John's Journal...

Texas’ Ford Ranch – A Dream Hunt for Everyone

Day 3: Quaker Boy Calls’ Chris Kirby Takes His Dream Buck at Texas’ Ford Ranch

Click for Larger ViewChris Kirby never has known a life without hunting. The son of the late Dick Kirby, founder of Quaker Boy Calls ( and champion turkey caller, Chris is now the president of Quaker Boy ( and also has won the World Turkey Calling Championship. During the first weekend in December, I had the opportunity to hunt with Chris, his wife Michelle, and his mother Bev at the Ford Ranch in Melvin, Texas. One of the advantages of hunting at the Ford Ranch is that you can take a buck of a lifetime. Whether you’re on a morning or an afternoon hunt, you may see as few as five to as many as 10 or more bucks. Click for Larger ViewAnd, taking a buck that will score around 150 on Boone & Crockett is quite common. To be able to see and identify trophy bucks, each year before hunting season begins, Forrest Armke, the ranch manager, hires a helicopter and a pilot and flies a grid pattern over the entire 30,000-acre ranch in an attempt to photograph the trophy bucks on the property. Before each hunt, Armke shows his hunters the trophy bucks available on the ranch. However, there are two to three times more bucks that will score from 100 to 140 B&C available for harvest at the Ford Ranch. Having hunted the Ford Ranch several times before, I tell the hunters I know who are going there to hunt to take their video cameras with them. Without those videos, none of their buddies will believe the number of bucks they see on their hunts, unless they have the video evidence to prove it.

Click for Larger ViewKirby and his entire family have been a part of the nation’s hunting tradition for many years, and on this trip, Kirby’s mission was, “To wait on the biggest buck that I’ve ever been able to take or else I’ll go home without filling a tag.” This type of mentality is what’s required to be a trophy buck hunter. You’ve got to be willing to turn-down great bucks and the opportunity to take them, if you’re going to take the biggest buck you’ve ever taken in your life. Even more importantly, you must have a place to hunt that can provide you that opportunity.

For 3 days, Kirby hunted like a man on a mission, and finally at the end of the 3 days, a buck that would score in the high 140s or low 150s stepped-out. Using a CVA Optima Elite .243, Kirby let the crosshairs settle on the buck’s shoulder. With a light squeeze on the trigger, he took his dream buck of a lifetime. One of the most-difficult aspects of being a trophy buck hunter is letting other bucks walk away that you know any of your hunting buddies would take, to find and take that dream buck of a lifetime. Of course, not everyone needs to be a trophy buck hunter. Click for Larger ViewAs I’ve mentioned earlier, Kirby’s been hunting all of his life with bows, blackpowder rifles and conventional rifles and has taken a large number of bucks. Now he had the patience and the discipline required to let a good buck walk away to take the buck of a lifetime. Another thing about Chris Kirby and also what makes other trophy buck hunters different is that Kirby would’ve been happy to go home not filling his tag. Kirby saw plenty of bucks he could’ve taken but didn’t, and that’s what encompasses the sport of deer hunting. The taking of the game should never be as important as the spirit of the hunt.

For more information about the Ford Ranch, you can call (325) 286-4572, email, or go to

For more information about Quaker Boy Calls, go to

Tomorrow: Texas’ Ford Ranch Offers Many Trophy Deer for the Taking with Quaker Boy Calls’ ( Michelle Kirby

Check back each day this week for more about "Texas’ Ford Ranch – A Dream Hunt for Everyone "

Day 1: John E. Phillips Made His Weirdest Bow Shot Ever at a Ford Ranch Texas Buck
Day 2: Texas’ Ford Ranch – a Great Place for Beginner and Expert Deer Hunters
Day 3: Quaker Boy Calls’ Chris Kirby Takes His Dream Buck at Texas’ Ford Ranch
Day 4: Texas’ Ford Ranch Offers Many Trophy Deer for the Taking with Quaker Boy Calls’ Michelle Kirby
Day 5: The State of Texas' New Hunting Targets – the Axis Deer Invasion at the Ford Ranch


Entry 591, Day 3