How much better can it get than sitting around the deer camp half a day, later slipping down through winding woods roads in a battery powered Ranger and then spending a few hours in the deer stand watching the world go by as deer roam in and out of a big green food plot?
I’ll tell you. It gets better when you get to spend those last hours in a two-man deer 16 feet off the ground stand with the Camp General himself!
That would be Mike Copeland, Camp General of the Two C’s Hunting Club near Marion. Mike is a friend and this past week, my son Adam and I had the pleasure of being welcomed by he and his camp partner and brother, Lonnie, to their Union Parish woodlands hideaway. We had been previously advised by another friend that I would be welcome to do just about anything at the camp — just Don’t Park in the Camp General’s parking spot. It’s well marked.
“They give me a hard time about that,” Mike said. “But nobody parks there,” he also adds with a laugh, pointing to the sign his wife Lynn got for him. The Camp General story began when Mike saw the same setup visiting another hunting camp that had a Camp General. It seemed to work well and made the camp run smoothly. He liked the idea.
“When you have a hunting camp with a lot of deer stands and people coming and going, nobody wants too many rules and stuff, but somebody’s going to have to be in charge and that’s the Camp General,” he told me. “If it comes to it, somebody’s got to make the hard decisions and keep everything in line. Everybody may not always agree, but things are going to happen where you have to make a decision for the good of the camp.”
Knowing Mike, I bet there aren’t many times that somebody doesn’t like anything at his place. His personality isn’t anything like a stern “General” at all. But it never hurts to know who’s in charge, just in case. The camp is very organized, keeping a journal of all the hunts, who hunted the various stands and what is killed or seen at each stand on each day. That just adds to the fun of it. And everybody does it without fail. Because the General expects them to.
Mike and the club are all about safety, too. He doubled check to make sure we double checked our guns. He made sure we had hunter orange. And he gave us a bright orange club hunting cap just to up our visibility.
“I’ve learned that if you are walking through the woods, it’s a lot easier to see that hunter orange cap first, even before you see the vest,” he says. He is right. Of course he’s right. He’s the General.
The walls of the camp are covered with big mounted deer and other critters taken off the property and all kinds of hunting and outdoor decorations, including a big aerial map of the club and all it’s stands. It’s pretty awesome. So are the woods they manage. The hundreds of hours they put in clearing lanes, planting food plots, grading trails to the stands, maintaining stands and feeders, etc. are obvious. But it comes with the love of hunting, and sharing it with others. We went on an afternoon hunt on the back end of a full moon and didn’t see as many deer as usual, but had a great time. The club manages its deer herd and we were looking for an eight point buck or better. They were there, but weren’t coming out on this day where we could see them until it was too dark to get a good shot.
As in most hunting trips, that isn’t what really mattered anyway.
It was just good to be there. And sharing a stand while enjoying an afternoon of conversation with the Camp General himself was certainly worth the trip. We watched a few deer that had been grazing in the food plot slowly slip into the woods on the far side of the field. The last rays of daylight were fast disappearing as well.
Mike said, “Oh well, I’m not wanting to clean one that bad, are you?”
Nope. Maybe next time. Just glad to be here.
Mike watches a couple of young deer slip into the food plot