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
During a special Thanksgiving holiday season in the late sixties, several of us drove to the Buckeye vicinity for a morning hunt. I recall that it was a cool, moist morning, ideal for deer activity. One of our hunters, John Hampton, had climbed only about halfway up to his tree stand when a fairly large group of deer wandered beneath the tree he was climbing. Wrapped awkwardly around limbs and clinging to the tree for dear life, John managed to fire several times at the biggest buck while holding his rifle with only one hand. Immediately, all the deer scattered. My son, Herbert Lee, was just approaching the adjacent stand when he heard the gunfire.
For concealment, he hugged closely to the tree he was about to climb and began scouring the perimeter of his stand area for deer. Soon, several deer came into view about 75 yards away and stopped. They were looking straight at Herbert Lee, and he could clearly see steam rising from their nostrils. Very slowly, Herbert Lee raised his 30.06 rifle, sighted a buck in the telescope, and fired one shot. Again, the deer scattered. Both John and Herbert Lee were convinced they could not have missed the deer, but a quick search revealed no evidence of kills. Within a few minutes, however, we located one of the bucks. As we were trying to determine which hunter had killed the buck, we found the other deer. Both animals were clean kills, but, as is common, had run several hundred yards before succumbing. The deer season was barely half an hour old, and our small party had already taken two nice bucks. Herbert Lee had driven in the previous afternoon from Arkansas Tech where he was attending college. His close friend, Quinton Hollingsworth, had sighted in his telescope for him just a few days earlier. The sighting was apparently perfect.
Following one fairly unproductive season in recent memory, we returned to Augusta to learn that a buck deer had run through the town while we had been camping at Buckeye. In fact, the deer ran through Kennedy Sale’s lawn not far from my house. I am aware of at least one wife who got a big laugh out of that incident.
For over twenty years, our group was allowed to hunt the Hurricane Lake Reserve for at least two weeks each year. Now, in spite of the vastly increased deer population, only three days per year are set aside in the reserve for modern gun hunting. Hunting during these three days is by permit only, but for the 1984 season, no one from our group was able to obtain a permit. Bow and muzzle loader hunters, on the other hand, are allowed several weeks of hunting.