Public Nebraska Sandhills Muley 2019

Daubs

Active Member
Aug 5, 2016
406
13
Nebraska
Well, wish I had a better story to tell. Deer season in Nebraska was a bust this year. Started off on a positive note, but quickly went down hill from there.

The "pros":
- Decided to sell the 2004 crew cab 4x4 / 8.1/Allison and get a new truck. Went diesel this time. Love it.
- Stopped by and visited one of my employees who works remotely...first time I've met her face to face. She's wonderful!
- Got to visit with my cousin and her family. Great people!
- Met some great guys from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and more from Minnesota.
- Got some great exercise hiking through the Sandhills looking for deer.
- Clothing and gear kept me toasty warm, and was able to peel off layers as the temps soared in to the 60's.
- Had a 3x3 Muley buck within 90 yards of me 15 minutes in to the hunt Saturday morning...decided to pass on him...(should have shot that deer!)
- Hotel was cozy and warm...yep, i'm a wimp when it comes to hunting accommodations. This guy was not...see picture below...

The "cons":
- Wet year in the Sandhills...more water than I have ever seen in that part of the state (that was a PRO), but...Rangers closed many roads due to flooding...that meant you either walked in, or fought other hunters for areas that were accessible via roads (CON).
- Thought I would hump it in and get deeper than other hunters this year...opening morning I hiked in 3 miles knowing packing a deer out would be difficult task. Pretty amazed to see two other hunters thinking the same as me at 4 AM Saturday morning (note, on this piece of public land I rarely see hunters more than a mile from the road).
- Even more amazed when it got light, and I could see another hunter on a ridge a mile further in, two more hunters walking that way, and a few more hunters way, WAY back in the hills. I thought I was tough...I'm a panzy compared to those brave soles.
- The Game Warden who drove ATV a mile up the valley I was sitting over, came within 100 yards of me, turned, and went back down the valley. Never waived, did not stop, did not check me...just drove up the valley, then drove out. (Gee, thanks for running everything out of the valley for me...)
- Part of the hot water system at the hotel went down...meant I had to run water for 35-40 minutes to get hot water to my room.
- IT band on side of my leg acted up...driving for more than 40-45 minutes at a time turned in to a new adventure in pain. Lots of stops, stretching, and more stops. Didn't bother me hiking around the hills...just sitting in the truck.
- On three separate occasions I almost hit deer on the road. Thankfully I was able to avoid them.
- Lots of hunters this year...counted more hunters than deer.

I did see quite a few does opening morning, 16 by my count. All but a few were Muleys (cannot harvest on these particular public lands). Overall saw more hunters than deer through the week.

It was great to disconnect from work, enjoy some wonderfully beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and get the new truck out and about.

Overall a great hunting experience. I just love the Sandhills.

A few pictures from the trip...
 

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Prerylyon

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Apr 25, 2016
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Similar ending my to my WY doe hunt earlier this month, also a similar no regrets experience! Great story, and from reading it, I know you've come from the experience with more knowledge for next time.

Am I right seeing an LBO hot tent in your slide show? LBO is on my short list of shelters for a purchase before next fall.
 

Daubs

Active Member
Aug 5, 2016
406
13
Nebraska
Similar ending my to my WY doe hunt earlier this month, also a similar no regrets experience! Great story, and from reading it, I know you've come from the experience with more knowledge for next time.

Am I right seeing an LBO hot tent in your slide show? LBO is on my short list of shelters for a purchase before next fall.
Unsure of the tent...but the one thing I am sure if, you won't catch me camping in the Sandhills any time soon. It was 11 degrees one morning...and the wind always seems to blow. No thanks!

Agreed, I always come away from hunts with more knowledge for next time.

Hunting public in Nebraska is both exhilarating and frustrating. Over-the-counter tags are relatively inexpensive for out of state hunters, so I see a lot of license plates from all over the nation. Talked to three guys who drove from Pennsylvania...23 hours. Last year talked to two guys from Utah...they drive to Nebraska because it's the nearest place for them to chase white-tail deer(!). Talked to one guy from Oregon...he drives down, spends a week chasing prairie chickens, then the next week chasing deer. Usually see lots from Wisconsin, but this year the vast majority of out-of-staters were from Minnesota.

I don't mine the competition. It's actually fun when I can tag a nice buck amidst all the hunters running around. It can be done if you are willing to put the miles in.

Shot this buck in 2017 on public land. It can be done. Whole lot of patience, and even more luck : )
 

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marcusvdk

Veteran member
Dec 13, 2011
4,351
624
Michigan
Man the plains and mid west have been hammered with water this year. Lake Michigan, huron and Superior are all at record highs. Looks like water negatively affected your hunt. But you made the best of the hand dealt and sounds like you had a great time which is what matters
 
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Prerylyon

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Apr 25, 2016
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Cedar Rapids, IA
Man the plains and mid west have been hammered with water this year. Lake Michigan, huron and Superior are all at record highs. Looks like water negatively affected your hunt. But you made the best of the hand dealt and sounds like you had a great time which is what matters
Agreed. We have standing water in many of the ditches here in Iowa right now. The water table is very high.
 
