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  1. #1
    Grandmaster 42769vette's Avatar

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    Nebraska public land mulies

    I just finalized dates and details on this hunt. Ill be in Nebraska with the Vortex crew from December 11th-16th. The only thing we havnt finalized is the exact location.

    Does anyone have any recent intel. We will either be in Chadron, or Valentine.
    "You don't have to spend a fortune to play the game, but you do have to spend your money wisely"

    owner/ operator of www.aaoptics.com

    full line vortex dealer

    contact me at alan@aaoptics.com

  2. #2
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    I dont have any intel, but Id love to hear more! Howd you get hooked up with the Vortex gang? Did you have to put in for a drawing? Have you gone before?
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  3. #3
    Grandmaster 42769vette's Avatar

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    I've been with Vortex longer than most the employees, so over the years I've become friends with a lot of them. I just sent a text, and we started working on details.

    This will be my first big game hunt with them. Me and a few of the guys share a snow goose blind every February/March, but it will be our first put west trip together.

    This is a muzzleloader hunt do its OTC tags
    "You don't have to spend a fortune to play the game, but you do have to spend your money wisely"

    owner/ operator of www.aaoptics.com

    full line vortex dealer

    contact me at alan@aaoptics.com

  4. #4
    Grandmaster Tactically Fat's Avatar

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    I'm jealous!!!

    Is it as rigorous a hunt as Elk is? Or is more like how we hunt deer here in IN? Kind of a sit in a good spot and wait?
    Amazing Grace, how sweet was her sound.

  5. #5
    Grandmaster 42769vette's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tactically Fat View Post
    I'm jealous!!!

    Is it as rigorous a hunt as Elk is? Or is more like how we hunt deer here in IN? Kind of a sit in a good spot and wait?
    It will not be as rigorous as an elk hunt as the terrain is not as rough, but it will be nothing like we hunt deer here sitting and waiting.

    Basic day will be

    Wake up in time to hike 3-4 miles before the sun comes up.

    Find the highest spot in that area, and walk to it.

    Glass until you find animal you can make a play on (wind/terrain, etc)

    GO GET IT, PACK IT OUT.

    This will not be the type hunt where we kill 200 inch mulies. It will be where we kill the mulie equivalent of a 6 point basket rack. Most of the area we are looking at will have more, and better whitetail than mulies, but to be honest, I can kill whitetail here, so if its not a whitetail north of 160, Im not wasting my tag on it. I want a mulie, I don't thing the others are as picky.

    Ive read that a lot of Nebraska was flooded enough to make it un accessible during bow, and early rifle season. If we can find those area's that is probably where we will start.
    "You don't have to spend a fortune to play the game, but you do have to spend your money wisely"

    owner/ operator of www.aaoptics.com

    full line vortex dealer

    contact me at alan@aaoptics.com

  6. #6
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    Sounds pretty dang awesome. So your tag is good for mulie or white tail? How much was it?
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  7. #7
    Grandmaster 42769vette's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by roscott View Post
    Sounds pretty dang awesome. So your tag is good for mulie or white tail? How much was it?
    Yes out there, you buy a "deer tag". I have not bought the tag yet, but I looked a couple months ago, and they ran just south of 250 bucks. The reason we chose Nebraska, is

    A. Amount of public land out there
    B. We could make a last minute decision on it, and still go with the OTC tags.
    "You don't have to spend a fortune to play the game, but you do have to spend your money wisely"

    owner/ operator of www.aaoptics.com

    full line vortex dealer

    contact me at alan@aaoptics.com

  8. #8
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    Sounds like a blast! Let us know how it goes!

    My hunting buddies and I usually take a trip out west every year, and it is quickly becoming more about the style of hunt than the trophy level of the animal.

