It’s the second week of deer camp

Almost forty years ago I drove across North America with my friend Joanna, from Peterborough, Ontario to Vancouver, BC. 

We crossed over from Canada to the US in Sault Ste. Marie, and as we made our way through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it became evident that it was deer hunting season: not only was everyone and their brother wearing bright orange vests, but there was a show on AM radio that consisted, in that pre-cell-phone era, entirely of messages sent from home to hunters in the field. “This goes out to Bobby and Jake up in Marquette, from Jeanny and Lou. Happy hunting!”

Also on the AM radio was a novelty song, in heavy rotation, by Da Yoopers called Second Week of Deer Camp, the chorus of which went like this:

It’s the second week of deer camp
And all the guys are here
We drink, play cards, and shoot the bull
But never shoot no deer
The only time we leave the camp
Is when we go for beer
The second week of deer camp
Is the greatest time of year

That chorus was catchy enough—and we listened to the song enough times—that it wormed its way into my ears, where it’s been resident all these decades.

I thought of the song this morning while I was shovelling the stairs here at the north-of-Euston branch of the Rukavinas where we are in residence for “Cat Camp” for five days while my brother and sister-in-law take a much-deserved vacation. Our nominal roles here are to support Mom, who lives downstairs, and to feed, water, and inject the cats, who live up here, in the upstairs apartment where I write.

Photo of two cats, a stripy one and a black and white one, sitting on a cushion.

Cat Camp has happened to coincide with a weekend of a lot of snow. It’s not quite “snowmageddon,” but it’s close. It started snowing on Friday, and it hasn’t let up since.

This morning, fearing an accumulation of snow on the roof back at home base, I maneuvered the Kia Soul EV over very icy and snowy roads down south-of-Euston, and spent 30 minutes shovelling and roof-raking. The back roof—the usual problem spot for ice dams—was almost snow-free, but the front roof had about a foot of snow on it, and I managed to rake off a good chunk of it from the edge and back a few feet.

When I was done, I was able to power Lisa’s more-snow-capable 4WD out of the driveway, and the Soul back into the driveway, and returned to Cat Camp chastened by the weather. I suspect won’t be going back out.

A photo of the window here at my brother's apartment, looking outside through an almost-perfect circle of snow.

Meanwhile, the cats are good. Mom is good. We have food, and a warm apartment.

It’s going to keep snowing until at least tomorrow morning; my weather app says we’ve received 19 cm of snow so far, and will receive another 26 cm in the next 24 hours, meaning we’ll have almost a foot and a half on the ground in total.

It’s the second day of cat camp, and all of us are here.


vbj's picture
vbj on February 4, 2024 - 16:51 Permalink

Seems like HUNKER is the perfect word here. Keep safe and warm!

Kevin's picture
Kevin on February 6, 2024 - 15:49 Permalink

Similar to the AM radio message from home to deer hunters, CFCY in Charlottetown on its famous Saturday Night Hoedown country music request show, would get mail from the west coast of Newfoundland to send messages to family members in the woods. Lumberjacks as I recall, rather than hunters, but probably both. The Second Week of Deer Camp was a long-time Hoedown favorite. CFCY had a very wide reach in that era with listeners across the Maritimes, into western NL and along the Gaspe coast, really the only station with measurable listeners in 5 provinces. Short wave listeners from even farther afield would send post cards in asking for confirmation of them catching the signal.