Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the questions we are most frequently asked (or should be).
Q. What is your success rate?
A. Unbelievable. please visit our Success Rate page.
Q. How many birds can I harvest?
A. We offer two or three bird hunts.
Q. Is there a draw for permits?
A. No, permits are over the counter (internet download) and unlimited.
Q. What is included in your turkey hunt package?
A. 2x1 guiding, meals, accomodations, transportation during the hunt, use of all decoys, blinds and equipment, delivery of trophy to Hazel Creek Taxidermy, or we'll quick freeze your trophy if you are taking it back with you.
Q. What is not included?
A. Your transportation to camp, 5.5% sales tax, turkey permits, habitat stamp, tips, taxidermy, bird cleaning.
Q. What is an appropriate tip amount?
A. 10% of the basic hunt cost split up as you see fit between your guide and your cook. Remember that the cook will be getting 6 or 8 tips per group and your guide only two, so generally the guide gets the bulk of the tip. Of course the tip amount will vary from client to client based on his/her generosity and his/her opinion of how well the guide performed. Be assured that we do our best to get you good, quality guides who come from all over the country to guide for us. They don't live on tips alone, but getting quality guides to travel to our camps would not be possible if they did not receive adequate tips. Please keep in mind, we do not hire "bubba's", we have an extraordinary staff which is important to your success. Without our knowledgeable guides our success rate would be just like everyone else's.
Q. What airport should I fly into?
A. Sioux City, Iowa is 2 hours from our camps. Pierre, South Dakota is 2 hours from our camps. Omaha is 3.5 hours. Lincoln is 4 hours. Sioux Falls, SD is 3 hours.
Q. Are all of your turkeys Merriams?
A. The merriams turkey is defined as having buff to light pinkish white tail tips and coverlets. Over 80% of the birds we harvest fall within this color range. Due to the way turkeys were reintroduced in the united states, odd flocks of eastern and rio turkeys were introduced across most of the merriams range, which means that most places you go will have some odd variations of birds. Some more than other. Our ranches are spread out across three counties in Northcentral Nebraska so there will be some color variations. The 20% or less of Eastern, Rio, or Hybrid birds that we harvest also make exceptional trophies, often growing very heavy with longer beards and much more impressive spur lengths than our Merriams turkeys. Take a look at our [Photo Gallery] to see what our turkeys look like.
Q. What are the season dates?
A. Archery starts late March and runs through May.
A. Shotgun starts mid April and runs through May.
Q. When is the best time to hunt?
A. If you are bowhunting, it is best to come from the archery opener (late march) to about April 20. After that time the birds are split up enough that it get's considerably harder to fill with a bow.
A. If you are shotgun hunting, please keep in mind that we shoot turkeys through the ENTIRE season. We don't run out of birds and we have enough land that we are never hunting overpressured birds. The difference can be summed up like this: The april hunts are best for patient hunters who will sit for long hours, sometimes in a blind and call very conservatively. If you fit this description, you'll probably fill your tag every year that you come hunting with us. And, you don't have to be in great shape to handle the April hunting. The birds are not yet totally split up so you are always in the middle of plenty of birds. A blind is almost a must during this time of year since there are too many eyes around you most of the time. If you are the type that likes to blow on a locate call, hear a gobble and run after it, and hunt a single gobbler at a time, then May is the time for you. At this time the flocks are well split up, but you have to be in a little better shape to be successful. Not marathon shape, mind you, just able to walk a couple of miles a day. So, the BEST time to hunt basically depends on HOW you like to hunt.
Q. Do you clean my bird?
A. No. Each of our guides has 4 to 6 tags to fill every three days and since you can hunt all day in Nebraska, your guide will be too busy trying to get all 4 to 6 tags filled to be cleaning birds. Believe me, you want your guide helping you fill tags. If you intend on mounting your bird, we will put it in a stocking and freeze it in one of our deep freezers. We have arranged for delivery of your turkey to Hazel Creek Taxidermy if that is your wish. Otherwise you will take your frozen trophy home with you to take to your own taxidermist.
