To me Thanksgiving is all about the four-F’s: Family, Friends, Food & Feasants – ok, ok…maybe football, too. Each year I usually sneak off to chase the wily ring-neck at least a day or two during the four-days that often make up my thanksgiving weekend. There have even been years I started the weekend early just to accommodate some extra hunting. However this year I got to share my holiday hunting with my entire family of four. Hopefully starting a brand new Thanksgiving-weekend tradition in the process.
On Saturday we loaded the truck and headed west. Our destination was guided by the 2012 Public Access Atlas and our hunt dictated by the walking abilities of a 9 & 6-year old. What resulted was some amazing family time in Nebraska’s great outdoors in places open to all hunters.
We drove straight to the first field. A spot we have taken pheasants & prairie chickens from the past couple of years, as well as earlier this season. The beautiful day meant the birds were scattered and had little reason to be in thick cover. Which translates into birds that prefer to run more then sit-still for our small brittany, Carrot. But that is what often happens on nice days during the mid-season.
The large field took most of the evening and once back to the truck we decided to go for a scenic drive to nearby McCook to find a place to stay. Not 2 minutes into the drive we spotted pheasants and mule deer. And continued to see wildlife pretty much the rest of the short ride into town.
The morning of day two we put together a plan of attack over biscuits & gravy. Picking three more spots to try from the Public Atlas. Things came together quickly at field #1 as a blocking technique was employed. Our young springer Pip put a big rooster to flight just minutes into the field. The magic of the day had begun. Every field we visited on our short trip held birds, as well as other critters. We kicked up coyotes and deer. Got to witness flocks of geese overhead and even caught glimpses of the area’s healthy wild turkey population. All in all a great family trip.