BUCKS OF NEBRASKA Top 6 Spots
Although heartland farm-belt states get plenty of publicity for giant whitetails, Nebraska goes somewhat unnoticed. It shouldn’t, considering that every year some of the biggest bucks come from this Great Plains state, though usually from private land.
There are plenty of public places to hunt in Nebraska, however. Some of the best management areas are small, overlooked public tracts regarded primarily as waterfowl habitat. But enough high ground remains in these wetland areas to attract deer, which grow huge, as they usually wander out from cottonwood bottoms to feed in cornfields and soybean fields adjacent to the public hunting land.
The 70,000-acre Valentine NWR is a good spot for Nebraska whitetails. Recommended WMAs include Thomas Creek, Bobcat, Pine Glen and Long Pine. The Niobrara Valley Preserve, which sprawls over 12 miles of the Niobrara River watershed, is another spot for wallhanger bucks. Permits are required to hunt it but it’s owned by the Nature Conservancy (402-722-4440), so that’s no problem.
6-Branched Oak Lake
Honorable Mention-Sam McKelvie NF and Nebraska NF
Bucks of Nebraska also recommends the 115,000-acre Samuel McKelvie National Forest and the 90,000-acre Nebraska National Forest. Mule deer and wild turkeys are also fair game in the fall. BoNE notes, too, that extraordinary (but generally ignored) shooting for sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chickens can be experienced in the two national forests as well. Each year 90,000 gun hunters harvest 50,000 animals from Nebraska’s herd of 300,000 whitetails.
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