posted on November 07, 2005 00:00
Nebraska's pheasant season off to good start
By: Rick Windham , The North Platte Telegraph
Nebraska's pheasant hunting season opened last Saturday and I was fortunate enough to be in the southeast part of the state, one of the best areas for pheasants this year. I had been invited to be part of the 2005 Nebraska Governor's Hunt, headquartered out of Beatrice.
Event activities began last Friday afternoon with participants sharpening up their shooting skills at the Beatrice Gun Club. You could shoot trap, or get involved in something called the Nebraska Snipe Hunt.
The "snipe hunt" took place on the skeet range. You had high and low crossing targets, plus a bouncing rabbit target running across the range in front of the shooters. A total of 30 possible targets were released in random order.
Two shooters were on the firing line for this event. Each shooter got 15 shells. The trick was to have someone ready, with a loaded shotgun, whenever a target presented itself. You have to stay coordinated with your shooting partner.
By luck of the draw, I was teamed up with Beatrice resident, Shawn Meyer. Meyer is a pretty fair shotgunner and we complimented each other well. When the targets stopped flying, we had broken 24 of 30 and ended up winning the event.
At dinner the evening before the hunt, we got to meet our team members. I was on Team Excel. Each team consisted of five hunters. Team members were Hal Brown (Beatrice), Jim Morris (Columbus), Jeremy Morris (Omaha) and Alex Estell (Omaha). Our dog handler/guide was Kevan Goldsberry (Steel City).
This is a one-box format hunt. Each team is limited to 25 shells to take a limit of 15 pheasants. The team that gets the most birds with the least amount of shells wins.
All teams gathered for breakfast, then headed into the field. Team Excel would hunt at the Cub Creek Hunting operation, owned by Troy and Mary Cammack. We were ready to go. We moved into the tall grass as the dogs worked ahead of us. Jim Morris was the first to get a shot. A rooster blasted from the grass, arced high and curved toward Jim. The bird was probably some 60 yards away when Jim's A-5 Browning fired and the pheasant cart wheeled out of the air.
"Nice shot," several team members yelled in Jim's direction.
"That one was out there a ways," I commented.
"Yes it was," Jim chuckled. "I thought I was going to have to go into another area code to get that one."
We walked on to find more birds. Another rooster launched from cover in front of Alex Estell. I saw the bird rise and an explosion of feathers in the air. No doubt about that shot.
We moved into some terraced ground planted with food plots.
"I'm sure we'll find some birds in here," Goldsberry said.
His German shorthairs were already nosing through the standing cover. A dog locked up on point in front of me. The rooster rocketed off and flew straight away from me - three roosters down. Team Excel was off to a good start.
Our team moved along each terrace, crossing back and forth over the field several times. Almost every pass found at least one pheasant. A few birds flushed wild, but most birds held in deep cover until the dogs pushed them up. Even though there were some pretty good gunners in this group, several roosters lived to see another day and to provide excitement for other hunters.
It took a bit over two hours for Team Excel to expend its allotment of 25 shells. A single rooster rose and both Jeremy and Alex fired our last pair of shells. We now had 12 birds to show for our efforts and returned to Beatrice to check in.
In the final tally, Team Excel finished second. The First National Bank of Beatrice Team bested us by three birds.
I would like to put together a team or two from this area and participate in next year's hunt. Cost is $250 per person. You get to meet and hunt with Nebraska business leaders, some former Husker and NFL football players and enjoy a lot of great hospitality. Give me a call or send an email if you're interested. We have a whole year to work on it.
Incidentally, Cub Creek Hunting is a top-notch operation. If you are looking for some classic, farmland pheasant hunting, with great accommodations, it is worth your time to look into Cub Creek Hunting. Give them a call at (402) 228-0660 or check out their website at www.cubcreekhunting.com.
Some of the best pheasant hunting in our region appears to be in Hayes, Frontier and Chase counties. There is quite a bit of CRP-MAP ground and Wild Life Management Area acres in this region and I've had good reports back on the numbers of birds hunters saw this past week. If you are looking for somewhere to hunt pheasants this weekend, go southwest.
n Rick Windham writes about the outdoors from North Platte. He can be reached on the Outdoor Hotline at 535-4789 or at firstname.lastname@example.org