Public Land Boat Ride

Nebraska- James Eaves

The story of my 2019, public land Nebraska deer has to start by mentioning a good buddy of mine, Timothy Schlappich. Both him and I travel for work a lot but this year I had been gone a little more than usual. The rut was in full swing here in Nebraska and I was out of town again. The parcel of publicly accessible land we hunt is water access only, and because of the logistics to get in and out effectively, it’s really a two man job. Tim had just harvested an exceptional buck a couple day’s prior and I still wouldn’t be back in town for a few days. Due to him winding up his hunting season and mine interrupted with work, it seemed my opportunity to get in on the rut was disappearing quick.

One day, he gave me a call and let me know he had these bucks pin pointed and knew there were still a couple good ones cruising around. He then offered to extend his time off so that I would have help getting in and so he could show me where he had noticed the most activity. I made it back into town and the next morning we headed out. Due to the length of the hike in, Tim thought it best to hunt on the south end of the property in the morning first, until activity decreased in the afternoon, then we would move to the north end where he had taken his buck. The expectations of getting a nice deer on the south end that morning was low, and we really were expecting the action to happen later in the day once we moved.

We made the trek in and both hopped up into the tree. Tim spotted a smaller buck right off the bat but we both agreed we weren’t here to take anything that wasn’t mature. After being on stand for about 30 minutes, I decided to do a blind rattling sequence, because why not. About 15 minutes later I spotted this buck and he was jotting in on a string, straight to the base of our tree. After a couple “MEHH!!!” vocalizations, I had my shot and it was all over. Not even an hour had gone by and I had tagged a nice buck on my luckiest hunt ever. My thoughts of, "this is too good to be true" definitely vaporized quickly after about 100 yards into the drag out. Flood waters earlier in the year caused immense mud, dead fall, and other obstacles. Getting back to the boat was pure hell and we both earned that deer in true public ground fashion. Once again I cannot thank my buddy Tim enough and it’s an experience I’ll never forget!

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