Honestly, it's not for everyoneContributors to this thread:
Bill in MI 07-Apr-19
HUNT MAN 08-Apr-19
Nebraska's 2018 tourism pitch, funny, because it is kinda true and kinda not! Pretty much like bowhunting I think! This is my 2018 hunting season recap from the Sandhills of Nebraska. Hope you enjoy following along.
Rolling into March and turkey season, we had cold and snow on the ground. This kept us extremely busy on the ranch as calving season was under way. The boys and I bought turkey tags but didn’t think we would have a chance to use them.
I was shocked when one cold day with snow on the ground, turkeys showed up right in the calving lot as I was watching the cows. I ran back to the house and grabbed my bow and put a sneak on them. It was 4 hens and one nice tom. 10 minutes later I was on my knees and leaning around a cedar 25 yards from the strutting tom. One shot later and 1st tag of 2018 was filled!
Same story a couple of weeks or so later, only this time they spooked and took off running. A 45 yard shot later and I had tag 2 filled.
Hunter made it home from college for a weekend and made several attempts at the turkeys, finally connecting on this nice Tom spot and stalk a few miles from the house.
Due to an extremely wet summer here, putting up hay for the cows was a never ending challenge and we didn’t get up to the river but twice to restock our freezer with bighead.
One trip was almost a complete bust and the second trip we finally got into some and were able to restock the freezer!
As antelope and deer season got closer, checking pastures and cows (scouting) didn’t really turn up any decent sized bucks. That never really curbs the excitement tho. My oldest son Nick started getting some cameras out and we got our rye plot planted behind the house too but still nothing really exciting.
The rain that was such a pain for our haying season all summer and fall proved to really jump start the rye behind the house which in turn started to attract some mulie does and little bucks. Things were looking up.
Season opened and we found a few antelope on a neighbors place to try our luck at spot and stalk, we got (me mostly) our butts handed to us and this played out for me time and time again! Here are a couple mulies watching us from a blowout and hill side.
One noteable day, I found a buck with 2 does and followed them for 4 hours and came to full draw four times, only to have something go wrong. Either a doe would fly out of her bed and away they went or he would turn and walk straight away. Each time I would let them calm down and start all over. Finally, I crawled to 50 yards and peeked thru the grass at him broadside and pulled back, raised up and a doe ran from 15 yards away as I settled my pin and stopped right in front of him...and away they went for the last time that day. It was a long walk back to the pickup..
Deer season opened and Nick and I hit the hills to try and find some mulies to put the sneak on! Day 1 we covered a lot of ground and only found 2 bucks. We didn't get a good look at them as they dropped into a bowl and never came out. One looked decent and one looked small, time to get the feet in gear and try to get a better look. We slipped in and the one buck looked to be a shooter, so we dropped down and made a final approach. Long story short, I was at full draw and he busted out of the draw and Nick couldn't see them to get me a range, I guessed 40 and shot right over his back steep down hill. It was a long walk back to our ride home. I know I rushed the shot, I for sure didn't pick a spot and hoped that I would get another chance. We never saw that buck again the rest of the year....
We covered a lot of ground on and off for the next couple of weeks but only found does, fawns, and a few small bucks.
Then all of a sudden, Nick pulled cards and we started to see some nice bucks on camera. Some right in the rye patch. Where were these guys hanging out?
This big forkie, we have seen a few years now, kinda hoping we could get a crack at him!
We had some bucks to get after now! We hit it a little harder and tried to figure out where all these deer were hanging out.
We covered a lot of miles and sat and glassed a lot of likely looking hides and looked over some nice deer, just not the one yet.
This blowout had 9 mulies in it, I crawled to less than 100 yards and found one really wide 4x4 with crabs for fronts and one little brow. Decided to pass, even tho he looked to be mature. I crawled away and left them as they lay.
One day Nick and I spotted a nice buck bedded all alone and made a mile long sneak into 40 yards. Turned out to be what we thought was a younger 4x3 that we decided to give a pass to also.
Another day sneaking along we found one of the cam bucks! We crawled into 41 yards and lay watching him. This was taken with my phone. We really struggled with what to do here. He had broke off two cheater points and we thought, he’s a great buck for here, but just think if he made it another year, we let him walk too and hoped he would make it thru the year. We never saw him again...
