It started off as a simple idea… a donation towards the Ray Butler Fund at the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioner’s meeting.
Dr. Eric Behlke had arranged with his family in Benklemen, Nebraska to host a 2-day pheasant hunt on their farm. Members could bid on the opportunity, and the proceeds would go the Ray Butler Fund to assist veterinary students in gaining exposure to bovine veterinary practice.
The bidding went far beyond what was expected, and the two top bidders – Greg Shewfelt, President of Partnar Animal Health and Dr. Doug Meyers were excited to join in this opportunity.
On Dec. 8, Greg and his son Chris and Dr. Doug Meyers and Craig Dorin met up with Dr. Eric Behlke in Denver and drove 3 hours north to the Behlke ranch, situated on 5800 acres in the southern tip of Nebraska. Due to personal interests and the opportunity of some land grants which pays farmers to allow their land to lay fallow, the Behlke’s have allowed for over 600 acres spread across their land to go to grass. Much of the grass land is found on the corners of irrigation circles adjacent to corn fields. This means the wildlife can flourish on the crop remnants left behind after harvest.
The Behlke’s opened up their home and land to this group for three days – offering amazing hospitality, great friendship and a unique opportunity for these guys to hunt pheasants. They had the assistance of two dogs – an English Setter (Jas) and a German Shorthaired Pointer (Doug) – to help flush and retrieve the birds. Some of the grassy areas were well over 6 feet tall, so the dogs were a necessity! On the first day Chris logged over 18000 steps on his step counter! There were a lot of pheasants, but the guys definitely had to search them out. Other wildlife seen included white-tailed deer, mule deer, thousands of Canada Geese and 2 bobcats!
Friendly competition, good conversations and hearty laughter abounded on this trip. As Maureen Behlke commented, “It is hard to believe these guys didn’t know each other before they arrived. They are all carrying on like they have known each other for years!”
They were able to limit out and bring home some great birds for their efforts. The experience, friendship and hospitality came together to make this a trip of a lifetime. It was an amazing experience! Thank you again to the generosity of the Behlke’s. Both the Roy Butler Fund and the hunters were HUGE winners from this amazing opportunity!