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Afield and Afloat

Park Memories

Waiting to Be Made It was January 1993. I was in my first month of a dream job as a staff photographer and writer for Nebraskaland Magazine, and I was flustered. Then editor Don Cunningham had placed a large stack of hardbound Nebraskaland volumes on my desk and asked me to become familiar with the material so I could pitch him a few of my own story ideas. Not wanting to fail my first assignment, I pored over roughly two …

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Est. 1921 – Chadron State Park

Western Eden, Where It All Began Under the headline of “Western Eden,” the front page of the July 8, 1921, Chadron Journal proclaimed that the Nebraska Legislature had “builded better than it knew” by creating its first state park. “For years to come all of Nebraska’s citizendom can point with honest pride to Nature’s play ground near its western boundary. It is an inspiration to view this locality, and to walk its cool shady paths with the knowledge that it …

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Recipes at the Campground

One of the most enjoyable parts of the camping experience is preparing food around a campfire and learning how to create any number of simple, tasty dishes with ingredients already found around the house. Food always tastes a little better outside, and dinner prepared while camping is no exception — especially when the recipes are this easy. Breakfast: Corned Beef and Potato Hash By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley Servings: 4-6 Ingredients: • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans of sliced/diced new potatoes, drained • 3 …

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How Many Could I Catch?

In 2020, Norfolk resident Scott Buss put a long thought-out plan into action. He would travel the state and see how many species of fish he could catch — fishing public waters as much as possible. Like many anglers, Scott Buss of Norfolk began planning his 2020 fishing trips way before the year started. From researching stocking reports and fishing forecasts to talking to various anglers throughout the state, he began writing a list of where he wanted to fish. …

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A Parks Timeline

Marking 100 Years When Nebraska became a state in 1867, parks — let alone state parks — weren’t needed. Nebraskans of the day, and for years to come, were building homes, farms, businesses and towns, and with all of that work to be done, there was little time for leisure. But the conservation movement had begun, heightening the nation’s awareness of its pristine natural resources and prompting the launch of efforts to preserve them for future generations. The movement led …

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2020 Photo Contest

Best of Show With more than 2,500 entries, the 2020 Nebraskaland Magazine Photo Contest drew a record number of stunning images from Nebraska photographers in the categories of Wildlife, Flora, Scenic and Recreation. This year’s Best of Show winner, “Young Buck” by Karen Kader of Omaha, was shot at Chalco Hills Recreation Area. She used Lightroom as her post-image software, adding shadow and accessing the program’s color sliders to accentuate the photo. We thank everyone who participated and look forward …

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Sleeping with the Cranes

An Adventure Story I’m often asked about the best place to see the sandhill cranes during their annual spring stopover in Nebraska. My reply: Do you want to see the cranes or experience them? The former requires getting a reservation in a riverside viewing blind, several of which are available in the central Platte River Valley. But if you really want to experience the cranes, I tell them, you need to spend the night with the birds on the river. …

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The Science of Antlers

Antler Basics Horns and antlers, decorative headgear sported by some of Nebraska’s best-known species, are not the same. Horns are keratin, a hair-like sheath, that grows over a bony core throughout an animal’s life. They are found on pronghorn, bison, cattle, goats and sheep. Antlers, however, are bones that grow each spring and summer and are shed, or cast, late the following winter as the animal’s testosterone levels decrease. You’ll find them on deer and elk. Antlers grow up to …

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A Conservation Dream Come True

A man-made prairie-chicken lek finds success. It was a calm March morning when Dan Leuenberger first heard it: the echoing calls of greater prairie-chickens. Climbing a hill on his Johnson County farm, he spotted a flock of about 20 birds gathered for mating season. Each spring, males congregate on leks, or display grounds, to perform mating rituals that have made the species an icon of the prairie. They stomp, leap, spin in circles, inflate orange air sacs on their neck …

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Real-World Bowhunting Practice

Proficiency on a foam block doesn’t always translate to real hunting scenarios during the season. Too many archery hunters practice archery and not bowhunting. Setting a foam target in the yard, walking back to a premeasured distance and flinging arrows all summer is good practice for hitting a foam target, but climbing into a blind for turkeys or a tree stand for deer is completely different. Being an effective bowhunter is about what you do with the shots you are …

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