Memories of Buckeye Deer Camp
As told to Herbert L. Lunday by Herbert H. Lunday in 1985
Comments and Epilogue by Dr. Herbert L. Lunday
Especially for Mom and Dad, Carol and Larry
Our hunting methods have improved over the years. Our usual strategy has always been to arrange a line of hunters, each man stationed several hundred feet apart, through the woods. Another person then drives deer toward the stand of hunters using a pack of dogs when the use of dogs is legally permitted. At first, we all hunted by standing on the ground, usually next to a large tree. Later, to increase our observation area, some of us began standing on downed tree tops. Very soon, it occurred to us that deer were not disturbed by elevated hunters, so we constructed stands fairly high up in large trees. Today, for mobility purposes, we use portable ladder stands.
The first deer I ever shot at was a nice 10-point buck. It was running when I fired, and the bullet hit an ash tree dead center. The deer was apparently confused and unable to determine the direction of my gunfire. He stopped to assess the situation, giving me a very long moment to admire his beauty. I was using a bolt action rifle and knew that as soon as I ejected the spent hull, the big buck would immediately pinpoint my location and speed away. Indeed, when I worked the bolt, the deer ran directly to the next stand, and another hunter collected a very nice trophy. Since that incident, I have always used a semi-automatic rifle.
The very next year, I killed my first deer. After shooting several times, I had to wade a slough to complete the kill and retrieve the deer. I still remember the excitement of that day at my old #5 stand. It is an interesting coincidence that in November 1964, my older son, Herbert Lee, killed his first deer at that same stand. My younger son, Larry, and I were on the next stand and got a good look at a doe which had been accompanying the buck. I was happy for both of my sons that day. I still use the stand, but the old license plate number disappeared several years ago.
One of the most memorable deer kills at Buckeye was made by E. L. Spears. One afternoon while everyone was resting at camp, we heard a hot race directly across the river. Out of curiosity, we ventured to the river bank to investigate. Pretty soon, a huge buck appeared on the opposite bank and jumped down the steep bluff to the edge of the water. As the dogs raced on past the buck, it became apparent to us that the deer had employed an old tactic— he had allowed a companion doe to lead the dogs on a merry chase while he took time out for a break. Spears was the only person with a rifle at hand, but the opportunity had come upon us so suddenly we were unsure what to do. I soon realized that the deer could fall into the river and sink, so I suggested to Spears that he hold fire until the deer climbed the bank again. Our commotion quickly alarmed the deer, and as he turned and topped the steep embankment, Spears placed his shot perfectly. The deer was a magnificent trophy—the rack had 22 points. It is interesting that Spears fired from Woodruff County, and the bullet found its mark in White County.