Fun at deer camp begins

ALPENA — It has begun.

Michigan’s rifle season for white-tail deer and the adventures that come with it at deer camp began today. With it comes tales and stories of camp and hunting.

Thousands of hunters in the state will sit in their blinds waiting for a trophy buck to show itself and then celebrate, as well as share stories with friends and family if they successfully bag one.

On Tuesday, there was a flurry of activity in Alpena as hunters made last second preparations and purchases before heading out to the woods to join their hunting comrades.

James Brege was shopping at Neiman’s Family Market and picking up a few snacks and beverages for camp and to keep in his blind. He said he always uses a week’s vacation for camp because he likes the fun of playing cards and the peacefulness of sitting in his blind.

“Camp is a blast and we all have a good time,” Brege said. “I have family that comes in from out of town that I don’t really see a lot other than during deer season. To be honest spending time with them and taking a nap in my blind is so enjoyable it doesn’t matter if I get a deer or not.”

Clinton Radke has hunted deer for more than 40 years and still enjoys the experience as much as he did when he was younger. He said he can only sit in his blind for short spells, but always seems to get a deer each year.

“When I was younger I could sit from morning until night, but now I go out for a few hours just before each,” Radke said. “My son’s have my food plot all ready and we have seen bucks on the cameras, so I think I can get one. Last year I got a six-pointer, but there are bigger ones out there.”

Terry Cencine lives in the Ann Arbor area but comes to Alpena to hunt. He said he loves the jokes, wisecracks and shenanigans the guys share with each other while at camp. He said he gets little sleep because everyone usually stays up late and gets up early. Cencine said some of the guys snore loudly, which keeps him awake.

“There is no sleep at camp unless you pass out,” he said. “It’s pretty interesting and some of the things we say are not for the faint of heart. We have a good time, but nobody gets hurt. What happens at camp, stays at camp is what we always say.”

Radke said there is one aspect about camp that he likes even more than the visiting and hunting. He said the entire time at camp there is always good food and snacks to eat when you get hungry.

“We all pitch in and cook and we eat like kings,” Radke said. “My pants fit a little tighter after I come home from camp because I put on more than a few pounds.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.