Canvas wall tents for hunting

So last year I bought a 12X14 Canvas wall tent.  It’s outstanding, it’s the perfect way to set up a hunt camp.

I’ve used it a half dozen times in the last year.  The size is ideal, 2-4 people can actually set up camp and live in it.  It does have an asbestos stove pipe hole and I bought a small hunter type stove from TSC stores for it as well.  We simply get to the site, set up the tent, go find some down trees and get the stove burning.

The stove isn’t perfect.  I’ve got four sections of 6″ pipe to run it out of the tent, yet whenever I open the stove door, smoke billows into the tent.  Can’t leave the stove door open or we get smoked out.  No idea why this is, nothing we do seems to change this.

I’ve also used the stove for cooking.  The trick is, you need lots of small pieces of wood to build up a roaring fire to get the stove hot enough to really cook on.  For warmth though, the stove is great.  That little stove keeps the tent cozy and warm.  We sleep in our shorts on top of the cot with no covers and walk around in our sock fee.  It’s great after a day in the cold hunting to come in, stand up and take off your gear.  Nothing beats a 9′ high tall tent that you can walk around in the warmth.

For the floor I’ve been using a tarp.  That’s worked well until last weekend when we camped in a swampy spot.  We ended up with water coming up through the floor.  That meant we had to keep our boots on in the tent, not ideal at all.

So I’m looking at two possible upgrades – one is something different for the floor.  Maybe a section of carpeting? Not sure, that seems too heavy to carry around.  Same with sheets of plywood.  Secondly, I’m going to start using a 2X2 section of plywood under the stove to keep it level.

In retrospect, some windows would’ve been nice, but that’s fine – we just hang a light from the top of the tent and it’s perfect for conversing until lights out. Not really a big deal.

Would I buy it again?  Absolutely – it’s turned our hunting trips from cold and miserable to quite enjoyable.  It’s like having a warm room at home to go to, where you can relax, eat, have a beer, play some cards, and sleep out of the cold.

And that’s important because we’re headed to Haliburton for some grouse hunting this weekend and the forecast is calling for snow!  Going to get my young nephew up to speed shooting the 22′s and driving the ATV’s.

White tail deer archery hunting SW Ontario

So this past weekend I was invited along to a white tail deer hunt.  It was interesting, the land we had permission to hunt was actually only about 5 minutes from my house in town – but it was a completely landlocked area down a ravine beside a river.  That meant that while we were in a well populated area, we might as well have been up north. I think we were at least a mile from the nearest person.  Very cool to be that close to civilization and still have nobody around.

We camped in the bush beside the river, at the bottom of the ravine.  It was wet, so not the best, but we made do.  Saturday rained all day so we didn’t even hunt, just sat in the tent and drank beer.  Heck, that’s part of hunting anyway right?  Gotta have a nap too.

In fact on Saturday morning when we went out I ended up having a nap in the blind.  My buddy took a picture, said I was praying for deer.  I guess maybe I was :) .

The wildlife you see when you sit still in the bush for a few hours is amazing.  Even if you’re not a hunter, at some point you should take a pad or a blanket and go sit still in the bush for a few hours.  We saw the largest flock of crows I’d ever seen or imagined – hundreds and hundreds of them.  The noise was deafening.  And of course lots of other birds.  Heard lots of owls and coyotes.

As for deer?  Lots of sign, no action though.  I did have an interesting experience sunday morning though with some coyotes.  I was watching the far side of the field and saw a brown shape come out.  Deer!  Then I realized it wasn’t moving like deer, it was a coyote.  It slowly loped across the field in my general direction.

Now those that have hunted, know that some animals will come right up to you if you’re still long enough.  There had been something rustling right in front of my blind for 1/2 an hour before the coyote came out.  Probably a chipmunk.  Anyway, the coyote seems to spot whatever it was and starts making a beeline right for me (well, for the blind).  I’m a bit unbelieving, watching it jog right at me.  I wait, expecting it to see me and stop. It doesn’t, it keeps on coming.  Finally when it was within15 feet of me I stood up and said ‘HEY!’.

Did the coyote startle?  Nope.  It stopped, looked at me, then slowly sauntered off.  By that time a second coyote had come along as well.  The two of them wandered around in front of me, sat and scratched a bit and then made their way into the bush on the other side of the field.

I guess I could’ve shot the one.  Why didn’t I?  Well I looked at it and though, what the heck am I going to do with a coyote?  Skin it?  Then what – tan it?  Hang the hide on my wall?  I’ll pass thanks.  I had no way of telling if the pelt was great, and wasn’t interested in paying hundreds for a coyote pelt to get it tanned.  And my attitude is, if I kill it I have to use it and/or eat it.  And that’s good, because doing so is actually the law (you’re required to use the animal).

All in all, no deer, no sightings.  But lots of camping, some beer, and lots of camaraderie.  So yes, a succesful hunting trip.