Your Hunting Camp with Guests …
And Stay Friends
by J. Wayne
your hunt, and hunting camp, with guests is part of the fun of the hunt
but sometimes guests can become a major problem. During the past four
decades I have worked with hundreds of hunting clubs and guest problems
have always been one of the most stated reasons for camp
of guest problems are easy to find. One of the most common problems is a
hunting club member that brings the same guest over and over, usually a
family member. It becomes obvious that they want the club privileges
without paying the dues. You will notice this guest is never around on
work days when there is work on the camp, or food plots, to be done.
there is the guest that comes into camp without any food or beverage and
consumes everything in sight. He usually doesn’t wash dishes or bring
his own sleeping bag. What about the guest that drinks too much or the
one who doesn’t stay in his assigned hunting area and wanders through
everyone else’s area.
list could go on for pages but these examples illustrate just how
quickly the hunting camp that doesn’t have a written and enforced
guest policy can become a "war zone."
Everyone enjoys sharing
the hunt with a friend or family member, however before inviting them to
your hunting club, be familiar with the camp guest policy.
written guest policy, agreed upon by all members
of the club, should include the following:
Set a limit on how many times per season a guest may visit the camp. The
size of the property and the abundance of game will help determine how
many guest days per season each member gets. Most successful clubs limit
guest visits to two times per year.
It costs just as much for a guest to take a buck or gobbler as a dues
paying member, so charge a fee for each day a guest hunts the property.
It is a good policy to
have guest hunters sign a liability release. At the same time have them
review and sign a copy of the camp rules.
Be sure there are overnight accommodations available for a guest before
he is brought into camp. Also, make sure the guest knows what is
expected of him in the way of food, beverages, bedding, and the sharing
of camp chores. There is nothing more irritating than a stranger in camp
who won’t wash dishes, take out garbage, sweep floors, help clean
Make sure all camp guests have, in advance, a written copy of the club
rules and understand them before showing up.
Require all guests to sign a liability waiver.
Make it a policy that the host member is responsible for the actions of
written club or camp rules should include provisions for enforcement of
guest policies including the asking of a guest to leave if he is
dangerous or offends the camp members to the point that it ruins their
hunting experience. If the host and his guest have a well thought-out,
written guest policy to follow there are seldom problems; and when there
are, there are guidelines so the problem can quickly be resolved.
Are your camp guests
willing to share in camp chores, bring their own food and beverages?
camp is not a club but I have found that written rules given to guests
before they arrive assures everyone that they know what is expected of
them and everyone has a good stay without many problems. Problem guests
are never asked to return.
hunting camp, and property, should be a fun place you want to return
every chance you get. Sharing it with guests is part of the fun, but let
your guests know that their visit is a privilege and their best behavior
is expected. Everyone in camp will appreciate it.
Wayne Fears is the author of the book Hunt Club Management Guide and the
editor of HUNTING CAMP JOURNAL MAGAZINE, a magazine for the hunter who
manages the land and wildlife, www.huntingcampjournal.com.