The Great Outdoors: Ultimate Hunt
By RYAN BRINKER
Photos by ADAM COLE
RAVENWOOD LODGE Ken Corbet has been an active hunter and outdoors person his entire life. He grew up hunting with his father and traveling the country looking for the ultimate hunt. But when the reality of how good the hunting was back at home, Corbet opened Ravenwood Lodge in 1985.
“I went on hunts all over western Kansas and other places and I thought to myself, ‘I can do something just as good or better right here in Topeka,”’ Corbet said. “Our property is just perfect for hunting.”
They started off small, doing guided hunts. That was 34 years ago. Since that time the business has grown exponentially. Today, hunters come to hunt at Ravenwood from 25 states and from several foreign countries. Several national television shows have featured hunts at Ravenwood, including one that will air this summer.
Corbet says that when people come here from out of state, they are amazed at the topography that the area has to offer. Because the Ravenwood property sits in the Dover and Auburn area, the land has everything from creek bottom timberland to high plateaus and grassy areas—ideal for a variety of different game.
The majority of visitors come for the hunting. The Rooster Pheasant is by far the most popular game, Corbet says, because they are not only a challenge, but also incredibly beautiful. And, you can’t help but be amazed by the dogs.
“The dogs are what makes the hunt,” Corbet said. “You get two or three dogs working a big field, pointing and retrieving and doing what they do best, it is just amazing.”
Ravenwood supplies guides and dogs on every hunt, or people can bring their own.
Ravenwood isn’t just for game hunting, however. People can shoot sporting clays, stay at the rustic bed and breakfast, hold fundraising events, host a dinner, conduct corporate retreats or even get married.
“We’ve had people hold big weddings here,” Corbet said. “And they don’t even live in the area.”
Corbet says he enjoys being able to help people immerse themselves in an outdoor experience, even if that simply means getting them out of their offices to enjoy a company meeting surrounded by nature. Businesses can reserve space for an afternoon or for multiple days if they need. The Bunkhouse can accommodate up to 100 people for private events or parties and can sleep 10 for overnight events. The Clubhouse is designed for smaller groups of up to 20 for business meetings. The Mission Creek Lodge, which has been in the family since the 1860s, has meeting space for up to 18 and sleeps four. And the Coyote Den, with its covered porch, grills and smokers adds a rustic feel to small parties and fundraisers.
While Ravenwood caters to the serious hunter, recreational clay shooter, corporate businesses or private functions, they also have a number of events geared toward families. On June 3, they will hold Youth in the Outdoor Days, which is free for kids ages 6 to 16. At the event, kids can shoot bows and arrows and pellet guns and enjoy spending time outdoors with a grandparent or other adult.
"That's a cool day to get kids off their cell phones or iPads and get them outside," Corbet said.