Posted by Clabert on October 29, 2000 at 20:15:50:
After working a 12 hour night shift on Monday, Tim Fugere and I left for Eldorado, Arkansas at 6:00am Tuesday morning. We were going to the Tillman Hunting Club, of which Tim was a member, to take advantage of the 9 day Muzzleloading Deer Season. This trip had been in the works for about a year now. Ever since Tim had taken his first deer with a muzzleloader last season. And because it was a very modern hunting camp with most hunters using modern inline scoped actions, I would only be using my Centermark "Tulle" .62 caliber smoothbore flintlock, but the rest of the hunt would be in 21 century gear. I wasn`t sure how they would take it, me walking around the woods dressed as an 18th century hunter.
During the 5 1/2 hour drive, Tim and I had plenty of time to talked about things we expected from this hunt. He told me about all the deer that had been taken during last years ML Season and the fact that it had been very cold with freezing rain and sleet most of that week. We weren`t going to have such weather. The reports we were getting from hunters already there was hot, dry, and the deer weren`t moving. We also took the time to go over the rules and regulations of both the state and the club. First of all, my 3 day non-resident hunting license was going to cost me $100.00. On it, I would have all the tags offered on the 1 year, $225.00 non-resident license. 4 deer limit with no more then 2 bucks. 1 black bear. 1 elk and 1 turkey stamp. We were only concerned with the whitetail limits. Club rules are no spike bucks were to be taken and a 6 point buck being the smallest allowed. Club members are encouraged to take 8 points or bigger.
Now I would like to tell you a little bit more about the Tillman Hunting Club. The club has 5,100 acres from which to hunt. Two thirds
of it is owned by lumber companies and the other third by club family members. A "camp area" has been set up just inside the southern boundary line. This camp consists of various hunter`s shacks to camper trailers. All are set up with electicity and city water. Most of them display some sort of sign introducing it`s owners and small deer racks from previous seasons. Some were quit interesting to say the least.
There is one large building that has stainless steel tables with wooden cutting boards and a couple freezers for preparing the harvest for the trip home. For the safety of the hunters, a large map of the club hangs on the wall. Each hunter is givin a numbered push pin to place in the area in which they will be hunting so other members will know where they are at all times. After some 30 years, there has not been a single shooting accident. The club also serves as an official state check station. Forms must be filled out on each deer so that the information can be used in the on going biological study of the area. Outside is a large hanging rack with two hoists for cleaning the deer. A large walk in cooler for aging meat and a smokehouse.
After stopping for fuel, licenses and last minute supplies we finally arrived at 1:00 in the afternoon. We unloaded the truck and checked in with some of the other hunters who had been out that morning. The report was still the same. Too hot and the deer just weren`t moving. But Tim had come up the weekend before and done two days of scouting. He knew better and already had a couple of good spots picked out for us both. Even after being awake the whole night and half the day, we couldn`t wait to get out there. We changed our cloths, grabbed our weapons and jumped on two 4 wheeler ATVs. A short five minutes later and Tim was pointing out the blind he had put up for me. A small box on the edge of a new cut road that ended in a 100 yard by 75 yard wide clearing. I crawled inside and made ready to wait out the evening. I had a hard time staying awake. I found out later that Tim was having the same trouble. The long hours with no sleep had begun to catch up with us. Then around 5 o`clock, I lifted my compact field glasses and in the very back of the clearing, out stepped a large buck. My mouth dropped open. I lowered my glasses to better estimate the range and I couldn`t see him. I looked thru them again and there he was. At that moment I knew he was around 200 yards away and far beyond the range of my smoothbore. A few seconds later, he disappeared again into the trees. I didn`t see anything else that evening but I sure knew where I was going to be come sun up the next day. Tim didn`t have any better luck.
To be continued.........
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