Nebraska, 2008, DIY, Private Land
Growing up in Nebraska generally doesn't favor opportunities for big game hunting, especially for a girl. I never had the desire to hunt until I met my husband, Trevor, who is a taxidermist and die-hard hunter. Learning to hunt with him was a new beginning. First it was coyotes, and then turkey, deer, and bear. Then we headed for South Africa. What an addiction I had found.
Not many people thrive on receiving a credit card bill, but my husband was ecstatic when he found a debit to Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. I had drawn the once-in-a-lifetime Nebraska bull elk tag.
On our first day of scouting, there were two bulls in full velvet up to their chest in a pivot of immature corn. It was beautiful, and I knew something special was about to take place in my little world!
Keeping our distance from these river bottom bulls was difficult. As the corn grew taller and the colors and smell of fall grew nearer, we could tell a change was coming. The rut was close and the screaming bulls were tired of the bugs and each other.
Then, the bulls became nocturnal and ventured to the islands of the North Platte River. The major problem is the river has a refuge stretching nearly 40 miles. You can not cross an imaginary line 100 yards from the riverbank on either side of the river. The elk seemed to know this as well!
Trevor had hunted these elk before. He drew his Nebraska bull tag in 1996 and downed a magnificent 7x6 grossing 351- 4/8. He assured me everything would be okay. We were just going to have to change our game plan. One more obstacle: Cabela's was going to film the hunt. Trevor has done taxidermy work for them has gotten to be good friends with several of the staff.
For a full account of Dana's adventure, go to page 34 in the June/July 2009 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.