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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.

Carp Bring Big-time Fishermen to Sandhills

Loading carp into boat

Carp aren’t at the top of the list of fish species that get me excited, but they did just that as I was lured to the Sandhills to watch the region’s newest effort to combat an old problem. A crew of six commercial fishermen from Minnesota, led by Jeff Riedemann and Tim Adams, brought their operation to Clear Lake on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in late March. Outdoor Channel junkies may recognize those names as stars of Bottom Feeders, …

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Stockings Boost Nebraska’s Tiger Trout Population

Tiger trout in White River

A fish species that has been a rare catch in Nebraska is becoming more common thanks to the work of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Thousands of tiger trout, a hybrid of brown trout and brook trout, have been raised at the Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery near Parks, Nebraska, and are being stocked at locations throughout the state for the first time. The colorful species has characteristics of both brookies and browns and is easily identified by the …

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Quilters Answering the Call for Fort Robinson

Becky Serres with quilt at Fort Robinson State Park

Overnight visitors to Fort Robinson State Park may notice a special touch to their rooms this summer. The park, with its historical lodging facilities that once housed Cavalry soldiers and officers, has begun a new project to feature the work of quilters from Nebraska and the surrounding region. The park is seeking at least 30 quilts to be placed on beds in two of its officers’ quarters — the big brick buildings at the west end of its horseshoe drive …

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Turkey Hunting Workshop Coming to Chadron

Justin Powell

Hunters looking to be successful at bagging a turkey this spring will have the opportunity to learn how to do it Tuesday, March 22, in Chadron. Justin Powell of Alliance, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife biologist and avid hunter, will deliver a presentation about hunting gobblers as part of the Commission’s Turkey Hunting Workshop series. The event will be 6-8:30 p.m. in room 231 of the Burkhiser Complex at Chadron State College. The workshop is open to all …

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Commission Takes Flight Again for Mule Deer Data

Mule Deer

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has completed the third year of a five-year aerial survey of mule deer in the Pine Ridge of northwestern Nebraska. The survey, which covers eight subunits with the most suitable mule deer habitat within the Pine Ridge deer management unit, indicated a decrease in the overall mule deer population, but an increase in the number of the species’ fawns. Commission employees counted 636 mule deer compared to 758 in 2015 and 862 in 2014. …

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Bureau seeking comment for possible dam repairs at Box Butte Reservoir

Box Butte Dam Outlet

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking comment regarding an environmental assessment document for the dam at Box Butte State Recreation Area north of Hemingford. Engineers have identified problems with sedimentation through the dam’s toe drain – a perforated pipe that runs along the base of the earthen dam to collect water from the reservoir’s seepage and move it to the downstream side of the embankment. The bureau prepared the draft to evaluate environmental consequences of undertaking corrective actions to the …

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Montana Receives Nebraska Turkeys

Wild turkeys from Nebraska received a one-way trip to Montana last week, courtesy of the states’ wildlife management officials. Montana wildlife officials were in Crawford on Friday to retrieve 125 wild turkeys that were captured in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission employees caught the birds Thursday in netted enclosures on private property near Whiteclay. Unlike the birds’ new home, the turkey population in the area of the capture is especially high and landowners were contented to part …

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Burning Planned at Chadron State Park, WMAs

With snow providing favorable conditions for prescribed burning, people in northwestern Nebraska may notice more plumes of smoke rising from forest areas in coming weeks. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is planning to incinerate tree piles at Chadron State Park and several wildlife management areas. Although an exact date for the park hasn’t been set, Superintendent Gregg Galbraith expects the burning to get underway sometime this week. Greg Schenbeck, an area manager for the Commission, said efforts to burn …

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Counting Down ‘Pics of the Year’

Each day in western Nebraska brings beauty for those who seek it. To go along with the many countdowns this time of year, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most popular images from 2015 from my “Pic of the Day” postings on social media. Of course, they were judged by my friends and followers — most who happen to be clicking the like button from my home region of northwestern Nebraska. Not sure if their regional bias has …

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Group Hikes Scheduled for New Year’s Day

Winter scene at Chadron State Park

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is inviting the public to ring in the New Year by enjoying a guided hike through one of the state’s scenic state park lands. First Day Hikes are scheduled at six Nebraska parks on New Year’s Day, part of a larger effort of the America’s State Parks alliance. Bob Hanover, assistant parks division administrator, said the hikes are a great way to get outside, enjoy nature, exercise and enjoy time with friends and family. …

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