The Niobrara River is not just a premier recreation river in Nebraska; it is a unique crossroads where many species of plants and animals coexist unlike anywhere else. Its water quality and the relatively free-flowing nature support diverse life while unique fossil-filled sandstone cliffs host over 200 waterfalls. Known for such beauty, biological significance, and paleontological resources, Congress designated 76 miles of this watery ribbon of life as part of the National Wild and Scenic River system.
Probably one of the most interesting attributes of all, is the fact that there are actually for sale, portions of the ecosystem it supports. One of which is “Oak Marsh Bend”.
When looking for a recreational getaway, certain properties stand out. Oak Marsh Bend does just that. Named for it’s most unique feature, the large natural marsh that seems to hold its own when convincing the Niobrara to bend around its point of “waterfowling advantage”, this 206.45± acre hideaway holds great diversity in landscape and tremendous hunting potential for several species – ducks, geese, deer, and turkey.
Additionally, this property is truly a keepsake to be handed down through generations, as it is a promoter of great lifestyle. The current owner’s pride is evident throughout. With a beautiful log home adorned with outdoor regalia, a newer shop building, and a productive garden that overlook both a private fishing pond that again overlooks the wilds of a marsh, dense woodlands, thick bottomland cover, and the gorgeous Niobrara itself, this is one that holds it all! And this is an outdoor property to be enjoyed year round. Beautiful in all seasons, boredom is not an option. Whether enjoying meals cooked from springtime mushrooms gathered, summer vegetables grown, fall and winter wildfowl harvested, or fish caught year round, Oak Marsh Bend delivers the satisfaction to fill the needs that are deep within all of us to take in the riches of the earth by our own doing!
Habitat and Land Features
The Marsh: This is the feature that few other regional properties can boast. Roughly 35-acres or more, it is so full of “memories to be made” by the promise it screams to those who love to be “in it” for real. With great stands of wetland grasses dissected by open waterways, a duck hunter immediately begins to wrestle with where to throw the first decoy. And clearly it is attractive to puddle ducks. Even without any migration beginning, there were mallards on it every time we checked. And this wetland could offer some great restoration possibilities for those who want to increase their hunting options. Opening up potholes within its complex would be exciting to say the least, and it would likely attract ducks throughout. And something that many forget to associate with this type of habitat is the fact that the cattails and grasses are tremendous deer cover regarding whitetails. Looking from overhead, it is crisscrossed absolutely everywhere by trails!
The River: In addition to the classic waterfowling feel of the marsh, this section of the fantastic Niobrara itself is incredibly “ducky” for lack of better terms. It is picture-perfect to the eye of a waterfowler who is familiar with hunting shallow prairie rivers. Broken up by sandbars and islands, it’s slow moving channels and calm water meanders offer a myriad of decoy water and hunting options throughout it! And according to Nebraska law, ownership goes to the “center of the main thread” of a river (the deepest channel). Consequently this means that Oak Marsh Bend currently holds complete hunting control all the way beyond some established islands, which in such a wide stretch of river; nicely provides a good buffer between neighbors to the north. This means that even if anyone were to hunt on the opposite side, it would be far from those enjoying the Oak Marsh Bend section of river, and interference would be minimal, if any!
The Woods: Classic to bluffs that often line river valleys, for nearly its entire length, Oak Marsh Bend is densely forested with Bur Oak, Cottonwood, Red Cedar, Green Ash, Willow, and a few Walnut trees. Therefore the deer find incredible sanctuary, key to whitetail usage and to growing big bucks! Furthermore the Oaks that drop their acorns provide mast to the menu for deer and turkey… all good! Therefore the current owner and his friends and family have hunted this jungle, working the many trails left by the deer.
Bottomland: What is amazing are the many spring fed little creeks that enter the Niobrara system up and down its corridor. And on Oak Marsh Bend there is no exception. And when reaching the bottomland they even appear to flood the woods creating very interesting habitat. Furthermore this hydrology results in thick cover varying from grasses to willows with some trees as well. It couldn’t be more deer friendly. And also the bottomland of this property is known to produce Morel, Oyster, and Box elder mushrooms, all edible and delicious for those who enjoy such delicacies.
Hay Field: Another of the strong elements of this property is a hay field located well above the river bottom. It is surrounded by the curtain of trees on three sides and currently hosts a shooting tower type deer stand that resembles those commonly used throughout Europe to harvest Row Deer, Red Stag, and Wild Boar. In recently years this field has been planted in oats instead of the alfalfa of its past. And as is, it will draw deer to feed in it, particularly in early stages of growth. But clearly, an alfalfa field would be an absolute magnet to deer and turkey throughout the year and occasionally geese as well. Plus it could bring a little higher income to this land. Also alfalfa is protein-rich and helps in growing big antlers. A buyer shouldn’t hesitate to reestablish it into a productive alfalfa field, which is a 5 to 7 year crop… the benefits would be substantial!
