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On The Hunt

Hunting goes on all year round, but September kicks off many of the region’s premier game seasons, including white-tailed deer and elk. While there is little of the sport to be had within city limits, travel just a few miles in any direction for plenty of open country and your choice of critters.

Real McCoy Outdoors
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned outdoorsman, Real McCoy Outdoors (partnering with Seraphim Ranch) has the accommodations and amenities for a memorable hunt. This family-owned-and-operated outfitter is located in Adams County, which hunters visit from far and wide to stalk trophy white tail deer. And with more than 9,000 acres of rolling land and oak thickets on 40 different farms stretched across the county available for hunting, Real McCoy Outdoors offers a pretty good chance of bagging a big buck. The land in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is covered in food plots planted for deer, including clover, corn, and soybean fields. Hunters can settle in at one of two cabins or two lodges on the property on a Saturday or Sunday, and look forward to a Monday through Friday hunt. A typical five-day excursion costs $2,250 in the early season (late September through October) and $2,500 from November until early February (some weekend hunts are available; call for pricing). Both the cabins and lodges can accommodate groups and provide practice targets as well as three meals a day. A guide leads groups every morning and evening, but you can hunt on your own and rough it by making your own meals—the cabins have fully equipped kitchens. Although it is a long season and their land is vast, book your hunt early; those who have been before tend to re-book year after year. When you’re not hunting, be sure to check out the five-stand skeet shoot. Real McCoy Outdoors, 6 N. Main St., Peebles, (937) 430-4999, realmccoyoutdoors.com

Elk Creek Hunt Club
If you were lucky enough to be drawn for a shot at the “largest elk herd in the Eastern U.S.” (there are only 900 tags available), the Kentucky elk hunting season will be in full swing starting September 15, when the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission opens up a 16-county elk zone. Just obtain an annual Kentucky hunting license and an out-of-zone elk permit and start practicing your elk call. Those who weren’t so lucky can still hunt pheasant, quail, and chukar, or perfect their aim at Dave Kelley’s Elk Creek Hunt Club in Owenton—Kentucky’s premier sporting clays resort, with 2,500 acres and more than 1.5 million targets thrown per year. While you’re there, you can also check out Elk Creek Vineyards, where you can relax at the Estates, the Inn, or the Lodge with rooms ranging from $125 to $275 per night. Elk Creek is Kentucky’s largest winery and it features lodging options, tours, and wine tastings, plus an art gallery, cooking classes, and live music. Hungry? We recommend the Chardonnay Gourmet Grilled Cheese at the Café. Elk Creek Hunt Club, 1860 Georgetown Rd., Owenton, (502) 484-4569, elkcreekhuntclub.com

Camargo Fox Hunt
Members of the Camargo Fox Hunt keep that classic British pastime alive and well, chasing—but not killing—foxes from Labor Day through March on private land in Burlington, Clermont County, and Owen County in Kentucky. Active in Indian Hill since 1925, the Hunt retains many arcane rules, including mandatory British attire. On Saturdays in the formal season, women must wear black coats, canary breeches, black boots, and a black velvet hat. Staff, field masters, masters of foxhounds, the huntsman, and male riders wear red coats with a white shirt, a stock tie and stock pin, and a canary vest. If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry—hunt members have organized a Hunt & Hack Consignment shop for guest riders, who must be invited and pay a capping fee ($75 for adults and $25 for juniors) to participate. If you just want to get a feel for the sport, attend the Hunter Trials on Saturday, October 6, at Indian Hill’s Clippinger Field. The all-day event is open to the public and will include a horse show, hounds and horses classes, jumping courses, and a tailgating competition. Camargo Fox Hunt, (513) 561-0799, camargohunt.org

Brookville Lake
Brookville Lake provides low-pressure hunting with a little family-style recreation on the side. About 40 miles northwest of Cincinnati, Brookville Lake is located in the Whitewater River Valley and offers more than 10,000 acres of open hunting ground. All a hunter needs to do—aside from following the Indiana DNR’s licensure and education requirements—is sign in at one of the property’s 16 self-serve hunter stations. The land is full of deer, turkeys, doves, quail, and rabbits in the fall; there is a pre-season drawing for the turkey hunting periods. The lake itself is 5,260 acres, allowing for ample fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities after you’ve had your fill of hunting. If you need a break, grab an empty picnic shelter (or make a reservation), put up your feet, and soak up the scenic view on the lakefront. Brookville Lake, 10064 Overlook Rd., Brookville, (765) 647-6701, in.gov/dnr/parklake/2961.htm

Originally published in the September 2012 issue