Monday, December 22, 2014
   
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Hunting paradise turns into much more for area barber

Land along Platte hosts commercial business, owner becomes involved in river restoration

Barber Tim Root hunted on property nestled along the meandering Platte River south of Darr for years.

He even moved in a rustic cabin, and installed a wood stove on the land in 1983, where he and his buddies spent the night.

When an opportunity materialized to buy 180 acres of prime migratory bird hunting land, the owner of Sportsman’s Barber Shop at Stone Hearth Estates didn’t hesitate.

To help make payments, Root began selling $2,000 annual memberships to the Drakes Nest Hunting Club and opened what he jokingly refers to as “Tim’s Bed and Breakfast With Guns.”

After the second year of the commercial endeavor, Root built a barn with an office and living quarters where he now lives, dug a well, installed electricity and made other improvements.

What makes it work, he said, is that “every guy would like a hunting cabin or access to one.”

Interestingly, Root said he bought and moved the rustic cabin from the Assembly of God church grounds in Lexington and discovered it had been used to house German prisoners during World War II.

“I paid $50 for it and it was the best money I’ve ever spent,” he said.

The cabin now sleeps six hunters for whom Root provides transportation to and from blinds, coffee, brunch and often supper.

“It’s a relaxing place to be,” he said about the furnishings for his clientele which are mostly scattered in- and out-of-state. “All they have to do is drive in with their shotguns and sit, shoot and eat.”

During waterfowl hunting season, which is busiest in November and December, Root cooks about 200 breakfasts.

A typical day begins for him at 5 a.m. when he starts coffee in the blind, sets out decoys and turns on portable heaters before returning to the cabin to wake up his guests.

He gets clients to the blind about a half hour before sunrise where they try and shoot birds until noon.

Root has several portable blinds he can transport to the best waterfowl landing spot.

“There’s prep time all the time,” he noted.

Clients also come for archery deer season, in April and May, and for dove and deer season that starts in September, although the business revolves around waterfowl season.

Sometimes he hosts corporate guests for 10 days and nights. Root caters to their hunting wishes and cooks all of their meals.

During the summer, the Drakes Nest often hosts overnight camping for the children of hunters.

Throughout the year, Root does prairie restoration for migratory birds for the Platte River Partnership that is affiliated with biologists from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Root said the partnership entails such things as planting native grasses, clearing trees and other woody growth from areas along the Platte and spraying to eliminate phragmites.

The barber, who now works exclusively at the

Sportsman’s Barber Shop, grew up in Eagle. Rather than play football and basketball, he and his brother hunted pheasants and ducks.

When Root moved to Lexington in 1977 to barber, he began hunting on the land he now owns.

What is most satisfying about the Drakes Nest Hunting Club, Root said, is that it brings everyone together.

“When the guys are in the cabin and everybody is happy because nice flocks of ducks set up well and you’ve knocked down a few, that’s worth the price of admission,” he said. “That’s what makes me feel good, that I’ve done something for them and the guys are appreciative.”

On a deeper level, Root said his clients feel like they’re helping the river by supporting restoration and investing in its future.

“There are a lot of fathers and sons who want their kids to grow up learning how to hunt and conserve,” he said.

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