This picture doesn't really do him justice, he was really heavy and had deep forks front and back, with a extra small fork on one back fork.
After this, things really slowed down and Nick and I did some long range scouting of a couple of whitetail spots. I wanted to hunt the heavy, tight whitetail and Nick found a wide, short tined 5x5 that he thought he could hang a stand and get on. We both sat quite a bit with some action but not what we were looking for.
Then I heard a giant coming, not!
Following this one. :)
Great story. Keep it coming.
Great pictures and story so far keep on posting!
Lookin forward to this. Keep it coming!
Great stuff so far!
Water soaked rounds! Not a good deal. What do you do with them?
Thanks guys! This year, we were kinda of short on hay, so we hauled them out and are feeding them. They have some spoilage in them that gets wasted but the cows eat the rest. Nick spotted a nice buck as he was getting ready to head home from work and ran to my house and grabbed all my gear and headed out to try his luck. He slid into less than a hundred yards and glassed up this next nice buck. He was a solid 5x4 with a inline point in one front fork. He went round and round with trying to get closer and take a shot but in the end decided to let him live to see another day.
At this point in the season, we had to take a week off for a family vacation. My wife and I had decided that since my son and his wife were expecting, to take them to Texas and on a hunt, since we told them after kids it all goes down hill! :) Ashley, our daughter-in-law was planning on taking the fall off from bowhunting as she would be due in Dec, but she thought it would be fun to do an exotic hunt. We did a 2 day hunt and had a great time.
Ashley wasted no time and was on the board the first afternoon, making a great heart shot on this beautiful blackbuck. It only went 40 yards and piled up!
I didn’t let an arrow go the 1st night or the next morning either. I was just enjoying the show. But on the 2nd night, I couldn’t pass on this nice blackbuck too. Shot was 22 yards and I also had a heart shot, only mine lit out of there like you spanked him. He traveled close to 200 yards before we found him piled up.
Nick really wanted to try and take a fallow buck. He passed a few small ones the 1st night and then the next morning had a 20 yard shot at a nice one. He hit him a little bit back but watched him bed. After a couple hours his head was still up and the buck got up and started to walk away. Nick followed him until he lost him in the thick stuff.
We were traveling a well worn two track back to camp to give him some more time when we glassed the last place Nick had seen him headed and spotted his horns in the brush!
We were able to crawl in to less than 20 yards on him and Nick hit him again thru a little window. He ran off again and we followed. He hasn’t went far when we spotted him again, this time he was perfectly broadside and Nick made a great shot thru a tiny hole at 30 yards and he was done in seconds.
Then it was time to head back to Nebraska and get serious about the hunting at home. Nick had some friends that he invited out to the ranch to get some deer camp time in with. They hunted for a few days. Keaton was 1st on the board, taking a big whitetail doe from a stand on the 1st night, only his second or third deer with a bow. His other buddy Nick also shot a big doe, that we tracked for well over a mile before we lost blood and a body search turned up nothing. He redeemed himself later with a spot and stalk mulie doe tho. His 1st deer with a bow! His last buddy Ethan had shot a little buck and a small doe (in years prior) and was looking for his 3rd ever deer with a bow. He was hoping for a nice buck. He arrowed a very nice buck that just missed netting pope. He is getting it mounted and was very excited. It was fun to be around these young men that were just having the time of their lives hunting here!
Keaton’s big doe
Nick’s mulie doe
Meanwhile, I was still trying to get a crack at a antelope buck. I had more chances than I've had in years and just for the life of me could not get a shot. They were still owning me!
I retreated to my stands, needing a break from the butt kickings! I hunted quite a bit as it got colder and the rut kicked in, just not finding what I was looking for and truthfully just enjoying the time out hunting!
Some days I saw nothing, other days they were right under me!
Meanwhile Nick spotted a doe antelope all alone and badly wanted to break his curse of never killing a antelope. He crawled in to 12 yards, pulled back, got up to his knees and put one in her 12 ring! His 1st goat!
Great bunch of hunting! You and your family are certainly having a blast! Thanks for sharing!
