For most of the Bowhunting.net followers, each year the readers have read of the Nebraska Turkey hunts that Robert Hogue and Fred Lutger have been on. My ranch in Nebraska, is where they hunt turkeys each spring. We limit our turkey hunters and have found that less hunters makes for better hunting. This last spring they were accompanied by Wade Noland, who we thoroughly enjoyed. My wife and I look forward to their visits aswe enjoy their company, and they are gentleman to say the least. Never a complaint, courteous, and they love to eat. I have been hunting Nebraska since 1965. When this ranch came up for sale in 1986 my wife and I decided to purchase it, and after retirement from U.P.S. in Ill. we moved here in 1995 and ran a small cow calf operation. It is less than 500 acres, but the ranch has a mile of river bottom bordering it, with cottonwoods and cedar trees along that bottom. A perfect habitat for whitetails.
Along with that, the turkeys make this their winter home. But the main reason I purchased the ranch, was for the deer hunting that I have enjoyed so much here in Nebraska. My Sons from Illinois & Mississippi are avid bowhunters, and we have many fine memories of hunts here.
Over the years I have taken many fine bucks, and though some don’t make P&Y, each are special. I have eight P&Ys with two more pending measurement, and tho I’m 67 yrs young, I keep climbing those tree stands as long as I can.
This year I was determined to take a decent buck, as in 2008 I had a knee replacement in June, hoping that by opening day of archery season I would be on my way to recovery. But it did keep me limited to a lot of climbing. I had two bucks that I had to pass on last year that were in the 140’s, and I wanted to make up for that this year. Little did I know, that this year would be one I would never forget.
Nebraska Archery season opened Sept 15, I was ready, but my wife had other plans.
So hunting was put on hold for four days. Sept. 19 found me sitting on a high hill on the S.E. area of my ranch with my spotting scope. Although it was early in the season, I knew the deer were hitting my small corn field pretty heavy. From this spot I could see any deer crossing the pasture to the corn.
At 4:oo pm a doe and her two fawns crossed the field heading for the corn. Then about ten minuets later I put the scope on a beautiful heavy racked eight point heading the same way. With the sun on his rack I could tell he had nice mass and would definitely be a shooter if I had the chance. The only problem was, he crossed the pasture where there are hardly any trees going to the corn field. There were a few ash trees that he passed by, but would they do?
The next day, about noon I grabbed my tree stand and climbers, loaded them on my four wheeler, and headed to the area he passed. There was one lone ash tree in the pasture that he had to pass by the day before, so the choice was made. By driving up to the tree, I could keep my scent minimal. I set up the stand, and was ready to return in a few hours.
Three o’clock found me in the stand and hoping I’d see him again, was I hoping to much?
At 4:15 here comes an eight pt, Oh no! it’s not the same buck, a nice long tine buck but smaller and younger, this one needed another year to grow. Another doe and two fawns follow him into the corn field. Then
about 30 min. later, a really nice ten pt crosses the field, should I take him? Wide rack, nice tines, but the mass wasn’t there, twice I made a small grunt to stop him to look him over, twice he stopped at under twenty yds from me.
No! I set out for the heavy eight and passed the ten.
That evening , I wondered if I had made bad decision in passing the ten.
The next afternoon Sept 21, I was in the stand, still wondering if seeing that big eight was a fluke, and if I should have taken the ten the day before. At 4:00 here comes the doe with her fawns right on time. Then a few min. later another doe with one fawn follows . Well! At least the tree seems to be working, as they are all passing within 20 yds and not spooking. The one doe with two fawns decides to graze about 30 yds from my tree, while the other doe and her fawn head for the corn.
Looking back towards the river I catch a flash of something heading across the pasture. It’s the big eight, and he was at a slow run about 70 yds away. Everything happened so fast, grabbing my bow, pulling back, saying to myself, “pick a spot”. All the time hoping
the doe would not catch my movement and spook. At 19 yds broadside, I gave a grunt and he stopped and I released. The arrow was on it’s mark, passing through both lungs. I watched as he headed back towards the river, jumped the fence stumbled and fell. To my surprise the doe and fawns were still there, wondering what all the commotion was about. To my luck, they hadn’t caught my movement in the tree and spooked the buck.
They did make a hasty getaway as I climbed down. The Spitfire broadhead passed completely through, and I knew the deer was down, so I headed out to see if he was all that I’d hoped he was.
He was that and more, a beautiful eight pointer with heavy beams, nice tines and huge body. He grossed just over 140, but right tines were a little shorter then left, but will still green score P&Y 134 to 135. Even after field dressing him he weighed in at 219 .
My first deer of the season. My 11th entrant for P&Y. Could I be as lucky with my second tag? In any case, after 2008, I couldn’t have been happier.