When camping in nature, you need to be ready for any uninvited guests who might drop by. Oftentimes they invite themselves to dinner.
Back when it was just the five of us camping and my son was a baby, we went to Highpoint State Park in northern New Jersey. At this point, we were still getting the children used to camping, with all the bugs around and dinner taking hours to cook on a two-burner camp stove where only one burner really works.
Well, the smell of hot dogs called to more than just my girls. A large buck came tromping right up to our Coleman stove. Even my scream didn’t startle him. It startled my husband and children in the tent. The five-year-old unzipped the door and came out.
“Freeze,” I told her.
“It’s a reindeer!”
“Yes,” I said, go back into the tent.
My husband shouted from the tent windows: “Bang pots together!”
Right! The pots that were on the picnic table, beyond the deer. Right.
The deer wouldn’t back up from me and the stove. So I turned off the stove and took the dog pot with me to the picnic table. The deer followed. I put the pot down and picked up an empty pot and lid. I clanged them together at the deer. He just looked at me as if to say, could you please move so that I can get a hot dog.
By this time, my husband had come out of the trailer with a squeaky toy and started squeaking from a distance behind the deer. I continued banging the pot from the front. The deer’s body flinched. His ears started twitching. His tail flipped. He lowered his head and I thought I would be sick. But he stayed rooted in his position.
My husband and I continued our assault on the peacefulness of nature and finally the deer gave up on the prospect of having a nice quiet hot dog meal and left. I couldn’t carry the pot back to the stove; I was shaking so much, so my husband finished cooking the hot dogs.
We ate in the tent instead of at the picnic table, all sitting on the floor, cross-legged, telling stories. This was before our new camper with the indoor kitchenette and tables.
It is NOT a good idea to feed the wild animals when camping. Also, never dump cooking pot water into the environment around camp. The smell of food lingers to wild animal senses and draws the animals into camp. Always wash cooking dishes at the sinks all campgrounds have available for this purpose.
14 thoughts on “An Uninvited Dinner Guest”
You lead an exciting life and I love your stories. I had to laugh about the deer because if he didn't leave with all that banging and squeaking, then you would of had a new pet:)
Great, Marie, a 300+ pound pet that wouldn't fit in the car to bring home. Not to mention how many hot dogs it would take to satisfy his appetite. Yikes!
You're the best, Marie. Thanks for visiting my blog.
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He must of been pretty tame. I guess other campers previous to you arriving may of been feeding him. He is probably still scratching his antlers wondering why that noisy lady wouldn't give him any food! Its a shame you didn't get a picture of your surprise guest waiting for supper, it would of been a great talking point:)
At the time, I thought he would run me through with his antlers, so taking a flash photograph was beyond reasoning. But you are correct; it would have been a hilarious photo, what with a terrified lady banging pots at the head while a full grown man squeaked a baby toy from behind.
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Great tips. Thanks for the reminder. This could not have happened if the safety precautions was taken. I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of the wilds with the wolves and the bears aplenty. On the other hand you got a great camp fire story to tell next time around.
Thank you, Maria. I agree with you. Wolves usually don't travel alone and wouldn't take "no" for an answer. I was lucky this buck was calm with all the noise we were making. Check out our encounter with a bear on the post entitled "Don't Want This Hug" in August.
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Did the 5 year old think that it was one of Santa's reindeer?
She sure did, Michelle. She was busy looking around for Santa's sleigh even though it was far from Christmastime. Since she appeared so distracted, I knew I had to get her back inside the tent and away from any bucking reindeer.
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Sorry to have taken so long to look back on some older posts, Kofi. However, thank you for visiting my Camping with Kids blog and leaving a note. And thank you for your compliment. It is greatly appreciated.