There is a little more to this story than just the hunt. I need to share a little background about the spot that I call the "country club honey hole" and how it came about for me to hunt there.
A few years back I became friends with a co-worker who hunted. At that time, for lack of a rifle hunting location, my whitetail deer hunting was strictly limited to bow hunting. This was okay with me because if I had to choose between rifle and archery hunting whitetail, I’d pick archery. And, at that time, that is exactly what I had to do; choose between the two.
You could get an archery buck tag or a rifle buck tag in Kansas, but not both. So, I always opted for the archery tag. When I met Lane he just “inherited” the family honey hole for hunting. It was a spot on his father-in-law’s farm that always produced good opportunities for bucks. Until recently, Lane’s father-in-law hunted the spot with a friend of his, which left Lane hunting another spot.
But as luck would have it, Lane’s father-in-law decided that he had enough hunting and passed on the spot to Lane. Lane invited me to hunt with him if I didn’t fill my buck tag because in Kansas at the time, the buck tag could be used for a doe during rifle season or you could purchase a doe tag valid for the firearms season.
So for two years, I hunted for does at this spot. Now this brings me to the point in the story where I need to tell you why it is country club hunting. There is an actual hole in the ground from years of putting corn, salt blocks and other mineral blocks out for the deer to eat. They have worn the ground down and pawed a hole in the earth over the years.
They know it is a place for the deer to get a good meal and they frequent it with regularity. The other part about the set up is that there is four large round bales placed 100 yards from the hole. Lane and I bring folding chairs and set up behind the bales. The bales offer protection from the elements and a good rest for the rifle. It is as comfy as a spot to hunt as any place I can imagine. You just sit back and relax.
The other part of the location that makes it “country club” is that it is an afternoon location so no getting up in the middle of the night to hunt. You just get up at a reasonable hour or take off early from work to hunt. It doesn’t get any better than that for hunting.
I will get to my 2008 hunt which is the focus of this story, but I have to digress a bit and tell you about my second doe hunt at the spot. We got situated about 3 pm and waited for a doe to come into sight. No doe, but a buck comes in and starts to eat. Then another buck and then another coupld of bucks. And,as it is getting close to dark a very old one-antlered five-point buck walks in right past us.
There were a total of five bucks in the honey-hole and not one doe! It was not until last light that a doe walked in and I took her. Believe or not, the bucks didn’t leave after I shot. We had to wait until they finally left to retreive the doe.
Now, if we were hunting bucks it is unlikely that we woud have seen that many at once, but I think Mr. Murphy has a fond relationship with hunting. At any rate it was a sight to see and brings me to 2008.
2008 was the first year in Kansas that you could use a buck tag during any season with any legal weapon. So I could hunt during archery season with a bow and if I was unsuccessful, which I was, I could use that tag during firearms season with a rifle.
This was the first year I would be able to hunt a buck with a rifle in Kansas and I was excited. Lane invited me to hunt there after he took his buck on opening day, as was the tradition. He and I met at his house after work and drove together to the spot. We set up behind the bales in our lounge chairs and settled in.
A couple of small bucks came into the hole, but they weren’t shooters. It was about four o’clock when a nice nine-point buck showed up. He was the shooter that I was after. I suppose that I am a more deliberate shooter than Lane is used to hunting with because he kept telling me to shoot.
The buck was relaxed and eating so I was waiting for not just a shot, but also a perfect shot. I leveled my trusty Cooper .270 Winchester and brought him into my sights. I squeezed the trigger when he turned broadside and dropped him instantly. It was a clean humane shot and I had taken my very first buck with any weapon. I was a very happy hunter and owe it to the friendship that I have with Lane.
I look forward to getting a buck with my bow each year, but deep inside I almost hope I don’t so I can rifle hunt with Lane. I guess the country club hunt is not demanding or for some very exciting, but for me it is more of a social-type hunt where a friendship is kindled and forged; friendship and hunting just seem to go together and I like it that way.