If the Cacapon River has existed forever, so have these hunt clubs in the memories of their current members.
Officially, the two clubs have separate landholdings, deeds and titleholders, but many of the owners are listed on both parcels.
And if an individual only appears on one title, the distinction means nothing when it comes to the privilege of hunting on both properties. The Buzzerd, Swaim, Lewis, Hovermale, Smith, and Kesecker families are connected by either marriage or friendship and the circle widens to include the next generation of family and friends which include the Allemongs, McBees, and the Robertsons.
Tim Allemong affectionately refers to Buzz (J. Warren Buzzerd) as the “matriarch” of the group, but that probably has more to do with Buzz’s warmth, hospitality (everyone bunks at Buzz and Linda’s), and organizational nature than with Tim’s gender misconceptions.
According to Tom and Betty Lewis, it was Buzz’s idea for the clubs to donate conservation easements on both properties. Although preserving the land for hunting was the main focus of the easements, everyone agreed that the tax deductions were a deal sealer.
These families have a long and strong hunting and outdoor heritage and they have great hopes of conveying this passion to their grandchildren. Safe hunting in a protected area gives the old guard a chance to teach the under-10 brigade gun safety, conservation, and the technical aspects of the harvest.
The greatest number of members congregate during buck season, but others enjoy squirrel and turkey hunting, camping, and sharpening their skills on the shooting range.
Whether or not they have been successful at bringing down a buck during the day, when evening comes, happy hour begins, dinner preparations are started, and new and old stories forge the bonds of friendship. Evening meals from Sunday through Wednesday have their traditional menus ranging from spaghetti to surf and turf, and everyone takes a turn at preparing the spread.
On Thanksgiving Day additional family and friends arrive to help prepare a true feast. Is venison on the menu? Absolutely not! Not everyone enjoys venison, and much of the meat is given to people in need. During one surf and turf night, some jokesters tried to sneak a venison steak onto Buzz’s plate, but he was not to be fooled.
Kent Kesecker has finally managed to gut a deer without throwing up.
But the butt of most jokes is poor Steve Smith, who has shot the spouting off the Buzzerd home, tried to drop a dead deer that had been propped up by his buddies, and most recently dropped his cell phone into the gravy pot.
The time Betty’s son Tim (on the way to retrieving his mom’s buck) buried his jeep in the river and they had to had to abandon the vehicle in waste-deep 22F water rates among the top stories.
These stories — humorous or infamous — bond these folks to the land and to each other, conserving friendship and a piece of paradise forever.