Sometimes it pays to stop and smell the hay — words to live by, according to an Arkansas tree trimmer who counts friends like a banker counts money.
During a break from chasing turkeys in Kansas in the spring of 2010, Robert Weaver decided to cool his heels and watch someone cutting hay. The big John Deere looked like a house on wheels, and he’d never seen such a piece of machinery back home in Pine Bluff, Ark.
He noticed, too, that another of the guys there kept stealing glances at him. The man pretended he wasn’t staring, but then he dropped the pretense.
“He finally just lit up and said, ‘You’re him!’” Robert laughed. “He thought I was Larry the Cable Guy. You know, the ‘get-er-done’ fella?
“He didn’t believe me, at first, when I told him no,” he added.
The two men became fast friends afterward.
“I guess you could say I’ve got the gift of gab,” not-Larry said.
Robert didn’t need another place to hunt in Kansas; didn’t seek it. He and a friend stay at a log cabin on 200 acres, and they hunt it as well as some small walk-in tracts. But he wound up with a new set of hunting rights anyway.
“Friendship is everything. People out there in Kansas with lots of money ... you can’t pay them enough to hunt their land. But if you just make friends, that’s all it takes,” he said. “Friends are my wealth.”
Robert, 48, is a retired duck hunting guide and operates a tree service in Pine Bluff. He’d hunted property east of the new farm for four or five years. He got hooked on Kansas after rattling up seven bucks in one morning of bowhunting.
“They have a different strain of deer out there, or something,” he said. “They’re longer, heavier and more aggressive. If I rattle or use a decoy in the river bottoms of Arkansas, those bucks will take one look, if they bother at all, and leave the country.
“Plus, people back home spend six months out of the year in the woods, beginning when bow season opens in September,” he continued. “In Kansas, it’s like deer don’t mean that much to them. There’s hardly any pressure.”
That’s only one reason he drives the 700 miles to the Sunflower State at least twice every fall and again during the spring.
“I have to travel that far so I can have some peace,” he said of his clients’ demands.
While deer hunting the new ground during the 2011 blackpowder season, he spied a gigantic buck that really got under his skin. He hunted that deer for 11 straight days, but he never saw it again.
He returned to that same hillside box stand, one of four he and a buddy had erected on the property during the 2012 rifle season. The stand overlooks a creek bottom and small alfalfa field to the south, and more alfalfa and a cut cornfield to the north.
Early on, he saw a couple of decent, but young bucks.
“One was a 140-inch 10-pointer. I passed it up on opening morning,” he said. “The other one was a 163-inch 10-pointer. Folks hunting with the adjoining outfitter shot both of them later in the week.
“I’m not going out there to shoot a 140- or 150-inch whitetail,” he added. “I’ll eat a tag sandwich before I shoot a 3 1/2- or 4 1/2-year-old deer. I’ve got plenty of those back home in Arkansas.”
On Dec. 4, six days into the season, Robert was in the blind by 3:45 p.m. When he saw this buck, he had no idea it was the same one that stole his heart the previous year. It was about 165 yards to the south.
“It’s amazing how they just pop up out of the ground sometimes,” he said. “Because there’s so much open land, you think you’re going to see them coming from a long ways. But, no sir. One minute there’s nothing; the next, it’s just standing there. It’s unbelievable.
“I had to make up my mind to shoot it,” he admits.
The rack might have carried 21 points, but a lot of those are sticker and burr points. From a distance, it looks like a thick 5x5.
When Robert committed and squeezed the trigger, the shoulder-hit buck plowed down the steep creek bank. Later, after administering the coup de grace, he wondered how on earth he was going to pull it up the bank.
Yet another reason he cherishes his friends.
“That buck had to weigh around 280 (on the hoof),” he said. “A deer like that might push 225 in Arkansas.
“I might hunt another 10 years and eat a whole lot of tag sandwiches before I shoot another deer like this,” he says.
“Doesn’t matter. I’m still going to Kansas whenever I can get loose.”
Hunter: Robert Weaver
BTR Score: 200 4/8”
– Photos Courtesy of Robert Weaver
This article was published in the November 2013 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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