Tenting

tent

We’ve been campers for quite some time and our primary form of residence has always been a tent. I grew up hiking, camping and tenting so for me it’s really nothing new. In Scouts we had our fair share of erecting the heavy canvas tents so the transition to the nylon variety was a welcome change. We purchased our second family tent just last season and I have to say I’m amazed at the improvement in tent design – especially when it comes to stowage, weight and set-up. Gone are the days of having forty aluminum poles all different sizes that you had to assemble in some miraculous manner to hold the fabric that would be your home for the night. I can’t speak for anyone else, but that alone makes me a happy camper!

Hot Dogs

hotdogs

Nothing beats food over a campfire. There’s just something about preparing your meals over the open flame that makes it taste better. Probably the easiest food to prepare is the hot dog. Granted it’s not the most sophisticated of meats, but a nice convenient serving fit for being prodded and suspended over the pit. Camping ensures that everyone makes their hot dog quota.

Memorable Weather

smores

Today we kick-off the eighth annual Memorial Day camping weekend with my in-laws. In that time we’ve experienced all kinds of weather which, if you’re tenting, can make all the difference. Most years the nightly lows would hover just above freezing. Other years we’ve nearly been carried away by the rain and high winds. And two years ago we endured the entire weekend sitting in inches of rain without a campfire due to the ridiculous county-wide fire ban. This year, despite the forecast, looks to be warmer and, for the most part, drier than years past. Regardless of what the weather forecast holds, the tradition has built some amazing memories over the years and continues to be one of the highlights of summer.

Snipe Hunting

snipes

All this wet weather should really bring out the snipes for camping this Memorial Day weekend. Snipe hunting opens after dusk on the Friday before Memorial Day every year and it’s a tradition that’s been kept alive for generations. Surprisingly enough, in all the years we’ve been out hunting we’ve yet to bag one of the buggers. I realize it’s the one species of wildlife that is not under the management of any state game department (that’s why a license isn’t required to hunt them) but I think the world would benefit from a class or two on how to track and identify a snipe. Instead we’ve come to rely on intuition and family tradition to pass this on to future generations.

As far as I know the snipe species varies like all other animals but legend holds that the rainbow-colored snipe is the most vicious and, contrary to what you might believe, is very hard to spot in the wild. It’s for this reason that I would never suggest going snipe hunting alone. Always bring an adult and two very firm and dry sticks for clicking together (and defense if necessary). I’m not sure if the clicking helps attract or repel the snipe, but past hunts would suggest maybe both.

In the event that you should see a snipe, be prepared to capture it. Stunning it with one of your calling sticks is recommended before handling any snipe as they are usually antlered and have very sharp claws. A simple pillow case will do the trick (be sure to take the pillow out of it first). Lastly, be sure to lace up your running shoes, because snipes are also very fast. Whether you are pursuing or being pursued you don’t want to be caught in flip-flops.

There are no books written on the topic of snipe hunting, so hopefully you’ve found these few tips to be somewhat helpful. I think the most important things to remember about snipe hunting are to be safe and have fun. Happy hunting!