This past week, I made my second trip to the vast 45,000 acres Choctaw Hunting Lodge, located less than an hour west of Hugo, Okla., this time with several great friends including Larry Weishuhn, aka “Mr. Whitetail.”
Larry has co-hosted a segment of my radio show with me we call “Campfire Talk” for the past eight years, and we get together around a real campfire every chance we get.
It was a bit too hot last week for a campfire, but we had an absolute blast fishing in some of the many lakes on the Choctaw property and driving the remote roads that traverse the property with managers Travis Benes and Jody Standifer.
Although we probably logged eight to ten miles of travel along the roads, we only scratched the surface. It would require wearing out a lot of boot leather to really learn the ranch and a great deal of time.
The Choctaw tribe has the ranch under an intense wildlife/fish management plan, but as Weishuhn said after spending several hours looking the place over, “This country is covered in excellent whitetail habitat, the supplemental feeding and proven management practices only add to an already excellent situation.”
At the present the Choctaw Hunting Lodge, which is in its infancy as an outdoor destination for sportsmen, is in the process of getting the word out about all the outdoor opportunities that are available. The gates to this sportsman’s paradise have been open only a couple of years, but the word is getting out.
As Travis Benes stated, “Once folks come and see what we offer, they often plan their next outing before they leave. The land has long been a great place for enjoying the outdoors but we have been a commercial operation for only a short time.”
On smaller acreages, it’s common to have feeders and feed stations in close proximity. At Choctaw Lodge, the supplemental feeding areas are often miles apart, and during our scouting of the area, we noted extremely high concentrations of game animals, i.e., deer, turkey and lots of hogs at each spot.
These roads are traveled only occasionally, and wildlife is most definitely not pressured which equates to some excellent hunting opportunities. There is so much about this place/area that I wish to relate to you that it’s tough to pack it all into this weekly column, so look for more feature articles in upcoming months. For now, let’s break down the opportunities by categories.
Deer Hunting – Oklahoma is known for producing some big deer, but nationwide it remains a “sleeper” state. I grew up in Red River County, a few miles south of the Red River, and have seen these big mountain bucks coming out of this area my entire life. The natural forage available combined with supplemental feeding make this area a deer hunting Mecca. Choctaw Lodge offers several deer hunting opportunities for their fall/winter seasons.
Hogs – I saw scores of hogs during my spring turkey hunt. A summer hog hunt is an excellent way to expose oneself to all the area has to offer. We visited a very nice camp house where hunters can lodge and enjoy a three-day hog hunt for $400. They will do their own cooking but be transported to and from the stands and enjoy the benefit of a walk-in cooler to take care of the meat they harvest. For twice this price, they stay in the main lodge and enjoy excellent meals and the same great hog hunting.
Fishing – On our short visit, we concentrated on fishing and enjoyed a great fish fry afterward at the main lodge. The many lakes have been around for years and the ones we fished are chock full of crappie, largemouth bass, bream and catfish. The fishing program is just being developed, but is available right now.
For $250 per night, guests can lodge in the cabin which sleeps 6 or 7 and fish in the various lakes. At first we planned to fish strictly for catfish, but when Jody, a past bass tournament angler, broke out his spinning rig with downsized Roadrunner jigs and began jerking out some “mega” size crappie, we were all scrambling for jigs and lighter tackle.
We kept plenty of fish for a big fish fry. Travis says visiting guests who come for the fishing package are allowed to keep enough fish for a fish fry each day. We enjoyed great action fishing from the bank, but anglers are welcome to bring their small boats if they desire.
We did the majority of our fishing at the lake situated a short distance from the camp house. While the opportunity of catching a lunker bass is always present, there are lots of smaller fish that need to be removed, and these are very well suited for the evening fish fry. Once we discovered the awesome crappie fishing, we stayed with the Roadrunner Jigs until we had caught enough for dinner and then we began releasing fish. This fishing package presents the perfect opportunity for a family get away or for a few friends to get together in a very relaxed setting.
For those who wish to enjoy a summer hog hunt/fishing trip, I’m sure that Travis can devise a plan to suit your desires. I dearly love hunting and fishing in the Lone Star state, but just across the Red I’ve discovered some “mountain” country this is absolutely awesome. Did I mention that there is a very healthy black bear population here? Much more in future articles.
To learn more about the Choctaw Hunting Lodge, visit www.choctawhuntinglodge.com.
Listen to “Outdoors with Luke Clayton and Friends” on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas on weekends or anytime online at www.catfishradio.org.
Luke Clayton is a Combine resident and writes a weekly outdoors column.