This should get better as it goes.
I bowhunted this morning amidst wind, fog and mist for a couple of hours before work. I saw nothing and I heard nothing. Two ridges over, Dad saw a coyote, a raccoon, and nothing else.
This is the first time in three hunts thus far that neither one of us saw any deer, and brings our unscientific totals to the following (give or take a squirrel):
3 Trips: 5 Does, 3 Bucks, 5 Coyotes, 3 Raccoons, 0 Turkeys, and 123 Squirrels. Oh yeah, no video either.
On Sunday, Laura, myself, and our daughter Madeline went to the Applejack Festival in Nebraska City. The crowd was down this year compared to last year (the subject of NEBRASKAland Magazine’s 2010 August/September article “Applejack Festival), making moving from each attraction a bit easier than before. We went to Union Orchard, Kimmel Orchard, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, and Arbor Day Farm.
If you haven’t been to this festival or the SHP, you’re missing out. There are activities for kids, including apple-picking, moon walks, Arbor Day Farm’s Tree Adventure, and playing at the SHP; there are also activities for adults, including live music, wine tasting, touring Arbor Lodge and the SHP, and eating until you can barely walk. It’s an event you don’t want to miss.
And while it was very pleasurable watching my 20-month old daughter pick apples, ride a horse, and repeatedly say “Ap-ple, Ap-ple,” I do have to admit that my trip last year by myself did cost me a lot less money when my wife passed on going. I never thought about buying a wine rack when visiting the festival before. Luckily, my wife opened the door to the possibilities of another piece of furniture in our home.
On Saturday, I spent the day with prairie chicken hunter Steve Voss in southeastern Nebraska on what he has affectionately named “Grousmas,” the opening of prairie chicken hunting in the state. That day, I got an education on how to chicken hunt, from what to look for when hunting regarding good habitat to how to work a bird dog.
First, look for ground with ridgelines and more open cover. If you think it’s good, thick cover for pheasants, go somewhere else for chickens. Second, locate spots with feathers and scat on the ground, where chickens have been spending their evenings. Also check out this link to Nebraska’s CRP-MAP atlas, which identifies multiple spots of land in southeastern Nebraska where Voss and his friends hunted: http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/programs/CRP/atlas.asp, and get out scouting…right after you get your special permit for the East Zone where Voss and company were hunting. Information regarding this permit can be found at http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/guides/upland_game/grouse.asp
Regarding dog work, Voss knows that if his dog gets too close to birds, the birds won’t tolerate it, flushing before Voss can get a shot. “A dog has to learn that on his own,” said Voss. “You just fuss at him for busting birds until he figures it out. Typically, dogs new to chickens will try to get too close until they learn.”