Waterfowl: Though the Niobrara is not known for the extremely high numbers of wintering waterfowl associated with perhaps the Platte River System, Oak Marsh Bend is relatively near its mouth into the Missouri, which is actually a very well known hotspot for mallard hunting! And unlike the Platte where the prices are already very high and competition for hunting space is tough, this incredible watershed offers a much greater feeling of “quiet enjoyment”. Plus it is also located south (as the migration flies) of Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge which is a major staging area for ducks and geese. And to state again, if you were going to pick out a tremendous stretch of river to hunt ducks and geese based on the character of the river features, you wouldn’t draw one better on paper. Point being, if the mallards and Canada geese are in the area, they are going to be there.
Deer: The Niobrara is unquestionably known for deer. The current owner has only hunted it for shear fun with friends and family, admittedly with no restrictions as to what is shot, etc., but he knows the difference. They have taken some good deer from the plenty that frequent the property. But with a little discipline administered and patience over a few years… combined with the addition of alfalfa, Oak Marsh Bend could likely produce some stunners!
Turkey: No secret that this area is good for turkey. And Oak Marsh Bend has everything the gobblers want. Merriam’s turkeys gather in bigger flocks during the winter and spread them selves out more in the spring and summer months. With diversity of open areas for strutting and large deciduous trees such as cottonwoods needing for attracting these birds, they find this property more then suitable. Hunting turkey in the Spring would add another substantial component to this slice of paradise.
Improvements and Lifestyle
House: Often recreational hunting properties will have a cabin, a semi-kept-up farmhouse, or even a single or doublewide that merely function as a warm place to stay while using the property. Or conversely they have the owner’s dream home that was built with the idea that it was to be the paradise they spend their remaining years. Then things change and they decide to sell, but have a house much larger then any future owner is interested in. both regarding paying for and also to maintain. However Oak Marsh Bend has one right in between the two – perfect! Built in 1999, is a very nice open floor plan, log-type home, with a 33’ deck! Its upstairs is 1,344 square-foot with 2-bedrooms, 2-baths, painted log siding outside and natural finished log siding inside. The minute you walk into a this proudly kept fulltime “cabin type” retreat, you feel like setting your things down in front of the wood burning stove, kicking your shoes off and relaxing into a place that says to you, “This is all you need”. Near new appliances, propane furnace and kitchen stove, with central air conditioning, it’s all there!
And in addition to the upper portion, the basement is again 1,344’, and is setup as an ideal transition from indoor to out. With boots of various kinds lined up ready to go, and hunting jackets hanging, it’s not overly plush nor overly rustic. It is clean and functional, again; perfect! It also provides one more bedroom to the upstairs two, and is nicely appointed with all the hunting and outdoor decor.
And to top it off, this house was originally built to be a lodge for a nearby hunting operation, so inside the basement was built a walk-in refrigeration room. Not currently equipped with all the components to run it as such, it certainly could be. And still, just “as is”, the current owners and their guests have used it to hang game before processing because of its coolness and sun protection.
Outbuildings: Oak Marsh Bend also offers a very nice outbuilding component. This includes a machine shed/garage that is 48’ x 32’ w/ 2 16’ x 9’ doors and one walk-thru door, plus an 8’ x 32’ covered patio area. It is stick-frame w/ metal siding and a metal roof and is less than 2 years old. Also is a wood shed that is 29’ x 12’. And facing a newly built fishpond is a bit of history; an old school house. It is 30’ x 22’ with a 7’ x 6’ porch and is very interesting with a lot of potential. It was the owner’s idea to fix it up into “something special” and it is very much on its way there. Installed are a new metal roof and all new windows to match the original look. But that is as far as it is completed to date. And lastly, a 15’6” x 7’6” garden shed is connected to an approx. 40’ x 60’ fenced-in garden area. Judging from the pictures of its bounty, production has been good!
Fish Pond: Two years ago, a nice-sized fishpond was built in front of the home. It sits on an upper bench above the river bottom elevation. And while fishing it or just sitting on Adirondack chairs next to it with a cool drink in hand, one can gaze over the pond, and across to the marsh looking north towards the river, surveying all that is theirs! Nice!!
Privacy: One of the most outstanding features of all, is a windfall that happened to the current owners. During their tenure, a public road that previously cut right through the property was abandoned by the county. Oh my, so many landowners wish they were so lucky! The result is that now Oak Marsh Bend enjoys the cul-de-sac effect! The maintained public road gets to the property gate, but ends at Oak Marsh Bend. And from that point is merely a driveway to the home and nothing more then a trail past it providing some further access through the otherwise thickly covered “deer woods”. Once again, perfect!
Oak Marsh Bend is a beauty, no doubt! It is one of the jewels of the Niobrara to be sure. As always, a picture paints a thousand words. And we try to show it off through what we have here. But seeing will do wonders on this one. Oak Marsh Bend is a true outdoor piece of Heaven and a Niobrara gem!!
Oak Marsh Bend - Spencer, NE 68777, USA
Oak Marsh Bend- Spencer, NE 68777, USA