It’s about this time of the fall where I begin to miss home and family, especially when the holiday spirit starts showing up in stores, main streets and radio songs. That’s when a good camp can really make a difference. The past few days I’ve been splitting time between two very different camps. One is my horse trailer, which is conveniently parked within minutes of more than a dozen treestands. The second camp is one of my favorite hotels, the Ramkota Hotel in Pierre, South Dakota. Both have their pros and cons, but I’ll let you decide which would work best for you.
First, my horse trailer: It often doubles as a camper in addition to its obvious duties to transport my equine friends. Pros: It’s portable and can be moved to within minutes of most hunting locations. It’s also a great way to transport lots of equipment. I can put my Yamaha ATV inside, along with treestands, decoys, ground blinds and any other gear needed for weeks of hunting. It’s affordable; I paid it off years ago and with my camping gear it makes a comfortable second home. Lastly, being right on site allows me a few more minutes of sleep when the hunting days are long.
Trailer cons: It doesn’t have heat, so I have to either camp close to an electrical outlet or use my kerosene heater to avoid freezing. There’s no shower. I heat water on my Coleman stove and take a splash bath to avoid having whitetails smell my day’s effort. The cot can be uncomfortable, and oftentimes I wake with a sore back and the need for a dose of ibuprofen. And because most of my horse trailer camps are in remote areas, there’s no cell service or Internet. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
Now the Ramkota: Since its inception, it has had a focus on sportsmen. Dogs are welcome. It offers a game cleaning shed, freezer space and free ice. You can order a sack lunch for the field, and there’s a fine restaurant on site, along with a lounge to swap hunting tales. There’s a laundry if your hunting clothes get too grimy. If the Arctic arrives, you’ll find outdoor plug-ins to warm your truck. And for the business person, you’ll find a business center and, of course, wireless Internet connections.
Ramkota cons? Well, you might have a noisy neighbor that keeps you up, and you might have to drive a few extra miles farther to reach your hunting spots. Of course, the hot tub might be a little too hot to you liking, but in short, it’s hard to go wrong with a hotel that caters to hunters.
I like both options, and both have a place in my fall hunts. Of course, I’d like to take the Ramkota with me everywhere, but sometimes the off-the-beaten-path hunting location requires some redneck innovation in the form of a horse trailer.