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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.

Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag — Grand Slam? We’ll Settle for an At-bat

After reading numerous wild turkey hunting success stories on the Internet, I figure some might find comfort in hearing from someone who hasn’t been able to bag a tom this season. Two weekends in a row my 10-year-old son and I have failed to be within range to fire a shot at a tom. The two of us are far from being the most accomplished turkey hunters in the woods, but it seems the gobblers just aren’t as responsive in …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag – Still Awaiting Cure for Spring Fever

If there’s one thing I can do that will improve the chances of snowfall, it seems to be any notion of betting against it. As soon as I published the headline “Old Man Winter’s Parting Shot?” for my last blog post, the weatherman answered my question and was calling for another shot from him. As I write this post with snow falling outside my window over a blanket of white, Old Man Winter has proven, indeed, that he had a …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag — Old Man Winter’s Parting Gift?

Old Man Winter has been a little slow in delivering this region measurable snowfall this year, but he didn’t mess around when he finally got around to it. I’ve seen varying reports of snowfall in the region this week that range up to 20 inches in Chadron. With the driving winds, the drifts became measured in feet instead of inches. Such a blizzard certainly doesn’t come without hardship by many, but I’d wager it a challenge to find someone who …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag — Touring the Bighorn

When it comes to giving a tour of the Bighorn Wildlife Management Area south of Whitney, I doubt many people are as suited for the job as Greg Schenbeck. Schenbeck, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologist with headquarters at the Ponderosa WMA field office near Crawford, has a leading role in managing the northwest district’s WMAs. Not only that, he was raised in northwest Nebraska and began hunting the area that is now the Bighorn WMA as a child. …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag – Indoors, and out

I’d usually rather be outside than inside, but occasionally I’ve found redeeming qualities in spending time under a roof. It helps improve the chances if the time indoors is spent discussing the outdoors. Last week, for example, I attended the Nebraska chapter of the Wildlife Society’s conference in Chadron. Next week, I’ll be in Fort Collins, Colo., with two of my partners in public information for a week-long wildlife short course. Those of us in attendance at the Wildlife Society …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag – Hidden Treasures

As one who loves the outdoors and also embraces technology, I may be a bit of an anomaly. I certainly do love to get “off the grid” to places the phone doesn’t ring, but, generally speaking, I enjoy the ways technology can enhance outdoor experiences. Whether it’s the digital camera that allows me to share the neat things I see, the GPS unit that usually keeps me from getting lost or the smartphone fishing app that allows me to record …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag – Firsts Aplenty

When I signed on with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission a little over a month ago, I did so with aspirations to experience a lot of firsts. If last week can serve as any indicator, the job will not disappoint. Here’s a quick rundown: A Capturing Scene It was my first time seeing a helicopter wildlife capture crew in action live. During one sunrise and the next, I was sprinting toward my posts on a cliff high above the …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag – She’s a Butte

What can I say? I kinda like her. She was a little roughened up last year and she has a sketchy history, but she still looks great. Considering that my wife is probably reading this, I’d better explain. I’m talking about Crow Butte – a true jewel of the Pine Ridge and an object of my affection. One of our jobs as members of the magazine staff is to produce pretty photographs – it’s an exciting but intimidating task when …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag – Looking an Elk in the Eyes

The opportunity to get up close with Nebraska’s wildlife is a key incentive that attracted me to this job. Ordinarily, for me, bringing the wildlife closer is a feat aided by the use of a long telephoto lens. Last week, however, I got close enough to the live version of Nebraska’s largest big game animal that I didn’t need any magnification to get a good look. Todd Nordeen of Alliance, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission district wildlife manager, invited me …

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Panhandle Passages with Justin Haag – Hail to the Mighty Spud Bar

I have a lot of ice fishing gear. I’ll admit it, I’m a junkie. Too many hours have been spent perusing catalogs and the Internet for the latest and greatest tools to get fish from one side of the ice to the other. Whether my purchases have resulted in more success can be debated. If I had to name the most valuable piece of equipment in my arsenal, it wouldn’t be the portable shanty, gas drill or electronic fishfinder that …

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