Contributors to this thread:
North West Nebraska Public Land
Myself and a hunting buddy are planning a trip next spring, to the Crawford / Chadron area. We are thinking about staying at Fort Robinson or Chadron state parks and hunting fort Robinson state park, Nebraska National Forest, the soldier creek wilderness area or one of the several WMA's in the area. Any information or suggestions about where to stay or general hunting information would be appreciated. If you don't want to share on the open forum feel free to PM me.
I'll be poking around up there the next few months looking for deer, Ill let you know if I see any birds.
There are plenty of birds but when I hunted there three years ago there was also a fair amount of pressure. We hunted the first week in May. I suggest you go early. Between four experienced, committed turkey hunters, we killed exactly 0 birds and had exactly zero oppurtunities.
Turkey stalker, I grew up in Western NE and attended Chadron State College. Lots of turkeys in the area you mention. The best time to go is definitely the week prior to shotgun (Two of us went this year and both tagged out within 24hours. My bowsiter friend passed on a dozen jakes in his decoys the first evening) or after the first 2 weekends of shotgun season. That way you avoid the crowds.
Stay away from State parks and hunt National forest you will eliminate pressure as well. Pick any creek, and hunt it. In the winter, the turkeys feed in the small feedlots every ranch has beside their homestead. Once it warms up, the turkeys start dispersing up the drainages and almost always roost within easy hearing distance of the creeks. Find a good feedlot close to National forest land and follow the creek upstream from private until you reach public land.
Lastly, if you hunt the week and not the weekend, you eliminate a ton of competition. We hunted Tuesday night thru Friday. Actually we were done Wednesday.
If you have tent or camper, you can camp anywhere along the drainage in National forest - no permit needed. The above plan is exactly what we did - find a feedlot, follow creek upstream into pubic, park camper, hunt. Had turkeys gobbling/roosting within hearing distance of camper.
Finally - If you go at the times suggested, ASK rancher if you can hunt their land. They are very accommodating to bowhunters -just don't ask for during the first 2 weekends of shotgun season when they and their kids hunt. If you can't hunt their land for whatever reason (likely they already have hunters on their land - you picked the wrong dates to ask), ask them for another rancher that may let you. They will refer you. Hope that helps.
I've been several times. For sure stay at Ft Robinson, very cool place with lots of history. Nice, clean rooms, and the cabins are nice too. stayed in both.
I've hunted the State Park, and the National Forest, had great luck in both. Trout fishing in the park is good too.
Plan for all kinds of weather from hot to snow!!! Seen both.
Chadron State park is half the price of Fort Robinson and the cabins are awesome!! We were just there in May. It was hard hunting and but we hit up most of the forest land and public areas away from the park. We ended up 4 birds for 5 guys in 3 days. Lot off time driving around glassing and roosting birds in the evening and don't be afraid to put in some foot miles. That's how we killed em