Junior Devon Lloyd poses with a buck at his cabin in Morse Bluffs, Neb.
By Seth Fink, reporter
It’s 5 A.M. and a hunter rolls out of bed. He throws frigid water with hot coco powder in the microwave to warm up for the morning. He fills his camouflage backpack to the brim with beef jerky and Ritz crackers and plops two eggs on the sizzling pan for a quick breakfast. Time is ticking as he rushes into his bedroom to put on multiple layers of clothes to stay warm in the stand. Lacing up his Lacrosse boots he rushes to the truck and ignites the engine, seeing the frost quickly ease off the window. The hunter only has one thought: the elusive monster buck that could walk by his stand at this very moment. He hustles inside to finish eating, puts on layers, and locks the doors to leave. He knows until he can get up in the stand and wait for the 12-pointer to walk on by, he is just wasting valuable time.
Junior Devon Lloyd enjoys these mornings and gladly sacrifices sleeping in for a day in the field.
“I love the rush in the morning before I get to the hunt, all I can think about is seeing a giant buck walk right in front of me while hunting,” Lloyd said.
There are many places to hunt around Nebraska but Lloyd prefers his cabin about forty-five minutes west of Omaha.
“I like to hunt at my cabin [in Morse Bluff, Neb.] because it is very convenient, we have a place to go after and before and stay the night so we don’t have to get up so early in the morning,” Lloyd said.
Likewise, freshman Cole Berrett is not too picky as to where to hunt, as long as he is in the great outdoors.
“I like to hunt in the deep woods so I can be in nature the most,” Berrett said.
It’s 8 A.M. now. The hunter is arriving at the field. He swiftly walks to the stand, cautious with each step, making sure he doesn’t step on any leaves that could crinkle and spook the deer down wind. He starts to climb the 20 foot ladder, leery of each step so he does not fall to the ground. Once to the top, he carefully thrusts the safety bar over his head into position making sure that he won’t fall throughout the hunt. Next, he places his bag of goodies under his seat and pulls out the binoculars, easing the strap around his neck. All settled in, he pulls out an arrow and snaps it on the bow’s string. He is now ready for action.
Though many people prefer hunting with a rifle, Lloyd prefers a challenge.
“I prefer a bow because it is much more of a challenge to get a shot off and I feel a lot more pride when I get the kill,” Lloyd said.
There are many different brands of hunting equipment on the market, but Lloyd is loyal to only one brand.
“My favorite brand is Hoyt because their equipment is very dependable and they make great bows,” Lloyd said.
However, Berrett prefers otherwise.
“I like the brand Remington because I trust it a lot for the things that I do with it,” Berrett said.
Remington has a long history with hunters, as it has been around for more than 200 years, earning a reputation Berrett finds undeniable.
It is 8:30. It is time to start watching for the deceptive buck. The deer knows that the hunter is around, but it’s just a matter of time before one makes a mistake, taking the path that leads the way right in front of the deer stand. With the deer on high alert, the hunter carefully draws back the bow, making sure not to rustle. Placing the site on the buck’s heart, the hunter takes a shot and lets the arrow fly. Down goes the deer, and the hunter celebrates his success. Now that his animal is down, he can change his quiet tone into a more regular volume, but still conscious to not scare deer away for future hunts. He climbs down the wobbly, shaky stand as it creaks in the wind and scurries over to the kill with excitement. He might take a couple of pictures, but now the real work takes place.
Though hunters don’t always make a kill, when they do, it is something to be celebrated.
“My ideal moment in a tree stand would be in the morning with frost covering the ground, when a big buck comes into the field right in front of me in shooting range and I get a good shot on him, watching him drop right in his tracks,” Berrett said.
Most people think hunters only hunt so they can go shoot a big buck to show off to people. However, there is more to the story.
“I love hunting partly do to the adrenaline rush I get when an animal is walking in, it gets my blood pumping,” Lloyd said.
To others, hunting is all about making memories and having a blast participating in the sport they love.
“For me, hunting is about having fun in the outdoors because I can remember the good memories I had from the past,” Berret said.
Finally, the time has come to finish the job. The hunter hauls the kill back to the truck, and cleans the deer. With his sharpest knife, he carefully cleans the animal, making sure not to miss any valuable meat for the freezer. Once the deer is cleaned, and the meat is ready to be taken home, he bags it up and lays it in the bed of his truck, tieing it down so it won’t slide around. Hopping into the driver’s seat, the hunter exits the field, cautious of any ditches or logs along the way. Pulling into his driveway, he unloads the meat first, putting it in the freezer ensuring it won’t spoil. Then he unloads everything else until the truck is bare of his equipment. The hunter hustles inside, unlacing his boots so he does not track dirt into the house, and starts taking off his many warm layers of clothing. It’s been a long day, but the freezer is full and deer backstraps are on the menu tonight.
Hunting is a tedious process, but proves to be very rewarding.
“I would go do it because it will let you experience something that you can’t get anywhere else,” Berrett said.
For Berrett, hunting has become a positive past-time.
“Hunting has changed my life by giving me an experience and the feeling of being in one of the best places, nature, while doing something I love,” Berret said.
Lloyd loves hunting, and wants people to understand it’s not about going out and killing something.
“It’s not about killing, that’s what they all think, they think we are all out there just to kill innocent animals. It’s not about that at all, we respect nature probably more than them,” Lloyd said. “It’s about conservation and keeping the population at a reasonable rate. Also, we feed our families with the delicious food.”