Camp Fires while hunting... Yay or Nay??

HellsCanyon

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How many of you have a camp/cook fire in the high country when on a hunt? I've heard some people say that having a camp fire is a big no-no and will alert any deer/game in the area to your presence, while others tend to think it has no effect on their prey.

I know that while I'm solo, a fire is almost a must as its a huge psychological boost to my comfort and confidence in the back country. If I'm with somebody than its not required. What factors do you take into account on making this decision? Obviously available fuel is a factor, but what other things effect this?

Mike
 

hodgeman

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If I can get wood, I'll make a fire. A camp without a fire is like St. Paddy's without beer and a birthday without cake....

In the West, forest fires are a constant and I don't really think it freaks the critters out much. I had a moose walk into camp while we were cooking dinner over the fire a couple years ago...too bad he wasn't legal, it'd been a short pack.
 
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HellsCanyon

HellsCanyon

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Good points fellas and I do agree that camp just isn't the same without a fire! However I would think that if I'm camping in an area where I want to start hunting right out of camp first thing in the morning, like up in a drainage where I have scouted deer before, that I would try to resist the urge to build a fire. You can see the glow a ways off in the dark and for all I know a buck could be hanging out just out of camp or see the camp fire glow from a 1/2 mile out and think something was up. Who knows maybe I'm giving the deer too much credit, but I think a mature muleys instincts can be good enough for him to vacate the drainage in the situation....

Mike
 
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For me, nay. I like to camp close to the animals and try to stay undetected. Big, mature animals are tough enough to kill and I 'd rather not chance it. If I'm glassing an area from far away, I'd probably consider risking it ....just my opionion.
 

sk1

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I do tend to think that I don't like the smell of smoke on me, even though I already stink.

That aside, by the time I make it back to camp, I'm way too exhausted for a fire, I leave in the morning at dark and don't get to camp til dark....I usually have to force myself to eat supper because I am so tired all I want to do is drink some more water and go to sleep.

I will save the campfire if there is time for after shooting an elk....and if it's a day trip which mine usually are...then there is a couple of cold beers in the cooler just in case...otherwise they usually don't get touched.
 
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Travis Bertrand

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Nay for the above mentioned reasons. Big bucks have been killed and brought back to camp with and without campfires though. I have put in tons of time preparing, researching, and scouting my hunts so I personally do not take the chance. Superstition? Maybe...
 

hodgeman

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I tend to think of all the stinks we bring into the woods....woodsmoke is about the most benign smelling thing about us and can cover up some of our "human scent", I also think it varies from species to species. Caribou....I'd burn up the forest and feel good about my chances. Same with moose. Brown bear? probably not, their sense of smell is phenomenal and they can get really spooky about all kinds of things including really faint odors.

But in general, the area here can smell like smoke for an entire summer if it's a bad fire year.
 

icefishers

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It seems we always get back to camp late and all we have time for is to eat and go to bed. I love to have a fire if I have time. I've never noticed it affecting the animals. I've had a group of elk come right through camp once while we were sitting around the fire.
 

mattstanton

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All I have time for is food and sleep. Up an hour before light and back an hour after dark makes for a short nights sleep anyways.
 

sreekers

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I don't do fires, but I now own two tipis with stove jacks. I am still trying to mentally reconcile all of the anti fire stuff in my mind....
 
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HellsCanyon

HellsCanyon

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I honestly am not worried too much about campfire smell on me as I would the attention an open fire would bring. As far as having a little backpacking stove I would definitely be running that thing if it was cold enough!

Mike
 

Becca

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Never worried too much about the smoke smell, but we often camp and hunt above or in the tundra where fires arent possible. Like others mentioned, we often also hunt late into the evening, and just come back to the tent and fall asleep. Once we have an animal down, and if we have access to wood they sure are nice! Caribou blackstrap cooks up great over the campfire:

 

6t4nova

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I haven't ever noticed any difference when having a fire. Just picked up a tipi so I am looking forward to having the ability for a stove at camp
 
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