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Field Report: Nebraska Muzzleloader Deer

December 13, 2008.

I just returned from hunting whitetails during the muzzleloader season near Ogallala, Nebraska.

It's a great tag — available over-the-counter with no drawing; can be purchased and printed online; has a bag limit of one either-sex deer and one antlerless-only whitetail; has a reasonable non-resident price tag of $178.

Unforutnately, I didn't see any deer.

I hunted an area that I've hunted during the regular firearms season for the past 2 years. During the firearms season, which correpsponds with the rut, I typically see a few deer each day and would expect to always be able to shoot at least a doe.

I'm not sure why it was so different this year during muzzleloader season. Lack of rutting activity, seasonal shift in land usage patterns (the land I hunt is river bottom with no crops present), or something else.

Turkey numbers were down too, although I did see a couple coveys of quail, which I've never seen there before.

Fortunately I was given a great excuse to cut the trip short — my wife and I are adopting a little boy from Korea, and we got the word that he's ready to come home. I get on a plane for Seoul tonight to bring him home. Meet Jack Hoover, a deer-hunting-machine if I've ever seen one:

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