NEBRASKAland December 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 44 of 63

DECEMBER 2017 • NEBRASKAland 45 eople are always looking for time to themselves," said Haidar Kazem of Alvo. "Hunting is my time to myself." Half a mile in from the parking lot was Haidar's hunting spot at Pawnee Lake State Recreation Area (SRA). Weighed down by his gear, a Thompson/Center .50 caliber muzzleloader and bulky winter clothes, we slowly made our way through the grass and trees. He spoke briefly with steaming breath. "I just enjoy being outside. Look at this frost shining on the ground – it's beautiful," he whispered. The dying yellow-green grass of early December sparkled like diamonds under the beam of Haidar's headlamp. As our boots crunched across a frozen meadow, he pointed out two oval- shaped indentations in the field. Still warm, those areas were without frost – we must've just scared off two bedding deer with our progress. Warm sweat turned into an instant chill by the time we reached the edge of a bean field. If Haidar was to shoot a deer that day, it would be a long haul dragging it out. That's one of the challenges of hunting public land, but Haidar seemed to do pretty well. He's been successful many times before. "People might think this is crazy, but I have not bought meat from the store in nine years. We buy hotdogs for the kids, but that's it," he said. Thirty minutes before legal shooting time, a healthy doe wandered within 20 yards of Haidar's muzzleloader, but all he could do was watch her feed. She stayed for 15 minutes before jumping into the woods, white tail flagging. She must've heard other hunters approaching, for when light broke the horizon, gunshots rang all around us. Endless V's of ducks and geese flew overhead, and Haidar half wished he was at the lake with his duck call instead. With a cold front coming in, the temperature was dropping quickly. Finally around 9 a.m., two young deer came wandering along the edge of the bean field toward us. One lost interest and fell away toward the woods. The other deer approached, and as Haidar reached for his muzzleloader, it spooked and ran across the field. For a split second, Haidar considered shooting his quarry on the run, but thought better of it. Fortunately, the young animal made the fatal mistake of stopping to look back at us, broadside. Haidar made the shot, and smoke filled the air – in classic muzzleloader fashion – obscuring both our views. As it cleared, we saw the deer buck. He bounded straight for the trees. A button buck presents an opportunity to Kazem during a muzzleloader hunt at Pawnee Lake State Recreation Area. "P

Articles in this issue

view archives of NEBRASKAland - NEBRASKAland December 2017