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Afield and Afloat

Northwestern Exposure: The Bright Lights of Cottonwood-Steverson

Lightning at Cottonwood-Steverson

As the weather warms up, I love overnight trips to our great public lands in the region. The more remote the better. For the first trip of the season, I chose Cottonwood-Steverson Wildlife Management Area in the Sandhills between Merriman and Hyannis. Upon arrival, the Cottonwood-Steverson welcoming committee promptly greeted me. While many water-loving species are attracted to Cottonwood-Steverson and its Sandhills lakes, I found myself attracted to the many small birds fluttering among the trees. The warblers were out …

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Retiring Lures

Whether they be worn-out, abused, busted, or simply evoke fond memories, some of your favorite fishing lures sit on a desk, a shelf, or a fireplace mantle – a place of honor for retired lures. A Mangled Fly – Ryan Sparks Who you are fishing with is often more important than what you catch. From channel catfish in the Platte River to panfishing from a dock, some of my fondest memories are of fishing with my grandfather, or as I …

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That’s Water-clover

Not a lucky four-leaf clover. Every now and then, I get a familiar call: “I found a huge patch of four-leaf clovers in a wetland. What’s going on?” I respond: “Those are water-clover leaves, not those of the lucky four-leaf clover. So cancel the trip to Vegas.” Once, a perplexed biologist studying waterfowl food habits in playa wetlands called: “I found this big, dark brown seed in a duck’s crop and can’t figure out what plant it is from.” To …

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Northwestern Exposure: Taking refuge

This is always an especially great time of year to visit the Sandhills, with the landscape greening up and diverse wildlife in abundance. Anyone wanting to do so had better check conditions before going, though. On May 2, I decided to drive the slow road through the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge from Oshkosh to Lakeside. Once I got to the refuge, I found the road under water in several places and decided to backtrack southward, making for a much …

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Northwestern Exposure: Finding a Strut after Ulmer

Turkey

Big blizzard. Historical flooding. Just a lot of general muckiness. March 2019 will be a month Nebraskans will surely want to forget, but I shot a few photos, anyway. This white-tailed deer struggling to travel the Pine Ridge in the wake of Winter Storm Ulmer on March 15 gives you an idea of how much snow we got. Most of that snow has since melted, as has another little dose we got last week. While not the catastrophe our friends …

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Dance Party

Prairie grouse dancing begins in mid-March and will last into May at a prairie near you. Read on for viewing locations. There are some things you just have to see to believe, and others you have to hear. Few provide a treat to both of those senses like watching prairie grouse perform their courtship dances in the spring. Sitting in a blind before first light, you will hear the birds fly into the lek before you can see them. When …

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Turkey Trifecta

Ryan Sparks devised his own turkey hunting challenge: to fill Nebraska’s three-bird limit with a bow, muzzleloading shotgun and conventional shotgun. Dedicated turkey hunters dream of completing a “grand slam,” or killing a bird from each of the four subspecies of the North American turkey. To complete a grand slam, a hunter might travel from Alabama to Texas to South Dakota to Florida. As a teenager, while enjoying the developing turkey hunting in Nebraska, I dreamed about this turkey hunting …

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Walleye Trolling 101

Trolling crankbaits for walleye is the ultimate team sport. Jake Jadlowski shares his tips. Like most of us, I’ve fished for all kinds of fish in a whole bunch of different places. But regardless of species and location, most of the fishing I’ve done has been centered around my rod, my lure and me. Whether I’m flipping jigs for largemouth bass or bottom bouncing for walleye, most of my success or my failure is mine alone. Like golf, there is …

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Fort Robinson Fishing Upgrades

Anglers visiting Fort Robinson State Park in coming months may be disappointed to find some of their favorite ponds without water, but are sure to enjoy the same places in coming years. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission drained Grabel Ponds and Cherry Creek Pond to make way for the first phase of an Aquatic Habitat Program project to improve conditions for fish and anglers at the two ponds, along with the Cherry Creek diversion pond and the lower Ice …

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Nebraska Airmail in the 1920s

Early airmail pilots flew open-cockpit biplanes, navigated by landmarks and simple maps, and landed in grassy airfields. By 1930 their facilities and technology had changed dramatically. What seems quaint in hindsight was in fact a time of rapid change. Airmail service began in 1918. The first route was between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Regular coast-to-coast airmail flights began in 1920. Nebraska’s first airfields along the coast-to-coast route were in North Platte and Omaha. Airmail pilots used Omaha’s Ak-Sar-Ben …

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