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Afield and Afloat

A Birthday Tribute

A bull elk rests in the upper elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park. (Photo by Cricket Haag)

Let me apologize for leading this post with a photo captured outside Nebraska. As much as I’d like to claim that image, the credit instead goes to my wife Cricket who was riding shotgun while I was behind the wheel. It tops any elk photo I’ve ever shot and I might be a tad jealous. She did a great job composing the scene, but dare I suggest that a few others deserve credit for that image? We must also step …

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Here’s Your Sign

American dagger moth caterpillar

Sometimes nature is pretty obvious with its signs about what a person shouldn’t touch. Cacti, yucca plants, porcupines and rattlesnakes, for instance, have signals akin to a flashing billboard. Then there are more devious dangers such as poky thorns on beautiful rose bushes and rash-inducing urushiol on unassuming poison ivy plants. I’m not sure where the subject of the following story fits into that spectrum, but I’ve become convinced I should have been paying a little closer attention to some …

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Fishing the Sticks

Kayaking in trees

The high country of the Nebraska Panhandle is about as far as one can get from what’s considered to be swampland. It is, however, a place you can find a little taste of most outdoor experiences if you look for them. Among my favorite fishing excursions each spring and early summer is taking the kayaks into the flooded timber of Box Butte Reservoir State Recreation Area, one of the Panhandle’s irrigation lakes that have much higher water levels in spring …

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Searching for the Mighty Morel

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It’s official, Lincoln County is in the books for morel mushrooms this year. This week co-workers of mine found the mighty morel mushrooms at one of our wildlife management areas in southwest Nebraska and today I found more along the river near North Platte. Resent rains along with sunshine and warming temperatures have prompted the mushroom to sprout. This weekend I’m sure many morel collectors will be out hunting the rich, nutty mushroom. The central and western part of the …

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Taming Tigers

Justin Powell's Grand Slam

It’s been fun witnessing the excitement about one of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s latest fisheries projects – tiger trout stockings. I’ve noticed an increased number of Nebraskans posting photos of the beautiful species on social media, and have even had a photo or two arrive via text message from excited anglers who have caught the species for the first time. The species is bringing out the child in a lot of us. During his visit to Chadron last …

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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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Feed Birds in your Backyard this Spring

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The spring migration will soon be here bringing weary travelers; bird lovers may want to consider providing our backyard feathered friends with food as it may be limited in some areas. This time of year the food supply for birds is scarce leaving some birds searching for food and burning needed calories. Late season snowstorms may cover up any natural food sources adding to their stress. Help the birds that visit your yard with what they need by providing them …

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Counting Down ‘Pics of the Year’

Haag, 2015. Copyright NEBRASKAland Magazine, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

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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Rooster Roundup: Northeastern Nebraska

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Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners and staff are in the midst of the Rooster Roundup — a quest to hunt pheasants on public land throughout Nebraska. The fourth stop on their journey is described below. Commissioners Lynn Berggren and Bob Allen completed two days of upland hunting this afternoon in Antelope, Knox and Dixon counties. This was their fourth hunt during the Rooster Roundup, after leaving off at Davis Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in late November.  On Monday, Dec. 14, …

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Nebraska’s 20th Bighorn Likely a Record-setter

Terry Bogle with ram

Not only will a bighorn sheep harvested near Crawford in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge region on Wednesday have the special distinction of being the state’s 20th but also will likely go down as the state’s largest on record. Terry Bogle of Lincoln harvested the big ram at about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday on private property in the shadow of a steep cliff near a pair of northwestern Nebraska’s most prominent landmarks, Crow Butte and Little Crow Butte. The sheep unofficially scored 189 …

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