Ponderosa Ranch is 3600 acres located 70 miles south of the Black Hills of South Dakota in northwest Nebraska. Our ranch boasts of a rugged beauty in its diversity; spectacular views in every direction, open rolling grass meadows, steep hills, ridges studded with Ponderosa pine trees, canyons with Green Ash, Hackberry and Cottonwood lining the creek bottoms. This makes a challenging terrain for the hunter but a haven for mule deer and True Merriam turkey.
Turkey and Deer Hunting
We offer semi guided hunting, which means we will drive you around the ranch to show you where fences, gates, stock tanks/creeks and boundary fences are and provide you with a ranch map. You can either walk from the cabin to hunt, or use a 4x4 vehicle on logging roads on the ranch. We do not allow guests to bring their own ATV's.
How to get Here
Located south east of Crawford, Nebraska, the Ponderosa Ranch is located in the Northwest part of the Panhandle of Nebraska. We are approximately 30 miles east of the Wyoming border (Hwy 20), and 30 miles south of the South Dakota border (Hwy 2/71) and the Black Hills, and 8 miles south of Crawford. Our ranch is approximately a 5 hour drive by car from Denver, CO. See our Contact page for the address.
Several airports are within relatively close proximity to the ranch. Chadron, NE Airport is 30 miles, Alliance Airport is 60 miles, and Scottsbluff Airport is 75 miles. United Express flies daily between Denver, Colorado, and these airports. Rapid City Airport, South Dakota is about 120 miles from the ranch.
The Chadron Municipal Airport (CDR) is located 5 miles west of Chadron on HWY 20. Chadron Municipal Airport offers free parking to airport patrons. Commercial flights are provided by Boutique Air with service to Denver International Airport (DIA).
You may book a flight to/from Denver with most major carriers and then use Boutique Air for the charter flight from Denver to Chadron and back to Denver.
T E S T I M O N I A L S
A Flintlock and a Mule Deer Buck
Jack's Story: On a perfect winter day, with sun glistening on the snow, we began a still hunt with my .50 caliber flintlock loaded with a round ball and patch during muzzleloader season. My hunting partner, Bryan and I, began slowly walking together up a creek bottom. The water trickling, the snow crunching under each step, and the wind in our faces. As we slowly progressed we saw and kicked up many mule deer but they were all does. At times we were drawing a bead just for practice, because on this particular day we were only allowed to shoot a 3x3 buck or better. As we spied four mule deer up on a ridge about 70 yards away, they spotted us and away they went. Then another doe came bounding at us and on up the hill she went to join the others. Then we spotted a bigger deer coming at us. Alas it is a buck and a shooter at that. He followed the does up the hill but did not show himself. The doe was beginning to leave and I pulled out my doe -in -heat can call. And to my surprise it worked. The doe came over to the edge of the shelf, was very inquisitive and was trying to find the source of the call, but was not able to identify a similar deer. And then to my delight, the buck stepped into view and began to come to the edge of the shelf. He stopped, facing us directly. I was partially hidden behind a small pine tree with Bryan behind me. I eased my muzzle up to a branch at the height it needed to be, took careful aim and gently squeezed the trigger. “Blast it all,” nothing happened! No spark, no flash, no ignition and no shot!!! Internally I was screaming, but had to hold it all in. I checked the primer in the pan it was still there. Once again, I eased back the hammer, set the trigger and took careful aim. Then, boom!! Brian exclaimed, “You hit the deer.” The buck jumped up and gave a big kick. The kind you like to see. I quickly reloaded, and we waited a short time. My patience grew thin, and I just had to walk up to check for a hit. In my initial disappointment all I found was hair and no blood. Bryan assured me that I had made a lethal hit. He marked the last place we saw him as he bounded down the hill and out of sight. I then began to follow his tracks, and to my delight found blood on the snow. I followed him down the hill and just as I reached the bottom, I heard Bryan say, “We don’t need more blood; there he is!” I was extremely thankful and excited at the same time. MY first mule deer buck, my first kill with my flintlock, and I took it in the traditional manner, with round ball and patch.! This was also the first mule deer buck taken with a muzzleloader on the Ponderosa Ranch.
After thanking the Lord for the blessing of the deer and thanking the deer for his sacrifice, Bryan and I finished with the gutting and called Dale to pick us up. After a short wait, Dale arrived and we loaded up the buck for his trip to the deer shed. Continuing hunting, we walked and walked and walked over the hills, steep ridges, and deep ravines home to the cabin.
Jack Christenson, WI