With just a taste of hunting season under our belts (dove and teal seasons), our thirst for the great outdoors is soon to be quenched. By the time many read this, we might have already spent the night at the camp. With archery season (Oct. 1 in Louisiana) and squirrel season (Oct. 6 in Louisiana), our camps are now on our lists of places to stay.
A hunting camp is a marvelous place to be associated with. More often than not, everyone has a place and a job or chore at a camp. There is always a biscuit maker, a firewood splitter, a sweeper. Somehow things just seem to fall into place.
If anti-hunters could just sit around a campfire with friends and family, have a good nightcap (for medicinal purposes mostly), and share the events of the day or the experiences of the past, they would have a perspective of the great outdoors different from what they now perceive.
Much of my family history has been learned around the fire of a camp, but one of the most important happenings at a camp is the building of character. This starts with the first trip to a camp, whether as a child or a grownup.
Being responsible for one's actions at a camp affects everyone there. Any type of accident will cause at least two people to change their plans. Being able to act responsibly at a camp will help carry one through life's confrontations for years to come.
We've all been at a camp that had one loudmouth, cussing every other breath with women and children present and just acting way out of line. A camp is just about a sacred place to inhabit, again with friends and family.
My hunting buddy Mike May and I have spent many a night at a camp without electricity and running water and thought we were in hog heaven, oftentimes having to ride an ATV (remember the Honda 90s and 110s?) to the camp with three days of food and clothing, rain or shine. Now “those were the good old days.”
Anyhow, it's camping season and one staple food item at a hunting camp is the biscuit. Listen to me, I've made a bunch of them at our camp, from scratch, in a Dutch oven, over and under a fire. A biscuit always gets eaten at a camp, but a premium biscuit at a camp could almost be posted on the CBOT during hunting season.
I have eaten the following biscuit and have from the maker, Donald Money, received the recipe for this absolutely wonderful “cathead.” Ingredients: 2 3/4 cups self-rising flour; 3/4 cup whole milk (or 1 cup buttermilk); 2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted; 1/3 cup shortening.
Here's how he does it. “I start with pre-sifted, self-rising flour. Use high quality flour, such as Gold Medal or Martha White. Put flour in a medium size mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup shortening (Crisco or Snowdrift). Use the back of a fork to flake or cut shortening into the flour until it is evenly cut in. With a spoon, or your hand, make a hole in the center of the flour-shortening mixture. Pour in milk or buttermilk (whole cup of buttermilk). Stir milk and flour in a circular pattern, from the inside out until the dough will follow a spoon or fork around the bowl.
“At this point, two methods may be used to make the biscuits. The first is to sprinkle your dough ball with flour, choke the individual biscuits off with your hands, and pat them out. This is accomplished more easily if your hands are clean, dry, and coated with a light dusting of flour. The second way is to turn your dough ball out onto a clean, floured surface, such as a tabletop or counter, sprinkle it with flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat into a layer about 1/2 inch thick. You may then use a cookie cutter, round glass, or jar top about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter to cut out the individual biscuits.
“After either method, the biscuits should be placed evenly in a warm skillet or baking dish that has been greased with the melted butter or margarine. Cook biscuits in a pre-heated oven at 450 degrees until they are brown.
“The flavor of the biscuits may be enhanced by adding a side-dish of squirrel and gravy, venison and gravy, or black strap molasses.”
If you get a chance, take a kid fishing or hunting. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy our outdoors. Some of the best meals and friends are made “at the camp.”