Better late than never....I was invited to hunt NW Nebraska with several good friends from MissouriWhitetails.com October 13-19 and jumped at the opportunity. It was a DIY archery hunt on mostly public property for mule deer, whitetails and turkeys. We arrived at our cabins mid-afternoon on the 13th and took a little drive around the area to scout. The NW corner of Nebraska was ravaged by forest fires about two months prior and the damage effected several good areas the boys had hunted in past years. Despite the burned areas we still spotted tons on wildlife and found some promising areas to focus on for the week.
Sunday morning I headed out with Rob to glass at the Chisel Plow, which required us to hike back in about 1.5miles to our vantage point. The sunrise was amazing and it was great to finally be burning some leather and covering ground. We spotted several mule deer does (can't shoot them on public property) and a couple of whitetails, but no antlers were spotted in the flats and coolies.
We hunted hard on Monday and Tuesday, but warm temps and high winds were limiting daytime movement. We all had good encounters, but sealing the deal was not in the cards. Andy and I were pinned down by 18 mule deer and several whitetails one morning, but none of them came to the water tank we'd set up on. Tuesday evening the temperatures dropped, the wind laid down slightly a deer poured out into the grain fields. Darrin and I were hunting the same blind him and Seth doubled up out of a couple nights earlier. The parade of deer started around 5:45pm and by 6:30pm we had another double on whitey does in the books. We both made perfect shots and neither of the animals made it over 85yrds. This was my first archery kill out of a blind as well as the first archery kill I got witness someone else make; it was a pretty memorable sit! Seth also killed his 2nd whitetail doe of the trip, but we decided to recover her the next morning based on the shot. She didn't go more than 150yrds and it made for a quick recovery.
Wednesday and Thursday were a sight to behold weather wise!!! We had sustained winds in excess of 50mph with gust up to almost 70mph and all of the dust blowing out of the burn areas created an cloudy haze that made it look like the hills were still burning. We all toughed it out and hunted, but movement was nonexistent after first light and the high winds required us to get inside close proximity to take a shot. Thursday Seth and I decided to go for broke and spent all day spot & stalking the big coolies. We got on a nice group of mule deer early and after working them for several hours. They walked by between 40-60 yards but never stopped moving. We were literally yelling at them, but with the high winds they didn't even look at us.
Around 11am we moved over to Dexter's south canyon and immediately were pinned down by a small mule deer buck and does. After a couple minutes of glassing them inside 50yrds we spotted more deer in the bottom and a giant 160"+ 12point whitetail and a 140" 8point made their way right up to the mule deer and bedded down. We can't shoot bucks on the private ground, so it was cool and sickening being that close to a world class animal. We stalked the entire canyon system and about half way through Seth spotted a flock of turkeys working through the bottom towards us. Your ambush spot was ideal and we let the whole flock work with 18-28yards before making our move. I pinned the first bird and seconds later Seth's arrow in flight. The excessive winds actually helped mask our movements and we'd just double up on archery turkeys. Several hundred yards up the canyon we spotted the giant whitetail and his side kick bedded down and stalked within 60yards of them for the second time in under 2 hours.
That evening Andy smoked his last turkey of the trip and closed out our 2012 NW Nebraska adventure. It was a cool experience and hunt and I'm already looking forward to 2013!!!