There are few things in life better than a camp fire at night, the dark blue expanse above, the smell of pine in the air, a pot of chili brewing, good buddies to your sides, and deer hanging from the trees. There is a large number of us who enjoy hunting and the great outdoors. From farm lands to the sandhills of western Nebraska, you will find us stalking Mules or sitting in wait for a Whitetail to come through a clearing. It’s a great way to unwind for a week out of the year and do nothing but hunt, eat and tell stories. Sometimes we get skunked, other times we make off pretty good. Either way it doesn’t matter. Deer Camp is worth the trip alone.

A handful of us find ourselves in Halsey, Nebraska come mid November. For those unfamiliar with the area you must travel (5) hours west of Omaha. Halsey is a tiny town that sits on the edge of the Nebraska National Forest; which is the country’s largest man-made forest. This area features a unique terrain and rare beauty for its location. There is an unusual combination of sandhills, native and hand planted ponderosa pine, along with mixed grass prairies. This provides a challenging hunt even for those with center fire rifles. The combined grassland and forest are unique to the National Forest System.

The 2011 season brought us a plentiful harvest of nice bucks. The trip consisted of Hoot, Tick, Wetch, and our friend Justin. Hoot and Justin made it out Wednesday and set up camp while Tick and Wetch arrived Thursday after getting a warning for speeding in Hoot’s truck. Then…the hunt was truly on. Hoot bagged his thick 8 pt buck as it was meetin’ up with a couple doe’s. Meanwhile Tick called in his beautiful 9 pt to within 40 yards to get a shot off with his bow. He tried to track it, but it was getting dark and there was no blood trail and he called it off to try in the morning.

Sure enough, he found it 100 yards from the spot by 10 am. It stunk a bit, but was still good…and the temp dropped rapidly from that point. As Hoot, Tick and Wetch headed back to camp, they discovered Justin on the way at a windmill, and in the icy tank was his 8 pt cooling off. Sadly, Wetch crossed paths with a buck in the same spot he saw one last year, but he didn’t get one. Tthis year, however, was the best so far from the Nebraska National Forest.

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