    Spot and stalk > trophies
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  9. #9
    Expert two70's Avatar

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    I did a muzzleloader mule deer hunt the week before Christmas in Nebraska about 8 years ago. I hunted the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge near Valentine and the McKelvie National Forest a little farther west. Fort Niobrara had some nice whitetails(a guy from Michigan killed a 160" buck while I was there) but the muleys were pretty much non-existent. I think they require you to apply for a permit in advance now, though they are free.

    If you are serious about muleys I wouldn't hunt east of the Mckelvie and preferably farther west to Chadron and the Nebraska National Forest. Also, don't be afraid to give the Oglala National Grasslands a go, I've seen some good mule deer in that area while hunting pronghorn, though almost entirely on private ground. Get good maps with property boundaries well marked, as a lot of the public land is a checkerboard of mixed public and private. Fortunately the Nebraska Game and Parks website has a lot of resources including free downloadable Google Earth Map files of all public lands and private lands open to public access. You can also order detailed paper maps of the McKelvie NF and Oglala NG for a reasonable fee as a backup if you want. I also found the biologists and forest rangers pretty helpful in answering questions about hunting over the phone and via email.

    If you decide to hunt west of Chadron, make sure to either have your hotel booked in advance as they are very scarce in that area or be prepared to camp during some serious winter weather. The week I was there, temperatures frequently dipped into negative territory at night, with a couple of nights approaching 10 below. Also expect it to be windy, snow to be likely and the roads not to be in very good shape. From my experience on this hunt and other winter trips to Nebraska, they don't use salt on roads at all no matter how icy they get and they only seem to plow in the vicinity of towns.

  10. #10
    Expert two70's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by 42769vette View Post
    It will not be as rigorous as an elk hunt as the terrain is not as rough, but it will be nothing like we hunt deer here sitting and waiting.

    Basic day will be

    Wake up in time to hike 3-4 miles before the sun comes up.

    Find the highest spot in that area, and walk to it.

    Glass until you find animal you can make a play on (wind/terrain, etc)

    GO GET IT, PACK IT OUT.

    This will not be the type hunt where we kill 200 inch mulies. It will be where we kill the mulie equivalent of a 6 point basket rack. Most of the area we are looking at will have more, and better whitetail than mulies, but to be honest, I can kill whitetail here, so if its not a whitetail north of 160, Im not wasting my tag on it. I want a mulie, I don't thing the others are as picky.

    Ive read that a lot of Nebraska was flooded enough to make it un accessible during bow, and early rifle season. If we can find those area's that is probably where we will start.
    I'll pass along some advice I received before my hunt which I largely ignored, to the detriment of my success. You will find the mule deer in and around the trees most of the time so hunt the trees. I had visions of the classic prairie mule deer hunt as you described so I ignored that advice for a long time and I ended up only seeing one group of six muley does. I think the strategy you describe is still sound, if applied correctly by setting up on vantage points to spot and intercept travel routes from food sources(most likely on private land) to bedding cover(trees, river bottoms) on public land. Despite being called a National Forest, McKelvie doesn't really have all that many trees on the approximately 100K acres so that kind of narrows down the places to look and concentrates the deer. Most of the locals also tend to hunt close to the roads via trucks and atvs so hiking into areas not easily accessed by vehicle will up your odds, especially of finding bigger deer, of which there are definitely some to be found.

    The Oglala NG, as you might expect from the title, has even fewer trees so you will probably want to concentrate on river bottoms and riparian cover belts if you hunt there. Note I've heard the far NW corner of the Oglala can be really good hunting if you can find the travel routes deer from Wyoming and South Dakota use to migrate into and out of Nebraska during the rut but I've only hunted pronghorn in that area not mule deer. I haven't hunted the Nebraska National Forest but have heard that it has a bit more actual forest than McKelvie.

    Good luck and be sure to post some photos when you return. If you are successful, keep in mind that all of western Nebraska is a CWD area and that by Indiana law you are required to to remove all bones from any cervid meat before bringing it into Indiana and are only allowed to bring a cleaned skull cap and antlers into the state, not the entire head.


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