The changing seasons offer the outdoor enthusiast a multitude of opportunities to recreate in one of the worlds most unique geographic regions.
Fall hunting highlights the season. Whether your tastes run towards shotgun, rifle, archery or muzzle loading, central Cherry County has your game. With nearly 200,000 acres of public accessible lands adjacent to our facilities, the vast open prairies and abundant lakes, streams and marshes provide prime habitat for an amazing variety of upland and migratory birds and big game species. Starting in early September, Mourning Doves kick off the fall migration. Windmills in McKelvie National Forest can provide fast wing shooting action. Grouse hunting season starts in Mid-September with plenty of Sharp Tail Grouse and Prairie Chickens in the hills around the lake, The McKelvie Forest and the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge receiving only light hunting pressure. Merriam Turkeys are abundant, providing quality hunting both Spring and Fall. Many species of ducks along with Canada Geese nest in abundant lakes and marshes of the Sandhills. These same habitats are later used by migrating waterfowl, offering both early and later season opportunities.
Without a doubt, Mule and Whitetail Deer hunting generate the most excitement every fall. Mule Deer, long the Sandhills premier big game animal, are abundant on the public lands around our resort. Expanding Whitetail populations have produced lots of excitement and more opportunities to fill tags for our hunters every year. Our population of Mule & Whitetail Deer continued to expand in 2006. the North Central unit rifle deer harvest led the state in percent in-crease topping 2005 numbers by 17%. We noted lots of success among our hunters with some nice bucks taken in our area.
Prong Horn Antelope have increased in numbers and offer yet another facet to our already diverse mix of species.
Fall fishing on Merritt Reservoir, particularly for Bass and Panfish picks up as the dog days of August give way to the crisp nights and balmy days of Indian summer. The bite often lasts through November and until ice up which typically occurs around Christmas time. The ice bite on Merritt Reservoir and the nearby lakes on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge can be world class and attracts anglers from all parts of the country. Perch, Crappie, Bluegill and Northern Pike provide the best action.
Fall foliage peaks around mid-October. Campers, hikers, bikers and sightseers can all enjoy the open prairies, numerous waterfalls, and brilliant colors. Already among the nation's top locations for stargazing, the cooler nights of autumn make the area around Merritt even more appealing to astronomers. During fall, our pure air, elevation (2760), near zero light pollution and seasonally lowered humidity provide sky viewing conditions so optimal that on a clear moonless night the glow of the Milky Way can cast a shadow!
Perhaps the best part of all is the quiet and solitude. After Labor Day the crowds dwindle so it is not unusual to have the lake and fields almost to yourself during most weekdays with weekends only a little busier. So give us a call to make reservations for a fall "Hook 'n' Bullet" getaway at The Merritt Trading Post & Resort. Inquire about special seasonal rates (available Mid September to Mid April except during the 12 days around Rifle Deer Season).
**We have gift certificates available**
Merritt Trading Post Resort