For sure, you all have the look on your face of what it's all about!
Thanks for sharing! Looks like a great season.
This is great stuff! Thanks for sharing.
Man! That’s a pile of critters! Congrats to the whole gang!
From: Bill in MI
Love the ride along. How are the bighead to eat?
Great story telling. Keep it up!
Get on with it Marty!!
Bill, bighead are some of the best fish I have ever ate! I almost forgot about Nicks epic trip with Beav to bear hunt with Hunt! He had an absolute blast and killed his 1st bear and could’ve killed another! Huge thanks to those guys making that dream come true for him.
Nick also took a pig while in Texas too.
He was really trying to stack the freezer before his 1st child put a dent in his hunting! He also got some river anterless tags so he could try and get some whitetail does. I think he ended up getting 3 extra does!
I was feeling the itchy trigger finger and when a nice big whitetail doe strolled by, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and had my prize after a short blood trail.
Nick finally had the wide whitetail walk within range of his new stand that he hung. He hit him back at 25 yards and when the buck paused at 42 yards, he put a second arrow thru his front shoulder and away he went. He was able to watch the buck until darkness closed in. We gave him several hours just to be sure and then found him 40 yards from where he last saw him bedded, dead!
Hunter was headed home from college with his girlfriend and had a day and half to hunt. They were planning on walking and glassing in the hills for any likely target. He also informed his brother and I that none of the bucks we had been passing would be safe! We discussed options and places he should check, then the day he would be home in the afternoon, that morning the big forky was spotted chasing some does in a grove of trees. I called him and asked if he was interested in him or not? If not, I wouldn't mind taking a crack at him. He said yes he was, after he checked the hills for one of the bigger bucks...
They had to stop and grab his girlfriend some warmer camo clothes, as she wasn't really a hunter. They arrived early that afternoon and headed out to the hills to try some glassing. After a couple of hours of glassing from a couple of high points and spotting no deer, they headed for the house. I told him where I had last seen the big fork and he decided to sit a stand in a big grove of trees there. I told him where I would sit. He wanted his girlfriend to be able to sit with him, so decided to try the same double ladder stand that he killed his big whitetail buck out of last year with me. I didn't think that was the best spot to get a chance at the mulie but he really wanted to sit there. So they loaded up and headed out the door.
And wouldn't you know it, after a little over an hour a mulie doe comes running down the trail with the big fork on her tail! She ran almost straight under the stand and kept going, he took the same trail. The trouble was, this stand isn't set up to shoot behind it on that side, or really even straight to the side. Hunter had already stood and was at full draw as the buck slowed to a walk almost head on at 8-9 yards, he put a magnus tipped gold tip right between his neck and near side shoulder. Leaning around the tree and watching through some cedar trees he watched him stop and tip over dead less than 40 yards away!
Hunter, with his two trophies!
Now around this time several less than savory bowhunters had rolled into town and were staying out at Beav's hunting cabin on the river and some of them were really stacking up the deer and killing a ton of brain cells to boot! One was a really good friend of ours from Maryland and his two boys, the other, some killing machine called Hunt from out west somewhere. We made several trips down to swap stories and drink some of their refreshments and even had them up for some Nebraska ribeyes. Dave and his boys had brought out some fresh fish and shrimp and we had a great feed down there another night as well. As we got to swapping stories and sharing pictures, our friend Dave's son Kelton kept saying how he would love to get a crack some day at a mule deer. You see where he was hunting is almost 100% whitetails on the river bottom they hunt. Nick and I had one spot that gets hit pretty good during rifle season and that was right around the corner. We hadn't seen anything that really got us going but we did know that one nice 3x4 mulie was hanging out chasing the ladies pretty good there. We thought what the heck, lets take Kel and see if we can get him on that buck!
