We hunt in two different units in Northwest Nebraska while hunting our Sandhill Ranches.
Talking about the Sandhills Unit: A majority of our property consists of creek systems draining into the Niobrara River, as well as miles of the Niobrara River where mature stands of cottonwoods, cedars, and pines choke out the river and creek bottoms. Leading up out of the bottoms are high ridges, most being covered in either pine or cedar trees provide breathtaking vantage points for scouting and hunting the rivers and creek below. Outward from the streams and ridges lies the open and vast Sandhills prairie littered with cow/calf operations, mule deer, whitetail, and antelope. These are vast lands with sweeping rolling grass plains, crested bluffs, and windmills dotting the countryside. This is moderate to difficult terrain with some areas having more elevation change than others but still very accommodating for all client ages and types. If you’re not the hiking type or if walking up steeper grades or hills is not in your physical capacity throughout the hunt, we can always start out in the bottoms or tops and stay there without pulling ourselves up and down the hills too much.
Talking about the Pine Ridge Unit: Our Pine Ridge area is exactly what it sounds like. These properties are the mini mountains of Nebraska and do require more physically fit folks to hunt them with HPO. These areas aren’t very high in elevation so lack of oxygen isn’t as much of a problem as is the steep and hilly terrain. This area is the most physically demanding area that HPO guides on. When you’re on the Pine Ridge with HPO, you’ll honestly feel like you’re in another state other than Nebraska entirely. We’re still able to effectively hunt these areas with most clients, but does require good physically fit hunters. These Pine Ridges hold an abundance of wild Merriam Turkeys, Whitetails, Mule Deer, Elk, and Mountain Lions.
Turkey—Run and gun and call when the run and gun and calling is working, otherwise we sit in core-high traffic areas if the calling isn’t working so we aren’t burning up our properties trying to call in uninterested Toms. We also have multiple ground blinds set-up throughout the entire turkey season for use during archery or shotgun season, we will also use these on rainy days to keep us active and productive in the woods.
Whitetail—HPO stays very adverse when it comes to our whitetail hunts. We utilize all types of equipment to harvest these mature giants. Ladder stands, tower blinds, lock-ons, and ground blinds are all used at your comfort. If one isn’t partial to sitting in an open elevated stand, we can always keep them at ground level and comfortable as can be. Unlike Kansas, Nebraska law forbids any animals be harvested within a 200 yard perimeter of our baited areas but is there to keep them healthy and on our property. We also have multiple ground blinds set-up throughout the entire deer season and we will also use these on rainy days to keep us active and productive in the woods. We are best off sitting and waiting for these bucks to make the wrong move and end up in your lap.
Predators—At HPO we utilize calls and decoys to outwit our bobcats and coyotes into coming close enough for either a shotgun kill or longer range rifle shot. Either way, we hunt our predators hard to keep deer, turkey, and upland bird numbers as high as possible to provide for other hunts.
Antelope—Our primary method used for killing antelope is sitting in one of our multiple ground blinds over a windmill or watering hole which are dotted and scattered throughout our ranch in the Sandhills. These days are warmer than usual but patience and perseverance pays off on these hunts, as well as a determined and mentally strong hunter. 90% of the hunting is done over water in blinds, with the remaining 10% being spot and stalk under the right circumstances. We drive you directly to the blind each day, and do not go in and out of a water hole or windmill more than once per day. You can load up a big ice chest full of food, snacks, beverages, and goodies and have in your blind during the archery hunt. We make this hunt as comfortable as you can in 80-100+ degree temps.
Mule Deer–Our typical mule deer hunting strategy is the spot-n-stalk method which we have efficiently mastered over the years. We also utilize the use of ground blinds as well as treestands to hunt certain areas where blinds and stands are most effective. The beauty of having land in western Nebraska and region that we do is that our mule deer do exist in the river bottoms and within certain timber patches so if you’re a hunter who isn’t physically capable of spot and stalking mule deer in our rougher terrain, we can easily and effectively sit you in a tree stand or ground blind to tag you out on your mule deer buck.
Elk—Same as the mule deer, our typical and traditional elk hunting strategy is the spot-n-stalk method and playing the wind. We also utilize the use of ground blinds as well as treestands to hunt certain areas where blinds and stands are most effective, possibly over a wallow or field where they’ve been feeding frequently. This allows us to be able to accommodate any hunter no matter his physical well being or age.
Ranch Size: 15,000 private acres of free range wild game split between two Units, the Pine Ridge Unit & Sandhills Unit. The ranches make up close to 6 miles of river and creek bottom with a great mixture of terrain types sure to please any western hunter.
Accommodations: Hotel Stay in Town
Driving Distances from major cities: Lincoln, NE—6.5 hours/Omaha, NE—7 hours/Denver, CO—5.5 hours/Rapid City, SD—2.5 hours/Casper, WY—3.5 hours