Nebraska Phesants, Kind of...

Dan Braman

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I was asked by some clients/friends to go along with them on a pheasant hunt in Nebraska a few years ago. Not really having anything going on, I accepted. This trip turned out to be the biggest disaster I have ever been on. I have to admit though, if it weren't for the less then stellar outfitter it might not have been as fun.

The only thing about the trip that went smoothly was the trip up there and back. On the evening of our arrival we pulled up in front of this huge lodge and couldn't find anyone. Finally, after a half hour or better a man came walking out of one of the houses. He walked up to us and introduced himself only to get his butt immediately ripped by one of the older gentleman with us. This started four days of taking Murphy's Law to new and improved levels. After this man (I will call him James, not his real name) took his five-minute butt chewing, he told us that we were not supposed to arrive for another week. When one of the guys with us asked to see his calendar he asked us to follow him into his office. We did and for ten minutes we couldn't find the calendar. When we did find it, we were correct on the dates.

This really had him rattled and he swore to make everything all right. We all unloaded our gear while he called cooks, dog handlers, guides, maids, and I think the local Preacher. This house was two stories with the sleeping areas down stairs and the kitchen, dinning, and sitting areas upstairs. On the west side of the house there was a huge porch both upstairs and down stairs. We walked out on the upstairs front porch to complain about the screwing we were taking when Dave (friend of ours) looked out across the pasture. He had spotted a heard of buffalo. By the time I had returned with my binoculars everyone was inside and talking about hunting one of them.

The next thing I know Shelby (friend) and I am going with Dave to shoot a buffalo. Dave has this all planned before we ever talk with our dazed and confused host about it. He is going to barrow a rifle from James and hunt buffalo. We walked downstairs, out the door, and into James’ office. Dave said,” James, I want to shoot a buffalo and we only have about two hours of daylight so you better get on your boots.” (I can't remember what he said verbatim but, that is close) The look on James’ face was absolutely priceless. I couldn't help but walk away, because had I stayed standing there, I would have laughed and made this guy look like a fool. After all, he was doing a rather good job of that himself. I wasn't in the parking lot five minutes and out they walk, rifle in hand. I grabbed my video camera and we piled in the truck.

We drove around a big lake and into a small valley where we stopped the truck. Please keep in mind that this place was advertised as a first class hunting operation with guides of epic experience and ability. We all got out of the truck and I realized I have on shorts and flip-flops; perfect for buffalo hunting, right? Our guide has on a yellow shirt, blue jeans, brand new snake boots and a camo boony hat. We begin to make our way up the draw for about a hundred yards and our guide stops abruptly. He turns around and looks Dave straight in the face and says,” What do we do now?” At that moment I burst into hysterics that I’m sure deer heard for six counties. I couldn't help myself, as that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

Shelby said that he would take the point and away we went again. Shelby barrowed my binoculars and we crept up the side of the hill. Next, Shelby finds the buffalo and makes a plan to use a big cedar tree to keep us hidden from him as we move closer. We did and got to within 150 yards of two huge bulls. The wind must have swirled because these bulls perked up and started walking slowly our way. We all thought that was great but apparently our guide didn't. We turned around to see him running full speed down the draw towards the truck. Once again I buried my hands into my face trying not to laugh aloud. By now the buffalo were fifty yards and starting to circle us. Once the first bull cleared of trees Dave sent a 300-wby-mag bullet into the bull. He jumped, kicked, and ran while Dave was steadily putting more bullets in him. He didn't run far, maybe a hundred yards and fell dead.

Sweet….a successful hunt. Things were on the brink of getting even more ridiculous. We walk over and check out Dave's buffalo, try and set him up for pictures, which didn't work, so we headed back to the truck. When we got there James is sitting in the front seat of his truck telling us that we are crazy to sit there during a buffalo charge. We ask if he had a tractor with a front-end loader on it, he said that he did. We asked if he would go get it and some chain so we could load this thing and take it to the house where we could skin it. He said that he would just take us back to the house and drops us off for dinner. While we were eating his employees would arrive and help him take care of the buffalo. We complied.

While we were gone a young lady in her late teens had showed up as our cook. She was working away in the kitchen and had a pot that looked to be too feet tall on the stove. The pot was covered and steam was coming from it so we all assumed tonight was soup. We sat around laughing at this ridiculous clown we had for an outfitter. When went in to check on dinner we found this young lady sitting on a bar stool crying. When we inquired as to what the problem was she confessed to us that she couldn't cook. We asked her what was in the pot and she said that she had found a five-pound bag of gravy mix in the pantry and had poured the whole thing in the pot. Once she had the five pounds of gravy mix in the pot she had added water and started boiling it. Now we had a pot with enough gravy in it to fill a small swimming pool and nothing to go with it. If that wasn't enough we had a hysterical young lady on our hands. Our stomachs hurt from laughing at our situation. Then, James walked in.

Just when Dave was gearing up to give him round number 2 butt ripping he said,” Guys, the tractor won't start.” Again, I fell onto the couch and laughed until I cried. When we followed him out to the tractor, Shelby jumped up in the seat pushed in the clutch and turned the key. It started right up while James stood there just looking like he had just seen something horrible. We drove the tractor around to the buffalo while I found a lowboy trailer and took it there as well. Shelby and I loaded the buffalo and carried back to the house. James assured us that he had plenty experience with trophy care so we all walked inside. I am not a drinking man but the company I am with drink like fish at times; this was one of those times. Two hours later James walked in covered in blood literally from head to toe. He said that he had the head and everything in the freezer; he apologized for a horrible day and swore that from now on all would be fine. Shelby walked in with the pizza we ordered we ate dinner and went to bed.

The next morning, we were up early and anxious to hunt pheasant. When we walked outside there was a parking lot full of people. There were dogs loaded and things were looking up. I should have known better. I ended up being paired with another friend named Mike. We got to an area and turned the dogs out and that was the last I ever saw of either pointer. It was a good hour before I saw their owner. Finally Mike and I decided we would just walk hunt. We didn't see anything, but I swear we walked through about two acres of Marijuana. The plants looked like it, they smelled like it, NO WE DID SMOKE IT!

At noon we went back to the house. As it turned out Dave and Shelby had killed a pheasant each. It was then that we found out that we didn't have the place to ourselves as two car loads of people came in for a European Pheasant Hunt. The next morning we all lined up about thirty feet apart and shot pheasants flying overhead. I don't know much about this kind of hunt but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to hear the squawking of pheasant being pulled from creates before being thrown over a hill. We finished the day off with a pile of pheasant taller then most trucks, sore shoulder, and ringing ears. Dinner was without question the most disgusting thing I ever ate and there were mouse droppings in my bed afterwards. Helluva day I’d say!

The next morning we were packing up to leave and Dave came in fighting mad and using words best not put here. He was so red in the face I thought he would have a stroke and far too mad to answer our questions about what happened. Finally he said LOOK, and pointed out the screen door. There on the ground was his buffalo head, chopped off cape and all right behind the ears. I know this wasn't a time to laugh but I couldn't help it. This man had spent who knows how much on this trip and had nothing whatsoever to show for it.

We climbed in the truck and headed for Texas. This may sound like fiction but every word of this is true; had I not been there I wouldn't have believed it myself.

Posted by Dan Braman under Field Journals on July 5, 10 08:52 PM | Permalink

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