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Field Report: Out West Action in Nebraska

Brad Lines, left, president of Nebraska’s High Plains PF chapter, and his two smooth wirehairs “Ava,” left, and “Jade,” and Pheasants Forever Journal Editor Mark Herwig and his springer, “Hunter,”  after a successful hunt near the Colorado border (buttes in background) Nov. 24.

Brad Lines, left, president of Nebraska’s High Plains PF chapter, and his two smooth wirehairs “Ava,” left, and “Jade,” and Pheasants Forever Journal Editor Mark Herwig and his springer, “Hunter,” after a successful hunt near the Colorado border (buttes in background) Nov. 24.

There’s still plenty of pheasant action to be had in this country, and in this season too.

Last week, I was on the Nebraska-Colorado border with the High Plains Pheasants Forever chapter near Sidney, Nebraska. Chapter president Brad Lines, an enthusiastic hunter and conservationist, suggested I spend an extra morning with him instead of driving home right away to Minnesota. I’d spent the previous day with the chapter for an upcoming story for the Pheasants Forever Journal, PF’s official print magazine.

I thought, well, driving vs. hunting…okay, I’ll hunt. Besides, Brad said, the scenery is beautiful. Right he was. There’s a line of continuous and broken buttes running north and south that, combined with the endless, treeless prairie, cut a pretty picture to this son of the dark northern forest. Some of the buttes ended in steep, dramatic cliffs where one herd of some 20 mule deer scurried toward as we drove by. Brad scored a nice antelope buck near here earlier in the season.

We jumped a few sharptails long on some Nebraska Open Fields and Waters land (private walk-in sites), but missed on a few long shots. Brad, an associate category manager for rod and reels with Sidney-based Cabela’s, then took me to chapter member Brian Sprenger’s CRP project on the Nebraska-Colorado border. The field included a large sorghum/green feed food plot. I had a good feeling about this one.

Brad said this was mainly a sharpie site, with a chance of pheasants too. “Hunter,” my springer, pushed up a few sharpies, but I was bent over looking for tracks. Combined with my ear plugs, I never had a shot by the time I heard Brad calling me out. At drive’s end, we met up to chat.

I noticed Hunter still working the cover, but didn’t take a stance. All of a sudden, he started putting up pheasants left and right. Brad and I each missed roosters before I dropped a slow learner close in.

On the next drive, sharpies, one flock 20-strong, were flushing pretty regularly, albeit most way long. Brad dropped one of the roosters we missed earlier and a sharpie on the way back over his smooth coats “Ava” and “Jade.”

“Joining” us at hunt’s end was Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) Conservation Officer Sean McKeehan, who after checking our licenses, graciously agreed to take our photo, above. NGPC is an important habitat conservation partner with the local chapter and Pheasants Forever.

One last treat: Brad took me to a M.O.N. (middle of nowhere) smoke house, the Hot Spot, just over the border in Peetz, Colorado. While the place was out of half of everything (it was Sunday afternoon), what it did have left was great stuff (pulled pork, ribs and some killer chopped BBQ green beans)! I filled my belly and headed northeast for home, pleased that in a time of declining habitat and bird numbers, there is still some great shooting to be had and must-see places out in pheasant country.

Read about this hunt in its entirety in an upcoming edition of the Pheasants Forever Journal. Not a member? Join today.

The Nomad is written by Mark Herwig, Editor of the Pheasants Forever Journal and Quail Forever Journal. Email Mark at mherwig@pheasantsforever.org.

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6 Responses to “Field Report: Out West Action in Nebraska”

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  1. erzola says:

    Bird hunter’s do not, and never did wear ear plugs while bird hunting. Why would you do that?

  2. Mark Herwig says:

    I’m 58 and have constant ringing in my ears already….I wear plugs because I don’t want to go totally deaf. You better too if you shoot much. I have buddies my age already deaf in one ear….when the next one goes, its sign language for them.

  3. erzola says:

    I am 56 and wear ear plugs when I shoot trap and at a rifle range but wouldn’t think of it out in the big range country of Nebraska and other pheasant states, or grouse hunting here in Pennsylvania for that matter. It takes away too much of the ambience and handicaps your hunting skills. The decibel level of a shotgun going off in the outdoors is negated greatly by your surroundings. Example, inside a shooting range as compared to a 1000 acre field. There are much easier ways to ruin your hearing. You might want to see a specialist as I found that I had a fluid build up in the inner ear. One drain plug improved my 95% deafness in my right ear to normal hearing levels instantly.

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