Top of the line facilities, exceptional hunting, but most of all great people. The Hooray Ranch does it right and it is a marvelous place.
If you are a cream of the crop outfitting business, there is some serious coin to be made. But that might be what makes the Hooray Ranch so special They aren't in it for the money, but rather for a good time.
Hunting and hanging out is, ultimately, the way it should be done.
I was beyond grateful when I got to experience my first writer's hunt in Kansas this year. And if I could make an analogy that will let other hunters understand how great it was at the Hooray Ranch, and the predicament I am in now, it would be similar to this:
Double lunging an 180-inch whitetail with a bow during your first archery season...on public ground. I have been ruined because my first experience was over-the-top great and those following will most definitely fall short of expectations.
It feels like any outfitter or ranch I hunt from now on is sure to be a disappointment. Just like that person who bags the buck of a lifetime their first year out and comes to a conclusion that killing mature deer is an easy task. The future is sure to let you down. But let's get to the details of the Hooray Ranch and what the week brought.
First off, the whole week was put on by two outstanding and growing companies in our industry. Scent Crusher and Cherokee Sports who are both represented by Rubline Marketing.
Cherokee Sports is taking some big strides in the turkey hunting world by adding some innovation to a rather stagnate market. We all love turkey hunting, but the market lacks some modernization in areas, and Cherokee is coming at that angle full force.
With their super realistic inflatable decoys with molded heads and turkey calls that resemble an iPhone, they are branching out and finding a niche. My best advice there is to just check out there product line here and see for yourself.
And then there is Scent Crusher. Most wouldn't think that you need to control every aspect of your scent on a turkey hunt. I once got told by a seasoned veteran in the turkey woods that if turkeys could smell, it wouldn't be much fun because you would never kill one.
So why does Scent Crusher and their Ozone technology come in handy on a turkey hunt? I will break that down in another article, but you better believe I'm bringing the bag to every hunt camp or ranch I go to from now on, and for good reason.
And now, back to the ranch...
Behind any good operation is quality people who make things happen. The owners of the Hooray Ranch are the epitome of the mantra "Good things happen to good people," because it all seems to be working.
The owners and staff had incredible hospitality, treated us like family, and catered to us in every way possible. They stayed up late to hang out and form camaraderie, but woke up before sunrise to hit the woods with us.
One evening I overheard the owner tell one of his employees that, "The day I quit having fun and stop loving this, that will be the day that I am done with it all." I think that is the secret to the whole Hooray experience. They thoroughly love doing what they do and pleasing their guests day in and day out.
That description doesn't even mention the hunting guides, who were stellar. They were personable, good guys who love the hunt as much as you and I, but they are there to get to know you and hang out just as much as they are there to help you fill your tag. It was a special group of people providing a great atmosphere, and I can't say enough good things about the staff.
If you love to eat, then this is the ranch for you. The chef was pumping out world class meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus appetizers before every dinner that would put any restaurant to shame.
Smoked pheasant and cheese covered in honey, shrimp cocktail, and fried mushrooms just to name a few. Crab legs, steak, and drinks galore...they had it all. My mouth is literally watering as I write this.
I love hunting just as much or more than the next guy, but the food was so delicious you didn't want to be stuck in the blind while everyone else was back at camp feasting.
Better than most 5-star hotels, the ranch's facilities and buildings were top of the line. A very rustic look, the buildings were built of barn wood that had been bought and shipped from old standing barns in Canada. Every corner of all three buildings were neatly decorated with tremendous taxidermy scenes, encompassing the heart of Kansas in each and every mount.
From giant whitetail, strutting Rios, and locked up mallards, the buildings were a sight to see for any outdoor enthusiast.
The Hooray Ranch is truly something you have to see to believe and appreciate its real beauty.
And of course, there was hunting.
With over 20,000 acres of intensively-managed prime wildlife habitat, the hunting is sure to be superb as you can expect. I could not have enjoyed my turkey hunting experience any more. Seeing and hearing more turkeys than I have on any other hunt and getting to watch whitetail filter in and out of food plots all day long was an experience I won't soon forget.
After a couple of hard days of hunting, I was finally able to harvest a mature bird, and my first Rio to boot. So did six of the seven other writers on the trip, totaling nine beautiful Rio Turkeys in all. When hunting wild animals, nothing is ever guaranteed, so this is a testament to the Hooray Ranch's land and game management, as well as the guides' work.
And the crazy thing is, turkey hunting isn't even their bread and butter. The extravagant waterfowl hunting is what has made Hooray so famous. In the lake refuge behind the lodge, it is known to hold 40,000 birds every winter...and they don't ever hunt it.
There is a reason that they are completely booked for the next five years. They do it big, and they do it right, because it's the only way they know how...Hooray style. Michael Waddell of Bone Collector makes a week-long trip here every year, and it doesn't sound as if he will stop anytime soon.
I'm forever grateful for the opportunity and experience from Scent Crusher and Cherokee Sports, because the Hooray Ranch is simply the place to go.