For the past 35 years I have wanted to be out west, by myself, for the opener of pheasant season. This year I was able to make it happen … and it was awesome! I left on October 27th and dead-headed for Osmond, Nebraska to see Jacquie Lorenz … the wife of my best friend, Norman. Norm passed this last March 31st at the golden age of 88. If you have followed my site then you know how important Norm was to my life … and my family. If not, then please read my post about Norman Lorenz.
After visiting Jacquie I drove due west, along the top of Nebraska along US Highway 20. When I hit Valentine I took a left and drove through the Sandhill’s area for the best part of a day. If you haven’t ever experienced the Sandhill area, please put it on your to-do list. Truth is I planned on fishing the many lakes of the area … but due to an unexpected cold snap, the lakes were all frozen solid.
I then moved another few hours west to Chadron, Nebraska where I spent a day with my two GWP’s Papi and Holly … chasing sharp tailed grouse around. Sharp tails are an amazing bird and if you get the opportunity to hunt them early in the season (before they become very smart) … please do so.
Crawford Nebraska was the next town to the west and located in the black hills region of Nebraska. In fact, if you are a Dances With Wolves fan you will know that Fort Robinson is located just west of Crawford and was the home to several scenes in the classic movie from 1990. Fort Robinson is a worthy destination all on its own and the scenery of the area is second to none.
After harvesting a pair of Merriam’s Turkeys, I headed my dogs and dog trailer south towards Ogallala Nebraska where I hunted the pheasant opener on October 31st. For two days I visited various walk-in properties in the panhandle section of Nebraska and harvested 6 pheasants in two days.
Since that first trip, my two sons, Harrison and Jonas, made a return visit to the McCook area to once again hunt for upland game birds. Over the course of three days we were able to harvest pheasants, quail and a couple of prairie chickens. This was a special trip as it has been several years that both boys were able to make a trip west with me; college and lives tend to get in the way.
Once back in Indiana I was a guest of my good friend Jim Merten in northern Indiana. Jim has quite the spread, 450 acres of grasses, lakes and food plots full of birds (pheasant and quail). It is always a true pleasure to hunt Jim’s place and more specifically to hunt with Jim … who is an incredibly capable bird hunter and a steward of the land he owns. The last trip north produced some nice video (see it below) and photos that I think you will enjoy, be you a bird hunter or not.
A couple of notes on 2021; probably, like me …. a new year can’t come fast enough! I am currently booking for float trips in northern Wisconsin (on the St. Croix, Totagatic and Namekagon Rivers). Click here to see my post about these trips, cost, etc.. Also … we are planning on having a litter of GWP’s (German Wirehairs) from our two dogs, Holly and Papi. I have waited for a while to give Holly a chance to grow and mature … and to make sure she had the ‘goods’ needed for me to confidently breed her; Holly was fantastic this season and continues to grow and get better each time we take the field. If you are interested please contact me via email (email@example.com) or in the comments below and I will put you on a ‘puppy-list’.