hunting back home or had to work. Only 4 of us remained to hunt, it's a shame more don't hunt up there as we saw more deer than the past several years. However, it's good to know we have a strong young membership to keep the place going even if it's more recreational than hunting.
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