Hardly a month goes by, it seems, without another behind-the-fence whitetail operation coming to our notice. The latest is in the state of Nebraska, and it's being run by a company called Edwards Outfitting. Subscribers to the companion newsletter to this one, U.S. Hunting Report, already know Edwards Outfitting has been in the hunting business since 1977, mostly running fair-chase whitetail deer, mule deer and antelope hunts on two ranches in southeastern Wyoming (see the February 1998 issue of U.S. Hunting Report, pages 1-2). Owner Richard Edwards expanded into Nebraska five years ago, building a new lodge on a 1,000-acre spread that he has now high-fenced. To our knowledge, Edwards' operation is the only high-fence one in Nebraska being run to produce trophy quality whitetails.
So, how good are the genetics of his animals? Well, the first year he hunted this Nebraska parcel, before he high-fenced it, one of his hunters took a nontypical whitetail that gross-scored 214 points and had a 28-inch outside spread. The buck netted 204 nontypical. Last year, one of his hunters bagged a 6 x 10 nontypical inside the fenced area that scored 156 and was only 2 1/2 years old. Edwards had planned to let that buck grow for a few years, but it was injured fighting with another deer so he let a hunter take it. Edwards allows rifle and muzzleloader hunters to take about 10 to 15 deer from the Nebraska property each year. The rifle season runs for nine days during the peak of the rut in mid-November. A four to five-day hunt costs $4,000, which includes pheasant hunting if desired. A five-day muzzleloader hunt during the month of December costs $3,000. Finally, about seven bow hunters are accommodated each year. All seven 1997 bow hunters took deer, though two were hit lightly and not retrieved. Archery season runs from mid-September through the end of December, but is closed during firearms seasons. A five-day archery hunt costs $2,500. All of the above hunts require an additional $150 over-the-counter license. It's worth noting, incidentally, that Edwards also has some elk on this property which he allows........(continued)