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The One-Box Pheasant Hunt at Cabela's

The One-Box Pheasant Hunt

Author: Frank Ross

The annual "One-Box Pheasant Hunt," held each year on the second weekend of pheasant season, began in 1961 as a community project intended to increase tourism and help local youngsters with college scholarships. From its modest beginnings, this event has become one of the most highly coveted tickets in the sports world, and getting your name on the invitation-only list is as tough as hitting a passing dove with a .410.

Matt Lyne breaks a target to check its flight.

Broken Bow Nebraska isn't famous for many things, but two will get your attention if you're serious about shooting a shotgun. This quiet, Mid-west town of 3,491 people has a neatly manicured appearance nestled in between the subtle waves of featureless landscape that North Central Nebraska is noted for.

At one end of town, a shooting facility that seems out of place for a community of this size, attracts a "Who's Who" list of competitive shooters from throughout the nation, for an annual event that has top shooters waiting in line for a chance to participate. General Norman Schwazkopf, a shotgunner of international acclaim, heads a list of athletes, actors, politicians, and leaders of industry that have shot the event known widely simply as the "One-Box."

The annual "One-Box Pheasant Hunt," held each year on the second weekend of pheasant season, began in 1961 as a community project intended to increase tourism and help local youngsters with college scholarships. From its modest beginnings, this event has become one of the most highly coveted tickets in the sports world, and getting your name on the invitation-only list is as tough as hitting a passing dove with a .410.

Each year, five or six new teams of five shooters are selected to participate by the past shooter's board, after a screening process to assay their potential. "The One-Box past shooter's board looks over the teams that are recommended by past shooters and approves the list based on what we feel they have the potential to donate," explained Matt Lyne, Secretary-Treasurer of the Foundation board. Lyne, who manages the local appliance store, has also served on the past shooter's board, but he is most often found darting around the facility making sure things are running properly. Like most organizations, a few people keep the wheels turning and Lyne's dedication has been exceptional. Beyond his service on the organizations governing boards, he is one of a handful of members who "make it happen."

The One-Box is the second oldest competitive shooting event in the nation, patterned after the one-shot antelope hunt held in Wyoming. Basically, it's a timed event where scores are determined by how many birds a team bags (up to the legal limit) and how quickly they do it. Five points are garnered for pheasant and two for quail, which are bonus birds. Prior to the hunting action, competitors participate in a round of sporting clays, trap and skeet and separate awards are presented for each level of competition.

Setting up traps is just one of the many roles that Lyne fills.

Only first time shooters can participate in the actual One-Box competition. From that point on they can participate in the event as a past shooter as long as their dues are paid up. The importance of the dues and potential donations of competitors is ultimately altruistic. All proceeds from this event go to fund scholarships for local students, habitat restoration and community improvement projects. Each year $10,000 in college scholarships is awarded to students in areas where the hunt is held. "We're a 501-C3 organization, so everything a shooter donates is tax deductible, but more importantly it helps a lot of deserving kids with their college education and we do a lot of community improvement and habitat projects."

"Last year we awarded eight $1000 scholarships and two $2000 scholarships, and the way we've set it up, no more than five can go to Broken Bow students. We open it up to any school in a county where we have hunting access. We sent applications to 27 schools and received 127 applications from students. It is always a tough decision choosing which students are awarded the scholarships. In addition to a student's academic achievement we factor in parental involvement in our event, if the student works at our range and landowners that support our event get points for their kids as well."

"We put a lot of money into habitat. The state has a new deal and we're working to get Custer County set up for this program which is keyed on habitat restoration and food plots for wildlife. We're going to try and push this locally to land owners, and encourage them to put their land into this habitat program to build the pheasant population which in turn will increase hunter visits and ultimately help businesses in the area."

"This year we're adding a dove hunt, along the same line as our pheasant event. For this year's dove hunt we've got 21 5-man teams registered from 17 states. On Friday they'll shoot trap, skeet, sporting clays, and draw for guides and shooting land. They get 15 shells to bag 15 doves, a daunting challenge at best. A $160.00 entry fee makes up the pot along with a spirited Friday night Calcutta where teams are auctioned to the highest bidder.

As noted, these are invitation only events, but it is possible to get your name on the list by contacting a past shooter and going through the nomination and approval process. Their shooting facility is open to anyone, without a membership fee and it is also available for group activities. For more information on the One-Box Pheasant Hunt, Dove Hunt, or renting the facility for corporate shoots or family picnics, go to www.nebraskaonebox.com.

The other thing that Broken Bow is famous for is Dave Stunkel, the current state champion sporting clay shooter.






Author Frank Ross
Frank Ross grew up on a lake in Florida, where fishing and hunting were second nature. He has pursued his passion from the jungles of South America to the northern reaches of the Arctic Circle and most points in between. With a background in newspapers, the wire services and magazines that began in 1970, Frank brings a unique perspective to his work with Cabela's. He is an award-winning photographer with a flair for getting to the bottom line of every story.

When he's not out hunting down another interesting story, Frank can be found near his home in western Nebraska where he now spends most of his time guiding his two sons and teaching them how to be successful in the field. "It's part of the responsibility we all have as outdoorsmen, to share what we have learned and pass on the passion. I take the same tact when approaching a story┐. how can I help someone be better at what they love to do?"




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