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
I have killed many deer during the years I’ve been associated with the Buckeye Camp. In fact, I lost count years ago. But more than the thrill of the hunt, my memories of Buckeye focus on people and the quality of fellowship we’ve enjoyed for so long. To tell the truth, I really think deer hunting is just an excuse for us to get away from the routine of life and enjoy our friendships. Another sport might suffice just as well.
Over the years, we’ve functioned as a well-organized team to hunt, repair roads, and maintain the campsite. In early fall, we’ve hunted squirrels and rabbits. We’ve enjoyed family outings at the sandbar during the summers and family cookouts at the campfire on crisp autumn afternoons. We’ve also shared our hunting traditions with our sons and daughters and watched them grow into adulthood.
Many citizens of Augusta have enjoyed the excitement of the deer hunts with us. They’ve wished us safety and good fortune and watched eagerly for us to return to town with our bounty. I especially remember the excellent pies, cakes, and other food sent to us by the women of the community. These wives, mothers, and others spent many hours unselfishly and lovingly preparing food for us, and their efforts were always genuinely appreciated by everyone in the camp. I’ll never forget those mouthwatering coconut cakes sent by Mrs. Lela Kinsey.
I’ve always been proud of the fact that the Buckeye hunters were honorable and honest men who abided by the letter and spirit of the game laws. Of the original group of hunters, only two remain—Dr. Frank and me. Other currently active members are Edwin Jimerson, E. L. Spears, Lyvone Wallis, Bill Peebles, Charles Hawks, Paul Overstreet, John Hampton, and Jim Freese. The small number of campers today is due for the most part to the decreased number of hunting days allowed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Certainly, a reduction in deer habitat is a significant factor as well. Much of the woods we hunted in 1952 has since been cleared for cropland. Even though the deer are more plentiful now than ever before, there are not many places left where we are allowed to hunt.
The old campfire site is still there in its original location. This fall, 1985, its flames will have been rekindled for approximately thirty consecutive years. If that campfire could speak, it would sing the songs of the old hounds and repeat the tales told and retold by Buckeye hunters who have come and gone. Some men have left our camp. Others have left this earth. All are remembered fondly.
• My father, Herbert H. Lunday, was a very special man. He was the last surviving member of the original Buckeye Deer Camp. He passed away on Thanksgiving morning, 2010