Protecting Your Camp During The Off-Season

“It was finally the weekend. Spring turkey season had arrived and all Neal Windley of Norfolk, Va., wanted to do was get to his farm, change into his camouflage and get into the woods. What he found when he arrived not only put a halt to his weekend of hunting, it also cost him thousands of dollars in repair and prevention.

“Windley’s hunting camp was demolished. Windows were broken, a television and other items were missing and the once clean and comfortable house had been turned into a disaster area. Sadly, that was not the first time this had happened. Vandals had trashed his camp two other times. Sweeping up glass and filling out police reports were not what he had in mind when he and a good friend originally bought the land in the early 1990s.”

The above report was part of a news release I received from the National Wild Turkey Federation. The report from the NWTF gives sobering evidence that all too often, hunters head for camp after a long hiatus to find just what Neal Windley found.

The first thing I did after reading the NWTF press release was call a fellow club member to see if he’s checked on our camp lately. I breathed sigh of relief when he reported he was there this past weekend, and everything was as we had left it.

The second thing I did was call the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s office to talk with an agent to see if there have been incidences of hunting camp vandalism and/or theft recently. I learned that there are several things hunting camp owners can do during the off-season to keep criminals from trashing or stealing from your hunting camp.

First, if your camp has a locked gate, be sure to keep the gate locked. This won’t necessarily prevent theft but it makes it harder for thieves to cart off large items.

Another important thing is don’t leave valuable items, such as 4-wheelers, guns, cookers, lanterns, etc. at the camp. Take them home for the off-season.

You or somebody in your hunting club should check on your camp regularly. Also, you might get a neighbor who lives near the camp and who you trust to keep an eye out for what may be going on when you’re not there. One of the problems is that the Sheriff’s office will get a report in the fall when hunters arrive at the camp and it may have been broken into in late spring. That time lag really hampers what can be done.

Make an inventory of everything of value in your camp, just like you should be doing in your home. Write down serial numbers, description of each item, and where practical, put some identifying mark on the item in a concealed area so thieves won’t be as likely to find and remove it. Take photos of valuable items to aid in identifying them should they be stolen.

Some other suggestions, offered by the NWTF, is to give the appearance that someone is home. Leave a radio or television playing, put your lights on a timer or leave an unused vehicle in the driveway to discourage trespassers and thieves.

Another way to keep your hunting camp safe is to make the local authorities aware that the camp will be unoccupied for a designated period of time. Talk to the sheriff’s department, U.S. Forest Service and local law enforcement agents in the area. Each of these offices makes regular patrols and can help protect your hunt camp. Also leave keys to your property’s gates with someone in authority to help them watch your place while you are away.

Follow these suggestions and you stand a better chance of finding your hunting camp this fall just as you left it…..except of course for dirt dobber nests and the occasional mouse.

”The hunting camp is a fine gathering place during hunting seasons but can be a target for thieves during the off season.” Glynn Harris photo


CANEY LAKE –Jigging spoons and tail spinners are picking up a few bass and yellow bass bouncing these lures off the bottom in deep water. Bass are beginning to move into the coves and pockets and are hitting soft plastics, jigs and crank baits. Carolina rigs are picking up some nice bass fishing underwater humps and drop-offs. Crappie still in deep water around brush and hitting shiners or jigs. No report on bream or catfish.. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Crappie are improving around the trees on jigs or shiners. No report on bass or bream. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Some nice bass are being caught flipping the trees with jigs and creature baits. Crappie are fair to good on jigs and shiners around brush. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water is high and very little fishing reported this week. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie are beginning to move into a pre-spawn mode with some good fish caught in 12 foot water along the edges of the channels. Bass are beginning to move up as well and some good fish have been caught fairly shallow on spinners, crank baits and topwater lures. Bream are not yet ready but lots of catfish were caught fishing cold worms and night crawlers off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has improved with some nice fish in the 6-7 pound range being caught on crank baits, spinners, topwater lures and Rat-L-Traps fairly shallow. Crappie fishing continues to be fair to good with jigs and shiners picking up some fish in deep water. Catfishing is good on a variety of baits. No report on bream or stripers. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing is good. Some big crappie to 2 ½ pounds have been caught mostly on jigs around the boat slips. Bass are starting to improve on a variety of lures. No report on bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow fall and there has been very little fishing this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

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