In the spirit of community, youth hunts will be offered throughout deer, elk and antelope season at the Veebaray Ranch Inc., located 30 miles west of Sidney. Joe Russell, vice president of operations, and Todd Krenning, ranch manager, have decided to open up the property to hand-selected youth hunters accompanied by an adult.
“This is a new thing for us and it’s sort of a trial-and-error deal,” Krenning said. “We’re going to see what works this year. Some of the logistics we are still working out.”
There are some basic rules Russell and Krenning have laid out for the upcoming hunts.
“Youth hunters must make a reservation and sign in with Todd,” Russell said. “They must have a non-hunting adult at least 18 years of age to accompany them.”
Youth hunters can apply for one of 10 reservation spots by calling Krenning on Sunday, Oct. 13, between 5-7 p.m., and picking a date to be scheduled. The hunts will be offered on a first call, first serve basis. On the scheduled date of the hunt, people must check in with Krenning, receive a written permission slip to be on the property, sign a waiver and get directions to a parking area. The hunts will be walk-in only, as the recent weather has cause some erosion on roads.
“One thing we will require is hunters take a doe before they shoot a buck,” Krenning said. “We are always concerned about is the deer population. It’s just starting to rebound after the ranch was outfitted for a number of years. The last four years we’ve been very protective of this deer population.”
All hunters are required to follow hunting regulations and to complete an approved hunting regulation course prior to the hunt.
The Veebaray Ranch is a fifth generation operation with a rich history of community spirit. Augustus Vaux founded the ranch in 1913 and led a successful life of entrepreneurship and community leadership. He was mayor of Sidney, owned several businesses, served on the school board, state fair board and built the local post office. Russell’s wife is a descendent of Vaux.
“He was instrumental in incorporating Richland County from Dawson County,” Russell said. “Vaux was known for his generosity, including sharing access to the Vaux reservoirs for hunting, swimming and fishing. What we’re trying to do is keep within the family values that Augustus Vaux had.”
Vaux’s spirit of generosity lives on with the youth hunts. Russell said unlike western Montana, there’s limited public access out east for good hunting ground. While they expect some lessons learned, they are proud to open their land for locals to enjoy some sport.
“What we’re trying to do is give youth the ability to hunt the whole general rifle season for deer and antelope,” Russell said.
Krenning said they will be aiming to space hunters out over the season.
“The people who come hunt here, there might be one or two hunting parties on the ranch,” he said. “On 15,000 acres, you get a lot of space between the hunters that way.”
To get one of 10 youth hunt reservation spots, call Krenning Sunday, Oct. 13, between 5-7 p.m., at 406-774-7023.