Hunting is one of North America’s favorite pastimes. It’s a way to connect with the outdoors, experience the thrill of the hunt and to pass down traditions to the next generation. Hunting season is like the holiday season, just with more time in the woods and usually more beer. If you’re thinking about designing your own hunting cabin, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re redoing your grandfather’s old shack, mounting your own taxidermy or starting completely from scratch, here are four tips for designing your perfect hunting escape.
1. Make Room for Everyone
Make sure your cabin has all the room you will need for yourself, your family, and your friends. Keeping everyone well-rested is one easy way to make sure everyone gets along. Regardless of the size of the cabin you’re working with, there are many ways to maximize your cabin’s space.
- Bunk Beds
Putting up some bunk beds maximizes your vertical space and is an excellent place for the kids to sleep.
A more creative option, setting up hooks in the walls for hammocks means that when you take the hammocks down, you suddenly have all that space available for other purposes. This is especially useful if you’re trying to get a lot of people into a small space. If you want to get even more adventurous, set up the hooks in such a way that you leave the option for bunk-bed hammocks. Just make sure all the hardware is weight-rated to support anyone who might sleep in the hammocks.
- Pull-Out Sofas
A staple of hunting cabins, you can’t go wrong with pull-out sofas. Just like the indoor hammock option, this lets you use the same space in more than one way. The living room where everyone plays board games can also turn into a bedroom once it’s time to rest up before an early morning hunt.
- Remember the Dogs
Whether the hunting dogs get a spot in bed with their favorite humans, sleep on the floor, or have their own dog beds, remember that they take up space, too. Factor this in when you’re designing your cabin to make sure everyone gets the shuteye they need.
2. Consider the Seasons
Hunting is different in every state and depends very much on the local hunting seasons and the corresponding weather. Whether you’re a bow hunting aficionado or a rifle-only family, it never hurts to consider what kind of temperatures you will be dealing with or what gear you’ll be using.
Make sure you have safe storage for whatever tools, guns, knives, or bows you’ll need for your hunting season. Design racks out of the reach of curious kids, especially if it is their first trip. This helps keep your group happy and safe.
3. Dealing with the Heat
Granted, after you’ve considered storage and sleeping arrangements, sometimes it’s a little too much work to install a full-blown heating or AC system way out in the woods. Sometimes the roads are little more than trails, or maybe you want to stick to a budget. Below are some tips for every climate and every budget.
If you’re willing to install air conditioning, that’s great. However, plenty of hunting families have gladly hunted for generations in the deep south without any modern conveniences. Here are some tips to help keep your space cool without AC:
- Use fans. Place fans around your cabin and know how to use them.
- Pulling the humidity out: Set your fan in a window or doorway and have it blow toward the outside. This will help suck any of the nasty humidity outside of the cabin and away from you.
- Drawing fresh air inside: If it’s a hot and dry day, it can get stuffy inside the cabin. Put the fan in a window or doorway and have it pull fresh air from outside to inside. The fan should feel like it’s blowing air toward the inside of the cabin.
- Use a fan inside to keep the air moving.
- Combine fan methods! If you’re dealing with a humid day, use a fan to get the sticky air moving inside and another one or two to draw the humidity out of the house.
- Plan when you build.
- If you’re designing from scratch, and you know you’re going to use your cabin a lot in the heat, build it facing north or north-east, so you avoid the worst of the day’s heat.
- Build a porch so everyone can enjoy cool evenings
- If you can, try building near a body of clean water—a swim can help take the edge off the heat of the day.
4. Preparing for the Cold
If you’d rather keep your hunting cabin a little more on the rustic side and not install a furnace, here are some ideas for keeping warm:
- Wood-burning stove
Many hunting families swear by the comforting warmth of a wood-burning stove. While this obviously necessitates stockpiling wood, if you’re out in the woods, it shouldn’t be too difficult. The results are worth it.
Second best to a wood-burning stove, a fireplace gives everyone a place to gather around and get warm. It doesn’t emanate throughout the whole building the way the heat from a wood-burning stove does, but it has its own nostalgic character.
- Layer clothing
Bring layers and dress for the cold. This is useful not just for sleeping inside a cold cabin on chilly, autumnal fall nights but also for controlling body temperature outdoors. Some good thermal base layers and thick sweaters go a long way in keeping everyone happy.
- Have Lots of Blankets
A hunting cabin can never have too many blankets. The hunting dogs love them, kids can build forts with them, and everyone can use them on cold evenings.
Enjoy Your Cabin
No matter where you’re located or what you’re hunting, remember to enjoy the time out in the great outdoors, whether you’re with your family, with friends, or simply on your own. Take a break from the pace of everyday life, kick back, and savor time in a hunting cabin of your very own. Regardless of budget or location, you can connect with your local environment and build on hunting skills that will last your whole life.