The explosions of shotguns echo through the crisp Kansas morning air. To the unknowing it may sound like a war was breaking out south of the sleepy little town of Tipton. To the residents of Tipton though, it is an all to familiar sound from October till March.
Situated approximately two miles south of Tipton and marked only by a stone sign sits the Houghton Ranch. Established in 1872, five generations of Houghtons have worked for perfection no matter what the endeavor is.
In the case of Keith and Debra Houghton, that endeavor is providing quality traditional upland gamebird hunting. The Houghton's established Ringneck Ranch in 1983. More than 12,00 acres of prime pheasant, prairie chicken, and bobwhite quail habitat spreads it way through the Carr Creak valley and is back dropped by the Blue Hills.
Turning off the highway to travel down the rutted gravel road, signs posted inform the traveler that dogs are busy working and that they are crossing over onto a controlled shooting area that is licensed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife.
A drive down the long twisting driveway passes Milo fields and tall grass and prepares the hunter for the hunt that awaits them the next day. A newly constructed lodge and ranch greets the guests upon arrival.
As the new hunters cross the threshold of the ranches newest building, they immediately feel like they have been transported to another world. Beautiful wood paneled walls, a rustic looking bar with equally rustic looking stools, and simple but pleasant wood furniture be speckles the lobby. A pro shop sits near the back of the lobby area but blends itself well enough not to be intrusive.
Named "Cedar Lodge" this newest building to the ranch uses harvested cedar trees that died in the recent drought as its internal woodwork. After checking in at the front desk in Cedar Lodge, guests then move to their rooms. Some could be staying at Cedar Lodge others may stay at the Hangar. If those options are full then there is always the popular ranch house, the Houghton House, the Waggoner House, or the exclusive Blue Hills Lodge.