Swinging Bridge Ranch: open for youths
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
One of the goals John Flood has for the Swinging Bridge Ranch he owns west of Champion has been met this fall.
As he watched a number of youths hunt on his ground, he saw satisfying results from the years of teaching youngsters about stewardship and a love of the outdoors.
“This was the most successful year,” he said, as several youths bagged turkeys and deer in their hunting efforts.
Flood allows only youths age 18 and younger to hunt on his section of ground by permission and with an adult
“The facility is here for the kids,” he said.
“The experiences enjoyed by our children here at the Swinging Bridge Ranch are meant to instill a sense of stewardship and personal responsibility which they will carry with them throughout their lives,” Flood states in some promotional literature about Swinging Bridge Ranch.
He smiled last week as he talked about sixth grader Dylan Dreiling, who bagged an 11 x 6 whitetail deer with a 21-inch spread during the just-completed firearm season.
Rabecca Huicochea, a CCS sophomore, and eighth grader Lauren Prior filled their turkey tags on his ground.
Rabecca then returned on opening day of firearm deer season and bagged a doe on her first shot as she hunted with her father, Andres.
Flood said he’s had several youths hunt a variety of animals on his ground this year.
The Swinging Bridge Ranch ground was not grazed this year, Flood said, so there is a lot more cover attractive to wildlife.
He’s been opening up his ground for youths since purchasing it in 2004.
He said youths planning to hunt there should call him for permission at 308-882-4377. They must also have an adult with then when they hunt on his ground.
Since Flood purchased the property, the ground has also been used for SCORE science camps, as well as a site for the SW Nebraska Pheasants Forever Chapter’s youth mentor hunt the weekend before the statewide pheasant season opens.
After Imperial Girl Scout Troop 580 built and placed several bluebird houses on the ranch, Flood reports bluebirds are now seen frequently on and around the ranch.
The Imperial FFA chapter has also worked to restore the orchard established by the ranch’s previous owners, Charles and Anoma Hoffmeister.
The ranch is also occasionally used for outdoor weddings and other special events.