We asked Kel if he was up to the task and he was super excited, only problem he said was that his bow had started to shoot kinda funny past 20 yards. Well to the rescue was Hunt and Beav's really good buddy Matt. They determined that his loop had slid and was about to break! They spent a good while measuring and retying in a new loop and got the bow shooting pretty good right on the spot the next morning. After a quick practice range out to 40 yards proved that it was back to shooting "good" every one went their separate ways. After chores were done for the morning, I let Nick take Kel and go hunting. Nick decided to leave his bow in the side by side that they had took from our house over 3 miles to start their hunt. They got up on a high hill and started glassing. Almost right away they spotted the 3x4. They made a plan to sneak around and drop down thru some thick cedars and crawl up to a small rise and see if they could get on this buck. Once on the small rise they couldn't see thru a small wall of cedars and decided to just get on their butts and slide down the hill thru the thick stuff and see if they could spot the buck in the open down below. As Nick came to a stop and leaned out from under the cedars, he was shocked to be face to face with a mulie doe that had a giant 5x5 buck right behind her..
Well done and fun too.
Good luck, Robb
And this is when the fun kicked in! As Kel slid in behind Nick, Nick was violently whispering, get an arrow on your bow and pull back, giant right here! Kel did as he was told and calmly got a arrow nocked. He then saw the buck and couldn't believe it. He got pulled back and said "how far?" Nick whispered 26 yards as the buck who hadn't seen them nosed the doe and walked perfectly broadside in the wide open! Swish, 1st arrow sailed harmlessly in front of the buck....One tiny branch had deflected his arrow 2 feet in front of his bow. The doe trotted off with the none the wiser buck. Nick and Kel watched him run around chasing that doe as all chaos broke loose. The 3x4 was also running a separate doe around, as deer started popping out everywhere in front of them. These two kept a positive attitude and started to try to maneuver to get another crack at the big buck. Nick whispered as they closed in, I can't believe you blew it at 26 yards on a giant, chuckling, to which Kel replied, "too soon, man, too soon!" They soon ran out of cover and were just sitting by the last cedar watching the chasing going on several hundred yards in front of them. About this time, the 3x4 started chasing a doe right at them. Kel was nocked and pulled back only for his arrow to fall off his string. Nick slowly reached over and knocked his arrow back on just in time as the doe ran by almost close enough to touch! Kel made a perfect gut shot at about 5 yards and the buck instantly humped up and started walking slowly away. Kel quickly nocked another arrow and fired one right by him at 60 yards. The buck ran just a short distance and bedded. The boys snuck up to about 25 yards and Kel slowly started to draw once again, when his "new" loop pulled loose and he punched himself in the face and fired a arrow over the horizon! The buck jumped up and ran another 50 yards and bedded again. This time, Nick ran the mile back to the side by side as Kel kept an eye on the buck and got his bow. Kel was able to sneak up to about 20 yards and put the finishing arrow in the buck, which promptly rolled over and broke his first arrow. He said the worst part was losing 3 arrows with new broadheads and luminocks on them and breaking another arrow, which they never did find the luminock end but it was worth it to get his first mulie!
Kelton’s 1st mulie ever!
After hearing the story and congrats all around, Nick and I thought, we better get back and look for the bigger buck before rifle season opens in a few days. The next afternoon we were back over there and spotted the buck in almost the same spot as the day before. Problem was, what snow was left had gotten a little crunchy and there was hardly any wind to speak of. We gave it our best and pushed our luck but there was just too many eyes and ears and the closest we got was probably 80 yards before they busted out of there. We stayed with him until dark, hoping maybe he would chase a doe back by us, but it wasn't meant to be that day. The last day before rifle season opened, I went back alone and glassed and saw nothing. I moved down thru the bottom, when suddenly I spotted a small buck bedded and decided to try and slip in and see if there were other deer with him. I was able to slip in to about 25 yards and couldn't see any other deer when he spotted me and stood up. Just like that, I saw a really wide rack rock back and forth and then stand 5 yards further in some really thick brush and cedars. I was already nocked and pulled back slowly searching for a hole to his vitals, any hole. I leaned just a bit forward and couldn't believe my luck, I couldn't really even see his rack or any of his head or body, just one hole that looked to be perfect behind his front shoulder and my arrow was gone. I heard the sound of a solid thump and saw him kick and turn and disappear in the blink of an eye. I had a million thoughts running thru my mind, was it a good hit, was it the same buck from yesterday? It looked like a really wide buck and maybe not as dark horned as the buck from yesterday? I sat silently listening and heard him breathing his last not far in the thick stuff. I slowly walked in and decided to get my arrow and check the blood trail in the snow. I didn't see my arrow right away but did see a really good blood trail leading away. I slowly walked deeper to peek back in when I broke a branch under the snow and heard a deer run off....