Q. Can I donate my bird to someone?
A. Yes, if you do not want your meat, you can fill out a donation slip to legally gift the meat to us. This doesn't get you out of cleaning your bird, however.
Q. What is the law regarding transportation of turkeys?
A. Immediately after the kill, you must punch your tag. When you are with the turkey, the tag can stay on your person. If you walk away from the turkey, the tag has to be attached to the turkey carcass. This tag must remain with the turkey all the way home, or to the taxidermist. When you clean your bird a leg or the head must remain naturally attached to the bird. This means you cannot breast out your bird to take home. You basically have to skin it and leave a leg attached. We will not let you breast out a bird at our camp.
Q. What camo works best?
A. I like mossy oak obsession, or something like that. Browns with some green seem to work throughout the season. The main thing is to be fully camoed head to toe, including your gun. Don't forget the facemask!
Q. How good of a caller must I be?
A. You don't have to know how to call to be successful with us. The guide will ask which of his two hunters is the least experienced caller and start with that person. So, if you are not a caller, just tell your guide and he'll call for you.
Q. Can I do my own calling?
A. Of course. Just keep in mind that most folks that show up at our place OVERCALL tremendously. So you might be a great caller, but it won't help you if you call too much. Especially in April. So you can do your own calling, but don't be surprised if your guide gives you a little friendly advice on not overcalling. Even though you might be a better technical caller than he.
Q. What calls do you recommend?
A. Bring several calls and whatever you can work the best. If you like a box call, bring it! We have a lot of wind in Nebraska and they get the most response during windy conditions.
Q. What kind of shape do I need to be in?
A. It does not matter. We have hunting areas that you can literally drive right to and others that are long walks. If you are not in great shape, consider coming in April. If you are in better shape and like to walk as opposed to sit, come in May. If there are both types in your group, come whenever it fits your schedule and we'll find suitable hunting situations for all of you. Remember, we hunt 50 ranches, we can find terrain to fit anyone.
Q. Can I hunt all day in Nebraska?
Q. Can I hunt on Sundays?
Q. What is there to do after I shoot my gobblers?
A. The unquestionable favorite thing that our guests do after their tags are filled are to drive 1 hour to Pete's Taxidermy studio in Burke, South Dakota. It is an amazing taxidermy studio with a giant showroom. Otherwise, your guide might set you up somewhere to roost birds in the evening for other members of your party.
Q. What are the sleeping arrangements like in the lodges?
A. Two hunters per bedroom on twin beds.
Q. How many hunters do you take at a time?
A. 8 per camp.
Q. Can you accomodate Women? Kids?
A. Absolutely. Our camp atmosphere is a family friendly country atmosphere. We demand it of all of our staff and ask it of our clients.
Q. What is your alcohol policy?
A. No alcohol is allowed at the Redbird Camp or the Big Sandy camp unless your group has booked the entire time slot. Alcohol is allowed at the Niobrara camp, within limits established by the camp manager.
Q. What shot size do you recommend?
A. We absolutely love hevi-shot. 4's or maybe 5's.
Q. Do you shoot jakes?
A. No. They are legal, and don't worry, you won't be in any trouble at camp if you shoot one, but your guide will never tell you to shoot a jake unless you insist. We'll shoot 5 or 10 jakes a year out of 200 birds. We expect you want longbeards.
Q. How do I get to your camp?
A. After you book a hunt, you'll be given driving directions to the camp that you are booked into.
Q. What do I bring with me?
A. After you book your hunt, you'll be given an equipment checklist
Q. What weather can I expect?
A. Nighttime lows in the 30's (april) and daytime highs up to as high as 80 (may). Expect wind and be prepared for some rain.
Q. How do I reserve a spot?
A. Call me at 406-363-0801 and I can reserve your spot with 1/2 down by credit card over the phone. I will also hold a spot pending receipt of a check within 5 business days, as long as we are over 60 days before our season starts in March.
Q. How fast do you book up?
A. About 1/2 of our spots for the next spring are taken by the time the current spring season is over. The rest will book throughout the year and generally through til January or February until we are full. In 2007 we turned away 20 hunters once we were full, so don't wait too long.