Some hunters hunt deer on private leases, at hunting lodges, or with hunting guides on private lands in Texas. Other hunters in Texas skip the $1,500 to $15,000 price tag of a hunting guide, hunting lease outfitter, or hunting lodge. These hunters lease private property, own deer hunting property, or hunt on public lands. In that case, hunters like to go out for two or three days at a time.
How Do I Set Up a Hunting Base Camp?
Hunters need bare bones essential supplies like an ATV/deer cart, coolers, firewood, flashlights and lanterns, food, a cast iron frying pan, dishes and utensils, a game hoist, huntingknives, scent control, a tent or tents/RV, and drinking water for a minimally efficient deer camp. There are many more things and reasons for even more supplies.
What Do I Need for Deer Camp?
Hunters can set up a camp as bare bones as possible, or take the family and set up an outdoor living area for comfort. If you are going to butcher onsite, you will need enough coolers and a way to get ice or bring dry ice and game bags. Otherwise, you will need to get your game to a processor in a hurry. Plan ahead from your hunt location how you will process. Carry one knife on your belt, but two on your belt, with spares at camp are better.
Hunters need to be aware that they should buy firewood from the area where they are hunting. Do not bring your own wood because it brings in diseases and invasive pests, even from an adjoining county. Pack more than one cook pan. Even modern hunters, when they want more comfort and room, will invest in a heavier canvas-walled tent. They are more difficult to put up, but they have more room and you can heat them with a wood stove. But most other tents will do fine.
Deer Camp Ideas
You can stay in an RV, but it needs to be off-road capable, and you will still need flashlights and a way to stay warm in colder climates. You will need more drinking water for a hunting base camp than for a normal camping trip. A gallon of water per person, per day, is a good estimation for drinking, but you will also need water for dishes and hygiene. You can buy camp showers that heat water, but they are not cheap, or choose many other camp shower options.
Besides food, you will need seasonings, frying oil, cast iron cookware, cooking and eating utensils, and something to boil water in for coffee or a camp percolator, along with separate coolers for food and drinks. You can even buy portable refrigerators. You can precook hearty meals like stew or chili, freeze them, and then thaw them at camp for dinners. You will also need breakfast and lunch groceries.
It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit at deer camp, which should include basic bandages and dressings. You can step it up with a “Stop The Bleed” kit, which should include a tourniquette and some Quikclot gauze. It’s always a good idea to carry a tourniquette on your person when hunting. Stopping a major bleed from a hunting mishap, ATV accident or broken bone can save a life.
Deer Camp Clothing
Depending on the weather, which is unstable in many regions of Texas, and the weather forecast, it is best to wear clothes that layer for deer camp clothing, plus bring rain gear just in case. There are plenty of options for keeping warm, like campfires, portable fire pits, butane stoves, and thermal sleeping bags. The final gear you need to think about for a base deer camp are deer blinds and scent control, plus maybe bug spray, depending on where you are in Texas.
Public Hunting Acreage
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) owns and operates 50 or more Wildlife Management Areas for hunting any given year and annually leases approximately 150 public dove hunting areas from private landowners. The Texas General Land Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the U.S. National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) allow hunting on over 70 land tracts in Texas.
Scent Control And Deer Blinds
Human scent is a deterrent to deer. Deer in South Texas are larger than deer in North Texas. Scent control is important to deer hunters. Hunters try to remain as scent-free as possible. It does not hurt to try to eliminate scent or try new scent control products to discover the best blend of tools and strategies. But, be aware that many outdoor outfitters use the term “scent control” to sell more clothing and accessories.
And last, deer blinds help with scent control. There are strict rules for deer blind construction on public hunting lands. Blinds visually conceal deer hunters. Blinds can stifle noise and weaken human scent to game. Blinds keep you from getting lost if you are unfamiliar with the property. Some blinds provide a shooting rest for your firearm. Be eminently meticulous when climbing up to an elevated tree stand or elevated blind with your gun. Too many accidents happen from falls or improper handling of firearms.
Deer blinds typically fall into two categories, ground blinds and elevated blinds. Hunters place ground blinds directly on the ground. These blinds take advantage of a strategic location, like near a feeding or drinking hangout. Elevated blinds, called hunting towers or tower stands, have support platforms with the blind mounted on top of the platform.
Ground blinds include pop-up blinds and throw-down blinds, which are compact and lightweight, plus 360 blinds, which can be ground or elevated. Elevated blinds come in a variety of styles and models. You can buy them prefabricated or DIY your own. Pay special attention to its floor, ladder and/or steps, and if repairs are necessary. Bring a stool or chair, and put a swatch of carpet under it to muffle noise.
Deer Blind Regulations
Texas Parks & Wildlife Prohibited Hunting Blinds, Gear and Equipment
- Constructs or places a hunting blind, stand, tower, or platform within 50 yards of any designated road, marked unit boundary, or designated campsite. Constructs a permanent blind, stand, tower, or platform.
- Leaves a hunting blind, stand, tower, or platform in place for more than 72 hours or uses metal nails, spikes, screws, or bolts to attach such structures to the timber.
- Leaves personal gear, equipment, including decoys, or floating conveyances unattended for more than one hour following the close of legal shooting hours.
- Note: this does not apply to gear or equipment left within a designated camping area or for specific activities scheduled by the TPWD.
US Army Corps of Engineers Regulations
- All USACE lakes allow temporary non-bark penetrating portable tree stands, as well as temporary free-standing blinds such as towers, platforms, tent-style, and natural blinds.
- Only portable, temporary, non-bark penetrating ground blinds are authorized.
- Non-bark penetrating portable tree stands as well as free standing stands are allowed. However, any blinds/tree stands used must be completely removed from project lands upon completion of each hunting day.
- All stands and blinds must be properly labeled and removed at the end of the days hunt.
- Natural blinds may be constructed by gathering loose and/or dead vegetation. Cutting of grass, shrubs, trees, or any other vegetation is strictly prohibited.
- Hunting blinds, regardless of use, must be completely removed from the land or water upon completion of each hunting day. All blinds must have the hunter’s name, date of installation, address, and phone number written legibly and placed at the entry point of the blind in a conspicuous location. If proper identification is not present, the structure may be impounded and/or removed.
- Temporary blinds for deer or waterfowl do not require a fee.