HUNTER HYGIENE!!!
By Montana Grant

Posted: October 16, 2022

BO, smoke, sweat, and other aromatic issues are a hunting camp reality. Old time hunters went to camp to get away from hygiene routines. Whiskey, smokes, chew, and dirt announced their presence and freedom. Back in the day, folks rarely showered or cleaned themselves. They thought dirt would keep other germs from being an issue.

Smelly and dirty hunters and camps bring on the insects and other unwanted cooties. Flies, fleas, lice, and bugs bring germs and disease. When the fly goes from place to place, it leaves a trail of contamination. Hunters that do not clean their hands or bodies do the same.

Hunting by nature means guts, blood, chemicals, dirt, and filth. Managing the hunter’s wellness is essential to staying healthy and not spreading disease to others. We are not talking about isolating and wearing facemasks, we are talking about basic cleaning routines.

TOILET    Pooping in the woods can quickly become a concern. Logs soon get used and virgin areas become harder to find. The feces and paper attract insects and bears. Quick drops neared camps show predators the path. Have a can of lime or lye powder to sprinkle over the waste.

Have a clean toilet location. Dig a hole, away from camp, and set up a toilet on a chair. Use an old seat that can be mounted onto a chair. Use a toilet tent for privacy. You can add some dirt over the poo as you need. You can also make your own poop bags that fit into a bucket. Add some Cat Litter into the bag to coat the poo and gel the liquids. Dig a hole nearby to place the starch based, decomposable bags. Also keep non scented sanitary wipes by the toilet for a quick cleanup of body parts and hands after a pottie session. This is a great way to prevent rashes and crotch rot.

SHOWERS     Nothing feels better after a sweaty hunt than a shower. There are many commercial options. Basically, you need a submersible pump with a sprayer hose. Heat some water on a Turkey burner, mix it into a 5-gallon bucket of water until the temp is just right. Stand on a wooden, raised deck, that allows water to drain. Place the rig into a shower tent. Mine is a 2 room deal so you also have a place to dress. Use non-scent soap and clean away. You will feel better, sleep better, and smell better.

COOKING and EATING    The cook must be clean and aware of how to clean. Hot water is important when doing dishes. Place utensils into boiling water for a sanitary clean. You can also use disposable utensils, paper plates, and bowls. Have the hunter’s clean hands with non-scent wipes before eating. Chefs also need to consider a healthy menu. Beans and other foods load the cannons for flatulence and constipation. Serve a diversity of healthy, balanced foods.

CLOTHES     Garments get sweaty and nasty after trekking afield. If you gutted or handled critters, you need to clean up. Hang sweaty garments up so they can air and dry in the sun. Change underwear routinely. If you run out, do some laundry.

SLEEPGEAR     Air out and dry sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets after use. They will smell better and keep out the bugs.

PEE JUGS     Keeping a pee jug handy allows you to not have to go outside in the dark, where the bears live. Dump the urine around the camp to create a perimeter of scent. A few hundred feet is appropriate. For men, try an empty apple sauce container. It has a wide opening and a formed handle. Ladies can modify as needed or use a more anatomically correct commercial pee jug. They are discreet and hygienic.

CLEAN CAMP    Keep the camp clean. Have a dedicated trash system. You can burn paper and other trash. The rest needs to be buried or in a bear proof scenario. Wrappers, cans, bottles, and other trash need to be addressed and planned for. Cigarette butts, bottle caps, chew cans, and snack wrappers are the most common trash left behind.  Burnt up bottles and cans in the firepit should also be removed and disposed of. Leave only a footprint, take only a picture.

GUTTING and PROCESSING     Handling game exposes you to germs, viruses, and infections. Avian flu, CWD, bacteria, and a host of other cooties are found in dead critters. Wear plastic gloves. Make sure that you clean your bloody clothes as well. Clean all knives and tools with boiling hot water. Clean with a sanitary wipe after the job is done. Hang or store meat in a cooler or away from camp.

The cleaner and healthier your camp is, the more successful the hunt will be.

Montana Grant