Bowhunting.Com contributor, Jason Lawrence, expresses a feeling many of us hunters know too well, leaving a farm we’ve come to call home. It’s familiarity in its sights, smells, and sounds will always be etched within our memories, but often still it’s just so hard to let go.
Saying GoodBye. By, Jason Lawrence (RacewayKing).
I woke up on July 1st with a dreaded feeling in my stomach. The weather was unseasonably cool and it was the perfect day to remove my stands from my bowhunting Mecca known simply as “The Raceway”. Nearly six years ago my invitation to this hunting spot fell in my lap with a call from a buddy that just bought a five acre property in Unincorporated Carpentersville, Illinois. I was skeptical of the hunting potential of a spot that is one mile from a shopping mall, but still found eagerness in seeing the new property a good friend had purchased.
This spot would become my main hunting grounds for six seasons. I doubt I will ever find a spot that will equal the lessons and enjoyment which this spot has provided me. I was able to share my hunts with numerous friends, including my father. I built great hunting relationships with a couple of guys that also had permission to hunt the property and gained the name “Raceway King” by the owner, which he came up with since I harvested the largest deer year after year on the property. The generosity of the property owner went well beyond hunting rights; I often played pool on the deck after dark or found breakfast waiting after morning hunts. I could hunt this spot for weeks on end and would never wear out my welcome. I also received great scouting info from his kids and wife since they were always around.
In my six years at the Raceway I saw things I had never seen in my other spots. I witnessed deer fighting on their back legs, witnessed to mature bucks lock horns, witnessed deer making scrapes and rubs. I saw 14 deer within the first half hour of shooting light on my first sit on the property; I hardly ever went a day without seeing deer in my six years hunting. The smallest buck I took out of the spot was around 117” with the biggest two going into the 150” range. I took my first nine, ten and eleven point bucks from this spot and consistently put meat in the freezer. This spot also helped my team win the first annual bowhunting.com team deer contest with a 138” ten point entry. Little did I know it would be the last deer I would take from the spot.
Jason (above) smiles after taking this 138" whitetail buck during the 2008 season. Little did he know it would be the last deer he would ever take from the property.
Last July the property owner lost his wife in a freak accident on the 5th and has fallen on hard times due to the economy and slowing down of the construction business. In a month the property will be auctioned through the County Sheriff’s Auction and someone else will take over the property. As a token of good will I left evidence of which trees were hunted out of, a gesture the previous owner had done before my friend bought the property. This year will bring a new beginning with unfamiliar properties. I will have to be successful using my acquired skills and will be reaching out to my fellow hunters through the bowhunting.com forums for guidance. Saying goodbye is never easy, but the memories of the Raceway will stay with me for life.
Kevin Lane (Mechdoc, shown above) became good friends with Jason after meeting on the Bowhunting.Com forums. The buck pictured above also fell during the 2008 season at the raceway.