The 6 a.m. wake-up for Gus and Lily came easily, with both kids excited to load up the truck and get ready for our travel to Oak View Ranch in Nebraska. This is the first time both kids have departed for an out of state hunt with Dad and instead of being passengers; both of them are the hunters on this adventure.
After filling the Dodge Megacab to its max capacity, we all laughed about not having any more room for gear, yet we felt very comfortable with our lists being “checked” and only the road in front of us. The six-hour drive to northeast Nebraska went as quick as any trip I’ve been on with two kids quietly reading in the back of the truck, logging their hours for school.
Road trips to new destinations are always enjoyable, primarily because the journey, the road traveled and the sights are all new. Getting off the main highway and heading west, we passed through some great little towns that provided us with a few quick stops as well as an opportunity to pay patronage and add a few items to our list of essentials.
The setting at Oak View Ranch is exactly how I would define serenity. Mixed amongst the oaks and ponderosa is our handcrafted log cabin; small in size, yet large in setting, view, and comfort. Our deck overlooks a bass and bluegill filled pond, tucked amongst the tree filled hills that protect us from the wind. At first glance, our home for the next three nights is beyond our expectations and a wonderful place to enjoy time with friends.
Brian and Darin, of Oak View were ready for our arrival and anxious to show us the property and ultimately where we will be hunting in the morning. Gus and Lily had many question as you can imagine for being nine and eight, all of which were addressed with smiles and laughter.
The setup for the morning is as classic as you might expect on a Turkey hunt. Oaks and Ponderosa pines that spread across the rolling hills and into the wooded bottoms, allow for ample roosting trees, while also providing exceptional refuge for the Turkeys we are after. Our Xenek blind set up quickly, and within a few minutes, we were back on the trail headed out.
Before we reconvened with Ashley and Jesse back at camp, Gus and Lily took a few more practice shots from their 20 gauge shotguns. The goal was simply to shot reconfirm their confidence, proficiency and visualize the target being directly hit. Both of them wanted to keep practicing; yet I encouraged them to contain their energy and be ready for the hunt.
Our evening back at the cabin included some grilled Moose burger from our AK adventure, as well as various treats Gus and Lily grabbed at the store. The energy, excitement and camaraderie for our hunt is wonderful. It’s a special feeling for me, knowing my kids are doing this with me for the first time. It’s hard to fully explain in words, yet any parent that works to provide opportunities for their kids can attest, it’s the simplest of moments you cherish.
Bedtime came early, as our wake-up was set for 4:15 a.m. We need ample time in the morning to have breakfast, get organized and get into our blinds well before the turkeys begin their morning routine. The only variable in the turkey routine tomorrow morning will be two youth hunters waiting in the dark blind…