CHLOE - Four for four.
That's precisely the sort of statistic Nathan Kirk hoped to create when he and his family purchased a 130-acre hunting camp in rural Roane County.
Four hunters, four trophy bucks.
Last fall, Nathan, his son Nathan II, his stepson Andy Yerrid and neighbor Ed Parkins all killed bucks with eight- to 10-point racks, long antler tines and handsome spreads between the racks' main beams.
"All of those bucks came off the property," Kirk said with a satisfied smile. "They represented a lot of work."
That's work, as in combing the West Virginia hills for years to find just the right piece of land; work, as in clearing the land and making it more attractive to wildlife; and work, as in putting in the time needed to have successful hunts.
Before his work with the power company brought him to West Virginia in 1995, Kirk had always hunted in his home state of Kentucky.
"I thought the hunting in Kentucky was pretty good," he said. "And then I came to West Virginia and found out how much better it was here."
He immediately began looking for a piece of land to set up a hunting camp. The process took longer than he imagined.
"We looked for 10 years," he said. "We put four-wheelers in our trucks so we could ride the properties to check them out. We knew what we wanted - a place at the head of a hollow that wasn't easy to get to.
"We found places that had good wildlife habitat but were too accessible. We found places that were isolated enough but didn't have good habitat. We just stayed patient and kept looking."
In 2005, a real estate agent in Jackson County called Kirk and told him she had found the perfect place, a 130-acre former farm near the Roane-Calhoun line. He drove out, took one look at the property and made an offer.
"We had a lot of work to do," he said. "We had to remodel the existing house, which wasn't in very good condition. We had to clear away brush and create food plots. It's taken us six years to get the property the way we wanted it."