Marty, awesome stuff! Waiting.... :)
Looks like the cornucopia!
I finally found my arrow laying on top of the snow about 10 yards beyond where the buck was standing, he had whirled and ran past it.
I started following the tracks and blood trail slowly, I came to a spot where he had stood and I must have spooked him out of there. I tried to decide if I should back out when I could hear wheezing and a cough not far ahead. I covered the next 15 yards at a snails pace and peeked around a big tree.
What I saw
I must say, I drug him out and loaded him in my pickup whole and it was all I wanted!
He ended up being the wide crab clawed fronts buck I had passed a month earlier. Funny thing was, Nick had shown me trail came pictures of him almost 5 miles away the day before! I guess they like to travel during the rut! Nick, Hunter, and I all still had a buck tag left. So the hunt would continue!
From: HUNT MAN
Great season you boys had. Glad to get to hang out with you for a few days. Hope to see ya on the river this year. Hunt.
Awesome season as usual Marty, thanks for sharing it with us. Congrats all the way around! Best of luck in 2019!
Thanks guys. I was hoping to wrap this up this morning but the weather forecast is calling for 20+ inches of snow with 25-35 mph winds with gusts to 50mph, so spent almost all day moving baby calves to some pastures that have protection from the wind and tree groves to block the wind. Hoping they are wrong and we don't take another pounding...
It warmed back up a bit and I got several sits in and watched some pretty nice bucks cruising for does, just nothing I wanted to punch my last tag on. Nick had the same luck.
Got to sneak on some more mule deer too
Even seeing some decent late season bucks!
What a year! Thanks for letting us tag along!
We all ate tag soup on our last buck tags but couldn’t say we had a bad year! We then picked up the rifles and did a little coyote calling!
Hunter with 1 of 3 we killed on a afternoon hunt.
One of my favorite pictures, I was sitting back into the yucca plant and you can see the coyotes tracks in the background coming in. I sat up and shot him at 10 yards trotting! I love it when you can fool them that much.
Then the best part of 2018, Nick and Ashley had their 1st baby, my 1st granddaughter! My favorite picture with her at almost 2 months old! I think I told her I was a great hunter and she laughed at me!
We then rolled into our 21st annual bunny blunter invite and had it in our shop this year. Nothing caps the year like getting together with a bunch of like minded bowhunters and having a few drinks (or not) and reliving the season!
Reading of the past hunts, Beav does a bang up job of writing these every year!
Selfie as we were getting ready for the big group picture!
Then to put a cherry on top, Hunter got engaged to his girlfriend! I hope everyone has a great 2019 and I didn’t drag this out to long! Thanks for letting me enjoy my season a second time!
That was an awesome read. My 1 question is how much land is private and how much public land is this all take place on?
That was outstanding Marty! Thanks for taking us along for the ride. What a great year you guys had!
Thanks guys, Boone, all private. 99% of it the family ranch. We are blessed with a great place to live, work, and raise our families! Now if this stupid weather will just straighten up! I did also send in Hunter's and my mulie bucks teeth and hope to get those results back soon.
Congrats on a super season Marty!!! Awesome write up!
Congratulations Marty! Another great year with family and friends! It doesn’t get much better than that for sure!
Good stuff! That open country muley hunting looks addicting. Thanks for taking the time
Well done! Enjoyed the read!
Great write up. Congratulations on the baby! The old man says he wishes he could have skipped us kids and gone straight to grand kids.. That smile says it all.
Awesome write up Kevin! It was a great read!
Awesome as always!!! It may not be for everyone but I think I could get used to it!!
Thanks for sharing.
Enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks for sharing with us!
Thanks again guys! We lived thru the 2nd blizzard and only lost a couple calves. The boys and I all drew paddlefish tags for this year too, so that will be fun. I'll probably never have a season likes yours Zach but I can always dream I will!
Good job fellas!