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mallardsx2

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Jul 8, 2015
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Sorry you didn't get anything and had to deal with the crowds.

I had my fill of Nebraska the last time I was there. It will be a while before I go back.

I turned in a couple people for what I decided were some pretty serious violations the last time I was there as well. I had pictures of them and everything. To the best of my knowledge they were prosecuted but I never did get a straight answer from the law when I followed up with them about it.

I also saw a truck from Utah pulled over on the side of the road with the game warden and I would say they were having a seriously bad day. (Appeared as they had shot a deer from the truck on some private ground)

Its a damn shame though because it is such a pretty place. I really enjoyed hunting there. Just too much for me to handle during the rifle season. Next time I go it will be with my Bow for sure.
 
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Daubs

Active Member
Aug 5, 2016
406
13
Nebraska
Sorry you didn't get anything and had to deal with the crowds.

I had my fill of Nebraska the last time I was there. It will be a while before I go back.

I turned in a couple people for what I decided were some pretty serious violations the last time I was there as well. I had pictures of them and everything. To the best of my knowledge they were prosecuted but I never did get a straight answer from the law when I followed up with them about it.

I also saw a truck from Utah pulled over on the side of the road with the game warden and I would say they were having a seriously bad day. (Appeared as they had shot a deer from the truck on some private ground)

Its a damn shame though because it is such a pretty place. I really enjoyed hunting there. Just too much for me to handle during the rifle season. Next time I go it will be with my Bow for sure.
Good on you for turning violators in.

I have only seen one violation in my years hunting NE public -- two guys driving off the designated trails/roads, getting out, checking for deer, then driving on. They were over a mile away and I was on foot.

We hunted waterfowl opening days in the Rainwater Basin marshes of Nebraska for many, many years. Always got checked by state and sometimes even federal game wardens. I'm super careful to follow all the rules and regulations.

I'm thinking about bow hunting next year.
 
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mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
2,322
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No to futhrer hi-jack this post but one thing I have decided about hunting western states is that its the wild west in most situations.

Some of the crap I see while hunting out there would RARELY happen back east because people know there isa good chance of getting busted. Out west the odds in getting busted is pretty slim. People know this and push the limits on everything. Doing something illegal is bad enough let alone doing it in plain view, in daylight, with no care for who saw them doing it. Its as though its normal there....which is a bit scary for the future of all of our hunting privelages.

Not just singling Nebraska out either as I have seen some real special things in Wyoming and Colorado as well. For example back in 2002 I seen a guy on a 3 wheeler 5 miles back in a horse trail in the wilderness in Colorado one time driving around with an arrow knocked on his bow. lol I mean some of the stuff I have seen you just cant make up. Strange things. Very Strange.

Most violations I have seen involve people just simply being lazy and not reading signs in plain sight.
 

Yell Co AR Hunter

Very Active Member
Dec 10, 2015
505
185
Yell County Arkansas
I would say from my experience getting caught braking wildlife laws would not be in the poachers favor in Wyoming.
I was checked 5 times while out there. When the warden stopped by camp on opening day. He asked if I had any luck. I said yes. he asked if he could see the antelope. He then said did I kill it over that first hill. I said no why it was 2 1/2 miles back. He said I watched you belly crawl over that hill at day light. I don't have a clue where he was but he was watching though glass. I figure he was keeping an eye on us due to having an atv and hunting a walk in area.
 
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Daubs

Active Member
Aug 5, 2016
406
13
Nebraska
One opening weekend in the marshes, we got sick of crows and smoked one. Buddy tossed it high in to the air back in the reeds.

About 20 minutes later African-American guy comes walking through the marsh, right through our decoys, up to our spot. He was wearing hip boots, had on green camo, and had a huge pair of nocs around his neck.

"Good morning gentlemen. Federal game warden...I want to see the bird you threw back in those reeds RIGHT NOW!"

We all about crapped our pants...had dogs back there, looking for the crow...after a tense 2-3 minutes, we produced the dead crow.

His attitude did a quick 180...was super nice...asked where we were from...if we were having any luck. Apologized for interrupting our hunt. Walked back across the marsh...

This was the second time we were checked while hunting. Normally the wardens stop by when you get back to your truck.

There was one time we were hunting along a levee. State game warden drove his truck on the levee to the middle of the marsh where we were hunting. Almost ran over a dog...got out, and demanded to see our licenses, check guns, shells, game, etc. We obliged.

Once we were all checked, he was hanging around and king of being a jerk. I asked him to leave so we could get back to hunting. He did...