Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007
Close to Nowhere
• Jim and Sandy Tuttle of Byhalia are closing their deer camp for 2007-08 and quite a few folks, including the Tuttles themselves, are sad about it.
“We’ve been out there for a lot of years,” Jim Tuttle said. “But it reminds me of a farmer who won’t let the land rest. Over the years, this is collectively what needs to be done.
“The animals, the fowl and even the people need to rest. We’ll open back up in the fall of 2008. Maybe by then, we’ll all realize how fortunate we are to have this place.”
More than 175 people a year come through the Tuttle deer camp, most of them family.
This decision was not made lightly, but after a great deal of consideration and concerns with decisions that the forestry commission is making now, which may cut out revenue for game and fish.
“This is bitter medicine for us all,” Tuttle said. “But in the end, the animals and fowl will be bigger and better.
“Somebody has to do it first, to help not only people, but the fowl and animals. We’ve been blessed at that deer camp, but we need to rest also.”
The Tuttle’s own approximately 1,800 acres and the camp is “kinda horse-shoed” in Marshall and Benton Counties. Another 1,000 or so acres is leased for the camp.
“If it’s under our camp lease, it’s not gonna be hunted this year,” Tuttle said. “We have really taken some hits over this, but it’s extremely important to us to do this collectively.”
“Please, don’t be caught hunting this property. We really encourage everyone not to violate this approach. Sadly, violators will have to be prosecuted,” Tuttle said.
• About 10-15 years ago I went out to the Tuttle deer camp with Jim and Sandy to write a story about a venison for hunger program they were participating in.
The camp itself is amazing, a vast sprawling area of shacks, huts, “hovels” (to quote Jim Tuttle) and, in my opinion, a very nice base camp.
The kitchen was, as all good kitchens should be, the center of the main house, and bustled with activity (and really good smells).
According to Jim, some weekends as many as two deer were easily consumed by the many hunters and houseguests. And that’s a lot of meat to cook!
The entire Tuttle family is sad about closing the camp this year; David, the Tuttle’s son, has shot a deer every year at the camp since he was a small boy.
But, as Jim said, he read in a book somewhere that every seven years everything needed to rest. The deer camp is well past its seven-year resting cycle.
• On another note — thank you to all who have asked about “Jumping Jack Flash.” Our tough-as-nails little poodle is home from the vet and doing quite well. He looks like a circus dog, trying to walk on his two front legs.
You go Jack!
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