Saturday, November 17, 2007

Had A Great Time In Foreman Arkansas Hunting With ...

the Southwest Arkansas Buckmasters Chapter. I drove up last Tuesday arriving about 1:00 P.M. I went to the Buckmasters Clubhouse and met with Chapter President Mike Cranford's father Burl Cranford. I followed him over to his house and met his wife Virginia and his son Mike and fellow hunter and guide Eddie. I admired some of the trophy deer hanging on the wall. I was very impressed with the size of the deer Mike has taken. Mike is a paraplegic and is confined to a wheelchair and is a dedicated hunter. He works full time and spends many hours promoting Buckmasters American Deer Foundation and putting on the hunts for disabled hunters. After introductions we went out and checked out my deer rifle. I was glad to see it was still sighted in and no adjustments were needed. We all then went to the clubhouse and awaited the arrival of the other hunters. Later that evening I went and checked into a motel in the town of Ashdown Arkansas about nineteen miles away. The next day we all met at the clubhouse and had lunch and prepared for the afternoon hunt. They hosted a total of eleven hunters in three different camps. There were six hunters total in my camp in Foreman. It was interesting to see all of the hunters with different types of disabilities and seeing how they each coped with their limitations. It was humbling to see that there were others more disabled than myself. It was good to realize that there are those in worse shape than I and to remind me to be thankful for the things I am still able to do that others can not. Wednesday afternoon I hunted with guide Mike on a 750 acre lease in the redneck stand. We saw a couple of does and it was bucks only on the lease so I did not take a shot. The next morning I hunted with guide John on a 3500 acre paper company lease. We saw a total of 12 deer. One was a nice medium sized buck but it was over 300 yards away and I did not want to risk such a long shot. About 8:45 AM a large doe and two big fawns came out on my side of the pipeline right of way about 85 yards away. John said to drop the hammer on the big doe. I lined her up and squeezed off the shot. John shouted that I dropped her in her tracks. I think he was relieved he was not going to have to go back in the pine thicket looking for the deer. He called his brother in law who was hunting nearby and he came over and helped John load the deer into the back of Johns truck. We went back to the camp house. I was glad to have bagged a deer and to know we would have some deer meat in the freezer this year. One of the guides back at camp aged the deer and said she was six and one half years old. She was huge and is by far the largest doe I have ever taken. She was as big as many of the bucks I have taken in the Texas Hill Country. That afternoon we all went to an exclusive hunting club on 7500 acres on the Red River. I hunted with Mike again and we saw some does and one small buck about 160 yards away. This was a well managed ranch with many large bucks so I passed on the small buck hoping for the big one. We heard several shots and when we got back to the camp house we found out three good bucks were taken. One lucky hunter by the name of Mike, a disabled Army Veteran who had never killed a deer before killed a huge ten point buck that chased a doe out into the power line right of way he was sitting on. He kept hunting and about ten minutes later, a big eight point came out on the same trail and he dropped the second buck. Two trophy bucks in ten minutes, I told Mike he needed to go buy a lottery ticket. What a hunt and it could not have happened to a more deserving hunter. One of the other hunters was a great young man by the name of J.T. who also had never taken a deer. He bagged a nice seven point buck with a 300 yard shot! I was happy for him and impressed with his marksmanship. That night I was starting to feel exhaustion set in. I had been running on adrenaline for three days. I told Mike if I did not make it to the clubhouse by 530 AM Friday morning I had decided to sleep in. Friday morning, I got up at 4:30 AM and still felt pretty tired, I looked out the window and saw there was a heavy frost on my truck and I glanced over at the warm bed and decided to get some more sleep and hunt Friday evening. I got over to the club house about 10:00 AM and found out the deer were really moving and that a couple of good bucks had been taken. Mike Cranford, the Chapter President took a huge symmetrical eight point buck out of the redneck stand. He made a 170 yard shot. Damn, I should have gone hunting but I was happy for Mike. I had a great time and Mike and his parents and all of the guides were the most friendly, caring, giving people I have ever met in my life. We had the best meals, hot breakfasts after the hunt. One night we had a big fish fry and another we had a brisket dinner. The Chamber of Commerce gave us all a goodie bag full of neat stuff, I received a total of five new hunting caps. One autographed by country singer Tracy Lawrence who is from Foreman. A guy from a local Gander Mountain Store came by one night and gave all of the hunters a camo baseball cap with built in lights in the bill. The best gift of all was a hand crafted turkey call made by a champion call maker from Foreman for each of the hunters. They were made from Bodarc or Osage Orange wood and were signed and numbered by the maker and personalized with the hunters name. Makes me want to go on another turkey hunt! It was a great hunt with a lot of great people. The hunt was a big success, eleven hunters took a total of fifteen deer. I was worn out when I got back home but I had the time of my life. I hope I can go back next year. Maybe I will get that big buck, you never know when you go deer hunting.

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