Al Ward: Birthday hunt always a fun tradition

As a young boy, I went along with my dad and his friends on Thanksgiving or the Sunday after to quail hunt. As my birthday sometimes falls on Thanksgiving, it became the tradition of my birthday hunt.

 

This year, I invited my grandson, Tyler Abernathy, Dr. Brad Rupp and his daughter, Avery, for a chukar hunt at Cokeley Farms.

Doc and Avery did not shoot. He was working his young dog, Penny. Tyler and I did shoot, but not very well.

My dog, CoCo, would go on point and Doc would bring Penny in to back. Penny did a nice job of backing and retrieving, so it was a good day of hunting.

At our hunt at Cokeley’s, we met Ian Kucera and his son, Cole along with Jerry Pavlik and his son, Cade. They had a good pheasant hunt with their weimaraner, Pearl. They bagged seven pheasants and two chukars in a short afternoon. It’s always good to get the kids out and not indoors playing video games.

Mike Francis and Bill Barker invited me on a duck hunt on a 12-acre pond northeast of Topeka. I have known Bill and Mike since they were young teenagers. Mike worked for me at Taco Casa in high school and I sold Bill his first beer — and I checked his ID even though he had been telling me for weeks when he was going to turn 18!

The ducks did not fly that morning. We almost had two sets of Canadas come into the decoys, but that’s hunting. You don’t always have good luck. We had a good morning visiting about old times.

Jack Arnold, 14, was out with Tony Moldenhaur and shot his first whitetail in southwestern Shawnee County. They were in a ground blind next to a lot of cedars when the doe came out.

At 7:15 a.m., Jack made a good shot at 25 yards and the doe ran about 20 yards and fell into a creek. The creek was not deep. With some help, they got it loaded in the back of their truck. I hope Jack has a venison steak soon.

Bill Hefner lost a leg a few years ago but that does not stop him from hunting. He just had to make a few adjustments to get it done. With his friend, Dan Broxterman, they hunted north of Meriden. They used an ATV to get to a ground blind about 6 a.m. Around 7:30 a.m., a nice eight-point buck came into the pasture and Bob bagged his deer. He is ready to go again.

K.C. Blodgett and his wife, Jo, were deer hunting in Brown County on a farm they used to own. At first light, a buck walked out into a cut bean field. K.C. knew it was a buck but did not have enough light to see the buck’s size, so he passed on the shot.

Later, a good buck came into the bean field and K.C. shot an eight-pointer. The buck just kept walking away, so K.C. shot it again. The buck took off and ran away fast and jumped over a fence and into the timber. K.C. got down from the blind and with Jo’s help, they found some blood spots. K.C. crawled under the fence and was about to help Jo under when he spotted the buck down about 20 yards away.

K.C. thinks it seems a lot harder to pick up a large body and get it into a truck than it did when he was younger.

They are looking forward to summer sausage with cheese and jalapeno, as well as deer sticks.

Mike Walter has been going to northern Marshall County deer hunting for several seasons. This year, he was joined by Jordan Edwards, Scott Jacobs, Ethan Sweetster, Danny Appelhanz and the father-sons team of Dick, Jim and Richard Shermore. Dick, 87, is a retired Washburn University professor and still loves to hunt.

Mike did not think there were as many deer as in the past where they hunt. The terrain has many ravines and draws with cedars and brush for the deer to rest and hide.

Scott and Ethan were able to shoot a doe but the shot of the trip was made by Danny Appelhanz. He was hunting with a .45-caliber pistol and dropped his eight-point buck on the run at about 30 yards as it ran out of the ravine.

It was a good trip for all the hunters and they look forward to next year.

Onis Lemon and his grandson, Tyler, traveled back to Oberlin for a pheasant and deer hunt. Land owner Jeb Talley joined the hunt and they shot a few pheasants the first day.

The next day Jeb took Onis to a ground blind setting on a small knoll overlooking a ditch the deer travel to a corn field. An eight-point came out and Onis had his buck. He saw lots of does while sitting in the blind.

Tyler made the shot of the trip. A 10-point came out of the timber and jumped a fence and was running in a pasture. Tyler’s shot hit the neck and he dropped his buck.

They enjoyed their hunt and I hope they have many more.

I really enjoy hearing from the hunters with the successes and not so good hunts. Each story has unique aspects that makes me smile. Keep hunting and telling me all about it.

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