Friday, October 2, 2009

Merriam's Turkey Hunts - FAQ - Part 2

© 2009 J Scott Croner and
Nebraska Hunting Company Hunting Merriam's Turkey, Nebraska turkey hunting, hunting turkey in Nebraska
Frequently Asked Questions: Part II

Q. What kind of shape do I need to be in?
A. This is a great question. A hunter needs to be able to walk 2 – 5 miles on rolling hills with some steep inclines. It always makes for a better hunt if you do some exercise before the season starts; it is just like getting you equipment ready.

Q. Can I hunt all day in Nebraska?
A. Yes we can hunt from ½ hour before sunrise until sunset. There is shooting light from almost 5:30am until 8:30pm or so.

Q. Can I hunt on Sundays?
A. Yes we can hunt everyday of the week. Keep in mind we start hunting when you arrive at the lodge. It is NOT part of the days of your hunt however when the weather is good you should hunt. You never know when it will get nasty.

Q. What is there to do after I shoot my gobblers?
A. You can go site seeing, but will have already seen just about everything in the area. We suggest taking it easy and taking a well deserved break.

Q. What are the sleeping arrangements like in the lodges?
A. There are single and double rooms depending on how many in your group.

Q. How many hunters do you take at a time?
A. NHC can take 2 – 6 hunters per day as long as some of them are experienced. You will normally be by yourself. On occasion we have hunters that prefer to hunt together, and we will certainly accommodate you if you are here in a party or family group!

Q. Can you accommodate Women? Kids?
A. Of course! Both women and young adults can hunt too.

Q. What is your alcohol policy?
A. The lodge serves alcohol, however once you drink, you are done for the day with hunting.

Q. What shot size do you recommend?
A. Take the time to pattern your gun! You need to see what shoots the best out of your gun, check 4’s, 5’s, or 6’s. You may also want to be careful with how tight of a choke you use. Often hunters come with chokes that are way too tight! Some of our birds are shot at very close range and every year some of our hunters are taking multiple shots at toms or missing them altogether as the shot charge whizzes by them.

Q. Do you shoot jakes?
A. No, not on purpose! However accidents happen and a few jakes have been shot. But the good thing is, they taste good too.

Q. How do I get to your camp?
A. You will fly into Omaha and then you will have to drive to Brewster, Nebraska. It’s about 4.5 hours. Nebraska is big.

Q. What do I bring with me?
A. Multiple changes of camo clothes, turkey calls, shotgun ammo, shotgun .

Q. What weather can I expect?
A. The Midwest can be fickle in the spring. Temperatures can range from 25deg – 90deg during our turkey season, sometimes all in the same day! You might have rain, snow, tornados, and thunderstorms. Yes it is all here during spring turkey season.

Q. How may I reserve a spot?
A. Reserve your spot by submitting a 50% deposit along with all of your information.

Q. How fast do you book up?
A. Typically the weekend hunts (Thursday – Sunday) are booked by January. By mid March we are usually booked up, but occasionally we will have a cancellation and you may be able to take advantage of it and book a hunt when no others are available.
If you have any questions please call us, or leave us a comment and we will do our best to answer you quickly and to your satisfaction.

J Scott Croner
Nebraska Hunting Company

Merriam's Turkey Hunts - FAQ - Part 1

© 2009 J Scott Croner and
Nebraska Hunting Company Hunting Merriam's Turkey, hunting merriams turkey, nebraska turkey hunting, hunting turkey in nebraska

Frequently Asked Questions: Part I

When you are planning your first outfitted hunt you probably have, or should have some questions. We have put together the most asked questions, and several that should have been asked!

Q. What is your success rate?
A. In a word, Outstanding! In the past 5 years only 3 hunters out of a total of over 100 hunters have not harvested a turkey. All of our other hunters have harvested 2 toms and many of them in the last 2 years have harvested 3 toms during their stay with us.

Q. How many birds can I harvest?
A. Nebraska law allows hunters to hunt and harvest 3 tom turkeys in the spring. When hunting with the Nebraska Hunting Company you can harvest 2 toms. There is an additional fee for harvesting the 3rd tom.

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. The packages are all inclusive. (Food, Lodging, Transportation once you arrive at the lodge.)

Q. What is not included?
A. You will have to purchase your turkey permits, habitat stamp, alcohol, and tips are not included.

Q. Do you have a taxidermist?
A. If you do not have a taxidermist, we recommend that you use Wildlife Creations Taxidermy in Omaha, Nebraska. We will deliver your turkey to him so that he can mount it just the way you want.

Q. What is an appropriate tip amount?
A. 10% - 15% of hunt package based on how successful the hunt is.

Q. What airport should I fly into?
A. Your best bet is Omaha, Nebraska it has the least expensive fares.

Q. Are all of your turkeys Merriam’s?
A. The Merriam’s turkey is defined as having off white tail tips and coverlets. Over 75% of the birds we harvest fall within this color range. The occasional Eastern, Rio, or Hybrid birds that we harvest also make unique and exceptional trophies, often growing heavier with longer beards and much longer spur lengths than our Merriam’s turkeys. Take a look at our gallery to see what our trophy turkeys look like.

