A Lafayette County deer hunting group, now nearly 30 years strong, has no name.
That’s understandable because the area, Yellowstone, Wisconsin, has no village or rural town carrying the name making reference to the limestone rocks, which are only as yellow rock can be.
Some 280 miles south of Bayfield County, where deer camps still exist, is where Wayne Smith helped organize “No Name Camp.”
“It just happened,” Smith recalls.
Two small trailers, up to 10 hunters counting children, congregate. Many more just stop by to eat or chat.
On the opening weekend, the weather was a perfect day to still-hunt (30 mph wind). Smith said he walked into the wind, watching for movement of an ear, a flicker of white, an antler tip, or a horizontal back line.
No Name Camp started with a work relationship between Smith and his boss, who also liked to hunt deer. There was this parcel of land next to a major chunk of public land, allowing No Name to expand, too.
Smith knew the area well from raccoon hunting and the group took a lot of deer over the years, only because 30 years is a long time, not because everyone “filled” their tag.
The kids grew up, moved away for there, and others passed on. Still, a group stayed together.
Four generations later, some hunters stay overnight in the trailers, others not. Smith could walk home.
We don’t care who gets a deer as long as someone gets one. We “divvy” it up, he says.
Now No Name Camp is mostly like the far north with deer stands, almost no drives, a place to warm up, eat chili and hang a deer or two.
Nearby, in the state park and two campgrounds, 100 or more tents, trailers and campers congregate for their version of southern deer camps.
“Guys hunt other public areas, some private, most with a tree or rock to stand by. Deer drives went out the window long ago,” Smith said. “We all seem to get along, the farmers, the Amish and those of us who live here.”