Deer Camp Clowns Make Great Memories for any Hunting Club
Day 1: A Deer Hunting Club Member Develops a New Purpose for the Dog Collar to Keep a Hunter from Getting Lost
Editor’s Note: Every hunting club I’ve ever belonged to has had a camp clown – the guy each person in the club can tell at least one funny story about and always smile when he mentions the man’s name. Fortunately I’ve hunted with and shared great memories with some of the world’s best deer camp clowns. Space won’t allow me to mention them all, but here’s a few.
Big John, weighing about 110-pounds more than he should, had a smile that wrapped around his entire body. Always up to some sort of mischief, Big John had the uncanny ability to humble even the most-prestigious members of our hunting club. My brother Archie always considered himself the world’s authority on everything, especially hunting deer. And since he was 10-years older than me, he always thought of himself as my second dad. Through the years, Archie had a serious hunting flaw – he stayed lost in the woods. “When you let Archie out in the woods, he’s lost,” Big John would tell everyone. Then Archie would reply, trying to save at least a portion of his reputation, “I was just hunting in a different direction from the rest of you.” When we had dog/deer drives on our club, Archie would drive, because he liked to walk. After the drive ended, and the trucks had picked-up all the standers and the drivers, we’d return to camp for the noon meal. Several dog men would return to the woods to pick-up their dogs they hadn’t caught-up and also usually to try to locate Archie. Archie always figured someone would find him, if not by lunch, then generally by dark. Big John, a usual member of the search party, always gave Archie his ration of grief about his directionally-challenged problem. He’d explain, “Archie is just like my deer dogs. When I start blowing my horn, the dogs and Archie will find their way to my truck.”
Finally, Big John developed a plan to keep Archie from getting lost. He thought if his initial plan failed, at least the back-up plan would ensure Archie wouldn’t stay lost long. On the day of the plan’s implementation, Big John came to me and some other members of the club and, said, “I need your help with my plan for Archie. I’ll get close to Archie, and when I say, grab him,-y’all hold Archie until I’m done with him.” We all agreed to the plot. When the command, “Now,” came, we all grabbed and held Archie until Big John could take a huge leather dog collar out of a paper sack. The leather collar had a cowbell attached that hung from the collar and clanged loudly every time Archie took a step. On the back of the collar, a name plate read, “Archie Phillips, if found, please call (555) 555-0101. If no one answers, leave a message, and we’ll come get him.” After buckling the collar in place, Big John announced, “Now, Archie, you drive next to me, so I can hear your bell and know exactly where you are at all times.”