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justin haag

Justin Haag serves the Panhandle as a public information officer for the Commission, also serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and enjoy introducing their two children to the many outdoor recreational opportunities of the Pine Ridge region.

Holdrege Man Successful on Bighorn Sheep Hunt

Brett Roberg

Nebraska’s only bighorn sheep hunting permit holder for 2016, Brett Roberg of Holdrege, ended his hunt successfully at Fort Robinson State Park on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 5, by harvesting a trophy-class ram. The Rocky Mountain bighorn ram, estimated to be 10 years old, unofficially scored 166 using the Boone and Crockett Club’s system. The score is derived from measurements of the horns’ length, their spread and four points of circumference for each. Roberg obtained the permit through a …

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Public Big Game Meetings Set in Panhandle

Mule Deer

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will kick off its series of public informational meetings about big game animal management at two sites in the Panhandle this month. Discussion about deer, elk and pronghorn is on the agenda. The two meetings, conducted by biologists of the Commission’s northwest district, will be Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Knight Museum in Alliance and Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Eagles Club in Oshkosh. Each begins at 7 p.m. The annual series of meetings …

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Beaver Valley Bird Trip

There’s not much reason these days for me to visit my childhood home of Beaver Valley, the stretch of mostly dry creek dotted by the villages of Danbury, Lebanon and Wilsonville along the Kansas border in southwestern Nebraska. Most of my immediate family no longer lives there, a great majority of the businesses have closed shop and the schools have consolidated to larger communities to the north. Shifts in rural America’s agriculture dynamics have forced populations to be a fraction …

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Lake Minatare Opening to Birdwatchers Dec. 10

Mallard

The public will have a unique opportunity for viewing birds during an event at Lake Minatare State Recreation Area on Saturday, Dec. 10. The event marks the only opportunity for the public to access the 2,158-acre reservoir on the North Platte National Wildlife Refuge for its annual closure between Oct. 15 and Jan. 14. Birdwatchers who want to participate in the one-day event may arrive at the lighthouse on Lakeview Point any time between 8-11 a.m. Binoculars, spotting scopes and …

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Reward Doubled in Poached Elk Case

Dead bull elk.

CHADRON — The reward for information leading to the prosecution of the person or people responsible for illegally killing a mature bull elk and leaving it to waste in northwestern Nebraska has been doubled. The Panhandle Conservation Club of Scottsbluff has pledged $1,000 to match the $1,000 being offered by the Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers program. Doyal Lund, president of the eight-member club, said the group donated the money because of its mission to support the region’s conservation officers and natural …

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Information Sought for Illegal Killing of Bull Elk, Other Big Game

Dead bull elk.

CHADRON — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking information about the unlawful shooting and wanton waste of big game animals in northwestern Nebraska, consisting of a bull elk, a pronghorn and two mule deer. The large bull elk was found in a wheat field along Squaw Mound Road southeast of Crawford, believed to have been killed the night of Saturday, Nov. 12. The pronghorn and two mule deer, all does, were recently found dead near Hemingford. Rewards are …

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Winning the Race

Sunrise at Toadstool Park

The alarm rang late and the automatic setting on the coffee pot malfunctioned. Once the coffee was finally brewed, a good portion of it spilled across the counter – this time because of user error. With such a rough beginning, my hopes for my morning afield for photography weren’t high. I still had aspirations to salvage the effort and make the drive to the Oglala National Grassland before sunrise, however. As I rushed out the door, a quick look at …

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More to ‘The Hull Story’

Kent Cartridge's Bio-Wad and Velocity shotgun shells

Readers who received the November issue of NEBRASKAland may have seen “The Hull Story,” my article about eco-friendly components in shotgun shells. The story was inspired by a February visit to a public hunting area dotted with a considerable number of wads and hulls. As an update, above is a photo of one of the Bio-Wads that Kent Cartridge sent to me. As you can see, its fiber composition is looking pretty rough after soaking in a bowl of water …

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Deer Hunting Workshop Planned in Chadron

Justin Powell and Rick Arnold

CHADRON — A free workshop will help participants gain knowledge to harvest deer. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Learn-to-Hunt Deer Workshop will be at Chadron State College’s Burkhiser Complex on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Justin Powell of Alliance and Rick Arnold of Chadron, both avid deer hunters who are wildlife biologists for the Commission, will discuss a wide range of topics to help participants be successful, including strategies, proper gear and deer behavior. Tactics for both firearms …

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Information Sought for Game Violations near Kimball, Valentine

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking information about two cases involving the unlawful killing of big game animals in western and north-central Nebraska. One case involves the death of four buck pronghorns. The remains of the animals, minus three of the heads and some of the meat, were found Oct. 17 on private land south of Kimball. The other case involves the death of a cow elk believed to be shot either Oct. 14 or Oct. …

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