The changing seasons offer the outdoor enthusiast a multitude of opportunities to recreate in one of the worlds most unique geographic regions.
Whether you prefer shotgun, rifle, archery or muzzle loading, central Cherry County in northern Nebraska has your game. With nearly 200,000 acres of public-accessible lands, the vast open prairies and abundant lakes, streams and marshes provide prime habitat for a 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 and Prairie Chickens. Find them in the hills around the lake, The McKelvie Forest and the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge while only receiving light hunting pressure.
Merriam Turkeys are abundant. You’ll find 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. Expanding Whitetail populations have produced lots of excitement and more opportunities to fill tags for our hunters every year. Our population of Mule & Whitetails continued to expand in 2006. The North Central unit rifle deer harvest led the state 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.
Come prepared and check out the Nebraska Hunting Regulations before your trip.
Fall Fishing in Nebraska
Fall fishing on Merritt Reservoir, particularly for Bass and Panfish, picks up as August gives way to the crisp nights and balmy days of Nebraska’s Indian summer. The bite often lasts through November and until ice up. Ice fishing typically starts around Christmas time. The ice bite on Merritt Reservoir and the nearby 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, 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 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 weekdays with weekends only slightly busier. Give us a call to make reservations for a fall “Hook ‘n’ Bullet” getaway at The Merritt Trading Post. Inquire about special seasonal rates (available Mid September to Mid April except during the 12 days around Rifle Deer Season).
Ready for your next stay in the Sandhill’s? Call the Trading Post for more info and check out our cabins to shorten your packing list!