November 26, 2022

Hunting Traditions

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Every hunting camp has traditions and rituals. Ours is no exception. Here’s one that has gone on since the first time Noah and his two boys came and stayed with us.

Our tradition is called a shirttail party. As an invited guest to camp – and trust me, not just anyone gets invited (I’m still not sure how I did) – you have to read and sign an agreement between hunter and camp regulars. In essence this is what the agreement says.

At any time while staying at the hunting camp, you should shoot at a deer and fail to tag that deer, you must forfiet a one-inch by one-inch square of shirttail from the back of your hunting shirt.

The process of choosing who does the cutting becomes somewhat political. This photo shows Maine humorist Joe Perham on the operating chair while longtime camp resident and family friend Gregg Inman displays the results of his shirtendectomy.

Joe Perham getting shirttail cut

Sometimes the lighting in camp can be less than sufficient to complete such a fine and delicate operation to one’s satisfaction, making it problematic to master the famed one-inch by one-inch square cut. Not knowing exactly how the operation went, Joe turns to the camera as laughter from all camp dwellers rises as the victim performs the shirtendectomy pirouette.

Joe Perham displays hole in shirt

Once the operation is deemed a success, the patient then must nail his tail to the camp wall, sign and date the mishap.

Joe Perham nails shirttail to the camp wall

If a hunter is caught withholding any valuable information or not being totally above board, the consequences could become tragic.

Tom Remington