Twice a year, a group of professional and amateur hunters, trappers and outdoorsmen from across the U.S. gather on a piece of property on Carruth Road in Watkinsville, where they learn each others’ trades, teach classes and camp out.
The event has family-friendly camping areas for those with children.
“It’s a place to come and learn—we have classes going all day,” explained Casey Deming, who first organized the Georgia Bushcraft Fall Campout in 2012. “We offer a place and the establishment to bring in people who want to learn more traditional, self-reliant skills, cool outdoor things to do with the family. We have a ton of friends who are instructors and they’ll come out here and teach classes to people.”
Deming and the crew from the Campout also host classes on the property throughout the year.
Each year, professionals teach classes on their trade throughout the Campout.
Pointing across the campground to a man by the name of Jason Chapman, standing with a raccoon cap on his head, Deming adds: “If there’s a coyote in a neighborhood, he’s a professional trapper, but he also does traditional trapping that he teaches classes on.”
Classes for adults included bowl making, trapping, blacksmithing, survival archery, acorn and walnut processing and primitive fire starting.
“People nowadays want to learn hands-on skills, it’s cool to make your own stuff,” explained Deming, who is also the inventor and founder of Griffin Pocket Tool. “A decade ago, people were moving away from these traditional skills. So we’re trying to bring them back.”
The Campout offers activities for children as well, including treasure hunts led by Pirate Joe, bug hunting and supervised knife throwing.
Local vendors were present as well, including Oconee Joe, Classic City Bee Company, Wild Rice Adventures and the Georgia Falconry Association.
“It brings people together from all over the United States,” said “Blackpowder” Bill Brookover, the designated muzzle-loader of Georgia Bushcraft. “It brings us all together and there’s a real variety of professions here. You’re talking to someone and you may not know he’s a biologist or a licensed engineer. Everybody shares all their information.”
For more stories, see the Nov. 7 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, go to oconeeenterprise.com or call (706) 769-5175.