Q. What are the season dates?
A. Archery starts late March and runs through end of May.
A. Shotgun starts mid April and runs through end May.

Q. When is the best time to hunt?
A. We have yet to find a day of the week or weekend that is not a great one to hunt on. What do they say? A bad day of hunting is better than a good day at work! But if we had to pick, it would be the 2nd to the 5th week.

Q. Do you clean my bird?
A. If you are NOT an expert at cleaning a turkey, don’t worry, we can do it for you. If you are not getting a full mount, we will cut the tail, beard, and feet off of the tom and then breast him out and cut the legs and thighs off.

Q. What camouflage works best?
A. All camo works however a grassland pattern works best during the early season and then camo patterns with more green as we get into May.

Q. How good of a caller must I be?
A. If you want to call in your own birds, you should be at least an average caller with a few bird harvests under your belt. We don’t want you to be discouraged if you have problems calling the turkeys into gun range. You are here to have a good and successful hunt, and we want to help you make it happen.

Q. Can I do my own calling?
A. Yes you can always do your own calling. If you are going to call your own birds you will be put in a location where there are plenty of birds.

Q. What calls do you recommend?
A. Most turkey hunters know that you need diaphragm, box, glass, and slate calls. Each call makes a different sound and birds can react differently to all of them. Again, you should have some experience in calling them in.

We will continue or Frequently asked Questions on our next post!

J Scott Croner
Nebraska Hunting Company

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wild Turkey -- Do's & Don'ts

If your turkey is tough and dry, don’t blame the turkey. The cure for a terrible tasting Tom isn’t a slow-cooker with a can or two of cream of anything soup. Here are a few tips that’ll make your turkey taste terrific!

1. Cool it, clean it and refrigerate or freeze it ASAP. Don’t drive it around in your truck to show your pals. Take a picture!

2. Don’t stuff it. It doesn’t do anything to the flavor and prolongs cooking time.

3. Don’t baste it. It doesn’t work either, but it will make the skin crispier.

4. When plucked, carefully separate the skin from the meat. Starting at the neck, work your fingers between the skin and breast. Cut up some partially-cooked bacon, onion, garlic and herbs and place between the skin and breast.

5. If you’re going to roast the whole bird, roast it breast side down. Cut up some wedges of apple, onion and/or potato to keep it from falling over.

6. Do cook the breast to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Overcooking will dry out the breast.

7. Cook turkey breasts and legs and thighs separately. Legs and thighs take a couple of hours to cook, preferably with liquid to help loosen them up. Breasts cook very quickly.

8. When stir-frying sliced turkey breast, first remove the fibrous membrane within the breast. It can be tough and chewy.

9. Use the turkey carcass and drumsticks to make a flavorful stock. Roast them in a large pan with celery, carrots and onions until brown. Then toss into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add some herbs, garlic and peppercorns and simmer for several hours. Strain through a colander for turkey stock.

10. A tough old bird may need a little more work. The Jake is the better eating bird, but I know you’re going to shoot the big boy. If the bird is especially tough, try braising or lightly pounding the breasts before cooking.

Wild Turkey Breast Won Tons - Recipe


If it’s crispy, it’s usually fried. In this case, you take some chopped up turkey breast, throw in a few other ingredients like jack cheese, wrap it all up in a won ton wrapper and fry it until it’s golden brown and crunchy. This recipe is also a great way to use slow-roasted pulled turkey thigh meat.

6 - 8 appetizer servings/25 won tons

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped wild turkey breast, skin removed
3 green onions, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/3 cup jack cheese
25 won ton wrappers
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water
oil for frying

Instructions Heat oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and stir fry until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Transfer all to a bowl and allow to cool. When cooled, chop mixture into pea-sized pieces (or pulse in a food processor). Stir in cheese. Lay won ton wrappers on a flat surface. Press together about 1 teaspoon of the turkey mixture on the center of each wrapper. Wet the edges of each wrapper with the cornstarch mixture. Fold wrapper in a triangle, pressing down around the filling and sealing the edges with your fingers. Carefully place won tons, one or two at a time, into hot (360 degree) oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with salt while hot.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Outfitter Chronicles: J Scott Croner Part I

Hello everyone,

I have had a real treat in doing an interview with Albert Rasch of The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles. We covered some serious topics, but we had a lot of fun too. I'm looking forward to hunting some Florida Hogs sometime in the future with Albert!

You can find the interview at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: The Outfitter Chronicles: J Scott Croner Part I

Thanks again for stopping by, and don't forget to check on our latest hunting packages at Nebraska Hunting Company.

J Scott Croner
Nebraska Hunting Company